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Showing posts from March 12, 2006

d.c. linguistics

There was a story on the radio the other day about a new movie, "thank you for smoking," that features a cigarette industry lobbyist as its hero. The cigarette lobbyist does funny things, like, for instance, trying to brand anti-tobacco programs aimed at children with cigarette company names – this anti-smoking film is brought to you by R.J. Reynolds, for example. In actual fact, the cigarette lobbyist in the film is a tame and pallid version of the real life wild wild D.C. variety. Example: There’s a story in the WAPO today about the D.C. Federal court overturning one of Bush’s responses to Global Warming – making it easier for coal plants to pollute. “Under the revised policy that was rejected by the court yesterday, power plants and other industrial polluters would not have to install new pollution technology if they modernized less than 20 percent of their operations.” What this means, in layman’s terms, is that coal plants simply cannot shift those costs of operat

our long national nightmare is over

The only thing more frightening to the Iranians than the U.S. leaving Iraq, would be -- and this is my preference -- the U.S. succeeding in Iraq. – Thomas Friedman These are the times that try men’s souls, but then along comes a man with a message. A surprising message, a message of hope. Sometimes it is Jesus. Sometimes it is Einstein. But this time it is Tom Friedman. His message is a shocker, but it will certain buck up LI’s readers, mired as some of us may be in doubt. The message is: the U.S. should succeed (!) in Iraq. I mean, it is almost incredible that he was able to print that in the NYT. That’s a supersecret strategy. Apparently he was rushed to the Pentagon right away, and as we write he is putting, in big, bold chalk letters right there on the blackboard for Rumsfeld to see: S-U-C-E-D. This is next to a chalk cloudy S-C-U-D and frantically half erased S-E-C-U-D – our messiah is no pussy speller, bitches. But he is going to get it right, and then, oh heavens, the lights

the bloody third -- part 2

Another post (re my post below) from the travelogue of the beginning of this war. A home movie. I'll entitle this clip, "what do you get when you have a sick and narcissistic left?" You get debate on a level that would make the angels -- the departed souls of the babies on the Gerber jars, those boomer emblems -- weep. March 13, 2003 Comrades one and all.... There's a rather genteel exchange between Doug Ireland and Christopher Hitchens in this week's LA Weekly. It begins, unpromisingly enough, with Ireland writing: "My old friend Christopher Hitchens will be in Los Angeles on Saturday, March 15, for a debate at the Wiltern Theater." The phrase "old friend" pops up with distressing frequency whenever anti-war media people start writing about Hitchens. It's the friendship that blinds them, perhaps, to the kind of figure he is. This kind of transplant from the left to the right is a familiar figure in times of violent reaction. In France

the bloody third

The bloody third anniversary. There is a demonstration in Austin tomorrow, starting at eleven. Myself, I'd advise --as a protest -- reading MacBeth, today. Take this passage as your guide to Iraq: MALCOLM Let us seek out some desolate shade, and there Weep our sad bosoms empty. MACDUFF Let us rather Hold fast the mortal sword, and like good men Bestride our down-fall'n birthdom: each new morn New widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds As if it felt with Scotland and yell'd out Like syllable of dolour. MALCOLM What I believe I'll wail, What know believe, and what I can redress, As I shall find the time to friend, I will. In honor of this anniversary, we are going to publish a little travelogue of posts. A travelogue from a man who never budged, a pocket Cassandra. This is from March 09, 03: March 09 03 The Exile's Temptation "C'est une

their every word is a lie

Later Thursday, Rice was twice shouted down by anti-war protesters as she spoke to students at Sydney University's music school. "Condoleezza Rice, you're a war criminal," a young man shouted minutes Rice began her address. "Iraqi blood is on your hands and you can't wash that blood away," he repeated until guards led him away. Rice drew applause with her response: "I'm glad to see that democracy is well and alive at the university," she said, adding that democracy is now also alive at universities in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq. – Washington Post BBC report, 10 January 2006 “Text of report by Ali Ajjam headlined "Shi'i and Sunni extremists tighten grip over the cities of Mesopotamia, Iraqi religious parties have secured control over Basra and turned its universities into centres of mourning for Al-Husayn and its department into mobilization centres" published by London-based newspaper Al-Hayat website on 6 Januar

remember, remember

It has been a long time since I bothered with Norman Geras’ blog, or others in the supposedly left pro-war camp. But I did go to the Geras blog tonight , and found a reply to Madeleine Bunting’s op ed in the Guardian. Bunting's article is a j'accuse, directed against the pro-war intellectuals -- the belligeranti. Geras’ reply comes in several parts. Here are three of the Iraq parts: “Ingredient 4 This one concerns the distribution of blame. It's totally forthright, but only in one direction: '[T]he most catastrophic blunder in half a century of British and American foreign policy. Ill-conceived and spectacularly badly implemented...'; 'the politicians who made the decisions, who lied, and ignored and manipulated expert opinion are still in power and still uttering the same meaningless platitudes.' As for the daily carnage being perpetrated by political forces actively opposed to any democratic process and bound by none of the recognized moral constraint

the world historical tinkerer

"To invent useful and successful inventions, those with inventive minds should take up individual advanced work and study along some worthwhile line. One should not be afraid to look far, far into the future and visualize the things that might be. . . . Remember, the things which are so commonplace today would have been the ravings of a fanatic a few years ago .”—Earl Silas Tupper LI had promised, last week, to surprise the world by delineating the features of the tinkerer, considered dialectically. Well, the world yawned, days passed, LI went to the rodeo, and – as our readers can see – there is still no earthshaking tinker post, to put beside that moment, in the Phenomenology of Spirit, where Hegel finds the embodiment of self-consciousness rising up as a narrative moment involving emblematic figures draped in the rich white vocabulary of abstraction. This morning we are dosed with the proper amount of coffee, and we successfully pieced together a post for another site that