Thursday, July 28, 2011
An SUV hit a mountain lion in Connecticut yesterday:
DEP reps claim it walked from
South Dakota. They generally go about 100 miles in a lifetime to find a mate. This one must have heard about older women in New Haven and gotten confused.
Note the confused DNA status. Was it part of a group of m. lions found in S. Dakota, or what? Is it not "confirmation bias" to argue that it had to have walked from S. Dakota, simply because it's not conceivable that it could have been living in Connecticut?
I drove through Connecticut two weeks back and it's pretty built-up, but between Hartford and New Haven for example on Route 8 it was all forest on both sides of the highway (a distance of about fifty miles).
I think the DEP could be lying to avoid hysteria surrounding the reintroduction of mountain lions into the northeast. The mountains I live in are called the Catskills, because these woods were their native habitat for millenia. The DEP tells us they have been gone since about 1840. With all the hoopla surrounding nativism and animal rights many people seem to be on the side of the mountain lions. A mountain lion can kill a full-grown adult in three seconds or less.
And there are many sightings. I myself have seen bobcats and coyotes (coyotes are similar to wolves, but smaller and not as deadly -- the only human adult a coyote has killed in North America was a Canadian folk singer -- but folk singers are not exactly the Canadians most skilled in self-defense).
Coyotes are rampant in this area. In winter they yip at daybreak and drown out the town clock. Last night I saw one walking down the road as if it was a citizen, about as afraid to walk the street as I am. Seeing them suspends time it's so weird. It had a small dead black kitten in its barbaric mouth. We tried to chase it with the car. My kindergartner said, "Dad, it has pink ears!"
The ears were transparent in the headlights as it jogged indignantly down into the woods that line the highway where it presumably has its burro. It then shared the neighbor's kitty (I saw the pink ribbon around its neck, but I think it was already dead as it didn't struggle) with its infernal kits.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Standard and Poor's is a credit-fixing agency that has 10,000 employees, is headquartered in NYC, and dates from 1860, and is technically a branch of the publishing firm, McGraw-Hill.
In about a week they will probably downgrade American financial fitness from a triple A rating to another grade, probably double A, for the first time in American history. Even if we manage to cut the spending, and raise taxes, we will probably still get a downgrade. This means we are not as good a credit risk as we once were, and will instead need to have an even higher interest rate, to offset the likelihood that we won't be able to pay back any loans we take to float our deficit.
In two and a half years Obama has managed to take the world's greatest economy and put it so far in the red that we are going to lose our credit rating. If he gets a second-term, I predict he will run the country toward a twenty-five trillion dollar deficit, granting that the senate keeps giving him the green light to raise the deficit ceiling.
Giving Obama the national credit card was a green light to this man that he could have anything and everything he wanted without any kind of realistic sense of what it would cost the country. We aren't Zimbabwe yet. But give this man another four years, and then see.
Kiplinger's has put forth a modest proposal that we cut Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security by 7%. This by itself will right the deficit within ten years. It won't kill anybody to do this, but those affected will have to live a tad more modestly. When President Roosevelt first floated the notions of M & M and SS he didn't probably realize how these agencies would balloon.
Meanwhile, Fannie & Freddie are still hemorrhaging mortgages, but because it is not an environmental disaster like Deepwater Horizon (which has left a foot or more of gunk on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico), no journalists cover it. To cover anything that isn't nice in Obama's eyes might mean the loss of a job, as even to mention his spectacularly bad performance, is considered by many to be racist. But to treat a president differently simply based on the color of his skin is also racist. He should be held to the same standards as everyone else.
What would help us out of our sinking condition? What could we do? A very moderate tax increase of 7% on the richest would help, and no doubt it would be fair because then both sides (the richest and the poorest) would be helping out what's left of the middle class.
It is strange to me that our middle-class jobs have gone away without so much as a murmur from the right or left. Do left and right have an unspoken war on the middle class? The left sees them as better off, and thus to be destroyed. The right sees them as possible rivals, and thus to be destroyed?
I like to read the "Looking Back" section of the local paper The Walton Reporter (a town of about 3000 about 15 miles down the road. In 1911 there were many jobs for milliners in that town [hundreds of jobs!]). A milliner was someone who made women's hats.
Today, very very few American women (or men) wear hats.
