Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sparticles And Such

This interview with Michio Kaku is long, but . . . wow! It's kind of like the next step past Hawking in popularizing esoteric science, with the added fun that all sorts of stuff gets tossed in, too - time travel, politics, the Theory of Everything, and the chance that I will, in the next nanosecond, find myself choking out my life on the surface of a different planet (hint: since it would probably occur longer than the life of the Universe, I'm not using sleep over it). He's a terribly exciting speaker.

Make the time - three hours. It will be worth it.

Outsourcing War Crimes

The title of this post seems to be a nice summary of the Times take on the Wikileaks document dump.

I can't wait until tomorrow's installment on war contractors.

I guess this is a way to make sure all those torture allegations can be disproved. It wasn't us. It was other folks we got to do our dirty work for us.

Never Let Facts Get In The Way Of The Truth

So I encountered yet another of those "atheists" who insist that atheists are so much more peace-loving, smart, light-hearted, and generally better people than we Christians are. This particular line of argument would be a lot more convincing if it weren't for certain facts that keep intruding. The Stalinist Five Year Plans. The collectivization of the Kulaks. The Chinese Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. Kampuchea. Can I get a witness? Actually, they're hard to come by because most of those who witnessed these events are dead. Dead at the hands of people who were not only atheists, but so adamant that there was no God that any expression of religious belief - what that may have been didn't really matter; Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, what-have-you - had to be met with violent force. When the Chinese invaded Tibet in their push for annexation, they didn't just take over the various government and communication centers. They invaded Buddhist temples and monasteries. They didn't just murder Buddhist priests, monks, and nuns. They tortured them. In the bloody swath that history has carved across the 20th century, this mostly forgotten bit seems relatively minor. More's the pity.

Last week, Bob Somerby noted an interview with physicist Michio Kaku on C-SPAN. Talking on the many themes of his new book, Kaku discussed the whole issue of extra-terrestrial life and the many claims that beings from other worlds have been and continue to visit our little neck of the Universe. Summing up Kaku, Somerby writes:
By our culture’s conventional standards of evidence, it is clear that we have been visited.
I love those four words, "conventional standards of evidence". For oh so many people, venturing off the reservation - expressing the belief that contact with other intelligent life is at least probable; expressing belief in one or another or several deities and abiding by the canons of belief in that deity; accepting the widespread occurrence of events that defy easy categorization by the limited methods of science - is too often met with a rhetorical violence that can be breathtaking. I am not suggesting here that I accept Kaku's argument. As a matter of fact, Im not sure I do.

Back in the mid-1990's, I remember reading a story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. It concerned a young man dying of a brain tumor. He had gone to his neurologist for a scan to check the progress of the tumor. That was all that was left now. Therapies, surgeries - all off the table. Yet, the young man had passed through the headaches and seizures and other symptoms, which seemed to have stopped.

The tumor was gone.

In the few short weeks between the two scans, the tumor had not simply shrunk in size. It was gone.

They did another scan, and the results were the same.

Now, I am no doctor, but I do know that tumors, for the most part, just grow. That's why they are so deadly. They can be reduced in size by pretty radical chemo-therapy, but it is always a struggle against the hyper-growth of the tumor.

Outside the grotto of Lourdes in France, there is a pile of crutches, canes, and wheelchairs. These have been left by those healed of their afflictions by . . . whatever . . . happens in there. Not everyone who goes there is healed. Yet, there are enough, the pile of no-longer-needed crutches mute testimony to that fundamental reality.

I mention these last two items, in connection with all the others, because what unites them is they exist outside our usual understanding of the way the world is supposed to work. UFOs, miracle cures, even the ideologically-induced mass murder of religious believers - these things defy our neatly-wrapped notions of how things are supposed to be. Yet, they are real. Denying them, any of them, out of hand exposes the denier as someone far more committed to some boxed-up notion of Truth than to the possibility the Universe includes all sorts of things that cannot be explained by our current ways of understanding. They might not even be amenable to the limited but very useful methods of science.

