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Atomized junior

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Motor Booty

 Despite the crushing weight of election coverage my favorite news story last week was out of Vietnam Motorcycle driving: Slight to slight people?  Vietnam bans small or thin people from riding motor bikes. Even to the point of specifiying a 28 in. minimum chest size Vietnam considers driving ban for small-chested people | World news | Every article I saw on this cued the same set of jokes at this point: entire Vietnamese nation comes to abrupt transport halt. I brought this up with Tran who has riden motor bikes through the streets of Saigon. She murmured something mostly inaudible about the ability of Vietnams leaders to come up with idiotic ideas. Then she shot me a sidelong glance and I let the subject shift. This points up the danger: though, of letting imortant societal matters, be decided on the whim of non-expert opinion. Road accidents in Vietnam are at public health crisis levels. A million motor bikes all going through the same intersection at the same time. They could have decreed a helmet law, or some minimal level of road rules and education. This would have required process and follow-up. And perhaps I am being unimaginative, but I don't see the obvious sources of payoffs and graft from helmet laws either.

 This brings up another story out of Vietnam from the previous week. There was a slow moving corruption scandal from a couple of years ago. Officials from the transportation ministry were revealed to be betting on soccer matches using funds from Japan and the World Bank. But hey who doesn't do that? News reports had broken the story, the police got involved, people were arrested and the case was wending its way through to justice. Everyone was congratulating themselves on free press and rule of law - until a Deputy Minister was named, then the charges were dropped with out explanation and the reporters are arrested and sent to jail.

"Nguyen Viet Chien was convicted of "abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state." One of his sources, Lt. Col. Dinh Van Huynh, was given a one-year sentence for "deliberately revealing state secrets."  Vietnam Imprisons Reporter -

 There is a thin thread of a line that can be drawn between this and the Melamine affair in China. [This weblog used to get hits from places like Vietnam and China it doesn't any more. I don't know why]. What is seen here are regimes of regulatory failure. Melamine mystery scandal? That didn't exist. The last reports on this indicate it was an open secret and had been for years, It's use widespread in the food industry BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Chinese melamine scandal widens. Underlying food production techniques for urban concentrations that characterize structural shift was a house of cards centered on tests for nutritional levels that could be gamed by melamine that boosts nitrogen results. It is indicative of the contradictions inherent in a mass society of independent buyers and sellers. Once one player out of thousands chooses the low easy route, the profit squeeze is on for everyone to follow suit. Nothing and no one polices themselves. A successful regulatory regime requires rules, standards, paperwork, inspection, and sanction. Differing groups interests do not align themselves without such systemic grounding.

 There was a New York Times commentary about a month ago that likened the Melamine situation to the New York milk scandals of the 19th and early 20th century The Swill Is Gone - Op-Ed - It involved things like milking cows which were surviving largely on a diet of used whiskey mash. It was not wholesome. This went on for more than a generation. In the end it took  more that just legislation and regulators. It took those people; police, the judicial system, judges. All of them feeling the public were looking over their shoulders before the problem abated. The way out is only through the disinfectant of open information - a free press is integral here. Decisions by some governments to partially unlock - then re-lock the press upon whim, occaisionly quite literally, is reactionary and will never allow the neccesary awareness to even start the process of driving corruption out of their societies.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008
Piqued Oil

Another topic of this election that gained less traction for either side than I would have thought is the idea of Peak Oil. Like the effect a brisk fall day has on perceptions of global warming, the price of gasoline falling back from a point where it can change peoples behavior has them instead re-deploying the idea that cheap oil will last forever. It's worth going over again the idea of peak oil. The glass is half empty and it is half full. It is neither a metaphor of optimism or pessimism  Growth Economics on a Finite Planet - Dot Earth Blog - We may burn through the rest of oil fast or slow. It is likely peak use of fossil fuel energy in our civilization, and the most dramatic parta of the story are yet to come. It is merely that we have accounted for most of what petrochemical deposits this world has and are approaching , drill as we might, having extracted the fuller portion of it. This particular Nantucket sleigh ride is half over.  Paying for it isn't  If Elected ... - On Global Warming, McCain and Obama Agree - Urgent Action Is Needed - Series -

 There have been comments that nuclear power is a winning proposition, and there is industry movement on this front as well. It is said it is emission-less, from the perspective of greenhouse gases perhaps, but not so much for radiation. The industry's most intractable problem, what to do with spent nuclear fuel, has not been solved :  The Energy Challenge - Nuclear Power May Be in Early Stages of a Revival - Series -  Nor for those who can remember Three Mile Island and Chernobyl is the matter issue-free.

