Category Politics/Culture

The Coming Climate Catastrophe in Words and Song

Only the introductory portion of this post will be mine, and I hope the rest of it will ring loud alarm bells in your mind while also causing you to consider for a moment just how ardently you love this earth, and what you might do to defend it.  Two  different sources here: One is a review in the current “London Review of Books” of “The Uninhabitable Earth: A Story of the Future,” by David Wallace-Wells.

I have not read the book but the review itself has put a chill in my bones on this otherwise warming and pleasant summer Sunday morning that will not soon subside. Nor should it, as I trust you will realize soon enough.

The second is from Jackson Browne’s absolutely prescient and heart-rending 1974 song, “Before the Deluge,” written when he was 25 years old, and which I had often sung and hummed along with over the years without ever really picking up on the words’ prophetic power—until today...

Read More

Why Aged People Should Not Be President

Watching Robert Mueller’s halting, tentative, sometimes fumbling responses to being grilled for hours by highly charged (and much younger) congressmembers today, I was struck anew with my increasing conviction that past, say, age 70, people should no longer try to become leaders of their country.

Call me ageist if you will, but my reasoning is not that I don’t think elderly people have much to offer the world (so long as they keep their wits about them). It’s just that ideally, they move into a senior advisory role, a steadying hand, a source of wisdom and historical perspective in the ear of younger, more energetic leaders who benefit greatly from their senior confidantes.

Mueller, just short of 75, looked and sounded somewhat lost a good deal of the time yesterday over a grueling 6-hour stretch as he faced two different committees, half of their members hostile and yelling at him from the get-go, ...

Read More

A Letter to My Liberal Friends

Look, my friends: we need to be smart. Not just “right,” but smart, strategic, and zeroed in, laser-like, on the one overriding, primary, urgent, absolutely necessary objective moving forward: beating Donald Trump in 2020. Maybe that means we get only half the pie we’re looking for in a whole bakery shop full of cherished goals and ideals. Maybe even just one-quarter of a pie.

Speaking for myself, I’d take one-thirty-second of the damn pie; I would take any one reader’s semi-literate step-mother-in-law as president if it means our thin slice denies Donald Trump another four years in office.

No one’s rightness, woundedness, victimhood, vehemence, ego, position, cause, reading of history or plans for the future holds even a dim candle to the bright shiny objective of getting the would-be fascist occupant of the White House out of office next year...

Read More

Early Takes on the Democratic Frontrunners

So many candidates, so little time. That, I think, was the prevailing note of low expectations for the initial round of Democratic Party debates last week. Which made it all the more surprising that so much of substance seemed to be revealed—and then endlessly rehashed through the media thinkolator that saw pundits, academic debate experts, other politicians and your neighbors Sam and Myrtle weighing in on the event, often with wildly divergent views on what they had seen.

So much for anyone, at anytime, having the One True View of what happened and who “won.” 

Which makes it all the more fun and allowable for me, and you, and your crazy uncle in rural Mississippi if you dare ask him, to weigh in as we will. So that’s what I’ll do here, in a kind of impressionistic take on the major candidates and whatever else crosses my mind therefrom.

***

***

The Guy’s Guy Who’s Gay, and No One Cares—Ma...

Read More

On Not Going It Alone: Robert Kagan’s “The Jungle Grows Back”

Can America go it alone? And even more importantly: Can the world go it alone without America? These paired questions form the backbone of Robert Kagan’s recent book, “The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World.”

And with a mere 163 pages to make his case, Kagan wastes no time in making his convictions known: absent strong American leadership and engagement, he thinks the world, arguably as or more dangerous than it has ever been, is ripe for all of the same brutality and oppression that has always been either dominant or lurking at the edges of the human enterprise.

Because no matter how much we employ our ideals and reason to tame the malevolent forces always looking to usurp human freedom, without eternal vigilance and strong leadership, the jungle always grows back.

Kagan is a senior “Fellow” (job title, not a generic description) at the Brookings Institution, a conservative think...

Read More