No blue sky in Pacifica today. The sun’s light is dispersed and sparing through a layer of clouds. It’s cool. Evenso, things happen and people talk about them. For lack of anything else to do right away, here are some mutterings:
1. Has the President given up on naming people to the Federal Courts because the Republican refuse to confirm those he does nominate? In a story from Sunday’s front page ( yep, I get most of my news from printed press), the NYT Service says that dozens of district court judgeships are vacant. This is dangerous when it comes to running a country, let alone delivering justice.
2. The Republicans are complaining still. Out of the bewildering moans, I’ve focused on the most recent upset that the President is interfering with a “bipartisan” effort to shape a comprehensive immigration bill by proposing one of his own. The White House response has referred to the leaked immigration document as a ‘draft’ composed and ready in the event that Congress fails in its “bipartisan” effort. Smart President, it seems to me. Congress – in particular the Republicans – have demonstrated a singular inability to do anything to govern. Of course, the most recent hard evidence of Republican commitment to governance is that its Congressional leadership has declared itself a ten day vacation – its send since the calendar year began. That means that dozens of the President’s nominees to courts and other Federal offices have not been confirmed.
3. Notwithstanding the serious reduction in American military presence in Iraq, sporadic terrorist events go on. It is hard to tell whether these events have slowed since US Armed services have become but a shadow, but I would think these difficulties are on a sort of natural path to self -sufficiency. It is this natural course to the appreciation of stability and democracy that Dubya’s ill-conceived war halted. That same fraud interposed a sophisticated corruption that further obstructs popular forces. Painful as these current events are, none compare in devastation to the neo-con war waged in the name of this Country.
4. Watching this violent sorting out by a society wending its way to nationhood and hopefully democracy is frustrating. None, more so than Syria. I, for one, am proud of President Obama in not moving to interfere with the civil war there – in spite of the obvious noxiousness of Bashar Assad and the brutality of his fight to hold onto power. The French decision to go into Tunisia has some sense to it – a substantial presence of French citizens and businesses and a proximity to France. We have stayed out of that one as well.
5. The energy for war against the West – particularly the United States – among Muslim populations must in some part originate deep in history with the mindless Crusades to recover the “holy land”. Those were apparently bitter and bloody battles that sowed an endless growth of hate. How can the World forget all that hopeless mayhem and move on?
6. The current issue of New Yorker Magazine ( a double, February 11 and 18, 2013) includes an interesting feature by staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe – “A Loaded Gun”. I heard the current editor, David Remnick, declare once that he intended that the magazine should offer the space necessary for a writer to tell the whole story. Keefe used sixteen tightly packed pages to tell the grim story of Amy Bishop, whose most notable achievement was the murder of six of her academic colleagues on the campus of the University of Alabama at Huntsville in February of 2010.
I am recommending that you read this account, although it does border on the tedious. The writing is excellent. The story is complex and its meaning is elusive. One cannot, from this chronicle, draw the simple conclusion that gun violence can be reduced by extensive background checks. Indeed, drawing any conclusion about gun violence from this story may not be possible. It provides, however, much to think about.
7. American Airlines is buying US Airways – subject, I hope, to various Federal agency approval. Should it be approved? We have this strange view of the economy when it comes to centralization. On the one hand, most people absolutely abhor the idea of monopoly and its inevitable price increases and often unpleasant and unassailable practices. On the other hand, probably more people are averse to the nationalization of any industry, i.e. “socialization”. There is a prevailing, if never proven thesis, that when the Government runs anything it isn’t efficient.
This is a point over which hearts and minds will change in time. When it happens, the country will change. Medicare is the most efficient health insurer in the Country. If Congress would have let the Postal Service alone, it, too, would be among the most efficient operations. It should be obvious that Investment Banks, Wall Street brokerages (if different), General Motors, Chrysler, US Steel and a host of our largest enterprises are not efficient. Grover Norquist’s quest to reduce the size of Government to such that he can drown it in a bath tub says more about Mr. Norquist’s intellectual capacity than it does about government in the economy.
8. With the demise of actual reporters on newspapers and in television broadcast operations (the people you see yammering on your set are not actually finding out anything that can’t be dreamed up by a producer with a recently obtained bachelor’s degree in communications) television news shows depend on empty headed speculation about who is going to run for president in four years (that and car wrecks, fires and sexual offender indices). The media blames technology for providing easy access to news and destroying the demand for it once filled by broadcast networks and front pages.
What is that?
9. Aww! The sun came up this morning and Pacifica is once again bright and blue. Mutterings no longer suffice.