The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary

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From Under the Rubble 5: The Best Party That Dollars (Canadian or Brunei) Can Buy

The Best Party That Dollars (Canadian or Brunei)  Can Buy Thomas Fleming The Best Congress Money Can Buy is divided over President Obama’s demand for “fast-track” trade authorization, which maintains presidential authority to make trade deals without interference from a reluctant Congress that might be too sensitive to the needs of the American people.  The authorization bill is so complicated that members of Congress are voting on it without knowing, much less understanding the contents.  All we really do know is that the globalists are reaching out to Europe and the Pacific Rim in order to create “a more perfect union.”...

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The Best Revenge 3: A Party for Boethius

The Best Revenge 3:  A Party for Boethius Thursday we held our first little get-together.  It was too modest to be called an “event.”  About 20 friends came for a glass or two of wine to our crumbling stuccoed shack on Highcrest Road.  We cannot afford expensive stuff for this many people, but we did serve a decent Merlot from Mirassou and a better Portuguese Douro  (Altano).   I don’t remember which pinot grigio we served, but one of the guests in a misguided gesture of friendship brought a bottle of E.B. (Ezra Brooks contribution to single barrel Bourbon).  After...

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Autodidact: Homer 3

Kith and Kin By Thomas Fleming Athena’s intervention in the quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles reminds us how powerful and terrifying the gods can be.  The gods are not, however, all-powerful or all-knowing, not even Zeus.  They are subject to the usual passions–love, hatred, envy, and revenge, and when they are not making war on human beings, they are fighting with each other.  Zeus is undoubtedly wise and powerful, a god of justice, but it is all he can do to keep his wife, brother, and children in line. Here is a question that has tormented scholars: Can we find...

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From Under the Rubble 4: Washington’s Criminal Conspiracy

Washington’s Criminal Conspiracy By Thomas Fleming One way or another, the provisions of the Patriot Act will be confirmed and strengthened.  There is nothing that either libertarian Republicans (Rand Paul) or leftist civil libertarians (Bernie Sanders) can do to stop it.  Conspiring against the citizenry is the lifeblood of our government. Most of the debate on the renewal has been focussed on practical and legal matters:  Are the Feds listening to my telephone calls and monitoring my email?  Has Federal surveillance actually stopped acts of terrorism?   Does this surveillance violate the US Constitution? These are serious questions, and they are...

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From Under the Rubble 3: Hijab Rules!

Hijab Rules By Thomas Fleming In an 8-1 decision that surprised no one, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Muslim woman’s right to wear a head-scarf in defiance of an employer’s dress code.  Abercrombie and Fitch—a maker of overpriced preppy status clothing—had implemented a dress code that required sales staff to dress in in the style of A&F’s product line.  Among the prohibited items was any form of head-covering.  A Muslim  woman took the job without informing the company either of her religion or her intention to wear a head scarf.  A&F’s lawyers took the line that...

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The Autodidact: Homer 2

Man in his Place Where to begin?  If we were liberals, we would have to begin with the individual or with the Greek concept of the individual, and then we would show how the individual interfaced with the state, which either invaded or protected his rights.  Alas for the liberals, the state has not been invented yet, and the Greeks hardly even have the concept of the individual.  Our heroes do have names, of course, which implies that they could tell each other apart—and some of them seem self-willed to the point of egomaniacal.  But in addition to a regular...

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The Autodidact I: Homer Part 1

The Autodidact Returns I:  Homer 1 I thought of calling this series “The Autodidact Rides Again,” but I would need to know how to insert the famous ride from the overture to William Tell, and the old familiar radio voice that invited listeners to  “Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear….”   In fact, in these first installments we are going back a bit farther than those days when the masked rider of the plains stung the gun out of a villain’s hand by shooting his gun barrel.  Recent changes in my career delayed the plan I...

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Reading for the Movies

Revisions 1:  Reading for the movies: A. I. Bezzerides by Ray Olson It’s my habit, ever since reviewing movies in the Sixties for the Minnesota Daily, campus paper of the University of Minnesota, to read the book a movie’s based on before I see the movie.  Not always, but whenever the book’s or its author’s reputation piques my interest, I give it a try. A. I. Bezzerides is well-known as the writer of a handful of very good films noir. The screenplay of Kiss Me Deadly is his, based on one of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer mysteries and, says James...

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From Under the Rubble 3: Same Sex Sex No News

  From Under the Rubble 3:  Same Sex Sex No News Thomas Fleming The gibbering classes were alternately elated and depressed by two “news” on same-sex marriage.  They were thrilled when Irish voters lived down to expectations by voting overwhelmingly to legitimate the love that used to be said that it did not dare speak its name but now shouts it from the rooftops, but they were depressed when it turned out that a “scientific” study on changing attitudes toward same-sex marriage was, according to its principle author, bogus.  These two stories are all the proof you need that a...

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The Best Revenge 2: Going Greek

Sometimes I slip, almost by accident, into some other universe, such as the Byzantine Empire in the Tenth Century or Stuart England or Paris before World War I.  I am not quite sure how it happens.  Sometimes, it is because I have started reading a book or it might happen that I hear a piece of music.  Once, in the short drive from my office (when I had an office) to my house, I was asking myself whether or not I should do a program in Scotland.  My schedule was busy, but to plan such a program ten or twelve...