Ah, Sweet Memories

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Memo to the audience: IT'S NOSTALGIA TIME!

It's hard to believe, these days, when the only problems facing us are how much we should cut Social Security and whether or not Muslims have infiltrated CPAC (the answer will shock you!), but the past few years have been filled with a certain amount of trial and tribulation that we no longer care about. But hell, if VH1 can look back nostalgically on the recent past, then so can I. Man, remember when VH1 looked back nostalgically on the recent past?

And remember the oil spill? We thought that thing would never end, but thanks to the hard work of cleanup crews and chemical dispersants, all the oil is gone! Practically raptured! Sure, tourists still find the occasional tar-ball, but that's just a souvenir. And hey, speaking of souvenirs...

"Ethylbenzene was detected in all 12 blood samples from Gulf residents at high levels and 11 of the 12 individuals had relatively high concentrations of xylenes. The two children had the most exposure of chemicals in their systems. The 10-year-old is currently experiencing severe respiratory problems as a result of the exposure.

That was the report on the blood tests of a dozen Gulf residents performed by the Louisiana Environmental Action Network. It's not a large sample size - hell, it's barely a sample size at all - but on the other hand, twelve for twelve! Ah well. Oil spill's gone, nothing to worry about, what are a few complex hydrocarbons between friends. And when I say friends, I mean a multi-billion dollar energy corporation and a few thousand coastal citizens who got in the way of their oil slick?

But hey, why limit nostalgia to the halcyon days of 2010? Remember back in the waning days of the Bush administration, where accusations flying that officials were politicking on the law in violation of the Hatch act? Well, years later, we have our answer, and it's excellent news for everyone across the political spectrum!

Turns out they totally did it. Hundreds of times during the 2006 campaign. Flew people around to speak on behalf of Republican candidates, used agency money to do so, the whole nine yards. Excellent news for us Bush-hating liberals, because it confirms yet another of the many things we pointed out were going horribly wrong during the Bush years, and great news for conservatives, because it happened so long ago that it can be easily dismissed as the bygone past and/or the fault of Obama.

Case in point, this comment on the Star Tribune by "chester". No last name, so there's no way of knowing for sure if it's the cheetah or the molester, but it's probably not the sock puppet from Sifl and Olly, because it's not coherent enough. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"So President Obama's entire senate career was spent running for President-- as evidenced if nothing else by the lack of voting in 2007 and 2008 (missed nearly 90% of all votes). Essentially, his salary and influence was spent to further his career."

Look at it. It's almost beautiful, you know? Like a statue of Venus sculpted entirely out of dog shit. Take a wingnut talking point from the 2008 campaign that, even at the time, was a fairly cynical exploitation of the demands of running for president. Then add a bonus ten-plus percent to the actual number of missed votes for good measure, and then use that to pretend that campaigning for higher office while holding a lesser office (not illegal) is the same as campaigning for others while holding, say, an appointed Cabinet position under the guise of doing your job (totally illegal).

Partisan ambivalence to facts aside, though, the situation as it stands now is untenable. If we really want our elections to be less corrupt, we can't have four-and-a-half years pass between the infractions and the ascertainment of guilt. Nobody's even been punished yet, and if they are - which isn't guaranteed by any stretch - it won't be sufficient punishment to keep it from happening in the future.

Whether it's oil spill poisoning or political scheming, if we can't investigate and we can't enforce and we can't punish, then having the laws in the first place is just a massive fraud designed to keep us all thinking there's a functioning system worth working with and worth reforming and improving. The cynic in me thinks it's intentional, but the idealist in me thinks it's just incompetence on an epic scale. Even my idealist isn't a ton of fun at parties.