Friday, January 15, 2010

A Serbian Meander for the Weekend

20 comments:

  1. In lieu of recent comments, maybe we can meander at the top of the page for awhile (although did respond to you Gintaras in the old meander below).

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  2. Looks like the originators of the recent comments widget have been suspended; wonder if there's another source for blogger?

    http://giga.ovh.org/

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  3. Have adopted a new recent comments widget. This one is brought to you by "Beautiful Beta,"

    http://beautifulbeta.blogspot.com/2006/11/widget-installation-and-downloads-page.html#dlrecentcomments

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  4. It works! Thanks. I'll put it up at my other site.

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  5. Is that the beautiful Danube, av?

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  6. No, it's the Morava River, which joins the Danube. Thanks for the question, though. Got a little history lesson:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morava_%28river%29

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  7. Or I guess I should say geography lesson.

    I am still reading Bradbury's The History Man while I wait for Madison. It's not that big of a book, but my reading has slowed down a bit. The character isn't a historian, but a sociologist at an English University in the early 1970s who is making history. It's definitely a slice of history from that period.

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  8. I see today Matt Drudge gets his one day of fame. I have never been much of a t.v. viewer, and hadn't a clue what Fox news was, but after 9/11 I started watching the news (and reading the NY Times daily which is how I found the book forums).

    One day I was flipping through channels and came across this guy in a hat with an old typewriter next to him -- sort of a parody of a newsman, saying the craziest things about the attack on New York, about the country, whatever.

    Later I mentioned to a friend that I saw this comedy show on t.v. that didn't seem at all funny. And it seemed in poor taste so soon after the attacks. I described the mock newsman's hat and typewriter and how over the top his jokes were. My friend assured me that it wasn't a comedy show. It was Matt Drudge.

    This is a true story.

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  9. I've never laid eyes on Matt Drudge and hope to keep it that way.

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  10. It seems the fate of the health care bill hinges on tomorrow's Special Senate race in Massachusetts. The Senate and House Dems are no closer to a resolution on the health care bill than they were three weeks ago, and it still needs to go through Congressional vote one more time.

    A bill that has been dragged through Congress for 6 months now with any number of rewrites, and knowing full well the importance of this bill, the Dems still can't come together on the same page for this crucial final vote. It is not like this bill can't be amended down the line if certain persons don't find all they want in it. I had hoped that for once the Democrats could come together on something.

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  11. So it's the Democrats' fault if it doesn't pass, not the Republicans who oppose it?

    Who needs to have the "necessary 'mean streak'" that you described in this:

    "They had that "mean streak" in them, not to mention sharp minds, which were ideally suited for the House of Representatives."

    Curious about why a mean streak is necessary, and why would such ideally suit one for the HoR, and not the Senate.

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  12. They should have known the Repugs weren't going to play ball, yet they toyed around with Grassley and Snowe for months, getting nowhere. They should have been working on securing their own rank and file. Had they done so, they would have got this bill through Congress last Fall. Instead, here we are in mid-January and they still can't agree on a joint bill.

    This is hardnose politics, not a friendly debating society. Johnson didn't get a civil rights bill through Congress by playing nice. He bullied, shamed and cajoled Congressmen into signing onto it.

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  13. Well, yes, that's thanks to my Senator who owed his reelection to the insurance companies and needed the slow-witted republicans on his committee as an excuse.

    I can sympathize (somewhat) with representatives, because they have to go right back to their constituents -- which gives me an even greater appreciation of people like Kucinich, Conyers, and Woolsey.

    But what about the Senate? Isn't that the idea behind having six-year terms, so they aren't swayed by the rabble? Isn't this the real Madison problem?

    I know I'm too old and too well read to be disillusioned, but couldn't we just once have a Senator who was willing to do the right thing for the nation and not worry about reelection six years from now?

    Okay, I'm a dreamer. But still, people are hurting out here. At Christmas they shut down the paper mill in town, and hundreds are out of work. They were the only real blue collar jobs left in this area. And it's already rippling through the economy, with the railroad cutting jobs because they lost the shipments. And who do all these people blame? Obama of course.