I am not suggesting that I think God cured some but not all the folks who visited Lourdes grotto. I am not suggesting the earth has been visited over the course of its long history by beings from other planets or dimensions. I am saying, however, that devotion to any ideology - be it science, or religion, or the denial of religion, or what have you - is a dangerous thing. Accepting our current ways of understanding the way the Universe works includes accepting that such understanding is limited. Science, religion, political and social ideology - they are committed to Truth. When facts intrude that disrupt our cozy notions of Truth, we human beings react violently. People, sometimes large numbers of people, who don't fit our ways of understanding, get hurt and even die because who they are doesn't fit with our Truth. Being False, therefore, eliminating them isn't so much a crime as it is a necessity.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Deadwings And Blank Planets

Like any good love story, this one has the kind of beginning that seems poetic in retrospect. I was standing in line outside the Congress Theater in Chicago one cool March afternoon in 2006, waiting to get in to see my favorite band, Dream Theater. It was a long wait, and I did a whole lot of people watching. One guy, in particular, caught my eye. He had a concert t-shirt from a band called "Porcupine Tree", and I wracked my brain trying to remember where I'd seen it. The next day, I realized where - the liner notes to Dream Theater's Metropolis Live CD. Porcupine Tree had opened for Dream Theater on some of their dates (along with another band I had discovered earlier that winter, Ozric Tentacles).

I ended up at a music store and bought the latest release from Porcupine Tree, entitled Deadwing. I cruised through the liner notes, discovering the album was the result of a failed screenplay the band's leader, Steven Wilson, had written. As I sat and listened, I realized I had discovered something new and different.

In the years since then, I have managed to purchase quite a lot of Porcupine Tree's back catalog as well as keep up with their latest releases. In September of last year, I had the chance to see them live at the Vic Theater in Chicago. Without a doubt it was the best musical experience I have had in a long while.

Wilson is the principle song writer, the arranger, lead singer, producer, and probably leads the mixing team. The band is his baby. Yet, the musicians - keyboardist Richard Barbieri, bassist Colin Edwin, and drummer Gavin Harrison - all contribute their individual styles, as well as combine to form a sound that is as unique as it is powerful. Wilson may be a musical auteur, but even a casual listen to his other projects makes one realize that Porcupine Tree is the product of the four members working together to realize Wilson's vision.

The best thing I can say is there is no "Porcupine Tree Sound". Even a casual perusal of their various releases over nearly two decades and one comes to discover the music ranges from electronica to Pink Floyd-style psychedelia to heavy metal to simple contemporary prog (although I doubt the band would accept such a simplistic label). Just considering their most recent releases, starting with Deadwing, then moving through Fear of a Blank Planet to The Incident (as well as the EP Nil Recurring, which recapitulates lyric themes from Fear) the sheer range of music is breathtaking. Unlike Dream Theater, which has settled for a particular sound that is instantly recognizable, or other "new" progressive bands, Porcupine Tree exemplifies that most hard-sought virtue - the pursuit of mew sounds each and every time they set down a piece of music.

Lyrically, the band follows in a long line of British bands whose outlook is, to put it mildly, gloomy at best. Songs such as "Blackest Eyes" - the tale told from the perspective of a murderous psychopath - and "Heart Attack in a Lay-By" could be considered cheery next to, say, "Don't Hate Me", the thoughts of someone who seems to be the last survivor of some horrid holocaust-like event, or "Let's Sleep Together", a plea for a suicide pact.

For all that, the band has become far and away my current favorite of any number of groups out there. While I wonder how they will survive their current tour - they have been on tour for The Incident for well over a year, twice through the US alone - my hope is they continue to work together producing their astounding sound.

This is "Time Flies" from The Incident.

Stand By Your Man

There is something, I don't know, endearing about the story of Virginia Thomas calling Anita Hill and asking her, as sweet as can be, to apologize to her husband and explain why she did what she did. I also think there is something precious about Ms. Hill's reaction - she called the cops. These two sides reflect what is, in sum, the very different ways the entire Hill-Thomas episode is seen by those who still sit on opposite sides. Thomas' supporters consider Ms. Hill's accusations lies cooked up by the connivance of liberals and a vindictive staffer to smear him before the nation. Ms. Hill's supporters, on the other hand, consider the entire episode a miscarriage of justice.

