From Tom Clark's Junkets on a Sad Planet, his lovely meditation on the life of Keats. Wonderful companion read to Devil Mood's recommendation of Jude Morgan's Passion.
I strolled the Heath with gentle Coleridge that archangel now a little damaged, greying, shaky, wandering, rolling-eyed, yet still air-floating, shadow-loving: we spoke of nightingales, nymphs who live beneath the ocean, dark,
far metaphysics, stars, monsters, the kraken, ghost stories, and how the mind keeps on going, discharging into wordless depths of feeling the wreath'd
trellis of a working brain even when the lights are out, the eyes closed, and the river of the dream starts flowing sweet and wild and sure in language strange
Regarding Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama, from The New Republic:
Powell seemed particularly angry about the accusation, stoked by some McCain supporters, that Obama is a Muslim - and not only because it's inaccurate. (Says Powell:)
"The correct answer is 'He's not a Muslim. He's a Christian.' ... But the really right answer is, 'What if he is?' Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is 'no.' That's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she can be president?"
From the latest blog (Politics and Letters) to join the Blinks here at Murat11. I’ve been having some fun here, and plan to have more. To wit (this excerpt from a two-part article on comparisons between the current situation and the Depression):
Greenspan concurred: "intended investment in the United States has been lagging in recent years, judging from the larger share of internal cash flow that has been returned to shareholders, presumably for lack of new investment opportunities." (Age of Turbulence, p. 387) (Italics mine.)
So the Bush tax cuts merely fueled the housing bubble-they did not, and could not, lead to increased productive investment. And that is the consistent lesson to be drawn from fiscal policy that corroborates the larger shift to profits, away from wages and consumption. There is no correlation whatsoever between lower taxes on corporate or personal income, increased net investment, and job growth. (Italics, again, are mine.)
For example, the 50 corporations with the largest benefits from Reagan's tax cuts of 1981 reduced their investments over the next two years. Meanwhile, the share of national income from wages and salaries declined 5 percent between 1978 and 1986, while the share from investment (profits, dividends, rent) rose 27 percent, as per the demands of supply-side theory-but net investment kept falling through the 1980s. In 1987, Peter G. Peterson, the Blackstone founder who was then chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, called this performance "by far the weakest net investment effort in our postwar history."
The responsible fiscal policy for the foreseeable future is, then, to raise taxes on the wealthy and to make net contributions to consumer expenditures out of federal deficits if necessary. When asked why he wants to make these moves, Barack Obama doesn't have to retreat to the "fairness" line of defense Joe Biden used when pressed by Sarah Palin in debate—and not just by the lunatic fringe where hockey Moms and supply-siders congregate. The leader of the liberal media, the New York Times itself, has also admonished the Democratic candidate on his proposed fiscal policy: "Mr. Obama has said that he would raise taxes on the wealthy, starting next year, to help restore fairness to the tax code and to pay for his spending plans. With the economy tanking, however, it's hard to imagine how he could prudently do that." (NYT 10/7/08)
In fact, if our current crisis is comparable to the early stages of the Great Depression, it's hard to imagine a more prudent and more productive program.
Mr. Pencil Supply Company sat in the blue isles of McCullough Avenue, rattling the cages of serial commodities, evaluating the NASDAQ empires of fun to be had at the Greek Funstival, opting for neo-conservative liquidity in the dying daze of communal warfare. The tributaries of his lust swarmed the figurative Guineveres of marsupial podcasts, envying the water lilies, aspiring to Forms 183-B and Dissipations 196 and 197-F.
“I’ve breathed my last,” said the stiffneck, his Eberhard Fabers at half mast. He’d muscled his shoals one time too many, for rich or for poor, in sickness and in health. He took comfort in the fact, presumed apocryphal but indeed not in the least, that Henry David had spent large parts of unsurveyed summers deep in the heart of Teutonic graphite technology. He’d withered in the end, as likely to cut a stick as fill a barge, but the sentiment was there, there might as well have been an “& Bros.” shingle, had brother survived the dismal winters that would eventually claim them all, HD in the faltering bloom of now eleven years the junior of the pea-brained executive wailing in the middle of 5 o’clock rush hour traffic. No Armadillo World Headquarters to dispense wisdom of the ages or even the sound-bite of a Pearl longneck in swamp-locket sweat.
“I came because I was axed,” Cyril breathed in stentorian monochrome: fervent cheese maker, liberal democrat, calibrated sensualist in these the fading days of the artesian west. He’d climbed into the beds of the Stephen F. Austin women twins, the abattoir of next to nothing you would that I didn’t.
Mr. Pencil Supply Company was having none of it. Sisal was not his cup of tea, violins were not his drug of choice. He felt he’d seen the last of casual percolation, and he was not about to sin for the better. That edge cut too deep, and the cost/benefits were loaded solidly in favor of the latter.
