Friday, July 31, 2015
Among the last pre-Code films, FINISHING SCHOOL ('34) marks the end of Ginger Rogers' days as a supporting actor. pic.twitter.com/2mGbtrOtKa— TCM (@tcm) July 30, 2015
Apparently the last tweet of Toure Neblett, whose last day on MSNBC was today, 31 July, on the last episode of "The Cycle."
...I am very sorry and will make sure this doesn’t happen again.— Touré (@Toure) May 27, 2014
Twelve-term US Congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul reveals an intensely personal side as he reflects on growing up during World War II. The book also provides a powerful critique of the corruption and corrosion produced by a 20th century full of war and killing. Ever the optimist, however, Paul leaves behind the ashes of a 20th century of war to finish with a stirring, liberating view of the future we may choose if we turn from war and violence.
1 August update: An interesting overview of the progressive blogosphere and the changes it's undergone over the years.
Monday, July 27, 2015
Happy Birthday to Gilda Radner, a Smart Girl whose legacy continues to bring hope + laughter to millions worldwide 💕 pic.twitter.com/MsUJjAteKh— AmyPoehlerSmartGirls (@smrtgrls) June 28, 2015
Welcome to the Publishing in the Archives Profession Blog http://t.co/02ZoxgWCV3 Valuable insight for archivists who want to write— Margot Note (@margotnote) July 23, 2015
China’s Regulators Target Reality Shows in Latest TV Cleanup http://t.co/GImMgMdGtG— Television Industry (@TelevisionToday) July 25, 2015
Marlene Sanders, TV news reporter and executive, dies at 84 http://t.co/vpeNFpUsdb— Television Industry (@TelevisionToday) July 17, 2015
(I've never heard of ChattaVegas; cf. Wississippi).
With all due respect to the people of Lafayette and all of us in ChattaVegas, you CANNOT arrest anyone because they MIGHT be dangerous.— Karon Adams (@MilitaryRosary) July 24, 2015
(added 29 July)
Kunstler: Potemkin Party
July 27, 2015
How many of you brooding on the dreadful prospect of Hillary have chanced to survey what remains of Democratic Party (cough cough) leadership in the background of Her Royal Inevitableness? Nothing is the answer. Zip. Nobody. A vacuum. There is no Democratic Party anymore. There are no figures of gravitas anywhere to be found, no ideas really suited to the American prospect, nothing with the will to oppose the lumbering parasitic corporatocracy that is doing little more than cluttering up this moment in history while it sucks the last dregs of value from our society.
I say this as a lifelong registered Democrat but a completely disaffected one — who regards the Republican opposition as the mere errand boy of the above-named lumbering parasitic corporatocracy. Readers are surely chafing to insert that the Democrats have been no less errand boys (and girls) for the same disgusting zeitgeist, and they are surely correct in the case of Hillary, and indeed of the current President.
Readers are surely also chafing to insert that there is Bernie Sanders, climbing in the opinion polls, disdaining Wall Street money, denouncing the current disposition of things with the old union hall surliness we’ve grown to know and love. I’m grateful that Bernie is in the race, that he’s framing an argument against Ms. It’s My Turn. I just don’t happen to think that Bernie gets what the country — indeed what all of techno-industrial society — is really up against, namely a long emergency of economic contraction and collapse.
These circumstances require a very different agenda than just an I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill redistributionist scheme. Lively as Bernie is, I don’t think he offers much beyond that, as if cadging a little more tax money out of WalMart, General Mills, and Exxon-Mobil will fix what is ailing this sad-ass polity. The heart of the matter is that our way of life has shot its wad and now we have to live very differently. Almost nobody wants to even try to think about this.
I hugely resent the fact that the Democratic Party puts its time and energy into the stupid sexual politics of the day when it should be working on issues such as re-localizing commercial economies (rebuilding Main Streets), reforming agriculture to avoid the total collapse of corporate-industrial farming, and fixing the passenger rail system so people will have some way to get around the country when happy Motoring dies (along with commercial aviation).
