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June 01, 2024 01:27 AM UTC

Weekend Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin.”

–Dwight D. Eisenhower


21 thoughts on “Weekend Open Thread

  1. Good morning, West Coast! I'll start the weekend with a delusional flight of fantasy. Could CD-5 be in play if the ol' DW wins the primary and his negatives get properly publicized? According to one of the Dem candidates, about 50% of the voters are (in his words, not fact-checked) "independent, unaffiliated voters." I thought this little Colorado Sun profile of the Dem candidates was interesting, and maybe one of them will come off credibly in the general election. But a big disclaimer, I started by saying "delusional flight of fantasy." At least I usually admit my delusions, so far.

    1. Not going to comment either way on that one. Dems are riding high now, but they do have a history of grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory (Mark Udall & Cory Gardner). Still, if 5th and 3rd both flip to blue and Boebert wins in 4th, that makes her the face of the GOP in Colorado. 

      1. 2014, with Mark Udall & Colorado Democrats versus Cory Gardner, Colorado Repubicans, and Cambridge Analytica, PLUS being a midterm election when Democrats & leaners don’t come out as often, PLUS being year 6 of the Obama Administration and the built-up resentments and readiness to “change.” 2014 US Senate elections showed a national movement:

        Seats before…R: 45…. D: 53
        Seats after….. R 54…. D: 44
        Seat change….R 9… D: -9

    2. I have always thought that CD5 was winnable for the right Democrat. Dave Torres in 2022 and General Irv Halter in 2014 came in over 40%. 

      If Williams wins the primary against Crank, the Democrat may gain traction with Independents and Unaffiliateds. Williams, in addition to being despised by grassroots Republican activists, is campaigning against authorizing the NDAA– which threatens servicemembers' wallets, and a big chunk of the CD5 economy. 

      The Springs also has a large and active gay community, as well as being a "college town" with all that implies. Yes, in a perfect storm, a Democrat could win in CD5. 

      1. The other encouraging sign for CO-5, which is vastly aligned with Colorado Springs and El Paso county:  The Republican in-fighting seems to be blocking "unifying" after a divisive primary.  Case in point:  Yemi Mobolade defeated Wayne W. Williams in the May 16, 2023, runoff election

        Unofficial results showed Yemi Mobolade, a Nigerian immigrant and small business owner, winning a resounding victory in the Colorado Springs mayor’s race. With more than 117,000 ballots counted as of 9:40 p.m., Mobolade had captured 57.5% of the vote, well ahead of former Republican secretary of state Wayne Williams with 42.5%…. [He will be the] first mayor not to be affiliated with the Republican Party in at least 45 years.


      2. I don't often agree with her but Kiwi is right about CD-5. It's much more likely to flip than CD-4.

        Those of us old enough recall the Dark Ages when El Paso County gave us Amendment Two, Charlie Duke, Will Perkins, and the Tebedo family in the early '90's. They rarely sent many Democrats to the legislature. They had a notoriously homophobic mayor who saw the Colorado Bar Association move their annual convention from the Broadmore because he didn't want to extend an official welcome to "the fags."

        That was then, this is now.

        The numbers have been changing over the decades since the '90's. While the legislative delegation will still include some exotic members (Dr. Chaps, Doug Bruce, Dave Williams), they seem to be more concentrated in isolated parts of the county.  Two years ago, an openly-gay, Jewish Democrat from Boulder got 46.8% of the vote in El Paso County running for governor. (Of course, he was running against a clown, but I digress.) 

        The mayoral election last year may be the critical mass for El Paso County. Wayme Williams, on paper at least, should have been able to unify the Chamber of Commerce, John Suthers-type Republicans with the Champs-Bruce-Williams loonies in the runoff election but failed to do so.

        The party registration numbers in CD-5 are better for Dems than they are in CD-4.

        If Dave Williams is the nominee – and he probably will be with low turnout in the primary and Trump's endorsement – then what becomes of Jeff Crank's establishment GOP voters. Do they simply fall in line come November or do they think it's better to defeat Williams and have a Dem in the seat for two years, and then reclaim it in '26. (Think those Republicans who put Doug Jones in the US Senate in 2017 but did so for only a three-year stint.)

        Maybe one of these two Dems running in CD-5 will be the Betsy Markey of 2024.

        And speaking of CD-4 ….. What to make of this?

        Colorado 4th District : U.S. House : 2024 Polls | FiveThirtyEight

        I realize that the most recent poll listed was paid for by Ike McCorkle, although that in itself raises the question of how he paid for it. Traditionally, Dems running in districts like CD-4 don't have the kind of $$$ to commission polls. So the fact that someone is contributing $$$ means that someone thinks this may not be a complete waste of time or effort.