So all those jobs have disappeared. Should the president get out and urge everyone to wear hats again? Should we resurrect Carmen Miranda's hats? Or should we just pass the hat?
I don't think this would work, at least in terms of the 14 trillion dollar deficit (Obama wants to raise the debt ceiling ever further).
Lincoln's wonderful high hat, or the hats of Hoover and Coolidge, are a thing of the past, but even they, even the Stetson, would not be deep enough to cover the gigantic deficit.
Why don't we wear hats any longer?
I can't remember a single hat that President Obama has worn. We're hatless. We grow our hair longer because we can't afford haircuts or hats. Women now go around with next to nothing on. Skirts have gotten shorter because no one can pay for the extra material. Even underpants have turned into strings.
A "haberdasher" is someone who deals in "men's furnishings." This term has also vanished from our vocabulary, as have all the jobs that were once associated with it.
Meanwhile, these losses have been somewhat offset by the computer industry and the gains it has made (I don't know the amounts of income by percentage of the GNP). Oy vey. Even those are now being shipped out to China, India and other places where they can pay their workers nothing but still sell to Americans at American prices. Meanwhile, our knowledge of how to do anything but write blogs also disappears (even that knowledge is disappearing, and I may end up as the last of the bloggers!).
I don't mean to sound like Habakkuk (who prophesied in 7th century BC an imminent Chaldean invasion), but one wonders if America is to go the way of the Hapsburgs (hopefully without developing the jutting teeth). Our terrible president seems to have led us into the darkest economic times that our country has had. If he were a tad more skillful perhaps this would not have happened. He didn't have much help from the previous president who took us into two wars that we didn't need when all we really needed was to whack OBL. What is the cost of housing all the prisoners at GITMO with all their perqs? I don't know, but no doubt it would be even more expensive to house them in Illinois and give them civilian trials, even if the second option would have provided a few jobs for Obama's backers in his home state.
I think Obama's possibly a good writer and a good speaker, but he lacks general business sense (I never have any idea what he's talking about, and I have the sense that he doesn't either). With Reagan, there was a firm and clear sense of the bottom line. When Obama gets in trouble he starts finger pointing and adopts a holier than thou tone, and then wonders why he isn't being treated like Reagan. Perhaps it's because he isn't Reagan, and secretly, no one in the business community takes him seriously. Reagan was at least a good actor, and could pretend to be business-like, which is probably all a president needs to be. Obama? We don't even know what he's written except one or two poems.
Our standards are slipping. We are becoming poor. The president talks about how we have too many agencies overseeing salmon, but does nothing about it. His hagiographers rage on about how they get a thrill up their leg when he speaks.
Meanwhile, he and his vast network of czars administrate our decline, sinking us under an ocean of debt. Our standard is to become more and more poor, less and less of a good risk. This is a poor standard. Can President Obama be impeached for incompetence? I think not. Will he commit seppuku? I think not.
We're stuck with him for another year and a half. I don't think anything can get the poor man to make any sense, nor can we get the journalists to note this fact. Would somebody slap the media with a fish and wake them up?
By next year at election time, we may be living in the Atlantis of hope and change that he promised. In mafia terms, our economy will be swimming with the fishes. We've been invaded from within by a Marxist PC left that has sought to nationalize the healthcare industry, and has caused the last of our milliners (are there any left?) to flee to other shores, to wear other shoes, to show us their rears, while leaving us in arrears.
If Standard & Poor's downgrades America's credit rating, as they are expected to do, then the rate of our decline will accelerate as new debt ceilings are raised every year or two to accommodate our sinking status. We are still a long way from Zimbabwe, and let us thank God (and the Republicans) we have term limits so that Obama will not become our Patrick Mugabe: the last man off a sinking ship.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
It's a hundred degrees here lately, so naturally I'm thinking about the meaning of Christmas.
Basically, Christmas is a capitalist holiday. It's the day we celebrate being able to buy stuff and stun our friends and families with gifts.
Talents are gifts, so some people give stuff that they've made. Choices reveal superb tastes.
Christmas is a day to celebrate the coming of Jesus, which is also the advent of individualistical capitalism.
Monday, July 18, 2011
I went to see this film last night and it struck me that Harry Potter vs. Voldemort was a mythical replay of the Battle for Britain in World War II. Voldemort was a Nazi, and Harry Potter and his friends were Churchill & Co.