I do not have a "side". From the moment in the summer of 1991 when Pres. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas as "the best qualified" candidate to fill the vacancy created by the late Justice Thurgood Marshall's retirement, I saw trouble. Issues of race would swirl around the entire process, and supporters and opponents on all sides would bungle it. That is exactly what happened. Thomas was so adept at playing on issues of guilt, his single three-word phrase - "high-tech lynching" - managed to move many, many people (including an otherwise skeptical African-American professor of mine at Wesley Seminary). The accusations of sexual harassment, I should note, were soaked with white fantasies of black male sexuality (in turn, Ms. Hill's various attackers on the committee also managed to fall in to the trap of white fantasies concerning black women's sexuality).

The entire thing became a ridiculous farce, in which the simple issue of whether or not, in his capacity of director of the office on Civil Rights, Clarence Thomas engaged in practices considered harassment under the law, became impossible.

Once it became clear this was the case, I stopped paying attention. Several years later, though, I came across the best study of the entire affair, Strange Justice. Among the many details the authors managed to reveal - and with an ease that seemed to escape the entire panel of Senators and their staff members - was that Clarence Thomas lied under oath when he claimed not to be a habitue of pornography. Having lied under oath on this peripheral issue makes sense; like Bill Clinton insisting he never had sexual relations with "that woman", why in the world would anyone admit they regularly view pornography?

All the same, this went directly to the whole issue of sexual harassment, and Ms. Hill's claims that Clarence Thomas often referred to pornography in a way that was, to say the least, inappropriate. So, it wasn't just a "private" matter. His denials was more than just a denial rooted in personal embarrassment. It was a lie that undercut a central claim Anita Hill had made. Since the press, and it seems the Senate committee and staffers, seemed to think it impossible to untangle the mess of he said/she said, the expedient matter of actually going to the video rental store in Clarence Thomas' neighborhood was never considered.

The authors did just that. Since such information isn't confidential, it became easy enough to discover that Clarence Thomas did, indeed, rent adult movies.

OK. So. Does that mean that he went on to reference them in ways that created a hostile work environment for Ms. Hill? Did he, in fact, engage in acts that are easily defined as "harassment" under the law? The actual and overwhelming evidence seems to be that yes, he did. It has been set forth in a straightforward matter in an account that should have been nothing more than a transcript of the actual hearing before the Senate committee.

Now, two decades later, Mrs. Thomas - bless her heart - wants Ms. Hill to apologize. She wants Ms. Hill to explain. Ms. Hill, on the other hand, not only refuses to do so, she considers the very notion offensive. As well she should. She did not lie; she was not, in David Brock's infamous phrase, "a little bit nutty, a little bit slutty." On the contrary, a quiet, retiring, devout Christian woman (she attended Oral Roberts University and served in the Reagan Administration; this isn't the cv of a Marxist), Ms. Hill was hesitant about coming forward, not because her story was false, but because the entire episode was embarrassing in any number of ways.

I have no doubt this will become a bit of a cause celebre among the minions of the right who still believe, despite the evidence, that Ms. Hill made the story up, or was perhaps a prop for a secret cabal of lefties who wanted to block Thomas' nomination at all costs. Dragging this particular bit of history in to our current political climate is not a good thing, because if anything the right has become even more unhinged on any number of matters, race, gender, and sex being among them.

When I heard the story on the radio, I thought, "Oh, Lord, here we go." I offered on FB the idea that maybe Hillary Clinton can sit down with Mrs. Thomas and discuss the matter frankly, perhaps over a Vodka Collins or Gin Ricky or something, to help ease the pain. While offered partly in jest, it is also serious. Someone who understands the realities should, indeed, inform Mrs. Thomas that Ms. Hill did not "do" anything to her husband. Clarence Thomas did all of it to himself.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Solidarity And Transcendence

Early on in Terry Eagleton's The Ideology of the Aesthetic, he shows how the move from Kantian aesthetics to Friedrich Schiller's theory of "taste" shows the way the rising bourgeoisie treated the aesthetic experience as a force greater than the moral law. Participation in the aesthetic experience becomes the source of solidarity among the bourgeois, where "taste rules", in Schiller's words.

Far too often we surrender to the shallow notion of the aesthetic experience as something far too "subjective" or "personal" to communicate to others. At the beginning of the Enlightenment, Kant insisted that, while individuated, nonetheless we must come to apply our experience of the aesthetic "like a rule" in the way we subsume our lives under the moral law. If the mundane claim of extreme subjectivity were true, not only Kant's view, but any real communication of the beautiful, even the experience of the beautiful itself, would be impossible.

