The virtues of partisanship.
Sometimes you hear people ask: "What is the point of a political party?" Or perhaps they say, "Partisan politics are ruining the government." Such complainers mean well, but they are overlooking many important reasons why political parties exist and can be a positive force.
For example, without political parties every person who ran for office would have to build their political campaigns from scratch. They would have to recruit from among their family and friends to find people to be street canvassers, letter writers and mailers, sign deliverers and a host of other duties which any successful campaign entails. When a candidate joins a political party, however, the party already has their regular volunteers on hand to do these many duties, thereby freeing the candidate to focus on their message. It also allows people to run who don't already have a network of people lined up to work for them. Thanks to the party, the candidate will have those campaign workers automatically.
Many candidates, especially first time candidates, don't know much about how to organize and conduct campaigns. This is no surprise, since everyone who has ever been a candidate will tell you that nothing in your past experiences really prepares you for running a political race. It's a little like child-rearing, you can't fully grasp what it's all about until you do it! However, thanks to their political party, candidates obtain instant access to party regulars who have been involved in many campaigns, and can quickly and easily provide valuable information about how to run for office. That way new candidates don't have to re-invent the wheel every time they run, and can avoid common beginner's mistakes.
Finally, when people complain about partisanship, what are they really griping about? The fact that candidates of different political parties often disagree on important issues? But that is as it should be, because the main reason people unite behind a political party is because they share common political beliefs.
People elected from different parties with different beliefs are naturally going to disagree. That's called democracy! A government in which no parties disagreed would be a dictatorship. So when you hear politicians arguing over their passionately held positions, don't be dismayed, instead be glad for this evidence of a vibrant, healthy democracy. Besides, do you know how weird true bipartisanship would look?
Cute kid, eh? But what's in a name?
Quite a bit apparently if your name is Adolph Hitler Campbell and you want a cake with your name on it for your birthday. Not even Hollywood stars abuse their kids with names this bad - click here.
Here's a motley crew - the Springfield City Council in 1986.
(click to enlarge)
This morning the picnic table in my backyard was covered with snow.
The woodland way I use to go downtown was nearly deserted, when usually it is filled with kids. Later I found out that the start of Northampton's schools was delayed by two hours.
Is a homeless person sleeping in this abandoned cathouse? If so they better wake up or they will miss the pancakes.
Soon I arrive on State Street, where people can't decide whether to say "No Sir" or "Yes M'am."
At Serio's Market they have snowflakes in the window that are actually peace signs.
At last I arrive downtown.
Where I enter the homeless shelter.
There I make pancakes and sausages for all the street people seeking a hot meal on a snowy morn.
So add yet another sterling line to my resume - Pancake Man! Actually I'll be doing that in Hamp a few days a week along with my gig at the Amherst Survival Center.
Here's a photostrip from when I was in Mr. Couchon's fifth grade class at The World Famous Thomas M. Balliet Elementary School in Springfield, Massachusetts. I was the shortest boy in my class. How do I know that? Trust me, when you're the shortest boy in the class people let you know. In the first picture I was caught off guard, in the second I regained my composure and in the third I radiate cool.
Finally, UMass students sometimes send me videos showing the weird things they do in their dorms. Here's one of them.