December 2009

Eating Poetry* (VII): for the New Year

December 31, 2009

Be Drunk Charles Baudelaire Translated by Louis Simpson You have to be always drunk. That’s all there is to it—it’s the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk. But on what? Wine, poetry or [...]


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Mind Games: the Interregnum

December 30, 2009

Soon after posting Mind Games 1 and promising anon a climactic II (yes, treasured readers, I felt your pent up need), I came to think that the period commonly referred to as “the holidays” might actually be suggestive of something. Rather than continue in my increasing detachment from those recurring, totemic calendar events around which [...]


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The Bell* I

December 28, 2009

From Trudy Rubin at The Philadelphia Inquirer, and a new series @ the sad red earth (H/T Normblog): “Just as every country honors its unknown fallen soldiers, we should honor those who died in solitude and pain for upholding universal principles of human rights.” In this Christmas season, I want to pay tribute to two [...]


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Voices of Iranian Democracy Undiminished

December 27, 2009

We get absorbed in our own lives. We overlook. We forget. All of the struggle is only so that each of us can sit in the sun, play with a child, watch a ball fly, hear a tune crooned, create. But for others the struggles go on. There is a very great one transpiring, continuing [...]


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How We Lived on It (8)

December 26, 2009

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An Xmas Gift 2 Liberals, the Grinch 2 Cons

December 24, 2009

From The New York Times Report Finds Acorn Broke No Laws By JANIE LORBER The controversial community organizing group Acorn has not broken any laws in the last five years, according to a Congrssional Research Service report released Tuesday evening. The report, requested by Representative John Conyers, Democrat of Michigan, said that federal agencies, mainly [...]


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Mind Games I

December 23, 2009

Sometimes the world is turned upside down. Don’t believe that for a moment. It’s about half the time. We’re all walking around with our heads passing in the middle, trying to figure out who is on solid ground and who is hanging the wrong way and bound to land on his noggin. Often, remarkably, the [...]


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Big Government II: What Preserves Us

December 22, 2009

I ended yesterday by noting that the effective “usurpation” by the federal government of the states’ power to tax, which was at least a pretended concern of some eighteenth-century constitutionalists, turned out to be unfounded. Reader Neil wrote in again to comment, Unfunded federal mandates which eat up state budgets, to the detriment of local [...]


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Big Government I: Hysteria as Reality

December 21, 2009

As a major hurdle has been taken on the way to health reform legislation, with the Senate vote to close debate, some further consideration of BIG GOVERNMENT seems in order. I’ve been having a pleasingly civil back and forth with reader Neil (so little space for satisfaction in sarcasm, so much more in sense), which, [...]


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Eating Poetry* (VI)

December 18, 2009

William Carlos Williams This Is Just To Say I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox and which you were probably saving for breakfast Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold *Ink runs from the corners of my mouth There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating poetry. [...]


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The Open Mind III: a Liberal’s Principles Defended and Further Propounded

December 16, 2009

The idea of Principia Liberalis was to explore the roots of those partly different perceptions of reality ShrinkWrapped and I have of the world. I say partly because, of course, like most humans, we share a lot in our perceptions. I think he and I may even share more than that. But there are profound [...]


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Guest Post at Normblog

December 15, 2009

Today I have a guest post at Normblog:  a contribution to the long-running Writer’s Choice series for which the contributor discusses a book that has been important to him. My post is on Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus. The semi-eponymous Normblog is the blog of Norman Geras, Professor Emeritus of Government at the University [...]


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The Nature of Things

December 14, 2009

Cobell v. Salazar, the thirteen-year Individual Indian Money Trust Fund litigation, was settled on Friday for $3.4 billion. I have taken some time to sort through reports and my own reaction. The New York Times provided background: The Interior Department now manages about 56 million acres of Indian trust land scattered across the country, with [...]


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How We Lived on It (7)

December 13, 2009

Music: “Vuelvo al Sur” by Astor Piazzolla Artwork: Fabian Perez Video: PoohParandeh


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Obama in Oslo: Power without Empire

December 11, 2009

I go and use a presidential juggling analogy in Obama Abroad: Liberal, Moderate, Careful, and my psychoanalytical interlocutor ShrinkWrapped decides to employ a fungo hit to test my own coordination. I’m still developing my response to Principia Liberalis Interruptus, and he takes a whack at the Obama post, putting a second ball in the air. [...]


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Obama Abroad: Liberal, Moderate, Careful

December 8, 2009

President Obama is being excoriated by some on the left for his Afghanistan escalation, and by some on the right too, though the right, after months of impatience with the kind of thoughtful policy making the Bush years trained it to abhor, is mostly happier about the decision. I’ve already written about both the decision [...]


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The Open Mind III: Riposte Continued

December 7, 2009

ShrinkWrapped has concluded his initial response to my Principia Liberalis. I will further the conversation as soon as possible. Again, comments are closed at the sad red earth and should be offered at ShrinkWrapped. The Open Mind III: Riposte Continued In reviewing Jay’s 25 point Principia Liberalis* a few things stood out of me.  One [...]


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The Open Mind III Riposte: Abridged

December 5, 2009

ShrinkWrapped has offered a first, abbreviated response to my Open Mind III post, Principia Liberalis. He explains below. Comments on this post are closed at this site and should be made at ShrinkWrapped. The Open Mind III Riposte: Abridged I had planned on addressing Jay’s 25 point Principia Liberalis today but time pressures have interfered.  [...]


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Complex Issue, Simple Minds

December 4, 2009

The only unpredictable element of President Obama’s Afghan decision is what its outcome will be. That’s a rather large and important element, but while relatively small numbers of people – in the national security apparatus, in the military, in the diplomatic corps., among academic specialists, and among the journalists who have been long-term and regularly [...]


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Happy Anniversary to Us

December 2, 2009

Today is the one year anniversary of the sad red earth. Before December 2, 2008 my general response to the idea of authoring a blog (from people, generally, who seemed, for some reason, to want me out of their ear for a reasonable period of time) was “I don’t want to write no blog thing.” [...]


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