The Note: Abducted by Aliens

Anyone who wants to understand the ways in which his daughter's death has motivated SEIU's Andy Stern should read Lynne Duke's excellent profile in the Washington Post's Style section. LINK

Political potpourri:

For those that may have thought "Ballotwatch" desks are soooo 2004, the Los Angeles Times offers up a must-read look at the complexities and complications many counties are encountering in trying to upgrade their voting equipment in a post-Florida 2000 world. LINK

Speaker Quinn will likely become the Manhattan Councilwoman's title after the 51-member New York City Council votes to make it official tomorrow. All the papers have something on the historic selection. LINK, LINK, and LINK

Erratum:

Keying off a Peter Savodnik story in The Hill, we wrote in The Note on Thursday, Dec. 15 that Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) had said: "I don't think it helps the Democrats to have a party chairman who is involved in controversy."

Sen. Bayh never said that.

Former Clinton adviser Doug Schoen (who does not work for Bayh) is the one who made that comment.

We regret the error.

Bonus poem:

We know what Democratic superlawyer Bob Bauer did over his holiday: he thought and wrote. You can read Counselor Bauer's latest work, and the book review for which it stands, here: LINK

And as a Note non-exclusive, a taste:

COMING IN SECOND

"The Center Does Not Hold"

Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson

Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy

"The Centre Cannot Hold"

W.B. Yeats

"The Second Coming"

(and with apologies to the latter)

Spinning and blogging, each calling the other a liar,

Will Extremes now vie for absolute power?

Things are unsettled; the center is on hold,

And moderates, clutching their handsets by the hour,

Fret that representatives are busy with other customers.

Is this mere democracy loosed upon our times?

And the leak-thick tide is loosed, and on background

The lawyers for spy and source rehearse their lines.

The lucky may avoid all conviction, while the worst

Know that Fitzgerald must eternally hover,

Full of his passionate intensity.

Ah, how the middle-of-the-roader must suffer!

Surely some explanation is at hand!

Surely think-tanks and pundits will attempt one!

Hardly are these words out, when C-SPAN

Switchboards, sorting by party, erupt with opinions.

Opposing poles arise, citadels of reason are stormed,

The darkness drops again, the hour of Fox is near.

But we know that neither lamentation nor reform,

Not the secluded cry of wonk or editorialist,

Can subdue disagreement, hide democratic sprawl

Behind conceits of high Policy, or answer a Norquist

Or Rove with anything more, or better, than politics.

And it is not "moderation", that pale and inoffensive gift,

That will repay that hard trip back to the Capitol,

But that which is dearer still, and lasting: an Alternative

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