Sometimes politics is depressing.
Understatement of the year, right? It’s been a rough road. I’m relatively new to politics, becoming involved for the first time in 2008. It’s been four years since I started paying attention to McCain/Obama and obsessing over blogs, over news. When I threw myself into full time activism in 2009, I had absolutely no idea what this world was like. I’d never been to a rally, I didn’t even know what CPAC was. I had no expectation. Especially on the new media front, so many of us were just figuring it out as we went.
There’s no roadmap. There’s no one to tell you what comes next. It’s exciting and scary.
Last month I got to go to Montana for the first time. I did my best to get to Glacier National Park, and alas, work won out and I failed to get up to the park. When I planned my trip back, however, I conned my co-worker into staying and extra day with me to go do the park.
We left the morning after the event pretty early and got on the road from Helena – about a four hour drive to the park. It’s a beautiful drive, as I’ve found it is through most of the state. As we approached the park, we were getting antsy and I was ready to get out the glorified go-cart we had rented. We’re rolling along the highway and I shouted at Mary Ellen “Something big just ran across the highway!” Sure enough, a rogue bear had run across the highway and was busting through a wire fence onto some ranch. It was maybe the first time I’d seen a live bear, but definitely the most random place I’d seen on.
We experienced the Blackfeet reservation as we approached the east entrance of the park, which was a little disheartening to see. We also felt every eyeball on us as we drove through – we were, once again, the outsiders, and probably the only white people around.
After gassing up, we ended up heading into the east side of the park. It was absolutely stunning from the minute we got through the entrance. This is where we began:
Mary Ellen and I.
I’d never been to Montana before this summer. Since June, I’ve gone twice.
The first trip, I flew into Billings, then visited Livingston, Lewistown, Great Falls, and Helena.
Billings was a really cool town. The largest city in Montana, there are around 100,000 people. I used to think Raleigh was small! It’s maybe the easiest place I’ve ever been to get around – I didn’t even have to use the GPS. You can pretty much SEE every place you’re trying to go.
I got out of the airport and had a little time to kill, so I drove along the rim and pulled over to take a couple photos.
Well, the bus trip got cut short. Then I got busy again back in DC.
I did, however, get to visit one of my favorite cities as a result, so it was all in all a good thing. I spent Labor Day weekend in Nashvegas.
The Batman Building.
I spent five years there, and it remains one of my favorite places in the country. Then, if you have a weakness for music and good food, it’s totally the place to be. My best friend and I essentially ate our way through the city, visiting some of my favorite restaurants, like the Pancake Pantry, Mafiaoza’s, and Dotson’s, out in Franklin. Then, of course, there’s Lower Broadway.
We’re into day three. It’s hard to believe that we’ve covered this much territory in just a few days. California, northern Nevada, Salt Lake City and as I type this I’m looking over the yellow hills of southwestern Wyoming. For the first few hours, the only real signs of development were the windmills up on the plateau.
This is one of the longer hauls we’ll be making without a stop this week, probably because there really isn’t anything to stop for. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to process the vastness of the western United States. There’s something incredibly humbling about being between these huge rocky mountains and plateaus – similar to having your feet in the ocean. God’s pretty cool.
Heading into Salt Lake City
Sometimes I think about the stuff I do and realize how incredibly weird it is. Two weekends ago I was having lunch with the Governor of South Carolina, which I left to go watch a man who could potentially be the next President of the United States, a man I have shot guns with, announce as a candidate for the presidency. This weekend, I’m on a bus traveling through the western US.
Somewhere between Winnemucca and Elko, Nevada
I never thought about politics before 2008. To have ended up doing what I’m doing is so bizarre, and most days I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing and am just along for the ride.
But what a fun ride!
I think making Napa my first visit to California was a really good move. It was laid back and beautiful – and the weather was amazing. I’m aware that it is so different than San Francisco or Los Angeles, and I am pretty positive it was much more my speed.
We had a dinner with locals at the Napa County Fairgrounds last night – obviously, the wine was wonderful. A local Christian band named Remnant played as well – a very cool group with tight harmonies and a great acoustic vibe. It was a great evening and the Napa organizers were awesome.
This morning, we did the rally in Napa and then drove through the Sierra Nevadas. I couldn’t stop snapping pictures – between the sharp mountains and Lake Donner and the sparse town we’d pass through, it was so unlike the rolling, green Appalachians I spent my whole life driving through. I sat in the front of the bus beside our bus driver Jerry and grabbed Instagrams through the window – bug guts and all. If we weren’t already an hour and a half late, I would have asked to stop. I would have loved to see Lake Tahoe!
Here’s the deal.
I’ve let this site go, because of time constraints, yes, but also because I have other platforms for politics now. People actually read sites like RedState and the Bigs. This site has been dormant largely since I came to Washington.
