Roger Cohen has an inspired piece in the New York Times this morning about those of us of a certain age who bemoan the short attention spans and addiction to social media of the younger generations. He's got us dead to rights, we're just old-fart whiners.
Remember, boomers, born, say, in the mid-1950s, that you were lucky, arriving midway between the atomic bomb and the release of the Beatles’ “Rubber Soul,” at the start of a postwar boom that would endure for decades, on the free side of the Iron Curtain, in a Europe embarking on the “ever closer union” that stopped the self-destruction of the first half of the 20th century, safe from the Nazi death factories, too late for the trenches, not too late for flower power, in time for the hippie trail to Kabul, and in line for the sexual sweet spot between the arrival of the Pill and the onset of AIDS. As Philip Larkin noted, “Sexual intercourse began/ In nineteen sixty-three.”
The piece goes on about Twitter and how those of us who don't use it, don't understand it, and can't abide it are no different than the oldsters who gave us so much grief about our hair, our music, and our sexual mores in the '60s. We're the new oldsters, and we're boring when we get on our rants about how the new social media are destroying the art of the written word, and blah blah blah.
It's almost enough to get me to use Twitter. But not quite.
This has to stop.
Yellowstone National Park’s best-known wolf, beloved by many tourists and valued by scientists who tracked its movements, was shot and killed on Thursday outside the park’s boundaries, Wyoming wildlife officials reported.
Read the heartbreaking New York Times article
. Unfortunately it's not an isolated incident, it's just the latest of many such, fruit of a policy that loosened the protection of wolf packs. Now they're doing so much better, so yay, let's shoot some!
Scientists and tourists alike are appalled. After all the great work to bring wolf populations back from near extinction, now we let creeps with guns pick them off when they cross an invisible park boundary. Why are we doing this? To please who, exactly?
What's next, open season on dogs? Because, you know, they're not in danger of extinction, they're actually pretty well protected, so isn't it time we 'balanced' that by killing some?
The mind cringes at the behavior we sanction as a society. Not just guns, but what people actually want to do with them. When you think about the mind-set of someone who would shoot a wolf, the most intelligent and social of canines, it reminds you of what our species is capable of, and all its holocausts.
This documentary about the European embrace of solar energy is eye-opening. Germany and Spain especially are well on their way to totally replacing fossil fuels. The technology is accelerating. The tipping point is nearer than we have been led to believe.
Bigger than the IT revolution: Solar going to electronics firms, energy giants left behind
Al Jazeera English is reporting that Gadaffi has rounded up some of the western journalists in Tripoli (they were already nicely contained in a hotel somewhere) and bussed them off to the fortified compound where he is holed up.
Where they would be killed by any decapitation air strike against him.
In the hunt through the cable dump for the smelliest turds, are we missing the big picture? From the New York Times today:
"When dysfunctional does not begin to describe our political system and institutions," Prof. Stephen Kotkin of Princeton concluded after sampling the cables last week, "something in the government is really working — the State Department — far better than anyone thought."
Remember the Nixon White House tapes, which revealed (among other things) that the president was a lying, criminal, vulgar and thoroughly disagreeable human being? Few officials or institutions can stand up to the scrutiny of having great swaths of their private conversations published. (Could you?) That's why it's so revealing that the Obama/Clinton State Department actually looks pretty competent in the light of this release.
It's time Democrats of this generation found their voice, and united behind a clear self-description, and a correspondingly truthful description of their adversaries, for the long fight to come.
Many at Dailykos I suspect would accept the label progressive, even if we have others we prefer. Despite all our differences among ourselves and with other less progressive Democrats, I submit that we can make that terminology the common identity of all Democrats, and the defining term of resistance to Republican oppression.
From Ed in Vienna on a NY Times blog:
...if the Democrats had not rammed health care down our throats, no way this could have happened.
Remember that Continental Express commuter jet crash in Buffalo last year that killed everyone on board?
The investigation is over, but the back story just keeps getting uglier. Talk about government agencies that systematically try to stop people from doing their job (of keeping us safe).
How would you feel if someone you loved died because an airline cut corners, and the agency required to regulate them looked them made their employees look the other way?
For those of us who had expected an inaugural address that would ring like Kennedy's, Obama's words on Tuesday were surprising. Stern, even ominous, they evoked not triumph but warning.
But we have learned we can't predict this president. He's usually ahead of us, and his words are always worth reading twice. Since Tuesday I've re-read his speech several times, finding more in it each time, and so has Frank Rich.
From the NY Times today:
Rebels who have stepped up attacks on Nigeria's oil industry in the last month said on Sunday they were considering a ceasefire appeal by U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama.
What a concept! That you can actually start acting to solve some of the world's problems before you get elected. Instead of a gas tax holiday, how about a cease-fire in the oil wars?
My friend Ira had his photo in the NY Times today, with his old friends.
Frank Rich writes this morning in the NY Times about Hillary's Tuzla fib:
A new bottom-up media culture is challenging any candidate’s control of a message.
Of all the moments at which Hillary has been hurt by her own staff's disregard of the new rules of war, this latest flap is the most ironic.