Many Questions

I have not done a good job of keeping my new year resolution to post at least once a week, but life is busy and exhausting – which is all an excuse.  So as spring fades to summer here in New England I am trying to revive by resolution.

So here are the questions I’ve been saving up.  I will likely write about some of them in time.

Will the Democrats lose control of the Senate because the Republicans have made it dysfunctional?  I mean how can they not confirm a Nobel Prize winning economist?

How in the world can Anthony Weiner think that no one thought he was lying all along?  And his credibility is shot not because of what he did, but because he lied about it.

Anthony Weiner leaves his New York press conference on Monday. | AP Photo

How can historians really defend Sarah Palin’s story of Paul Revere?  OK, we weren’t American’s back then, we were British and we were trying to protect our cache of arms, but Paul Revere rang no bells and he and the other riders told people the regulars were coming.  This had nothing to do with gun control or the 2nd amendment which hadn’t even been written.

When will people wake up and realize that Barack Obama has an extraordinary first two years as President?

Along the same lines:  Will the Democrats blow their Medicare advantage?  And will people realize that we can’t keep cutting stuff without raising taxes on those making over $300,000 or even $500,000 a year.  We extended those tax cuts once and I don’t see the private sector creating lots and lots of new jobs.

How can people believe that laying off all those public employees does not impact the rise in unemployment?

Will the Red Sox find consistency on the upcoming road trip playing the AL East contenders and at a minimum stay in contention?

Sox updates from Yankee Stadium

Can the Mavericks beat the Heat?  And how about Nadal?

I’ve broken the ice now and there will be more posts to come.

Being Liberal or not being Glenn Beck

Being a bit behind in my reading (as always), I picked up The Nation from November 22 a few days ago to read Patricia Williams’ column, Veritas-iness and the American Way.  This started a train of thought about education, reading, why so many followers of popular conservatives are uneducated and how much of a threat this is to the American experiment. It also got me thinking about why being liberal became a bad thing.  Somewhere in recent history “liberals” became “progressives”.

According to my 11th Edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, the first definition of liberal is related to education, “of, relating to, or based on the liberal arts”.  The archaic meaning if “of or befitting a man of free birth”.  More current meanings include “marked by generosity” and “broad-minded esp: not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms.”  The entry goes on to explain “Liberal suggests openhandedness in the giver and largeness in the thing or amount given…”  From these meanings the political philosophy of liberalism was born.  Liberalism being defined as “a political philosophy based on a belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties.”  On the other hand, a conservative is defined as “tending to disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions.”  Conservatism is “a disposition in politics to preserve what is established.”

Conservative and liberal.  These are two tensions that should complement each other.  But liberal has become synonymous for the over education elite who want to move away from the traditions of our Founders and the True Meaning of the Constitution. (my caps)  Is this because somehow our education system has failed?

Patricia Williams points out

Sadly, American education has suffered a miserable decline since those days.[when she went to public schools] According to the Programme for International Student Assessment, we are fifteenth in reading literacy, twenty-first in science literacy and twenty-fifth in math literacy. This slide was largely accomplished by a calculated disinvestment in public education that began with the anti-tax movement of the late 1970s. California, where that movement began with a series of ballot initiatives, had one of the best school systems in the world. It now ranks almost dead last here, just above Mississippi.

There’s a curious tension in politics between the popular hunger for better schooling and widespread resentment of those who actually find it. Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin have built a movement around the felt dispossession of those who don’t read newspapers, whose spelling is nonstandard and who cite Shakespeare to “refudiate” book-learning. Beck, who sniffs that public schools should be abolished altogether, exploits this ambivalence brilliantly by establishing his online Beck University, whose basic courses are Faith 101, 102 and 103; Hope 101, 102 and 103; and Charity 101, 102 and 103. Yet Beck U. also has a coat of arms with a numbingly lofty motto: Tyrannis Seditio, Obsequium Deo.