 The authorities plan to place nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain which may or may not be ready to accept it in 10 years. It will sit outdoors on concrete pallets until then. Yucca Mountain is currently re-orienting towards the goal of keeping the radioactive waste under wraps for a period longer then the initial 10,000 years envisioned Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository - Wikipedia. A period of time over-equaling human recorded history. I especially liked the idea of having monoliths of the nuclear hazard symbol. It could be called Rad-henge. That'll keep them down on the farm. The biweekly, Science News, has a usefull summary of the candidates' positions on selected science matters in a recent issue Science News / The Science Vote.

  Those who keep an eye on the Republican commentariat (NRO and Weekly Standard that sort of thing) have observed an unprecedented level of anxiety and hand-wringing. Among those Laura Rozen has observed this: 

 [A]re they afraid of losing power? the access to power they and their circles have had all these years?    War and Piece : October 07, 2008

[T]here's likely to be more of a psychic tipping point this moment for conservatives is because they've had power now for a while and it's very hard to face the prospect of giving that up. Especially when there seems to be a big element of fear on their part too that some of the right exercised their power so divisively, and there could be a kind of retribution against them War and Piece : October 13, 2008

There is an amplifying instability to extreme power accumulation in a democracy. Fear of the consequences of relinquishing power, of having had a lifestyle too wedded to having power. For being a one-party aspirational state. Converting all mechanisms of governance to partisianism. Of having governed by secrecy, autocratically. Too many closets too many skeletons. This is familiarly the Roman lesson. From Sulla down, governors of provinces had to fear returning to Rome because of prosecutions for the way they exploited their positions and extracted wealth. Until the day came when the autocrats simply chose not to return - to a republic.

For any special aggregation of power that may have occurred apologists rarely fail to posit the myth of special times. That we live in dangerous times that demand special and ultra responsive authoritarianism. I reject this line of rationalization largely. While nature occasionally engulfs or withdraws from us catastrophically. Man is a constant for man. The well ordered republic requires nothing extraordinary in rule or law to deal with others.  I know it doesn't seem so in view of history. Often we write our history wrong, or not well enough.

Other traditional games are being played this election season. The infallible fallback: taxes. Hate them and become happy. I've always remembered the simple thought exercise of the 10 percent solution. Tell people you will help them cut government by 90%. Slash it back to a libertarian nub. Ask them to examine the budget and only keep the 10% they think is worthwhile. You will collate the results and be in touch. The result of this will be exactly the government we have. The corollary to this: "my legislator big ear(marks) and all, is a statesmen. The rest are bums." The tax cuts that politicians propose are never permanent and transforming, they are partial and temporal. An ever-borning giveaway designed to allow inclined candidates the ability to declare a chicken for your pot with every election. The thin logic of tax cuts is that they are rarely saved and often put into the consumer economy, in the right circumstance expanding sectors of that can occaisionally lead to higher net collection.  This cannot disguise the degree that the federal budget is increasingly funded by debt due to failure to raise the necessary revenue  Tax Magic - .

   Related to this is the phenomenon of outsourcing the work of the Federal Government to the private sector. Since the dispensation of the work is still in the end, dependent on political decision, it makes little difference whether the work is performed technically inside or outside of government. Any chimerical gains in efficiency are likely to be lost to lesser accountability. The primary purpose of outsourcing, like much national security spending (Billion dollar programs to militarize US borders) is to gain entry to jobs program politics.

 At a time when many (myself certainly) look for the avenues and alleys of the financial world to be brought under increased scrutiny What Went Wrong -,  even chastened somewhat  How the financial collapse killed libertarianism. - By Jacob Weisberg - Slate Magazine. At the least, a post-mortem inquiry Is Capitalism Dead? From the Cato Institute and others on on the subject of regulation: a cobbled up counter revolution or rear-guard action. In this public radio Marketplace commentary Will Wilkinson attempts to argue that it wasn't too little regulation, but too much that lead to the mortgage banking collapse Marketplace: Crisis calls for the right regulation. For people like this the Market is moral argument. Peeling back layers of ritual worship of its purity this claim reduces to Pareto Optimality. The idea of an aggregate production curve that is the allocation of all things to perfection. The market values only efficiency, crowds out all other notions of good, right just and allowable. The market obtains. A moral code of material production and resource use. All else an anathema, because any other notion of right and wrong introduces cost  BBC NEWS | Business | 'More inequality' in rich nations.

