Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Mars Close to Earth

MARS is Coming Close!

Mars Ready for Close-Up, Best View in 60,000 Years
Tue Aug 5, 2:13 PM ET

(Reuters) - "Mars is getting ready for its close-up, with the red planet coming as near to Earth this month as it has in almost 60,000 years."

Mars and Sweet Sama-Come Closer!

".....what is samâ? A message from the fairy, hidden in your heart;
with their letter comes serenity to the estranged heart.
The tree of wisdom comes to bloom with this breeze;
The inner pores of existence open to this tune.
When the spiritual cock crows, the dawn arrives;

When Mars beats his drum victory is ours.
The essence of the soul was fighting the barrel of the body;
When it hears the sound of the daf it matures and calms down.
A wondrous sweetness is sensed in the body;
It is the sugar that the flute and the flute-player bring to the listener....."

(Divan, 1734:1-5)

What do you suppose is up with Al Gore?

He's giving an anti-war speech this Thursday night at N.Y.U..

Do you think he might be thinking of teaming up with Howard Dean?

Speaking of Howard Dean, I actually enjoyed (for ONCE) Dick Morris' column in today's NY Post.
In its entirety, here is:


August 5, 2003 -- THERE is nothing new about the sudden emergence of a golden boy in the Democratic primaries. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Gary Hart: All seemed to come out of nowhere to contend for the presidential nomination.
But Howard Dean's candidacy is important not just because of who he is - a genuine left-liberal alternative - but for how he has managed to vault the front tier of the Democratic pack. Dean's use of the Internet to raise money, generate support and enthuse the party's activists will long be remembered as a signpost along the transition from the television to the Internet era of American politics.

Like John McCain in 2000, the Vermont governor has harnessed the Internet to raise funds quickly, cheaply and legally. But McCain's online fund-raising was catalyzed by a victory in the New Hampshire primary which he won the old-fashioned way, by media and pressing the flesh. Dean, on the other hand, used the Internet to grow from nothing into a full-fledged contender.

Capitalizing on the Democratic Party's pro-peace and pro-gay base, Dean used the customized, one-on-one, retail politics of the Internet to spread the word of his candidacy. Supporters forwarded the e-message to their family and friends and the Dean message spread virally, the first fully Internet campaign.

The larger message of the Dean candidacy is that the era of TV-dominated politics is coming to a close after 30 years. With dwindling audiences and an increasingly sophisticated electorate, the 30-second ad and the seven-second soundbite are losing their power to control the political dialogue. Taking their place is grassroots organizing, made possible by the Internet, in which candidates grow from the outside, mobilizing on the hustings, guerrilla style, before they take their act to the center stage of national politics.

After the collapse of the political bosses in the '60s and '70s, it seemed, briefly, that grassroots direct politics would become the new order of the day. In 1964, enthusiastic, young Republicans overthrew their party's Eastern establishment and nominated Barry Goldwater at a raucous convention in San Francisco. In 1972, the young Democrats had their day overthrowing the party elders and nominating George McGovern.

But both Goldwater and McGovern were crushed by the new force of television advertising. Lyndon Johnson defeated the Arizona Republican and Richard Nixon trounced the South Dakota Democrat with a torrent of negative advertising, marginalizing them on the right and left fringes of U.S. politics.

Grassroots politics remained interred for 30 years as the fund-raisers, the fat-cat donors, media mavens and political consultants (like me) ruled the process. With Americans mesmerized by television, the media blitz and the glitzy 30-second ad carried the day.

But the habits that underlay this media domination of politics has ebbed. The top prime-time TV shows now draw 10-15 million households where once they enthralled more than 30 million at a shot. National television news no longer reaches 60 million homes every night, but has to settle for 20 million instead.

The low costs of Internet campaigning, and the viral way in which it spreads by word of mouth and person-to-person contact, is offering an alternative to top-driven, capital-intensive TV campaigning. A candidate like Dean- animated by a cause larger than his own ambition - can attract vital support and find himself catapulted into prominence by astute use of this new political tool.

Dean may falter as John McCain did, but the inevitable replacement of television with the Internet as the fundamental tool of political communication is destined to accelerate. The true answer to campaign-finance reform, the Internet will open a real possibility of a transfer of power to the people, much as the right-wing Goldwater Girls (like young Hillary Rodham) and the left-wing activists in the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) had hoped would happen decades ago.

As TV's power wanes, so will the power of money to control politics. Just as the political bosses faded into irrelevance, so the excessive power of fund-raisers and big donors is also likely to drop.

In sector after sector of American life, we are throwing off intermediaries. We use the Internet to buy cars, book travel, do banking and sometimes even to kindle romance. We are now throwing off the political intermediaries and using it to pick a president.