I’ve decided, however, to relaunch it with a new purpose. I’m going on a three week cross country bus tour. I’ve been on the road a lot. I take a lot of pictures. I go a lot of places. I want to document it.
That’s what this will be from here on out. I will be blogging travel stuff, miscellaneous music and culture stuff. Life stuff. Political analysis will be elsewhere from here on out. Obviously there will be crossover because I live politics every day, but that’s not the purpose here.
Anyway. I’m excited to resurrect it. As I write this I am on an plane to California to kick off the Tea Party Express tour in Napa tomorrow. Check out the FreedomWorks site and Twitter for updates. I’ll do nightly photo dumps and such on this site. Hope you come along for the ride!
Ohio Governor John Kasich recently signed controversial Senate Bill 5, which restricted the much-abused collective bargaining power of public sector unions. The bill, similar to what passed in Wisconsin, inspired a similar level of vitriol from the unions and supporters.
Obama jumped into the conversation earlier this week saying “public employees should not be blamed for a financial crisis they had nothing to do with and sacrifices should be shared in tough economic times.”
Shared by who, President Obama? Because in Ohio, the average government worker makes 24.6 percent more than their private-sector counterparts. In addition, Ohio has lost more than 600,000 private sector jobs in the last 10 years, while public sector employees are still getting pay increases.
What SB5 does is remove automatic pay increases and introduce a merit-based system. At a time when Ohioans are struggling to find a job, those that are being paid with taxpayer money should at least be paid based on how well they’re doing their jobs. This is not a unique or unfair concept, and is in fact much more indicative of “shared sacrifice” than putting public sector employees into overpaid positions with bankrupt pensions while their private sector counterparts struggle.
When Kasich was asked about his thoughts on the President weighing in on what’s happening in Ohio, he didn’t mince words.
“We have balanced our budget, under this budget that we’ve presented, along with preserving the tax cut. The President of the United States has, I think a $3 trillion debt. Why doesn’t he do his job? When he does his job and gets our budget balanced and starts to prepare a future budget for our children, then maybe he can have an opinion on what’s going on in Ohio.”
Thanks, Governor Kasich.
The south is still realizing the full extent of the damage caused by this week’s storms. Nearly 300 people are dead. The country is rallying in support of the devatated areas, and President Obama (who must have learned something from ignoring Nashville’s flood last year) is set break character to visit the very red state today.
Anyone with a soul feels pain for those affected. Thousands have lost everything. Lives were destroyed. Think Progress (via Da Tech Guy) has instead chosen to adopt the Pat Robertson model and claim Divine Justice for those redneck Republican climate change deniers in the south.
“Given that global warming is unequivocal,” climate scientist Kevin Trenberth cautioned the American Meteorological Society in January of this year, “the null hypothesis should be that all weather events are affected by global warming rather than the inane statements along the lines of ‘of course we cannot attribute any particular weather event to global warming.’”
The congressional delegations of these states — Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Virginia, and Kentucky — overwhelmingly voted to reject the science that polluting the climate is dangerous. They are deliberately ignoring the warnings from scientists.
You’re reading that right. To paraphrase Brad Johnson’s post: Since the south has rejected the climate change hysteria, clearly they’re just asking for the wrath of Gaia, and should expect to be demolished.
If, unlike Johnson, you are interested in assisting those impacted by this disaster, you can help in the following ways:
- Red Cross, or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to relief efforts
- Samaritan’s Purse
- Text “Give” to 80888 to give $10 to Salvation Army relief efforts.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Missouri, and across the south.
President Obama enjoys presenting himself as a shining example of maturity, wisdom, and levelheaded leadership. Indeed, at yesterday’s birth certificate press conference, he told the pesky “carnival barkers” that it was time to “get serious.” Then, he boarded a plane to Chicago to film Oprah. To talk some more about getting serious, I imagine. He later put the birth certificate issue to rest once and for all by mentioning it at three fundraisers last night.
Today, he’s chosen to prove that he’s serious about reforming immigration by inviting renowned immigration policy experts Eva Longoria, Rosario Dawson and friends to the White House to talk about immigration reform. Yes, that Eva Longoria. Via The Hill:
The White House said Obama would meet with “influential Hispanics from across the country to discuss the importance of fixing the broken immigration system.” It said the discussion would focus on fostering “a constructive national conversation on this important issue as we work to build a bipartisan consensus in Congress.”
Besides Longoria, the star of “Desperate Housewives,” others invited to the gathering include actresses Rosario Dawson and America Ferrera, Univision hosts Don Francisco and Maria Elena Salinas and Telemundo anchors Vanessa Hauc and Jose Diaz-Balart. Continue reading