Voldemort believes he is superior because he is a Nazi.
And he thinks he has the right to crush and kill everyone who will not recognize that fact.
Harry Potter is always a touch elitist (he's a powerful magician by birth) but he throws away power in order to share in the ordinary life of raising children, the most beautiful life he can imagine.
Abe Lincoln wrote in the Gettysburg Address that America is "dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
This means all men worldwide.
Jefferson wrote in the Declaration that all men "are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights."
This is now enshrined as a leading concept worldwide. Therefore, the horror of Voldemort who has decided that power alone makes him greater than others is understood by the entire audience worldwide, so that as we watch the film, the moral language is universal.
This language probably ultimately derives from St. Paul's notion that even non-Jews can understand and be accepted by God.
What happens to excellence in this equality-driven climate? We do still have sports. Basketball, football, soccer, baseball: these are all driven by excellence. American Idol and America's Next Top Model are driven by excellence. We watch these, too, and sense their legitimacy from within the Greek model of excellence, even though there's something a tad snotty about it.
How do we square the drive for excellence with the drive for equality? Some claim that we can do it through "equality of opportunity not equality of outcome." And yet we still have redistributionists among us who want communism to prevail. Underneath the neo-cortex is a powerful reptilian brain that is territorial and unthinkingly triumphalist.
The business climate for now is still built on the reptilian brain but it is papered over with service to others. Microsoft is a meritocracy, but has also been sued for attempts at monopolies.
We even still have Nazis: those who believe the white race is superior. These want a monopoly on power. In addition we have the leftist Nazis. Justice Sonia Sotomayor believes that she is superior to white men because she is Latina. At least some homosexuals believe that they are superior to the other gender. Many believe they are superior because they are not having children like the "breeders," which reduces others to the status of cattle.
In academia, we still have the grading system, and students vie for grades. Some profs used to openly favor white males, and now many Sonia Sotomayor types secretly favor their own kind, seeing themselves as superior, much as communists under Stalin and others saw themselves as morally superior, and thus entitled to being "more equal" in the phrase of Orwell's, giving them the right to cleanse the earth of the bourgeoisie.
Multiculturalism is the belief that all cultures are equal, but just underneath the surface almost all cultures feel superior to others. The Japanese felt they were the world's best. The Chinese feel this. Denominations feel superior to other denominations. Businesses feel superior to other businesses. Perhaps there is no role for this in the Bible, and perhaps it's a sin. Perhaps it's Satanic to think like this.
In the Harry Potter series, Voldemort is a moral idiot, who believes he is superior, which paradoxically allows us to feel morally superior. He's a mental dumbkopf, like Hitler, and we're not.
The Taliban in Afghanistan openly lord their superiority over women, as do the imams of Iran. In the OT one sees this tendency a lot. The Jews were morally superior to the Canaanites so had the right to genocide. Many communists feel this way with regard to the rich. Some feminists feel this way with regard to men. Some black rights folks feel this way with regard to white folks. Some gays feel this way with regard to "straights."
The equality and the greater than symbol constantly vie with one another. Nietzsche's ubermensch vies with the rights of the citizen announced by Lockean liberalism.
As groups line up and gear up for the next election, questions of equality and superiority are everywhere. It's all that we're really talking about. The side that can make its points universally valid in this debate will get the legitimacy that leads to the most votes.
In the last election Obama came out of nowhere. Now he has a track record of failure, and poor judgment. His one great success (killing OBL) is significant. But he is also an excellent speaker and is very goodlooking. We need someone equally goodlooking and equally good at getting out the arguments for competitive excellence or else America is going to collapse even further into communist redistribution as the leftists and their myriad scrums seize assets and close down centers of excellence. The left believes it is Harry Potter and the right are Voldemort and his minions. Their point is Marxist, and has been sent through by every young person who's been to college. Marxists are everywhere in academia. The reverse is true, too, that for those who still attend church, there is the notion that each person has a talent, and must use it to help others. We also still have the Greek notions of excellence. Can they be legitimated and sustained against the Marxist onslaught that threatens to turn America into a revolutionary Kampuchea?
Saturday, July 16, 2011
We went to Rhode Island over the last couple of days because my wife had arranged with a young and very talented photographer to shoot our children on a sand dune.
