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Showing posts from April 6, 2008

Meanwhile, in afghanistan

This must be Clio’s year for poetic justice. There’s a good chance that, as President Backbone waltzes out of office, like a slacker’s version of the Juggernaut, Osama bin Laden, America’s favorite demon, will be waltzing into Afghanistan. Apparently the Bush economic policy of world class peculation for the wealthy, synergized with the huge Ponzi scheme of securitizing an infinite amount of debt in a finite financial space, is not only having the desired effect of boosting the price of oil for all his pals in the industry, but - as the dollar collapses - is also pushing grain prices higher to create the one two punch in Afghanistan: higher prices, less food. The neo-cons chuckled heartily about the liberal fear, as we invaded Afghanistan in 2001, of starvation hitting that country. They knew that you don’t order up starvation just like that – you have to really work at it. It’s the Marshall plan in reverse! A blog that we are adding to our list, Abu Muqawama, has an interesting post

opinions as expertise

Ten years ago, in the pre-LI days, we didn’t think that much about politics. LI was a different person – oh, habitually and thoughtlessly leftist, but in point of fact, in my New Haven cocoon, my chief concern, besides love love love, was working on my novel. I was happy. Then I made some decisions, like moving away from a place where I knew a lot of people to moving to a place where I knew few. Quitting secretary work, with its steady pay, to become a freelancer, where the payscale is equivalent to what you receive after a few hours patrol with a shakily scribbled cardboard sign and a coffee can out near the intersection of Lamar and 5th street. My fictional genius, the only thing in my life that I really ever liked, dried up. And, of course, as the Bush era kicked into high gear, I became all too aware of politics and, more keenly than ever before, of the total collapse and utter worthlessness of the so called “Left”. Of course, it was at this time, too, that it became easy to go to

the wonder and the 10 year rule

J.D. Beresford was a mid-level Edwardian man of letters – friend of D.H. Lawrence, to the extent that Lawrence had male friends – did the Georgian literary circuit, wrote a critical study of HG Wells, and a sci fi novel – The Hampdenshire Wonder – that was just re-issued in a critical edition from the University of Nebraska press. Because LI’s faithful reader Brian likes to mention SF, and because I’ve had fun reading Culture Monkey’s SF and Utopia posts , I picked it up, in a manner of speaking. It is the story of Victor Stott, a child of extraordinary, superhuman mental capability born to two ordinary parents – although one of them, to be fair, was a great cricketeer. His superiority to the merely human is evidenced from the instant he is born, since his gaze even in the first hours has the power, when turned on a person directly, to make that person feel like one of the lower creatures, a worm, a dog, or at the very least a servant. The story is narrated by a journalist, who we

cause and the newspapers

As a sage, LI is tickled by causal statements that are casually put out by newspapers, since they beg all the great philosophical questions about causes, while collectively they show us exactly how ideology works. The New York Times would not, for instance, publish a headline like: “400 murders happen across US – poverty blamed.” But the NYT headline about the daily doings of the stock market are invariably couched in causal terms. Today, for instance, it is: Stocks Fall After Disappointing Earnings . Day after day a story about the stocks rising and falling has been woven, a story in which a big, broad, rough, easily seen causality is spotted to explain rises and falls. It is always, of course, local. Thus, the fall today comes about because of this: “Wall Street retreated moderately Tuesday after disappointing reports from aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. and chip maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. raised concerns about weaker-than-expected first-quarter earnings overall.” Now, of cours

A lack of common ground

LI admits to being a little out of joint with the current American kultcha. But there are times, oh, there are times when we realize that we just don’t get it. Case in point – this sad article about the end of the boom in Maricopa, Arizona, that could have been entitled, from my perspective: what if they offered you a great deal on property in Hell? Here are some descriptive grafs – and let me confess, I can coolly read the most disgusting tortures described in 100 days of Sodom, but this, this was almost beyond me. The agony, the vision that opens up of infinite environmental wreckage to create the most boring environment possible to train up children in the fine arts of psychpathy… “IN THE EARLY 1990S, Maricopa was a small farming community with a population of about 600, mostly longtime farmers and Hispanic laborers, along with a few American Indians. Local businesses included a low-profile Nissan testing site and the state’s largest beef-cattle feed lots — industries that chose Mar