one very conventional assertion is that free markets and political freedom go together naturally, so that, for example, china's capitalist economy is in tension with its repressive politics and will lead to the latter's destruction. sebastian mallaby puts that point as follows on today's waspost op-ed page:
Google's answer to the China dilemma is better, and more subtle, than
that of other Internet firms. It does not simply assert that engagement
with China is always good. It recognizes the arms race between China's
repressive state power and China's liberating economic growth, and it
accepts the conclusion that follows: Some forms of engagement hasten
liberal trends; others empower jailers.
the relation has always been far more complex and probblematic than that and is now merely false. the growth of the american economy and its dominance of the world has coincided with a massive increase in the state sector, a massive increase in regulations, and is now beginning to comport perfectly well with an atmosphere of repression and limitations on liberties. if you think the us is a laissez-faire economy or an unproblematic democracy, you're tripping. in fact, the unification of money and political power is shown by the emblem of abramoff but in a billion ways, here and there. there is no reason a centralized state apparatus cannot preside indefinitely over an economic expansion given certain positive conditions, and for god's sake you should by now be wiling to draw the obvious conclusion that that has happened in china for thirty years and shows no signs of abating. in other words, the connection of political and economic liberty is an ideology and a faith and is contradicted all the time by experience.
so is it just me, or is there a real problem with the basic idea of the lie detector, now entering the nightmare phase. ok. so they say this sucker can identify lies with 90% accuracy. however, in order to know that that's the case, you have to know antecedently whether or not the person is lying. for one thing, saying something is false because a "scientist" told you to say something false is not the same situation as one in which you're saying something false in order to deceive someone. but the latter is gonna be a bitch to study, dudes. what you don't want to do is start saying "90% accurate" on the basis of some horribly problematic methodology, and then subjecting people to this thing. because obviously once deployed it merely confirms itself: you're lying in virtue of the fact that you flunked the lie detector: voila perferct accuracy.
so: be sure to vote for my little jane sartwell for governor of califlordia on the absolutely mindy website. (that's a show on xm kids that janie loves.) here's the platform she wrote:
I will not make wars. i will tell the ducks not to have a fight. i'll give the ducks of califlordia a whole pond to themselves! i'll give them their favorite treat! my name is jane winik sartwell from glen rock pennsylvania, but i'm in pittsburgh now. i love ducks
one way to get ahold of the electoral victory of hamas would be to compare it to the rise of the taliban in afghanistan, though obviously the situations are extremely different. but the taliban seemed to make sense because of the extremely corrupt and amoral rule of warlords, which in turn seemed the only alternative to actual foreign occupation. the moral surety and fierce independence of the religious party can be extremely attractive under such circumstances. in palestine we have the deeply ineffectual and corrupt fatah movement, unable to transform the basic situation of repression. i don't know how much of a factor it was, but the bush admin's financial support for fatah was idiotic: a backlash was the only rational response: there could have been no more compelling way to discredit fatah.
why you would waste space on the web or time in your day on judith warner is something only the people who do it can answer.
The corpus callosum, a small bundle of nerves that permits
communication between the brain’s right and left hemispheres, is,
Gurian notes, on average 25 percent smaller in men than in women.
“Because of this,” he writes, “men don’t connect as many feelings to
words, or even thoughts to words.”
He goes on:
the feeling or thought needs to move from the right to the left
hemisphere, a man has 25 percent less chance of moving it over. This is
crucial because the male brain does its language in the left
hemisphere, while women use six or seven cortical areas for language in
both hemispheres. The end result is that men have a more difficult time
making language out of experience than women do. In fact, they use, on
average, about half the amount of words that women do.
or, looking at it the other way round, judith warner's corpus colussum is a sheer leak: words appear even when there are no feeling or thoughts in the hemisphere at all and then actually get written down and published. one serious point: don't take this idiotic pseudo-neurology seriously: it's all a faux-objective justification for a series of value judgments.
and a couple of weeks ago we had a rainstorm in which the wind gusted to perhaps 50-60 mph. we lost power for hours, and a pole out on the road was down. but during the storm, i saw a blue fire on that pole (which is a quarter mile away). i went outside and saw the damnedest thing. the blue fire out there flaired, and then a second later a fireball flew across our field. it started, i believe, at the top of a metal pole that marks our property line: a white ball trailing red sparks, and not near any power line at all. then the fire flaired again up on the road and the same thing happened. i would not have believed it if i hadn't seen it. anybody got some kind of explanation?
so, last night out here in glen rock we had a snow thunderstorm. i think this is perhaps the second time i've seen such a thing in 47 years. and it wasn't just a vague rumble: it was intense continuous lightning and thunder accompanied by a sudden and intnse, though brief, snowstorm.
have y'all checked this out? the defense department has its very own secret domestic surveillance program, focused on anti-war activists and, believe it or not, people protesting the halliburton corporation. all we can really do, i fear, is hope that the whole criminal story of this administration's attack on freedom is eventually revealed. obviously, there are people who don't like these programs who are working in the bureaucracies that administer them, and these people are finding ways to contact michael isikoff. pray for their welfare, and be aware of our debt.
