American Culture

Nota Bene #35

Scholars & Rogues’ world-famous hot links!

In, “Dear World, Please Confront America,” Naomi Wolf writes: “I had thought that after so much exposure [to revelations about US torture], thousands of Americans would be holding vigils on Capitol Hill, that religious leaders would be asking God’s forgiveness. . . . And yet [there] is no crisis in America’s churches and synagogues. . . . I asked a contact in the interfaith world why. He replied, ‘The mainstream churches don’t care, because they are Republican. And the synagogues don’t care, because the prisoners are Arabs.'”

In his blockbuster new book, The Way of the World, Ron Suskind writes about Dick Cheney and “plausible deniability“: “The key was a signaling system, where the president made his wishes broadly known to a sufficiently powerful deputy who could take it from there. If an investigation ensued, or a foreign leader cried foul, the president could shrug.” Doesn’t that sound like how mob bosses have often worked?

Elizabeth Kolbert in the New Yorker: “The past few weeks have seen a change in McCain. He has hired new advisers, and with them he seems to have worked out a new approach. He is no longer telling the sorts of hard truths that people would prefer not to confront, or even half-truths that they might find vaguely discomfiting. Instead, he’s opted out of truth altogether.”

Cenk Uygur on “Obama’s reluctance to attack McCain“: “I don’t know if they know this, but they are running against McCain. He is their opponent. Their job is to defeat him. To beat him. To make him lose, and hence, become a loser.”

Michael Moore in London’s the Guardian: “. . . the Democrats are the masters of blowing it. And they don’t just simply ‘blow it” – they blow it especially when the electorate seems desperate to give it to them.”

In “Know-Nothing Politics” Paul Krugman writes about Republicans, especially their energy polices: “The party’s de facto slogan has become: ‘Real men don’t think things through.'”

George Monbiot: “The permanent members of the UN security council draw a distinction between their ‘responsible’ ownership of nuclear weapons and that of the aspirant powers. . . . In some ways the current nuclear stand-off is more dangerous than the tetchy detente of the cold war.”

At Britain’s Independent Johann Hari writes about, “The WMD that really should be worrying us“: “If al-Qa’ida was unleashing this weather of mass destruction, we would do anything — anything — to stop them. But because the enemy is inside each one of us, we stagger on, building more airports and coal power stations and shrieking for cheaper oil.”

Marc Andreesen, who developed Mosaic, the first Web browser, in “How the Web Was Won: An Oral History of the Internet” at Vanity Fair: “Mosaic was built at the University of Illinois. . . . Federal funding was critical. I tease my libertarian friends — they all think the Internet is the greatest thing. And I’m like, Yeah, thanks to government funding.”

In “Ask a Call Girl” on Salon, Ondine Galsworth writes: “It’s on their terms, and they [the johns] like you to leave when they want you to leave. Basically you get paid to leave.”


Manny Being Manny Department

Jon Heyman on the trade at “Boston’s players and staff showed no real interest in keeping Manny around, anyway. One landmark moment came when Ramirez complained of knee pain but couldn’t recall which knee was hurting him. Red Sox doctors had to take the unusual step of evaluating both the right and left knee in an MRI exam. Neither showed any damage.”

In the Boston Globe, Dan Shaugnessy writes: “Manny Mania is all the rage in Southern California.” But, “The commissioner’s office is investigating the circumstances of Manny’s final hours with the Red Sox. The Globe has learned. . . that [MLB Commissioner] Bud Selig directed [MLB’s] executive vice president. . . to contact all parties for an explanation of how things unfolded around last week’s trading deadline.”


Cindy Adams in the New York Post: “The Katie/Hillary feminist curse caught Nancy Pelosi. With 247 reviews of her new book on Amazon, 228 rated it one star.”

6 replies »

  1. Pingback: Citizen Orange
  2. Great links as always, Russ, thank you.

    I have to agree with Wolf. What i find the most disturbing/disheartening is how little We the People seem to care. Moreover, if we are the beacon of democracy that we like to think of ourselves as, then we (even those who disagree with the administration) are very much to blame for America’s actions.

    The CIA had warned him that Putin “was a trained KGB agent … [who] wants you to think he’s your friend.” (from the Suskind review at Politico) This is an important point on two levels. One, it should have gone without saying. But two, our rogue’s gallery of bumbling, ideological amateurs never bothered to asses the fact that they were/are dealing with a professional. We’ll see how events play out over S. Ossetia, but things are looking (at the moment) like a lopsided chess match. I, for one, do not doubt that Putin has done everything in his power to give the United States an experience similar to the end of the Soviet Union. To my mind, Georgia is a late game gambit. The playing out is interesting, if terribly frightening…

    Do you put the Manny section in just to rile me up? If so, it works admirably. The knee story is just too much…they should have tried giving him some candy and a joke; it works with seven year olds.

  3. Thanks, Lex, and for your previous comments too. I knew there was somebody out there who appreciates a good link.

    Yeah, We the People don’t care. It’s a pet theme of mine which I’ve often written about and will soon again thanks to an extraordinary book I just came across.

    Manny too is the gift that keeps on giving. I’ll continue with him until the end of the baseball season. I’ll see if I can come up with a comparable NFL player. Doubtful though because if a football player slacks off now and then he risks being blindsided and getting injured.