I just finished reading Matt Taiibi's latest "screed" on America's economic meltdown (his brilliant writing is always called a "screed" by writers with fewer guts than Matt has) in the latest issue of Rolling Stone. RS doesn't like giving away its magazine on the Internet, but I tracked Matt's piece down through a pdf uploaded by Barry Ritholtz on his Big Picture blog. Barry's obviously another fan. No one writes like Matt, not even Hunter S. Thompson, said by some to be Matt's inspiration. I think Hunter was too booze-and drug-addled to handle the depth of Taiibi's analyses, for while Taiibi's writing is hilariously profane and vicious (he uses the term "asshole" to describe people who are obviously greedy, lying assholes, for example), it strikes me as extremely well-informed and meticulous.
June 27, 2009
June 26, 2009
There was a pretty good line in Paul Krugman's column today about Barack's audacity deficiency, to the effect that Obama seems to spend a lot of time "negotiating with himself." Images of public figures slowly crystallize, and the one that appears to be taking shape around Prez O is that he tends to pull his punches before he needs to. Krugman was writing specifically about the public option in the health care legislation currently Topic A in Congress, and Obama's tendency to waffle about whether he will or will not approve of a bill that does not have such a central feature. I think most people probably realize that without a public option, the "reform" legislation is simply more deck chair arranging with no purpose other than to convince the substantial majority of Americans who want universal coverage (about 75%) that something was done even though it wasn't.
June 25, 2009
Look, he was 49. Hemmed in by family and a job he found suffocating. Was his response simply to play the stoic, stifle his feelings of frustration, the sense that life was passing, or had already passed, him by? No, he found a girlfriend in Argentina named Maria. A woman who moved him to write like this:
"Two, mutual feelings . . . You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that so fitting with your beauty. I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of the night’s light - but hey, that would be going into sexual details ..."
June 23, 2009
Seriously, it is often hard to find anything new to say. This is bound to happen from time to time. Frequently, the most fun is just thinking up titles. E.g., I see where John Yoo was named as a defendant in a lawsuit brought by Jose Padilla (and his mother) arising from his torture and incarceration without due process, on the basis of Yoo's role in providing legal cover for violations of the Bill of Rights (I mean, what's a law professor for if not that?), and it survived a motion to dismiss under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. By an opinion written by a conservative federal judge in San Francisco (not an oxymoron - I'm familiar with the jurist in question). So I thought of a blog title: "Fairy Tales Can Come True, It Can Happen to Yoo," and then I went blank. I mean, what's the point? So a private litigant can bring one lawsuit against one minor player in the Bush War Crime Spree while the entire Justice Department sits with its collective thumb up its collective ass - is this actually a victory or a measure of how rotten things are?
June 22, 2009
Anyone who reads the report from the Copenhagen conference on global warming, which concluded a few months ago, and is not absolutely terrified by the impending disaster of global warming - is (a) not paying attention or (b) has a death wish. It can be linked to the right through RealClimate.org. 2500 of the best climate scientists (and other academics and researchers working on the problem) from Berkeley, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge, Beijing and Japan, to name a few, met to review the current state of climate science. 1400 papers were presented and a synthesis report was issued. The bottom line can be stated thusly: things are considerably worse than they looked two years ago when the IPCC report was issued, and if we are not to slip irreversibly over the 2 degree Centigrade "guardrail" (beyond which serious questions arise as to human viability on Planet Earth), then immediate and drastic reductions in CO2 emissions must begin.
§ 3h. As an amendment to § 3 g., whoever denies, grossly plays down, approves or tries to excuse the National Socialist genocide or other National Socialist crimes against humanity in a print publication, in broadcast or other media.