Here is one of Beck’s diagrams copied from AlterNet.

Being one of the over-educated liberals, I find the diagram incoherent and the connections based on a lack of understanding.  Does Glenn Beck understand that George Soros who is the heart of the “obam a pocalypse” help finance movements to overthrow oppressive governments in Eastern Europe? Or that he grew up in Nazi occupied Hungary? So yes, he has a connection to Hitler, but not the kind Beck wants to imply.  And Ivan Jones? 

Williams describes the crowd at the Steward-Colbert rally this way

…While Stewart and Colbert expressly appealed to “the busy majority” of reasonable, middle-of-the-road, somewhat-stressed-but-not-given-to-hysterics people, the signs among the masses were deeply inflected by class consciousness and the national educational divide. Some were relatively subtle: Which Way to Whole Foods? and Anyone for Scrabble Later? Others more overtly referenced Beck’s Rally to Restore Honor: Every Word on This Sign Is Spelled Correctly; I &heart; Evidence-Based Policies; and my favorite: If You Don’t Believe in Government Perhaps You Shouldn’t Run for It.

This was a crowd that listens to NPR (Kiss Me, Nina Totenberg!). It was racially and ethnically diverse ( Fox Told Me I Am a Terrorist). Their humor was sophisticated ( I Clutch My Purse When I See Juan Williams Coming). It was a throng of New York Times readers who eat bagels and peruse the Book Review. They marched with Kindles in hand, and their Patagonia backpacks contained novels by Anna Quindlen and essay collections like David Rakoff’s Don’t Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil and Other First World Problems.

If this sounds like a litany of class markers, we need to remember that class and education are not necessary correlates. This was a population of very diverse Americans who equate political sanity with studiousness and curiosity. It was a gathering of people fluent in subtlety and satire, tolerance and tact; who saw similarity in differences and differences among the similar; who appreciated metaphors, analogical thinking and the discipline of data. This is the opposite of fundamentalism. And it ought to be the very essence of American identity, for we can have no broad civic culture without it. Unfortunately these critical capacities are also the hallmarks of a good liberal arts education, which is increasingly unavailable to any but the very well-off. (The State University of New York, Albany, just announced that it may eliminate its Latin, French, Italian, Russian and theater degree programs.)

Why bother with the nuances of analytical thought? Consider this—recently State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley tweeted: “Happy birthday President #Ahmadinejad. Celebrate by sending Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer home” and “Your 54th year was full of lost opportunities. Hope in your 55th year you will open #Iran to a different relationship with the world.” Sarah Palin tweeted back: “Happy B’day Ahmadinejad wish sent by US Govt. Mind boggling foreign policy: kowtow & coddle enemies; snub allies. Obama Doctrine is nonsense.” This is not merely a lack of irony; it is a form of illiteracy, the kind of flat, childish reading that grasps the basic meaning of each word but not what they mean together.

Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck are frightening in their ignorance and I worry that the ignorance is spreading faster than we can stop it.  The problem in the United States today is not the divide between liberalism and conservative:  that tension has existed since the founding of the country.  The problem is the divide between those who can read and comprehend and those who can’t.  I am not talking here about the quality of the inner city elementary school, although that too is an issue, I am talking about people who are supposed to be educated and still can’t really read and when they do don’t understand what it is they read.  True conservatives should be just as worried about them as liberals like me.

Congresswoman Giffords, violence, rhetoric and other thoughts

Happy 2011!  I had made a resolution to post at least once a week this year and am already behind.  I have had a difficult fall with lots of energy sapping family and work issues.  It also didn’t help that for someone like me, the political news was depressing.  There were a number of bright spots including the Massachusetts election, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t tell, and ratification of START.  But overall it was pretty bleak.

But watching the first week of the new House was most entertaining.  At least it was until Saturday.

