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Current Wisdom


Government-dictated subprime mortgages overthrow long-standing lending regulations and nudge the world into recession, and what does Commonweal’ s resident archangel behold? Well, it is the sad expiry of “unregulated free-market capitalism” and visions of Karl Marx tuning in to CNN:

Karl Marx, were he still about, would surely be interested in the report that unregulated free-market capitalism has died in a flash, by its own hand. After all, it took seventy years and a cold war to bring down the Marxist econ omy established in the Soviet Union following the Bolshevik Revolution.

(October 10, 2008)


The Progressive

Matthew Rothschild, editor of the pish posh left’s Old Faithful, enlightens us to the dismal state of race relations among his fellow progressives:

So if the conditions are so ripe for an Obama victory, why is the race so close? Because millions of white Americans, especially those who are forty-five and older, may not be able to bring themselves to vote for the black guy. It’s that simple. I got an inkling of this in the spring when I went to give a talk in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, about an hour north of Milwaukee. At the dinner beforehand, I was sitting with three elderly white women, who told me they had never voted against a Democrat in their lives. But this time they couldn’t vote for Obama.

I asked why.

One woman instantly said, “Race has nothing to do with it,” which I took to be a tell.

I asked her what was it, then. And she could not give me any coherent reason.

(October 2008)

New York Review of Books

In an era when the spread of Islam agitates even the most stout-hearted, the venerable NYRB reports an even more dire development in the geopolitical realm:

Nevertheless, serious bird-watching (or birding, to use today’s preferred term) has grown geometrically. In the Virginia town where I grew up, three of us looked for birds in the 1950s. Now thirty-five people there have formed an e-mail network where they regularly recount their birding adventures.

Tenfold growth in a half-century is probably a fair measure of the explosion of birding in the United States. The United States, however, is not unique. Birding is now expanding beyond its old base in northern Europe and the English-speaking world into Mediterranean and eastern Europe, and beyond.

(November 6, 2008)


San Francisco Chronicle


An urgent communiqué from “Ellen,” high atop the Golden Gate Bridge:

Editor—May the spirits of Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lennon be with us. High unemployment, hundreds of billions spent on military misadventures, tens of millions without access to healthcare, homes and habitats wiped out by global warming, trade agreements that benefit American executives and shareholders and rob American workers of their livelihood, foreclosures on families, the threat to national security from the implosion of greed-crazed financial institutions. I have a dream. We invest in alternative energy and pass the National Health Insurance Act (HR676), creating new jobs as we clean up the environment and keep people healthy. Working families can buy houses where their children will grow to maturity. Schools have bigger budgets than prisons. We bring the troops home. We stop being the world’s bully and start being a responsible world citizen. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

—Ellen Karel
Corte Madera

(September 30, 2008)


The Progressive

In the Progressive’s innocent pages, literary critic Ezra Klein brings his considerable experience to bear in reviewing a recent bestseller:

It is testament to Jerome Corsi’s fine reputation that the experience of purchasing his new book, The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality, is akin to nothing so much as buying pornography. There’s the moment you find yourself holding it near your hip and far below eye level, there’s the quiet judgment of the store clerk….

(October 2008)


New York Times

The newspaper that did so much to familiarize us with the Angry Left now introduces us to the Angry Northern California Psychologist:

But Ellen Kirschman, 68, a police psychologist in Northern California, said she objected to people calling her “young lady,” which she called “mocking and disingenuous.” She added: “As I get older, I don’t want to be recognized for my age. I want to be recognized for my accomplishments, for my wisdom.”

To avoid stereotyping, Ms. Kirschman said, she often sprinkles her conversation with profanities when she is among people who don’t know her. “That makes them think. This is someone to be reckoned with,” she said.

(October 7, 2008)


Washington Post


From distinguished columnist Courtland Milloy, an elaboration on what the Prophet Obama means when he expatiates on building the economy “from the bottom up”:

On Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Southwest Washington, homeless people rummage through garbage cans in search of food. Unemployed men and women congregate near construction sites, only to leave discouraged when told that no day laborers are needed. Others opt to sell drugs; some, their bodies—risking death to survive. “The war is not abroad—it’s here against the poor,” George Robinson, a 51-year-old veteran, told me yesterday after leaving a mental-health counseling session at St. Elizabeths Hospital.

He still sounded depressed. “Prices so high on everything and wages so low it doesn’t even pay to work.” As the nation’s leaders grapple with how to spend $700 billion to stimulate the economy, the concerns of the truly hopeless and despairing people such as Robinson have been given short shrift.

(October 22, 2008)


North County Times

Well, at least Mrs. Palin is not wearing pigtails:

Regarding Mrs. Palin: What is up with the ponytail? Does this woman have no sense? She wore a ponytail for her announcement as vice president. And as to mouthing Hillary’s words, let me say to her, you are no Hillary Clinton. Would your readers really entrust global decisions to someone with a pony tail [sic] and the lack of judgment that caused her to have one? I am a Hillary supporter and mourn the U.S.A.’s loss of her as a potential president, but I am a Democrat and Sen. Obama will be just fine.

—Jan Fisher

(September 4, 2008)


From the Archives

Timeless Tosh from Current wisdoms Past

(December 1988)

In These Times

A glance at the epistolary page of a leading lunatic sheet turns up two future Democratic presidential nominees, to wit:

Robert of Carpinteria, at the end of his patience: If you don’t stop harassing Dukakis in every issue, we’re going to end up with the CIA (Bush) in the White House for four more years. Your petty editorial (ITT, Aug. 17) about Dukakis’ mental health indicates your perverse desire to get Bush elected so you’ll have more to complain about. Even Jesse Jackson is trying to help Dukakis in spite of everything. So, come on. Help out a little more, please.

—Robert Dautch
Carpinteria, Calif.


And John of Edmonton, in a revelatory frame of mind:

In your September 7 issue a letter you published written by Lenni Brenner (Berkeley, Calif.) contains a reference to Mother Teresa, with the clear indication that she is some paragon of virtue, some saintly woman of peace.

This is not the case at all, and your readers should be aware of it. What she really is is a dangerous religious fanatic. She has been addressing antiabortion meetings in Canada and holds the view that abortion should never be practiced even when the mother’s life is in peril. She further is of the opinion that women who have abortions and the doctors performing them should be jailed.

—John G. Packer
Edmonton, Alberta

(October 19–25, 1988)

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