Saturday, October 25, 2014

Jack Bruce


At the Zeche Bochum in Bochum, January 1983, with David Sancious, guitar, and Bruce Gary, drums.

Fearless City: Postscript

Andy 'n' Chris: "Look how serious we are! Awesome!" But a little smile on Cuomo's lips as he contemplates the captive press, paying him attention but unable to ask him a single question about his role in Albany's corruption and secrecy. Photo by Katie Orlinsky/New York Times.
Not that fearless. I guess I spoke too soon.

Friday started off pretty well, with New York as a whole resolutely refusing to panic and Mayor de Blasio and city health commissioner Mary Bassett keeping things that way, as our own Ebola victim, Dr. Craig Spencer, remained in stable condition:

Friday, October 24, 2014

Annals of Derp: Bobo's (Political) Party

Louis Wolheim as Sgt. Bulba in Tempest (1928). 
David Brooks is in full campaign mode now, looking for quirky and intellectual-sounding reasons for voting Republican without saying so and supporting policies like means-testing Medicare, supplementing the wages of the working poor with taxpayer money so Walmart and McDonalds can continue to pay slave wages, and shifting immigration from preserving families to draining other countries' brains, because sisters and cousins and aunts are a dime a dozen but we can never have too many English-deficient computer coders and anesthesiologists. And the long-cherished circle-squaring fantasy of a "progressive consumption tax", though he doesn't really believe he'll ever catch that unicorn.

Today's column prompt is an extremely interesting essay by William Galston of the Brookings Institution, "The New Challenge to Market Democracies", which works from the blandest and broadest of analyses (his bothsiderism is international, pitting suprapartisan pictures of statist Europe/Japan and corporatist United States against each other) to rather radical Pikettist prescriptions: in order literally to save liberal democracy from authoritarianism, the US needs to start with

Fearless City

New York takes pride in acknowledging Dr. Craig Spencer, "gifted", "goofball", and specialist in international emergency medicine, generous volunteer, speaker of Chinese, French, and Spanish, and general person who knows what a New Yorker should do after a spell of taking care of Ebola patients in Guinea for Médecins Sans Frontières: go bowling in Brooklyn, have a nice dinner, do a three-mile run if you're feeling a little off your form, and take your temperature twice a day. And don't panic.

I hope very much for his happy recovery and have no worries whatsoever for the other eight million of us.
Dr. Spencer, via New York Times.
More, with a precious classic link, from Steve.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

It's not rocket science

Amalie Atkins, Girl in reeds with bolex, chromogenic print, 20 x 30”, 2010, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
So apparently there was a pretty promising-looking Ebola vaccine around for ten years, 100% effective in monkeys, but no money for testing it in humans:
“There’s never been a big market for Ebola vaccines,” said Thomas W. Geisbert, an Ebola expert here at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and one of the developers of the vaccine that worked so well in monkeys. “So big pharma, who are they going to sell it to?” Dr. Geisbert added: “It takes a crisis sometimes to get people talking. ‘Ok. We’ve got to do something here.' ”
If only there were some kind of super-organization that could dispose of the necessary billions for doing stuff like that without having to worry about profits and screaming shareholders!
The vaccine was actually produced, in Winnipeg by the Public Health Agency of Canada. The Canadian government patented it, and 800 to 1,000 vials of the vaccine were produced. In 2010, it licensed the vaccine, known as VSV-EBOV, to NewLink Genetics, in Ames, Iowa.
The Canadian government donated the existing vials to the World Health Organization, and safety tests of the vaccine in healthy volunteers have already begun.
Yeah, exactly! You could call it "Canada"!

Lede, buried: Thom Tillis

Gustave Boulanger, Le Marché aux Esclaves, ca. 1882.
North Carolina's GOP Senate candidate, Thom Tillis, showed up in the New York Times yesterday in a way that deserved a lot more attention than it seems likely to get, in a story about state regulation of personal installment loans, for emergency needs like car repairs or medical bills.

These are a kind of subprime loan offered by companies like the Citigroup unit OneMain Financial:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Image via Crime Scene Kansas City.

"Bristolnacht" is Tengrain's name for the Spilla in Wasilla, when the Clan of the Palins betook them in their limo to beat the shit out of everybody they saw and then retired in confusion on all sides, and I realized that's what it would be called if it was a German opera, which it really should be. And this is what it would look like, approximately:

Bless them all!

