Current Wisdom

Current Wisdom

By From the May 2010 issue

American Prospect
An exigent dialectic on the pages of AmPros between Adam and Gabriel demonstrates yet again that at least among Liberals there really has not been much evolution since the era of Cro-Magnon man, and that these two nitwits presumably have been college educated has not helped:

Dialogue: Fat of the Land

Adam Serwer: Michelle Obama has launched a campaign against childhood obesity, which some critics say amounts to "fat shaming." But obviously she's not just saying that being overweight is bad, and I think a bit of pressure from the right people can be effective.
Gabriel Arana: All the shame in the world hasn't made us any thinner. And this "pressure" can also lead to eating disorders.
Adam: That's true; it's not a solution by itself. But some encouragement from family members or other loved ones, as opposed to a society-wide stigma, can help.
Gabriel: But so much obesity is related to poverty and access to good food. How much will stigmatizing it help resolve poverty and access issues?
Adam: Well, you can't just be quiet if your loved ones are making themselves sick by gaining too much weight -- you have to help them change. Also, Americans like hearing that they're in complete control of their situations.
(May 2010)

Washington Post
Disgraced New York Times executive editor Howell Raines arises from the dead full of hallucinations about the good old days, before Sarah Palin destroyed Jayson Blair, or maybe the fiend was Newt Gingrich or Joseph McCarthy, whatever:

One question has tugged at my professional conscience throughout the year-long congressional debate over health-care reform, and it has nothing to do with the public option, portability or medical malpractice. It is this: Why haven't America's old-school news organizations blown the whistle on Roger Ailes, chief of Fox News, for using the network to conduct a propaganda campaign against the Obama administration -- a campaign without precedent in our modern political history. Through clever use of the Fox News Channel and its cadre of raucous commentators, Ailes has overturned standards of fairness and objectivity that have guided American print and broadcast journalists since World War II. Yet, many members of my profession seem to stand by in silence as Ailes tears up the rulebook that served this country well as we covered the major stories of the past three generations....
(March 14, 2010)

New York Daily News
Three decades after the dawn of the Reagan Revolution with its historically unprecedented era of market-driven economic growth, also its peaceful conclusion of the Cold War, and finally its introduction of conservatism to the center of American politics, and behold: Ritualistic Liberal Richard Cohen (Homo neanderthalensis) is still bawling the Liberal fantasia:

Ever since the New Deal, the GOP has been the Party of the Past. It said no to the New Deal. It said no to Social Security. Important leaders -- Barry Goldwater, for instance -- said no to civil rights, as they [sic] now are saying to gay rights. The party plays the role of the scold, the finger-wagger who warns of this or that dire outcome -- not all of it wrong -- and then gets bypassed by progress. The GOP then picks itself up and resumes its fight -- against the next innovation. Usually, it wins some battles; usually, it loses the war.
(March 23, 2010)

New York Times
Times columnist Frank Rich, in an unprecedented literary triumph, makes his third consecutive appearance in the "Current Wisdom." Last month we sent Frank a suitably inscribed copy of The Nebraska Constitution: A Reference Guide (alas, still no acknowledgment from him) to familiarize himself with the wilds of that faraway country about which he obsesses. This month we shall send him a copy of Rand McNally 2010 The Road Atlas Large Scale: United States. Admittedly he probably does not drive an automobile, but perhaps the Times will send him out with a driver and a nice picnic basket:

But they [the Republicans] can't emulate the 1995 G.O.P. by remaining silent as mass hysteria, some of it encompassing armed militias, runs amok in their own precincts. We know the end of that story. And they can't pretend that we're talking about ‘isolated incidents' or a "fringe" utterly divorced from the G.O.P. A Quinnipiac poll last week found that 74 percent of Tea Party members identify themselves as Republicans or Republican-leaning independents, while only 16 percent are aligned with Democrats.
(March 28, 2010)

The Progressive
Over at TP the suicide watch begins:
It has been a disappointing season for progressives. Health care reform is slipping away. The Democrats lost Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. President Obama switched from stimulus to deficit reduction. And the Supreme Court ruled that corporations may use limitless cash to influence elections.

How, you might ask, did we reach this new low point so quickly?"
(March 2010)

Vanity Fair
Strange and paranormal disturbances in Madeleine Smithberg's hair occasioned by the mysterious David Letterman and reported by the recently released Miss Smithberg:

"I've come in contact with countless celebrities, and only two emit a tangible, almost magnetic force, an electricity that draws you to them: David Letterman and Bill Clinton," says former Letterman segment producer Madeleine Smithberg. "I would be in my office with my back to the door. Suddenly, I would notice that the hair on my arms and neck would be standing on end. I'd turn around and there would be Dave, standing in my doorway. The man is electric! I was there for six years. You want to be with him; you want to be close to him. And when you are, you feel good. It's like you're basking in the buzz of Dave. I left there in 1992, and sometimes I still watch the show and think, I hope Dave likes me."
(April 2010)

An agog reporter for the UK's Guardian interviews another lapsed humanitarian, 90-year-old scientist James Lovelock, environmentalism's Man on Horseback:

"I don't think we're yet evolved to the point where we're clever enough to handle as complex a situation as climate change," said Lovelock in his first in-depth interview since the theft of the UEA [University of East Anglia] emails last November. "The inertia of humans is so huge that you can't really do anything meaningful."

One of the main obstructions to meaningful action is "modern democracy," he added. "Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold to the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as that. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while."
(March 29, 2010)

From the Archives
Timeless Tosh from Current Wisdoms Past
(May 1990)

Memorandum (American Embassy, Luxembourg)

Our State Department's secret police in action as revealed in an uncoded memorandum snatched by one of our own Daniel Ellsbergs:

Subject: Smoking in Official Vehicles

In the memo of September 13, it was clearly stated that smoking in official vehicles is prohibited by Federal regulation. The memo made it clear that smoking in the vehicles is not permitted ever.

Despite this clear instruction personnel have continued to smoke in the vehicles. Several subterfuges to smoke in the vehicles are being used to get around the regulation: leaving the windows open while smoking in the car while moving, or leaving the windows open after leaving the car parked or leaving the door opened while parked and waiting. All of these tricks are of no use as the unpleasant smoke odor remains.

Persons addicted to nicotine do not realize, or choose to ignore, the obnoxious odor left from tobacco/cigarettes/cigars: bad breath, yellowed teeth, smelly clothes, stained fingers and mess from cigarette/cigar ashes. The smell from cigarettes/cigars permeates fabric and remains in the vehicles. Federal health reports have repeatedly made clear the adverse affect [sic] of involuntary secondary smoke inhalation on non-smokers who are forced to put up with forced smoke inhalation from persons smoking. For these health and other safety reasons the Federal Government banned smoking in vehicles and in general office areas.
(January 11, 1990)

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