So, we loaded up, and drove across the state to the border of Connecticut and over. The traffic in New Haven was intense, so we were about a half an hour late.
I unloaded the children and wife in a town called Watch Hill, Rhode Island, about a mile from the western border with Connecticut. This town is on a jutting spit of land and features delis, art shops, an old-fashioned carousel, a light house, and 17 million dollar homes (according to the Real Estate window). Parking was difficult as most parking was for residents only, as were most of the beaches. A sign said, "Private beaches, but public toilets!" As if this was fair compensation. I used the toilet then spent an hour trying to find my family. I couldn't, so I got a local newspaper and sat by the Carousel, watching kids go around and try to catch the brass rings.
The local paper had a story about high school bullying and suggested that schools set up anonymous suggestion boxes.
Meanwhile, I moved in front of the Real Estate Office, because some parents were anxiously staring at me near the Carousel (thinking me a potential perp, perhaps), and got out Deconstructing Obama, by Jack Cashill. Cashill is a popular conservative writer who has tried to argue that all of Obama's written work is really that of terrorist Bill Ayers. His book was published in 2011 and I don't know for sure why I'm reading it. I wanted to see what methods he would use to demonstrate the link. It's summer and I wanted to read something way out of my usual territory. When this book came out in late Winter I read about it and was interested but just now got around to reading it. From the start of the book Cashill makes it clear he HATES CNN, and liberals, and can barely stand them, but he is kind of funny about it, and is difficult to just write off. He has a Ph.D. in English, and at least writes clearly.
The first forty pages say nothing except how he got interested in making the link between Obama and Ayers and how he hoped to wreck Obama's candidacy with this link in 2008, but he didn't make the deadline.
Then, he offers a comparison on p. 48 between Obama's prose and Ayers' prose:
Here's Ayers from a book called Fugitive Days:
"I picture the street coming alive, awakening from the fury of winter, stirred from the chilly spring night by cold glimmers of sunlight angling through the city" (cited on p. 48).
Here's Obama, from Dreams:
"Night now fell in midafternoon, especially when the snowstorms rolled in, boundless prairie storms that set the sky close to the ground, the city lights reflected against the clouds" (48).
They're both discussing Chicago. I've been to Chicago only once so can't vouch for the accuracy of either description. Suffice it to say that Cashill believes there is a close match between the two passages, and uses the Flesch Reading Ease Score to indicate they both receive a score of 54 on a scale of 1 to 121.
Then he argues that Obama's use of the word "midafternoon" is striking, especially insofar as Ayers uses the term, too. This may be because it is frequently used in Chicago. Cashill is from Kansas. I've lived in the northwest and the northeast and haven't heard the term used, but it might be a regionalism, especially if there is something weird about the midafternoon weather in Chicago, as the passages indicate.
I shrugged my shoulders and looked up. The family had returned from the shoot, and all were still alive. The photographer Sarah and her husband Wes were young people making a living in Mystic, CT. We chatted for ten minutes or so. Wes said he works at a factory that makes airplane parts in Groton, and he seemed sensible, down to earth, and very soft-spoken, all of which were to me very appealing qualities. He told me that Conan O'Brien has a house in Watch Hill. As we drove out of town there was a gigantic hotel looming over the ocean and the full moon glittered down over the water. Elegant people pulled up to the hotel. It looked to me as if the recession had never hit Watch Hill. I was just so glad it wasn't me keeping the economy going or having to show up at fancy hotels like this. I much prefer to remain quiet and mostly unseen.
We then went to our motel in a town called Westerly, and checked in. The price was quite high: about 90 dollars, but we paid it. Then we went to Wal-Mart to buy groceries and a sleeping bag, because the beds were tiny, and I would end up sleeping on the hard-wood floor. The reason we chose the motel (Aqua Inn) is that they promised internet service, but we couldn't make it work, and the Indian man and his wife were asleep and we didn't want to wake them.
We got up and went into the swimming pool. I supervised the kids while Riikka caught up with email (another resident of the hotel and the Indian couple's third-grader explained how to log in, although the mother didn't know and the dad was elsewhere) and packed. Some workmen with tattoos were building a watercourse near the pool, and all five were chainsmoking. As we checked out one of the men said to me, "I rarely comment, but you deserve a prize for attentiveness to your children. We rarely see that here."
