Thursday, August 27, 2009

Welcome back...

I'll join the chorus of John Sebastian greetings to the return of Anglachel.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

We have met the enemy... Updated

... and they are O. Walks lame, like a dead duck.

Update: It's all a game to him, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Poll numbers are all, policy zero.

Update 2: What Krugman said. Only, he's being decorous, dancing around the deeper truth. I don't think he's being foolish or naive -- he's too smart for that. He's adopting a moderate form of public discourse in order to preserve his cred long-term, and that's fine. But we know what he really means to say -- what is patently obvious to everyone but Kool-Aid addicts, and what PUMA types have been saying all along: We elected Calvin Coolidge when we needed FDR. And we can only hope that the bizarre kabuki masque into which our politics has descended winds up pushing this mound of jello into the right mold before dessert is served.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Looking forward to...

... Somerby's howl on this bit of richness.

Green shoots

It’s fortunate that reality has a liberal bias, because liberals certainly don’t have real leadership.

It’s been apparent to many of us for more than a year – from the primaries up to the present day – that Our Cypher-in-Chief is constitutionally (certainly not Constitutionally) incapable of taking a stand. My hope – which began to take shape with the Fall of Lehman and the onset of the economic meltdown – has been that the right thing(s) could happen nonetheless… that the severity of the crisis and the general (or, at least, politically dispositive) consensus about its causes and nature would conspire to steer the car in the right direction, even without a driver. Or, to try another metaphor, that the force of political climate change would cut a deep canyon that pretty much determined where the river would flow. And if we know one thing about our infinitely fluid, protean President, it’s that he has a kind of genius for following the path of least resistance.

This is why, unlike most liberal commentators or lefty bloggers, I find the current state of play on the healthcare effort encouraging. Far from bumming me out, the paranoid outpourings of the GOP and their tea-bagging troops define the playing field in a very helpful way. The “debate,” such as it is, has come down to: “In this corner, Healthcare Reform. In this corner, The Loonies.”

Obama, that is, gets to be the embodiment of non-insanity. He isn’t anything in particular, and has no visible (much less visceral) convictions… but he isn’t jumping up and down screaming about the Trilateral Commission in the lobby of the Port Authority. And this devolution of the Republican Party – its incapacity to mount a politically coherent frame of reference, much less an organized plan of action – means that simply being not-crazy may be sufficient to prevail.

Indeed, it may even begin to infuse some backbone. (Well, let’s not call it that. Let’s just say that if the force of events is becoming irresistible, if the Colorado River of public policy is pouring into this newly cut Grand Canyon with increasing speed and power, President Obama is the very last person to fight that.)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Versailles in all its silliness

David Carr's item in tomorrow's Times is a tight little emblem of MSM at its most myopic. He describes the gala on Liberty Island in 1999 that launched Tina Brown's Talk magazine -- but the real silliness wasn't that event. It's his article.

Of course, A-list parties and such-like PR stunts are ripe fodder for hand-me-down Gatsby reflections on phony glamor and dying ages. And there's a rich archive of grandiose projections of media glory for ventures that later flopped.

The problem is, anybody who was paying attention -- that is, LOTS of people -- knew by 1999 that dead trees weren't the future. Indeed, plenty of people knew that ownership of intellectual property wasn't the future, either. The idea of claiming in 2009, as the title and the piece itself do, that "no one saw" the Internet coming ten years ago, is just d-doornail dumb. THESE narcissists may not have grokked it, but most of the rest of the world certainly did.

These people never learn. They just wax nostalgic about their own grand follies.