It's good that the recession is over. I don't know how much more we could have taken. Things should shortly return to normal, the Dow should move back up to 14,000, unemployment will move below 5%, and housing prices will regain their 2006 levels. It was a close call but effective and timely government intervention saved the day.
July 31, 2009
July 30, 2009
I remember Chalmers Johnson as a preternaturally dynamic professor with a delivery and a voice timbre somewhere between John Cameron Swayze and Jack Benny, if that does anything for you. He was teaching politics of the Far East those days, and he seemed to stop by the class in Wheeler Auditorium on his way to doing something much more important. Such as counseling the government or reading top secret reports from the Rand Corporation. Anyway, he was intellectually intimidating, to say the least, as he addressed us in that staccato, metallic voice.
July 29, 2009
I consider it one of my minor contributions to public discourse: coining phrases. This is much easier than research, after all, which is painstaking and time consuming. The parallax of nostalgia is the term I have settled on to explain that nagging problem which hinders so much in the way of progress in the United States: the belief in American Exceptionalism. Clinging to this delusion makes it very difficult to come to terms with what actually has to be done to rejoin the First World, instead of sinking into the debt-ridden obsolescence of a banana republic or Soviet-style collapse.
"Eventually, I decided that the only way to respond was with some variation of the following: “You’re right. It’s your turn [to use dirty energy]. Grow as dirty as you want. Take your time. Because I think America just needs five years to invent all the clean-power technologies you Chinese are going to need as you choke to death on pollution. Then we’re going to come over here and sell them all to you, and we are going to clean your clock — how do you say ‘clean your clock’ in Chinese? — in the next great global industry: clean power technologies. So if you all want to give us a five-year lead, that would be great. I’d prefer 10. So take your time. Grow as dirty as you want.”
July 27, 2009
I'm not actually angry at anyone or anything. I'm a little too dispassionate and philosophical for that. I keep my "thought diary" as Orwell suggested, which records the evolving American scene, and since I'm not (a) a religious zealot or (b) an uber-capitalist, I find it dismaying and depressing at times, but it's still possible in this country to live a satisfying life. Mostly, things still work, after all. The police and fire departments still respond, there are groceries at the store, gasoline at the pump. The emergency rooms are open for business. I can indulge myself in my pursuits of interest. This state of affairs is likely to persist for the foreseeable future.