“Nod, if you must.” This from his mother, a wedding bell beeline, seminarian licensed to kill, Beethoven Hall debutante, sequestered since ’79 in the back hollows of the King William, a projection dimmed by fading headlights and occasional transmission. Mi Tierra at two in the morning, breasts in detailed inventory through rummy haze and titular scheming, these were the lemmings of all our ancient lusts, and those were the subliminal checks and balances of an account long overdue. You fought for the window seat, but you never cried foul, never gave the signal.
“I’m a Beauregard,” she said once, hoping it would stick, but never sure of the effect. You might think berets and absinthe and calendrical yearnings for boozy teen Rimbauds, but the truth was lost in Abyssinia, severed hands, severed tongues, severed hearts of the very matters most not on your mind. Those were Gemini days, when anything could happen, and absolutely nothing would. We prayed for rain; rain was beyond repair.
“Kisses, then.” The last thing you’d expect from Mr. Pencil Supply Company, in the stormy surge beyond the Conrad Gesners of Borrowdale, in the fiftieth parallels of curricular wit. Cancel the subscription, animate the fuse, embezzle the fiefdom, generate the mesmerism that entails the each and every last you ever hoped for.
“I will not desist.”
“I will loom in the mist.”
“I will expedite the very last syllable of youth’s crazy bliss. Finally, enviably, charismatically, reverentially, with hope of prism or capital. The rest is yours, and I am forever lost in your midst.”
The prismatics, the optics, the barometrics, the geriatrics of embryogony—find your persistence and fire at will. Only time takes down the willow.
Richard Stern is a novelist and emeritus professor of English at the University of Chicago.
It's 50 minutes after the vice presidential debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. The losers were David Brooks, Mark Shields, and other commentators supposedly hired by television executives for intelligence, sensitivity, and ability to articulate clear-eyed responses and titillate viewers with their amusing and thoughtful reactions to political events. That these two regulars on PBS's "The NewsHour" failed to see that Sarah Palin's brassy, blind narcissism, chirpy ignorance, evasiveness, broken syntax, self-vaunting folksiness, and robotic falsity disqualified her for important public office should be their end as commentators. That they did not commend the essentially thoughtful, well- and widely-informed performance of Joe Biden should cancel their television contracts. The contrast between his intelligence and her stupidity, yes, stupidity, was too clear to be missed by all but blazing partisans.
Yes, this writer is partisan, but makes some attempt to accurately appraise what he sees and hears. That is more important than most causes. Otherwise, value systems will disintegrate and the boundaries between right and wrong, vice and virtue, truth and falsity will be destroyed. Brooks and Shields abandoned the standard to which they've given more than lip service. If their failure should help lead to the elevation of a foolish, almost willfully ignorant person and the defeat of a thoughtful, humane, and articulate public servant, I hope they marinate for years in what oozed from them tonight.
I've been proud that Brooks had been a student of mine at the University of Chicago. That pride has turned to ashes. As for Shields, it has been a minor pleasure to hear political insights he'd gathered over years of reportorial work.
No more. Working such special streets of punditry as "Who came up to expectations?" "Would Biden gaffe his way into headlines?" or "Would Palin again reveal the ignorance she showed on the Katie Couric interview?" this Tweedledum and Tweedledee of savvy politics failed to distinguish what was basic, namely which of these two candidates could head the American government. May they rot in Commentator Hell.
"First, God created idiots. That was just for practice. Then He created school boards." - Mark Twain
And then, the piece de resistance: She created Plano.
From the Banned Books Project:
AUTHOR: Paul ZindelISBN: 0553263218Plot Summary: Mr. Pignati is the Pigman--an old man with a beer belly and a strange story. When two high schoolers meet up with him, they learn his whole sad tale.Complaints: Offensive language, sexual themes A parent in Plano, Texas, said: The first few words, including 'epic' and 'avocation,' made the novel seem normal, but following words, like 'raunchiest,' 'excruciatingly' and 'subliminally,' are strange words that imply ugly things."Solonor Says Ban It Because: Imagine the uproar over words like 'rational' and 'educated'!
I stumbled over this earlier this week, while reading Zindel’s The Pigman and Me. It was hilarious for a number of reasons, but mostly for this: My first day at the Instituto, one of my sophomores introduced herself by saying that she didn’t like teachers who used excruciatingly long words. I loved the lovely irony of her invoking the very thing she was complaining about. She’s turned into a wonderful poet, with a penchant for all manner of lovely excruciations, so as soon as I found the little BBP entry, I passed a copy along to her. She came back later in the day, smiling, and said, “That is the most wonderful thing anyone has given me in a long time.”
On a darker note, my freshman class is reading Orwell’s 1984. This class of nine boys is awesome: focused, interested, and many of them are avid writers with independent writing projects they have been writing on now for two years. What darkened the darkness of 1984 even more was our realization that the very thing they love and live for would have made them criminals and enemies of the state.