The Political Animal

Ave Atque Vale

April 4, 2014

from Ave Atque Vale by Algernon Charles Swinburne XVIII For thee, O now a silent soul, my brother,       Take at my hands this garland, and farewell.       Thin is the leaf, and chill the wintry smell, And chill the solemn earth, a fatal mother,       With sadder than the Niobean womb,       And in the hollow of her breasts [...]


0 comments Read the full article →

Ukraine and Legitimacy

March 17, 2014

It is fascinating to witness with events in Ukraine an enduring controversy of history in the making. Controversies arise all the time, of course, but some are drawn in more dramatic relief than others, and one of those is Ukraine, 2013-14. Most Western exponents of liberal democracy, of both right and left – by no [...]


0 comments Read the full article →

The Revolution with No Name

March 11, 2014

When it seemed to some at the end of the Cold War that we had also reached the end of history, more than ever, every act of rebellion and revolution seemed cause to celebrate an elevated human spirit. After a long winter of merely staving off an enemy’s further success, now freedom was rising with [...]


0 comments Read the full article →

A Misguided Argument About Anti-Semitism

February 18, 2014

(This essay originally appeared in the Algemeiner on February 11, 2014.) In the Wall Street Journal of February 3, Harvard’s Ruth R. Wisse published an Op-Ed titled “The Dark Side of the War on ‘the One Percent.” In the article, Wisse argues for a “structural” connection between “anti-Semitism and American class conflict.” First tracing the [...]


21 comments Read the full article →

Academic Boycotts and Re-Colonization by Theory

February 3, 2014

(The full text of the following essay was published by Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.) from “Academic Boycotts and Recolonization by Theory“  As a matter of international justice, however, conceptually distinguishing and crucial in consideration of what constitutes an indigenous people have been the following characteristics, developed for the Working Paper on the Concept [...]


26 comments Read the full article →

A Second Look: Thinking Through the Iranian Dilemma

December 16, 2013

I posted the following on March 19 of last year. Nothing that has transpired since, not even the recently achieved, yet still not implemented short-term deal – which I think a basis for justified future military action just as it is, more hopefully, a foundation for peaceful resolution – has changed the balance of views [...]


3 comments Read the full article →

A Second Look: Abraham Lincoln on the “Mud-Sill” Theory of Labor

December 2, 2013

The movement to increase the minimum wage, and to tie it legislatively to the cost of living, is growing. The obscenity of low-wage employment among adults – full-time employment that does not offer a living wage – is increasingly apparent. As Arindrajit Dube pointed out in The New York Times: the evidence suggests that around half of [...]


2 comments Read the full article →

A Second Look: the End (of History, War, the Enlightenment, and Western Civilization) Or Not

November 18, 2013

My recent posts on Syria were argued against a more global backdrop: considerations of war and how it is entered into, with what achievable (or other) ends in mind, and, more specifically again, how the United States engages in it. In focus were questions of American empire and the nature of victory and whether it [...]


0 comments Read the full article →

Syria, the Limits of Interventionism, and the International Order

November 11, 2013

Noted in the comments to the previous post, “A Plague: Contesting Syria, in Context,” is the posting of a reply to it at his blog from my ever wry blogging compadre, Snoopy the Goon. Please do  read it here. Below is my response to, ahem, the Goon. Dear Snoopy, How do we go on after [...]


9 comments Read the full article →

A Plague: Contesting Syria, in Context

November 4, 2013

Context They are always there, sitting on both shoulders, sounding into your ears. On either side, they buzz insistently their ceaseless drone. Now, they speak of Syria, whisper and wheedle action or inaction as they wish. They have been singing their songs of superpower or imperial America since the end of World War II. In [...]


14 comments Read the full article →

Norm of the Norm

October 22, 2013

I didn’t think I would write anything. I was not friend or family to Norm Geras, and so could speak nothing of the private man that those to whom he truly belonged had known. And how many were there who could say at least as much as I – that though I had never met [...]


5 comments Read the full article →

Edward Snowden and the Question of Authority (a Surveillance of Terms)

October 14, 2013

Edward Snowden received the Integrity Award from the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence this week, and WikiLeaks has posted several videos of the rarely-seen whistleblower during the event. The Huffington Post As opinions about Edward Snowden have flown wildly back and forth, the vocabulary of public debate has suffered woefully. The sorry truth is that [...]


7 comments Read the full article →

A Second Look: James Madison & the Tea Party

October 2, 2013

The current government shut down over the Affordable Healthcare Act speaks directly to issues found in the nation’s beginnings. Among the many ironies of Tea Party foolishness is that while its adherents are enemies of federalism and shape minor deities of the nation’s founders, the nation’s founders very purposefully opted for federalism. This post from [...]


4 comments Read the full article →

Homer (Dean Adler)

September 29, 2013

September 1, 1999 – September 27, 2013 Homer was a 21st century dog, so he took the last names of both his parents… In his tenth month, he met his adoptive older sister, Penelope (Anne Dean – third and most diminutive in the line of Anne Deans)… It was instant love, and through the rest [...]


25 comments Read the full article →

Masters of War

September 11, 2013

 “Masters of War,” compellingly titled, fortuitously timed in its creation, ranks among Bob Dylan’s most jejune songs. The apparent good fortune of its historic timing emerged out of a natural uprising from circumstance. Given that circumstance, and the song’s generalized complaint, how, it almost seems, could the United States not have become fully drawn into [...]


8 comments Read the full article →

Forgetfulness Is a Chemical Weapon

September 6, 2013

Something fails to fire. Across the synaptic gap, neurotransmission falls short. For only a moment or forever, we cease to remember – “as if,” Billy Collins writes, … one by one, the memories you used to harbor decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain, to a little fishing village where there are [...]


4 comments Read the full article →

A Second Look: The Brotha & the Otha

August 21, 2013

President Obama’s summer vacation just concluded, there was a fair amount of attention to the frequency of his golfing: courses traversed, rounds played, partners played with. ABC News even gave us “Obama’s Vacation by the Numbers.” He made FIVE outings to local restaurants, including TWO dinners with friends, ONE intimate night out with the first [...]


3 comments Read the full article →

Citizen Bloomberg & the Fallacy of Appeal to Efficacy

August 13, 2013

When will it stop? I’m asking. When? These are supposedly educated people. (If all the supposeds in the world were actuals, the world would be a far, far better place than it has ever been before: all the cows would come home to hear the fat lady sing.) When will the people who would lead [...]


0 comments Read the full article →

Talkin’ Shit about Race: Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman

July 30, 2013

Had I served on George Zimmerman’s jury I believe I would have voted to convict him of manslaughter. I form this belief independent of Trayvon Martin’s race or any conviction about Zimmerman’s racial animus or suspicions. I would have voted to convict George Zimmerman of manslaughter had Trayvon Martin been white. Had Trayvon Martin been [...]


27 comments Read the full article →

Helen Thomas and Oedipus

July 21, 2013

On the CNN’s Reliable Sources this morning, new host David Folkenflik hosted three female journalists, including Judy Woodruff and Candy Crowley in considering the career and legacy of Helen Thomas. The entire discussion addressed Thomas’s groundbreaking career and generous influence on young women journalists like Woodruff and Crowley. Just before the end of the discussion, [...]


5 comments Read the full article →