a new low in topical enlightenment

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Issue #6 (August 12, 2009)

In the Snowy Range of Wyoming

Photo by Joe Carducci

Mike Seeger, 1933-2009

by David Lightbourne

Mike Seeger passed last Friday, Aug. 7, a Leo just shy his 76th birthday. Last year had marked his 50th year as an important performer and recording artist. And an equal number as recording engineer and producer of numerous important anthologies of vernacular American music culled from his own archive of field recordings. From early banjo to late Jew’s-harp or mouth-bow, from mandolin and fiddle to guitar, harmonica, and particularly the autoharp, Seeger over time mastered every conceivable technique and musical nuance he unearthed through exhaustive research in traditional American genres.

Handsome, youthfully charismatic, with a strong flexible alto and informal stage manner (jokes failed), Seeger sang and played like a demon when required, while equally superb presenting soft, low-key children’s songs and slow, lovely, archaic ballads. Vast knowledge informed his incredibly versatile performances. He would introduce unusual, little-known instruments like a banjo made from a large gourd, and genuine Pan-pipes, home-made quills or musical reeds.

Seeger’s mastery of the autoharp, a mechanical zither, placed him so far beyond his peers in a small skilled community -- the instrument virtually his own creation -- that his virtuosity may never be equaled.

One of four children -- with Penny, Peggy, and Barbara -- from the second marriage of folklorist Charles Edward Seeger (Pete being an older half-brother), Mike spent much of his childhood hearing and then playing aluminum discs, using cactus needles -- recordings from his father’s work in the Library of Congress for Roosevelt’s WPA in the 1930s. Music that was captured in remote, rural locales by non-professionals (pros only inadvertently) and spanned a breadth of expression far beyond mainstream popular forms.

Then, in his late teens he discovered the mother-lode. Already an early collector of southern, small-label 78s that preserved the grassroots sounds of seminal bluegrass groups -- singles rare the day of release -- Seeger fell upon the 1920s. Records on major labels of what those companies in the twenties called “race” or “hillbilly” music, included performances of such uncommon quality they would eventually gain the status of masterworks.

Charles Seeger’s wife, American 20th century composer and pianist Ruth Crawford, also worked in the family business, transcribing recordings into books of piano sheet music approximating the source, and this expertise around him as a child discouraged Mike from learning any instrument himself; he happily failed early on piano. Long before his adult debut in 1958 at 25, he did appear on a Seeger family album, parents and four children, offering well-known, homogenized material in an entirely urban, contrived manner.

By 1956 Mike had left the family’s musical culture behind, blossoming late but in a striking fashion: a cameo appearance that year at a Pete Seeger Hootenanny, voice with autoharp doing “I Never Will Marry”. By the summer of 1960, at Newport, again with autoharp, he sang his adaptation of the 1950 Stanley Brothers’ “Man of Constant Sorrow,” in a performance that remains a masterpiece (Tom Paley on the big Martin 000-45).

By the winter and spring of 1961, Bob Dylan’s first-hand exposure to Seeger performances on two occasions convinced him to stop interpreting traditional material. Frankly, he had to sing songs Mike Seeger could not sing, unless Mike broke in and stole them from Bobby’s freezer. In a parting salvo to Mike’s fine old repertoire, he reworked “Constant Sorrow” on his first album -- a brilliant, respectful tip of his ‘Huck Finn’ hat to Mike.

From the time Mike joined the nascent New Lost City Ramblers in 1958, through years of albums with the NLCR, solo, and in impromptu groups, on over a half-dozen labels, Seeger’s discography of titles runs in the dozens. He performed as a solo artist or otherwise over that span and he always found admirers and fans -- an audience who considered him more beloved than Pete himself. By the 1990s it became clear, if it had not been generally accepted earlier, that as Dylan said later, there would never be another like him. No-one could think of even a single earlier parallel or model. Mike Seeger had become the single finest interpreter of regional musics and vernacular styles in our country’s history.

