At The Airport

I’m at the airport, waiting to board my flight to Baltimore. I just realized that this is going to be my first time to fly since March of 2020. It’s still jarring, even after all this time and even though I’m wearing one myself, to see hundreds of people all wearing masks. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.

It does feel like there’s even more tension here than in the past. It’s the stress of the holidays mixed with the stress of the masks and the stress of terrorism. The atmosphere seems to be one of paranoia but it’s hard to say for sure. It’s hard to get a read on people when you can’t see their face.

The 24 Hour Rule

Someone drove a red SUV through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin earlier today.  There’s a lot of speculation out there about who was driving the SUV and what their motives may have been.  In the wake of the Rittenhouse verdict, many people are being very quick to label this a terrorist attack.

I’m forcing myself not to speculate.  When I first heard the news, I did jump to a conclusion but I’m not going to post it.  One of the huge problem that we have in this country is that too many people jump to conclusions before they have all of the information.  We’re so quick to blame the other side that we forget that people are hurting right now and that people need help.  Being attacked by someone with no politics is just as dangerous as being attacked by an ideological zealot.

The 24 hour rule is a good one to observe.  Whatever or whoever you may think is responsible for what’s happened, keep it to yourself for 24 hours.  For now, just keep the victims in your thoughts and hope for the best.

Eddie Bernice Johnson Retires

TX-30: Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) Will not Seek Re-election

This new isn’t exactly surprising and it’s not going to change the balance of power in the House.  There will be a lot of new Republicans elected to the house in 2022 but they’re not going to be elected from South Dallas.  The election will most be interesting because there’s a lot of ambitious and not necessarily sane people who have been waiting for Johnson to retire.  Whoever wins the Democratic Primary will probably have a lifetime seat.  I know there’s been some speculation that my Congressman, Colin Allred, might hop districts and run for Johnson’s seat.  I don’t think that will happen though.  The Texas Legislature drew Allred a pretty nice district that he’s not going to have any trouble winning reelection in.  Smart political operator that she is, Johnson waited until after the lines had been redrawn before announcing her retirement.

Johnson’s been in the House so long that a lot of the people who were originally seen as probable successors are now pretty old themselves.  John Wiley Price would have been an obvious if unfortunate candidate ten years ago but now he’s 71 and I doubt he’ll want to give up the power he wields in South Dallas just so he can be a freshman Congressman.  Royce West seems like an obvious choice and he did run for the Senate in 2020.  But West is also a canny politician who has to know that he’ll have more power in the Texas Senate than he will in the U.S. House, especially if the midterms are a red wave.

Former State Rep.  Barbara Mallory Caraway, who unsuccessfully challenged Johnson five different times, is already running again but there’s no way she would get Johnson’s endorsement.  Former city council member Vonciel Jones Hill, who infamously protested the distribution of information about AIDS prevention in her district because she said it would “promote homosexuality,” is also already running.  Is Domingo Garcia still alive?  How about Ron Kirk?  What is he doing nowadays?

It’ll be an interesting election to watch.  There’s a lot ambitious people out there.

Of course, Adam Kinzinger endorses Evan McMullin

Adam Kinzinger may never be President but he’s definitely going to get himself a show on either CNN or MSNBC once he’s out of office.  Outside of the media, does anyone, on the right or the left, still take Evan McMullin seriously?

Ryan Guillen Switches and Michelle Beckley Announces

If you want to know how things are going for the Democrats in Texas, consider that State Rep. Ryan Guillen, who the Democrats were earlier this year touting as a future statewide candidate, has officially switched over to the Republican Party. Guillen is from South Texas, the part of the state that was originally supposed to take the lead in turning Texas blue.

While Guillen is switching parties, the self-described “brave Texas Democrat” Michelle Beckley is giving up her state house seat to run for lieutenant governor. Since Matthew Dowd made a huge deal about saying that men should step aside to allow women to run for office, he’ll be dropping out of the race now, right?

A North Carolina Surprise

I was actually surprised when I heard that U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina was retiring at the end of his term.  He’s only 74, which is young by Congressional standards and, even though his seat was made a little less blue by redistricting, he still probably could have held onto it for as long as he wanted.

Sometimes, I think it’s possible to read too much into congressional retirements.  Occasionally, people really do just want to enjoy their twilight years.  But Butterfield’s resignation really does seem like a sign that quite a few Democrats in Congress are not expecting to still be in the majority after the 22 midterms.

