........................................................................Home | Books | Blog | Bio | c.v. ............................. ... ...


I thought I wouldn't like Lena Dunham, but I liked her, and America Ferrara. They both seemed honest, Lena ruthlessly so. "As a survivor..." That's an honest place.

"She made it possible," Lena said, "for my fellow sexual assault survivors in my home State of New York to have access to safe immediate care in any emergency room."

If Hillary made it possible for women who are victims of sexual assaults to have access to safe immediate care, that's only honest progress. Dunham seemed almost apologetic to be scoring points.

Hillary was a First Lady, then a US Senator. I don't know specifically which New York State law Dunham is referring to.

Regarding the President's speech, I felt it fell it was like watching a PBS biography. As a speech, it far short of what it should have tried to do. It wasn't a speech that engaged the right at all; independents, barely. It was lined at Democrats, some of whom – many of whom – weren't in the room, many of whom are wondering how it is that Bernie Sanders can so quickly evaporate. To me, as I listened to everything from Bill ticking off names of obscure activists to the listing of impressive laws to the advancing of so many things abroad, I ended up admiring Sanders all the more: how did he do so much alone, win whole states alone, mobilize whole masses alone, just by talking mostly about banks, and without a President of his own in his corner?

As for the procedural part of the day, especially the roll call, there were anomalies, departures from tradition, strains of credulity that made me wince again. Sanders won popular vote Michigan; Hillary took more delegates in first and only roll call. (That is one state already being talked of as more vulnerable to going red than ordinarily thought). Sanders also won West Virginia; yet Hillary got more delegates there. Hillary will not win West Virginia.

But the worst to me, maybe the low point of the whole convention, was done earlier than that. It was done when Governor Jerry Brown himself took over the California delegation, and reported our votes for Hill and Bern as per the superdelegate fudgings and Alex Padilla's errant decrees, finalizing the enormously disturbing failure of democracy that was the California primary.

Obviously, when the party vote is the opposite of the people's vote, this is not democracy – liberals should already know that from Bush v. Gore. Obviously, when the AP calls the results of an entire nominating process the day before California votes, and the Governor needs to step in to seal the deal, that is not democracy. Jerry Brown should know that from NBC's premature calling of the 1980 election, thought to have impacted the whole west coast vote.

The good will of Lena and America Ferrara was tempered too with something less than that. When the DNC's communications director not only became interested in adding protesters to a Trump rally, but also did so in a way to make it look like Bernie added them, that wasn't democracy either. That the DNC hasn't dismissed Luis Miranda...well, what can you say. I guess the calculation here is that the need to defeat the unethical Trump overrides all concern for ethics on your own side.

Finally, during the roll call: there no pass from New York, to put Clinton over top, as per home state convention tradition. Bernie didn't call for nomination by acclamation, as Hillary did for Obama. That was his own bridge too far. Of all the things he ultimately has capitulated to, who knows why he didn't capitulate to that. Maybe because his brother was in the room.


The letdown coming when Hillary's own insincerity shines through is going to be extravagant.

The people who spoke last night, with a couple of exceptions, were the real talent of the Democratic party, for better and worse, and last night with their muffled endorsements of Hillary they reminded me of emergency room doctors, obliged to try to save the gangbanger who only moments ago was firing at the hospital.

It's always been discouraging to me – but also made it easier for me to keep a journalistic arm's length from them – to observe how Democrats use phony econ to keep racketeering their party. (The idea that either Hillary or Kaine is going to fix this is completely ludicrous, and everyone knows it). Housing and college are more expensive than ever, and crush young lives like debtor prisons, and those two enormous problems are why there are so many Bernie people in the seats. But Michelle Obama says "Don’t let someone tell you this country isn’t great — that we need to make it great again. Because, right now, this country is the greatest country on Earth." And everyone nods along, even media.

I think the election will come down to not all these trained seal clap lines but how well someone can make the case about how to make America a place where people under 40 might someday actually thrive on their own. E.g., when Michelle studied sociology at Princeton, that top-priced elite school cost about half as much as a newish state school with all the faux red brick costs to attend to-day, where they offer vocational training in phlebotomy and criminal justice and pretend that's going to college just like Michelle did. If Michelle wanted to live off campus in the early '80's, she could pay $300 a month for a single, not $1650 as she would to-day.

It remains a great country for Michelle: she's 52 years old, could indulge her elective interest in African-American studies at an Ivy League school, and even attend law school without her family even taking a second on their house.

But it's not that same great country for the Berners. And when the Berners started to express their misgivings yesterday, Sarah Silverman, a comedienne known for being vulgar and not in the democratic sense of the word, shouted at them "You're being ridiculous!"

Maybe it's more than ridiculous to me to have Sarah Silverman addressing a national convention. (Two days ago, she tweeted something about how her current period was a bad one). Media gave her a complete pass on her outburst – I wonder why?

But among the most discouraging moments I heard last night was that the persistent claim that the Democratic party was "the party of democracy." Can we say really read the DNC emails and say this? Can we recall how Clinton ops had found such an effective way through AP to discourage Californians from voting and say this? Can we say that when the head of the party voted for the War Resolution? Frankly, it felt more like "democracy" to watch sulking Ted Cruz not endorse Trump and instead telling people instead to "vote their conscience."

At least Cruz's advice is advice I can take. Getting Sarah Silverman to snap at the crowd "You're being ridiculous" – who's really ridiculous here?