My son said, "Dad, if he said you deserve a prize, why didn't he give you one? Shouldn't you get a real prize?"
That son is going into fifth grade. He's already better than me at math (quicker in addition and subtraction), but his understanding of analogical language needs work, or perhaps just more experience.
In the late morning we went to the beach in Misquamicut, RI, and although the beach was free you had to pay for parking. All day was 25 dollars most places but we found a place for 12 dollars, and walked over the sandy dunes to a seven-mile long beach filled with parasols and probably a half million visitors. The cumulous clouds drifted over rapidly as there was a strong wind. It was about 72 degrees. People ate onion rings and hamburgers and cotton candy and other glop and smoked cigarettes.
I stood in the surf and worked forward in the Cashill book, underlining passages while children surfboarded and threw peewee footballs and seagulls soared overhead (one hit me directly with poop, so I was forced to wade in and wash off before continuing the book).
Suffice it to say that Cashill believes that Obama is not a writer, and so could not have written Dreams From My Father. He thinks that someone else did, and builds the case that Ayers did.
I was willing to entertain this idea. He finds striking resemblances between Ayers and Obama's writing in terms of sentence structure, nautical references, and an ur-text that is perhaps found in the works of Joseph Conrad, especially Heart of Darkness. I kept reading, and was willing to buy some of it.
I was willing to entertain the notion that Ayers had written the book. I hadn't read much of Ayers, but in the tiny passage above, there is, in addition to the quantitative resemblance, an enormous difference IN QUALITY. Obama's passage is so far superior to the Ayers' passage that it struck me with a huge force. Whoever wrote the Obama passage has an enormous sympathy for the world, is outwardly turned toward it, and loves the world deeply. The Ayers' passage on the other hand is bitterly twisted and inwardly turned, and whoever wrote it felt lost and half-crazy as they wrote. That's a subjective reading, but let's read them again to try to substantiate the difference.
Here are some of the words in the Ayers' passage: "fury," "cold" "chilly" and "angling."
"Fury," is an especially bitter term.
Something is wrong with the person who wrote this passage. They are paranoid and ready to strike back against a too-harsh world.
In the Obama passage on the other hand, "boundless" prairie storms come rolling in, and the city lights are reflected in the clouds: a fascinating and beautiful image. One hates the world. The other loves it, with an almost "boundless" love.
There are superficial resemblances, but one of these writers has an ugly view of the world, and the other writer's is sublime. Based on this passage, I don't think they are the same writer.
I was now on about p. 200. The wind was blowing hard and my older daughter complained of a headache. Our older boy was having a great time with his surfboard (it's just a tiny thing, but resembled a surfboard), so we said another twenty minutes. He glided on waves and was proud of his prowess.
We packed up and got back in the car, and drove back through Connecticut and stopped at the IKEA in New Haven. The kids and I had the cheapest specials (about $2.50 for macaroni and cheese with a drink), while Riikka shopped for solutions.
Back on I-84 we got home and I finished unpacking, let the comments through, went to bed, and finished the last ninety pages of the Cashill book this morning.
In the last ninety pages Cashill's credibility slips badly. I'm no progressive, but when he compares them to a great white shark, I stopped and underlined:
"A liberal can have a fixed set of values, much as conservatives do. But a progressive, by definition, is always progressing. Like a great white, if one stops moving, it dies" (223).
An absolutely fascinating image that recalls Woody Allen's description of love from Annie Hall (is that correct?). But Allen's use of the term is comic and deliberately off. Cashill's use is angry and demeaning.
Are progressives really like "a great white"?
I don't see them this way. If anything, they are like lemmings. Angry talkative lemmings, at times, wandering in the wilderness, much as the Jews were during the attempt to escape from Egypt. If Obama is their Moses, it's not as if they want to keep moving. They want instead to found the New Jerusalem. Conservatives on the other hand do not believe we will ever have an earthly kingdom that is like Eden. We are fallen. We will do as well as we can to follow God's word, but the New Jerusalem is something that only God will provide. We cannot build it ourselves. We are locked out and must do our best to understand and follow His word, having broken the Covenant in the Garden.
