Guys, guys!

Souther’s retiring! Obama will be appointing a new justice!

Here’s to hoping it’s not Rick Warren. If it’s not, the ideological balance won’t shift anything worth writing home about. The same will probably be true for the next likely replacement for Ginsburg. It’s probably too much to hope for to expect a third in the next four years. But in eight?

Standing question

I don’t identify with progressivism (though many would probably argue I am aiding and abetting some of its ends with my writings in this space). But I recognize a lot of my readers apply the term to themselves. So, here’s my question:

What do you mean when you say progress ?

Do you believe that only material progress is possible? That is, have political and technological innovations of the modernized world have placated some of our more antisocial drives, or rediverted them into something more or less constructive? Or do you disbelieve that human nature has been, is, and shall for the foreseeable future be a fixed constant? A yes-or-no question might be more convenient to answer: Can the problems of humanity–war, poverty, ideological-sectarian and ethnic strife–be solved, or only sometimes alleviated?

Day 101

On inauguration day, Obama had a list of eight (8) policy promises pertaining to LGBT rights on the Whitehouse site. There are now two (2).

Computing error? It would seem like a lot of trouble taking down something that made such a big splash at a time; and now that five states/Disttricts of Columbia now recognize same-sex marriages and a sixth is getting on board, gay rights are practically mainstream (Almost typed “gaystream” there by accident). At this point, a willful removal of those objectives could do nothing but alienate (as the votes people who would approve of their removal anyway are probably a lost cause anyway). Have I overlooked something?

The internet justifies itself again

An ongoing project: A list of crimes committed and statues violated by Ferris Beuller on his day off.

That’s it. Internet’s done. Let’s move along, move along.

Gov. Sarah Palin has a Twitter, akgovsarahpalin. It’s real. Very real.

Here’s to hoping that now that he’s out of office, Ted Stevens won’t be able to lobby for tube-cleaning earmarks, and her tweets will have to be delivered to the continental US via truck.

The 100th Day: America not dead, utopia yet

On this 100th day of the Obamadency, this most arbitrary of days, what are your thoughts on the performance of Our Mutual President?

I offer my own thoughts very quickly. In fact one word: Disappointing. In a couple hundred words:  On the balance, I’ve disapproved of the rest of what’s been done–though I also count bad stuff he did before entering office, during the campaign and after clinching it. He flip-flopped on prosecuting illegal wiretaps. He slighted a good chunk of his constituents when he picked Rick “Trademarked the Phrase Purpose Driven ®” Warren to  lead his inaugural thing. It was nothing if not a well-played maneuver to suggest “bipartisanship”, inviting the most easily identifiable pastor on his staked-out side of the culture wars. But even if we discount the gay bashing and his suggestion his flock be as fanatical and unquestioning as the Hitler Youth or Maoist Cultural Revolutionary, Warren is a striking mediocrity; thinking believers and theologians ought to have raised as the same ire LGBT groups did. (Is the public intellectual dead?) His books are vacuously optimistic New Age feel-goodies got up in the language of evangelism. (The social utility of religion would be much enhanced if preachers took more cues from the 17th-18th century and cultivated humility in their congregations by reminding them of mortal infirmities of human nature. I only began to believe in original sin after encountering Hobbes and Hume. The doctrine is not spoken of in the Catholic churches anymore. How often is depravity mentioned in Presbyterian congregations? Or fallnenness among  the Lutherans? The truer religions are undespairing poetry of the wretchedness of humankind.)

Everything he’s done in office has been overshadowed by his refusal to prosecute anyone involved in the torturing of detainees. (Granted, Obama promised to get around to closing Gitmo and granting habeas corpus to the prisoners therein, but the courts had already been cajoling the outgoing administration into doing that.)The “enhanced interrogation” policies originating within the administration are truly unprecedented in American history, a cancer on our national legacy. That he is not going out of his way to Make An Example is more disheartening than I can say–not that I could have reasonably expected anything differently. Since Washington stepped down, this country has prided itself on peaceful transitions of power. Mostformer presidents will go so far as to refuse to comment on the performance of their successor, so dearly is that tradition valued. That a former US president could be brought before the law for–well, anything–is unbelievable. It’s pointless to mourn the unchangeable and inevitable–but I can’t reason myself out of feeling remorse for justice.

Al that said, I’m still glad he’s president. For example, removing the gag rule was an incredible act of humanitarianism. In any case, a rotation is healthy for the country, especially after what we’ve had the last eight years. Obama isn’t mana from heaven; but he might just be the tonic the country needs.

But enough from me. What do you all think?

“Empowering ME[dia], Empowering YOU” is TODAY!

“Empowering ME[dia], Empowering YOU” will take place on Wednesday, April 29th at 6 pm in the AMU, Room 407 (Office of International Ed). The event will share the experiences of two students who recently attended the “Women, Action, and Media” conference in Boston, MA. Through a workshop approach, we will discuss media literacy, independent media, and self-ownership of the media. Food will be provided!

This event is sponsored by Empowerment.

Please come! Yours truly will be one of those “two students” along with reader+commenter, Ali. Should be a good, laid back time to just chat about these things–And to do so over food…what could be better?!