Archive for December, 2011

Drowning in treacle—help!

December 28, 2011 2 comments

‘Tis the season to be… dripping with sentimentality. Almost every email, every Christmas newsletter, every holiday-related story in the paper or on the web is just this side of corny, sappy, tear-jerking, meant to uplift and fill us with warm feelings.

I’m (not) sorry to admit that the cuteness is lost on this Grinch. I squirm and hit the “delete” key—or my forehead with my open palm—and wonder at our capacity for absorbing (year-round and not only during the holidays) this ocean of mush that is turning us into cretins. Read more…


Memo to casting director: Get me an Obama

December 18, 2011 3 comments

Or who will I vote for? When the present Obama appeared on the scene, he was pitch perfect. A casting director looking for the first black U.S. president couldn’t have made a better choice. Looks? Check. (Denzel Washington has too much of an overbite, Will Smith’s ears are too big, Forrest Whitaker has a lazy eye. Obama? Tall, fit, excellent posture, great features.) Brains? Check. (Remember that when he appeared at the Democratic Convention in 2007, having brains was not yet considered a liability and “professorial” was not yet an insult.) Read more…

Of drones and thugs

December 12, 2011 1 comment

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s military has been proud to exhibit the recently downed U.S. drone but what’s on display, rather than that disturbing piece of equipment known as RQ-170 Sentinel, is a pathetic wish to be respected when all the present regime does is to bolster its image as village square thugs.

Political theorists—the late Edward Said or Frantz Fanon and their cohorts come to mind Read more…

One term and you’re out

We’re in pre-campaign mode. No, sorry, we’re in full campaign mode. For a few months after November 2008, we were in post-campaign mode. And so it goes, on and on. One sweeping reform could, to a large extent, change all this: the one-term office. Make every elected office a one-term one. One mandate is all you get. Once it expires, you’re out.

Presidential campaigns included, we live in a permanent electoral cycle of national and state elections for one million (you read that right, one million, according to Wikipedia) offices to be filled. While these people Read more…

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