Drawing by James Fotopoulos

From the external hard-drive of Joe Carducci…

Brave New Class

Most Americans regret the intractable contest of politics. As a young and idealistic nation we like to imagine there’s a way beyond it. But the third ways – Thurmond, Wallace, Anderson, Larouche, Jackson, Weicker, Perot, Buchanan – have failed to attract and represent that discontent. The American political equilibrium is pretty sturdy; it involves the two parties, each a product of its own shotgun marriage. These then trade lead as they spin through their lop-sided waltz. No-one is going to applaud such an unsightly dance…

Before the founding of the United States there was actually less politics. In Kingdoms of yore politics amounted to subjects petitioning King, or noblemen positioning themselves within the Court. For peasants, politics amounted to certain local questions resolved by force, by marriage, or by deferring to an elder. The King’s Court was too small to be considered a class, but new classes formed between the peasantry and the Court. Bankers, traders, innkeepers, landlords and merchants thrived as towns grew and transportation by river and sea expanded markets.

The Romans had executed Jesus Christ, but their empire was taken from within by His followers within three centuries. Thereafter the Kings of Christendom ruled by a sanctioning power vested in the Pope. The Divine Right of Kings was now observable, rather than merely asserted by some ambitious Duke or Baron. The Pope’s embassies knit the now Holy Roman Empire together on a grand new level of politics. A few centuries more and this church-state power was ebbing to new centers of economic power. The theo-political doctrine of the King’s two bodies was delineated as his body politic interacted with new, non-royal institutions, while his body natural had to sustain the appearance of the paragon of Christian virtue. The King’s regional representatives evolved from royal figures to purely administrative appointees and then to appointed members of consultative bodies. It was not yet democracy but the more wise the Royal House, the more successful its reign, the more its subjects commanded a voice in governance. As their nations weaned themselves from absolute rule the Holy Roman Empire dissolved and the Pope power began a slow retreat from the political realm.

The push toward democracy was not quite from the People themselves, though. The People have more often been spoken for by a new class. A rhetorical and political bait-and-switch evolved from the classical Greek and Roman worlds, through the American, French, Mexican, and Russian Revolutions to here and now where this deception remains the principal discord in representational politics in these now democratic republics. At times it can appear the bait-and-switch be politics itself, which might explain the people’s distaste for it.

The failure of Communism demonstrated how easily the political party inspired by Marx turned his fundamental insight that economics drives history on its head as the Party once in power repressed economic forces. It also demonstrated that those market forces cannot be tamed by the political class without sending that economy into a regime-breaking death spiral.

At times a culture might prefer political tyranny to roiling economic growth – late Tsarist Russia’s economy had the highest growth rate in Europe until WWI. And the Chinese in the early 20th Century may have felt that their commercial culture was so corrosive of national structure that it had led to colonization by European powers. Certainly the once innovative, dynamic Middle Kingdom was closed down long before, according to the needs of its administrative class – a neo-Confucian new class then coming into its own after 1433 when the last of its exploratory trade missions sailed. (Christopher Columbus was born in 1451.) By 1500, according to Kaoru Sugihara, China was on a labor intensive path while Europe was beginning on a capital-intensive path. China was then left behind beginning in 1750 according to Kenneth Pomeranz (The Great Divergence, Princeton), and that would bring the British around the world to China’s doorstep rather than the reverse.

The late Tom Butler, ex-lower east sider, ex-Santa Monica Synanon, ex-Trotskyite, one-time Laramie coffee-shop bon vivant, thought that the Khmer Rouge had finally proved Marxism-Leninism fraudulent, for once Pol Pot got through with Cambodia no frustrated Com-symp anywhere in the world could ever say of yet another failed revolution, “They just didn’t go far enough.” Philip Short writes that the years Pol Pot and his comrades spent studying in Paris meant that “the foreign intellectual legacy which would underpin the Cambodian revolution was first and foremost French.” (Pol Pot, Henry Holt) Though he does allow that Pol Pot was influenced by the Russian anarchist Prince Peter Kropotkin, whose study, The Great Revolution, counts its failings as 1.) Robespierre was a moderate, and 2.) it didn’t go far enough. So it was the good serf-loving Prince -- author of Mutual Aid, an attempted counter to the theory of natural selection -- who put it in young Saloth Sâr’s mind that the only revolutionary crime was to not go far enough.

