Politics: Democrats vs Republicans

Howard Baker dead: a former Republican remembers the last GOP statesman

Baker was the man who set me on the path to progressivism.

Former Tennessee Senator and Reagan White House Chief of Staff is dead at 88. Baker was, in many ways, one of the last of his kind: to wit, a coherent Republican. I have noted before that in my youth I was a conservative – by the standards of that era, anyway. I voted for Reagan twice – I’m not proud of it, but I won’t hide from the facts – even though I can’t say I was ever a true blue Reaganite. No, my ideals ran more toward the old school conservatism of men like Baker. Smart, reasonable, diplomatic. He was, I have argued, the last Republican statesman. Continue reading

Nota Bene #119: Think! It Ain't Illegal Yet

“My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #112: GOOOLLLLLLLL

“Freedom of any kind is the worst for creativity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Unsolicited movie review: Capitalism…

…A love story. Which is what the film is, an unsolicited review of Capitalism. If you’re expecting standard, Michael Moore agit-prop you’ll be mildly disappointed. If you’re expecting a full deconstruction of Capitalism, you’ll be disappointed. If you’re expecting a call to Socialism and all power to the proletariat, you’ll just be mildly confused. It’s a pretty good flick, partly because Moore doesn’t pull many silly stunts and spends less time than usual getting in your face. In fact, he’s downright nostalgic through the better part of the first half. It’s UAW, middle class autobiographical complete with old home movies. Now maybe it’s just that i was raised amidst the UAW middle class at the tail end of its existence, but this focus did a good job of setting me up. I know the way the story ends. His shots of abandoned neighborhood’s are depictions of my own mental imagery rather than cinematic. I’ve already got the sadness, confusion and anger that he’s hoping to build.

I’m curious if the set up works for others from a different background.

Continue reading

Nota Bene #105: The Illustrated Dick

“When all you are becomes defined as the amount of information traceable to you, what are we then? What have we become, in a world where there is no separation, no door, no filter beyond which we can say, ‘No. This is my personal space. Not yours. Here I am alone with my thoughts and free of any outside influence or control. This, you cannot have.’ I don’t know, but I don’t want to find out.” Who said it? Continue reading

Aw, we were just getting STARTed

After the poetic rhetoric in Prague, it was tempting to think that Obama might be headed in the right direction on at least one issue. I’d be willing to forgive just about all of his sins were he to get significant movement in reducing America’s nuclear arsenal. START has been technically defunct since December and negotiations between the US and Russia are ongoing. But the same stupidity that derailed the last great attempt at nuclear disarmament has returned. Gibbs says that Medvedev didn’t mention a problem last time he and Obama talked. An anonymous source involved in the process adds that, “Gibbs also had a friend of Obama’s who’s in the same gym class as Medvedev’s best friend ask about it, and apparently the note that Obama’s friend got later in math class didn’t say anything about it either.” So maybe it’s, like, ok.

But that’s not what Chief of Staff Generals and Deputy Prime Ministers in Russa are saying.

Continue reading

9/11 happened on Obama's watch! GOP noise machine already hard at work on the history books of the future

Something wicked this way comes.

There are a number of problems with these assertions, not the least of which is that when Saudi terrorists started flying hijacked jets into large buildings on September 11, 2001, George W. Bush had been president of the United States for the better part of eight months. The lapses in memory noted above are all striking, but especially so in the case of Giuliani, who was, from September 11 until he dropped out of the presidential race on January 30, 2008 (a span of roughly 2,332 days, if my math is accurate), unable to say so much as “hello” without somehow shoehorning “9/11” into the conversation. Continue reading

Nota Bene #98: A More Glorious Dawn Awaits

“The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #90: Monkey Business

“One reads such links, and what can one say but— Continue reading

Nota Bene #88: Pigeon Power

♫♪ If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow, don’t be alarmed Continue reading

What if — Obama logic applied to presidencies past

Now don’t get me wrong, I like Obama and think his best days are still to come. But his administration has so far been a strange collection of backtracks, waverings, retreats, retreads, flip-flops, cricket chirps and sellouts, with a few successes here and there.

Friend of mine saw a link somewhere that wondered what it would be like if Team Obama applied its logic on health care to other progressive battles in history. He lost the exact link, which I don’t have either, so I hope my list below isn’t copycatting someone else too closely (email or comment if so, esp. if you have the link in question).

Anyway, here are a few headlines from history, if Obama logic was at work… Continue reading

Jon & Kate: a sign of the times to come

If you’ve been off-planet for the last few months you may have missed the news: Jon & Kate have split, and in the process migrated from the relative banality of the TV listings over to the hyper-banality of the tabloids. I’m still not sure what the future holds for the popular “reality” show, but whatever it is, Gosselin family 2.0 equals Jon minus Kate.

It occurs to me that these events represent something significant in our culture. Since about 1980 or so we’ve been in one of our periodic “childrens is the most preciousest things in the whole wide world” phases. (For more on the generational cycles that produce this dynamic, see Generations, 13th Gen and Millennials Rising by William Howe and Neil Strauss, two men whose work I have referenced a number of times in the past.) In the previous generation (Gen X), children were an afterthought for most parents, who had been socialized in far more self-centric times. Continue reading

The Scholars & Rogues Manifesto: what are we doing here?

It has been alleged that Scholars & Rogues is not, strictly speaking, a political blog. Sure, we write about overtly political issues and devote our share of time to things like media policy, energy and the environment, business and the economy, and international dynamics. Yes, we were credentialed to cover the DNC, but we don’t really do hard, insider, by god politics. Daily Kos is a political blog. Firedoglake is a political blog. Little Green Footballs, The Agonist, Politico, The Seminal – these are real poliblogs.

S&R, on the other hand, writes about music. About literature and poetry. About art. Education. Sports. Culture and popular culture. The Ramsey case and what it tells us about the state of media. And now that the election is over, S&R is writing about politics less than ever.

So really, what is S&R? Continue reading

Enough with the "historic election"

It’s official – I’m already sick of hearing about this “historic election.” It’s better than hearing about “historical” elections as Ken Jennings has complained, I suppose – at least “historic” refers to something “famous or important in history” or “having great and lasting importance” instead of something that has the character of history. Reagan’s election in 1980, FDR’s election in 1932, Lincoln’s election in 1860, Jefferson’s election in 1800 – those are all “historical” elections. Let’s give Obama at least to the end of his term before calling his election “historical,” OK? But I digress.

As I was saying, I’m already tired of hearing about how Obama’s election was historic. Not because it’s not true, but rather because it’s already overdone. I lost count of the number of times I heard the phrase “historic election” even before President-elect Obama took the stage in Chicago election night, never mind all the times I’ve heard it on the radio and read it on nearly every webpage, blog, and news site I’ve visited since election night.

There’s another reason I’m sick of the phrase, too. It’s not enough. Continue reading

Joe Biden should have told the truth: Sarah Palin is a Marxist

by JS O’Brien

Vice-presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden (D-Delaware) ran into a buzzsaw of an interview from Barbara West of WFTV-TV, Channel 9, in Orlando, Fla on October 23.  West is the wife of Wade West, a GOP political and media consultant, and her bias was evident as she made more than one statement of opinion, as though it were fact, then proceeded to ask a question related to that opinion/faux fact.  The exchange making the rounds most often in the blogosphere is this one:

West:  “You may recognize this famous quote:  ‘From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.’  That’s from Karl Marx.  How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around.”

Biden:  “Are you joking?  Is … is this a joke?”

West:  “No.”

Biden:  “Is that a real question?”

West:  “That’s a real question.” Continue reading