 Markets are institutions of men, they are taken as belonging to those that run them. Humans seek to normalize, temporize and tame rude nature, working out (or disregarding) risk, inconvenient loose ends, uncertainly and cost. Stabilizing the flow of their affairs. People abhor a truly free market the way nature abhors a vacuum. Within this not altogether free market the indistinct rationality of choice draws a production curve short of optimal.  Pareto Optimality is an ideal and no actual state. All actual production curves fall inside it. They exist, are reviewed measured judged, and weighed for their fairness or unfairness from particular corporal interest. Markets are a model organizing principle, nothing more. They are not the good - the end of right order and justice.

    As a final thought I recall a Frontline program from a few years ago that depicted the credit card industry reacting to apprehensions of the criminality of its business practices simply by having the laws changed by accommodating legislators an election cycle later. This has been process and template for years. When you have institutions too big to fail Doesn't Anyone Care About Moral Hazard Anymore? : NPR  (more Cato Inst. but ...) entities too large and wealthy to contain within the law. You are not in control.  Take it back.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008
In Dreams...

Another in an occasional series of posts that contain no hypertext links.

 I had a dream a couple months ago. Like most of my dreams it was nothing special. In the dream I simply live in a better apartment, It was on the strength of that singularity I think that I remembered it at all. It was better in that it was seemingly quirkier, fuller, more realized. What character points my current apartment has can be as well described as damage. It was also, I recognized, more like some other places I have emotional attachment to. In addition, it was on a hill, among other close buildings, and trees, with a modest partially obscured view of the sea, which lay beyond a layer of roads, a quarter to half mile away. It seemed in the dream, though I never specifically reflected on it that I was married. There, for that it was a complete sense of someone to share with, and the rule set of how to share with that person.

 I should say something here about the defining characteristics of the landscapes in my dreams. It is generally the landscapes that define them. They are merged synthetic landscapes full of variant angles and end points. A mix of familiar and unfamiliar, completeness and incompleteness with what I can identify to produce something with no real reference. Middle school corridors mixed with elementary school points. A navy base, joined into a city known years apart. And there is always the vaguely disquieting experience of moving through this environment. Which; though, only affects and lingers with me on those occasion where I happen to remember a dream, which often carry impressions or echoed recollections of other occasions in the same places.  In those moments I become partly aware of the method of construction used in these landscapes.They are composed of the first impressions I had of things and places that I later established context for and common familiarity with. And of those places encountered only briefly for which no real context was ever gained.

 In the memory and architecture of these dreams, there is vast and pointless detail and extensively of scale. These dreams contain entire neighborhoods, cities, cross country trips for which I will install detail and dwell on the history of the detail. To what extent I can recall it now and give account for it, the levels of detail include the visual, tactile, and what regarde I have for these things. These environments rely heavily even exclusively on manmade built and urban environments. Even though I grew up in small towns and countryside. These are more streetscapes than landscapes. 

 The extent of my conscious knowledge is limited to awareness of the surfaces and shapes of things. I only know what I see. I am only my eyes in these dreams, There is an opacity beyond this.

 In life, particularly the modern western life we lead. Change and movement is the rule. Changing vistas, and changing situations. And yet through this churn, I know that many peoples lives have a certain 'there and back again' quality. Even among the people I know. We recreate the familiar wherever we go. We change little from who we are. A picture named This is why a change of scenery can have such a profound effect on us.  A quick, albeit temporary way of affecting a number of terms and cues all at once.  For whatever meaning dreams contain, and I am not aware they have any intrinsic meaning, being mainly card sorting exercises for folding the days experience into memory. I am still tempted in the vivid imaging, the instinctive conceiving, of this particular dream to see another step along the road from Bologna to Rome.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008
Post Petraeus.

 The Iraq war is not figuring into the present election as much as people thought it would, even recently. But not so recently that other more looming events haven't eclipsed  it. The surge gets name-checked, as attempts are made to form it into a touchstone of sorts. The surge was just that: a device of domestic consumption. For the purpose of moving the war into neutral, moving it off the front pages, parking it. A suppression of violence that allows the rhetoric of victory. A move that likely precluded victory of the kind they desire in the long run. Placing the eventual genuine resolution of Iraqi affairs more firmly in Iraqi hands. Underscoring the redundancy of the US presence.

