25 December 2008

RIP Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter has died age 78.

Pinter's drama, like Beckett's, was always remarkable as much for its silences as for its utterances, but unlike Beckett, Pinter's characters tended to lay into each other and strip their relationships to each grievance and power position.

We have lost a great writer and thinker.

18 December 2008

Didn't I just say I was disappointed?

Yesterday I expressed disappointment with President-elect Obama's corporatist choices for the Cabinet, but those selections look downright progressive next to the right-wing wind bag he's picked for the Inaugural Invocation, Rick Warren.

I mean, how quickly can you shit on the constituency who got you elected (I'm not simply talking about homosexuals -- I mean the entire progressive mass of the Democratic and beyond Democratic voters and activists who worked the phones, the streets, and the polls to get Barack Obama elected)? As Andrew Sullivan put it, "Shrewd politics, but if anyone is under any illusion that Obama is interested in advancing gay equality, they should probably sober up now." Obama most likely won't be so retrograde in the area of gay rights as McCain/Palin would have been, but now liberals, progressives, and leftists should know that Obama is not terribly interested in doing more than treading water on that front.

17 December 2008

And so my friends, the time draws near...

I've been away so long living in my dream world of grading and finalizing and tracking down plagiarism that I've neglected my dear, dear blog. My blog that is scheduled to turn four in February. Four years is nothing. It only took four years for the Bush Regime to sink our country's troops, finances, and future into a costly mistake in Iraq. It only took them four more years (and seriously, I can't figure out how in hell they got those four more years except that the majority of the American voting public are seriously uneducated and lack critical thinking skills...sorry, there it is...don't blame Kerry -- though his campaign was horrible: a block of wood with a face painted on it should have been able to beat Bush in 2004) to destroy our economy through a combination of military largesse (though not to the vets) and nonexistent regulatory oversight.

Talk about a weapon of mass destruction...how about an administration so reckless, so ideologically savage, that they're willing to bring down the economies of their erstwhile allies in the name of their laissez-faire dream?

So it's not surprising that Dick Cheney can look back on his eight years in office and think things have gone remarkably well. No regrets from Dick. The administration doesn't torture, holding people without charges for seven years is the American way, the Iraq Boondoggle was the right thing to do, etc., etc.

The amazing thing is that given the access to information that we all have if we are literate and can get ourselves in front of a computer (and I'm not talking about access to blogs and right or left wing political sites), 29% of people in this country still approve of Bush's job as President. Is that also the same group that makes up the 100% of morons in this country?

Look, I voted for Obama and I already don't approve of the job he's doing filling cabinet posts with Clinton holdovers and corporate lackeys (e.g. proposed Dept. of Ed. Secretary Arne Duncan and mining industry spokesperson Colorado Senator Ken Salazar for Sec. of Int.). I would vote for him again, because even these lackluster appointments are worlds away from the horrifying selections and policies McCain/Palin would offer, but if someone called me and asked if I approved of the job he was doing, I wouldn't say yes. So how stupid or simply blindly loyal to a party can someone be to approve of Bush's job at this point in time? We're talking about a quarter of the U.S. population. Have our schools failed so miserably that 1/4 of voting age adults are functionally illiterate?

The one thing I do approve of is Bush's ability to dodge a shoe. He moved pretty quickly and both those shoes were on target. I don't think Clinton could have gotten out of the way. Obama, sure -- in fact, he might have caught it and tossed it back.

Speaking of Bush, even he is starting to reflect on his time in power as a little less than mistake-free. But not Cheney. After all, he and George made their friends some nice money during their eight years in office.

04 December 2008

New things I learned today.

Aside from the mildly surprising news that Canada has its own Parliament, I also found out today that apparently the Prime Minister can suspend Parliament in Canada if the wind is blowing a bit too fiercely in his direction.

Can you imagine if George Bush decided to shut down Congress?

I'm generally a fan of parliamentary systems -- I think it's a great concept that more than two parties can win significant representation in the national legislative body -- but seriously, the PM suspending Parliament?

OK, sure it's Canada, but doesn't this action seem a bit Mickey Mouse?

01 December 2008

No rest for the weary.

We're into the frenzied days of December. As a child, I only worried about killing time until Christmas, and that wasn't hard to do, although the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed an eternity. I'd come home from school -- the less planned hours of which generally included heavy loads of holiday crosswords or the perennial favorite, the old "see how many words you can make from 'Merry Christmas'" activity -- and it was time to lie under the artificial tree listening to Christmas music. On many days, my mother was baking something. There were always cookies.

Now, as an adult, there's simply no time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Time isn't measured in hours or days, but in weekends. Since the post-Thanksgiving weekend is a wash, we're left with three weekends, and every weekend has a party invitation if not an acceptance, the semester ending papers and exams demand attention, those of us foolhardy enough to attend the MLA are planning not only a Christmas trip, but also a post-Christmas pre-New Year's itinerary, and we're well aware that when we return there's another semester waiting for prep. Throw children into the mix, and you're looking at one-twelfth of the year completely, utterly, irrevocably gone.

Happy holidays, everyone.