Friday, June 13, 2008

The end of summer vacation?

I have real sympathy for folks who struggle to make ends meet but there's nothing more annoying than upper-class writers who just can't figure out what those folks' lives are really like. Consider, for example, this article in Slate on the lack of vacation for many American workers. Why are vacations imperiled? Well, part of the reason is:

There are several factors at work here. To begin with, technology has helped iron downtime out of the economy. Many Americans are struggling to cope with job creep—the phenomenon of work quietly grabbing more and more of our leisure time. We are forever receiving co-worker or client messages on our BlackBerrys, or responding to work e-mails on our home computers on weekends, or lugging our laptops on vacation.


Yeah, all those down-scale workers who are constantly checking their blackberries and laptops - it's a real challenge to our vacations....

The Victim President

Obama combats darker side of Internet politics
Sayeth the AFP, a French news agency...


WASHINGTON (AFP) — Democrat Barack Obama has shown the stunning power of the Internet for political fundraising. Now he is fighting its darker side as a vehicle for "smears" against his bid for the White House.

Pausing from a war of words with Republican John McCain over taxes, the African-American senator Thursday unveiled an interactive website to debunk false rumors peddled by email and right-wing media outlets.

The site at www.fightthesmears.com was created after one recent, and thus-far unfounded, assertion that Obama's wife Michelle had been caught on tape slurring white people.

"We created an interactive tool to allow our supporters to fight back against these smears in the same way that they received them -- on the Internet," campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor said.



President Barack's victimhood amounts to this so far: Somebody, not a "right-winger," alleged a tape involving Mrs. Barack saying bad stuff that probably doesn't exist. [I won't repeat the charge here in case it's false.]

And some folks, who easily could have been Hillary supporters as "right-wingers," sent emails around awhile back saying President Obama is a Muslim, although he actually professes Christianity.

Is there anything else? At some point, disagreeing with President Obama will not just be "smears," but honest disagreement on the issues of the day.

2010, I make it, if then, if ever. I'm feeling damn unified already, howbout you? Duckspeak, doubleplusgood.

__________________________________

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Eulogy for Neo-conservatism

Like the Bush Administration itself, I mostly gave up defending the decision to go ahead and topple Saddam quite awhile back. There's simply no percentage in it. Fellows like this fellow are on about WMDs Bush lied people died blood for oil, whatever. Case closed, as the victors get to write the history.

I've admitted that I'm a neo-con, or at I least was one, if neo-conservatism isn't already dead and buried in an unmarked grave in Iraq. And our friends on the left throw dirt on the neo-conservative grave at every opportunity, as if somehow neo-conservatism was a brand new thing invented by Paul Wolfowitz, the Kristols père et fils, and of course, Leo Strauss.

And there are no small number on the right who have agreed, not in the least the late William F. Buckley, a "traditional" conservative, although his "traditional" conservatism actually dates back to only the mid-1950s.

So let's take a look at this mess---

Before Edmund Burke [1729-1797], a British parliamentarian, became the “First Conservative,” he was quite the liberal, supporting the American colonists, opposing slavery, and fighting for expanded rights for the Irish. It was his opposition to the Jacobins that led to his being trashed by the liberals [Whigs, his own party] of his day, most of whom thought the French Revolution was a great idea.

Burke supported war against revolutionary France, to quarantine what he saw as the contagion of a diseased ideology.

That the neo-cons were in favor of warring against both Caliphatism and its secular counterpart pan-Arabism [Ba'athism is one variety] seems quite consistent with the classical liberalism---or Burke's original conservatism---that favors both individual liberty and social order.

Although arguments from prudence against the Iraq war are worthy [too expensive, too much carnage], the neo-con scheme just might work. Pan-Arabism is quiet, and according to some, the book may be closing on bin Ladenism as a growth industry because of the tyranny and brutality it has already shown to be in its nature.

Are the neo-cons [R.I.P.?] conservative or liberal? The answer is yes. Will we go the way of the Whigs? As a political force, it sure looks like it. But neo-conservatism has actually been around for awhile now. Things---if they hold truth---have a way of coming back around, in different times and in different forms, when they are needed.

______________________________________