My Top Ten Of The 2021 Interactive Fiction Competition

The 2021 Interactive Fiction Competition has come to an end.  I played the majority of this year’s entries and I cast my votes for my favorites.

Here are my pick for the top ten games of this year’s competition, along with links for the reviews that I of them over at Though The Shattered lens:

  1. And Then You Came To A House Not Unlike The Previous One by B.J. Best
  2. Closure by Sarah Wilson
  3. Hercules! by Leon Weinreb
  4. The Song of the Mockingbird by Mike Carletta
  5. What Heart Heard of, Ghost Guessed by Amanda Walker
  6. Retrocon 2021 by Sir Slice
  7. You Are SpamZapper 3.1 by Leon Arnott
  8. Plane Walker by Jack Comfort
  9. This Won’t Make You Happy by Mike Gillis
  10. How it was then and how it is now by Pseudavid

This was a good year, without any truly bad games.  Next year, hopefully, I’ll have something of my own to enter.


Goodbye to Pat Leahy

Despite being one of the most Democratic states in the Union, Vermont has only elected one Democrat to the U.S. Senate.

Some of that is because Vermont is one of the few states to have a strong third party tradition.  Bernie Sanders may caucus with the Democrats and he may have run for the Democratic presidential nomination but he is officially an Independent.

The other reason is because Pat Leahy, the only Democrat to be elected from Vermont as of this writing, has been in the U.S. Senate since 1974.  When he was first elected, Vermont was still a Republican state and Leahy’s victory was due less to him being a Democrat and more to 1974 being the first post-Watergate election.  Due to being the party of Nixon, Republicans got wiped out in that election.

Leahy has held on to his seat and, though he never developed much of a national reputation, he has become an institution in Vermont.  In D.C., he’s the epitome of someone who gained his power through longevity, as opposed to being beloved by his colleagues.

Earlier on Monday, Pat Leahy announced that his long Senatorial career is finally coming to an end.  Leahy is retiring in 2022.  Leahy is in his 80s so his retirement is not unexpected.  And it’s not likely to upset the balance of the Senate.  Peter Welch is Vermont’s sole Congressman and he will probably easily move up to the Senate.  The real race will be for Welch’s Congressional seat, which will probably be a showdown between the moderate wing and the Sanders wing of the state party.

Vermont does have a Republican governor.  Phil Scott is an anti-Trump Republican and very popular.  Some are imagining Scott running for the Senate as an Independent and Scott could make a race of it.  But why take the risk when he knows that he can probably serve as governor for as long as he feels like it?

The Return of Landrieu

The above tweet is in regards to Mitch Landrieu, the former mayor of New Orleans who came close to running for President in 2020, before he realized that no one’s going to go straight from being mayor of New Orleans to the White House.  Landrieu has been appointed as Infrastructure Czar.  I have my doubts whether they will help his ambitions one way or the other, beyond giving him a chance to dispense patronage.  But the fact that people are even talking about Mitch Landrieu running in 2024 is just more evidence of how little faith most people now have in the electoral prospects of Kamala Harris.

Please, no comebacks

Cuomo eyeing old NY attorney general post in bid for political comeback

Yes, that’s Cuomo as in Andrew.  Ever since he left the governor’s mansion, he’s been claiming that he was forced out because New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James, wanted his job.  Now that James is running for governor, Cuomo is speculating about running for her job.

I doubt Cuomo will actually do it but I also have no doubt that it’s something he’s seriously considering.  A story like this doesn’t get leaked otherwise.  The story is the trial balloon, the test to see just how much ridicule Cuomo can expect if he actually tries to make a comeback.

Cuomo running for another office after being forced to resign wouldn’t be unprecedented.  Eliot Spitzer ran for NYC Comptroller after he resigned as governor.  (Thankfully, that scandal saved us from the presidential campaign that Spitzer was planning on launching in 2016.)  Anthony Weiner ran for the mayoral nomination after resigning from Congress and he probably would have won if he had a smidgen of self-control.

Andrew Cuomo is all about politics and it has to be killing him to not be in the game.  Hopefully, the less-than-positive reaction that the Attorney General trial balloon has so far received will convince him to sit out for at least an election cycle or two.