My friend Tom was an optimist though, because right after the Cambodian cataclysm revolutionary parties in Central America and Africa were cheered on. For the least fussy each Communist revolution is a virgin birth, and the blood excused by an all-purpose black legend about Kings or strongmen or “so-called democracies.”

Marx had thought economic forces would yield communism. But almost immediately after the Russian Revolution, the invisible hand forced Lenin into his New Economic Policy semi-privatization because even the full expropriation of the wealth of entire classes of royalty, manufacturers, merchants, speculators and land-owners bought only a one-time cash infusion which was quickly spent and then unreplenished by the new socialist economic structures that replaced them. The command economy quickly devolves into the game described by Russians decades later as “They pretend to pay us; we pretend to work.”

The new class that Milovan Djilas discusses in his 1957 classic of Communist disillusionment was the political bureaucracy, which he counter-posed to the political party. “The party makes the class, but the class grows as a result and uses the party as a basis. The class grows stronger, while the party grows weaker.” (The New Class, Praeger) Djilas was not simply bemoaning the loss of the Party’s idealism and initiative; he was an ex-Communist tracing what fundamental flaws had wrought under the guise of its idealism. He had been the Vice-President of Yugoslavia, then was expelled from the Communist Party and jailed in 1956.

Socialism weighed far more heavily on the people than had the royal families. Was there ever a King as universally invasive as Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Castro, Kim Il-Sung, Pol Pot, Mugabe? As Djilas put it, “The monarchy did not think quite as highly of itself as the Communists do of themselves, nor was it as absolute as they are.” We assume otherwise today due to lingering propaganda from the revolutions driven home by the new class. The very idea of royalty, even as mere non-governing cultural institution as in Britain or Spain, is a mote in the eye of the new class. Even now the new class – these made-members of the meritocracy -- gives evidence through its media of being deeply insulted by the demos, for they must submit their grand social-engineering plans for the approval of this rabble. It’s human nature, of course, but it’s exacerbated by this new class’s clambering into the less productive sectors: the arts, media, academia, and most expensively, law and government. Their products are not worthless, but they exist at the sufferance of the wealth-creating hard economy. The new class senses this and denies it.

Contempt for the people in the name of the people is acted out again and again: in the ongoing formation of the EU in Brussels, in the last attempt to nationalize healthcare and this one, and in the bathetic brinksmanship over global warming where any doubts expressed over causality or the wisdom of loading costs onto the productive sectors become a new kind of treason akin to holocaust-denial. Such political behavior reveals this new class believes they on merit should have inherited the divine right of Kings.

Our world here is a product of the FDR presidency. The news media talks of the Obama era following the Bush era, the Clinton era… but we still live in the FDR era. And the new class still dreams a thirties dream of corporatist fascism. Only Eisenhower had the standing to roll back the government involvement in the economy and culture that occurred over the course of Roosevelt’s four terms. But he did not, and then Johnson and Nixon expanded from there, thinking to buy time for their efforts in Vietnam and the Cold War generally. It was thought that social security had bought the Democrats a generation of voters and that of course bore repeating. The Clinton’s healthcare initiative failed because it looked too much like it was – a coup on a weakened profession, Medicine, by a fallen profession, Law. At most, there’s two or three doctors in Congress; there are on the contrary, hundreds of lawyers, and in appointed positions and staffers, thousands…

