Maiello's Book-Almost Hits the Metaphorical Stands
Miami Fans Mistakenly Chant "Let's Go Eat" During Playoff Game
Barack Obama's decision to join the attack on Libya is very much of a piece with his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. There are various grounds on which a reasonable person could object to the Libya strikes (diplomatic reasons, military reasons, pragmatic reasons, reasons of consistency, even Constitutional reasons). But the decision absolutely fits within a coherent and very traditional moral philosophy. Obama walked through most of the key points of that position in his Nobel Prize speech, with one important omission. That omission is perhaps the key to understanding his conduct as a war leader.
The Vandellas and Martha
International Women's Day coincides with Mardi Gras this year.
Tonight on WEAA FM, the Anthony McCarthy show profusely lauded Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr., a civil rights leader who was born 100 years ago. I had never heard of him, but McCarthy and his guest said no one surpassed Mitchell's work for civil rights, and that he was not well known, even among African-Americans, because so much of his contribution was behind closed doors. [Read more]
I went to see The King's Speech, because it was nominated for all those awards and because Monday is Five Dollar Night. I like the actors in it a lot, but I'm glad I didn't spend more than five dollars. The King's Speech may well win the Oscar for Best Picture, but that just goes to show that you don't need originality, drama, artistic perception or a compelling story to win an Oscar.
From the opening moments of that film I was forced to think, once again, a thought that's been building up slowly and irresistibly over the past several years of movie-going:
I am really, really tired of the Great Depression looking so goddamned pretty.
Here's the deal: how much money you get paid is based on how much other people get paid. This is a fact of life. Your paycheck is based on what other people get in other jobs like yours, and what other people in your area make, and what other people with your qualifications make. The price of those people's work sets the price of replacing you if you quit your job. If you make less than they make, it can only be so much less. If you make more than they make, it's only realistically going to be so much more. If you're making too much less than similar workers, it will be cheaper to give you a raise than to replace you. If you're making too much more, it will be cheaper to hire someone else. You may feel like your paycheck is just between you and your boss. [Read more]
I tuned into The Takeaway at 7:10, while waiting for the bus. The topic was food inflation, and the hook was whether common American breakfast foods would be luxuries in a few years. Coffee, orange juice, grains, sugar all have risen sharply. An analyst from the NY Times, Louise Story, noted that common measures of inflation exclude food and energy, which amused the radio hosts, but said that was something economists debate a lot. She discussed whether Bernanke's Quantitative Easing 2 was to blame for rising food prices, thus for the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and unrest throughout the Arab world. Bernanke denies that, claiming that a weaker dollar means a stronger Egyptian currency for buying food. Story blames, "a little bit global warming, a little bit economic recovery, a little bit politics."
... Let's keep it that way." With a 6 AM appointment in Pittsburgh, we had to get to sleep early, but I couldn't resist staying up to watch Julian Assange: The "60 Minutes" Interview, which is still available on CBS and Mashable. CBS also has an article about the making of the interview.
We've been talking a lot lately about civility, for obvious and painful reasons. And our public conversation on that topic tends to go astray pretty quickly, because we don't all mean the same thing when we say "civility," and often aren't even sure what we mean by the word ourselves.
I haven't blogged about Tucson because it left me sickened and sad, and because Articleman said it all better than I could have. Anyway, I had nothing to say. Violence like this is a terrible, terrible thing. Everyone should be against civil bloodshed. What else could there be to say?
But now, apparently, many public voices are focused on how horrible it is to "gain political advantage" from violence, by which they mean gaining political advantage from violence directed against one's own side. But gaining political advantage from violence against your opponents is evidently great.
Critics of higher education in America generally present themselves as modernizing reformers. They claim America's universities are hidebound, outmoded, and fundamentally inefficient. Maybe, maybe not. It's an easy charge to make about an institution, like the Western university, which is several centuries old, and tends to sound plausible no matter the merits of the particular case. "It's the 21st century," the standard argument goes, "so it's time to get rid of anachronisms like tenured faculty/four-year bachelor's degrees/foreign language departments/semesters/public funding for state universities." This "out with the old, in with the new" argument sounds logical when it actually is logical, but also when it's not. [Read more]
So, in my last post, I talked more specifically about my Christian beliefs than is my blogging habit. I doubt I'll do it more often; I don't think that you should believe something just because I do, and so I try to write from the assumption that you don't. But I did mention my own beliefs, and it's Christmas, so let me come clean a bit, because it's an important holiday for me, and because it's such a bitter season:
I believe in the basic dignity of human being. I believe that other people's suffering is real, and deserves our attention. I believe that everyone deserves protection from hunger, illness, and the killing December cold.
To make it more doctrinally specific, I was raised to believe that everyone is Jesus, and should be treated accordingly. [Read more]
I listened to WEAA 88.9 FM tonight, on the walk to the light rail. (I'd rather bike, but they were calling for snow.) After a good discussion on WikiLeaks, Marc Steiner interviewed Bruce Dixon of the Black Agenda Report for a story that has been largely unreported, the Georgia Prison Strike.
Dear Mr. President:
I'm a big fan of pragmatism. And I've been a big fan of yours, defending you in the intramural arguments of Left Blogistan. I'm not even especially angry about this particular compromise with the Republicans, which was better than I'd feared it would be. But apparently you're angry. Your press conference yesterday made that very clear. And instead of being angry at the conservatives who've hobbled you, you're angry at the liberals and progressives who've phone banked for you, knocked on doors for you, and written you campaign checks. And that's not okay. So let me break some hard news to you:
You are not a pragmatist.
Part of my morning was spent at the dentist, so there won’t be as much to report today. That said, today is World AIDS Day. As much as ever before, we need to focus on this disease, that is affecting our youth more than ever.
Of late, it seems the fear of AIDS has dissipated somewhat. It shouldn’t. It remains a horrifying disease with no cure. Protect yourselves. All of you. [Read more]