  2. On Færie-Stories—like Frank Herbert's "Dune"—Derived from Agrarian-Age Roots

    Brad DeLong teaches Economic History at UC Berkeley. In studying the LONG term, he notes that 1867 marks the start of universal wealth acceleration, as opposed to the prior ages where malthus rules. Anyway, here he writes about story telling and considers that our (humanity's) stories have a lot to say about pre-industrial society. 

    It is worth reading his long discussion about whether Dune works as a story, but I thought this section was interesting.

    We love stories. We think in stories. Indeed, we have a hard time thinking in any other way than in narrative. 

    And, among the base-level story patterns that we love, one stands out: The story of the acquisition of mastery (in the sense of magister, expertise), and of the then-use of expertise to solve problems—either the problem of resource lack, the problem of chaos, or the problem of disturbed family relationships, which then need to be restored (or perhaps de novo created)

    We tell such stories over and over again. Our imaginary friends in those stories are, for many of us, much more real than all except the closest of the real human beings we actually see in our life.

    The story-patterns we have built—the templates we use and expect—have accumulated gradually over time, which means the overwhelming bulk of them were composed against a background of Agrarian-Age general poverty, in which between 100% (or more, if you were unlucky) and 40% of your resources had to go to somehow scrounging your 2000-calories-plus essential nutrients each day so that you were not desperately hungry, plus enough clothing and firewood that you were not shivering cold, plus enough shelter that you were not miserably wet; in which maternal mortality took 1 in 7, in which women were so skinny that ovulation was often hit-or-miss, in which the typical mother underwent eight pregnancies and had six live births yet only two children survived to reproduce, in which children were so malnourished that their immune systems were so compromised that 40 out of 100 died before the age of five. In such a world of Agrarian-Age Malthusian poverty, the principal problem you (probably) face is that of being desperately poor. And nearly the only way for you to resolve that problem—the only way to get anything like enough for yourself and your family—is to join the ruling gang: to become a well-trained thug with a spear (or better yet to boss such well-trained thugs) or perhaps one of their tame accountants, bureaucrats, and propagandists. You then are one of those who tells the other people in society to give you 1/3 of their crop. Or else.

    This background has shaped the stories we tell profoundly. Consider Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Bennet, his wife, and their five daughters live comfortably. The family income is £300 per person per year, and they spend it all. The social system of England takes the product of about 1/3 of the work done by 50 laborers, craftsmen, and farmers, and transfers it to the Bennets. It is very good to be the landlord.

    But while Pride and Prejudice is problematic, something like Dunecannot help but be much more so. Dune’s mediæval-fantasy tropes take the link between mastery-as-expertise and mastery-as-domination and hammer them together into a single unbreakable whole. Dune is the story of how Paul Atreides grows up and acquires expertise, yes. But Dune is equally the story of how Paul Atreides becomes the BOSS. And those two acquisitions of mastery have to be seen as the same and indeed have to be the same—we cannot celebrate Paul’s acquisition of strength and knowledge and capabilities from Paul’s acquisition of a position of domination. And exploitation.

    1. OK, Dune tapped into the prole's worship of the God-King or Supreme Emperor or what have you. 

      But it also pioneered the genre of the ecological novel, predating Robinson's Mars Trilogy by several decades. In its imagining of how humans can truly fuck up a planetary ecosystem, and imagining  recovery from ecological dusaster, it opened up that field of speculative fiction.

      Dune was also feminist in some weird ways – the "witches" of the  Bene Gesserit clearly were the real wielders of power in Herbert's imagined universe- not through seductiveness or feminine wiles, but through mental discipline. The dominant sci fi portrayal of women was Heinlein's "Gun Chick" or stereotyped moms, girlfriends, whores – shadowy one-dimensional beings who didn't direct anything, and existed mainly as a foil to the brawny action heroes of the genre. 

      These are some of the redeeming features of Dune. 


      1. I liked Dune as a story, both the book and the movie. And yes, it was pretty impactful as a fantasy, although not to the level of LOTR. 

        The section of Brad's article I quoted discusses how Dune works as a proto-story. I didn't quote other parts of the article, but much of it dicusses the plot more specifically.

      2. "Heinlein's 'gun chick'" .  You inadvertently left out Andre Norton (1912-2005), a pioneering female writer of science fiction. Many of her leading characters were strong women, particular in the "Witch World" series that began in 1963. Others of her books had felines in leading roles as well as shape-shifters. 

        1. Yes, Andre Norton, Ursula Leguin were pioneering speculative fiction feminist writers of the early and mid-60s, and I've read most of their novels. Other notable sci-fi fantasy writers , such as Joanna Russ and my favorite, Mage Piercy, published in the late 60s / early 70s. 

