Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Against publicizing private lives

“In one short decade we have been reconditioned to be entertained by the most private areas of other people’s lives. We’ve become the family dog who’s allowed to eat anything that falls on the floor, and the press is the little kid in the family who keeps dropping food.” Aaron Sorkin

Sorkin’s larger point is about the Newsweek brouhaha about gay actors playing straight characters, which I, personally, have no problem with. I think Sorkin has the right of it.

We, as a culture, are obsessed with reality TV and celebrity gossip. We spend way too much time thinking about, or even just being informed about the lives of people we don’t know and shouldn’t care about.

Sorkin mentions Sandra Bullock’s divorce, which I admit I have heard of. (I had no idea that there was a current person named Jesse James, though. Strange.) He’s right. We shouldn’t care much about what happens in Bullock’s life, unless we know her or are her friend. Yes, I know, most religions do say we are each others’ keepers, and I tend to agree with that, but in the case of someone so unconnected with me I’ll leave it to her friends to worry about, and also the laws of our country.

I don’t care that Rock Hudson was, or Neil Patrick Harris for that matter is, gay, except insofar as their being closeted or out tells us something about our society. I never met Hudson and am unlikely to meet Harris. They’re both fine actors. That’s the only material point.

Now to contradict myself, partially. I don’t tend to watch Mel Gibson movies, partly because he’s a homophobic jerk, but mostly because there’s a point of view expressed in the movies that I don’t care for. (Yes, I’ve seen Braveheart.) That’s one example among many.

And I don’t object to outing closeted gay people when their public actions are causing great harm to the LGBT community. I think that kind of hypocrisy is despicable.

But the larger point remains, only partially obscured by the fact of human existence being a messy thing. I think it’s rare to be able to make blanket judgments of actions that could be taken in an abstract situation.

Anyway, these are just some random thoughts on the subject, based on seeing Sorkin’s article and seeing several people lift the same quote I did from it. In closing, I leave you with Walt Whitman:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
    Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”

Health Care Reform Passes

Yay! And the senate has passed the reconciliation bill with very few changes. The house is expected to approve it later this evening.

I’ve been taking a few days off celebrating the US entering the realm of civilized nations, at least a bit.

Difference between parties in the US

A link to Tristero’s (Richard Einhorn) recent post on Digby’s blog.

It’s a good description of the main policy difference between the current Republican and Democratic parties.

I got some amusing spam

It read:

If anyone here truly feels fiat currency is worthless then feel free to give me all your money.

I’m fine with that. If anyone here truly feels that fiat currency is worthless, then feel free to give me all your money.

Time to profile engineers

So Spencer Ackerman has an amusing tongue in cheek post:

Most of the terrorists have been engineers.

As a non-engineer, I have no problem. (First they came for the engineers…)

John McCain: intemperate jackass and know nothing

So I was reading Steve Benin on John McCain’s stupid defense of Joe Lieberman. He quoted McCain’s tweet:

Joe Lieberman — standing up for his principles on health care is being viciously attacked by the liberal left…what a disgrace!

Silly John McCain. Lieberman doesn’t have any principles, but then neither does McCain. This was demonstrated during the last presidential election in the case of McCain, and during most of his career in the senate by Lieberman.

We are so cooked

So I’m reading James Hansen’s Storms of My Grandchildren, which is about global warming. He’s an optimist and believes that people in power will eventually do the right thing, or that they care about billions of people that aren’t them.

I used to be optimistic. I do believe that it’s possible to avoid seriously dangerous climate change, but I don’t believe that we’ll do it. There are too many short-sighted people out there. We’re going to lose our continental glaciers, arctic sea ice, and the Greenland ice caps. If we’re really stupid, and I think we are, we’ll lose some or all of the West Antarctic ice cap.

I rather suspect that we’ll see this happening by at least 2050 and likely sooner in the case of arctic sea ice. Some of it is happening now.

We are so cooked.

James Kwak Is Now Grand Heresiarch of the Ancient, Hermetic, and Occult Order of the Shrill!!

According to Brad deLong, who says it approvingly.

See Brad deLong’s website.

I read The Baseline Scenario every day. It’s James Kwak’s and Simon Johnson’s blog.

Joe Lieberman is a waste of protoplasm

Okay, I have pretty much given Joe Lieberman the benefit of the doubt until recently. But now (see TPM) he’s threatening to filibuster a bill that contains the Medicare buy-in.

He’s basically threatening to filibuster positions that he supported before 2006. I think the analysts are right who say he’s angry and bitter. He’s upset about losing the 2006 Democratic nomination.

I’ve been angry and bitter before, but I am not one of 100 senators, charged with helping govern the country. He needs to get over it. Or the Democratic leadership in the Senate needs to get over him. If he can’t support key Democratic bills, then they should kick him out of the caucus.

There’s no value in having 60 seats if you can’t really prevent a filibuster. And don’t get me started on Ben Nelson or Blanche Lincoln. Or, to a lesser degree, Mary Landrieu.

Joe Lieberman is the main enabling jerk in the Senate.

Dick Armey is a jackass

See this Michael Sokolove article in the NYTimes magazine:

Later, in North Carolina, we sat down to dinner, and he said: “You ever see that Danny DeVito movie, I think it was Danny DeVito, where he says big shots never order off the menu? They just say what they want.” We were at an On the Border, a Tex-Mex restaurant chain and not the type of place I imagine many big shots patronize, but he pushed the menu aside without reading it and told the waiter what he wanted the kitchen to cook up for him.

What a jackass. If it had been a non-chain restaurant it would have been slightly less awful, but only slightly.