Bob and I were driving back from western Mass after a day of packing up my mother’s old apartment and when we got to Worcester, I turned on the NPR station to see if there were any news.  That was how we heard about Congresswoman Giffords, Judge Roll and the others who were shot and wounded.  I think that the assassination or attempted assassination of any political figure regardless of party or political philosophy is horrendous.  But this shooting is the culmination of the violence advocated by the radical right of the Republican party and the Tea Party Movement.

The first official to put the blame squarely where it belongs was Clarence W. Dupnik, the Pima County sheriff.  Sheriff Dupnik was blunt.  He was quoted in the Washington Post

There’s reason to believe that this individual may have a mental issue. And I think people who are unbalanced are especially susceptible to vitriol,” he said during his televised remarks. “People tend to pooh-pooh this business about all the vitriol we hear inflaming the American public by people who make a living off of doing that. That may be free speech, but it’s not without consequences.

He went on to say

It’s not unusual for all public officials to get threats constantly, myself included,” Sheriff Dupnik said. “That’s the sad thing about what’s going on in America: pretty soon we’re not going to be able to find reasonable, decent people willing to subject themselves to serve in public office.

So let’s look at some actual facts since the Republicans and the Tea Party appear to be painting themselves as victims of the liberal media and claim no responsibility of what happened.

First it is a fact that Sarah Palin posted a map with cross-hairs over the Congressional Districts of 20 Democratic Congresspersons including Giffiords.  She remarked on the fact last year.

Ms. Giffords was also among a group of Democratic House candidates featured on the Web site of Sarah Palin’s political action committee with cross hairs over their districts, a fact that disturbed Ms. Giffords at the time.

“We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list,” Ms. Giffords said last March. “But the thing is the way that she has it depicted has the cross hairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that.”

The image is no longer on the Web site, and Ms. Palin posted a statement saying “my sincere condolences are offered to the family of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today’s tragic shooting in Arizona. On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice.” (Late Saturday, the map was still on Ms. Palin’s Facebook page.)

Second, her office in Tuscon was vandalized after her vote in favor of Health Care Reform.  And both she and Judge Roll received threats. 

Third, her opponent in last November’s Congressional race held an event.  This information is from the blog, Firedoglake.

Kelly’s website has apparently scrubbed the event , but here is the account from the Arizona Daily Star:

Jesse Kelly, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to be bothered in the least by the Sarah Palin controversy earlier this year, when she released a list of targeted races in crosshairs, urging followers to “reload” and “aim” for Democrats. Critics said she was inciting violence.

He seems to be embracing his fellow tea partier’s idea. Kelly’s campaign event website has a stern-looking photo of the former Marine in military garb holding his weapon. It includes the headline: “Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.”

The event costs $50

I’m sure I will have much more to say on all of this as time goes on but I want to end with this from Paul Krugman’s column today.

It’s important to be clear here about the nature of our sickness. It’s not a general lack of “civility,” the favorite term of pundits who want to wish away fundamental policy disagreements. Politeness may be a virtue, but there’s a big difference between bad manners and calls, explicit or implicit, for violence; insults aren’t the same as incitement.

The point is that there’s room in a democracy for people who ridicule and denounce those who disagree with them; there isn’t any place for eliminationist rhetoric, for suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary.

And it’s the saturation of our political discourse — and especially our airwaves — with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence.

Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It’s hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be “armed and dangerous” without being ostracized; but Representative Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the G.O.P.

And there’s a huge contrast in the media. Listen to Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann, and you’ll hear a lot of caustic remarks and mockery aimed at Republicans. But you won’t hear jokes about shooting government officials or beheading a journalist at The Washington Post. Listen to Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly, and you will.

Of course, the likes of Mr. Beck and Mr. O’Reilly are responding to popular demand. Citizens of other democracies may marvel at the American psyche, at the way efforts by mildly liberal presidents to expand health coverage are met with cries of tyranny and talk of armed resistance. Still, that’s what happens whenever a Democrat occupies the White House, and there’s a market for anyone willing to stoke that anger.