The “to do” list for rearranging the basic systems of daily life in America is long and loaded with opportunity. Every system that is retooled contains jobs and social roles for people who have been shut out of the economy for two generations. If we do everything we can to promote smaller-scaled local farming, there will be plenty of work for lesser-skilled people to do and get paid for. Saying goodbye to the tyranny of Big Box commerce would open up vast vocational opportunities in reconstructed local and regional networks of commerce, especially for young people interested in running their own business. We need to prepare for localized clinic-style medicine (in opposition to the continuing amalgamation and gigantization of hospitals, with its handmaidens of Big Pharma and the insurance rackets). The train system has got to be reborn as a true public utility. Just about every other civilized country is already demonstrating how that is done — it’s not that difficult and it would employ a lot of people at every level. That is what the agenda of a truly progressive political party should be at this moment in history.
That Democrats even tolerate the existence of evil entities like WalMart is an argument for ideological bankruptcy of the party. Democratic Presidents from Carter to Clinton to Obama could have used the Department of Justice and the existing anti-trust statutes to at least discourage the pernicious monopolization of commerce that Big Boxes represented. By the same token, President Obama could have used existing federal law to break up the banking oligarchy starting in 2009, not to mention backing legislation to more crisply define alleged corporate “personhood” in the wake of the ruinous “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision of 2010. They don’t even talk about it because Wall Street owns them.
So, you fellow disaffected Democrats — those of you who can’t go over to the other side, but feel you have no place in your country’s politics — look around and tell me who you see casting a shadow on the Democratic landscape. Nobody. Just tired, corrupt, devious old Hillary and her nemesis Bernie the Union Hall Champion out of a Pete Seeger marching song.
I’ve been saying for a while that this period of history resembles the 1850s in America in two big ways: 1) our society faces a crisis, and 2) the existing political parties are not up to the task of comprehending what society faces. In the 1850s it was the Whigs that dried up and blew away (virtually overnight), while the old Democratic party just entered a 75-year wilderness of irrelevancy. God help us if Trump-o-mania turns out to be the only alternative.
Oh, by the way, notice that the lead editorial in Monday’s New York Times is a plea for transgender bathrooms in schools. What could be more important? For Transgender Americans, Legal Battles Over Restrooms.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Das erste Heft des Hermes. Zeitschrift für klassische Philologie erschien 1866 beim Verlag Weidmann in Berlin. Damit zählt der Hermes heute zu den altertumswissenschaftlichen Fachorganen mit der längsten Publikationstradition. Dem Herausgebergremium der Gründungszeit gehörten der Latinist Emil Hübner, der Gräzist Adolf Kirchhoff und der Althistoriker Theodor Mommsen an. In ihrer Nachfolge standen u.a. Georg Kaibel, Carl Robert, Georg Wissowa, Alfred Körte, Helmut Berve und Jochen Bleicken.
Außer Beiträgen zur klassischen Philologie veröffentlicht der Hermes traditionell auch Artikel aus verwandten Themengebieten der Altertumswissenschaften wie der Alten Geschichte, Archäologie, Epigraphik und Numismatik. So vermittelt die Zeitschrift ein Bild von der Vielfalt der Forschungen zur griechisch-römischen Antike nicht nur auf literatur- und sprachwissenschaftlichem, sondern auch auf historischem Gebiet.
Im peer-review Verfahren begutachtet, finden internationale Beiträge in der Zeitschrift eine weltweite Leserschaft.
The first issue of Hermes. Zeitschrift für klassische Philologie appeared in 1866 at the publishing house of Weidmann in Berlin, giving Hermes one of the longest publishing histories of any classical studies journal today. The original editorial board included the Latinist Emil Hübner, the Hellenist Adolf Kirchhoff and the ancient historian Theodor Mommsen. Among their successors were Georg Kaibel, Carl Robert, Georg Wissowa, Alfred Körte, Helmut Berve, and Jochen Bleicken.
In addition to scholarly articles on classical philology, Hermes also publishes articles from related fields in classical and ancient studies such as ancient history, archeology, epigraphy and numismatics. Thus, the journal provides a panorama of the wide variety of research on Greco-Roman antiquity from the perspectives of literature, languages and history.
This peer-reviewed journal reaches with its stimulating international papers a worldwide readership.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Monday, July 20, 2015
Kunstler: Trump Hits a Bump.
W as it Donald Trump or the wolverine that lives on top of his head who made the dumb crack over the weekend about Senator John McCain not being a war hero? After all, that ambiguous patch of ginger-colored fur has taken on a life of its own. If I were Trump, I’d simply disown the remark and say that the hair-thing blurted it out, ventriloquist-style, because he (Donald) forgot to feed it that morning.
