December 28, 2002

So, let's get some housekeeping done before I go away on my cruise. Iraq, with its laughably incompetent military, and its current lack of nuclear capability, is a threat worth going to war over, while North Korea, which held us to a draw the last time we fought them, and which is neighbored with a real democracy, is going to get appeased. All one needs to know about W's priorities can be summed up by this report on Bush's reaction, in which "a senior State Department official hinted that James Kelley, assistant secretary of state for East Asian Affairs, will probably soon go to Seoul." The Middle East gets the Marines, the Korean Peninsula gets some low-level bureaucrat. Unless Mr. Kelley possesses the powers of Magneto, I don't see the PRK quaking in its boots over that move.

Which only goes to show, if you want to be a dictator, rule a country without oil. Well, I need to pack, so unless the Star Princess has very inexpensive internet access, I probably won't be posting too much over the next week (or at least, I will be on my college football blog). Obviously, if Al Qaeda attacks the ship, or if some other unthinkable event occurs, like unemployment benefits suddenly running out during the holidays for 1 million Americans, then all bets are off. But if not, see ya in twenty-ought three.

December 26, 2002

Happy Boxing Day. Every so often I have a dream that I'm back at Reed College, where I spent my freshman year (I almost never have dreams about Berkeley, where I actually graduated). I'm always returning to school so that I can get another degree, but invariably, two things will happen: I will forget my locker combination, and I will overlook my class schedule, so that by the time I realize there was a class I never attended, I will have an hour to study for the final exam.

Well, I don't suppose this has anything to do with that, but C-SPAN plans on broadcasting a college course on the Clinton Administration at the U. of Arkansas next year. Friend and foe alike will offer guest lectures.

December 25, 2002

"Chuckles" Kelly strikes again !! Merry Christmas !!!
"White" Christmas, indeed !! Getting into the holiday spirit, the Lakers giftwrapped a victory for their hated Sactown rivals with a poor second half performance. Shaq celebrated his last night as a free man by scoring only two baskets in the final half, both in the last half minute. Bah Humbug.
For fans of pro wrestling, this is news akin to being told there is no Santa Claus.
So far, a decent X-mas. I got a subscription from my secret Santa (my brother-in-law) to The New Yorker, and one of my clients purchased some Cajun cooking supplies and a cookbook. The weather outside is typical Chamber of Commerce beautiful, with not a cloud in sight and the temperature hovering around 60o.

Here's hoping each of you have a special day, regardless of where your spiritual beliefs tend.

December 24, 2002

Strange Fruit: Perhaps not the most appropriate thing to post on Christmas Eve, but this list presents an anecdotal history of lynching in the United States. This evil practice was the most effective method of enforcing Jim Crow; it put blacks (and other minorities) on notice that if they stepped out of line, they could not expect to receive even the most rudimentary justice. Lynch victims were what another blogger euphemistically refers to as a "synecdoch", a symbol used to stoke white fears of the savage Negro.

Sadly, we've never had anything like the "Truth Commission" in South Africa for civil rights. Dixiecrats could simply change parties, slightly moderate their rhetoric, and be reborn as Republicans. Any politician who tolerated lynching, or who fought efforts to ban the practice, should be marked by history as a traitor to American values, rather than having a Senate Office Building named after him. Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs were better Americans than Richard Russell or James Eastland.

December 23, 2002

Truly a sad day. I saw the Clash twice in my youth, once at the Hollywood Paladium as the main act (the English Beat opened for them), and once as the lead-in for the Who at the LA Coliseum. Strummer was one of the most important figures in early-80's music, and the Clash, even more than the Sex Pistols or the Ramones, made punk rock matter in this country. Perhaps his greatest legacy is the fact that you can still play one of his albums, and hear music that is as fresh as the day it was released.