Current Wisdom

Current Wisdom

By From the June 2011 issue

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New York Times
Sister Mary Holy Water (aka Maureen Dowd) ticks off Liberalism's theological indispensables just prior to John Paul II's beatification or beautification or whatever:

As progressive as he was on those issues, he was disturbingly regressive on social issues-contraception, women's ordination, priests' celibacy, divorce and remarriage. And certainly, John Paul forfeited his right to beatification [surely she means beautification] when he failed to establish a legal standard to remove pedophiles from the priesthood and simply turned away for many years.
(April 24, 2011)

Rodale News
From the carbon hoofprint fanatics, gourmet notes fit for a McDonald's near you:

Emmaus, Pa-The factory farms of the commercial livestock industry are a large contributor to greenhouse-gas production, not to mention antibiotic-resistant germs. Those are good reasons to shop around for tasty organic beef and chicken, and maybe make your diet a little less meat-centric.

But if you really want to do your part, consider chowing down on some more sustainable, less conventional protein sources, namely, edible insects. There's new data suggesting that widespread use of bugs for food would be a good move for the environment. A Dutch study published in the Public Library of Science's PLoS One journal set out to quantify greenhouse gas (GHG) production by several species of edible insects, including mealworms, house crickets, and migratory locusts. They found that the edible insects emitted comparable or lower amounts of GHG per relative growth rate than pigs, and much lower amounts than cattle.
(March 9, 2011)

The New Republic
Young Jonathan Chait, rather surprisingly, offers evidence that Paul Ryan's cuts are mere piffles:

The new GOP budget unveiled by Paul Ryan is a wildly cruel document. Yet pointing this out, as Democrats keep doing, seems only to flatter Ryan's self-conception as a serious man telling hard truths. So let me instead concede Ryan's moral premises. (Throw tens of millions of people off health care? Why not! Slash food stamps? It'll just inspire the next Dickens!) Instead, let's judge Ryan by his own standards. Does his plan, however, cruel, actually address our fiscal realities? No, it doesn't.
(April 6, 2011)

Piers Morgan Tonight (CNN)
Another semi-literate moment on the Piers Morgan show, this time with Miss Whoopi Goldberg performing the Goldberg Variations of a Drunk:

As a journalist, you know, twenty years ago, you know, you had to back up what you said. You had to back up; you had to have the facts. You couldn't just write something, and leave it. Now, because we have blogisphobic, blogisphures, blogis people, you know; and we have the Internet, you know, which just goes around and around and around, you know, in infinite. People can throw out anything as fact, and they don't have to check it; no one has to check; no one has to prove anything and this to me is a terrible disservice to the American people and to the Internet, man.
(April 13, 2011)

The Progressive
If you think the Japanese have it tough, peruse this chilling report from Amerika and the shocking vision of the poetess Miss Muriel Rukeyser, bedwetter:

As women, we are quiet about our personal lives, especially when it comes to sex. We are quiet because there is a history of abuse and violence and harm committed to those who tell the truth of their lives. Marriages are shattered. Families are broken. Judgments are rendered. The woman stands alone. Our stories live underground. I think of the poet Muriel Rukeyser, who asked this question: "What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open."
(April 2011)

New York Times
Dr. Paul Krugman provides evidence of the little voices that keep howling in his ears. In this case they are the "civility police," and they are very importunate:

Last week, President Obama offered a spirited defense of his party's values -- in effect, of the legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society. Immediately, thereafter, as always happens when Democrats take a stand, the civility police came out in force. The president, we were told, was being too partisan; he needs to treat his opponents with respect; he should have lunch with them, and work out a consensus.

That's a bad idea.
(April 18, 2011)

Woodrow Wilson Center
A summons to scholars to discuss the Soviets' early good-natured attempts at Socialist Globalization, which is still stubbornly referred to as the Cold War by American Know-Nothings at Fox News, the Heritage Foundation, and other ultra-right haunts:

Dear Colleagues:

The Wilson Center's Cold War International History Project, in cooperation with the European Studies program, cordially invite you to attend the following discussion:

The Soviet Bloc as a Project of Globalization

April 21, 2011

12:00 - 1:30 p.m.

6th floor boardroom

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Driven by the wider opening of communist-era archives, important new scholarly works have reassessed the origins of the Cold War in Europe and East Asia, local techniques of Soviet rule, and the interplay between ideology and geopolitics. Yet this research has often highlighted a paradox: scholars have often detailed failures at the national level, even as Sovietization became institutionalized and something recognizable like a "second world" did in fact emerge. What accounts for this paradox?

Based on extensive research in Albanian, German, and Russian archives and by focusing on transnational exchange, Elidor Mehilli, doctoral candidate in modern European and Eurasian history at Princeton University, presents the case for treating the Soviet bloc as a kind of globalization project. Mehilli's presentation discusses efforts to institutionalize socialist technical aid to the underdeveloped periphery, harmonize planning practices, and circulate ideas and people across borders. These circulations were not always directly controlled by the Soviets; East Germans and Czechoslovaks brought their own techniques and interests to the underdeveloped south. And just as these circulations helped shape a recognizable socialist material landscape, so they also generated misunderstandings, highlighted differences, and produced conflict. By offering a local, regional, and international view of these transfers and tensions, Mehilli's presentation surveys the grand ambitions and distinct peculiarities of socialist globalization.
(April 21, 2011)

From the Archives
Timeless Tosh from Current Wisdoms Past (June 1991):

New York Times
An inscrutable interlude with another 1960s nutball:

Joni Mitchell -- the woman who exalted the hippie culture of 20 years ago in the countercultural anthem "Woodstock"-is not especially sentimental about the 60s. One night recently, at a post-concert dinner party at which she, Sting, Bruce Springsteen and Don Henley shared a table, a young man approached and started waxing romantic about the 60s.

"I told him, 'Don't be romantic about it-we failed,'  " she recalled. "And he said, ‘Well, at least you tried.' And I said, ‘But we didn't try hard enough. We didn't learn from history. If any progress is to be made, we must show you how we failed.' "

In tracing her own artistic growth in the past 20 years, Ms. Mitchell uses metaphors drawn from American Indian mythology, in which the four points of the compass represent different ways of perceiving the world.

"At the time of 'Blue,' I was very west, which is emotion, and as a result I couldn't communicate with the northeast, which is more rational and business oriented," she said. "I had no defenses. I would look at the business people and burst into tears. They had to lock me up to make that record. There's a purity in ‘Blue' that comes from an almost-nothing-left-to-lose attitude. After that I had to grow some claws to survive, which means I had to develop my northeast and become more emotionally detached."
(March 17, 1991) 

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