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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Conspiracy Undone!

One of my many comments--posted as Len C--the one I posted here as "Cassamas v. Cavett," has been added to the comments on The New York Times website. On the one hand, I'm disappointed. I kind of enjoy being the rebel and outsider, but that's okay. I can deal with acceptance in my own skewed way.

Monday, July 30, 2007

One Last Post on Fat

I've tried commenting on the Dick Cavett blog again, this time using an alias and sending it from an email address that does not have my name on it. If that one goes through, but the other three get blocked, we can begin to believe that I got myself blackballed on the Dick Cavett blog. And how hysterical is that? I'm almost honored.

Anyway, here is the post:

Fat is a cultural issue. It is a social issue. It is an economic issue, and it is a class issue.

The well-to-do, people like our host, tend to be thinner than the poor these days. This is a complete flip of historic reality in which girth was a sign of wealth, and gout was strictly a rich man's disease. We can still see this in so-called Third World countries. Obesity is unknown among the poor and is the special property of the ruling classes.

Here in the United States and the other industrialized nations, the equation has gotten reversed thanks to the economics of food. The poor in America eat diets that are rich in fat and soaked in high fructose corn syrup because those foods are cheaper than fresh local produce and range-fed meats.

The poor are also more likely to partake of fast food, which is extremely cheap and almost completely lacking in nutritive value. It is, however, fatty and likely to be drenched in high fructose corn syrup.

Check out the current attempts to get a decent food bill out of the Congress as we speak for more information on these subjects.

Finally, to draw conclusions about any person's character based on a physical quality, whether it is height, skin color, hair style, or weight is, by definition, prejudice. It is not some noble cause to be applauded.

Weight is not a moral issue. It is a health issue and a personal issue. It is a subtle and complex issue that cannot be easily reduced to simple answers. However, if you really would like to see a slimmer America, I suggest that, rather than tossing insults at your fat fellow citizens, you urge your Senators and Representatives to reform the Food Bill now pending in both houses.

Cavett Watch 2007

Judging from the tenor of an additional 126 comments posted on Dick's Cavett's blog on the NYT this morning, the comments I tried to post were most likely lost in the great gaping maw of technology. I have tried again with both the item I posted here last Friday and with a smaller contribution. It posits my theory that those who commented (like Dick himself) that they do not remember there being fat people in America in some unspecified earlier time were suffering from having the opposite of photographic memory, a condition I call having a photogenic memory.

There have always been fat people. If you don't believe me, just take a gander at the paintings of Peter Paul Reubens.

At any rate, I'm just waiting on the next round of comments to be posted before I start seeing the rancid tangles of conspiracy in this. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Cassamas v. Cavett

Yesterday, in his Times Select column, Dick Cavett wrote a piece about the fattening of America. There have been a number of comments posted so far--almost 200 of them. The two comments I submitted, however, are not among them. (I don't normally post links to these "columns" because Times Select is a subscription service. You can, however, get a two-week free trial fi you would like to see the entire blog post I am referring to.)

The following is my third attempt at posting a censor-friendly comment. I will update later to let everyone know whether I passed muster or not.

First, let us not be too quick to applaud Mr Cavett's courage and bravery. Writing a series of fat jokes is hardly akin to being a Freedom Rider. It took neither courage nor cowardice to pen his post. It merely took some sort of writing instrument (perhaps even a pen if he has a secretary to do his word processing) and Internet access. Let's keep at least that much perspective on this, shall we?

Next, let's look at some elements of the post itself.

First, Mr Cavett, ever the joke writer, cannot help himself from using such phrases as "heavily larded," "gross poundage," "all but literally fill the screen," "a herd of heifers," "someone the size of the Hindenburg," and others, and while the use of these phrases may or may not have been predicated by some inherent bias on his part, they do not indicate any sort of sympathy or genuine human interest in those he derides. In fact, it would be easy enough to take his post and change every occurrence of the word "fat" with "short" and the other phrases with such replacements as "shrimp," "squirt," "midget," and "strictly from Munchkinland" and arrive at a diatribe that is just as hurtful, just in another direction.

Were Mr Cavett's object really the promotion of public health, this litany of jabs and jibes would be unnecessary.

When he discusses the alleged preponderance of fat people on such shows as Judge Judy and (God help us) The Jerry Springer Show, he seems to take this as proof of some kind of fat guy conspiracy. He does not consider the fact that these shows only exist so that the average viewer can jeer at the participants and feel themselves to be their social superiors. That fat people appear on these shows isn't the confirmation of their acceptance, but is evidence of the clear-cut bias that American society has against this segment of its population.

