Sunday, September 28, 2003

le parcours des blogs

The Maximum Leader writes a great little post on gridlock. I was one of those whiners who bellyached about gridlock; the ML's argument is simple and elegant. And I think it's an argument that becomes more correct as the country's population increases. Managing the welfare of 300 million people does require a great deal of forethought and debate. Government should never take this duty lightly. So while I may have other disagreements with the ML, on this issue I can say with confidence we're on the same page. Choice quote:

From time to time if you follow politics you will hear a familar refrain. It contains some variation of the phrase, "I want to break the gridlock in Washington and get things done." Allow your Maximum Leader to go on the record. I love gridlock. I like going slow. I like that nothing can ever seem to get done. In case you never read the Federalist Papers or studied the separation of powers in the US Constitution; allow your Maximum Leader to educate you. The whole bloody system was set up to create gridlock. This is not to say that nothing can ever get done. We have over 216 years of history that show that laws still get made and Congress, the President, and the Courts can accomplish things. But my contention is that nothing should get done quickly.

Kevin at IA blogs from Europe! He's got certain, er, investments in Wesley Clark, and this may be affecting his view of the man. Then again, Clark is being heavily spun by friends and enemies right now; Kevin is right to point out that the strong reaction against him probably indicates there's a problem-- otherwise, his enemies would be more dismissive. I appreciate Kevin's use of Eric Hoffer, too; Hoffer was a wise man, and eminently quotable.

Personal note (as if a blog isn't anything more than personal notes!): I used to be a creationist, all the way until about sophomore year in high school. Our biology teacher sophomore year, Mr. Dirner, encouraged us to debate the issue, which we chose to frame as "creationism vs. evolutionism." I was going to argue the creationist side as part of a team; I ended up dropping out as I came to realize how unimportant the issue was to me, fundamentally. And by the time I graduated from high school, I wasn't a creationist anymore. Mr. Dirner wasn't happy with my creationism, which was a function of my own low-grade Christian fundamentalism; I remember actually telling him at one point, after class, that "the Jews were going to hell for having killed Jesus." At the end of the school year, Mr. Dirner gave me a copy of The True Believer, Hoffer's classic work. I liked Mr. Dirner and had no damn clue what he was trying to tell me at the time. It wasn't until I was a sophomore in college that I opened True Believer up and began reading it.

As you might guess, a light bulb clicked on inside my head.

By that point, I'd already gone through Georgetown's "Problem of God"-- sort of an intensive Philosophy of Religion course for underclassmen that puts traditional theistic notions of God to the test. The statistic I heard at GU was that roughly 25% of the students who take POG end up either losing or changing their faith. I remained a Presbyterian, it's true... but that label, "Presbyterian," was branded on the forehead of a very new and different creature.

(one with larger breasts)

And, as the religious fundamentalists might say, it's been downhill ever since. Heh.

Andrew Sullivan links to a couple problematic items about Clark. Since Sullivan is arguably leading a wing of the crusade against Clark, read with a grain of salt, but don't dismiss out of hand.

A slice of Marmoty goodness re: the intra-Korean debate over whether to send combat troops to Iraq. The Marmot proclaims himself for the sending of troops. I remain indifferent.

The Vulture caws about tattoos. Herve Villechaize, being dead, doesn't take notice. And Ricardo Montalban can't be bothered: he's somewhere far away, counting his money, enjoying balmy weather, waiting for Robert Rodriguez to call him back into the studio.

Over at Empty Bottle, a great way to describe a prominent aspect of Korean (hell, Asian) culture:

In Korea, there's F-Mart and D-Mart, L-Mart and G-Mart, and the current top dog of the X-Mart retailers, E-Mart. They are all much of a muchness, and are a microcosmic case study, I suppose, of the Korean predilection (and skill, it must be said) in taking someone else's idea (in this case, a household goods retailer, K-mart (of course)), reshaping it for the Korean market, and barfing it out again, adding only the most cursory Groucho-glasses-and-nose disguise.

Read the WonderChicken's entire entry.

The Peking Duck is sickened by what he sees as a Republican grabfest in Iraq. Would the Maximum Leader care to respond to this? I admit I haven't followed all the Duck's links, but it might be worthwhile to do so. Initial indications are that things aren't all kosher. There is cause to worry about how nation-building is being managed.

PRC News on China's space program. I share my Dad's childlike wonder about spaceflight, and find it difficult to view the Chinese effort negatively, even though their space program, if successful, will undoubtedly have military implications (as would any nation's). Besides: it's another blow to that fucking stupid Flat Earth Society.

The Gweilo: more of a stud than I will ever be.

If I were a collector, I'd do what Big White Guy is doing and collect bad Hong Kong movies' deformed English subtitles. Luckily, the big guy has a link where you can peruse his collection. Might I also recommend a hilarious-but-informative book called Sex and Zen and a Bullet in the Head, which is a great primer on Hong Kong film? The book's margins contain quite a few bad subtitles as well. One of my faves contains the phrase "his organ was bursted by bullet."

Over at Flying "beat you death like chicken" Chair: a white guy ashamed, by another white guy, to be a white guy. Read.

Anticipatory Retaliation pisses, moans, and whines. But it's still an interesting read, as always.

Tacitus on the Flypaper Strategy. My suspicion is that the Flypaper Strategy is incompatible with the larger aim of nation-building. If you're deliberately inviting people to come in and tear down what you're trying to build, just so you have the chance to shoot at them more directly... you probably do need more troops on site. A lot more. Meanwhile, young South Koreans are on the streets this evening with signs like "America-- get out of Iraq!" Lovely world.

Annika's recent post discusses the ball-less nature of modern political rhetoric, but her blogpost's title is a shameless attempt at reformulating the Heart Sutra's central metaphysical contention. Hmmm.


SEOUL, South Korea Sept. 27-- North Korea called U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld a "psychopath" and a "stupid man" on Saturday, denouncing him for predicting that the country's isolated communist regime will one day fall.

Rumsfeld was merely uttering an old truth: This, too, shall pass. It's something I'm reminded of every time I take a dump.

Quit frowning. If you're looking for highbrow humor, I suggest you acquaint your eye socket with my middle finger.

As the prophecy said: Lord Voldemort will mark him as his equal.

God's bout of hiccups isn't quite over.

Of the many things the monks could be protesting...

I've long wondered why you don't see Buddhists (i.e., monks and laypeople) pouring in droves into the Gaza Strip to protest the Israeli-Palestinian violence. What you get instead is a sense that Buddhists are on the sidelines shaking their heads and going "Tsk-tsk. They're reaping their reward, those silly monotheists." There's some justification for this attitude, but as Buddhists the world over are becoming increasingly activist (some credit this to the various forms of Christian-Buddhist dialogue going on, at many levels, pretty much everywhere that Buddhists and Christians coexist), I have to wonder why they're not involving themselves more deeply in that situation. You can't talk about deep interconnectedness and then say, "Well, that's not my problem."

Come to think of it, that's true for most great religious traditions.

Would a practicing Buddhist care to respond? Or shall I make this a thread on the Beliefnet Buddhism Debate boards (where I may no longer be welcome... heh)?

We already figured this out. I just wish the article's title could be made inter-Korean policy, applicable in all cases.

L'Express has an article on everything that's wrong with the French geriatric care system.

Does Afghanistan risk becoming a narco-state?

I deliberately ignored Glenn of Hi! I'm Black! in this roundup. Why? Because he's getting a post devoted entirely to him, thanks to some provocative links that were guaranteed to make a Matrix geek like the Hominid salivate.

No comments: