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Showing posts from February 26, 2006

rachel, rachel

Rachel, Rachel The Anti-Rachel Carson crowd is a surprising vituperative bunch. If you take an unpleasant stroll around the net, you can find plenty of apoplectic pesticide-ophiles, telling you things like “…today malaria infects between 300 million and 500 million people annually, killing as many 2.7 million of them.” (which I got from Reason’s screed against Silent Spring). Seeing that number is like smelling the trace of the exterminator. Obviously, that many new cases would mean that soon, everybody would be infected with malaria. Actually, that figure talks about something different. As Reed Karaim explained in this summer’s American Scholar: “But what about the 300 to 500 million people who "get" malaria annually? When most people hear that, I believe they think "new cases." (After all, you can't get it if you got it, right?) If that were true, then we would be in the middle of terrifying global epidemic. There are only 6.4 billion people on the planet,

Why we love him

"Part of my mission today was to determine whether or not the president is as committed as he has been in the past to bringing these terrorists to justice, and he is," Bush said at a joint press conference at the presidential place after more than an hour of private talks with Musharraf, an army general who seized power in a bloodless 1999 coup. "He understands the stakes, he understands the responsibility, and he understands the need to make sure our strategy is able to defeat the enemy." Once again, our Rebel in Chief has upended the few, hardcore Islamofascist critics he has at home. “Making sure our strategy is able to defeat the enemy” – there will be gnashing of teeth as once again, he nails it. What a strategist! Those sniveling defeatists did not even see this coming. But the liberal MSM, which as many in the Insta planetary system have been pointing out, have been lying about the greatest man to sit in the Oval Office since Jesus Christ, is not going to

all hail rachel carson

LI has been puzzled, over the last couple years, at the elevation of George Orwell into some kind of template of the politically engaged intellectual. It isn’t that we dislike Orwell – on the contrary. But there really is nothing so ridiculous as the imitation of Orwell that gets imposed on us by the cult. A typical example the cult’s bizarre notion that Orwell is the very essence of what we are all to strive for, us penmen who do the easy task of scribbling in the margins of newspapers, is an essay in the American Prospect on Dwight Macdonald, written by John Rodden and Jack Rossi. No doubt honorable guys – yet the article is almost comic in its insistence that Macdonald is important because he is a pallid rerun of the ever beloved George. The first graf tells us that the beloved clichés are going to be laid on here like the icing on a mafia wedding cake: “IN 1958, WRITING IN THE JESUIT weekly America, the historian John Lukacs speculated whether Dwight Macdonald might become &qu

uncle sam's pretender

LI has had the type of day that would have shattered Dmitri Karamazov’s nerves. And about that, I will keep my mouth shut – dark is the grave wherein my hopes are laid, and like that. I do want to give a big shout out to Mr. T. from NYC – rescuing me from financial ruin. It is so nice not to be on the rocks. So … given that I don’t have the energy to go ahuntin’ after our Rebel in Chief today – and given also that I’m getting an extraordinary influx of visitors, thanks to The Empire Burlesque , Tiny Revolution , and TheModernWorld – I think I’ll reprise a fortuitous bit of profiling I did a couple of weeks ago. I’ve noticed today that many are the pundits who are shocked by that Katrina video in which our Prez is paralyzed with the realization that, once again, events are going to be too big for him. These pundits have woven a campfire tale of the brave and bold President for years, and like kids telling a scary story, they fell for it themselves. They felt called upon to do so

the trifecta fuckup

One of the constants going across the Rebel in Chief’s administration is what you might call the trifecta fuckup. A monstrous fuck up happens – say, the almost insane way we now know that the U.S. “cornered” Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora, without putting troops along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan; then an excuse or a coverup will be made; and then, amazingly, the fuckup becomes a precedent for further fuckups. Since there were too few troops in Afghanistan to do the job right – why not put too few troops in Iraq, too? The latest fuckup trifecta has roiled the Governor’s Association recently. Here's how it works. A monstrous fuckup happened – the response to Katrina that wasn’t. As we all know, and as the Bush report to itself says (which stoutly refused to point fingers – why worry about the past when we can proudly say that we have not fucked up the future?), the breakdown in that response was due, in large part, to not getting army units and national guardsmen in p