The same can be said of the comedians (and are obese comedians really that plentiful?) who are all just looking for a hook for their acts and none of whom has had the wit to find something different. And, oh yes, there have long been fat comedians. Oliver Hardy, Fatty Arbuckle, Jackie Gleason,and "Fat" Jack Leonard are four who pop effortlessly to mind. Let us put to rest the notion that fat people never existed until after the Vietnam War.

Now, the assumption that all people who are overweight got that way from sloth and gluttony is a canard. The causes are many and various and the cures, therefore, cannot be a simplistic as "turn off the TV" or "get some will power." As has been pointed out quite eloquently before in these comments, contributing factors involve the manner in which we live, the manner in which we eat, the frenetic pace of society, the poor quality of the food most readily available, as well as genetics, thyroid health, and--apparently--who your friends are. Let us not attempt to apply simplistic solutions to complex problems. That's never worked in the past and it won't work now.

It should also be noted that there is often a correspondence between poverty and weight. Poor people eat the cheapest (which also happens to be the worst in terms of nutrition) food. Well-to-do people can afford organic whole-grain high fiber zero trans fat everything, but poor people can't. They also can't afford health club memberships and personal trainers. They cannot take long lunches that include a workout because not being on the job means not getting paid.

And meanwhile, the food bill is being twisted into the usual fistful of government handouts to the wealthiest farmers. Maybe Mr Cavett should try writing about that sometime.

And just for the record, I am 5'9" and 235 lbs. According to the official charts, I am 60 lbs overweight, although I always thought that I looked best and felt best at around 190. In my adult life, I have weighed as little as 125 and as much as 250. I would've made a good extra on The Sopranos, but, unfortunately, that ship has sailed.

There is a tendency in this country of ours to equate thinness with virtue and wealth with wisdom. Neither is true. President Bush is both thin and wealthy, but neither virtuous nor wise.

My point, at the end of the day, is this: If obesity in America is the problem that it has become the commonplace to suppose, we need to put away the insults and the bias and the easy answers. Although there is a level of personal responsibility involved, fat, as a phenomenon, will not go away until we have reformed how we raise and process our food and how we live our lives.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Go-Go Gonzalez

After his performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee the other day, it has become painfully obvious that Presidential Stooge and Attorney General, Alberto Gonzalez, needs to be impeached. He should then be indicted, tried, convicted, and forced to go door-to-door across the nation so that each and every voter has the chance to slap him across the face. That's just what kind of a worm this guy has turned out to be.

Impeaching Gonzalez should be an achievable goal. He's ticked off almost as many Republicans as Democrats, and he has clearly broken any number of laws in his toadistic obedience to his Emper--I mean--President. He could be presented as a sacrificial lamb, a whipping boy to punish in the stead of Bad King George and his minion, Evil Dick. One impeachment might scare the rest of them straight, although it probably won't. Still, it's worth a try and couldn't happen to a more deserving guy.

Of course, I still don't understand why no Democratic candidate for President hasn't made the eventual investigation, indictment, and imprisonment of the current administration as a major plank in their platform. I mean, at least Mike Gravel or Dennis Kucinich should sign on to this notion, especially since neither has as good a chance of getting elected as I do. The candidates with a snowball's proverbial chance of nomination ought to buy into this plan, but they won't. Maybe if I could get the endorsement of enough focus groups they might.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

President Dick

President Bush transferred the powers of the presidency to Vice President Dick Cheney on Saturday just before being sedated for a screening to detect colon cancer--Associated Press, 7/21/07

Okay. We only have a couple of hours here, and that's not much of a window. There's things that we need to get done and done fast. First, of course, is the imposition of martial law. I want that proclamation on my desk in ten minutes for signing. Then I want the Constitution. One of the originals. I'm going to switch the descriptions of the President and Vice President by making one of those doubleheaded arrow things. Or should I just scratch out "Vice" in one and add it in the other? I'll make a classified decision on that by the time you bring it to me. And get me a Sharpie or some kind of indelible pen. I don't want some terrorist doing the same thing to me later on.

We need to send a few brigades over to Capitol Hill to arrest all the Democrats and Independents up there. Except Lieberman. He'll do what he's told. If the Army won't do it, send the CIA. They know how to play ball, but they won't tell you because it's classified.

When they're through probing the President, send him off on a bike ride or down to his ranch in Texas. He'll never know the difference. Give him a microrecorder or a banana or something and tell him that all he has to do is talk into that and everything he wants done will be so. That'll keep him happy and out-of-the-way.

