Nota Bene #62

Hot links from recent days: Richard Wright gets his own stamp … Matt Taibbi rips America’s peasant mentality … How do you spell “greedy bastards?” X-C-E-L … Up next: Michael Vick, the Musical … Porn queen Marilyn Chambers eulogized—by her onetime running mate … The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Dodd … Obama brings the Dead back to life … David Lee Roth said it best: Might as well jump. Too bad he didn’t take Neil with him … A more fitting version of the “Hand of God” … Time to start paying for online news, says Nate AndersonFifty-one of the bastards, then she rubbed some in her eyes … Now in the running for Father of the Year … Here’s one good thing about the recession … The Paraguayan version of Father Ted‘s Bishop Brennan … Celebrating 50 years of stupid grammar advice … Search is on for the solar system’s “lost planet” … They found 99? … No peace of mind yet for Gwen Bradshaw, decades after being burned—by her mother … This woman dived 314 feet—with a single breath … America is not a Christian nation, argues Michael Lind … Alexander Zaitchik describes an environmental battle on the Irish coast … Could this be the 51st state? … Ben Affleck says he may start a blog and reveal that someone we know is an alien … Michael Hastings delves into Obama’s war in Afghanistan … “Dubai is a living metal metaphor,” writes Johann Hari, “for the neo-liberal globalised world that may be crashing––at last––into history” … And lastly, Adam Carolla (a onetime fighter himself) chats with the one and only Mike Tyson. ∞

Ten years on: the enduring lessons of Columbine

Part one of a series

April 20, 2009: 11:19 am MDT

Ten years ago a co-worker turned to me and said something that I’ll never forget, no matter how long I live: “Hey, Sammy, there’s been a school shooting in Littleton.”

Since that day a great deal has been written and said about Columbine High School and the events of 4.20.99, and like a lot of other people I’ve tried my hardest to make sense of something that seemed (and still seems) inherently senseless. Tried and failed. Now, ten years on, the grief hasn’t fully dissipated here in the city that I have come to call home, and even if we manage to understand the whos, whats, and hows, there’s a part of us that’s doomed to wrestle forever with the whys. Continue reading

Octomom and Ookie: two reality shows for the price of one

A refreshing side-effect of the Octomom phenomenon has been how little abuse Nadya Suleman has taken for her obviously Muslim given name. Her father is apparently from Iraq: In January, he told CBS News that he’s a veteran of its military and — in a sign of just how feeble the American economy is — that he planned on returning to Iraq to find work.

Googling “Octomom” with “Muslim” or “Islam” reveals precious little enmity directed at her. Perhaps facetiously, the question has been raised, though she’s Christian, of whether she’s on a mission from Allah to wage demographic jihad against the West. About the worst I could find was a commenter on Free Republic (where else?), who asked why the state is “subsidizing this Allah worshiper.” Continue reading

Scurvy Dogs of War

by Jeff Huber

The late William F. Buckley, political conservative icon and founder of National Review, must be clawing at his coffin lid.The print version of National Review, while Buckley held the reins, was often an over-the-top exposition of the more unsavory facets of the political right, but Buckley managed to keep it semi-respectable.National Review Online, however, always seemed to be written by the sort of thugs you’d find in a Berthold Brecht musical.

In a recent NRO piece, military historian and former classics professor Victor Davis Hanson comes across like a rabid war mongrel.Frothing over the recent Somali pirate caper involving a U.S. flagged merchant ship, Davis insists that, “To end Somali piracy, disproportionate measures against the shore should be taken—for every one pirate assault, a lethal air assault should immediately follow.”It’s perhaps understandable that Hanson doesn’t mention what Somalia offers in the way of suitable air strike targets; underdeveloped nations like Somalia don’t have any.Hanson probably doesn’t understand that, because like so many hawkish military historians, he doesn’t understand anything about the military.He doesn’t know much about warfare theory, either.He calls for extreme (though ineffectual) military measures in response to something he admits “may not be a matter of American national security” committed not by a peer competitor or a group of global extremists but by “two-bit pirates.”When a giant purposely crushes an anthill, he’s not pursuing a political objective; he’s feeding his perversions.That, like waterboarding someone 183 times, is not the sort of thing a global hegemon needs to be doing, Victor. Continue reading