Current Wisdom

Current Wisdom

By From the March 2011 issue

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Washington Post

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 19 other innocents are shot by a mentally deranged barbarian who believes in mind control and this is what appears in the Post news story-not commentary, news story:

Her 2010 Republican opponent, 29-year-old former Marine Sgt. Jesse Kelly, held campaign events under the slogan "Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office" and invited his supporters to "shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly."

(January 9, 2011)

New York Times

Precious thoughts from Aurelie Sheehan, "director of the creative writing program at the University of Arizona," apparently perpetrated with the encouragement of the editors of the imbecilic Times:

I spent early Saturday morning writing a short story set in Tucson. I've lived here for a decade, but it's only recently that I've felt I can claim the place as a subject. The impetus for writing about it hasn't been love so much as anxiety, a sense that it's in danger somehow-on many fronts.

That feeling of danger hit hard when I slouched out of my office to get another cup of coffee and my husband, mid-chat, looked up from his computer to tell me Representative Gabrielle Giffords had been shot, as had several other people. At a Safeway, of all places.

We stared at the local news Web site, trying to understand this new reality. A headline for an earlier article describing a lesser calamity still dominated the page: "BB Gun Killed 80 Bats Found Under East-Side Bridge, G & F Concludes," with a picture of a frail bat clinging to an embankment. To the right of this, the stark words of a breaking news bulletin: Gabrielle Giffords, 40, shot point-blank in the head.

Our 11-year-old daughter came out of her bedroom. She was wrapped in her fuzzy blanket, ready to listen to Taylor Swift or play Fruit Ninja on her iPod. Instead she listened to her mother tell of the shooting of our congresswoman and, as the news came in, the killing of her aide, a federal judge, a 9-year-old girl (who, like our daughter, had served on her student council) and three elderly citizens. She watched her mother cry....

It's been a tough couple of years here since the presidential election, and our friendships with some Republicans have grown strained. In the wake of this attack, I don't know if we will be able to talk to each other more now, if we will reach out across the political divide, or if the sides will become further entrenched, if this is the harbinger of more divisiveness.

(January 10, 2011)

Huffington Post

The son of Robert Kennedy offers observations of a socio/historical nature before returning to the bottle:

Jack's death forced a national bout of self-examination. In 1964, Americans repudiated the forces of right-wing hatred and violence with an historic landslide in the presidential election between LBJ and Goldwater. For a while, the advocates of right-wing extremism receded from the public forum. Now they have returned with a vengeance-to the broadcast media and to prominent positions in the political landscape.

Gabrielle Giffords lies in a hospital room fighting for her life, and a precious nine-year-old girl is dead along with five others. Let's pray for them and for our country and hope this tragedy prompts another round of examination of conscience.

(January 11, 2011)

In These Times

Up in the treetops of Congo, some demented writer for In These Times has perceived the future, and it is filled with "A Kinder, Gentler, Bisexual Great Ape":

When Dominique Morel arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997, she had no background in animal protection. Nor had she heard of bonobos, one of the two great ape species most closely related to humans. But after her first visit to the bonobo sanctuary founded by the Congolese nonprofit Amis de Bonobos du Congo (ABC), Morel fell in love with the peaceful matriarchal creatures. Although they share 98.7 percent of the humans' DNA, bonobos have created a society-unlike that of chimps and people-without violence, in which sex is a form of mediation.

(February 2011)

The Progressive

Proof of the disgusting stuff foisted on the youths of Podunk with the full cooperation of government bureaucrats at the USDA, many of whom are obese and some of whom smoke cigarettes and an occasional cigar:

My kids' school is awash in fresh fruits and vegetables this year. We're lucky. The school is just one of a handful in our community that received a federal Fresh Fruits and Vegetable grant. These are available through the USDA for schools with mainly low-income students. We spend Sunday mornings buying produce at the local farmers' market, a few blocks from our school. On Monday nights, parents get together at a church across the street from the school to wash and chop the produce. Then we load it in the school fridge so the fourth and fifth graders can pass it out three mornings a week.

As labor intensive as this whole process is, it is intensely rewarding. Watching the kids gobble up watermelon on the playground or try cherry tomatoes for the first time in class-and hearing them say, "Cool, green beans!"-it is a big lift.

(November 2010)

The Nation

Young Eric Alterman inadvertently comes across a national disgrace, yet leaves unsaid still another disgrace; these poor people are really fat:

Think about it. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush talked incessantly about fiscal responsibility and lost no opportunity to denounce deficit spending, but these principles flew out the window when it came time to raise taxes on the rich. The new bunch are [sic] even worse. Incoming House Ways and Means chair Dave Camp recently told George Will that one of the biggest problems with our tax system is that too few poor people pay income tax.

(January 24, 2011)

New Republic

The somnambulistic John B. Judis offers up The Death of Conservatism thesis, circa 2009, renewed with Botox and a nose job, and hesto presto suddenly the 2010 elections never happened and Barack Obama is FDR rather than a community organizer without a community:

The Republicans' identification of socialism with spending, and their pledge to cut the budget and fight increases in the debt ceiling, could imperil the country's recovery-or even precipitate, as happened in 1937 and 1938, a double-dip recession. And Republican determination to cut spending on green technology and infrastructure threatens America's future beyond this immediate business cycle. Put that together with a likely revival of the kind of neo-isolationism that characterized the Republicans of the 1990s, and you have a recipe for U.S. decline.

In the end, the Republicans will probably exhaust whatever mandate they think they procured from the 2010 elections. The country as a whole doesn't support counterrevolution, and, when it finally sees it in action, it will almost certainly repudiate the GOP at the polls. Whether that happens sooner or later depends on the political skills of Obama and the Democrats. In the meantime, the current Republican Party-a party that would make Clinton Rossiter shudder in his grave-can still do considerable damage.

(February 3, 2011)

Washington Post

A gentleman with the macho name of Hank Stuever reviews a documentary on the life of General Robert E. Lee, commander in chief of the Confederate army, and gives himself over to the New Heroism-history as seen by nobody in particular:

As the anniversaries of this skirmish and that battle trundle through, I'm more eager to know of the domestic details of the 1860s, nuggets of everyday life on the periphery of the Civil War. In the 21st century, we are more emotionally and academically equipped to revisit the war era through the eyes of blacks, Native Americans and women. We are more able to have conversations about culture, fashion, food, song-all the things that exist on the margin.

(January 2, 2011)

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