Old Testament Phone

My phone always suggests that I follow the word “children” with “of God” and “of Israel”. It also refuses to recognize the word “Jesus” and keeps substituting it with “Jessica.”

About these ads

Why a Regime Perishes

Here is a great quote Kotkin gives in his biography of Stalin:

As a rule, a regime perishes not because of the strength of its enemies but because of the uselessness of its defenders.

- Lev Tikhomirov, 1911

Stop and Reset

image

I hearby make a solemn pledge that I will remain in a horizontal position, staring at the fire, the sand and the books until 5:30 pm.

I have no idea how I became the person who needs to make herself sick to get some rest but that shit stops now, even if I have to turn on the Dr. Phil marathon to drown out the voices telling me I need to be preparing next year’s syllabi this very moment. Dr. Phil has one great quality: he’s loud.

The Profound Unfairness of Going Viral

I so identify with the linked blogger’s story. He spends years writing intelligent, well-argued posts but the only thing of his that goes viral is a tweet that pleases helicoptering parents:

kostko

I know the feeling and I can commiserate. It’s always the silliest little thing (like the infamous tree test) that will attract crowds while the really brilliant stuff will languish unnoticed. It would be so much more useful for people to read my posts on the collapse of the nation-state than to do the stupid tree test. But very few go for the smarter option.

Psychoanalytical

“I’m so going to rest during the Thanksgiving break,” I kept announcing while compiling lists of everything I was going to accomplish while on break. “This time, I’m really going to rest.”

“Like I’m ever going to trust your lying ass ever again,” my body said and proceeded to ensure that I did stay in bed doing nothing by making me extremely sick.

I should have just rested of my own free will without pushing the poor body to this extreme.

Update on Ukraine: Biden ‘ s Visit

Joe Biden arrived in Kiev right at the time when Ukrainians were about to observe the remembrance day for the victims of the 1933 genocide of Ukrainians when millions of people were purposefully starved to death solely for being Ukrainian.

In the midst of this moment of grief, Biden cheerfully announced that the US had no interest in helping Ukraine in its war with Russia and that Ukrainians were to accept all of the Russians’ demands.

Ukrainians – who until this moment had retained the collective delusion that Obama ‘ s talk about anti – Putin sanctions actually meant something – reacted with shock and grief. Biden was almost beaten up by the crowd of angry Ukrainians after lecturing the people of a war – torn country on the importance of finding “a peaceful solution.”

Biden ‘ s speech was enthusiastically received by the peaceniks in Kremlin who immediately dispatched a significant number of troops towards the Ukrainian border.

Yet another enormous victory for Obama ‘ s diplomacy.

The Death of Welfare

A great article explaining why white working class voters hate Democrats:

And who does the WWC take out its anger on? Largely, the answer is the poor. In particular, the undeserving poor. Liberals may hate this distinction, but it doesn’t matter if we hate it. Lots of ordinary people make this distinction as a matter of simple common sense, and the WWC makes it more than any. That’s because they’re closer to it. For them, the poor aren’t merely a set of statistics or a cause to be championed. They’re the folks next door who don’t do a lick of work but somehow keep getting government checks paid for by their tax dollars. For a lot of members of the WWC, this is personal in a way it just isn’t for the kind of people who read this blog.

This is so true, my friends. I talk to the working people in my county – which went overwhelmingly red in the recent elections – and none of them have the slightest interest in gay marriage or abortion. What they are obsessively preoccupied with are “those folks who sleep until noon and then go shopping and partying on the government dime while I haven’t had a vacation in five years.”

The only way of appeasing this large group is by shredding the last remains of the welfare system. Do you remember how we discussed the state’s imminent withdrawal from providing a social safety net for the people?  The people themselves are trying to hasten this process with every means at their disposal.

The Republicans will have to drop their opposition to gay marriage and reproductive rights if they want to inscribe themselves successfully into the logic of the post-nation state. The Democrats will have to drop welfare to fit in with this logic. The people are turning their backs on the state even faster than the state is doing it to them.

The Mosque Discovered by Columbus

And here is somebody who would benefit greatly from taking my course on Hispanic Civilization:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is venturing into alternative history. Speaking to a summit of Latin American Islamic leaders in Istanbul, he said that: “Contacts between Latin America and Islam date back to the 12th century. Muslims discovered America in 1178, not Christopher Columbus,” Erdogan said. “Muslim sailors arrived in America from 1178. Columbus mentioned the existence of a mosque on a hill on the Cuban coast.”

Spanish conquerors struggled with describing the lands they found to people back home. They constantly compared what they saw with things that readers back home would recognize. Imagine, for instance, that you get to travel to a different galaxy and discover a civilization that is very different from yours. Wouldn’t you be likely to describe it to your readers in terms of your shared frame of reference? Wouldn’t you be likely to say, “It’s as high as the Empire State Building” or “It is shaped like the Eiffel Tower”? Well, that’s precisely what Columbus and the rest of the conquerors did.

Here is what Columbus is said to have written in his diary (the diary itself hasn’t been preserved. We only have a retelling of the diary):

Señala la disposición del río y del puerto que arriba dijo y nombró San Salvador, que tiene sus montañas hermosas y altas como la Peña de los Enamorados, y una de ellas tiene encima otro montecillo a manera de una hermosa mezquita. (Translation: Remarking on the position of the river and port, to which he gave the name of San Salvador, he describes its mountains as lofty and beautiful, like the Peña de los Enamorados, and one of them has another little hill on its summit, like a graceful mosque.)

Obviously, there was no mosque in the “New World.” But there were mosques aplenty back in Spain, which was the country that sponsored Columbus’s journey and was awaiting his report on the findings of the expedition.

Obama’s Speech on Immigration

I’m sick again (talk about the mind-body connection: this semester has been horrible), so I missed Obama’s speech on immigration and pretty much everything else that’s been going on. And today I found everybody obsessed with this hugely earth-shattering speech. So I decided to find out what the hullabaloo was all about and read the transcript. After a lot of “our values blah-blah, our great nation bleh-bleh”, I got to the part with some substance to it:

So we’re going to offer the following deal: If you’ve with been in America more than five years. If you have children who are American citizens or illegal residents. If you register, pass a criminal background check and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes, you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. That’s what this deal is.

Now let’s be clear about what it isn’t. This deal does not apply to anyone who has come to this country recently. It does not apply to anyone who might come to America illegally in the future. It does not grant citizenship or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive. Only Congress can do that. All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you.

Yeah, wow, that’s totally a big whoop. What a profoundly shocking, enormous transformation of the status quo. “We have no capacity to deport you (as I said at the beginning of the speech), so we are not going to exercise the capacity we admittedly don’t have and won’t deport you.” Yip-dee-do. 

This is so characteristic of Obama. He is constantly trying to sit on two chairs at once and doesn’t seem to notice that this approach just angers everybody. Gosh, just choose a position and stick to it already, whatever it is. 

Yes, yes, I know, this is better than nothing. We all belong to the “it’s better than nothing” and “the other guy is even worse” party.