politics

No Cant or Sanctimony on Andrew Breitbart

March 1, 2012

. Consider that Andrew Breitbart was a contemporary new media turn on Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. Imagine either of those two dying not in the faded aftermath of their celebrity and achievements, as they were, but at the height of their notoriety. That said, I will be very surprised to read a fairer, wiser consideration [...]


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Everything Old is Newt Again

December 2, 2011

. I’ve taken some time off for real life this week – that oddly embodied and sensate earthly manifestation so much more vivid than Cyberlife. It’s been a trip. I kinda liked it, so – I don’t know – worldly. Still, I have received communiqués from that way station between the two worlds – political [...]


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CineFile – Elmer Gantry

August 21, 2011

Something about yesterday’s post made me think of the great Burt Lancaster performance in the Richard Brooks film of Sinclair Lewis‘s “Elmer Gantry.” One way or another, they’re always selling salvation.   Related articles Does Perry Have an “Elmer Gantry” Problem? (politicalwire.com) Elmer Gantry and the Cult of Personality (patheos.com) CineFile – Nobody’s Fool (sadredearth.com) [...]


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Politics and Art

February 14, 2011

Vladimir Nabokov did not like the novel of ideas. Artists often have their idiosyncratic dislikes, contrary expressions of the unique aesthetic vision that drives their own work. Particularly, Nabokov did not like the work of those monuments of great-idea novels, Dostoyevsky and Mann, though there is no reason his distaste should have excluded the novels [...]


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CineFile: Mothers, Sons, & Political Paranoia

February 13, 2011

In the 1950s there really was a communist threat. It just wasn’t in the United States, even though there were surely many more American communist supporters and sympathizers then than there are Americans today who are supporters of any form of Islamism. Even then Joe McCarthy claimed that there were communists in the Pentagon, and [...]


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The Self-Parody of Sarah Palin

November 17, 2010

And the essence of Tea Party Inanity (TPI), from Sarah Palin: We know that Obama wasn’t vetted through the campaign, and now, you know, some things are coming home to roost, if you will, which is inexperience, his associations, and that ultimately harms our republic when a candidate isn’t — isn’t vetted by the media, [...]


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The People Our Parents Warned Us Against

November 4, 2010

Image via Wikipedia The Obama campaign refrain, “We are the people we have been waiting for” was meant to be a revelation of responsibility – not to wait for others to shape the world the hopeful want, but to do it themselves. Obama’s political enemies (let’s be straight: they’re not critics – they’re enemies) represented [...]


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Election 2010 – Remember

November 2, 2010

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Michael Sandel: The lost art of democratic debate

August 11, 2010

Harvard’s Sandel offers a pithy “real-world” introduction to thinking about justice – Aritstotle’s still “da man” – and defense of reasoned, democratic debate. There is a tendency to think that if we engage too directly with moral questions in politics, that’s a recipe for disagreement, and for that matter a recipe for intolerance and coercion; [...]


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Ten Questions for Monday

August 2, 2010

No more weekend. Work time now. Do the citizens of a nation bear any individual moral responsibility for the wars fought in their name, and the consequential death and destruction? If so, does that responsibility have any practical meaning beyond a purported burden of conscience? Does a claim of the war’s justness relieve that responsibility? [...]


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Ten Questions for Monday

July 19, 2010

Weekend over. Work, back to it. 1.     What is it about Argentina or the United States that led the former to legalize gay marriage long before the U.S. is likely to on any national level? 2.     In disagreeing with CNN’s decision to fire Ocatavi Nasr for praising Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, Thomas Friedman of The [...]


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Analogize This

July 13, 2010

From time to time on this blog I have offered my opinion on the use of analogies in political argumentation. Generally speaking: not well done. An analogy became the culminating point of focus in that Jeffrey Goldberg-Glenn Greenwald dispute a couple of weeks ago that I covered over a series of posts. In “Pino/Cheney,” I [...]


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Democrats Are Punks.

January 21, 2010

I’m not a fire breather. I’m really not. Really. I’m not. I thought Moveon.org had something to do with Monica Lewinsky getting over it already. The Daily Kos? Can I find that on the newsstands? (The what?) But Democrats are punks. Really. They are. In Politics and Shame I argued how the Democrats had voted [...]


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Mind Games III: “Optics”

January 15, 2010

“The Brotha and the Otha” (Scene: the White House – the Oval Office. President Obama sits behind his desk. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel stands before him.) Emanuel: Okay, next – where you thinking of for your vacation? Obama: I was thinking we’d go to Hawaii. Emanuel (chin descending, eyes ascending): Not a good idea. [...]


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Conservative-kido: A Shrink Sidesteps a Scribe

September 10, 2009

ShrinkWrapped is, well, a shrink. A self-described libertarian-conservative psychoanalyst who blogs. We read each other – I think a little like peering into that backyard telescope at a galaxy far, far away. He says he attempts to be a reasonable libertarian-conservative, as he kindly offers that I attempt to be a reasonable liberal blogger. It’s [...]


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Reporting on the Honduran Coup

July 10, 2009

Reading through the Screens of Bias The New York Times has a poignant story, in significant miniature, of how last week’s coup in Honduras has split Honduran society. Jorge Arturo Reina, Honduran ambassador to the United Nations has sided with ousted President Manuel Zelaya. Honduran ambassador to the United States Roberto Flores Bermúdez, Reina’s former [...]


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Lessons in Democracy

June 12, 2009

The New York Times reports that a majority of New Yorkers do not favor Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s serving another term, despite Blumenthal’s success last October in getting the New York City Council to “extend” term limits so that he and council members could all serve third terms. Term limits were imposed in New York City [...]


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Bad Argument

May 18, 2009

It’s everywhere among the political class. On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Liz Cheney, Dick’s daughter, and Steve Schmidt, late of John McCain’s campaign, joined Clinton stalwart James Carville and The Nation‘s Katrina Vanden Heuvel for a round table with venerable conservative George Will. On the matter of potential removal of some foreign prisoners [...]


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Zhao Ziyang and Charles Freeman

May 14, 2009

The New York Times reports today of a rare and remarable occurrence, the publicly released memoir of communist Chinese leader – secretly recorded, in this case, during his 16-year house-arrest prior to his death, by former party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, deposed in 1989 for being soft on the Tiananmen demonstrators before the ultimate crackdown [...]


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Tortured Argument

May 8, 2009

The next several years of the torture debate will be variously instructive, not least in what we already see in the low form and manner of important public political argument among figures who should have been schooled to a higher level. The debate will last at least a few years, and it will distress in [...]


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The Reckoning Will Come

April 29, 2009

Others will not let us forget – as they shouldn’t – even if we want to. The Spanish, through Baltasar Garzon, held Pinochet to account decades later. Now they turn the scrutiny of the law on the U.S., which has long and often sought to hold others to account. Who will we be in the [...]


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