Some stuff Ampersand has recently read

  • Quote: “Nanny and Me: For your caregiver and child—courses in Spanish that lovingly teach your Latina nanny the customs and daily practices of Jewish culture.” – Found on a Gymboree bulliten board in L.A., quoted in The Atlantic Monthly.

  • Check out “Nobody Died When Clinton Lied,” a website of anti-Bush signs an anonymous “freewayblogger” has been displaying on the I-5 in California. My favorite: “Dulce et Decorum est por Haliburton Mori,” which translated means “It is sweet and proper to die for Haliburton.”
  • Pretty good comic strip (is it still a strip if it’s a page long?) in the New York Times making fun of the RIAA lawsuits. Via Boing Boing.
  • Mudron of the Pants Press Sketchblog posts a nice (if gory) illustration s/he has drawn of a scene from Peter Pan.
  • Emma at The Oregon Blog has a good, multi-part interview up with Phil Busse, progressive candidate for mayor of Portland.
  • Quote: “We’re not only dismantling our schools and services, we’re doing it before a fascinated nation. Oregon is now on the narrow edge between being a state and being a Fox-TV reality show.” – David Sarasohn (quoted on The Oregon Blog).
  • Jeremy at Refference has posted the first two parts of a discussion of “Why Aesthetics Matter” – and more specifically, why we should use aesthetic reasoning in politics. It’s interesting stuff, although I find the discussion of abortion politics in part II unconvincing. Via Crescat Sententia.
  • Whisky Bar (which I’ve just added to the moderately right-wing section of my blogroll) links to a good New York Times op-ed on Israel/Palestine, and has an even better discussion of the op-ed. If Israel doesn’t find an acceptable way to disentangle itself from Palestine quickly, the issue will switch from “Palestinian independence” to “one vote per citizen for everyone Israel rules over.” And Israel will like that debate even less than it likes the current debate.

    Frankly, I’d prefer advocating for Israel extending citizenship to everyone in the occupied territories. Lefty advocacy for a Palestinian state sometimes seems counterproductive; I understand advocating for Palestinian freedom, and yet it seems unlikely that a Palestinian state would be one with many freedoms for women or homosexuals.

  • Trish Wilson has a new home for her blog. Update your bookmarks and sidebars!
  • I think I’m done posting about the Record Industry for now. But go ahead and check out this excellent post on the subject at John & Belle Have a Blog, as well as this equally good followup. S/he is arguing – and I agree – that the current industry is very inefficient at delivering music to consumers.
  • Y’all remember the Nike case - in which Nike was sued for false advertising over their claims that their third-world workers are treated well? Nike has now settled out of court, agreeing to pay $1.5 million to the Fair Labor Association to make the lawsuit go away.
  • It’s tempting to respond to Matt Yglesias’ criticism of NOW for (gasp!) endorsing Carol Moseley-Braun for president, but Matt’s post so lacks any reasoning or argument that there’s nothing to rebut. Perhaps Matt just considers his own views self-evident?

    I blogged earlier why I thought the NOW endorsement makes sense. NOW’s Kim Gandy points out two additional reasons I hadn’t considered; first, that Moseley-Braun’s presence may help with getting out the black female vote, which helps all democrats (I’m not sure this will work, but I guess it’s worth a shot); and second, that having Moseley-Braun in the campaign and the debates forces the other candidates to address NOW’s issues more than they would otherwise.

  • Kieran at Crooked Timber has a brilliant response to the “Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae.” thing that’s been floating around.
  • Confined Space has a good post about the amendment to the Texas constitution limiting medical malpractice awards, or as Molly Ivans calls it, th e”Polluters and Predators Protection Act.” Via Nathan Newman.
  • Would you like to be able to see through even the smoothest fallaciloquence? Would you like to know if your pigritude is overdone, or if you’re merely mitescent these days? Check out the Compendium of Lost Words, a list of over 400 rarely-used English words. Via Green Fairy.
  • This Esquire article, about the media and public reaction to the folks who jumped from the World Trade Center on 9/11 – and, in particular, about one famous photo of a jumper – was absolutely fascinating. I read it a few days ago, and it keeps coming back to my thoughts. Via Crescat Sententia.
  • Another quote from that Atlantic review of Arlie Hochchild’s new book:
    In a capitalist society work dictates the schedules, the deadlines, the urgency; product life cycles supersede family life cycles at every turn. … In a study Hochschild did at Amerco, a Fortune 500 company, she found that many employees with twenty or more years at the company were on their second or third marriages. “To these employed,” she wrote, “work was their rock, their major source of security. They were getting their pink slips at home.”
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13 Responses to Some stuff Ampersand has recently read

  1. 1
    Billmon says:

    Whisky Bar (which I’ve just added to the moderately right-wing section of my blogroll)

    Guess again. I’m a flaming pinko leftist — i.e. I despise Clinton because I think he’s too frickin’ conservative.

  2. 2
    Ampersand says:

    Whoops! Sorry, I had taken you for a liberal democrat. Okay-dokey, I’ve reclassified you.

  3. 3
    --k. says:

    I was about to say, Barry: Billmon may sometimes be slightly to the right of you on this or that, but.

    Oh: and Bill “Anne Frank and Pan” Mudron (more sinistral than not) is most assuredly a boy. He just hangs out with a bunch of girls.

  4. 4
    selise says:


    i made the same mistake… probably because billmon is supporting dean and not kucinich. maybe i was indulging in too much wishful thinking – that more bloggers would support kucinich. oh well… love both your blogs.