Hans Urs von Balthasar, the late Swiss theologian who was rewarded for certain services at the end of his life by being raised as a Prince of the Roman Church, attempted to use a certain understanding of "beauty" as a hermeneutical key to unpacking the Christian experience of wonder and awe. Through seven volumes entitled The Glory of the Lord, Balthasar examines the history of what had formerly been understood under the heading of "numinous".

At the heart of these two very different ways of understanding the human experience of beauty lies the fundamental reality that, opposed to simple-minded notions of "subjectivity", the aesthetic experience is one that is communal, transporting individuals out of the realm of the personal, and offering a glimpse of something greater. This is the mystery of transcendence - passing beyond the mundane, the imperfect, to those moments when, it seems, we encounter something that in and of and for itself points beyond itself, and yet subsists completely in a way that so much else does not.

My own experience has been musical (well, and also religio-mystical, but that isn't the subject at the moment). They are rare, but with the help of reflections such as these, I understand that they are not just my own experiences. Indeed, if they were just my experiences, not only would I not be able to communicate them; there would be no point for common reference. That is to say, if, as the superficial understanding has it, beauty is something which cannot be understood, only experienced, we are left with the sad fact that, really, it can't even be experienced. If something cannot be shared, if an experience, either of awe or of the sublime or of the beautiful, somehow escapes our ability to communicate to others what it is, it is also quite impossible to communicate that it is. At the heart of the experience of the beautiful we realize it is a shared, communal experience.

The very first time I experienced this in a way that I knew I was in the presence of something powerful, that I was filled with awe before a sound I was hearing, I was fifteen years old. Jeff Beck had just released the song "Star Cycle" which got moderate rotation on my local radio station. In the first chorus after the statement of the melody, Beck turns his guitar up to ten and unloads a fiery solo over Jan Hammer's pulsing synthesizer. There are just a few measures of that solo, where Beck takes the listener up through a quick build-up of tension to a release that made me sit up, jaw gaping. It's been thirty years, and my reaction to that moment is still the same.

Similarly, there is a moment in Spock's Beard's "June", the last move from verse to chorus, where all the elements - instruments and voices, harmony and melody - come together in a swelling tide that suddenly overwhelms the listener. Again, it is that moment of release after the slow build-up of tension that makes the sum of the various parts far greater than simple addition.

The first of Ed Wynne's guitar solos on Ozric Tentacles' "Jurassic Shift". Like the previous two, this is a release - the sheer volume of Wynne's guitar, combined with phase-shifting effects give the guitar a wash across the rest of the music, like waves crashing on a beach - that made me, the first time I heard it, go, "Ahh".

On Friday, I purchased Porcupine Tree's live DVD, Anaesthetize, a film of a show in Tilburg in The Netherlands from 2008. On the second song in the first set, "My Ashes", the chorus vocals are performed by touring guitarist and back-up singer John Wesley (and how could I, a United Methodist, not like that name?), because he has a beautiful, soaring Jon Andersonesque high tenor. I heard it for the first time on Sunday, and still cannot believe that single moment is so beautiful, so perfect.

What is important to note about these is the simple reality that these are not my subjective experiences. My reaction - hearing a moment of transcendent beauty in the midst of these songs - may be unique, or not. Yet, it is a shared experience. There are the musicians who composed and arranged the pieces. The engineers and mixers who took the elements and, along with the performers, ensured they were constructed properly. There is the audience, disparate or gathered, who hear these moments and react to them.

This solidarity in transcendence is the aestethic experience. It is also, as von Balthasar rightly understood, the heart of the religious experience. At its best, these moments are rare, fleeting, hardly encompassing entire compositions or multiple performances; rather, they are momentary - in music a measure or two - yet precisely because they are transcendent, their fleeting existence is belied by that sense that they seem to last forever. The relationship between the aesthetic experience and the religious experience, between the beautiful as being more than simple human creative act and life as more than the mundane run of days, lies in our shared joy together. We turn to one another and say, "Wow!" Whether it is God or just a bunch of musicians, we find ourselves gathered together, basing in the beauty of the moment that lasts forever.