    Someone at the Times commented that it won't take much to push this country into fascism. I'm beginning to think that's true.

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  14. "Johnson didn't get a civil rights bill through Congress by playing nice. He bullied, shamed and cajoled Congressmen into signing onto it."

    Oh, that kind of mean streak...I see what you mean (so to speak). Seems to me a Kennedy died before that happened, too, and some folks perceived that a martyr effect had some part in legislation later passed (whether 'tis so or no is not for me to say).

    Still, it does set the bar rather low for all Republicans to expect that absolutely none will "do the right thing" as folks hoped of Snowe & Grassley not so very long ago.

    I'm dispirited by the cries of "All is lost!" before the Mass. election, before final versions of the legislation are arrived at/voted on in Congress, as well as by the apparent consensus that it's all the Democrats' fault because they...well, did what, exactly?

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  15. I'm not sure what to make of the Mass. election, other than I think it came down to personalities, as most of these elections do. Brown campaigned heavily in rural Mass., making over 60 campaign stops, while Coakley stayed close to Boston and made less than 20 stops. Brown had athletes like Schilling and Flutie and actors like John "Cliff Claven" Ratzenberger in his entourage. Coakley called on high ranking Dems to bail her out at the last minute. I think this election was less about the health care bill and more about Coakley's inability to connect with the electorate. But, of course, that is not the way the media will be portraying it in the weeks ahead. This will be seen as a "referendum" on the health care bill and Obama's administration. What a joke!

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  16. What fascinates me is the inherit conservatism in rural area v. the more liberal attitude in cosmopolitan centers. I won't go as far as saying inherit liberalism. Even in Southern capitals like Austin and Atlanta, you find much more of a liberal attitude than you would outside these cities respected "beltways." Even Dallas, "the buckle of the Bible belt," has more liberal attitudes than you will find in Lubbock or Port Arthur.

    I suppose a lot of this is due to demographics. Cosmopolitan centers tend to be more racially and ethnically diverse, while the rural areas are more homogeneous, with white communities far outnumbering black or Hispanic communities. The Democrats' strength appears to be its ability to appeal to minorities. The White vote, particularly in the South, remains conservative and these days is solid Republican.

    Massachusetts appears to be much like Pennsylvania or New York. Once you move outside the city centers, you find the same conservative, white bred Americans you do anywhere else in the country. It is just that the urban vote typically far outnumbers the rural vote, tipping the state into the "Blue" column.

    How to get beyond this divide?

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  17. This is from awhile back, but here's a fascinating graphic on unemployment in this country. By changing age, race, education, gender, etc., the percentage fluctuates wildly. One thing is clear: young men -- and young black men in particular -- are in trouble right now.

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/11/06/business/economy/unemployment-lines.html

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  18. From my perspective (working in crim. law), I venture to say young black men in cities are in considerably more danger at home in their neighborhoods than in Iraq or Afghanistan.

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  19. I think Democrats are overreacting to the loss. For Obama to pull back on health care now is to admit defeat, which is something you don't want to do at this stage of the game. I'm really surprised to see him talking more compromise, when the bill has been compromised enough as it is. No way any Republican will sign onto it at this point. And, Scott Brown ran expressly against the health care bill.

    Too bad really, because overall it was a pretty good first year for Obama. But, that early momentum got lost in July with that silly Gates-Crowley affair which seemed to put him back on his heels.

    He then let the Republicans define the debate on the health care bill, and no amount of explaining seemed to dent the public perception that this bill was going to bankrupt the country. Didn't matter that the Republicans had done a pretty good job of that the past 8 years, but here they were trying to be "Fiscal Republicans" again. What a goddam joke!

    Anyway, I think Brown is someone the Democrats can work around. No point even thinking about him anymore. They need to work out their strategy, push this bill through in pieces if they have to, and at least get something out of it, so that they can say they made the first step. Otherwise, we will be waiting another 20 years for another President and a Democratic Congress to take a crack at health care.

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  20. Interesting review about war, with some Madison thrown in:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/24/books/review/Isaacson-t.html

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