Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Great Links Edition

Washington Monthly has an article by Kevin Carey that could spark debates - should liberals endorse a required great books curriculum for colleges?

The Washington Monthly cover story by Charles Homans also urges an investigation by a commission set up to report on Bush's response to 9/11 as a means to uncover secrets and has a checklist of steps to take that may even get bipartisan support (ha!)
Comparisons of our deeply divided nation to a literally civil-war-torn one aren’t worth belaboring, but it is a fact that pervasive misinformation and secrecy, worsened by an increasingly tribal political culture and the sheer complexity of the issues at hand, have left Americans with fragmented and conflicting understandings of what exactly has been done in our name over the past eight years. Without a collectively agreed-upon story of the Bush administration’s excesses, efforts by Congress to undo them and ensure that they don’t happen again are likely to be misinterpreted by half of the electorate as a Democratic power grab rather than a reinstatement of constitutional protections. That would worsen the partisan trench warfare that got us an irresponsible Congress and hubristic White House in the first place.

Even if the commission turns up nothing new, even if its findings are watered down, it still has value if it can write this kind of official history.
WM has a self-congratulatory editorial that they were among the first four years ago saying America was ready for a black president and Barack Obama could be the one.
The last thing we need, after eight years of George W. Bush, is another president drawn to "game-changing" policy schemes that promise the moon and appeal ideologically but don’t work in the real world. What we need instead is the opposite: a leader who understands and can articulate the complex nature of the problems we face and is committed to finding solutions that work, even when they fall outside the political comfort zones of his supporters. This is the spirit that animates the Washington Monthly, and I hope it will animate the Obama White House as well.

To be honest, we didn’t see much of this from Obama during the general election, for reasons that are understandable. But my sense is that it is the president elect’s default mode of thinking.
Back to the mundane - Thanksgiving deals and shopping - even Amazon is having Black Friday deals but for more than Friday. Deals outside the one day help those like me who celebrate that day as Buy Nothing Day. "Despite controversies, Adbusters managed to advertise Buy Nothing Day on CNN, but many other major television networks declined to air their ads." You might also consider gifts from the World Wildlife Fund. Here are more Black Friday deals.

From shopping let's turn to the economy - Alternet wonders is Obama picking the best team? Think Progress asks will we get a new New Deal? One of the few benefits of an economic crisis is that along with recovery efforts we should get health care reform.

Lighter fare - Drinking coffee from a venturi cup in space and other viral videos from Current.com. The new HQ Star Trek trailer and Shatner's video response.

Finally, advice I am not taking - be a locasexual.
For a hypothetical San Francisco resident dating someone in D.C., "breaking up would be about 10 times better for the environment than going vegetarian," the piece says. The Slow Food movement made people aware of where our food comes from, with some calculating food miles and committing to only eat grub within a certain radius. Why not apply that to relationships?

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