Today’s New York Times carries a story in its “politics” section that raised red flags in my mind, but apparently not in reporter Christopher Maag’s… The title alone, “Inquiry in Ohio Could Hurt Obama Vote,” might seem to suggest a political motivation for the inquiry, and the details of the story only heighten the question of whether the inquiry might be politically motivated–the inquiry targets the top Democratic Party members in Cuyahoga County, the most populous and Democratic-leaning county in Ohio.
To be sure, the reporter dances around the issue:
“Kerry won big in Cuyahoga County, but it wasn’t enough,” said David B. Cohen, a political science professor at the University of Akron. “Which means Obama needs to win even bigger.”
That may prove difficult with top leaders of the local Democratic Party under investigation. Over three decades in public office, Mr. Dimora has built a broad political coalition, with many allies working as ward leaders, City Council members and mayors across the county.
Meanwhile, Republicans see the investigation as an opportunity to narrow the Democratic Party’s traditionally large majorities in the area.
“The backbone of their operation is being taken out because so many of their volunteers are public officials and public employees,” said Jim Trakas, the former chairman of the Cuyahoga County Republican Party, who is running against Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, a Democrat. “That will make it very difficult for them to campaign.”
But the reporter not only doesn’t ask the question “Is this political?”, he doesn’t even note the implications, nor the history of politicized prosections we’ve been hearing about for more than two years. Granted, those stories involved the U.S. Attorneys appointed by Bush, and this involves the F.B.I. and I.R.S., but still, that history would seem relevant to a story about investigtation of top Democratic Party members in a county important to–some would say crucial to–the Democratic nominee’s chances in that state.
Perhaps the NYT’s reporters need a little help in dot-connecting? They seem unable to do so on their own. What do you think?
Wow, it’s been forever since I posted! But a lot has been happening IRL, so perhaps I can be excused for my appalling lack of attention to this blog. Perhaps.
First, and foremost, the summer of joy: I sold a story!!!!! My first ever published story, “MarsBound” will appear in the anthology Ages of Wonder edited by Julie E. Czerneda and Rob St. Martin!! It will be published by Daw sometime in 2008.
Then we paid off the house! WHOO HOO! Happy, happy, joy, joy! Dancing in the streets! (Well, on the patio, but that’s outside, so it’s sorta like the streets.)
But then, in August, things took a dark turn. I got sick, for one, with shingles. This is a disease that is hopefully disappearing, since the advent of the Chicken Pox vaccine. You see, when you have Chicken Pox, it gives you a life-time immunity from ever getting it again, but that comes at a price: the virus stays in your system, hibernating in nerve clusters. Shingles is a re-activation of the virus, and–because it’s living in your nerves–can be quite painful. It’s not life-threatening, but if it flares along the nerves in the face, which mine did, it can damage your eye.
Then a previously-crowned tooth broke, requiring a new crown. Then another previously-crowned tooth got an abscess at the root, which required a root canal. Then that tooth broke, too, cracking the root and requiring an extraction and a bridge. All of which cost thousands of dollars, only a small portion of which was covered by insurance.
Then our 28-year-old washer/dryer set started making noise, and then the dryer just quit altogether. So we bought a new set.
The very next day after buying it, our 18 year-old truck had yet another mechanical malfunction, and given the shape it was in, we decided it was time to replace it. So we bought a used truck that was only 8 years old.
We have now used up all of our emergency fund, and are thousands of dollars in the hole on the credit card.
So, of course, when it got cold the furnace started making an awful racket, then stopped kicking on at all. (Although we could still kick it on manually, so we didn’t freeze.) Hundreds more dollars to fix. (Thankfully, though, we didn’t have to replace it, just fix it. But still. Hundreds of dollars!)
Then, after Steve said “Well, there’s not much else that can die on us, right?”– the gods laughed, as they directed that deer to jump in front of our car as we drove up to visit my folks.
Still waiting for the repair estimate from the shop, but the insurance will pay most of it. Less the $500 deductible, of course.
But, hey! I sold a story!!!! So, it’s all good. Sorta. Mostly.
