— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
According to a popular poetic image, which goes back to the days of ancient Greece and Rome, swans are mute their entire lives and sing one song before they die. We know that’s not true, but the image of a Swan Song remains.
Logarchism.com, and its predecessors 538refugees.com and the “old”, pre–New-York-Times FiveThirtyEight blog, all gave us an opportunity to sing a song about politics. We’ve enjoyed the opportunity. Everything, however, has a season, and the season of Logarchism now draws to a close. (more…)
A popular uprising in Egypt, supported by the Egyptian military, has ousted President Mohammed Morsi, democratically elected last year after the ousting of long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak. This is seen as a repudiation by the Egyptian people of rule by the Islamic Brotherhood. This puts the United States in an odd position — having attempted to maintain good relations with Morsi’s government, there are factions in the Middle East that now see America as siding with radical Islamic movements which are, as a rule, anti-American.
- Morsi says won’t quit as 23 killed in Egypt clashes
- Egypt tense as army deadline for Morsi looms
- Tanks Move on Cairo…
- Egypt headed for civil war, ex-Israeli defense minister warns
- Coup D’état : Egyptian Military Invades Cairo!
- LIVE BLOG: Egyptian Military Ousts Morsi, Suspends Constitution
I’ve spent much of the past couple of years trying to explain my political philosophy. It’s hard to do, though, because it’s not particularly simple.
Oh, sure, to most conservatives I probably look like a raging liberal, looking forward to the day when government owns all forms of commerce in a nice, liberal utopia of collectivism. I suspect I look mighty conservative to hardcore liberal people. But all of that turns into caricature.
Part of the problem is that I’m forced to describe my political views through peepholes. It would take an entire book to describe it in its entirety. And so I end up feeling like I write “fan”, “wall”, “rope”, and “tree” articles when I’m trying to describe the elephant.
Today I’d like to come closer to writing an “elephant” article, drawing upon those previous ones.
The late Congressman and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill famously said, “All politics is local.” Even as the national Congress seems stalemated, unable to enact even such vital legislation as a jobs bill or firearm reform or a new immigration bill, locked in seemingly endless partisan obstructionism — even as inaction reigns supreme, state legislatures across the country are making progress, though too often the progress is in taking states backward.
There is some good news. Colorado will require more background checks for gun sales, and will outlaw high-capacity ammunition magazines. At least eighteen other states, however, have loosened firearms restrictions. As of July 1, for instance, Kansas will allow schools to arm employees with concealed handguns, and will ensure weapons can be carried into more public buildings.
Are there people who honestly believe that the way to reduce gun violence is to have more guns? Perhaps so; or perhaps much action in state legislatures is more partisan than rational.
In March 1991, Rodney King was beaten by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. It was captured on videotape, one of the first viral videos of a new age, and it heated an unstable flammable mixture. The mixture smoldered during the year between the incident and the trial of the LAPD officers; when they were acquitted, oxygen got to the smoldering rags and the Los Angeles riots, the deadliest riots in the US in over 130 years, broke out in late April and early May 1992.
When we were children and encountered others in the rough-and-tumble of the playground who constantly whined about how mean and unfair everybody was, we had a sensible way of dealing with them. We taunted them by singing, “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I’m going to eat some worms…” These days it seems to me that our conservative friends could benefit from a bit of that same bracing grade-school remedy. Too many conservatives have become political paranoids who search out, collect and brood over any kind of negative press, however trivial, and catalog it in their minds as incontrovertible proof that the whole massive media industry is a bunch of big mean poopyheads who are all totally biased against them.
In the recent Presidential election their whining, grievance and delusions of persecution reached such a level that Republicans actually did start to eat worms. (more…)