I just want to go on record to say that if John McCain is not a war hero — what with getting shot down in the Vietnam jungle and spending 5.5 years being thrashed daily by his captors — than Donald Trump is not an asshole, or a pendejo, as the landscaping crew might put it (perhaps even a maricón).
One thing the Trump campaign is proving — to the flustered consternation of the moiling herd of other candidates — is what intellectual chickenshits all mainstream American politicians are. I know it is hard to see through the prevailing rainbow fog of diversity propaganda, but the USA really does have an immigration problem. My peeps in the old Democrat fold are the worst, of course, because they are not even capable of stating the plain truth that an illegal immigrant is something more than just “undocumented,” as if some bureaucratic error were made in God’s intake stack. And the issue of legal immigration policy is simply unmentionable, of course, because being “a nation of immigrants” means never having to say enough is enough.
It’s obvious that much of the developed world is now sore beset by past immigration policy choices and by the current inrush of desperate souls fleeing the evermore general breakdown of societies across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). European pols are at least willing to have the debate, unappetizing as it might be. This dreaded political dance is now occurring against the background of a probable financial breakdown across Europe. When the utopian project of the European Union fails, as seems likely now due to the sovereign debt fiasco, I suspect that we will see a renewed effort to defend national cultures — French, German, and all the rest — in a manner that has a great potential for turning ugly. Financial failure means the death of the current banking system and the disappearance of massive notional wealth, and if that isn’t a recipe for extreme nationalism (plus xenophobia) than we are truly blind to the lessons of history.
And then, of course, there is the problem of Jihad. It’s for real, and it’s on the move all over MENA, and quite a few of its faithful agents are in place across Europe to make a whole heap of trouble in the event that the Euroland project falls on its face. This is perhaps beyond the question of merely preserving national identities. I think we will live to see an era of mass expulsions, fair or not.
It is not so easy to explain why America has its head so far up its ass on the issues of immigration, but maybe it is enough to say that sixty-plus years of TV advertising have set us up to be suckers for every sort of paid shill selling a sentimental sob story for one interest or another. This seems to be true most particularly of the educated class that labors in the trenches of advertising and public relations (i.e. propaganda). They have come go believe their own bullshit absolutely. Apparently, these true-blue believers are more hostage to the narratives they are paid to spin than the ragtag followers of Trump. (We’re a nation of immigrants….)
Were I a pol, I would propose a “time-out” from immigration of all kinds. The USA did it before, in the 1920s, after a half-century of prodigious immigration when new states needed to be settled, and new industries needed to be manned, and new cities needed to be built. We are not in the same circumstances anymore. The empty places have been filled (and then some). The factories were banished to China and elsewhere. Some of America’s farming regions aren’t working out so well a hundred years later — Nebraska has been depopulating and God knows what the fate will be of California’s Central Valley as the epochal drought creeps forward. The Chinese may be building super-duper mega-cities, but every fact of coming resource scarcity suggests to me that they are making the wrong bet on that disposition of things. It ain’ happening here, anyway. Our cities (with a few exceptions) face contraction.
Unfortunately, Trump’s antics will make it only more difficult to hold a sane debate about taking that time-out from immigration. So, one alternative is an insane debate about it, one based on sheer grievance and gall rather than the responsibilities of governance. I’ve proposed for many years that we are all set up to welcome a red-white-and-blue, corn-pone Nazi political savior type. I don’t think Donald Trump is it. But he will be a stalking horse for a far more skillful demagogue when the time comes. There’s a fair chance that the wheels will come off the banking and monetary system well before the 2016 election. Who knows who or what will come out of the woodwork before then.
Meanwhile, notice today’s headline from the fabled “newspaper of record” (The New York Times):
Women Who Dye Their (Armpit) Hair
Yes, these are the mighty issues that concern us most.
Sunday, July 19, 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
Thursday, July 09, 2015
Wednesday, July 08, 2015
"...And It Came to Pass."