What Hillary did pull off in her unwild youth was delineated best in the David Brock book, The Seduction of Hillary Rodham (Free Press). He had his crisis of conscience and gonads while researching it, but the book is no simple hatchet job and his narrative about Hillary Clinton’s tenure at the Legal Services Corporation in the chapter “Alinsky’s Daughter” is one of the best portraits of these corporatist combines that once authorized take on a life of their own as planned:

The question of whether the federal government should provide free legal services to the poor has been bitterly contested since the government first began spending $1million a year on the program during the heyday of LBJ’s Great Society in 1965. The LSC became an independent corporation by an act of Congress in 1974 and was given an annual budget of $90 million. By the end of Hillary’s tenure, that budget had ballooned to over $300 million a year.

In the view of Roger Cramton, the Cornell law professor and chairman of the LSC board under President Gerald Ford, the original Great Society legal services program set forth objectives far beyond the goals of traditional legal aid. Previously, legal aid had been thought of as helping low-income people apply for government benefits, deal with landlords, or fight for child support. The LBJ program was run by professional activists whose idea of social justice meant litigating and lobbying to change laws, and extending the welfare state, as well as Alinsky-style organizing of the poor into political pressure groups. (
The Seduction of Hillary Rodham)

Of course it was still the seventies and the radicalism of many involved was yet unreconstructed, but the turning of a legal aid program for individual poor people into a vehicle for radical lawyers to fund class action lawsuits in all directions was theft in any decade. Theft that corporate America had to accept and consider as another tax to be passed along to their customers.

And Brock’s tale is one of the few exhumations of the too-often invisible ulterior motives of the new class. Mass higher education has yielded more pretension than wisdom. This might not be so dangerous, but it does saddle the left with a higher burden of proof. When they are not trusted implicitly by the object of their affection – the People – they get angry because they aren’t smart enough to be able to explain themselves. They cannot be trusted for they no longer believe in the Left’s endgame, nor have most of them accepted the short-term role of reforming and administering and checking the Republicans within constitutional bounds. This leaves them operating with no philosophical basis, but rather on a cynical political level with only a hollow etiquette to cover what may drive them. Unfortunately for the left, the right generally believes in the American tradition and free market capitalism.

Musician and itinerant intellectual David Lightbourne explains the idiocy one finds in academia and elsewhere as resulting from mass higher education on top of compulsory schooling which he believes educates people beyond their intelligence. When this occurs large numbers of nominally smart folks think in manias like global warming. These manias come of the Left project having given ground on economics and materialism. Rather than think openly they prefer to simply adopt useful ideas; these are more easily thrown in a fight. The earth’s climate is never really stable; it is always cycling through its variables. And the sun’s intensity runs on its cycle. Beyond all the cooked evidence of the deeply invested, warming causes cooling and cooling triggers warming or we would not be here arguing over Darwin.

Another product of mass higher education is a new class consciousness wherein these lawyers, sociologists, bureaucrats, teachers, artists, welfare apparats, AmeriCorps hirelings, etc., know to favor any aggrandizement of state power (except military) even if they personally will not directly benefit. This self-interest is difficult to see. It disappears when viewed through the enlightenment bias of the last five hundred years of western history.

Wolfgang Schivelbusch’s book, Three New Deals (Metropolitan), is about thirties responses to the Depression in Italy, Germany and America. It begins by describing their stimulus programs of public works construction. Each country rejected architectural modernism for “Baroque monumentality” in its new government buildings. Schivelbusch quotes architectural historian John W. Reps calling it a “supreme irony” to have Washington, D.C., capitol of the foundational democracy import the style designed to sing praise to national socialist despots. I think it’s a somewhat smaller irony, because the reason our democratic republic has a constitution is that the founders understood well that this new state would exhibit the same straining toward tyranny as any other.