Liberals and progressives can be deluded. The Nobel Peace Prize was given not only to Obama, but to Rigoberta Menchu, a woman who lied about her entire background when she wrote her book about being an Indian Woman in Guatemala, in which she makes up most of her facts and situations to create sympathy for her cause.
When Cashill is reviewing the evidence against the progressives he is quite thorough (he spends three pages on Menchu in order to undermine Obama's garnering of the Nobel). He claims they are both literary frauds. His evidence for the similarity between Ayers and Obama's writing is extensive and is the heart of the book. It's about 150 pages in length. It's not bad, and in the course of this he talks a lot about quantitative modes of analysis.
But he confuses quantity with quality.
Obama's quality is far superior to Ayers'. Obama's writing, if it is indeed his, has always a warmth and love in it for the world. He's somewhat careful, and cautious, it's true, but there's a love in his writing, whereas in Ayers' writing there is a rancid hatred that I find appalling and one-sided. Plus there is the problem of the Obama poem "Pop," which we reviewed on the blog several years ago. While not a masterpiece, the poem could stand as one of Bukowski's poems, and as a Beat poem. It's good. The other poem about the water grotto is terrible, but everyone writes bad poems. I write a hundred bad poems for every good one.
The last fifty pages of the book focus on Obama's confusing heritage, and evaluate evidence that Jimi Hendrix is his dad, or an "unknown black male," or possibly Frank Marshall Davis, the poet. The poem "Pop" is probably about Davis. I will buy this. But Cashill claims that Davis used Obama's mother as a nude model, and impregnated her, and then had sex with her (his own?) underaged son, and that this is what the poem represents!
He claims that Davis was gay or bisexual, and especially liked underaged boys, but wasn't particular about what he did. Davis wrote a book called Sex Rebel, about his affairs with men boys and women.
"There is enough talk in Sex Rebel about the taste and texture of semen to merit the suspicion that the 'breath' and 'amber stain' references in 'Pop' refer to the exchange of something other than whiskey. There may have been a whole lot of 'shinking' going on chez Davis after all" (284).
Is semen amber when it stains? I think this designation is wrong, on a forensic basis, and presents an absolutely monstrous scenario that would be worthy of a Nero, but Obama is no Nero.
On p. 282, Cashill says that "to shink" may not be a typo but may refer to slapping someone in the face with a penis (he cites evidence for this as a slang term in the gay community). However, it has other slang usages, too. It's an obscure aspect of the poem, but Cashill imports the worst possible meaning, and then builds a bizarre scenario around it that no jury would buy.
To top it off, Cashill claims that Obama never wrote the poem at all, and that it was a gift from Davis, "As compensation for exploiting the young Obama, Davis may have slipped this 'green young man' a poem for publication... Trained to believe that nothing adds up and the deck is stacked against him, Obama has seemed from the beginning entirely comfortable with a counterfeit literary career" (285).
So, Cashill writes off Dreams as belonging to Ayers, and then writes off Audacity as the work of a speechwriter named Favreau, and then writes off the early poem "Pop," as the work of Frank Marshall Davis.
For me this was too much. I've now read four books on Obama: Kloppenberg's, D'Souza's, Obama's Audacity, and this one. I felt sympathy for Obama by the end of this book. I felt disgusted by Cashill's sliming of Obama.
Obama's early poem "Pop," is a very fine poem, especially for a nineteen-year old writer. If that is actually Obama's work, then he'd have been capable of writing everything else he's written. My problem with Obama is not so much the writing and its quality, but the viewpoint. He's too much in love with the world, and doesn't understand the dangers and the terrors that America faces, and he has too many Marxists in his background. I think Obama himself tries to be reasonable, and is trying to understand the limitations of his background. Cashill brings up the Muslim issue again, on stretched terms. To his credit, Obama did get OBL. He went outside the lines when he did it, but the Pakistanis at some level must have allowed it. Generally speaking, Obama has worked inside of legal lines. He and his wife do not appear to be thugs. I think the right goes too far when they won't allow the presidential couple brains or talent or general decency. They have cute kids, and although they may have made mistakes in getting close with Ayers and Wright, I don't think they are evil opportunists. They may have been given some opportunities on the basis of their race, but they did the best they could with those opportunities. America should be proud of them.