Why Does Michael Gerson Have A Job?

This is horrid. The guy takes credit for a single line in a single speech by the worst President since James Buchanan and he lands a cushy spot on the Post's op-ed page. So he can write slimy crap like this.
"Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now," he recently told a group of Democratic donors in Massachusetts, "and facts and science and argument [do] not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we're hard-wired not to always think clearly when we're scared. And the country is scared."

Let's unpack these remarks.

Obama clearly believes that his brand of politics represents "facts and science and argument." His opponents, in disturbing contrast, are using the more fearful, primitive portion of their brains. Obama views himself as the neocortical leader -- the defender, not just of the stimulus package and health-care reform but also of cognitive reasoning. His critics rely on their lizard brains -- the location of reptilian ritual and aggression. Some, presumably Democrats, rise above their evolutionary hard-wiring in times of social stress; others, sadly, do not.

Though there is plenty of competition, these are some of the most arrogant words ever uttered by an American president.
Let's unpack those remarks.

Michael Gerson cannot come right out on the op-ed page of a national newspaper and say, "Barack Obama is an uppity nigger." So, instead, he picks apart a single sentence, without context - and without considering the merits, and offers up this kind of craptastic argument.

I think there are some folks who are not just incensed that there's a black man in the White House who isn't a butler or cook; angry that there's a Democrat in the White House because, as Republicans, they consider the Democratic Party unfit to serve in the Office of President; I think Gerson, like many in Washington, is enraged that Pres. Obama is far smarter than he is. In fact, for all Pres. Clinton's quite obvious intelligence (I have rarely seen someone who could just turn on a dime and speak in detail on abstruse policy matters the way Clinton still can), it is obvious that Obama is actually far more learned, a thinker of depth, whereas Clinton spread his understanding around.

Rather than admit to it, Gerson does what white folk have done throughout our history. Anytime an African-American displays any virtues in greater depth than they, white folk tend to find ways to put them in "their place". This insulting piece of drivel, this racist garbage, belongs on American Thinker or some racist website, not the Post.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ernst Bloch, N. T. Wright, And The Threat Of Hope

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

Emily Dickinson
In three volumes entitled The Principle of Hope, and a single volume of the religious dimension of the utopian hope, Man On His Own, Marxist Ernst Bloch treats not just with respect, but a kind of reverence, the Judaeo-Christian eschatological hope for the coming Kingdom of God. It is true enough that Bloch takes God out of the equation. All the same, because the root of the promised kingdom Christian's profess was personified in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is the promise not of a sweet bye-and-bye (like most contemporary theologians, Bloch understands this later accretion and baptism of pagan notions of the afterlife as serving all sorts of socio-political interests threatened by the far more radical idea of the Kingdom of God) but a very real, tangible realm of justice, equality, where the contradictions of self-abnegation and pride are overcome in mutuality, Bloch quite correctly sees this as nothing more or less than the promised, post-revolutionary situation, once the last structures of domination have been sloughed off.

A thinker as different from Bloch as can be imagined has offered a similar view concerning the Christian hope. Former in-house Scripture scholar and current Anglican Bishop Nicholas Thomas (N. T.) Wright has dedicated a tremendous amount of intellectual energy and faith-filled time offering up entirely new - yet he would insist they are old but lost - ways of reading the Bible and what it says about who Jesus was, what he said and did, why he died, and what his resurrection means. At the heart of Wright's exigetical concern, like that of the Gospel writers, is the passion story, with the resurrection as key. The following passage, quoted by Joel Watts, is the root of Wright's theology:
Resurrection by contrast has always gone with a strong view of God’s justice and God as the good creator. Those twin beliefs give rise not to a meek acquiescence to injustice in the world but a robust determination to oppose it.
Wright, like Bloch, surrenders the uniqueness of the Christian hope, only in different ways. Bloch insists that the coming Kingdom needs no God; Wright's stated concern for justice falls short of including sexual minorities. Since being raised to the crimson, he has spent a considerable amount of time in the House of Lords speaking out against any attempt to extend legal and social equality to sexual minorities in the UK. So much for that passion for justice.

