American Culture

Nota Bene #37

Links of the Week (as opposed to the weak link):

In warning that Georgia could be a new World War I, John Zmirak at Inside Catholic writes: “With the distance of history, we can see that World War I was not a crusade for democracy or anything else — but rather a snuff version of Seinfeld: a War about Nothing.”

At Smirking Chimp, Ted Rall asks of states like Poland: “Don’t these guys own a map? Doesn’t it make more sense to suck up to the superpower next door than the one an ocean away?”

The World’s Greatest Blogger, Billmon, after a year’s silence, returned to Daily Kos recently. “I also knew the administration has been trying, both overtly and covertly, to break the Russian stranglehold on the export of oil and natural gas from the Caspian Sea basin (democratic freedom and access to petrocarbons being fairly synonymous terms in the American diplomatic dictionary).”

At the Washington Post, E.J. Dionne writes: “Over in the Philadelphia suburbs, Rep. Joe Sestak agrees that Obama needs to engage in more down-to-earth campaigning — ‘a diner in the morning, a hoagie in the afternoon, a bar at night.’ But Sestak’s advice is directed toward a slightly different end. ‘It’s not so much about whether they know him, ‘ he says of his constituents and Obama. ‘They want to know that he knows them.‘”

Phillip Butler, who once partied with John McCain at the Naval Academy and served as a POW with him in North Vietnam, puts McCain’s “heroism” in perspective: “Succeeding as a POW is a group sport, not an individual one. We all supported and encouraged each other to survive and succeed. John knows that. He was not an individual POW hero. He was a POW who surmounted the odds with the help of many comrades, as all of us did.”

Raja Kamal from Lebanon’s Daily Star: “As a result, however dangerous the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran may be — for the world, for Israel, and for Sunni Arab regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt — an Iranian ‘bomb’ might be more manageable than the demographic time bomb facing Israel and its immediate neighbors.” That is, there are those in Israel who are trying to out-reproduce their Arab counterparts.

David Sirota on the upcoming conventions: “We have come to believe democracy is a quadrennial vote for president, and that’s it.”

From “Rachel Maddow Replacing Dan Abrams On MSNBC Effective Immediately” on Huffington Post: “The last broadcast of Abrams’ ‘Verdict’ will air Thursday. Abrams, the network’s former General Manager, told the Times that he understood the decision. ‘Putting my general manager’s hat back on, considering where the network is right now, it is actually the right call,’ he said.” Everybody likes Rachel -– even the guy who’s job she’s taking. Imagine Chris Matthews or Keith Olbermann responding with Abrams’s graciousness in a similar situation?

In “How the Web Was Won,” an oral history of the Internet at Vanity Fair, Sun Microsystems founder Vinod Khosla says: “Communication always changes society, and society was always organized around communication channels. Two hundred years ago it was mostly rivers. It was sea-lanes and mountain passes. The Internet is another form of communication and commerce. And society organizes around the channels.”


Sprinters Marvel at Bolt” Christopher Clarey of the New York Times quotes former Olympic sprinter and now announcer Ato Boldon: “Swimming has their LZR suits and their deeper pools. We have a 6-foot-5-inch guy that’s running 9.6s and beating the rest of the Olympic field by two tenths of a second. He’s our new technology.”

At the other end of the spectrum,’s Tim Layden reports on Olympic sprinter Lauren Williams’s botched handoff in the 400-meter relay,: “[Torri] Edwards reached and put the stick in Williams’s hand. . . and then the stick was on the track. ‘I don’t know what happened,’ Williams said. ‘My hand was there, the stick was there. The stick had a mind of its down. It wasn’t my fault, it wasn’t Torri’s fault. Maybe [the stick] had a little bug in there and it jumped out.”

Manny Being Manny Department

At John Donovan quotes the ever-cranky second baseman of the Dodgers, Jeff Kent, who maintains Manny Ramirez is not helping his game. Instead, “Manny was only hitting .300 in Boston with 20 home runs. And he’s doing way better than that here — so I’m helping Manny.”

Meanwhile, T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times quotes Manny: “‘I love this place,’ he says. ‘Just wish they had a different wall out there so I could go in there and [go to the bathroom].'”

2 replies »

  1. Sirota’s right, even considering the fact that we spend almost two years getting ready for our quadrennial, civic responsibility…as if it were the most important thing in the world.

    I predict that before the season is over, Manny will just go ahead and relieve himself on the wall that is too short for his liking…and no one will even be surprised.