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Friday, May 22, 2015

Shadow of the Night: The Fall of Palmyra

The fall of Palmyra to the "ISIS" barbarians calls to mind the famous poem by Archibald Macleish: "And deepen on Palmyra’s street / The wheel rut in the ruined stone ... And here face downward in the sun / To feel how swift how secretly / The shadow of the night comes on ..."

Image of the Temple of Bel in Palmyra from Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Obama v. Gods of Copybook Headings

Obama is promising the Saudis and other Arab nervous Nellies that only good things will flow from the pending deal with Iran, which, he says, heralds a "new era of cooperation" that will last for decades to come. Ungrateful Nellies are vowing to keep their nuclear powder dry. Now believe me when I say it don't come natural to a bred-in-the-bone bleeding heart like yours truly, one who was a nuclear freezenik at 14, a protester against the first Gulf War at 21, and an ardent supporter of the Oslo Accords at 26, but I find my thoughts straying to that old reprobate Rudyard Kipling and his Gods of the Copybook Headings:

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Congressional Time Machine

So I've been trying to figure out what century Congressional Republicans want to take us back to. The 21st is unacceptable due to gay rights, the 20th due to women's and African-American rights and the welfare state, we all know that. Now it turns out they are trying to gut Amtrak. Railroads are a 19th century innovation, so that's out. The 18th century had the Enlightenment, an obvious offense to intolerant religion, so that's out. The 16th and 17th centuries featured the Copernican revolution, an obvious offense to an idiot reading, I mean a literalist reading, of the Bible... I'm stumped!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Review of Evangeline Jennings' No Christmas

Evangeline Jennings' No Christmas is satire written with a pen of fire, with blood for ink. She utterly demolishes the anti-abortion rights, anti-health care Christian Right, with a humble little story about as modest as Swift's proposal. Not an exercise in subtlety, but her sharp eye for human and material detail lends this exercise a rare power.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Is your iPhone watching You?

So dig this, o Interwebs: I just learned from an article I am editing that mobile devices often track where you are without your knowledge or consent. "For iPhone users interested in seeing how powerful such sources of evidence can be, go to Settings / Privacy / Location Services, then 'Frequent Locations' to see a map of your most frequent locations. Many users are often unaware that such data is, by default, being automatically collected." Holy Big Brother Apple, Batman!

Pathetic Response

So what solutions does our newly elected Republican Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, offer for the rage and hopelessness that led to the Baltimore riots? A website for people to volunteer to help clean up after the riot! Of course the Democratic political establishment in the state and the city deserve a huge share of the blame, and you won't find me voting for phony-baloney former governor and Baltimore mayor Martin O'Malley for president. But what a pathetic pass both political parties have reached in this country.