 All this moved the Iraq war into a new phase, a post Petraeus phase, even before the General took command in Iraq and long before his recent upward move to Centcom Odierno Succeeds Petraeus as Iraq Commander. A position from which he may gain the measure of perspective that Admiral William Fallon gained Petraeus sees value in talking to Taliban | International | Reuters. Seeing the focus of the war against terrorism being most in those places where poverty, nationalism, radicalism and the meddling interests of regional established powers combine in loosely governed regions to ferment cultures of violence. Afghanistan and the Pakistan border, but no less Kurdistan, Palestine or the slums of Cairo  Book Review - 'Tell Me How This Ends - General David Petraeus and the Search for a Way Out of Iraq

 What the surge wasn't was the Petraeus Plan. The surge, General Keane and Fredrick Kagan's idea, facilitated, but is not synonymous with the rededicated (redirected) effort to defeat the insurgency by General David Petraeus and his staff. For the sake of simplicity they came together to form a Baghdad-centered and population protectionist stance. However the surge would not have happened if General Petraeus had not agreed to, even publicly supported the idea. The connotations of such unconditional support for contested political policy are heightened by every trip to Washington General Petraeus makes This round, Pentagon may keep General Petraeus offstage and groups he talks to when there (such as the Heritage foundation as he did last week  Petraeus cautious on Iraq progress - Los Angeles Times). 

 Here are two links to Google graphs recapitulating his internet public-figure career. I include  Google Trends: General Petraeus and  Google Trends: General David Petraeus variants to capture how the searches differ by country and region.

 The surge likewise should not be mistaken for the Iraq Civil war. Either it's initial stage, the Shiite civil war for control of the majority population of Iraq. For which both the Sunni's and Kurds were on the sidelines of, and in regard to ethnic cleansing in defensive positions for. Or for the civil war phase two. This begins when the Shiite victors take up what Iraq will be.

 Nor is the surge the end of, the defeat of the insurgency. What we see in Iraq currently is the result of the determination of Sunni leaders that violent and foreign insurgents complicated their position. Shiite leaders also largely came to that view, in view of U S Armies posture in Baghdad, and success of the Iraqi government in controlling cities like Basra. These are the events known as the stand down of the JAMM and the Sunni awakening. Which left the US with one opposing force to confront and control: the foreign insurgency - Al qaeda in Iraq together with Syrian, and Iranian interference Odierno takes charge in a 'fragile' Iraq. For what is considered low tech warfare, the insurgency has leveraged consumer electronics into quite deadly equivelencies (If you didn't read it at the time check the Post's Left of Boom series from last year especially the description of DoD's db of detonation frequencies). The unfortunate reality is for every sawbuck this insurgency spends, they make us spend one hundred thousand dollars keeping up. There is no angle this can be viewed from, that really make the war in Iraq a succesful or worthwhile use of American power and prestige. Saddam was a spent force, his sons dissolute hedonists not leaders. Keeping Iraq from interfering in the neccesary enterprise of dismantling Al Qaeda and other radical militarized Islamist groups ought to have been a diplomatic task. That war was brought to Iraq was done for other reasons, by shameless and amoral ruses. 

 Those who advocated and brought about this war know all this. For all the military success of the past year military success is no longer the measure Iraq Index - Saban Center for Middle East Policy - Brookings Institution. For all the talk of timetables, of withdrawal against tables of observed achievement, neither guide now when or how we'll go. We will leave when the Iraq Government tells us. The architects are sacrificing Iraq-the-Model to preserve Neoconservative Imperialism. The concern now is for saving their New American Century and what's left of their reputations. Towards this end now the bargaining proceeds on the lines of Production and Service Agreements (PSAs) Iraqi government fuels 'war for oil' theories with biggest ever reserves sale | Business | The Guardian and permanent bases. Although if perhaps (quite unlikely) Chinese oil concerns win contracts for the Iraqi oil fields and feel they would rather their military garrison the region for security it would be something about which we would have little to say. The ultimate  point is very simple: if we regard our interest as requiring the abridgment of the self-determination of others, whether we believe we are gifting democracy by it or not, we breed only resentment and become its object.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

  There is a little bee sticker on my computer (or workstation to be rigorous about it) at the library. A picture named BeePeople.jpg His mysterious appearance is something for which I have only conjecture. But he is quite small, not anything anyone else but I see. So no explanation has ever been asked for or given. As I looked at him, or her, the other day I thought perhaps something should be said.