Let's drop some nuclear bombs while we have the chance. The targets are all marked with big red Xs on this globe. Iran, of course, and France. The United Nations, Micronesia, the Isle of Wight. All of your terrorist hotbeds. Let Putin know after our boys are in the air. He might want to knock off a couple of places, too.

Now, let's go. I've got two-and-a-half hours and whole world to remake. But first things first. Somebody go find me an undisclosed location.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Life in the Fast Lane

Apparently, his time was more valuable than mine. And also more valuable than the time of the dozens of other drivers he swerved and swooped around and cut off in an attempt to get someplace quicker than obeying the traffic laws and simple decorum would allow. He was in a Jeep, and he was in a rush.

This was this morning, but it could have been any morning. There is always the risk, especially during the morning commute, that some dimwit will speed along the turn-only lane just so that he can merge in at the intersection, preferably at a high rate of speed. These are the proud, the few, the impatient. More likely to cause and participate in accidents, they live life on the edge, and force the rest of us to as well.

However, as I gave him the finger while he waited to cut through a parking lot so as to avoid the inconvenience of a turn lane, I realized that I should not have blamed him. I, the one giving the finger to a total stranger based on a minute amount of information, was just as culpable as he. And we are both victims. Victims of the triumph of the horseless carriage.

According to Marshall McLuhan (and I seem to recall that he was quoting someone else), "We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us." Although it is now popular to nod our heads sagaciously and and furrow our brows over the pollution caused by cars, we rarely think about the other effects that driving cars have on our lives.

I think I'll start from the macro and work my way down to the micro level.

The War in Iraq would not have happened if not for our dependence on our cars. Although the desire to assure permanent access to the world's second largest oil fields may not have been the only catalyst of the cataclysm, it cannot be denied as a contributing factor. Dependence on oil, as was demonstrated by the oil embargoes of the '70s, makes us economically vulnerable to the whims of other nations, the ones where all the dinosaurs went to die.

Dependence on oil also encourages other sorts of environmental depredation, such as the attempts to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. The demand at the pumps fuels the need for further exploration, which feeds demand at the pumps, which causes more exploration.

And then, of course, there's the smog, a gift that we share with all, even ourselves.

There are subtler effects, though. Cars change the ambit of our lives and the structure and designs of our cities and towns. They encourage development that is spread out and a concept of distances that is measured in minutes rather than miles. Supermarkets and megamarts depend on people driving to them and shopping less frequently, but for more items. Our merchants become big and faceless corporations rather than local businesses. WalMart could not exist without the automobile.

As a result, our country is less wooded than it might be because trees eat up valuable real estate that can be turned into shopping centers and business parks and housing developments and parking lots and parking decks and cul-de-sacs and turn-only lanes. Flora and fauna become little more than decorations or pests, things to be controlled or eradicated, all of which has its own cascade of consequences.

On a more personal level, driving leads to an existential separation between us. The person in the other car becomes a part of that object rather than another person with a life and hopes and disappointments. He (or she, although gender really ceases to exist in this context) is just the thing you are giving the finger to or the object you are cutting around because it has become an obstacle to your pursuit of nowhere. A pedestrian lifestyle works differently and allows us a chance to see each other as human. Annoying maybe, but human.

The availability of speed that comes from driving gets addictive. The goal becomes making time rather than experiencing life. We dive in a headlong rush from activity to activity and wonder where a day went, a week went, a year went, a life went. Doing things quickly becomes more important than doing them well. Savoring, whether it is a meal, a face, or a moment, becomes too slow an activity. We rush from home to work, from work to lunch, from lunch to work, from work to store, from store to home so that we can zonk out in front of the TV. We live the life of a light switch, either on or off, existing rather than living.

I'm as caught up in it as anyone else. I'd love to do away with at least one car, but there's the boy to get from school and the meal to buy at the store and the errand to run before something closes. There is the convenience of being able to get places in hours that once would have taken days.

I don't expect things to change much. Perhaps we'll figure out cleaner ways of running our cars, but I doubt that, as a society, we will abandon them. There are no signs that civic planning is moving in any sort of direction to encourage walking over driving, and it is not in the interests of corporate America to having you do otherwise. It's just something to be aware of. Especially when you're giving some stranger the finger.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Comment allez-vous

First, after having taken a hiatus from the notion, I have turned on the comments function again. I turned it off originally because of the drive-by commenter, the kind of moron who stops by various blogs and leaves idiotic comments as a way of stirring things up. It's a kind of practical joke, I suppose, but I've never been too fond of practical jokes. They are usually just an excuse for acting cruelly and irresponsibly.

