My Thoughts Exactly

Omnivorous Hippies

Last nnight I went, with Dear Wife, to a big-ole “slow food” pot luck dinner at the Ag Hall, which is a big-ole barn out in a field where they have the County Fair every summer and the Christmas pageant every winter.

Michael Pollan, author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”, gave a talk afterwards. Then a string band played.

Read More »

Posted in General, My Thoughts Exactly | Also tagged | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Channeling my inner Leopold Sedar Senghor to make a point about the stupid FISA so-called “Compromise”

Leopold Senghor was still the head honcho of Senegal when I was there as a Peace Corps Volunteer (& later as a grad student). The famous father of negritude was pretty well regarded as the guy who got Senegal its independence from France. But he was ridiculed a little (sort of like the proverbial crazy uncle) because his wife was French, and white. And because he spoke French, Latin and Greek better than he did Wolof. Senghor was Serrere, & spoke that language as his native tongue. But everybody in Senegal spoke at least some Wolof. It was (and is) that country’s lingua franca. I knew several Americans who were quite fluent in the language, including my friend Richard.

I remember one time Richard was going on about Senghor’s horrible French accent when speakng Wolof. In a radio address the night before, at one point Senghor had said something like, “ha ‘bugge nga’ ak ‘bugulo nga’ amul barrak waxtan”, meaning “between ‘I like you’ and ‘I don’t like you’ there is no bench for discussion.” And Richard thought that was horribly undiomatic Wolof. (Note: my Wolof is very, very rusty. I probably got that all wrong, but that’s how I remember it.)

Whatever. It stuck with me. And so, with reference to this recent nonsense about a “compromise” on the FISA bill, and with a nod to the late Mr. Senghor, I would just like to say, that between ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’, there is no bench for discussion. Bush and Cheney and all the other monarchists in their administration think there’s a need to pass a law saying that when phone companies break the law, they’re not breaking the law. Fuck that. Y’know, that’s why our so-called founders invented the so-called judiciary. Y’know, so that there would be a well defined place and way to sort these things out. When you’re making ex-post facto laws to exonerate your buddies, you’re not fooling anybody. Or, to quote another sage, I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it.

As we say in broken Wolof, Rekk— that’s all.

Posted in "A Republic, if you can keep it", My Thoughts Exactly | Also tagged , | Comments closed

My Thoughts Exactly

An expensive way to learn elementary-school civics

The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece the other day, called The Lessons of Iraq, by one Erik Swabb, who, according to the journal, “served in Iraq as a Marine infantry officer.” Here’s the lede:

While the improved security situation in Iraq is changing views about the chances for success there, one common belief has remained unchanged: that the war is eroding U.S. military capabilities.

It is true that repeated deployments have caused considerable strain on service members, equipment and our ability to respond to other contingencies. These problems, however, only tell half the story. The Iraq war is also dramatically improving the military’s understanding, training and capabilities in irregular warfare. Since this is the preferred method of Islamic extremists, the experience in Iraq is transforming the military into the force required to help win the Long War.”

The article goes on to make the case that the war is not all bad for the fighting forces, because now they really “get it” that they’re not in a big war against Soviet armoured divisions on the plains of northern Europe.

As a former Peace Corps Volunteer, I find this embarassingly thin gruel. In fact, it borders on noxious.

Read More »

Posted in "A Republic, if you can keep it", My Thoughts Exactly | Also tagged , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Rosa Barks and Samba M'Bodj

Dear Wife tells me that our veternarian finally came out and told her she was offended by the name of our dog, whom she’s had as a patient for ten years. Our dog’s name is Rosa Barks. She’s a black lab, and her name is obviously an allusion to Rosa Parks the great American patriot and legendary prime mover in the Civil Rights movement. We named our little puppy Rosa Barks twelve years ago, saying, “she’s a very dignified black lady, and she can sit wherever she wants.”

Obviously we knew this name was a little provocative when we chose it. Some people find it offensive. Our vet is sure that Ms. Parks herself would be offended, and perhaps she would be, given her recent lawsuit against the musical group Outkast over their use of her name in a song title.

Rosa Parks is a great hero of me and my wife; in fact, a copy of the very photo of her that adorns the Wikipedia page has also adorned our living room wall for years. But that does not mean I think she’s a god whose name cannot be taken in vain. And I think “Rosa Barks” is a great name for our pet.

Read More »

Posted in General, My Thoughts Exactly | Also tagged , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)
  • Connect With Us

    Follow Wetmachine on Twitter!

Username
Password

If you do not have an account: Register