Friday, September 15, 2006

What "Reality" Is That Community Based On, Exactly?

From a spirited discussion over at Ishbadiddle:
As for the "Hole," it is what psychologists and psychiatrists a "presenting issue." It was a jumping point from which to talk about "impeachable offenses," the squandering of an overwhelming consensus of goodwill, the cynicism of the administration, and a strong rebuttal to the claim that dissent is treasonous, let alone Liberalism (see the aforementioned Ms. Coulter).

The "Hole" was a vehicle through which to make [Olbermann's] compelling arguments. IMHO, it was a "slam dunk."

(Direct comment link here.)

So, lets assume (though I think it's extremely farfetched) that Bush is at some point successfully impeached.

Liberals Win! Dick Cheney is President!

Hmmm. Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time....

Seriously, as soon as the word "impeach" comes up my mind instantly goes into blah blah blah blah blah blah mode; serious discussion has effectively left the establishment in search of an environment with cleaner floors and less spittle in the air.

But moving on....

The excellent question "I wonder whether the general political discourse was ever any good" was raised, then effectively dropped in favor of more slings and arrows.

The answer I think is "probably not" but that raises the counter-question "so what?" It's exactly sites like Ishbadiddle (and hopefully to some degree this one) that can make the discourse better. And it irritates the hell out of me when people who I know are smart and sophisticated crawl down into the gutter to play the same games as the worst of both Left and Right and Beyond the Pale.

God I hope the Democrats can come up with a decent Presidential candidate in '08. What I hope more is that whoever wins then wins big.

This broad-spectrum embrace of the politics of destruction is really getting on my long-term nerves.

Monday, September 11, 2006

One Liberty Plaza, 9/11/2006

I lost no one.

Acquaintances of mine lost people, but I didn't, and neither did anyone close to me. Lucky, considering where I live and work.

Still, it was a year before I could bring myself to walk past the site. When circumstance would bring me to lower Manhattan, I'd find a way not to be near it.

Things change. Today I (again) work within blocks. If the dot-com where I worked hadn't gone belly-up some months before, I would have been working across the street when the planes hit, in One Liberty Plaza. As it was, I watched it all happen from the 29th floor of a midtown office building. The view was fine from there.

Today I walked over to the site on my lunch break, just to look at the empty space. Bells were tolling, a haunting sound I thought produced by the wonderful old churches down here. I stood across the street, and watched tourists and office workers stream past on the other side. Few seemed to actually look into the void, although a number held camera phones high, pointing down.

After getting my fill of emptiness, I decided to go over to the benches in the small park beside One Liberty, to read a little or maybe just reflect.

The bells, it turns out, were four church bells hanging from frames standing alongside the park. I think it was the New York Fire Department who set them up. Anyone who wanted could ring a bell, as many times as they wanted.

There were no lines, no one rushing forward or anything, but no bell stood un-rung for any time. One ringer would pull once, or twice, softer or harder, and another would step up, take the rope, and pull.

A group of college-aged kids wearing "Investigate 9/11" tee-shirts wandered around, talking to no one but each other. A few had the grace to look sheepish. Mostly they were quiet.

No one seemed visibly upset; no histrionics, no performances other than a pretty-much obligatory mime doing something incomprehensible for spare change. Individual demeanors ranged from laughing to meditative. I felt distinctly out-of place, because I was upset, and afraid I'd start crying. Even though.

I wonder now how many there felt as I did. How may did what I did, even though.

It took me five minutes before I was sure I would retain my composure, but I stepped up and pulled.

An Example of Why Serena Really IS a Goddess

From "The Brooklyn Days":
This book makes it clear, in the most compelling way I've ever encountered, that true peace can only be attained through truth, justice, clarity, and then an understanding and compassion that encompasses both the abused and the abuser. You do not obtain peace, or even a lasting social stability, by sweeping ugliness under the carpet. Neither do you obtain justice by signing up for a lasting inner rage which obviates trust, compassion, and redemption.
The lady's a genius, I tell you.

(The book she's talking about is Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found my Faith. It's now on my list.)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Trotsky, Klingons, and Bold Navel-Gazing

"You may not be interested in the Borg, but the Borg is interested in you."

Or, a case-study in why we could go to the moon in the 60's, but can't reliably get a human in orbit at the beginning of the third millineum:

Thanks to a process of osmosis from perennial reruns, Star Trek has propagated the belief that it is proper to interfere in other societies, that it is America’s duty to assume the role of (inter-)world policeman, and to correct the errant ways of other cultures — for their own good. And Spock was to Kirk what Blair is to Bush, a lackey willing to assist his master in his curious mission that seemingly has no specific objective.


Anyway, Happy Birthday, Trekdom.

Hat tip: The Geek in the Corner.