Favorite images of members of our new class in their rage to serve include Vice President Gore in his Navigator, his manse, his jet, multitasking his way to a superhuman carbon imprint, or Governor John Corzine being driven at ninety miles an hour through New Jersey traffic without wearing his seatbelt and barely surviving the wreck (NJ’s first impulse was to prosecute the citizen obeying the speed limit that the Governor’s SUV ran up on). They’d like to clear American roads of the American people so they could speed through unobstructed on the people’s business, just like the members of the Soviet politburo did through the once empty streets of Moscow. Victor Davis Hanson recently noted that Gore and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, both environmental scolds, live like “grandees of the 18th-century English countryside.”

In politics there are certain near term priorities that have nothing to do with political philosophy. But political philosophy provides a cover for anything and so most nations other than Britain count on a constitution as a kind of guardrail against public servants acting like sovereigns on one hand, or mob-fueled passions on the other. The American constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court stopped FDR from taking his ad hoc ideas even further when it ruled the NRA unconstitutional. After his 1936 reelection an attempt to pack the court by adding seven new justices to the Supreme Court failed, but did reveal the scale of the administration’s desperation to revive the economy that the state now had in its grip.

One suspects that above and beyond Roosevelt’s determination to come to Britain’s defense and vice president Wallace’s to help the Soviet Union survive, the rationale for America’s entry into WWII was at base economic. A war-time command economy is the logical end of socialism because once nationalized, overtly or by taxes and regulation, the productive and wealth-building sectors lose their competitive edge and begin to seek state favor instead. All become rent-seekers and focus on lobbying the powers that be. This was the American Left’s contribution to our military-industrial complex. It also explains Wal-Mart’s recent signing on to the health-care initiative. They know that raising the cost of doing business serves a mature company by precluding the arrival of new competitors. Once the private sector shelters under government protection only a threat from outside, real or imagined, can supply motivation enough to make productivity happen.

Our new class wanted to stride the world stage with the European powers soon after the Civil War and Republican Teddy Roosevelt and Democrat Woodrow Wilson delivered it walk-on roles in the Spanish-American War and WWI. FDR ran for his third term on a peace platform in 1940 and soon ordered a halt to the sale of oil to Japan, which it took as an act of war. The Anglophile Roosevelt thought so little of the Japanese race that he imagined they’d only sink a ship or two in the South China Sea. But in the end, foreign affairs, the threats America faced in its first century and its burdens and adventures in the second, have always worked against the prime domestic agendas of both parties.

The issues of slavery and state sovereignty were settled in the Civil War, but the continued disenfranchisement of the new Black citizen did not immediately trigger a federal power grab. The Great Depression did. Earlier Panics and Depressions had occurred in a less integrated world. By the early thirties the major trading nations exhibited greater international consciousness and they all made the wrong moves. Hoover was a progressive Republican who had supported Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose run, and he signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act into law and raised the income tax close to forty points – Franklin Roosevelt was able to campaign against Hoover’s socialism!

The various New Deal programs initiated then for the poor, the elderly, artists, veterans, farmers, etc., were bestowed at first on Americans whose expectations had been formed in earlier decades. But these programs re-engineered the expectations of those born into a citizenship now largely based on these ongoing programs. These programs bought votes in their day, but votes don’t stay bought because the programs stoke expectation. Human nature quickly adapts to gifts, charity, welfare payments, etc. It’s a wonder there is still any traditional American impulses left. The Democrats repeatedly fret that we are the only industrialized state without national healthcare as if it’s a problem that the United States isn’t like Europe. Well we wouldn’t be here if we wanted to be like Europe; we’d have stayed over there!

The state keeps hitting its budgetary head on the ceiling. There will never be enough revenue. The states with the highest tax rates are running the highest deficits currently. According to the WSJ, the Center for Responsive Politics reports that 1,000 municipal, county and state governments paid over $20 million this spring to lobby the federal government for stimulus spending.

