08 Apr 2012

It Happens Every Spring

I have to tell a modest family story about baseball, the one sport connected to the earth’s circling of the sun (it begins with Spring Training and ends with a Harvest Festival). Maybe it begins in T.S. Eliot’s cruelest month, but as George Carlin reminds us, it is the sweetest sport: “In baseball, the object is to go home and to be safe. I hope I’ll be safe at home.”

01 Apr 2012

Racism and the Right

As disgusting as the Right’s ugly character attacks upon Trayvon Martin are, they are made even uglier by the cynical tactical thinking that motivates them. The Rush Limbaughs, Matt Drudges, and Michelle Malkins of the world know that blowing the racist dog whistle galvanizes white racist voters. And there are a lot of white racist voters, and all of them vote Republican.

25 Mar 2012

The Production of Ignorance

When an official Chinese web site can with a straight face call the Dalai Lama a Nazi, it’s easy to see that American Gullibility, as celebrated in Melville’s The Confidence Man, for instance, is no longer ours alone.

Believing that President Obama is a Muslim is no different than believing the Dalai Lama is Albert Speer in a shemdap, although it must be pointed out that the demonization of Islam implicit in the former is itself depraved and ignorant.

18 Mar 2012

The Right’s War On…Freedom

The conservative hunger for authority over others is perfectly visible in their ongoing war on women. Consider the pending legislation in Arizona that would require women to get the permission of their employers before insurance policies would cover birth control pills prescribed for health reasons other than preventing pregnancy. Or consider the wave of so-called “sonogram” bills initiated by conservatives so fanatic they mandate non-medical, trans-vaginal violation of women seeking pregnancy terminations.

11 Mar 2012

Why the War on Women?

Remember when John Ashcroft put a drape over the bared breast of the “Spirit of Justice” statue at the Justice Department? The Republicans are now busy trying to cover their own political private parts after flashing a core part of their agenda – their war on women — at an inopportune time.

It’s a motley conservative crew that makes up the Misogynistic Army of the Right.

26 Feb 2012

Frown of Thorns

As a Liberal in the British Parliament in the 1860s, John Stuart Mill once said Conservatives were “necessarily the stupidest party.” That might seem as simple as an infant learning where its nose is, but Mill’s insight into the permanence of “necessarily” ranks right up there with Newton’s thoughts on gravity. It’s certainly been confirmed and re-confirmed by subsequent experiment.

19 Feb 2012

The Aspirin Papers

Henry James’ novella, The Aspern Papers, is about an unscrupulous obsessive who tries to deceive two vulnerable women to obtain the objects of his desire, the letters of a long-dead poet.

This, “The Aspirin Papers,” is about a group of unscrupulous obsessives who try to deceive all of America to fulfill their obsessive desire: a return to an ancient dreamtime when men ruled the universe and women, when not dutifully and passively prone before their masters, kept their mouths shut.

12 Feb 2012

On Culture Wars and Running With the Wolves

For years the American conservative movement pandered to a Christian Right they mocked in private to leverage election victories. Trust me, I heard plenty of Republican consultants and officeholders refer to them privately as “the crazies” in the ’80s and ’90s. Now the religious zealots are leading the GOP around by the nose.

So here comes “Culture Wars, The Sequel,”

09 Feb 2012

The Right to Enslave

If the government authorizes the denial of contraceptives to the employees of particular institutions, then it’s the government denying that health care, not the institutions. Wavering Democrats and Republicans, too, should stop and think about that. Acting overtly to deny certain health care benefits to a subset of American citizens is immoral. It’s also stupid.

29 Jan 2012

Enlightenment and Inquisition

We proudly consider ourselves children of the Enlightenment. But we are not so quick to recognize that other parent, the Inquisition. Any attempt to disown it, however, only makes it stronger and more dangerous.