She furtively looked to the left… nobody there. To the right… no, no one there either. Maybe just a little one would be ok. Just enough to stop the shakes. It needn’t take long, she thought guiltily. I can get back to work later, it’ll wait a bit. And besides, I’ll probably work better if I can settle my mind on it…
She knew she was just making excuses, like she always had. She knew she should do something about her addiction, but… it felt so good. And it wasn’t like she did it _all_ the time. She could stop anytime she wanted, really. If she wanted…
Hunching closer to the keyboard, she opened Word and typed a sentence. She quickly looked around again. No. No one had seen. Feeling emboldened, she typed two sentences in a row. Her eyes slid left, right… still clear.
She hunched again. The jones had her now. Feverishly, she began to construct whole paragraphs, lost herself in the flow of the words until a sound behind her brought her up short…ALT-TAB!! The FreeCell screen replaced the MS Word program on the monitor. She tried to appear nonchalant, casual, as she looked around. That had been close! Her husband walked by on his way to the coffeepot.
“Oh, just taking a little break. You know, just a quick game.” She was proud of the way she’d kept the tremor out of her voice, the naked need to get back to the words from her face. “You?”
“Oh, just working a bit, reading a bit. You know.”
“Oh, ok.” She waited while he filled his cup, and headed back to his upstairs office. ‘Well, see ya.” She waited a few more minutes, just to be sure, then ALT-TABbed back to the Word document. She read what she’d typed, getting her mind back to that state of altered consciousness she needed to satisfy her craving.
She began typing again, faster now, desperate to finish before another interruption made her stop. Made her wait. She typed, and typed. Lost in the words, the sentences, the Story.
The fix was close, now. A few more sentences.
“The End,” she typed.
She read what she’d written. She felt the rush begin, and sat back in her chair, waiting, waiting, for it to flow over her, to nourish her, to complete the experience, to make it real, and good.
Sometime later, she looked at the clock.
_Damn!_ Another day lost to Story.
Inspired by this image on Elizabeth Moon’s Website. (Click on the picture to go to the photo gallery.) This was originally intended to be a 200-word contest entry, but makes little sense without the photo!
Memory glittered like diamond dust on the floor. The landing could have been worse, but Zzzrtss couldn’t think how. Zzzrtss couldn’t think much of anything, since most of his mind had fallen off in the controlled crash he’d managed after being attacked by a creature bigger than his ship.
Emma went to get a cup of coffee while the revised draft of her story was printing. One more read-through, just for typos, and it should be ready to send. She grabbed the pages out of the tray, and headed out to the patio. She’d learned the hard way not to do a read-through at her desk… she’d start changing things and fixing typos and never make it all the way through. Let alone get any sense at all of how it flowed.
I was reminded of this piece today… I thought I’d lost it in a computer crash, but a little digging in my back up files uncovered it. Originally written in 1997, it shows that some things never change.
Lord Distractor’s beeper went off. He was needed. Again. Sometimes, he reflected, it would be nice to just take some time off, lay on the beach, perhaps read a trashy novel. But, there was work to be done. Someone was headed toward a cliff, and it was up to him to prevent them from going over it. Lord Distractor sympathized with his subjects, really he did, but he couldn’t just let them run off, willy-nilly chasing rainbows and doing whatever they damn well pleased. They’d be bound to get into trouble that way. Actually, he was doing them a service by preventing them from encountering the awful truth. He was a very enlightened despot, when you looked at it that way, insulating his subjects from any harm that pursuing silly dreams might cause them.
How beginning writers read rejection letters. (This is for any lurking editors out there )
What the letter says:
It’s a good flash piece, but in the end I decided to give it a pass. Thanks for thinking of us, and best of luck placing it elsewhere.
What the writer reads:
It’s a good flash piece, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.
What the writer thinks:
GOOD! He said it was GOOD!! I’m on my way! I’m gonna be rich and famous any minute now! I should practice writing my name for all those people who are going to want my autograph!!
Especially those who also write…
Flash fiction inspired by this comment on Kevin Drum’s blog…
They’re made for gawky teenagers who haven’t been laid. Anyone reading sci-fi after busting their cherry is a complete tool.
Posted by: NSA Mole on March 17, 2006 at 9:05 AM
Neville Samole awoke in his gelcel, still groggy from last night’s moodfest. What in the seven galaxies made me think that was a good idea? he thought blearily.