  In the first place his appearance is not so mysterious.  About two years ago a co-worker, came in one day wearing a jacket. This jacket a very nice full fall jacket had a broad pattern of horizontal yellow and black stripes.  My reaction born of a lifetime of deep introspection, sensitive thoughtful being and intuitive consideration of the feelings and self esteem of others (and this is why women love me) I say:

 "Yeri, you look like a giant Bumble Bee"

 She stops frozen in mid-step a crestfallen confused look on her face. A touch of frission in the air.  The english phrase and notion BumbleBee it is revealed over the next few minutes may not instantly translate through to the Korean. And even as it does...

      "Oh my, is that good thing or bad thing?" is what she inquires at first.

A few days latter  arrived  the little bee. Stuck to my keyboard when I came in one morning. I have since moved him to the corner of one of my two screens.


  Things change.  Yeri left working here at the library about a year ago, following her husband, his post graduate project finished, composite materials or some such, in search of work and elusive H catagory visas elsewhere. When she left she made a poster board of her time with us, for her farewell party. Photographs and other little illustrations. She paired this with another poster she had made a few years before when her daughter passed one hundred days old. She asked people she knew here to join Facebook so she could stay in touch with us. This is the point when I signed in with that piece of relentless modernity (All modernity is relentless).

  Over time other people I have known, friends and family, have found my Facebook page. Because of this I am somewhat reluctant to admit I have no idea what to do with it, and go to it rarely. But my opinion matters little here,  Yeri Park was the first person on my page and I like that.  Micaela does not seem to do the Facebook thing. 

  Yeri and her family have since returned to Korea. Tran, another Facebook hold-out, gave in at around this time and joined so she could continue to (be)'friend' Yeri across the wide oceans.  I am left with my facebook page with which I can see how much better all my friends have aged than I have. Possibly this is the real point of Facebook. I have that, and my little Bee person, who at least is ageless.

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Sunday, October 5, 2008
Stray Radio News

  The word Radio has always seemed incomplete. As though it were part of some larger word like TV is to Television. I guess people used pair it as Radio receiver. If they had contracted that to Radioceiver then went to radio, I don't suppose it would bother me. Right now I want to write a post in homage to the "Radio News You Can Use" posts WFMU's Liz Berg sometimes writes for the WFMU blog

 There were two related events reported on by Ars Technica last week that caught my eye. The first was on  Rep. Jay Inslee's Webcaster Settlement act of 2008  Congress acts, sort of saves Internet radio. This bill H.R. 7084: Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008 ( has been pushed through the process and now is at the point where it awaits signing. The purpose of this is to buy time for and prod the differing sides towards a settlement. The back story here is that a year and a half ago. SoundExchange a company working for the RIAA started to collect on fees from webcasters, web music disseminators, and radio stations that simulcast over the internet that essentially broke their business models or nonprofit budgets. The issue was the bizarre draconian and frankly suspect fee structure the Copyright Royalty Board had come out with. The sides with congress looking on went into settlement talks, the settlement would replace the CRB mandate. The current story seems to be that the RIAA and smaller webcasters are more or less in alignment with bigger broadcasters represented by the NAB holding out. They seem to see new distribution means as threatening their position and are intent on stifling the market.

 At the same time as this, the CRB released a new Fee Structure for permanent and limited use downloads. If you missed this Apple had let it be known that they would shut down the iTunes music store rather than accept fee's they didn't feel were reasonable. They wanted 4.8 cents they got 9.1. They set off no dynamite Royalty rate stays same for iTunes, other download services.

 I gave some thought to WFMUs position here, and other similarly positioned stations that I listen to. Given the vagaries of the regulatory environment It must be a critical question whether you continue to expand technology and your reach;  exploring the possibilities of a wider geographic community. A national even international market. And at the same time maintain the ability to stay focused on your local markets and community. If the fee rates on internet streams do go up such stations would have to scale back even cut their streams or spend considerable time sifting through material and working out separate content license arrangements.

 I also read an article on NPR in American Journalism Review this weekend where it seemed they were struggling with some of the same issues, from perspective of a pure content provider The Transformation of NPR | American Journalism Review . They have made a commitment as an organization to embrace the web. Not only facilitating web simulcasting and archiving. But leveraging their infrastructure and talent into becoming a full fledged multimedia content generator. Basically by getting everyone to write copy, take pictures, and shoot video. and make it all available on the internet. As they do this they are becoming aware of the danger of separating their client stations from the local communities to which they are licensed. Or undercutting that broadcast relationship. They know they must move forward, but it underscores they are on new ground as they do so. 

