Jan. 28th, 2017


Jan. 28th, 2017 01:34 pm
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Charles Krauthammer: "Some claim that putting America first is a reassertion of American exceptionalism. On the contrary, it is the antithesis. It makes America no different from all the other countries that define themselves by a particularist blood-and-soil nationalism. What made America exceptional, unique in the world, was defining its own national interest beyond its narrow economic and security needs to encompass the safety and prosperity of a vast array of allies. A free world marked by open trade and mutual defense was President Truman’s vision, shared by every President since. Until now." ... ... Pi says, "So, you got your puzzle! I must say you don't look very happy." Yeah, five minutes after opening the box, I have this sinking feeling that this is going to end up in the closet. Maybe this puzzle business isn't for me, after all. Maybe I should stick to Solitaire. "Oh, buck up! Just watch, after a couple of months, when you have about half of it finished, you will be eagerly racing to the finish line, feeling like a stud puzzler." You really think so? "Well, let me put it this way, it will be fun watching you try." So, you are sort of like Lucy with the football. "And you are sort of like Charlie Brown but 51 years old." And without his dog anymore. ... ... So, speed reading is a myth. As Mark Seidenberg puts it: "Unless we redefine reading as rapid page turning, deleting the bit about comprehension, people are as likely to read thousands of words per minute as they are to run faster than the speed of light." [Wired] ... ... My tweeters, aside from Ann Coulter, are on fire over Trump's immigration orders, which are already having dramatic effect. Trump has shut the gates. Even people with green cards having permanent residency are being kept out if they have traveled out of the country: they cannot come back in. He has even closed the door on those Iraqis and Afghanis that actively helped our armed forces doing translation work and such. At least you cannot say that he doesn't keep his campaign promises. He is beginning that wall, too. ... An interesting note. There is an exception to those mideast countries that fall under the new immigration ban: those countries in which Trump has personal business interests. As Krugman points out: "The whole world has noticed that countries with plenty of terrorists including the homes of all the 9/11 attackers aren't under the ban." It is all the narrowest sort of politics. This is the government and politics of a dictator, not a great democratic republic. ... Another striking note. Senior Department of Homeland official tells NBC News: 'career State/DHS public servants had no input in drafting the order; “Nobody has any idea what is going on”.' It's government by fuhrer. ... ... Nietzsche: "No, it's not exactly easy to remain just a spectator, - but learn how! And in almost every painful and difficult situation you will have a little door opening onto a joyful refuge, even when your own passions assail you. Open up your theatre eye, the great third eye, which looks through the other two into the world!" [Cambridge Companion to Thomas Mann] ... ... The situation over Trump's executive order anent refugees and immigrants has gotten more tense and dramatic: 'A federal judge blocked part of President Trump’s executive order on immigration on Saturday evening, ordering that refugees and others trapped at airports across the United States should not be sent back to their home countries ... sending the travelers home could cause them “irreparable harm”.' [NYT] ... ... Scott Saul writes that Pryor was "the comic for whom profanity was the grease that lubricated his monologues and helped them move. This impulse within Richard put him on a parallel but separate path from Lenny Bruce, who used his obscenities to spike his social commentary, and especially to bring the mighty down to earth. For Richard, obscenities were not usually leveraged for an explicit point; they were just an indispensable part of how he expressed himself, like meat cleavers to a butcher or roses to a florist." [Becoming Richard Pryor]


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