I was also looking at the blog as being the new form of the newspaper column, and I wanted to see how I would approach such a task. Being my own biggest fan, I was relatively pleased.

On top of that, I had gotten burned by commenting on a couple of other blogs, and I had reached a point in which I just didn't need it any more. Thanks to the dopes on talk radio, there is a class of conservative who will argue mostly through invective rather than logic. They start out by classifying you as some stereotype, such as "tree-hugger" or "peacenik," and then assume that you've been brainwashed by some Central Committee. The possibility that someone could hold opinions other than theirs and have arrived at those opinions through some sort of logical process is horrifying to them, since the notion that there might be valid opinions that they do not subscribe to implies that they may be wrong. Since error is weakness, any who disagree must be attacked, preferably on the most personal level possible.

The White House is currently infested with any number of these creatures, as the statements made daily by and in behalf of the President show.

Democracy is a discussion. It is an ongoing argument between reasoned adults as to how best to provide for the community. It is not a contest between competing tantrums. Unfortunately, the tantrum-throwers currently seem to be in the ascendant.

Civility is a central problem that our society current wrestles with. True civility has been lost in a dung heap of partisanism awash in meaningless labels, such as "liberal" and "conservative." We'll shoot for civility here, but you never know who is going to pass by.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Senate

Can I say, and I'm sure many other people agree with me, I wish the Senate Democrats would stop trying to force votes that are going to fail and try, instead, working with the moderate Republicans to figure out just what can be done? If they really wanted to try something new, they would reach across the aisle and try negotiating and cooperating with the folks on the other side. They won't get everything they want, but they shouldn't have to give up everything either.

If just once, just one person in the House, Senate, or White House made any kind of realistic effort to forge bipartisan policy, this country might have a chance of getting somewhere. As it is, all they give us is stagnation.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Racing to Assimilation

This post is yet another example of me thinking out loud. I'm concerning myself with a rather difficult subject to handle here in the United States, and that is race.

One of the many decisions handed down by the Supreme Court in the waning moments of the most recent term was one concerning school desegregation plans in Washington State and Kentucky. The court ruled--by a 5-to-4 vote, a margin that has become the rule in the John "I'll Try to Build Consensus" Roberts court--that the two plans were unconstitutional because they took race into account in deciding what students were going to attend which school.

The plans were well-intended and the idea underlying them is noble. However, I'm not sure that they take into consideration the realities of modern American life.

The problem addressed in Brown v. Board of Education was that of Jim Crow. We tend to forget now how that system worked. Blacks had separate schools by law. They also had separate restaurants, hotels, lavatories, and drinking fountains. They were required, by law, to give up their seats on the bus if a white person needed one. They had their own cabs and entrances to public buildings. As a co-worker once informed me after the black supervisor of the mail room flirted with me, "Fun is fun, but separate is separate."

The country that the Warren Court addressed in Brown was a far different one from the one we live in today. This is not to say that everything is right and holy or that we have come anywhere near accompanying Dr. King on a trek to the mountaintop. Not at all. Prejudice is ubiquitous. It lays like swamp water at our feet, and sometimes at our knees, elbows, or chins depending on where we are. Race is the great unresolved question of the American Experiment, and Dr. King's dream of a colorblind society is still a mirage on a distant hill.

We have, however, made some progress, even if it is small and hesitant. People of all races and backgrounds shop at the same stores, eat at the same restaurants, and drink from the same fountains. Although we do not sit side-by-side as often as we ought, we often occupy the same rooms and not only in a master/servant relationship. This is progress, and it must be recognized.

It seems to me that Black America had never been allowed to begin the assimilation process--a process that all immigrant groups have had to endure--until about a generation ago. They were the permanent aliens, the outsiders whose life in the ocean of the Republic resembled the travels of the Flying Dutchman, endless travail suspended between true life and true death. It is only within my lifetime, through the efforts of the civil rights movement, that assimilation has become possible. Blacks have only recently begun to be absorbed by the society at large.

One of the first steps toward assimilation is one that actually seems, on its face, contradictory. The group in question explores its history and celebrates its unique culture as a means of establishing its own identity. Over the course of several generations, this identity carries on but fades. Eventually, intermarriage with other groups happens more and more until all you're left with is a mutt like me.