This is great, from Shane Harris at Foreign Policy: it seems that at the same time as General Keith Alexander was running the National Security Agency he was really busy speculating in commodities, potash and aluminum, with weird and unpredictable markets and connections to our favorite spying targets, China and the Russian Federation:

The Artside

Alice Goodman, in a Guardian interview of 2012:
"The guards at Auschwitz were able to do what they did because they had dehumanised the people who came through. It's that whole process of dehumanising that I hate. To have made Klinghoffer into the Klinghoffer the critics wanted would have been to play into that enterprise of dehumanising – dehumanising your enemy, dehumanising your friends as well."
I wasn't planning to see the new production of Alice Goodman's and John Adams's The Death of Klinghoffer at the Met, not for political reasons. I can't afford to see even a small fraction of everything I want, and I saw the opera at Brooklyn Academy of Music in the semi-staged production of 2003, and frankly I thought it was static and the music weak. Then came Monday's twitterstorm in advance of the production premiere and the demonstration outside the opera house, and opera fan Rodolfo Giuliani pitted against Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Bill de Blasio, and I said to myself, boy, whose side are you on? and ordered tickets. For Guy Fawkes Day, as it happens.

The right to aspire

"Make that respect for me, not for you." Via somebody's tumblr.

Just about everybody you might want to hear from is on this astonishingly offensive remark by the governor of New Jersey, but I'd like to help pile on:
"I gotta tell you the truth, I'm tired of hearing about the minimum wage, I really am," Christie said during an event at the Chamber of Commerce in Washington, according to a recording of his remarks by the liberal opposition research group American Bridge.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fear and Trembling and Republicans unto Death

Grzegorz Klaman, Fear and Trembling. Installation piece, Schmidt Center Gallery, Florida Atlantic University, April-May 2007.
David Brooks takes on the Quality of Fear:
There’s been a lot of tutting-tutting about the people who are overreacting to the Ebola virus. There was the lady who showed up at the airport in a homemade hazmat suit.

West of Eden: Syria update

Sheikh Rasho Rasho Hussein, keeper of the Yazidi temple in Khanka Kavin, Iraq. Photo by Julia Harte/National Geographic, July 2013.
The collusion of seemingly unrelated news items converging on the town of Ayn al-Arab/Kobanê is getting really interesting. It's not really part of the Rectification task to spend so much time covering these things, but I feel the press is not putting them together very well, so I hope readers don't mind. I'll get back to the literary criticism soon. (Tuesday is Brooksday!)

Airdrop supplies from the US included lethal weaponry for the first time, we heard first thing in the morning, with the weaponry being provided not by Americans but by Iraqi Kurds, and then over the BBC that the Turkish government has suddenly changed its mind about permitting volunteer Kurdish fighters to cross the Turkish border to Kobanê—only, officially, not Turkish Kurds, just those same Iraqi Kurd peshmerga, for whom a corridor will be opened along the border from Iraq.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A smylere with a knyf

The Temple of Mars Ultor, Rome, completed in 2 B.C.E., commemorating the Battle of Philippi. Ancient History Encyclopedia.

Lt. Col. Dr. John Nagl, Headmaster of the Haverford School, former president of the Center for a New American Security, worshiper at the Temple of Mars Armipotent, and all-round person who likes to find unusual ways of using the word "knife" in book titles—Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, 2002; Knife Fights, 2014—is on the book tour circuit mongering the latter, a Memoir of Modern War in Theory and Practice (you can catch him with his co-"author" on the army's revised counterinsurgency manual, Gen. Dr. David Petraeus, being interviewed by Max Boot, M.A., no military rank for some reason, at the 92nd Street Y for $45 if you don't mind one of the cheap seats, the night before Halloween).

Saturday, October 18, 2014

White House Fool Report: Ugh, lawyers

Barrel pillory, from Deadly Planet.
Hey Mr. President, you wouldn't be airing out the linens and dusting up the old black sites and revving up the racks and thumbscrews for a spin, by any chance? Because Charlie Savage is reporting in the Times that
President Obama’s legal team is debating whether to back away from his earlier view [on the United Nations Convention against Torture]. It is considering reaffirming the Bush administration’s position that the treaty imposes no legal obligation on the United States to bar cruelty outside its borders, according to officials who discussed the deliberations on the condition of anonymity.

West of Eden: Syria report

Kurdish wedding ceremony, Kobane, 1960s. Via ARA News.
Glad to be able to report that in his first press briefing since the war on the Caliphate began in June, commander Lloyd Austin stressed that US efforts to not kill civilians are not merely humanitarian, but part of the overall strategy:
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