Tagged: crisis


More Second Thoughts, Round Three

At first glance, President Obama’s selection of this years’s winners of “The Presidential Medal of Freedom” seems bizarre.  Lee Hamilton, Willie Mays, Yogi Berra, Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Mikulski, music entrepreneur Emilio Estefan, Gloria Estefan, Indian activist Billy Frank, Stephen Sondheim and Stephen Spielberg, Barbara Streisand, James Taylor,  and Jap rights activist Minoru Yasui.  Gee, what is warhawk Lee Hamilton doing with these freaks?  The only other straight white  male with a name ending in a consonant, James Taylor, is a drug-using  mental patient. On second thought, perhaps it is perfect.   This is the face of the new America–‘athaletes,’ entertainers,...


Paris: The Day After

The greatest generation was able to say, “This isn’t my first battle, sonny.”  Is it odd that at under-40 I can say, “This isn’t my first terrorist attack”? On September 11, 2001, I was heading to Kansas City after a short trip to Texas.  Sometime that morning two planes flew into buildings in NYC.  Our plane, like every other plane in the air, was forced to land at the closest possible airport.  I spent the next 3 days with strangers, and our first hours together were spent in front of a television, watching the towers come down over and over...



President Obama has informed African American voters that he will take it as a personal affront to his “legacy” if they do not rush out to support Hillary Clinton.  Rumor has it that he has also threatened to declare himself officially “White” and to  produce his authentic Kenyan birth certificate to prove that while he may be African, he is decidedly not American.  Stay tuned for this developing story.


The Art of Degradation, Part I

It is a good thing that rhetoric is a lost art, because anyone with the most elementary knowledge of rhetoric would be sticking blunt objects into his ears to keep from hearing not just the politicians’ speeches but, even more, the pundit’s comments and questions. I am not referring to the bad grammar and mispronunciation of NPR newsreaders who cannot pronounce words like “tour” but invariably say “tore” or even to the effeminate and uncontrolled sing-song chanting of the announcers.  Delivery is a part of oratory but only a part.  From the rhetor’s perspective of 2500 years or so, political...


Wednesday’s Child: To Say Nothing of the Dog

Some six months ago, at the end of March, I wrote here about the sensational case of the Ukrainian Joan of Arc, Nadezhda Savchenko – then in captivity in Moscow and undergoing a farce of a trial – who has since been exchanged for some Russian prisoners of the undeclared war and is now in Kiev.  Now, it may be that Savchenko is not the Ukrainian Joan of Arc, and that in reality she’s a war criminal, a madwoman, a villainess, a CIA agent, or even a Russian police provocateur; none of that matters in the least for making sense...


Rome, Year 16 AMT

I left Rockford with the best intentions.  I was going to write and post a diary of our six weeks (plus a few days) in Italy, even including the boring details of transatlantic travel post -911 or, as I prefer to call it, in the Age of Muslim Terrorism, as in “we left home on January 7, AMT 16. Our brief escape from the Midwestern Winter and presidential politicking seemed doomed from the start.  Jim Easton was kind enough to take us to the Van Galder bus station, where we soon learned that the departure schedule had recently been changed,...


Wednesday’s Child: Gadarene Light

Like any massive fraud, whether successful or unsuccessful, Russia’s recent parliamentary election is an interesting subject.  Fraud, swindle, pyramid–perpetrated or operated by all sorts of impostors, flimflam artists, and snake oil salesmen–where would world literature be without them?  Thomas Mann’s Hochstapler, or confidence man, in Confessions of Felix Krull is alone worth a million real-life fraud victims. Conrad would never have written Chance, the masterwork that pulled him out of obscurity, without its central character, the swindler Smith de Barral.  Gogol would not have written Dead Souls without Chichikov, the spectre of Western monopoly capitalism in the guise of a...


The Plagues of Greece, an Interview with Nikolaos Hidiroglou

First, the one homework submission. Vince Cornell sends in:   t is inevitable what we face. What we did once treasure we must now break. But first must we state our causes plainly. That this divide did arise from just cause Be assured, for we declare with one voice That our lives, our liberty, and our joy Are those goods which we must of our own secure. Britain, it was you that did bar our way, Cruelly depriving us of our base rights. Destructive became your rule over us, And we now do form our own government Building it upon...


Trump: The Lesser Evil

Hillary Clinton’s take on a large percentage of the American people is drawing fire: “You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right, The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it,” and added, “some of those folks—they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.” The other half of Trump supporters are simply stupid and depressed, and people in Hillaryland should pity them. Let’s do some quick and very rough math.  In round numbers, the country has about 280 million people, about three fourths of whom—or 210 million—are old enough to vote.  Making...