You know, with Ray Nagin and Pat Robertson vying for looney of the year over God's anger resulting in the flood and with the attention span of the American people at the level of sugar-enhanced 9 year old ritalin addicts, it's hard to remember how crazy the entire world went over Katrina. Kind of like a new Star Wars movie, only a good one this time, in a bad way. To recap --
Dubya Tse-Wha? stayed at Crawford and chopped brush; Dickie C stayed in Wyoming and shot lambs or whatever the hell he does
FEMA and Homeland Security in general played pass the sausage
The Military went on alert to help but forgot to remind Homeland Security and the President that they had assets in place to help while the Louisiana assets that would normally help were in Iraq
We got to observe a little bit of the hell that occurs in other countries routinely after disasters on our own shore.
Freaking Venezula, Iran and Cuba offered aid to the United States...
Bush has made a big deal out of his CEO background. He conveniently forgets -- if he ever knew -- that he was a failure in the corporate world. As Molly Ivins said, "he was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple..."
Screw ideology. These clowns are criminally incompetent. If the Situation Room knew, the President should have known, and acted. Idiots...
having, shall we say, "known" a person or two who combined careers in academia and the sex industry, this story about a prof/prostitute didn't really shock me. but what did sort of surprise me was the porcine element. what is the world coming to?
A search of the house found about 150 condoms, nine bottles of personal
lubricating substances and numerous business records, according to
court records. Police also found two pet pigs living there.
ok. i think i dislike the approximate political unanimity of academia as much as anyone does. it does our students, and our own powers of self-examination, a great disservice. but this is just horseshit. yo, horowitz you're welcome to come sit in on my class; you're welcome to tape. all you have to do is ask. plus, you'll get some shit you can use; you'd be disturbed about what on a given day i might say about the attorney general or whomever. but when you start paying students to secretly record the politically problematic utterances of their teachers, much less start passing legislation demanding that classes be examined for their anti-americanism, you're just being vicious and stupid. when you start calling that "academic freedom," you're ill.
not content with the infinite emoto-political nattering of women's magazines, highly privileged women are writing opinion pieces. geez. "you know, it's hard to balance home and career." really? now let me re-cast that sentence 300 times. it's hard for these same generations of women to strike a healthy balance of the shallow with the superficial, the empty buzz word and the empty cliche, thus preserving the gains of feminism while staying true to their real love of cute little babies. how to balance barbie-brain with a writing assignment? it is a tremendous challenge to emote on cue in the same precise channel as all other women of one's demographic, and yet so many women of our time have taken up this challenge courageously, writing without point or surcease. they're so cute when they screw up their little faces like they're really trying to think!
The brilliant and incisive Molly Ivins really stuck a nerve with Crusader Mike as I read her column on Creators. I owe a lot to Molly -- in addition to stealing her line about one Texas politician (If he was any dumber, we'd have to mow him!), it was by tracking her to Creators that I discovered Crispin's column. So, when she speaks I listen.
On Friday, she took on the Democrats. I didn't agree with Crispin et al about John Kerry and I do think we'd be infinitely better off with him in office that Dubya Tse-Wha and the Gang of Four -- Big Don, Condi R, Karlly Karl, Hankie G -- and the rest of that miserable, incompetent and evil crew. Still, I agree. Beginning by disowning Hillary Clinton as a potential candidate, she slams the Democrats for sheer lack of what we used to call testicular fortitude. The majority of the people in the United States want things like single-payer, universal healthcare (86%) so why the hell are they tiptoeing around on that issue -- which was a Hillary cause celibre?
She really hits her stride when she goes after those who are afraid to speak against this insane and crazy war. (If staying the course and getting more soldier, sailors, airmen and marines killed is necessary so that the those already fallen did not die in vain -- a really spurious and evil piece of logic-- Dulce et decorum est, motherfuckers! -- why not just kill them while they're in basic training and then save on the expense of shipping them to Iraq? Someone call big Don -- there's a transformation for you!) She is much more emotional and yet rational on this than I...