  5. 5
    John Isbell says:

    There’s a good bunch of bloggers who came out of The Daily Kos (Steve Soto, Steve Gilliard), and Billmon is another.
    “”Dulce et Decorum est por Haliburton Mori”:
    “Bent double like old beggars under sacks…
    The old lie, Dulce et decorum est,
    Pro patria mori.”
    Wilfred Owen, I think, “Dulce et decorum est.” The UK War Poets (WW I) produced some of the most acid, funny, and moving war poetry I know. The Latin tag comes from Horace. I like the one about the general: they’re marching along, and he rides by, bantering with the troops. It ends more or less like this:
    “‘He’s a cheery old card’, said Steven to Jack,
    Marching along as he shouldered his pack –
    But he did for them both with his plan of attack.”
    I’m coming around to a one-sate solution for Israel. If there were no Jews elsewhere in the world, I’d be ready for it now, I think: close to an ideal solution (Exodus). But I can envision a majority-Arab Israel altering its constitution to no longer admit diaspora Jews, and a pogrom elsewhere in the world from which Jews must flee. I haven’t solved that.

  6. 6
    Aaron says:

    re the Falling Man article:

    This hit on two instances of socially-induced irrationality – the treatment of “favored” victims and the taboo against suicide.

    People like to believe in an idealized version of death, particularly death in a violent manner, and even more so death in battle or in terrorism.

    The 9-11 deaths have been abstracted so much that we’ve lost focus on the fact that each one of the 3000+ plus killed was an individual – that’s why the New York Times’ “Portraits of Grief” series affected so many people. And it’s the same reason why the jumper picture is so poignant – it puts a realistic face on a seeming mythic event. (Not to mention the fact that violent death is rarely pretty – there is always a huge controversy over showing your own war dead, whether it was WWII or Bush War II.)

    Which rolls into the suicide taboo – is it really a sign of weakness to commit suicide in a situation like the people at the top of the North Tower did? Does jumping off the building 25 minutes before it collapsed offend God so much that he’d send the jumper to Hell? Is it necessary for someone to suffer before death so one can “embrace God,” or can it be said that the jumper made his peace as he decided to jump and as he fell?

  7. I have to say, I’m baffled by our host’s left-right categorizations. It’s a weird political universe in which my own Electrolite is “To Alas’ Right” and my wife’s Making Light is not.

    Mind you, I sort my own blogroll into playful categories, and Alas is currently listed under “VLWC.” And like most bloggers I appreciate any and all links. I just wonder what it is I said. I can imagine several issues on which Alas might consider me to his “right,” but in all those cases, so are lots of bloggers he doesn’t categorize that way.

  8. 8
    Ampersand says:

    Hey there, Patrick.

    When I began, I classified all lefty bloggers as “blogs of a feather,” so that’s sort of the “default” setting. Lately I’ve been moving blogs to other catagories – in which I am the political center – but only haphazerdly, so that’s why you see the inconsistancies in the system.

    As I recall, I moved you to the “to my right” catagory because of your Nader-bashing. It may be that Teresa agrees with you, but either she hasn’t posted about it as often, or just by coincidence I haven’t run into it as often when I’ve been reading “Making Light.”

    For what it’s worth, I don’t take the catagorizations in my blog very seriously, many of my favorite bloggers are to my right, and the whole thing is pretty arbitrary. :-p

  9. Having just read the Falling Man article, my first impression is that A) The ending is pretentious twaddle and B) Fischl’s statue was maudlin, cliched, and exploitive, and I’m really not interested in hearing how he was misunderstood by a country driven mad by grief. The article neglected to mention that his “falling everyperson,” was a nude woman. Give me a break, Eric.

    :o I was one of those rare ducks that avoided as many images of the attack as I could. (Leaving the TV off helped.) So this was actually the first time I saw the Falling Man picture, believe it or not.

    The photographs that affected me most were those of mourners around the world who built shrines to the dead. I saw an online photo of a small crowd in Belgrade holding up the U.S. colors, messages of sympathy, flowers, and so on. I almost started bawling at my desk. All I could think of looking at it was, “People who’ve likely lived and seen more pointless horror in a day than I ever have my whole life took a few minutes from their day to mourn the pointless loss of my countrypeople.” Not being a journalist, I can’t even explain why I was mesmerized at this photo, at this thought. But I was. If the picture were in front of me now, I still would be. :o

  10. 10
    John Isbell says:

    Amy S., on the money.

  11. 11
    Don Coyote says:

    Just a comment on this:

    “Lefty advocacy for a Palestinian state sometimes seems counterproductive; I understand advocating for Palestinian freedom, and yet it seems unlikely that a Palestinian state would be one with many freedoms for women or homosexuals.”

    I agree – but do you really want to start down the road of saying “Well, yes self-determination and a state for the Palestinians would be wonderful, but we shouldn’t give it to them ‘cos they may do something with it that we disagree with”?

    If you want to give people freedom, surely it has to include the freedom to make decisions and take stances you find personally distasteful?

    Just a thought.

  12. 12
    Ampersand says:

    Don wrote: If you want to give people freedom, surely it has to include the freedom to make decisions and take stances you find personally distasteful?

    The problem is, what if people want the freedom to enslave? Should white Southerners have been “free” to enslave africans, for instance?

    I think that individual Palestinians would probably be freer under a “one Israel, one citizen, one vote” regime than they would be under a Palestinian state. The only freedoms some Palestinians would lack, under such a regime, would be the “freedom” to take other people’s freedom away (for instance, by forbidding women from driving). I’m sure that’s not a freedom worth defending.

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