Massachusetts and California have tried to initiate universal health-care coverage at the state level and are finding that it doesn’t save money, it costs more. Now they hope to offload their programs onto some new federal plan. And further, writes Thomas Donlan:

A state commission last week recommended that Massachusetts end fee-for-service payments for health care. The new payment system… would mandate flat-rate per-capita payments to networks of doctors, hospitals and other providers. The networks would receive a payment for each member each month, regardless of the services performed. (July 27, 2009, Barron’s)

If doctors are to become wage labor they will unionize and join that other fallen profession, Teachers, and seek to avoid as much of their work as possible. (Teachers unionized in 1969.) As the baby boomers are entering old-age and beginning to depend heavily on their doctors this all seems foolhardy. There is balking within the Democratic caucus. Some fear the true-believers in their leadership and the White House could create a wholly-owned political nightmare. And they fear a bridge too far as well – one that might even trigger a roll-back of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, all of which are unsustainable in their present forms. (In the current issue of Fortune Allan Sloan compares what’s coming as Social Security begins to borrow in five years to make its pay-outs as one, two, many AIGs every year out.) Democrats might soon wish they’d settled for Bush’s Social Security reform, as they wish they’d settled for Nixon’s health care initiative.

The new class talks often of greed and sustainability. Greed explains all behavior but their own, and they think of public monies as clean and private monies as filthy. The sustainability question gives state policymakers a new veto over all private sector activity. Power is their game, though they often find substantial salaries and grant money to go with their positions. They behave as if sure that greed is powerful enough to survive their best attempts to eradicate it. Therefore they take it for granted and cease to worry about what might be necessary policy for optimum wealth creation. Even what might be necessary to, by taxation, fund their own social plans.

Politicians cannot raise taxes without losing revenue. Can they cut benefits and get re-elected? When the federal income tax rates came down in the early 1980s, the revenues that were collected by the lower rates went up due to increased economic activity. The Democrats in congress seemed to ramp up spending so they could hide these increased collections under the resulting deficits. Perhaps the principle-of-the-thing – the state’s claim to its citizens’ earnings – outweighs even the state’s most profitable tax philosophy if it be lower and flatter.

Politics in Washington is now quite often this kind of shadow play. Clive Crook in the Financial Times recently reminded his readers that the shape of healthcare in America is already the product of state control. There is just a vestigial fee-for-service option. Yet the failings of this level of state involvement will be used to rationalize further state takeover. The new class cannot lose. Ban drilling and then claim oil is running out. Attack a company or person and then claim their defensive actions are proof of guilt. Regulate perverse incentives into a sector and then blame capitalism. The auto industry was warped by its experience during WWII and the cold war, especially GM. Now it appears American carmakers will have to surrender the trucks, vans and SUVs where they lead, to compete on smaller vehicles where the Japanese and Koreans lead. And the state’s rescue of GM and Chrysler punishes Ford by propping up their weak competitors; Ford has been denied the reward the marketplace might have delivered it. And the purchase of GM will make the decades long process of opening up world markets in the WTO even more tortuous as protectionist regimes point to this action in defense of their own.

Rube Goldberg is their patron saint as they overlay new laws on old, new regulations on old; not to worry if they conflict, all will be adjudicated. Douglas McCollam describes what elite law-firms have been up to in the Wall Street Journal:

When times were good, lawyers earned enormous fees engineering mergers and takeovers. When things were bad, they earned enormous fees fending off angry shareholders and breaking up the conglomerates that they had helped put together. When things turned really ugly, they made a fortune carving up the bankrupt carcasses of their former clients and toiling to keep top management out of federal prison. And when questioned whether they bore some measure of responsibility for the malfeasance that felled their erstwhile patrons, lawyers typically answered with a “hey, we just work here” shrug.” (July 30, 2009, WSJ)

When they begin to talk about lawyers’ fees and liability caps like they talk about doctor’s fees and treatment caps then we’ll know that an even newer class has been born. Don’t hold your breath. Law is now the language of social interaction; everything is a federal case, and repeatedly. It’s a tax worse than the VAT about to be proposed.