All the same, while both Bloch and Wright - one intellectually, one politically - betray the uniqueness of the Christian hope, at the heart of both men's insistence on the radical nature of the Christian message lies this fundamental reality - unless checked institutionally, or compromised from within by social and cultural factors, the real message of the Christian faith is as radical a threat to the existing order as can be imagined. Living one's life with both eyes focused not on some filmy heaven (or, conversely, in fear of the sado-masochistic fantasies of hell) but on the resurrection of Jesus as the inauguration of the New Age that will be fulfilled in God's time casts doubt upon all our ways of life. Our politics, our art, our morals - everything stands before the empty cross, silent even as that same cross demands an answer.

This is who the Church should be: the people gathered as the Body of Christ working to fulfill the petition from The Lord's Prayer - thy kingdom come on earth. Is it any wonder that when the Church really is the Church, the Body of Christ, it is understood as a threat, either to be destroyed or undermined by the addition of alien ideas? There is nothing more tenacious than hope. There is also nothing more dangerous.

Democratic Disaffection, Voter Turnout, And The Enthusiasm Gap

We are just a few weeks away from the Congressional mid-term elections. It seems pretty clear that Republican gains will be substantial, although the prospect of taking over either house grows dimmer. All the same, it is obvious that two things are happening that are effecting the way people plan to vote - many of those who voted for Obama, and previously for Democratic candidates in the previous two national elections will either be voting for Republican candidates, or not voting; many supporters of Obama are less than enthusiastic, to say the least, about his performance in office.

As to the first, related, phenomena, anger at the Congressional wing of the Democratic Party makes sense. When they took over both Houses of Congress in 2006, they not only seemed poised to act on long-standing Democratic legislative initiatives that had been side-lined by the Republican majority, but also to pursue a far-more aggressive agenda toward outside interests that had become increasingly influential over legislative activity. Alas, almost immediately, both the House and Senate signaled their intent to pursue business as usual by putting Steny Hoyer in charge of the House and Harry Reid in charge of the Senate. Political moderates - Harry Reid is pro-life - neither has actively pursued much more than making sure Democrats maintain control of both Houses. While this Congress has been successful at passing some important, even historic legislation, that legislation has been purchased at far too high a price. Health care reform, in particular, was made far more complicated by the refusal, from the outset, to offer a serious public option. Initial regulatory reforms of the financial sector also seem inadequate to the task, and were largely constructed with input from the industry itself.

Other items on the liberal to-do list - in particular the long sought-after reform of labor law known as "card check", allowing for easier organization of previously non-union industries - have simply disappeared from the Congressional radar. Cap-and-trade, after passing the House, died a very painful, public death in the Senate after Republican obstruction became impossible to overcome. With the possibility that they shall hold even more seats in the next Congress, the likelihood of serious legislation regarding energy consumption as it impacts global warming looks even less likely.

For these reasons, as well as the far-too-cozy relationship the President has maintained with the centers of the financial industry (the creators of this mess now tasked with cleaning it up, but without having to pay any serious public price for it), the Democratic Party is losing voters. Either they are switching sides - far better to get corporate whores who acknowledge their pimps than those that pretend a virtue they do not have - or refusing to vote at all. Both are rational responses. At the core of public frustration and anger at Congress is the understanding that neither party has the public interest at heart. At least, with Republicans, voters know they aren't getting a pig in a poke.

The President and First Lady have hit the campaign trail over the past week, and are trying to stir up the same kind of enthusiasm that existed during his Presidential run two years ago. The problem, of course, is that while the President and his wife remain personally popular among Democrats, his record shouts far louder than his calls for continued hope and the possibility of change. While hard-core right-wing voters are certainly motivated by a visceral hatred for the President, Democratic voters are less inclined to consider voting against the possibility of a Republican Congress, since the prospects of actual legislative harm is minimized by the probability that the President will veto anything actively contrary to the public good. So, whether it's a minimized Democratic majority hamstrung by Republican obstruction, or a castrated Republican majority limited by the President's veto pen, the end results are likely to be the same for the next Congress. This is a reality Democratic voters recognize. The result is simple - their votes aren't going to matter that much this time around.

The next two years will result in a legislative holding pattern, no matter the outcome of the elections. Is it any wonder that folks are planning to stay home?

Virtual Tin Cup

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More