But even if hate is what many want to hear, that doesn’t excuse those who pander to that desire. They should be shunned by all decent people.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t been happening: the purveyors of hate have been treated with respect, even deference, by the G.O.P. establishment. As David Frum, the former Bush speechwriter, has put it, “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us and now we’re discovering we work for Fox.”

And this sums it all up.

Dan Wasserman

Tea Party on Boston Common

Yesterday the Tea Party came to Boston.  About 5000 gathered to hear Sarah Palin give her talking points.  As I was going to work, I saw the booths being set up and the motorcycle police gathering.  The few black faces at that early point were Boston Police officers. We heard the helicopters circling all morning.  When I went for a walk at lunch the rally had ended and I saw a tea partier too busy trying to hang on to his sign to notice he was crossing a busy intersection against the walk light and in front of a bus pulling out from a stop.  The driver did see him and the man finally noticed, but to me it was emblematic of the tea party movement: oblivious to the reality of the world around them.

Yvonne Abraham had a great column in the Boston Globe this morning.

I was standing in the crowd at the tea party rally on the Common yesterday, enjoying Sarah Palin’s applause lines (Do you love your freedom? We’re not going to stand for it any more! Oh no ya don’t! Drill, baby, drill!), when a friendly woman asked me a question.

“We don’t look insane, do we, really?’’

Well, no, I had to allow. They didn’t. In fact, most in the excited crowd seemed pretty normal — unless you count Doug Bennett, the Boston City Council candidate whose giant grin and jolly handshake show up so often around town it’s kind of creepy.

In fact, most of the people I spoke to treated me as if I were the one who was soft in the head, unable to comprehend elementary concepts. They patiently dedicated themselves to my enlightenment.

“Here, have a copy of the Constitution, so you know what we’re talking about,’’ one kind man offered. They even engaged in civil debate with some counterprotesters.

Donna Tripp was thrilled with this development. Holding a sign that read “No Matter What I Write, I Will Still Be Called a ‘Racist, Nazi, Tea-bagger . . . ,’ ’’ the Avon resident had just been interviewed on camera by a young man who works for Palin.

“It gives me the willies!’’ she told her friend. “He’s shooting for Sarah!’’

She loves Palin because “the Constitution is her mantra, and that’s what I’m all about,’’ Tripp said. “She’s done what all those women wanted to do in the ’60s. She earned everything she has, all on her own.’’

Like everybody else at the rally yesterday, Tripp hates, hates, hates the health care overhaul recently signed into law.

“This country is taking a hard right turn for socialism,’’ she said. “I don’t want to be told to buy a service I don’t want. America is about freedom of choice.’’

Tripp, 55, already lives in a state that requires everybody to buy health insurance, but she refuses to do it.

“I’m healthy,’’ she said. When her husband went to Canada for prostate cancer treatment five years ago, they paid $25,000 out of pocket.

But what if she got really sick — if she needed, say, heart bypass surgery, which could cost more than $100,000?

“I’d mortgage my house,’’ she said. And if that wasn’t enough?

“I guess I’d die,’’ she said. “But under our Constitution, I should be able to take that risk.’’

More likely, Tripp would get her treatment, and if she couldn’t afford to pay for it, the rest of us would pick up the tab.

That’s how this country is set up: According to the preamble in the little Constitution the kind man gave me, we are all about promoting “the general Welfare.’’

Scott Brown, our new Senator, didn’t show up.  Neither did Charlie Baker who is running for Governor as a Republican.  Wonder why?

Today the New York Times and CBS released a new poll about the Tea Party.

Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, and are no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.

They hold more conservative views on a range of issues than Republicans generally. They are also more likely to describe themselves as “very conservative” and President Obama as “very liberal.”

And while most Republicans say they are “dissatisfied” with Washington, Tea Party supporters are more likely to classify themselves as “angry.”