They are good people. Perhaps too good. I think some distrust of the Chinese, and of terrorists like Ayers, and more thorough background checks into the people they employ (Van Jones, and the couple who snuck into the White House) would help them out. Obama knew the communist Frank Marshall Davis as a boy, and can't help his mother's poor choices. Davis played the role of Falstaff to a young Henry Vth, but I really doubt if they had oral sex. More likely Davis introduced Obama to the world of poetry and politics, but I doubt if he exploited the boy.
I came away from the book believing that Obama is a patriot and not a pinhead, and that Jack Cashill is one-sided to the point of zealotry. In his attempt to tarnish the Obamas, he loses perspective. Everyone loses perspective when there is so much at stake, but this book needed better vetting.
It may be that Obama had help with the two books. Most writers have some help. For my three volumes of literary criticism I had help from several anonymous readers, from professors I had worked with, and my wife. Almost no one writes well by themselves. For my novel I also had some help from the editor and my wife, too.
Obama's spirit is present in the books and the poems assigned to him. He's a good man. You can see on his face that he's a good man.
I hope he isn't reelected, but if he is, and there's a good chance of it (if the economy turns around) we could do far worse. I think he was probably just a tad superior to John McCain in talent but I preferred McCain. I would like someone with humor and a sense of the bottom line to run for the Republicans: either Giuliani or Huckabee.
Meanwhile, I have other things to do: I have to get the beach sand out of the car, my shoes, and water the cucumbers.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Larry David was on the Joy Behar Show. I don't know why I was watching it. I do try to understand the liberal mind.
Larry David said, "Why don't the poor Republicans want to tax the rich Republicans? Doesn't everybody hate the millionaires as much as we do in the Democratic party?"
I was puzzled.
I don't hate millionaires. I admire them, and am glad they live in this country. They bring in money, and create wealth. They are the geese that lay the golden eggs.
Do we want everybody to be poor?
It would be as if I hated a poet for being excellent and having ten books. Why would I hate this? I admire it, and am grateful for their existence. I love great poets, and if they are better than me, I love it. I love to feel stunned by great poetry that I could never write.
I like millionaires.
Saturday, July 09, 2011
The new president of South Sudan shaking hands with GW Bush. The new president (Salva Mayardit Kiir) is wearing a cowboy hat that GW Bush gave him.
Every country in the world except the Cook Islands and Taiwan belong to the UN. There are 191 countries that belong, but this morning, a new country was added: South Sudan. It's Africa's 54th country. This is a country that is composed of animists and Episcopalians and has some of the most fertile oilfields in the world. They also have giraffes. However, there is a lot of internecine fighting among the groups in the south, and some groups in the north are still fighting the Arab Muslims who have attempted genocide against them over the last fifty years. Darfur is not part of the South Sudan, but also remains under the control of the genocidal Arabic north.
How did the South Sudan manage to pull away from the North? According to the New York Times this morning, it is the visionary work of George W. Bush:
“Christian groups had been championing the southern Sudanese since the 19th century. And their efforts paid off in 2000 when George W. Bush was elected president of the United States. He elevated Sudan to the top of his foreign policy agenda, and in 2005, the American government pushed the southern rebels and the central government — both war weary and locked in a military stalemate — to sign a comprehensive peace agreement that guaranteed the southerners the right to secede.
On Saturday, one man held up a sign that said “Thank You George Bush.”
Friday, July 08, 2011
Yesterday the family went to a place called Great ESCAPE, which is a waterpark and theme park located in Lake George, NY. The kids and wife went on lots of rollercoasters which hung upside down and pulled screaming people through water. One of the neatest rides was called the Tornado, and featured families on rubber rafts which would drop seven floors before sucking you into a maelstrom of water some 60 stories in height. I didn't want to do this, but the wife said I had to, and I'm glad I did!
We also went on Lazy River, and down tube shoots, and on train rides through what was once Storyville (1956) which still had plaster busts of crocodiles and elephants, and Alice in Wonderland, and which our 5-year old felt happy to ride through with me. The train was a miniature thing packed with tourists.
On the Swan Ride, a 500 lb. woman got on, and the thing listed to one side. Normally the Swan Ride takes 9 people. With the blimp on, they could only fit six of us. I was afraid I would have to rescue the kids from drowning.
As we drove home last night I picked up a paper. There were two headlines. One about Casey Anthony, and the other about a guy who crushed a puppy.
