As regards Madia-Paulsen, the information vacuum briefly relented this morning when Shivanthi Sathanandan emailed, notifying us that Jonathan Murray will leave, having concluded that Team Madia--headed toward certain victory in November--can now give the second-stringers some field time. The news has a sound somewhat resembling a canning, but who knows, maybe he just wants to go spend time with his family. I've put in a request to interview the new chap.
This evening I attended the David Sirota talk at the Galleria's Barnes & Noble. Sirota was announced at 7:30 PM but didn't show up until five minutes later. In mid-talk, he walked away from the lectern, apparently nauseous, returning five minutes later. He didn't look ill, but it was an odd performance. Sirota talked briefly about his new book The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington. The author thanked Wellstone Action for getting people to show up for this evening's talk.
I'd hoped to find Sirota's talk stimulating, but didn't. Among the 40 attendees, I heard a number mention they'd attended the National Conference on Media Reform. Sirota himself apparently attended the conference, briefly.
During his talk, Sirota cautioned against excessive faith in politicians moving the country in a better direction. He complained that Alexander Hamilton had advocated a US Senate that would be a 'permanent barrier' against democratic, grassroots democracy. Hamilton in fact used the phrase 'permanent barrier' in praise of the British House of Commons, though Sirota would be fair to suggest Hamilton admired that institution's various safeguards; if you read the entire passage it's difficult to view Hamilton as a radical anti-democrat; he's discussing the difficulties involved in instituting a federal government. The US Senate clearly isn't a very democratic institution--fair enough--but Hamilton's purpose wasn't so much to thwart the popular will as to craft a republican federal government that could win public support and endure. Sirota's invocation of Hamilton's two-word phrase, then, is unfair.