And I hate to burst Donna Tripp’s bubble, but the reason why she is perceived as racist is because many of her fellow tea partiers appear to be racist.  According to the poll, “Supporters of the Tea Party movement are more likely to be men, over the age of 45, white, married, and either employed or retired. Few are unemployed. They are more affluent and more educated than most Americans. Almost all said they are registered to vote, and most are Republicans.”

Tea Party supporters’ fierce animosity toward Washington, and the president in particular, is rooted in deep pessimism about the direction of the country and the conviction that the policies of the Obama administration are disproportionately directed at helping the poor rather than the middle class or the rich.

The overwhelming majority of supporters say Mr. Obama does not share the values most Americans live by and that he does not understand the problems of people like themselves. More than half say the policies of the administration favor the poor, and 25 percent think that the administration favors blacks over whites — compared with 11 percent of the general public.

So this well educated, overwhelmingly white group obviously feels threatened by the way the world is changing and afraid they will lose theirs.

When talking about the Tea Party movement, the largest number of respondents said that the movement’s goal should be reducing the size of government, more than cutting the budget deficit or lowering taxes.

And nearly three-quarters of those who favor smaller government said they would prefer it even if it meant spending on domestic programs would be cut.

But in follow-up interviews, Tea Party supporters said they did not want to cut Medicare or Social Security — the biggest domestic programs, suggesting instead a focus on “waste.”

Some defended being on Social Security while fighting big government by saying that since they had paid into the system, they deserved the benefits.

Others could not explain the contradiction.

“That’s a conundrum, isn’t it?” asked Jodine White, 62, of Rocklin, Calif. “I don’t know what to say. Maybe I don’t want smaller government. I guess I want smaller government and my Social Security.” She added, “I didn’t look at it from the perspective of losing things I need. I think I’ve changed my mind.”

It looks like the Tea Party is really the party of “I’ve got mine and I don’t want to share with anyone who is not like me.”

After Health Care Reform Passage – Threats of Violence

Before the House even completed its work on passage of the Senate Bill and then the Reconciliation Bill, the ugliness had begun to escalate.

OK, so VP Biden kinda embarrassed the President with an F-bomb, but that was small potatoes compared with the racial remarks aimed at black Congressmen, the anti-gay shouts at Barney Frank, and a Congressman shouting “baby killer” at Bart Stupak (one of the most anti-abortion members of Congress) over the weekend. And it is certainly insignificant compared to what has happened since.

Bob Herbert titled his New York Times column “An Absence of Class.”  I think he was being too kind.  But what he says rings very true.

A group of lowlifes at a Tea Party rally in Columbus, Ohio, last week taunted and humiliated a man who was sitting on the ground with a sign that said he had Parkinson’s disease. The disgusting behavior was captured on a widely circulated videotape. One of the Tea Party protesters leaned over the man and sneered: “If you’re looking for a handout, you’re in the wrong end of town.”

Another threw money at the man, first one bill and then another, and said contemptuously, “I’ll pay for this guy. Here you go. Start a pot.”

In Washington on Saturday, opponents of the health care legislation spit on a black congressman and shouted racial slurs at two others, including John Lewis, one of the great heroes of the civil rights movement. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was taunted because he is gay.

At some point, we have to decide as a country that we just can’t have this: We can’t allow ourselves to remain silent as foaming-at-the-mouth protesters scream the vilest of epithets at members of Congress — epithets that The Times will not allow me to repeat here.

It is 2010, which means it is way past time for decent Americans to rise up against this kind of garbage, to fight it aggressively wherever it appears. And it is time for every American of good will to hold the Republican Party accountable for its role in tolerating, shielding and encouraging foul, mean-spirited and bigoted behavior in its ranks and among its strongest supporters.

The G.O.P. poisons the political atmosphere and then has the gall to complain about an absence of bipartisanship.

