mm399: On the cusp of history

June 3, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

As I begin to write, shortly after 8:00pmCDT, CNN is telling the world that Barack Obama has amassed sufficient delegates to clinch the Democratic party’s nomination for president of the United States.

As an interested observer of history, notwithstanding whatever personal feelings one might have or not about Obama the candidate, one cannot help but be quietly amazed at this turn of events, once so unlikely and tonight so inevitable.

I was born in 1948. Yeah, okay, old enough to be your grandfather, perhaps. But, take it from me, 1948 was not that long ago.

In 1948 racial segregation was a fact of life for most African Americans. That year, President Harry Truman signed an executive order ending racial segregation in the U.S. armed forces, although it took several more years to take effect throughout the military. Less than a year before I was born, Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play for a major league baseball team. Today, we take for granted our integrated military force, and our integrated sports teams, in fact both would be curiously empty otherwise.

Now, a majority of voters in this endless Democratic primary season that began 18 months ago after the mid-term election of 2006, have chosen an African American candidate to campaign for the U.S. presidency in November.

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mm379: Iraq = Lebanon. Finally it makes sense.

May 14, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Faithful reader (if s/he indeed is faithful) is probably disgusted with this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© lately, as we’ve been rehashing good old stuff rather than creating good new stuff here.

As I reflect on my lethargic approach to blogging this past week, my analysis finds that it’s partly due to the demands of the bill paying occupation, and partly my failure to extricate from the zillions of new pages popping up every day in said ‘Sphere a nugget of insight upon which to build.

Didn’t really want to write about the Democrats’ Clinton/Obama soap opera. Although, I commend to your attention Eric Zorn of yr (justifiably) humble svt‘s hometown Chicago Tribune on why Sen. Clinton is the wrong running mate for Obama.

So that left me with — what? Reruns, and this during sweeps month, too! smile_nerd

Tonight though, finally, revelation. Christopher Dickey of Newsweek makes a thought connection regarding the cesspool that is our Iraq adventure that makes such great sense that one is tempted to slap oneself, saying “it’s so obvious — why didn’t I think of that?”

I didn’t. Dickey did. Read and learn.

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mm375: Another superpower bites the dust?

May 10, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Let’s be geopolitically strategic today.

Our writers here make the point that, while we (manifestly!) weren’t paying attention, that superpower status we earned by being the last country standing after World War II, and defended so expensively during the ensuing Cold War, has quietly left the building.

From a new addition to our blogroll, Tom Engelhardt’s  TomDispatch.com, comes this bracing wake-up call.

tomdispatch

Tomgram: Michael Klare, America Out of Gas

TomDispatch.com | posted May 08, 2008 11:01 am

These days, the price of oil seems ever on the rise. A barrel of crude broke another barrier Wednesday — $123 — on international markets, and the talk is now of the sort of “superspike” in pricing (only yesterday unimaginable) that might break the $200 a barrel ceiling “within two years.” And that would be without a full-scale American air assault on Iran, after which all bets would be off.

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mm373: Repairing the world? Start at home!

May 8, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Three days after first published, this column by Thomas Friedman is still among the NYTimes’ most emailed stories. I’ve had it on my shelf since then, thought its time might have passed, but the fact that it’s still in such strong circulation made it the perfect candidate for yr (justifiably) humble svt‘s post no. 400 at this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©.

In all the noise of an endless political season, Friedman discerns a message that obviously resonates with his audience.

nytimes

Who Will Tell the People?

Op-Ed Columnist | By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN | Published: May 4, 2008

Traveling the country these past five months while writing a book, I’ve had my own opportunity to take the pulse, far from the campaign crowds. My own totally unscientific polling has left me feeling that if there is one overwhelming hunger in our country today it’s this: People want to do nation-building. They really do. But they want to do nation-building in America.

They are not only tired of nation-building in Iraq and in Afghanistan, with so little to show for it. They sense something deeper — that we’re just not that strong anymore. We’re borrowing money to shore up our banks from city-states called Dubai and Singapore. Our generals regularly tell us that Iran is subverting our efforts in Iraq, but they do nothing about it because we have no leverage — as long as our forces are pinned down in Baghdad and our economy is pinned to Middle East oil.

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mm365: Wright: "Dangerous nonsense"

April 30, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Is anyone listening, really listening hard, to what the eccentric Rev. Jeremiah Wright has been saying?

I admit to superficially following the headlines on this one. He’s made some outrageous claims from the pulpit, regarding the origins of AIDS and 9/11, and his one-time parishioner, Barack Obama, has been attempting to distance himself from the outrage for the past several months.

But Wright outdid himself Sunday speaking to the NAACP in Detroit, referencing an entire generation of soft-headed academic studies that purport to explain away African Americans’ failures to succeed educationally.

cityjournal-new

Poisonous “Authenticity”

Jeremiah Wright draws on a long line of Afrocentric charlatans.

Heather Mac Donald | 29 April 2008

The list of Afrocentric “educators” whom Reverend Jeremiah Wright has invoked in his media escapades since this Sunday is a disturbing reminder that academia’s follies can enter the public world in harmful ways. Now the pressing question is whether they have entered presidential candidate Barack Obama’s worldview as well.

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mm358: Federalists. Whigs. Democrats?

April 24, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

A funny thing happened on the way to Barack Obama’s coronation as the Democratic presidential candidate.

That’s if you consider Hillary Clinton funny.

She just keeps winning large elections in important states, the latest, Pennsylvania, the other day. It’s Hillaryus, to borrow an oft-coined a phrase.

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mm331: Obama at Cooper Union: Lincoln for our times?

March 28, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

He could have spoken anywhere; that’s what the communications age is all about. Perhaps he should have spoken in Pennsylvania; after all, its April 22nd primary represents the next towering challenge to his candidacy.

But, he spoke in New York City, because that’s where beats the economic heart of the country (and not too long ago, the planet). And his speech was about our economic distress, the Wall Street half of the equation, where “pain trickled up.”

An interesting site, new to Left-Handed Complement, “The Reality-Based Community” has been added to our blogroll with alacrity. There, yr (justifiably) humble svt found some incisive analysis, and, usefully, a transcript of this powerful statement.

reality-basedcommunity

Obama on the economy

March 27, 2008 | Posted by Mark Kleiman

Public images, once established, are hard to change, and it isn’t going to be easy for Barack Obama to escape the “pretty words, no substance” label that his opponents and some journalists have tried to pin on him. But if anything could do it, today’s Cooper Union speech ought to.

Those familiar mainly with the Obama of the stump speeches, the election-night speeches, and the Ebeneezer Baptist Church address on MLK Day — the Obama of the “Yes We Can” music video — will find the Cooper Union lecture a significant change of pace. No soaring images, not much poetry, few applause lines, lots of analysis and substantive proposals, only one Obama-esque turn of phrase in describing the current crisis in mortgage-backed paper:

“What was bad for Main Street was bad for Wall Street. Pain trickled up.”

The speech itself: workmanlike, serious, substantive.

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