objectively harming the war effort

LI harps like a monomaniac angel in the heavenly choir on the various sins of the zombies, the followers of our Rebel in Chief – and we do not harp enough on the various sins of the left. Or leftiers. Among which the worst, to our mind, has been the failure to protest and try to block this war after the invasion happened. The collapse of the anti-war movement – its incredible weakness, compared to, say, the anti-war movement in the Vietnam years – has really scorched us. The failure is organizational and attitudinal. Re the latter: there is nothing left bloggers like better than to find some rightwing figure declaring that opposition to the war here has objectively harmed the war effort and to indignantly refute said rightwing figure. To LI, the idea of objectively harming the U.S. war effort is WHAT WE ARE ALL ABOUT. From anti-recruiting to protest, the point is to cripple the U.S. war effort in Iraq, no more and no less. LI looks with longing at those peasant and worker movements

giving praise to a laissez faire crank

LI’s readers should go to the Online Liberty Library, if they have never been there , just for the pure beauty of the thing. This month they have done something pretty spectacular – they are putting up the 33 volumes of John Stuart Mill’s collected works. Wow. There are a few extraordinary sites on the Net, just in terms of sheer academic bibliophilia. I’m not talking about the general library thing that Gutenberg does. There’s the on-line publication of Simmel’s collected works. There’s the wonderful, polyglot Marxist library. But the OLL is ahead of all of these. I don’t know who is funding it – no doubt some laissez faire crank. But I don’t care. So… I downloaded the classic essays on Bentham, Coleridge, Whewall, etc. The Coleridge essay is one of Mill’s great works – and tragically neglected. In it, Mill delineates the tension between the progressive and the conservative using Bentham as his emblematic lefty, and Coleridge as his emblematic righty. “By Bentham, beyond all

a pessoa moment

Life is sad for LI. Yesterday, we were hot to attend a reading of the Khirgiz national epic up at U.T. Apparently it is a very long epic, not to be recited in a mere fit or two, and the U.T. group was going to simply engage in some samplin’ of those primordial Central Asian sayings. Alas, some fool stole our bike a couple of days ago, so we are reduced to footing it or public transportation. So we get out, trek to the nearest busstop, nurse a Marlboro – oh, just to cut a profile. In actuality, we haven’t even reached the piker's demi-semi-carcinogenic pack a month. Still, a Marlboro under the non starling or any bird delighting February heaven, waiting for a bus, going to the Khirgiz epic party – we were feeling classic. Of course, public transportation dwindles, on the weekends, to an irregular dab of bus or two, none of them going where we wanted to go. So much for our classic evening. So much for contact with a place we only know from the great sections in Gravity’s Rainbow, t

in the empire of bubbles

From the NYT Week in Review: “Iraq is less a nation than an artificial entity drawn created by the British. In recent years, only the brutality of Saddam Hussein held its parts together.” 1. Actually, all parts of the Ottoman empire, after it collapsed, were artificial entities. Followed in the order of history by the artificial entity of Israel. Saudi Arabia is an artifice created by the brute force of the Saud family. Lebanon and Syria were created, jointly, by the French and the British, but the easy overflow of Syria into Lebanon did not prompt any such recollective comments by the NYT. The most ‘natural’ entity in the Middle East is Iran – and in 1991, we saved the most artificial entity in the entire area, Kuwait. 2. The brutality of Saddam Hussein actually tore things asunder instead of holding things together. Under Iraq’s king, and the military that overthrew the king, and the Baathists that succeeded that military, Iraq endured and actually prospered, in spite of the S