[can we have our tragedy back now?]

So the Bush camp has rolled out its first campaign ads, and guess what they’re about?

One of the most infuriating things about the Bush administration has been the way it has stolen 9/11, so that it has become more and more difficult for people to mourn sincerely — whenever the subject of the attacks comes up, it’s now inextricably tied to Bush’s policies and propaganda.

But if the Bushies think they get to own 9/11 forever, they’re wrong. Press coverage of their first big campaign offensive has focused on how offensive the campaign feels to the victims of 9/11. The White House no longer controls the media storyline.

Let’s hope the criticism continues.

[why i live in new york city]

In the warmth on Saturday, Jenny and I went for a long walk through Prospect Park. On our way we were passed by a Haitian protest supporting Aristide and denouncing American and French intervention.

The next day, I went to a John Edwards rally at Long Island University. On a stage full of soldiers, black people and Chassidim, he gave exactly the same stump speech he always gives, except he said he was glad to be at LIU and welcomed all the Deaniacs to his camp. I could hardly see him — the stage was actually lower than the gallery where we all crowded around — and the whole thing had the surreal atmosphere of being inside of a giant infomercial. Which is, more or less, my problem with Edwards: like a good infomercialist, he has one pretty good speech that he performs pretty well. And that’s it.

Probably the best thing about the whole event was waiting on line next to a Trinidadian woman who wandered up, asked what we were lined up for, asked if it was free, and declared, “Well, I’m stayin’ then.” She shared her views on all the candidates. She liked “that little guy from Ohio,” and she didn’t like Kerry, and she thought Edwards was okay, but she was going to vote for Sharpton on Tuesday because “He brings them to the table,” and without him, she said, the candidates would never have talked about Haiti or about black people. She has a point. Then she started in about her great dream of one day visiting Czechoslovakia (never mind that it doesn’t exist anymore). She’d heard Prague was beautiful, and that was where she wanted to go.

After the Edwards rally, I met Jenny at Satalla in Manhattan to hear Huun-Huur-Tu, the throat-singing quartet from Tuva, a small republic within the Russian Federation somewhere off near Mongolia. Playing soulful folk songs that are all about horses, they create fascinating harmonic overtones in their throats — something roughly like a Tibetan monk’s growl, or perhaps an astonishingly lovely burp, that manages to ascend into the higher registers and make melodies there that dance over the earthy strains of their bowed and plucked instruments. If they come to your town, go hear them; recordings don’t do the music justice.

[late-winter forward]

Today my alarm went off an hour late. I got up, made my coffee, took my shower, checked the clock to see if it was time to go, and suddenly noticed that it was 9:03, not 8:03 like it was supposed to be. I guess somehow yesterday morning as I was whacking at my alarm clock to make it please … stop … beeping!, I must have moved the alarm an hour forward.

So I called in to work and explained, and no one seemed to mind. Except that now my whole day is shifted an hour forward. I ate lunch at 1 instead of noon, I’ll have my afternoon coffee at 3 instead of 2, and I’ll go home at 6:30 instead of 5:30. It’s like I’m living in a whole different time zone, like I’ve gone to Newfoundland for the day. Maybe I should try putting on a Newfie accent.

[electronic voting]

My friend R over at Ambiguous.org has for a while been talking about the dangers inherent in new electronic voting systems, which could potentially be hacked. Well, R, you are now joined by this New York Times article:

For more than a year, [leading electronic-ballot manufacturer] Diebold … has been fighting conspiracy theories popularized on the Internet that say its Jetsons-at-the-polling-place wares serve as cover for an ongoing effort to stuff electronic ballot boxes on behalf of the Republican Party.

Diebold executives, along with outside computer security experts who are seeking to fix the voting machines, say the conspiracy theories are bunk. The company’s chief executive, Walden W. O’Dell, did not help matters, though, when he sent out a fund-raising letter for the Bush campaign last summer saying he was committed to “helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes for the president next year.”

Sure, it’s an administration with a fuzzy record on fair balloting. And sure, it’s an impossible-to-audit new voting system developed by a company committed to this administration’s reelection. But surely democracy is too precious to everyone involved for them to tweak it. So let’s all just trust the powers that be to guarantee our freedom, safety and democracy. Because the price of freedom is eternally trusting our leaders. Isn’t that how it works?

[why it matters]

Yet another reason why no set of contractual agreements can substitute for the legal protections of marriage:

[Rosie] O’Donnell said she decided to marry [long-time parnter Kelli] Carpenter, a former dancer and marketing director at Nickelodeon, during her recent trial in New York over the now-defunct Rosie magazine.

“We applied for spousal privilege and were denied it by the state. As a result, everything that I said to Kelli, every letter that I wrote her, every e-mail, every correspondence and conversation was entered into the record,” O’Donnell said. “After the trial, I am now and will forever be a total proponent of gay marriage.”

Rosie O’Donnell to Marry Girlfriend [Yahoo/AP]

[look in the last place you left it]

NASA Rover Drills Martian Rock for Water. In a related story, Alan Greenspan suggests paying for tax cuts to the rich by cutting Social Security. And in yet another related story, the United States feels a new sense of urgency in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. (What is that, like when you have to pee and then it goes away and then it comes back again?)

Boy, our government sure is good at findin’ stuff! I bet they get that Plame leaker any day now, and also whoever’s been stealing Democratic memos in the Senate. You know, if they can take time out from defending us against queers and all that.

(And by the way, could there possibly be a better name for the Senate Seargent-at-Arms than Bill Pickle? No, there could not. I sense the ghost of Dickens past in this!)