A better version: "Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything."
Subject: The Sport of Choice for the Supreme Court
Date: Wed Dec 15 6:12 a.m. PT
In essence the U.S. Supreme Court said that because it was too late, Dubya is president for the next four years. This conclusion clearly proves that the culture of the [court] is football (running the clock out) rather than baseball (extra innings to determine a winner when the score is tied). Running the clock out might work for deciding football games, but only time will tell if it works as well in determining who is President.
Subject: Singing About the Past
Re: "Foreigners: Putin's Old Song"
From: Alex Abramovich
Date: Tue Dec 12 12:02 p.m. PT
Lovely piece on the new embrace of the old Soviet anthem. It strikes me that there's something terribly Russian about the whole thing; namely, an attitude of "How can we be proud of ourselves as we are today if we are ashamed of who we were yesterday? Why must the past be a burden and not a beacon?" But of course, the past is a terrible burden in Russia, and the path the country is on now—coupled with the anthem's re-adoption—would be too perfect an illustration of how historical forgetfulness leads to historical repetition, if only it weren't so sad.
Subject: Olds Means a Special Kind of Retro
Re: "Moneybox: Oldsmobile: Victim of Its Own Brand"
From: Mark Shulman
Date: Fri Dec 15 11:38 a.m. PT
What could GM have done with its languishing Olds brand? Take a note from Chrysler's PT Cruiser book, that's what. The PT is a hit, but all they did was put a new look to the Neon chassis. In the age of look-alike, sound-alike, drive alike middle-market brands, GM could have a real gem on its hands: a hundred-year-old badge, fronting retro on the outside, new on the inside. A few fenders, some chrome and a few deft touches, and we could all be driving brand new cars of yesteryear. Hear that, Mustang?
Subject: Superior To Whom?
Re: "Foreigners: Why The Fuss Over Condi Rice?"
Date: Tue Dec 19 10:39 a.m. PT
Exactly! The same way everybody was congratulating themselves that no blood was spilt over this narrow election—not "like elsewhere." Why does the U.S. insist on comparing itself to the least stable, most violent, poorest nations in the world? When was the last time blood was spilt about an election, or even a serious constitutional crisis, in places like the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Australia, Canada?
Fray Notes: The Fray system and appearance changed totally, but most posters didn't break stride. (Click here for help if you're struggling—we promise you'll love the new Fray when you get used to it.)
They were too busy abusing each other: We particularly enjoyed Amyntas' definition of being American, beginning: "You have the right to rant and rave. ..."
Even the apparently uncontentious claim that "If you want truth, go to church: this is an opinion forum" led to a big row.
But they are wrong: The Fray is the home of eminently proper exchanges of opinion. Look at Culturebox, Chagnon, and anthropology: more great Fray excerpts from key players after the second article here and wide-ranging arguments in the Culturebox Fray (click by the check marks for the best ones).
We're very proud that we found Timothy Noah's soul mate in the Chatterbox Fray this week. Impossible to summarize but not to be missed: Click here and scroll down for one last going-over before we wave the election goodbye.
In the spirit of Slate's "Recycled" feature, we want to draw your attention to a favorite Fray posting from the summer about the way Dick Cheney moves house. We feel it is newly relevant. Click here and scroll down to C.J.Aguilar's post: "Did he call up James Baker and Brent Scowcroft? 'Hey, guys, I'm movin' on Saturday—there's a six-pack and a pizza with your names on it if you'll be at my place around ten.' " Look out for that U-Haul in January.