Saturday, January 22, 2011

Leave of Absence

I'm dealing with a family medical crisis at present. It may end tomorrow, it may be months. It will be a while before I do any serious blogging.

My thanks to those who know what's up and have sent their good wishes.


Monday, January 17, 2011


I'm in absolute, complete, unequivocal agreement with Riverdaughter in her post "failure to discriminate", especially this:
I’ve never seen so much denial in my life. The right was happy as all get out to stomp all over us before this shooting. If it really had nothing to do with it, and I’m not saying it did, why not just admit that it was fun while it lasted? Sarah and Glenn aren’t apologizing. Take credit for the poison. You deserve it!

But if you’re tired of it, like I am, turn off the TV and the radio. Step away from the fight. If you are an FDR type Democrat in Exile like me, this doesn’t have anything to do with you anyway. It’s just two anachronistic, legacy parties going at each other. It has very little to do with how people are living today. It won’t get more people employed, fix our crumbling infrastructure, punish the bankers or end a war. It is a major distraction.

It's called judgment. It exists in its exercise. It is what my class has consistently, persistently failed to do since it decided the last Democratic president was too white, too hick, too Southern, and too transactional for them to deign to support. It's what my political opponents, the Movement Conservatives, refuse to do in their single minded pursuit of power, demonizing anyone who fails to fall in behind their hateful, anti-democratic message.

I've been avoiding the news for the most part this last week because of the opportunistic appropriation of the shooting by the usual political suspects. It's why I've avoided most American political news for the last two years. I think I stopped paying attention to most of the Media Kabuki when the loudest voices of Left and Right decided that whatever was wrong with the country, no matter the specific wrong being mentioned, it was the fault of "liberals". Those damn extremists. Those damn partisans. Those damn centrists. Those damn moderates. Those damn transactional, practical folks who give a little here and take a little there, aren't much in the mood for conspiracies, don't agree with any exterminationist sentiments (left or right), don't like culture wars standing in for political contest, and are getting really, really tired of single-issue, faux-victim politics.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Voices in His Head

A member of my family is paranoid schizophrenic. As I read about Jared Loughner, I think of this relative. There are many points of congruence - the decent but incomplete education, a fascination with intellectual discourse, a seemingly coherent exterior, a deep core of paranoia.

A familiarity with firearms.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Good Thoughts

Thanks to everyone for all of the warm wishes and helpful advice.

I've been to the doctor and there don't appear to be any complications like a growth or bone damage (I was in a minor car accident not so long ago), so rest and physical therapy will be the course of action.


Saturday, January 01, 2011

The New Year

I've been unable to post recently due a severely pinched nerve in my neck that has rendered any motion in my left arm and hand excruciatingly painful.

In lieu of posts from me, and probably a far better exchange, I recommend reading the articles of the most recent New York Review of Books. The edition is solid from top to bottom. Among my favorites:
  • Where do we go from here? Paul Krugman and Robin Wells repeat the call for a primary opponent to Obama, providing the political and economic rationale for it to happen. Their theme of delinking is one I have tried to work with recently, but have been held back by the nerve problem.
  • Why Wikileaks Changes Everything - Christian Caryl delves into many of the same themes I raised early on, particularly the political implications of the indiscriminate release of government data. I particularly like the evaluation of Assange as an incoherent twit, which has been my estimation all along.
  • The Concealed Battle to Run Russia - Amy Knight makes excellent use of some leaked diplomatic cables in her review of a book on Russian politics. You want a picture of a truly criminal state? Cheney could only dream of this level of power.
  • The Beleaguered Cambodians - Margo Picken provides a look at another criminal state. This one goes into the ways in which imperial & colonial powers have abetted a local elite to rob the nation blind. 
  • China: From Famine to Oslo - Perry Link discusses two new novels by Chinese writers in the context of the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to Liu Xiaobo. As with the articles on Russia and Cambodia, the author goes into life in a repressive, authoritarian state, discussing the reality of life for people who truly are oppressed, spied upon, imprisoned, tortured and murdered by their governments, and how they respond to this condition. These articles individually and together serve as a useful corrective to the denizens of the Left blogosphere wringing their hands and bemoaning the horrible, horrible behavior of the US Gubmint against Our Hero Julian and who might just be coming after poor little ME next! Get a grip, people.
  • Curveballs - Joseph Lelyveld's review of Bush's account of his administration. Cool, almost cold, it eviscerates W's self-exculpation. The final paragraphs on exchanges between W and Bush 41 are particularly good.
  • No Thanks for the Memories (access for NYRB subscribers only, but first few paragraphs are available) - Gordon Wood provides a much needed counterpoint to professional liberal pundits' mocking dismissal of the Tea Party by talking about the difference between fact and meaning in cultural memory.
Anyway, I hurt and don't know when that will change. I hope your new year is starting out better than mine.