The toxic clouds that are the inevitable result of the fear and the bitter conflicts so relentlessly stoked by the Republican Party — think blacks against whites, gays versus straights, and a whole range of folks against immigrants — tend to obscure the tremendous damage that the party’s policies have inflicted on the country. If people are arguing over immigrants or abortion or whether gays should be allowed to marry, they’re not calling the G.O.P. to account for (to take just one example) the horribly destructive policy of cutting taxes while the nation was fighting two wars.

If you’re all fired up about Republican-inspired tales of Democrats planning to send grandma to some death chamber, you’ll never get to the G.O.P.’s war against the right of ordinary workers to organize and negotiate in their own best interests — a war that has diminished living standards for working people for decades.

Herbert wrote that on Tuesday.  Tonight I went to Politico.com.  The first headline was:  “Hoyer: Members are at Risk”.  Then there are these:  “Slaughter, Stupak receive death threats” and “Cut gas lines at Perriello’s brother’s home probed.” 

Will the Republican leadership speak out or will they be content with John Boehner’s statement as reported in the Washington Post.

House Republican Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said the violence is unacceptable.

“I know many Americans are angry over this health-care bill, and that Washington Democrats just aren’t listening,” Boehner said Wednesday on FoxNews Channel. “But, as I’ve said, violence and threats are unacceptable. That’s not the American way. We need to take that anger and channel it into positive change. Call your congressman, go out and register people to vote, go volunteer on a political campaign, make your voice heard — but let’s do it the right way.”

I hope that law enforcement can successfully do their jobs.  Republican leaders need to go further by condemning other Republican leaders like Michael Steele and Sarah Palin.  Again from the Post

“When people start talking in the rhetoric of putting people on ‘firing lines,’ . . . or they put a target on their faces, with cross hairs,” Hoyer said at a news conference, “that activity ought to be unacceptable in our democracy. . . . That’s wrong. ”

Hoyer appeared to be referring to Republican Party Chairman Michael S. Steele‘s comment in a recent interview that Pelosi is on a “firing line” and to a map posted Tuesday on Sarah Palin‘s Facebook page, which marked with a gunsight districts of House Democrats she plans to campaign against.

I’m not overly concerned about the law suits against the bill, but I am very worried that someone will succeed at doing real violence to a member of Congress or to the President himself.  I am also afraid the the violent speech and the actual violence will escalate as the polls show increasing approval of the bill and the Senate finally passes the reconciliation bill and it is signed by the President.

Sarah’s Hand

Everyone is making fun of Sarah Palin’s crib notes written on her hand when she spoke last weekend at the Tea Party Convention.  But is this really a good idea?  Will it, as Howard Fineman has said, solidfy her support?  Or will it lower her credibility?

Sarah Palin

I guess I’m part of the “elite intellectuals” that Palin supporter love to hate, but I can’t resist repeating some of the Palin jokes.  These are from Daniel Kurtzman’s Political Humor Blog.

“Maybe Sarah Palin would be smarter if she had bigger hands.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“I started doing a little something that is mighty helpful. When I come out here to tell the jokes, I have them all written in the palm of my hand.” –David Letterman

“On Saturday, Sarah Palin looked at notes written on her hand during a speech at the Tea Party Convention in Tennessee. Isn’t that wild? Oddly enough, she was reading, ‘Hi, I’m Sarah Palin.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“I wrote a few things down… eggs, milk and bread,” Gibbs said at a press briefing. “But I crossed out bread, just so I can make pancakes for Ethan if it snows. And then I wrote down ‘hope and change,’ just in case I forgot.”  [Robert Gibbs, White House Press Secretary]  Gibbs on tape.

And Jon Stewart.

Jon tStewart Mocks Palin Hand Notes

Palindromes and Palin-dromes

Yesterday was a palindrome date: 01/02/2010. 

