Friday, June 26, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Worth Keeping in Mind

...[M]ass, lower-class participants in revolution cannot turn discontent into effective political action without autonomous collective organization and resources to sustain their efforts. Moreover, the repressive state organizations of the prerevolutionary regime have to be weakened before mass revolutionary action can succeed, or even emerge. Indeed, historically, mass rebellious action has not be able, in itself, to overcome state repression.
Theda Skocpol, from Social Revolutions in the Modern World, quoted in the Duck of Minerva

Yeah, What He Said

Because if you get into the actual gory details of what went on in those years, there’s just no way you come out of that story not wanting to see every banker on Wall Street strung up by his testicles. The crimes of this era were monstrous thieveries, committed against ordinary people in a highly systematic and organized fashion with the aid and compliance of a bought-off government, and the only way you can not perceive what happened as a profound indictment of capitalism is if you blow off the specifics entirely and try to hide the details in vague, airy words like “irresponsibility” and “excesses.”

Because the specifics matter. It’s one thing to say that Citi wasted some of the money taxpayers sent its way via the bailout; it’s another thing to say Citi wasted some of the taxpayers’ money by upholstering the pillows on the private jet Sandy Weill took to Mexico over Christmas vacation with Hermes scarves. It’s one thing to say Wall Street bankers felt pressure to chase profits; it’s another thing to say they achieved those profits by systematically robbing a whole generation of pensioners and working-class homeowners, under the noses of the politicians they bought with tens of millions in campaign contributions.

Matt Taibbi, on Fareed Zakaria, in True/Slant

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Exciting Stuff

All in all, with books by Jonathan Lethem, Thomas Pynchon, William Vollman, Margaret Atwood, Philip Roth, Paul Auster, Pat Conroy, and Richard Russo still to come, it looks like a fine year for fans of fiction.
TBogg, at Firedoglake

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Very Good Point

Without the obedience of the security forces, the state collapses.
-Robert Farley, at Lawyers, Guns, and Money

Monday, June 22, 2009

Posted Without Comment, the Third

So to recap, we have “no horse in this race,” we should do nothing, we have to negotiate with whichever government emerges, and the victory of the reformers would change nothing about Iran’s nuclear program and “would not stop the country’s rivalry with the United States,” all of which “hard-core non-interventionists” have already been saying for days and days, but it is “naive” to say that an internal Iranian political dispute is really none of our business. Okay, then.
-Daniel Larison, at The American Conservative

Also Posted Without Comment

"The key to understanding Obama is that he is a hybrid of delicate, magic unicorn and ravenous zombie. He will frolic in the woodlands, spreading pixie dust and joy, until his hunger for human brains begins to rise..."
Christopher Orr, in the New Republic

Also Posted Without Comment

"The key to understanding Obama is that he is a hybrid of delicate, magic unicorn and ravenous zombie. He will frolic in the woodlands, spreading pixie dust and joy, until his hunger for human brains begins to rise..."
Christopher Orr, in the New Republic

Posted Without Comment

[T]he fundamental fact is that we can afford universal health insurance — even those high estimates were less than the $1.8 trillion cost of the Bush tax cuts.
-Paul Krugman, in today's NYT

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Had to Pass This On

Chew Toy

According to every woman I've ever dated, and every dentist I've ever seen, I bite and grind my teeth in my sleep. Loudly. Hard. Like wake-the-girl-up hard. So I've taken, recently, after many years of encouragement to do so, to wearing a night-guard while I sleep, which I like to think of as my own personal chew toy. Sure, it makes me feel like an amateur boxer as I lay me down to sleep, but at least I know that my precious enamel will be safe from its own predations for those six or eight hours while I shuffle off to dream-land.

The only thing is, is I think that having the thing in my mouth makes me bite and chew more. I think. For instance, I woke up today, after a full night's sleep with the damned thing in, and my jaw's as sore as a toothless man's on Thanksgiving. I know I woke up, more than a couple of times, and was acutely conscious of the thing (although I am, slowly, getting used to it), and I think that a great many of my dreams were of an unsettling nature, but I can't figure out which way the arrow of causality is pointing. Do I sleep not so well because I've got this chewy piece of molded plastic in my mouth, or am I chewing more because I'm not sleeping well?

In case you're wondering, there isn't a point to this post. I just felt like writing about something besides why right wingers are jerks or why Barack Obama is starting to frighten me.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

One of the Reasons John Rogers Kick Ass

is this.

A sample:

Not to belabor the point (too late), but two things in this world are generally, 99.9999% true:

1.) If you are unhappy with your life, it's not because a brown person made it that way.

2.) If you end any argument or statement with " ... is that racist of me to say?" -- the answer is always "yes."

Here's another:

-- There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

Sometimes I wish he didn't have a day-job, so he could blog more.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A bit nitpickety, but

not sure I can let this one slide by.
For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America's founding.
from President Obama's Cairo speech today
So, what was up with that whole War of Norther Aggression thing, then? Oh, right. I remember now. When governments and militaries engage in violence, it's called "force" and it's okay, cuz they're nation-states or something.

It's not that Obama is like Bush...

it's that Bush was really more like Obama.
Fundamentally, Obama's goal was to tell the Muslim world, "We respect and value you, your religion and your civilization, and only ask that you don't hate us and murder us in return." Bush tried to deliver the same message over and over again. The difference with Obama is that people might actually be willing to listen.
Rich Lowry, at the Corner

Guess that whole bombing the shit out of Iraq and then invading for no legitimate reason drowned out President Bush's message of peace somehow. Shame, that.

Missing the Point

George Will thinks people buy fluorescent light bulbs and Priuses because they feel guilty.


It's not guilt that makes people buy green. It's the smug feeling of superiority you get. You'd think a smug, superior type like George Will would intuitively grasp something like that.

Ah well, I guess we're all blind when it comes to seeing ourselves.