American Culture

Nota Bene #13

notabene.gifAppearing weekly, Nota Bene takes a step back from the news. Also, as an appendix, it culls trenchant comments to articles and posts, as well as the occasional passage from email. Nota Bene was founded by Mike Sheehan.

When New York’s Governor Eliot Spitzer spit the bit, it was a loss for New York state and the Democrats. But Spitzer had been, and continues to be a problem for Hillary Clinton, as Peter Baker, blogging for the Washington Post, points out. John Nichols also weighed in on this at the Nation.

Even more resounding than Spitzer’s is the resignation of Admiral William Fallon from his post as CENTCOM commander. Josh Marshall notes that he’s “leaving because he was apparently too sane for the Bush White House.”

An engaging profile of Fallon in the latest Esquire, portraying him as working with Afghans to improve their lots, may have contributed to his undoing. The Fox, as they call him, will be fine. Will we?

At the Los Angeles Times ecological economist Robert Constanza writes: “We are now in a period of. . . ‘uneconomic growth,’ in which further growth in economic activity (that is, GDP) is actually reducing national well-being.”

At Antiwar, Jim Lobe, one of our favorites, describes how a poll of citizens in 21 nations reveals that whatever support that once existed around the world for our hard line on Iran’s nuclear program is now drying up.

Philip Shenon’s new book, “The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Commission,” is excerpted in Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald. To refresh your memory of that glorious episode: “Emails from. . . Richard Clarke, showed that he had bombarded Rice with messages about terrorist threats. . . . There is no record to show that Rice made any special effort to discuss terrorist threats with Bush.” Shenon’s book is full of juicy details.

Is “The McLaughlin Report” a guilty pleasure of yours? If you can stand Chuck Klosterman, find out what makes its watchability enduring. Also at Esquire.

Twenty-seven (27!) different authors weigh in on torture at the Washington Monthly. Not the pros and cons — just the pros on the cons.

Wired presents an extended eulogy to the father of Dungeons and Dragons, Gary Gygax.

Reporter-commentator Wajahat Ali (time for the world to discover him) is running a spellbinding interview with author Ishmael Reed. Part two has just been posted, but start with part one.

At Radar, Mark Ames, the editor of Moscow’s eXile, reports on Russian writer Eduard Limonov, who leads thousands of “Other Russians.” Along with chess immortal Gary Kasparov, their other leader, who was profiled in the New Yorker last fall, they could lead comfortable lives in the West. Instead they choose to risk said lives opposing Putin.


Here’s a question you probably haven’t seen asked anywhere: With the way the economy is going, could it wind up worse in a year than Iran’s?

Financial reporter Steven Pizzo of News for Real replied in an email to us: “Tough prediction to make. All I am certain of is all the big players in the much touted ‘globalized economy’ will be in awful shape a year from now. Ironically the nations we are boycotting, like Iran, will have been insulated from the trash-financial instruments, like sub-prime mortgages, etc.”

Is the word “irony” an offshoot of the same stem as “Iran”?

We saw this comment at the Nation:

“Hillary is doing a crack job of establishing her street cred as the Tonya Harding of politics. Just when I was beginning to speculate to a friend that just maybe we would get the privilege of seeing Hillary concede with grace, and allow this unprecedented opportunity to forge a new progressive politics of sanity and hope for the future to move forward, she whips out the tire iron and takes a screaming leap at Obama’s knee caps.”

We’ve heard Hillary compared to many people, but never Tonya Harding before.Also at the Nation, in response to an article by editor Katrina Vanden Heuvel, this thread spooled out:

Hey Van Dumb Evil,
The truest longest running scam is this stupid Global Warming Crappola…..Did you hear recently many scientists now think we are headed to an Ice age because of lack of sunspot activity?? Did Bush cause that you silly rich girl?????

I was going to take umbrage at being called names, but then I saw who was doing the name calling and with a name like yours, Mr. Shitz, I’d probably resort to name calling and eschew serious argument — which you seem incapable of. Sad to see such odious trolls with no life on our good site. I’d suggest you pack up and never come back.

Nice to see that the long-time editor of the nation’s oldest publication isn’t too proud to mix it up.

1 reply »

  1. I’ve read a bunch of eulogies of EGG (E. Gary Gygax) around the Web, and I’ll probably do one myself here in the next few days, after most of the discussions of all the cultural icons he influenced, directly and indirectly, have died down.

    Thanks for pointing people to the Wired one, though.