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Current Wisdom

New York Review of Books

Sixty thousand years after the appearance of the species Homo sapiens on the planet Earth, and, according to Bill McKibben banging the pots and pans over at the NYRB, it has all come to this:

2009 may well turn out to be the decisive year in the human relationship with our home planet.

(June 11, 2009)

The Progressive

Professor Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States (which people is not clear), proffers his plan for more wide-open spaces in lower Manhattan:

Obama has talked about a vision for this country. You have to have a vision, and now I want to tell Obama what his vision should be.

The vision should be of a nation that becomes liked all over the world. I won’t even say loved—it’ll take a while to build up to that. A nation that is not feared, not disliked, not hated, as too often we are, but a nation that is looked upon as peaceful, because we’ve withdrawn our military bases, for all these countries.

We don’t need to spend the hundreds of billions of dollars on the military budget. Take all the money allocated to military bases and the military budget, and—this is part of the emancipation—you can use the money to give everybody free health care, to guarantee jobs to everybody who doesn’t have a job, guaranteed payment of rent to everybody who can’t pay their rent, build child care centers.

(May 2009)


Enlightened commentary on the Obama economic renaissance from a belletristic Russian at Pravda, now staunchly neocon:

It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American decent [sic] into Marxism is happening with breath taking [sic] speed, against the back drop [sic] of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people.

True, the situation has been well prepared on and off for the past century, especially the past twenty years. The initial testing grounds was [sic] conducted upon [sic] our Holy Russia and a bloody test it was. But we Russians would not just roll over and give up our freedoms and our souls, no matter how much money Wall Street poured into the fists [sic] of the Marxists.

Those lessons were taken and used to properly prepare the American populace for the surrender of their freedoms and souls, to the whims of their elites and betters.

(April 27, 2009)

New York Times

Is this another lunatic squawk lifted from the neurotic correspondence page of the revered Times? Not at all—it is the Times’s schoolgirl columnist, Maureen Dowd, the one who writes books about her failed love life. Nothing can be done to help her:

Cheney’s numskull ideas—he still loves torture (dubbed “13th-century” stuff by Bob Woodward), Gitmo and scaring the bejesus out of Americans— are not only fixed, they’re jejune. He has no coherent foreign policy point of view. He still doesn’t fathom that his brutish invasion of Iraq unbalanced that part of the world, empowered Iran and was a force multiplier for Muslims who hate America. He left our ports unsecured, our food supply unsafe, the Taliban rising and Osama on the loose. No matter if or when terrorists attack here—and they’re on their own timetable, not a partisan red/blue state timetable—Cheney will be deemed the primary one who made America more vulnerable.

(May 13, 2009)

Wealth of Nations
(Newsweek Blog)

Newsweek senior editor Michael Hirsh, another of American journalism’s men who rose without a trace, demonstrated that he weathered 25 years of unprecedented economic growth and thought it came from the Fairy Godmother:

If the Republican Party had only followed his [Jack Kemp’s] advice about reaching out to the inner cities and underclass—and ignored his happy talk about supply-side economics— the GOP might not be in nearly the fix it is today.…[Kemp] was a classic case of an amateur econo-cultist whose understanding never reached quite deep enough. In mid-life, when he decided to switch from sports to politics, Kemp became enamored of simplistic free-market ideas, in particular a toxic combination of Arthur Laffer and Ayn Rand. He then sold another gifted amateur, Ronald Reagan, on the idea that drastic tax cuts would so stimulate the economy that the ensuing growth would more than make up for the loss in revenues….The damage was done, and thanks in part to Jack Kemp the supply-side fantasy endured, producing the vast Reagan deficits.

(May 4, 2009)

The Nation

The voyeurs at the Nation protest the Obama administration’s latest efforts to prevent them from seeing healthy young men in their underpants:

No one expected Obama to reveal all the secrets of the temple when he became president. But Americans did expect him to favor transparency and accountability. Unfortunately, with each passing week he stumbles deeper into the thicket of secrecy he promised to clear away.

The administration’s reversal of its agreement with the ACLU to release photos of detainee abuse by military and intelligence agents is unsettling and wrongheaded.

(June 8, 2009)

The Stephanie Miller Show

MSNBC’s David Shuster, full of admiration for the American citizenry, explains how Fox News Channel manages to top his network day after day:

Look, if Fox wants to consider themselves the GOP house organ, that’s fine. They completely backed it up. When Fox starts describing themselves as journalists or a news organization, that’s where I think it’s appropriate to describe Fox as disgraceful.… Their coverage on the Fox News Channel has been atrocious. The stuff that comes out of Sean Hannity’s mouth has been infuriating. The stuff that Bill O’Reilly says has been illogical. You go up and down the schedule and it’s insanity over there.… The number of lies, perpetuated, promoted by Fox News is just shameful and it hurts everybody.

(April 30, 2009)

American Prospect

Another bolus of the inscrutable heaved into the American Prospect, American Liberalism’s most dependable cuspidor:

Going a few years further back, the explanation for Republican decline may lie in the strategy of governing adopted when the right was in power. With a narrow majority based in the white South, and with demographic trends running against them, the Repub licans pulled out all the stops and tried to wring every possible advantage from the moment, a strategy exemplified by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s “majority of a majority” rule, under which he would refuse to bring to the floor any legislation that wasn’t supported by a majority of Republicans, blocking many bipartisan coalitions. Trained to govern in this desperate, high-stakes mode, the Republicans have no ability to step back into the role of a constructive minority that actually tries to collaborate in governing. They governed more like a high-flying hedge fund than an investor with a long view. In opposition, they take the same approach.

(June 1, 2009)

From the Archives
Timeless Tosh from Current wisdoms Past
(July 1989 & August 1989)

Washington Post Magazine

Mr. Richard Cohen demonstrates with charming ambivalence that she is indeed a woman:

In fact, I would like to be almost anything or anyone that I am not. The list is a long one, but it includes, among other things, a woman. I would like to be a woman—not permanently, mind you, or, even really.

(May 28, 1989)

New Woman

New Woman’s vision of the New Age Marlboro Man, this one named Norman:

“Sometimes I think I’d rather experience a good cry than good sex,” says Norman. “The cry is much more elusive. I know it’s a cultural phenomenon— we men are supposed to want sex constantly, and we’re not ever supposed to cry. It’s like crossed signals in our bodily fluids; we’re allowed to emit sperm, but not tears.”

Life is so mean. Let’s order those men a few crates full of Kleenex, then put on our teddies and show them what we really want.

(March 1989)

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