African Americans are still in the early stages of this process, and given how screwed up their commute to America was and the centuries of hardship they have had to endure, this sorting out of who and what it means to be African American may take awhile. On the other hand, given the growth and robust power of the Black middle class, they seem to be proceeding at an admirable clip.

As far as the Supreme Court opinion goes, I'm not sure that it will matter in either direction before too long. I will say this, however: Although the idea that Justice Roberts and his cohorts hold is an attractive one--the idea that the society cannot be colorblind until the law is--it is naive. Unfortunately, the law can never be colorblind until individuals are, and we are still far too race-conscious to be exonerated on that score. And even though they distrust the notion that the law can be used to correct social inequities, it must try. After all, civil law exists for no other purpose than to correct inequities.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Word about Executive Privilege

In the current hoo-ha over the Bush Administration's preference for Stalinist tactics in regards to the Justice Department, the White House has tried to justify mooning the Congress of the United States by invoking executive privilege. This legal theory, it seems, exists because "he [Bush] needed to protect the flow of advice he receives from close advisers." (House panel: Miers wrong to miss hearing, AP 7/12/07) The idea is that the President can only get candid advice from his advisers if that advice will be kept perpetually secret.

I think this whole idea is, in short, a crock.

Secrecy should not be the prerequisite for candor. Honesty should. Anyone who requires secrecy in order to give the best advice possible to the President or anyone else should be fired. Immediately and peremptorily. Their advice should be suitable for printing on billboards. If someone does not feel that would be possible, that person is undoubtedly a liar and a scoundrel.

The White House is counting on having a Supreme Court that is bought and paid for in order to uphold this one, but it won't wash even then. Oh, sure, they will get the votes of those political cronies Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas, but I suspect that this utter disregard for the Congress and therefore the people of the United States will be too much for Kennedy. There comes a point when even a toady has to say "No."

I have to give this administration credit for one thing, though. Every time I think my cynicism has reached its bottom, they come up with some knew way to make it sink ever deeper.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Partnership for a Dufus-Filled America

At least once per day, as I click on a story from The New York Times and wait for it to load, an ad comes up. Now, I don't mind sitting through the ad--I want to The Times to make a buck. I want to encourage their foray into cyberspace. If it takes sitting through an occasional ad, so be it. I don't click on "Skip This Ad"; I let them sell me.

A fair amount of the time, these ads are pieces of propaganda from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, a group that takes lots of money from drug companies. Anyway, as the ad rolled today, I was struck by the thought that what these ads really sell isn't abstinence from that great kitchen-midden called "drugs." What it really sells is the idea that parents should look at their children as being worthless little evil factories who cannot--and must not--be trusted.

Now, I was a teenager once--for a period of years, as I recall--and it was the '70s and drinking and smoking dope were quite popular activities. And I had periods in which I indulged and others in which I steered clear. My parents even found me passed out on the bathroom floor one Saturday night. But they never stopped trusting me, and they never acted in any way resembling the tactics put forward by the Partnership for a Dys-Functional America. My mother just stopped talking to me for three days, behavior that was so out of the norm that I straightened up immediately.

A year later, faced with the prospect of my first cast party, she instructed me on drinking responsibly and gave me tips on how adults drink. I was fifteen, and I think I may have had one beer that night.

Now, I am a parent, and while my son is still only 8, I know that one day he is going to be faced with the same temptations that I was, and even more with the easy availability of porn on the Internet. It's frightening, but, at the same time, I have faith in him. He's a good boy, and I can already see the good young man emerging. However, I also know that he's human, and I know that he will do stupid things. We all do. And I'll never find out about all of them, but a few will fall through the cracks. And when they do, my wife and I will both be there for him, not as thought police, but as parents. We'll make our share of mistakes, too, but we will not turn him into a criminal.

The real point here is that these situations are complex and subtle and must be approached in such a manner. Teenagers are trying to figure out who they are and how to survive in the world without Mom and Dad, and you have to be engaged with that entire process, not just in the messy parts that you disapprove of.

Oh, yes, and what will I tell my son about my own history with drugs and alcohol? The truth. The unvarnished, idiotic truth. And when he asks me about marijuana or coke or Boone's Farm Apple wine, I'll tell him the truth, not some slogan. It's a very complicated subject, and he deserves to have me respect him enough to tell him the truth.

We'll see in a few short years. Wish me luck.

