Recent blog posts
About This Site
Professor Krugman has more than made up for his minor error the other day with his latest column on education policy. The Republicans are hell bent on dragging the US into the third world (or the middle ages) — no public health care, no public education, religion instead of science, etc. etc. — and the Democrats have been entirely ineffective in stopping them, despite the fact that they control the federal government. (How sad is that, really?)
Why do Republicans hate America so much?
(I personally don't think Obama should have won the award. The Nobel should never go to an American president who is currently prosecuting two wars. An obvious point, it seems to me. That Obama ran for office as "the anti-war" candidate makes his inaction in the name of peace all the more frustrating. Note, however, that the Republicans are complaining for the opposite reason, that Obama hasn't killed enough people.)
Professor Krugman says in his latest column, on the politics of spite:
But he's wrong. Indeed, I'd say that he's just insulted bratty 13-year-olds everywhere.
No, the emotional maturity we're seeing from the GOP is strictly infantile.
Amanda at Pandagon has a good post about gender and religion. We always want to jump to essentialist explanations of gender differences, but the most likely account is sociological, not psychological. Go read the whole thing.
I've returned from my trip to Lisbon for the ESA annual meeting. The conference was great, and the panel I chaired went well. Lots of interesting discussion about visual semiotics, visual literacy and narratives.
Here are a few of the hundreds of pictures I took on the trip. Lisbon is a remarkably beautiful city.
More pics under the fold.
Head over to Crooks & Liars to read about the latest explanation of our current political madness. Jon Perr has laid out the case for a diagnosis.
Make sure you're protected against this CTD.
So says Bill Moyers and he is absolutely right. Understanding this certainly makes it easier to explain the Democrats cowardice on health care reform.
The religious haters are proud of their hate; they see intolerance as a virtue. Don't believe me? Take a look at TPM's coverage of yet another preacher praying for Obama's death.
Prayer is, of course, a waste of time. But the fact that this douchebag and others like him wear their hatred as a badge of honor, and that they aren't immediately run out of town, suggests to me that civilization is missing from many places in the US.
When people believe that they have a right to do something because "God said so" they are the most dangerous people on the planet. If you want to see how this looks up close, read this chilling story in the Guardian about a group of Israeli settlers intent on building an new West Bank settlement.
Rory McCarthy lets one of the settler activists explain her motivation. She believes:
In case you don't see the religious connection, the settlers are even more explicit about their motives:
When you consider that there are similar fanatics among the Palestinians, it is easy to understand why the region has been steeped in violence for so long.
Religion will be the death of us all.
Jesse Taylor at Pandagon is on to something here:
We should be protesting that some corporations want to make a profit on sickness — as bad as war profiteering, if you ask me — but instead folks are out there demanding that the insurance and pharmaceutical industries' "right" to profit from sickness be protected. Talk about fucked up.
When Republicans were in control of the federal government, the left protested. There was lots of invective and demonstrations. But we never showed up to public events armed, talking about "watering the tree of liberty with blood."
To simplify: the left = political opposition, participatory democracy. The right = flirting with political violence and hooliganism.
Josh Marshall at TPM has a fuller consideration. He notes:
Once again, the right wing is mainstreaming political extremism.
Rick Perlstein, writing in the Washington Post, reminds us that the right-wing in America has always been crazy. He boils it down:
If the corporate elites and their Republican toadies succeed, it will be due to this collective hysteria. I think there are enough rational people to keep them from taking over, but the irrationality of the mob can spread unexpectedly. We are always on the verge. Fascism in America is the blooming of the crazy tree.
Barbara Ehrenreich has a great op-ed in the Times about disturbing trend toward criminalizing poverty in the US.
This is what people mean by the "Reagan revolution." No laws for the world's owners and a nasty criminal justice system for everyone else.
Go read the whole thing.
The use of violence (and the threat of violence) as a domestic political strategy is a tell-tale sign. Sara at Orcinus has a thoughtful analysis of the direction we're heading. Mixing greedy corporate interests (and the windbags who shill for them) and the far-right racist fringe is contraindicated for any democratic polity.
It isn't fun to think about how this might end. The politics of resentment contributes nothing positive to our civic life.
What can progressives do to stop the slide?
The base of the Republican party seems to be animated entirely the politics of resentment of southern, white men. The old forms of power have changed somewhat — we still live in a white patriarchy, of course — and the resentment of those who now feel threatened by myriad "others" is the only reason that the GOP still exists.
This resentment is easily exploited by the corporate class, which explains the thuggish opposition to health care reform.
It also explains the persistence of the birther lunacy.
I'm just back from the IVSA annual meeting, held this year in Carlisle, Cumbria, UK. It was a great conference with lots of interesting panels. I spent a few days in Manchester before and after the meeting — Manchester is a major city with an international airport, and a lovely cosmopolitan urban culture.
Here are a few images from my wanderings around the city. The John Rylands Library was the highlight of the trip. A cathedral to books! (Much better than the other kind of cathedral.) There was a protest for democracy in Iran in Picadilly Garden while I was there.
More photos under the fold.
Professor Krugman explains what Goldman Sachs record profits mean:
Is it any surprise that the Obama administration is doing nothing to reduce the power of the finance corporations? No, it isn't. Both parties are wholly owned by corporate power. Anyone who believes that the Democrats are America's labor party deserves a kick in the shins.
Those that made fortunes ruining the economy will make fortunes "fixing" it — that is, making it look good until the next crisis — and even the Democrats, supposedly the party of the non-elites, are eager to enable them.
Matt Taibbi has another great essay on the subject. I like his metaphor:
Capitalism is a form of organized crime. It has always been such, and Taibbi's analysis of the culpability of Goldman Sachs and others leaves no doubt. We continue to let them rob us because we continue to believe that their crimes are in our best interest. Wake up!
They'll keep stealing from us as long as we let them. Let's stop pretending that Obama, or any Democrat, wants to stop them, let alone would be able to anyway.
The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life. Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth. -- IWW
In a democracy it is necessary that people should learn to endure having their sentiments outraged. -- Bertrand Russell
Let us strangle the last king with the entrails of the last priest. -- Denis Diderot
It's not that no one sees the straight line to Doomtown we've been on since Reagan, it's that there's big profits in it. The most superficially Christian and Other-Worldly-Yearning nation in the developed world is the one most likely to kill you for your shoes. -- Doghouse Riley
The true purpose of education is to try to foster in students a kind of critical cosmopolitanism, such that they learn, among other things, to question any notion that one’s nation or tribe is favored by God or destiny. -- Michael Bérubé
It is not enough to decry the existence of the Spectacle. We intend to use both art and theory as a battering ram against Capitalism and its false opposition, tribalism, in all of its mystical forms. We believe it is possible to move beyond the inexcusable savagery of everyday life. -- The Anti-Naturals
Smartest Blogs in North America
Sites I Read