          Other novelists with strong feminist  ( but not sci-fi) themes were Virginia Woolf, Zora Neale Hurston, Marie Chopin,and  Willa Cather. 


  3. What is it with Republicans? Once they got over Lincoln… They've always been extremely pro-busines and against anything that actually helps people, from structural racism, to consumer safety. And they've always used histrionic rhetoric: anti-socialist, anti-immigrant, anti-squad, to whip up outrage.

    From Heather Cox-Richardson:

    Those who wanted to slash the government back to the form it had taken in the 1920s, when businessmen ran it, had a problem. American voters liked the business regulation, basic social safety net, and infrastructure construction of the new system. To combat that popularity, the anti–New Deal Republicans insisted that the U.S. government was sliding toward communism. With the success of the People’s Liberation Army and the declaration of the People’s Republic of China in October 1949, Americans were willing to entertain the idea that communism was spreading across the globe and would soon take over the U.S.

    Republican politicians eager to reclaim control of the government for the first time since 1933 fanned the flames of that fear. On February 9, 1950, during a speech to a group gathered in Wheeling, West Virginia, to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, an undistinguished senator from Wisconsin named Joe McCarthy claimed that he had a list of 205 communists working for the State Department and that the Democrats refused to investigate these “traitors in the government.” 

    The anti–New Deal faction of the party jumped on board. Sympathetic newspapers trumpeted McCarthy’s charges—which kept changing, and for which he never offered proof—and his colleagues cheered him on, while congress members from the Republican faction that had signed onto the liberal consensus kept their heads down to avoid becoming the target of his attacks.

    1. “Snow White and the Six Dwarves.” HC-R quoting Margaret Chase Smith.

      “I do not want to see the Republican party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny—Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear.”

      “I doubt if the Republican party could do so,” she added, “simply because I do not believe the American people will uphold any political party that puts political exploitation above national interest. Surely we Republicans are not that desperate for victory.” 

      “I do not want to see the Republican party win that way,” she said. “While it might be a fleeting victory for the Republican party, it would be a more lasting defeat for the American people. Surely it would ultimately be suicide for the Republican party and the two-party system that has protected our American liberties from the dictatorship of a one-party system.”

      “As an American, I condemn a Republican Fascist just as much as I condemn a Democrat Communist,” she said. “They are equally dangerous to you and me and to our country. As an American, I want to see our nation recapture the strength and unity it once had when we fought the enemy instead of ourselves.”

      Smith presented a “Declaration of Conscience,” listing five principles she hoped her party would adopt. It ended with a warning: “It is high time that we all stopped being tools and victims of totalitarian techniques—techniques that, if continued here unchecked, will surely end what we have come to cherish as the American way of life.”

      Six other Republican senators signed onto Senator Smith’s declaration.

      There were two reactions to the speech within the party. McCarthy sneered at “Snow White and the Six Dwarves.” Other Republicans quietly applauded Smith’s courage but refused to show similar courage themselves with public support. 


  4. CD4, CD8 candidates Debated at the Grizzly Rose last night

    Boebert and Lopez didn’t show., perhaps heeding Republican Abe Lincoln’s advice: 

    “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” – Abe Lincoln

    Trish Calvarese, Democratic candidate for CD4, also came to the Rose to debate. Per Chase Woodruff for Colorado Newsline


    Lopez was absent from a second debate Saturday between candidates in the special election. Organizers said that he had agreed to participate but pulled out on Friday after demanding that the Republican Women of Weld, one of the groups hosting the event, endorse his candidacy.

    Calvarese — who is also running in the 4th District Democratic primary against two other contenders, Ike McCorkle and John Padora — said she would stick up for “working class issues” in the conservative district.

    “I’m pro-families, and I’m pro-people who work for a living,” Calvarese said. “I’m not a labels person. I’m not an actual politician. This is the first time I’ve done this as well. I’m doing this because this is the community that raised me, and I want to give back to it.”

    Republican Women of Weld posted a youtube video of the debate:

    Money quote from Sonnenberg at about 1:22 in: “ You need somebody in Congress who doesn’t embarrass you.”

    At about 2:52 in the vacancy candidate debate, the moderators asked Greg Lopez’ empty chair about Lopez’ domestic violence charges, and about a lawsuit about conflict of interest while he was SBA director. Lopez’ chair, hilariously, did not reply.

  5. thanks for that report …

    on Sonnenberg's quote … sadly, I think many, MANY people likely to vote in the HD-4 race aren't capable of being embarrassed by a Representative. 

    It wouldn't be hard to make a small restatement of a classic observation:

    There's a lot of bleeding idiots in t'country and they deserve some representation. Bill Stone.


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