Current Wisdom

Current Wisdom

By 4.3.10
The charmless David Corn continues in the grip of the Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) long after the Menace has shipped off to the Lone Star state:

Watching President Barack Obama at the White House health care summit last week, it was hard not to have an obvious thought: Could George W. Bush have done this? It is tough to imagine Bush leading a seven-hour gabfest on a complex policy matter, being able to master the specifics and nuances, and field questions about in-the-weeds details as Obama did.
(March 1, 2010)

University of North Carolina-Greensboro
(Department of English)
From the website of one of our country's great cow colleges, a listing of the "research interests" of the esteemed Professor Mark Rifkin, which helps to explain the unusually high incidence of binge drinking in his classroom:

Research Interests
Dr. Rifkin's research primarily focuses on Native American writing and politics from the eighteenth century on-ward, exploring the ways that Indigenous peoples have negotiated U.S. racial and imperial formations. In particular, he is interested in how U.S. law shapes the possibilities for representing Native political identity and the ways that Native writers have worked to inhabit, refunction, refuse, and displace dominant administrative formulations in order to open room for envisioning and enacting self-determination. More recently, he has been drawing on queer theory to rethink the role kinship systems have played in Native governance and internationalism and to address the ways U.S. imperialism can be thought of as a system of compulsory heterosexuality.
(Fall Semester 2009)

New York Review of Books
NYRB's doughty war correspondent, Jonathan Raban, files from behind enemy lines deep in enemy territory. Possibly President Barack Obama will give him a Congressional Medal of Honor:

People who watched the Tea Party Convention in Nashville on television in early February saw and heard an angry crowd, unanimous in its acclaim for every speaker. Standing ovation followed standing ovation, the fiery crackle of applause was nearly continuous, and so were the whistles, whoops, and yells, the Yeahs!, Rights!, and cries of "USA! USA!" Inside the Tennessee Ballroom of the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, it was rather different: what struck me was how many remained seated through the ovations, how many failed to clap, how many muttered quietly into the ears of their neighbors while others around them rose to their feet and hollered.

It wasn't until the last night of the event when Sarah Pallin came on stage, that the Tea Party movement, a loose congeries of unlike minds, found unity in its contempt for Barack Obama, its loathing of the growing deficit as a "generational theft," its demands for "fiscal responsibility"....
(March 25, 2010)

New York Times
Writing perhaps from Antigua or the Equatorial Guinea, Nobel Prize winning dunce al-Gore informs New Yorkers -- at the time shivering under two feet of freshly fallen snow -- that the "90 million tons of global-warming pollution" heaved aloft on a daily basis is obviously not enough to keep them warm:

But unfortunately, the reality of the danger we are courting has not been changed by the discovery of at least two mistakes in the thousands of pages of careful scientific work over the past 22 years by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In fact, the crisis is still growing because we are continuing to dump 90 million tons of global-warming pollution every 24 hours into the atmosphere -- as if it were an open sewer.
(February 28, 2010)

New York Times(Again!)
Glassy-eyed Frank Rich, columnizing for the money-losing New York Times, encounters suicide pilot Andrew Joseph Stack III's website "manifesto," which howls against "the vulgar, corrupt Catholic church," "the monsters of organized religion," "presidential puppet GW Bush and his cronies," the "rich" also the "wealthy," and what is Rich put in mind of? Not Gore Vidal, not the Angry Left, not even the doddering librarian at The Nation who is given to drink -- but the Tea Party Movement (TPM), many of whom would not think of flying on an aeroplane of any sort:

I'd put my money instead on the murder-suicide of Andrew Joseph Stack III, the tax protester who flew a plane into an office building housing Internal Revenue Service employees in Austin, Tex., on Feb. 18. It was a flare with the dark afterlife of an omen.

What made that kamikaze mission eventful was less the deranged act itself than the curious reaction of politicians on the right who gave it a pass -- or, worse, flirted with condoning it. Stack was a lone madman, and it would be both glib and inaccurate to call him a card-carrying Tea Partier or a "Tea Party terrorist," but he did leave behind a manifesto whose frothing anti-government, anti-tax rage overlaps with some of those marching under the Tea Party banner.
(February 28, 2010)

Washington Times
Our editor in chief, R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., B. A., M.A., proffers a little scholarly advice (see page 82) to the Hon. Hamid Karzai (D-Chicago) and this is the thanks he gets, posted on the Howl Page of a great American daily:

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. has no right to personally attack the elected president of a country for cautioning against the adverse impact of collateral damage ("Hamid Karzai, Chicago Democrat," Op-Ed, Feb. 26).
Isn't it the foremost duty of any elected national leader to condemn civilian deaths, regardless of the circumstances, and demand tougher measures to prevent more from happening? Should the U.S. president keep quiet when dozens of brave American soldiers -- set aside civilians -- fall on the battlefield just because it is war and it's their duty to fight for the security of their nation? To his credit and deep sense of patriotism, President Obama frequently visits Dover Air Force Base to receive and honor fallen U.S. soldiers.

Similarly, President Karzai sympathizes with his nation and cautions against civilian casualties, which the Taliban use as an effective influence tool against Afghan and international forces. Apparently, Mr. Tyrrell doesn't get to read the frequent statements of President Karzai condemning terrorist attacks and consoling the families and loved ones of the fallen American and NATO soldiers in Afghanistan.

Many thanks to Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who appreciates the power of a heartfelt apology to victims' families. It is in our human nature that no amount of financial compensation can heal the pain of a victim's family, but a few genuine words of apology, condolence and sympathy can go a long way.

We can only win wars when we are guided by the humanitarian compassion and logic that the Almighty has bestowed upon us. If guided by these timeless values, Mr. Tyrrell must apologize for his emotionless and disrespectful use of language to discuss the loss of civilian lives in Afghanistan, as well as for insulting the president of a sovereign nation.

Political counselor
Embassy of Afghanistan Washington
(March 4, 2010)

From the Archives
Timeless Tosh from Current Wisdoms Past
(April 1990)
Washington Post TV Week
Mr. Corbin Bernsen, the Olivier of "L.A. Law," dumps the contents of his mind onto a page of the incomparable Post's television listings and levitates away:

"I want to study mankind at this time," he explained. "I'll be 45 in the year 2000 and I'd like to think that I'm socially conscious. I'd like to look toward a future, and not a future that looks bleak."

Bernsen rolls on to his next concern: religion....He no longer believes in going to church on Sundays, he said. "I wake up in the morning and I smile and I don't have to wait until Sunday and go into a concrete building or wait with other people. I don't have to bless every meal. I believe in far greater than that. I believe in life, that force in life that's in all of us. Each and everyone of us is a god, a part of God, no less or greater than a snail or bamboo in the forest....

"This ain't no motel -- this is home," he went on. "People treat this Earth like a motel room, because they think they're going to some other place. As far as I know, when I die I'm not going anywhere else, so don't mess with my heaven."

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