According to the Boston Globe

Jan. 2, 2010, is the second such date out of 36 that occurs this millennium. The first was 10/02/2001.

Aziz Inan, a University of Portland electrical engineering professor, has been studying this phenomenon and speaks with great enthusiasm as he describes the history of palindrome dates.

Before 2001, he excitedly pointed out in an interview yesterday, the most recent was in 1380, since days of the month never exceed 31. The next date comes next year: 11/02/2011.

This reminded me of the contest that Alex Beam (Globe columnist) ran during the 2008 Presidential election.  Beam asked readers to send it Palin-dromes.  And, this being Boston, many did.  Here are some excerpts from various columns.

Serial palindromist George Lovely chips in, “Woe! Dawns Sarah harassn’ Wade. Ow!” where Wade refers to Roe v. Wade, of course. Alison Merrill sent in a serious candidate for world’s longest Palin-drome: ” ‘Ah! I made veep.’ – S.P. Moody? Baby? Doom? P.S. Peeved am I, ha!” In contrast, brevity is the soul of Ira Richler’s wit: “Peeve: Babe veep.”Bob Treitman sent me ” ‘Hey, did I harass?’ Sarah: ‘I did, yeh.’ ” From Hastings, in the United Kingdom, Paul Barlow put down the podger long enough to send in eight, repeat eight, vice-presidential palindromes! On McCain’s vice-presidential announcement, he writes, “Avid dog delivers reviled god-diva.” On Palin’s election as Alaska’a governor, “Hara! She won snow eh? Sarah?”

The Sarah Palin-dromes are still pouring in, so I haven’t chosen a contest winner yet. (A palindrome is a word or phrase that reads the same backward or forward, the classic example being “Madam, I’m Adam.”) Barry Duncan of Somerville, who has the word “palindromist” in his e-dress, sent in 11 Palin-dromes – “a reversible number,” as he points out. I certainly like, “Ha! Rash Sarah!” and “Media harass Sarah? Aid ’em!” Duncan invokes the palindromist’s motto – length isn’t everything – and then submits the astonishing: “Put up SP? Won’t I. Reviled to no. two? Veto VP, I. True! So Palin (a tundra-hard nut, a nil, a poseur) tip vote? Vow to not deliver it now. P.S. Put up!”Professor Stephen Morillo of Wabash College in Indiana co-authored a seemingly endless Palin-drome with Bob Binstock of Cambridge that rivals Duncan’s for length, but I can’t understand it. I get the beginning and the ending (“OK, now I rep U.S. . . . I’m super! I won! K.O.!”), but the middle seems opaque to me. Their shorter submission, which I do understand, has a major wire service passing judgment on McCain’s nominee: “Palin nil! – A.P.” Cindy Kumin sent me “P.S. Do go, ‘NO!’ on (O, God) S.P.” and John Cabot kicked in, “All I saw? Wasilla . . .” and “Party animal, am I? Nay, trap!”

As promised, I have chosen the winner of the Sarah Palin-drome contest. (A palindrome is a phrase that makes sense read forward and backward – e.g., “Madam, I’m Adam.”) Thanks to the music of the blogospheres, I received well over a hundred submissions from around the globe. Yet, much like those phony “nationwide” job searches, I found the winners close to home.

First runner-up: “Party boobytrap,” which is both brief and clever. Second runner-up: “Women veep’s peev’n ’em, ow,” from Northeastern University student Eric Greenberg. The winner of a used copy of “Huckleberry Finn” – a book that many have tried to ban from our nation’s libraries – George Lovely of Milton, for “Yo, sure hot, top spot to her? U.S. Oy!” Congratulations!

We end with an Obama palindrome – the only one that Beam published and probably the only one he got.

In a touching gesture of bipartisanship, Carl Saras, whose last name is a palindrome, offered up a piece of Latin erudition: “Obama amabo,” or “I will love Obama.”

I have a feeling that we will still be having fun with Sarah in 2010.