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Friday, October 3, 2008
40 Mules for Sister Sarah

 ... men shall say of succeeding plantacions: the lord make it like that of New England: for wee must Consider that wee shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eies of all people are uppon us; soe that if wee shall deale falsely with our god in this worke wee have undertaken and soe cause him to withdraw his present help from us, wee shall be made a story and a byword through the world, wee shall open the mouths of enemies to speake evill of the wayes of god and all professours for Gods sake... John Winthrop [ This is only a portion of a single sentence. ]
City upon a Hill - Wikipedia

   One thing stuck with me from Thursday's debate among all the blithe folksiness, the Reagan-conservative blinkered-ness and Biden's straightjacketed, but sucessful study in carefulness. Which was like watching an Olympic gymnast while commentators inform you that on all previous occasions that this gymnast has tried this routine they fell on their ass. That was Palin's invoking of a passage from Governor Winthrop's A Model of Christian Charity at the end. Not only for its curious placement in the debate, but for her misattribution of it to Ronald Reagan. She used Reagan's formulation of it and truly seemed unaware it extended three centuries beyond that.

  What does it take to get a 'first' around here these days? My Massachusetts roots caused me to recall that phrase coming from one of the early New England Colonists, my paper bound old-school approach to thinking caused me to go looking for a text book I knew I had that had that sermon in it A More perfect union : documents in U.S. history []. I still value the dead weight of paper over perky electrons.  By the time I went to the web about a half hour later to tried to find some additional context the Wikipeida entry on this had already been edited to show Palin's use, and her non-cognizance of it's provenence  by the next morning.

  The City on a Hill phrase is caught up in the meaning of American Exceptionalism. Here the notion that we are special. That we are doing something different, new, radical, something better. What we bring about, our principles, our behavior, is being watched and noted and will be a permanent lesson and judgement good or ill. Such notions were a common trope of the day among the emigrating (or is that immigrating) puritans. They are still true in thier own way today. The phrase comes down from Matthew 5:14.  Here it originates as a sermon Winthrop gave aboard the ship Arbella before the colonists disembarked to form the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. It plainly is a caution as much as an exhortation or affirmation. It has become popular with conservatives with whom much nuance in it vanished (it was used by JFK also). Wikipedia indicates this sermon apparently only circulated in manuscript until the 19th century  John Winthrop - Wikipedia. Until such time as our actions increasing took us beyond our own borders and our own affairs only.

  Winthrop himself is a symbol of American imperfections (I note my family had roots within the slightly different 'Plymouth' colony).  Winthrop's dealings with internal dissenters is the first evidence. He is the man who expelled and damned as harlot and Jezebel Anne Hutchinson for the high crime of having her own voice and opinion. He also was willing to execute adulterers, a way of proceeding which can only ever involve a high degree of hypocrisy - human nature.  Winthrop's dealings with native americans were similarly abrupt and self serving. They hadn't improved the land in the sense we now call Lockeian, entirely bound up in European history land use and population pressures, therefore he didn't consider the land theirs. Their decimation due to smallpox was the receiving of Gods verdict in his view. History inclines more towards near genocide.

 Watching the debate I didn't think there was any question that the strategies of the Palin camp leading up to the debate were lowering the bar as far as it could go. The Couric interviews were theater. Couric was played: played and owned, but they knew that fewer would be watching those interviews. Most would hear only about them, where many would be watching the debate. It was a smart play all around. In the debate itself the strategy consisted of talking past the question.  Saying so much, covering so many topics that responding to her was nearly impossible. A shotgun repetition of memorized facts. Cynical but effective in an informal debate. In a real debate she would be informed she had scored nothing for not responding on-topic. In real life as an elected official answering for real events and real people demanding answers, she would not have had the derelict luxury of talking past the question at hand.

  A last minor thought I have about this involves Michele Malkin and other's call for Gwen Ifil's removal as moderator on a question of partisan bias. Again a calculated gaming that injected a far far greater measure of partisanism into the matter than Ifil has ever demonstrated or is likely capable of. Let that be their final legacy.

 Oh the title of this piece was supposed to be "40 acres and a mule for Sister Carrie." I think the spell checker must have changed it.

11:24:17 PM    comment [];trackback [];

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