Youth culture is in for a big surprise, because once health-care is government-issued, then everyone’s health is the state’s business. Big Brother knows you want to smoke a little, drink a little, and he would like to allow it, because he likes to think he’s pretty hip himself, left of center and all that, but you simply have to understand… it’s no longer your choice to make. In June, California added marijuana smoke to its official list of known carcinogens. How does this square with the continuing drift toward legalization of pot? And how does that square with the drift toward criminalization of tobacco? Well, I guess it’ll all be adjudicated.

The last “big idea” book influential in Democratic Party circles was Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine (2007), which claimed to reveal the American right’s m.o. of using catastrophes as opportunities for tearing down state safeguards and leaving Americans defenseless before capitalism unbound. It sounded to me like the left’s m.o. she was describing in some sort of projected guilt formation considering FDR’s behavior during the Depression, and sure enough her book is now never spoken of at all; rather its now officially the Rahm Emmanuel doctrine. Elections have consequences.

In truth, the American economy has been subordinated to the federal government since WWII and the New Deal. Our allegedly savage jungle capitalism is nowhere near savage enough to pay for social security, nevermind what’s to come. Some smart mathematician will someday crunch the economic growth numbers and chart them over the years with the amount of deaths by violence and disease. This will be the Blood Index and it will underline the importance of enterprise and growth. India and China understand this because their leaders, democrats and Communists, understand that they ride a tiger and a dragon, and if they fail to maintain growth the social dangers are grave on a truly awesome scale. Neither will indulge their thankfully microscopic new classes’ wish to shut down smokestack industries and stop highway and automobile construction. And they must look at our new class’s environmental embassies cross-eyed when they blithely demand that they quit burning coal and oil.

Here in Wyoming we have our own microscopic new class:

The Equality State Policy Center (ESPC) is encouraging lawmakers to reassess Wyoming’s mineral severance taxes, which make up to 20 percent of the state’s general fund along with another 12 percent in interest from the savings account.

Sarah Gorin, an ESPC researcher, told the Wyoming News Service on Monday that the interest stream is unlikely to sustain the state if mining production declines and tax revenues disappear.

“We’ve felt for a long time that we’re not saving enough against the future when these resources will be gone, or no longer marketable,” she said. (August 4, 2009,
Laramie Boomerang)

Our new class is not world class; they claim they just want for Wyoming what Alaska has, but its cover for their principle-of-the-thing – a state income tax. They cannot abide that our state does not have its hand in our pockets, though they’ve learned to never mention this. So it’s more shadow play, even here in the wide-open high plains – look there goes Shane now. I like her phrase “or no longer marketable.” They sure dream big about their brave new world.

[Artwork: Constantine's battle standard; King Arthur tapestry; merchants; "Napoleon I on His Imperial Throne" (1806) by Ingres; Clinton, Clinton & Obama]


Fearless Predictions:

President Obama attends a fall 2010 tickertape parade for troops returning from Iraq. We won the wrong war. Depending on the polls it will be held before the mid-term elections without Bush administration attendees, or after the election with them in attendance.

Violence in the Muslim world will slowly subside in the next decade and then following the Chinese example, conversions to Christianity will begin.

36,000 Dow! (Just kidding on that one.)

Disgraced ex-CBS Anchorman Dan Rather laments journalism's rapid decline since he was fired... Calls for President Obama to intervene.


Here's how AmeriCorps cleans up its act in anticipation of a large government contract to enforce provisions of the Health Care progrum.


It's official: Punk Archaeology


Reading the NYT's media-guy David Carr's characterization of Murdoch's paid-web thrust, you'd hardly guess the NYT was leading this collusion.

This crime-in-progress went unreported in the New York Times and Washington Post and those happen to be the papers the FTC investigators read.


"Shovel-Ready Health Care" for the title alone!

This is my favorite contemporary portrait of the new class.

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• The New Vulgate
• Joe Carducci, Chris Collins, James Fotopoulos, Mike Vann Gray, David Lightbourne
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1 comment:

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