Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Step One For An Internet Political Junkie

I used to smoke two packs of Marlboros a day. It was a lovely habit.

Every day began with a cough – a weak, fleshy burble from a rheumy catarrh that produced substances of varying and curious viscosities. Forty smokes and eighteen hours later, it was back to bed, the prospect of a painful and early death obscured by youthful nihilism.

Lurching into parenthood, I decided that if I wanted to stay alive long enough to get my children safely started in life, I would have to forego my two packs a day habit. At least for a couple of decades.

I used to drink alcohol, too. I drank with an unhealthy degree of regularity. Although the label on my brand of bourbon suggested I, “enjoy in moderation,” genetics trumped everything, and, eventually, finding myself alone at the party, I put the lampshade back on the lamp and put the bottle aside, too.

Now, I have a new vice. I am hooked on political websites and blogs. I started innocently. I’m up to forty site and blog visits a day.

I’m a left-leaning guy – the son of South Side Chicago Democrats who, (somewhat immoderately), produced nine children and taught us early-on that western civilization owed everything to Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal. Without Roosevelt, not one of those ingrate Goldwater Republicans would have had a pot to pee in during Great Depression. They’d be living like the Joads on the way to California, the no good thankless fools.

So I surf the lefty sites and blogs and cop a reaffirming buzz. There are people – and more than a few of them – who think like I do. But its taking more and ever more shrill content to get the same warm, fuzzy feeling. I’m scaring myself. Time to admit I am powerless over Internet politics.

I can not resist visiting atrios.blogspot.com – a snarky Philadelphia-based blog high on the A-list – a must-read.

I’m a fool for firedoglake.com – Connecticut-based home to a group of bloggers who were instrumental in helping businessman Ned Lamont defeat three-term incumbent Joe Liebermann in a Senatorial primary.

Then there’s huffingtonpost.com, named for and honchoed by Arianna Huffington. huffingtonpost aggregates news and information from around the Internet and blogosphere. Got to have my huffingtonpost. At least once an hour.

rawstory.com unearths new outrages about five times a day. Addict that I am, I love new outrages. For gravitas and poll numbers, give me talkingpointsmemo.com and dailykos.com.

The best of them all, though, is Oklahoma-based bartcop.com. Bartcop (the man, not the website) has been answering the bell, round after round, since before they impeached Clinton. He claims to have an IQ of 64, and posts prodigiously.

There are others. – far too many to list here. And, across the aisle, I am sure there are legions of strung out, red-eyed, right-wing addicts mindlessly dragging and clicking, looking for that political high, echoing the rants they’ve read, alienating their less addiction-prone and more moderate friends.

I am powerless. I should quit, but I’m not ready. Not yet. So I hereby make the following promise to myself:

I will quit cold turkey on opening day of Twins season, 2010. They will be outside then. My children will be grown and I will adjourn to the left field foul pole stands to drink beer, smoke Marlboros and cough.

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