Monday, February 29, 2016

I love to vote, but won't. Not tomorrow.

I'm going to try to keep myself from voting in the Massachusetts Democratic primary tomorrow, in which Hillary is pitched against Bernie.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Gandalf Was a Liberall

As of today,  the Dark Riders have been seen issuing out of Mordor. The shadow falls. Here they come in formation, behind Trump, chief of the Ringwraiths, though the others chafe at each other, all at the behest of the Dark Lord. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

One Ring . . .

There's slime on everyone, somewhere up or down the line. Or maybe just imperfection. Maybe even signs of growth.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Hillary, 2016

In the heated debate about Bernie v. Hillary, among my kind, you know, liberals, to which I contribute my own miasma, my own squid ink pertaining to inner debate, I rarely have time to think or say the obvious: wouldn't it be good for a woman to break through the presidential glass ceiling?

Right after a black guy, with the middle name "Hussein" yet, won two terms of presidency?

It would be good.

Wouldn't it affirm something decent, send good signals, about the United States?

It would. Basic signals.

But that's not why I'm going to vote for her -- assuming I am -- in the Massachusetts primary.

Only one of the reasons I think I might.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

FDR, Reagan, Sanders

I've been asking myself this question, to which I don't have a good answer: why does Bernie talk Danish -- or is it Swedish? -- socialism, rather than New Deal?

Sanders is completely a New Deal kind of guy, as it would be updated for the present, which is only just pulling out of the Great Recession. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Sanders Overreaching

I suspect one reason for my saying that Sanders wildly overreaches when he calls for political revolution is autobiographical. In the late 60's/70's, when I was the age of the young people Sanders is trying to reach, and who seem to favor him over Clinton, I felt, correctly, that this country was in a deep crisis, and, more foolishly, that my generation was part of a vanguard capable of revolution.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Burning building . . .

The tale of Israel as an emergency creation of Jews jumping out of a burning building, Europe, and landing on the backs of an innocent people, the Palestinians, has made its rounds. First I heard of it was in something by Isaac Deutscher, probably in his "The  Non-Jewish Jew," where he was trying, best as he could, to come to terms with the necessity of a Jewish state. Christopher Hitchens makes use of this parable, with minor modification, in "Hitch-22."

My version is more problematic: yes, the Jews jumped out of a burning Europe and landed on the backs of Palestinians who had no part in creating the inferno. And yes, no question, the Jews continued to beat, belabor and even evict Palestinians, as happens to this day.

What's missing from that account, though, is that the Palestinians from the start wanted nothing more than to push the Jews back into the sea, and have never been able to fully repress that urge.

A piece by Todd Gitlin presents the situation graphically, by means of maps.

Palestinian maps, the ones Palestinian children are bought up on, manage not to include a place called Israel; for them the whole place is labeled Palestine.

Jewish maps, all too many of them, depict an Israel that extends from the Mediterranean to the Jordan, without reference to a green line, on the other side of which is a Palestinian territory known as the West Bank, the basis, should justice someday prevail, for a Palestinian state.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Scalia & Spaldeens

The sudden negative space on the Supreme Court makes it abundantly obvious, if it wasn't already, that THEY (I assume you are aware of the Dark Riders flooding out of Barad-dûr to whom I allude) can't be allowed to win, no matter how many utopian notions or revolutionary aspirations might thereby have to be put into temporary if not permanent abeyance.

Having said that, I was fascinated to find, the other day, re the death of Antonin Scalia, which death I find myself unable to sincerely mourn, in the same way that I have never found his much vaunted prose worth much vaunting, that he grew up in Queens, as I did in Brooklyn, and that, according to a NY Times piece, he felt he had "misspent" his youth in large part by devoting it to stickball.

I played the same game. Broomstick handles as bats, spaldeens, as Spaldings were known in Brooklyn, Queens and probably the Bronx, as balls.

Spaldeens were the lively rubber balls that could be deployed for punch, stick, stoop, or handball, and even for what was known, for whatever reason, as Chinese handball. (I can tell you the rules but not why it was called "Chinese." Similarly, I do remember that one kind of shot in handball was known as a "Hindu" but not exactly why.)

Spaldeens would wear out eventually, lose their fresh bouncy sheen, their surface tension, and you'd have to go and spend a quarter for a new one. (Or you could go cheap and spend a dime, I think it was, for an egg ball, a floppier, squishier version of the spaldeen, which lent a certain sort of unpredictability to the usual games.)

I know that there are parts of Brooklyn, don't know about Queens, much less the Bronx, where such schoolyard and street pursuits are still enjoyed, though, to be honest, if crude, I suspect that mostly kids these stay off the courts and masturbate, excuse me, play video games.

I gather from a NY Times piece that Scalia deemed: "The game of stickball in Queens, . . . different from the game of stickball in Brooklyn."

That's interesting, as Scalia's supposedly original "Originalist" reading of the Constitution is not, since it boils down to the kind of hardcore Catholic he was, reading a secular document as if were Holy Writ, where what was true once — think St. Paul, not Jefferson — remains true throughout.

But enough about that.

Were Scalia around, and both of us on the same court, law or handball, I’d ask only how stickball in Queens differed from stickball in Brooklyn.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Nothing, nothing, nothing . . .

Karlos Marx nothing
Engels nothing
Bakunin and Kropotkin nothing
Leon Trotsky lots of nothing
Stalin less than nothing
    The Fugs, 1965

Rubio is nothing, though cute, and keeps on shining on.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Bernie v. Hillary 2/4/16

I feel like I saw a very different Hillary v. Bernie debate last night than the news media reported. All outlets, including the Times, reported it was angry, bitter. Not the debate I saw. Yes, for sure were some very sharp, acrimonious exchanges. But the impression I came away with had at least as much to do with a modicum of mutual respect and points of agreement.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Tom Brady says football is too brutal and quits. Not.

Football is passé. Won't be focused on the collision_concussion_derby this Sunday. The Ken Stabler story should lay all doubts to rest about the sport's sanity and  safety: Stabler was a q'back, the most protected of the eleven, and yet, we learn, lost his brains. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Bernie Sanders, my kind of Jew . . .

A question about Bernie Sanders's Jewish bona fides has come up, about his Jew creds.

I, for one, happen to feel just fine about his Jewishness. Before him, there was Joe Lieberman, who could run for vice-president in 2000, a heart beat away, as it were, because though he was Jewish he was observant, he believed, he had faith.