Casey Anthony was acquitted on the charge of murdering her baby, Caylee, in June 2008. In spite of the duct-taped mouth (apparently she didn't want the baby's screams to be heard when she stoved in her head), and the maggots and smell of human remains in her car, and the baby being found in the woods behind her parents' house, she was only convicted of four counts of lying to investigators.
In another case, "Jarrod D. Lent, 38, was caring for a 6-month-old Yorkshire Terrier named Aeromay earlier this year when he discovered the animal had soiled the carpet. The dog hid behind a couch. Lent then crushed the dog between a couch and a wall, instantly causing its death, officials said" (page A1, POST STAR, July 6, 2011, Wednesday afternoon edition, Glens Falls, NY).
"His conduct is not only outrageous, demonstrates a temper out of control, but a rage so violent he is a danger to others," Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy said after the sentencing. He got one year in jail.
Jarrod D. Lent is a man. Casey Anthony is a woman, and she'd been sexually assaulted by her father, which confused her, and made her want to go to disco parties, and duct-tape her child's face, and then kill her. Caylee Anthony should be free to spend a day at the water park. But instead her mother killed her. Or at least that's how most Americans think of it. She should date OJ Simpson.
I have to mow the lawn.
Here's a short video of the Tornado. Most of the world doesn't even have drinking water. We have millions of gallons of water to play in. Get thee to a water park, as Shakespeare might have had said, had they had such things to say back in the day:
Monday, July 04, 2011
I've actually seen fireworks the last three nights. The village of Delhi shot them off on Friday night, then last night a guy shot off lots of them at his house in Bovina in between egg-spoon races, and then tonight art critic Peter Schjeldahl blasted them off. He blasted off fifty of them at a time, and it was like watching the Vietnam War. We sat with a composer from Switzerland named Yvonna Troxler and her boyfriend, a movie electrician. She told us about a minimalist composer in Estonia named Arvo Part. Part is inspired by Erik Satie, virtually the only avant-garde composer I like because I like the wistful sentiments. Lots of aerial bombardment as the fog drifted down the valley. Many orange lilies in the gardens. I had a slice of blue cheese at one point as the fireworks went off in the air they also went off on my palate, while my kids looked up in the sky. I drank part of a beer since there was nothing else to drink and so was "lit." I think I drank almost a quarter of the brewski.
Came home and Geraldo was on Fox with a two-hour special about the Caylee Anthony case. I have tried very hard not to pay attention to this monstrous breach of etiquette on the part of the mother who was apparently strapped for a baby sitter so offed the child. I switched the channel and Bruce Willis was in a show called The Man, in which he was chasing bad guys and blowing them up but one of them with a scar had a tween with braces that the Willis character loved in the car, and was going to kill her. I turned the channel. I can't stand it when kids are at risk. It's not relaxing.
At church we sang My Country Tis of Thee. Land where our fathers died, Land of the Pilgrims' Pride, From Every Mountain Side, Let Freedom Ring! I wept at every line it was so powerful and thought of Bruce Willis saving the country from all kinds of perps.
My note to the director of Cherry 2000 went through and he wrote back to me. He said it was such a hassle to make it that he almost disowned it. But what a masterpiece it is. He's now going to write a novel. I think anything he does will be genius. I am now his fan. It turns out we both went to Evergreen State and when I was there I saw his student film Eat the Sun, about despotic gurus. Cherry 2000 is a fantasy about a man in love with a robot when he could be with Melanie Griffith, but there is also a background plot about despotic New Age nuts.
It just seemed so funny that men would date robots instead of real women. I laughed. What on earth are people doing? Sex with robots, sex with animals, sex with rodents, sex with aye-ayes. Now this Dominick Straus-Kahn if that's his name is set free because it was only a prostitute that he raped. Or maybe he thought he had paid for the interaction. So maybe he will "get off." People are shocked that a prostitute should have rights. But of course they do, and he made her sad, so he should still be tried, I think, and get the chair. Or whatever they do to rapists. Maids in hotels should be roombas, I guess, so guys like Straus-Kahn can do whatever they want with them, as long as they pay to replace any parts they break. Or should robots have rights, too, to go unmolested by the French? I mean, the French have to molest SOMEBODY. It's in their Constitution.