Monday, July 09, 2007

School of Fish

Well, Stanley Fish is at it again over at The New York Times website. I'd provide a link, but it's a members-only kind of thing, and I'd hate for anyone to feel coerced into signing up in order to read Professor Fish's drivel. That just wouldn't be right. Anyway, the post concerned his agreement with Justice Clarence Thomas's concurring opinion in the case in which the Supreme Court decided that the right to free speech did not apply to some snot-nosed kid who was holding a banner that read "BONG HiTS for JESUS" as the Olympic torch passed his high school.

The following is the text of a comment I wrote and submitted. Maybe it will pass comment moderation, maybe it won't. Either way, it will be preserved here for the Ages, a family of four who lives somewhere outside of Canton, Ohio:

Again Professor Fish offers specious bushwa as a means of provoking responses and garnering himself some small measures of attention.

There is almost no aspect of this essay that is neither wrong nor specious. To attend to every error would take many paragraphs and ask Professor Fish's long-suffering readership to withstand a recapitulation of each boneheaded remark and misstatement of fact. I shall attempt to limit myself only to a few examples.

First, he conveniently omits the fact that the student wasn't on school property at the time and was in no material way acting as a student. He was a citizen holding a banner on a public sidewalk during a public event. Can we really call the passing of the Olympic torch a "school-sponsored event"? Wouldn't the torch have passed by with or without the school's participation? Ever the sophist, Professor Fish merrily skips over this fact since it doesn't allow him to wallow in the "spare the rod and spoil the child" twaddle he has in mind as his real thematic objective.

It is not surprising that he believes that education is essentially totalitarian. If one looks at the experiment he records in his well-known essay, "How to Recognize a Poem When You See One," he is not above coercing students--through the power of his relation to them as instructor--to act in ways that justify the philosophical positions he has already decided are correct. If students in his world were accorded the right of free speech, they would be able to decry such "experiments" as poppycock and the experimenter as a fraud. However, my view is that if the shoe fits, the fraud should have to lace it up.

At base, however, I see an attitude toward education in America that is pervasive, especially among the privileged. That attitude looks at education as being the process by which workers are made. The emphasis is on obedience and learning how to get along in the system prevailing. Professor Fish clearly stands on this side of the equation.

My view, however, is that education, in a democracy, exists to make citizens, not drones, and citizens have a duty to question their masters and their assumptions and judgments. And one of the ways of doing that is to be able to make jokes, even sophomoric ones like "BONG HiTs for JESUS," freely and openly.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The In-Between

I wish I could let the commuting of Scooter Libby's sentence just pass quietly into the night, but I can't. However, my thoughts are few, and, I think, nonpartisan.

First, I find it humorous that Mr Bush, who happily had the mentally retarded put to death when he was governor of Texas, thinks that 30 months of easy time for Scooter is too harsh. What of the people who--by the administration's own admission--are completely innocent of anything except being in the wrong place at the wrong time and are being held indefinitely in Guantanamo Bay? Shouldn't they share a small bit of the President's new-found compassion? Just a smidgen?

Of course, the interesting thing is that the sentence was commuted rather than a pardon being given. This is a matter of distancing. Giving a pardon would have been an admission of guilt, as well, and this is not an administration that likes to admit to its own wrongdoing no matter how gross or trivial. Those who hoped for a pardon were fools.

Since there is still a hefty fine and disbarment left, it will be interesting to see whether Scooter sees the light and flips on his erstwhile benefactors. I make the odds even.

Finally, I would like to say that I think that were one of the Democratic candidates for President savvy about this stuff at all, they would put a plank on their platform that promised Justice Department investigations of all the wrongdoing by the current crowd of reprobates. That could mean jail terms for a whole bunch of these vultures, and no on-the-payroll president to pardon them. Justice just might be served after all.

I'm making the odds on that happening about a million-to-one.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The One That Got Away

Well, here I sit, disappointed by Stanley Fish again.

After three weeks of essays about atheism, none of which was convincing on its own, and the sum total of which amounted to very little, he has, today, posted an essay about country music. Now, since I had predicted in a couple of places, including in a comment on Professor Fish's blog, that he would follow up on the three atheism posts with one that would have allowed them to--I don't know--make sense, I'm stuck here with egg on my face.

This is the final proof to me that this man is not a thinker, but is rather an old sophist who tries to make himself feel smarter than everybody else by piling up mounds of words, great mudpiles of sentences that exist only to bury, not enlighten. That is not, in my opinion, a fit occupation for a man.

The path through this life is difficult enough to negotiate without overage adolescents screwing with the street signs just so that they can build their fragile egos.

Adieu, Fish! My disappointment is almost as high as your mudpiles.