‘Naïve cynicism remains obdurate in the face of varied events’

You’ll search my published writing in vain for “cynical” and its noun form. I dislike them. The rare times I’ve used them I’m afraid I’ll get misinterpreted. A cynic is often confused for a realist. Cynics often confuse themselves with realists. In fact, cynicism is the opposite of realism. The latter, having studied facts, makes… More ‘Naïve cynicism remains obdurate in the face of varied events’

Dennis Hastert’s ‘inability to abide by the law’

Well into 1998, Newton Leroy Gingrich expected Americans to ratify his vision of himself as the United States’ prime minister, the head of an opposition government ready to clear the legislature of the Roundheads who accepted William Jefferson Clinton’s legitimacy as president. Then the midterm elections delivered the most stunning rebuke to a majority party… More Dennis Hastert’s ‘inability to abide by the law’

‘Getting on each other’s nerves is our right’

In his review of Sarah Vowell’s Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, Chris Heller asks: The question that lingers throughout Lafayette is why this democracy has lasted. If America has such an exceptional form of government, what is it that makes it so special? The answer, says Vowell, lies in our freedom to permit and… More ‘Getting on each other’s nerves is our right’

Happy Thanksgiving — for what it’s worth

My family serves mushroom foie gras to accompany the venison and avoids heated arguments, but I know Syria, Barack Obama’s response, and other Democratic verities have come under scrutiny at other tables. Digby: The difference between these two phenomena is best illustrated by the massive whining and tantrums that result from any joking around about… More Happy Thanksgiving — for what it’s worth

‘Careless self-interest and optimism’: Joan Didion

Joan Didion’s work after 1980 remains her best. The essays in Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The White Album boast too perfect a marriage between form and content. Covering the El Mozote massacre, the prestidigitators working in the Reagan administration, the Michael Dukakis campaign, and the Bill Clinton impeachment applied her talent for selective quotation to… More ‘Careless self-interest and optimism’: Joan Didion

Legion of Doom: GOP debate #1, Part 8

10:32: Asked about #BlackLivesMatter, Scott Walker says #CopsMatter. 10:37: “If Iran was a stock, you guys should go out and buy it!” Also: Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl! 10:39: Ted Cruz reminds people that Iran released the hostages “the day that Ronald Reagan took office” and a few months after Reagan campaign people met with Iranian go-betweens… More Legion of Doom: GOP debate #1, Part 8