Tuesday, July 07, 2015
Welcome to Blackswansville
While the folks clogging the US tattoo parlors may not have noticed, things are beginning to look a little World War one-ish out there. Except the current blossoming world conflict is being fought not with massed troops and tanks but with interest rates and repayment schedules. Germany now dawdles in reply to the gauntlet slammed down Sunday in the Greek referendum (hell) “no” vote. Germany’s immediate strategy, it appears, is to apply some good old fashioned Teutonic todesfurcht — let the Greeks simmer in their own juices for a few days while depositors suck the dwindling cash reserves from the banks and the grocery store shelves empty out. Then what?
Nobody knows. And anything can happen.
One thing we ought to know: both sides in the current skirmish are fighting reality. The Germans foolishly insist that the Greek’s meet their debt obligations. The German’s are just pissing into the wind on that one, a hazardous business for a nation of beer drinkers. The Greeks insist on living the 20th century deluxe industrial age lifestyle, complete with 24/7 electricity, cheap groceries, cushy office jobs, early retirement, and plenty of walking-around money. They’ll be lucky if they land back in the 1800s, comfort-wise.
The Greeks may not recognize this, but they are in the vanguard of a movement that is wrenching the techno-industrial nations back to much older, more local, and simpler living arrangements. The Euro, by contrast, represents the trend that is over: centralization and bigness. The big questions are whether the latter still has enough mojo left to drag out the transition process, and for how long, and how painfully.
World affairs suffer from the disease of terminal excessive complexity. To make matters worse, much of the late-phase complexity operates in the service of accounting fraud of one kind or another. The world’s banking system is mired in the unreality of so many unmeetable obligations, cooked books, three-card-monte swap gimmicks, interest rate euchres, secret arbitrages, market manipulation monkeyshines, and countless other cons, swindles, and hornswoggles that all the auditors ever born could not produce a coherent record of what has been wreaked in the life of this universe (or several parallel universes). Remember Long Term Capital Management? That’s what the world has become.
What happens in the case of untenable complexity is that it tends to unravel fast and furiously. That’s exactly why avalanches and earthquakes happen all at once, not stretched out over a six week period. The global financial scene not so different. It’s just another matrix of linked mutually-supporting relationships that can implode if a few members weaken.
One question worth reflecting on is whether the implosion is actually well underway on-the-ground in real economies, with just the scrim of illusion to make the surface appear intact. That surely seems to be the case in the USA, where the so-called economy has already avalanched into a rubble heap of part-time scut jobs, defaulted college loans, underwater mortgages, and groaning pension funds — with an overlay of pointless and endless motoring.
Over in Euroland, the Greek “no” also implies that every other sovereign nation wallowing in deep financial shit will demand a haircut (and a disinfectant shower). Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and even France cannot possibly meet their debt obligations. Their citizens are being taunted with currency controls, too, and they have every bit as much potential to go ape-y as the Greeks. Notice you haven’t heard much from their leaders and financial ministers in recent weeks. They are all standing on the sidelines watching the Greeks go through the wringer — but you can be sure they are all making plans of their own.
The failure of the European experiment will be extremely demoralizing to the hopeful citizens of that continent, who emerged from the bloodbath of the early 20th century to become the world’s premier peaceful tourist theme park. I don’t know that they necessarily have to go back to fighting each other on battlefields with things that blow up and destroy human flesh, but they surely have to decentralize and re-fashion some kind of simpler, local way-of-life if they expect to remain civilized.
It’ll happen everywhere. The Japanese are next, of course, and they may be the most fortunate, since they retain more than a few shreds of memory for exactly that mode of life: the Tokugawa shogunate (the Edo period, 1600 – 1853), a manner of high pre-industrial economy and culture that might have persisted indefinitely had not Commodore Perry come knocking on their door, so to speak, in his “black ships.”
Ukraine is about halfway back to being medieval with excellent potential to overshoot even that. The Euroland PIIG(F) nations don’t have the energy resources to extend Modernity, even if the banking system wasn’t terminally ill, and then on top of that they have the ethno-demographic quandary of creeping Muslimization — plus the additional flotillas of desperate boat people arriving daily.
America, count your blessings. Tattoos, obesity, drug use, and shiftlessness are all basically behavioral choices. You don’t need a finance minister or a central banker to overcome those problems.
Monday, July 06, 2015
Kunstler: Featured Eyesore of the Month
7 July update: In a comment below, Hattie implies the church is ugly, and not made ugly with the addition of the condo tower. How so? I ask.