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.



Anna said...

Sometimes physical therapy can help with a pinched neck. My mother's therapist found a place to push on her shoulder which relieves the pain.

I hope you get better soon.

Same for the nation.

Anonymous said...

From the "No Thanks" article:

“No NASA scientist decides what to do about the Hubble by asking what Isaac Newton would make of it.”

MORON! You bet your GODDAMNED ASS they ask themselves that! If they want the stupid thing to stay in the air, they sure as hell do! How the hell else does she think they perform the calculations necessary to get the damn thing up there -- they take the mathematical representations of the laws that Newton came up with and USE THEM TO SEND THE STUPID THING INTO SPACE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

God freakin help us all, what a complete lamebrain.

Sorry. But MAN, who in their right mind could say anything that stupid and not immediately edit it out?

Anglachel said...

Hi Anna,

The Spousal Unit had a very bad experience with his back a few years ago, all resolved through physical therapy. I'm doing my exercises and it helps, but recovery is slow.

Thank you for your good wishes!


Anglachel said...

Hi Janis,

Heh, yeah that seemed a little dumb to say. I suspect any scientist worth her salt knows very well what the founding "parent" of her discipline had to say on X or Y matter. To be generous, a scientist might not want Newton's opinions vs. his theorems, but I myself think it could be damn fascinating to hear what the guy would make of some issue concerning the Hubble.

Happy New(ton) Year to you, too! ;-)


Koshem Bos said...

Krugman article contains no new analysis or perspective. Personally, I don't believe a different Democratic candidate will change the potential disaster in 2012.

I believe that WikiLeaks is a non issue. It will change absolutely nothing and it actually reveals very little of substance. For example, only in the US the Arab countries vehement opposition to nuclear Iran is news; in the Middle East everyone knows that.

Anonymous said...

We don't want Newton's opinions on politics because that wasn't his arena of specialization. We DO want the founding fathers' opinions on government because that WAS their arena of specialization. Wondering what they would think of government and political things today is entirely reasonable and exactly equivalent of trying to reconcile modern physics with Newtonian mechanics.

They gave us the founding documents to keep them updated and working for a future that was unknown to them. Wondering about the postulates on which these documents were created and how they reconcile with today's political needs is exactly what all Americans should be doing. That's what it means to have inherited the responsibilities of citizenship from those guys in the first place. I don't agree with everything the Tea Party says or some of their conclusions, but they are being Americans in the most basic sense of the word by wondering what the founding fathers would think of such and such, and what the founding documents permit and forbid.

I think they would all agree that ripping off an election to install an unqualified corporate puppet was probably not what they had in mind ... as would we both.