"In World War I, they
went around kicking dachshunds on the grounds that dachshunds were
"German dogs." They did not, however, go around kicking German
shepherds. The MINUTE someone impugns your patriotism for opposing this
war, turn on them like a snarling dog and explain what loving your
country really means. That, or you could just piss on them elegantly,
as Rep. John Murtha did. Or eviscerate them with wit (look up Mark
Twain on the war in the Philippines). Or point out the latest in the
endless "string of bad news." Do not sit there cowering and pretending
the only way to win is as Republican-lite. If the Washington-based
party can't get up and fight, we'll find someone who can."
ok, so i finally signed up for the cash-for-op-ed on the nyt. i do often dig frank rich. but sometimes the meditation on cultural trends just kind of has its own momentum until you're just spouting slop, like this, where james frey is part of the same trend as dick cheney. back in the day, i guess, you couldn't collect two liars.
if i may, i would like to compare lou rawls, unfavorably, to wilson pickett. pickett was one of the great soul shouters, in my opinion comparable to otis redding or james brown. lou rawls was everything pickett's aesthetic was set against: highly produced, highly processed, the expression mediated in a thousand ways by committees of commercially-minded writers, arrangers, producers. pickett's music was raw, immediate, direct. rawls probably had the more distinctive and more amazing voice, but pickett's work sounds as fresh as the day it was recorded, whereas rawls' was a quaint relic of its era even as it was released.
this is about as beautiful a piece of ridicule as could readily be imagined.
Who knows what anguish, misery and torments she has endured the past
four years. I was so worried for her that there were times when all I
could do was smoke and brood, and walk my little dog. At meals, I could
eat nothing more than a single smoked oyster.
this is a very good, very important ruling. but the breakdown of the vote - roberts, scalia, thomas dissenting - reveals something that is obvious in any case. when the matter is life and death, people rule with their deepest personal commitments and not with their constitutional construals. obviously, any fan of federalism, states rights etc - which of course the three dissenters purport to be - would rule in favor of the constitutionality of the oregon assisted suicide law. by the same token, these fans of the federal gov, like people who loved the eminent domain case from new london, would imagine that the national government should be the primary setter of policy in this matter. you may recall the idiotic rhetoric around both the alito and roberts nominations, in which absolutely everyone claimed that it was a coherent position that the "personal beliefs and opinions" of a judge could have nothing at all to do with their rulings. if you think that an assertion like that can withstand a moment's scrutiny, you aren't really thinking. and it would not be a worthy goal even if it could be realized. do you really want justices that can set aside their ideas about the value of human life, or the autonomy of individuals, etc? do you really want judges who are pretending not to be human?
Contrary to popular opinion, Crusader Mike does know other poets besides Yeats. However, after The Wild Swans at Coole, Easter 1916, and The Second Coming, is there a lot left to say for a stoical, cynical scholar-soldier-businessman who is contemplating taking a couple of years off to study Tibetan Throat singing? Certainly not by my fellow alum Billy Collins, poet laureate of the United States and a Holy Cross grad...
But, I digress. The center does appearing to be holding with the Supreme's verdict on the Oregon Assisted Suicide case. Talk about activist judges! In a six three opinion that would probably be a 5-4 if Alito was already on the bench, the court refused to get all mushy and look at the moral issues, and stayed right in the issue of states rights versus federal rights, holding that Country Rock Singer and former Attorney General John Ashcroft exceeded his authority (surprise!surprise!surprise!) by threatening Oregon doctors with the loss of their prescription drug licenses if they prescribed drugs for suicide.
Like abortion, assisted suicide is a tough issue. My moral turmoil over each issue is probably due to my background and education -- suicide is the sin that may not be forgiven in some Catholic thought because if it works, the sinner might not have time to repent. Hence, we get into things like contending that any choice of suicide must be irrational. Well, perhaps -- so Socrates goes to hell. Well, no, he'd probably go to limbo...oh, yeah, we just got rid of limbo. What's a former Catholic altar boy to do in this confusing world?
Well, one thing to do is to stick with your business and focus on the things you do know -- the known knowns, as chief philosopher of this administation would comment. The court chose to to do so. Interestingly, the Catholic Block -- Scalia, Thomas and the new kid on the block, what's his name, oh yeah, the Chief Justice -- ruled differently. Again, surprise, surprise, surprise....