May 28, 2004

Around the Web

Haven't done a post roundup in a while, but it isn't you, it's me. Things have been, you know, a little funny around here. So without further ado, some good recent blogging...

TalkLeft on the closing of an abusive juvenile prison, the radical suggestion is made that maybe students shouldn't be handcuffed, finds an example of abuse of the PATRIOT Act, and we learn that 1 in every 75 US men is in prison. Ahhh, American people skills. Coming to a theatre of war near you.

How to Save the World on assessing your own job performance. A non-political post that readers may find practical.

On Pandagon, Jesse responds to an assertion that liberals killed civility, and asserts that 'The Day After Tomorrow' could kill environmentalism.

[I have to say here that the death of environmentalism might not be an entirely bad thing. Put a nail in the coffin already. Bollocks to people who want to spread a message of brotherhood with the animals, and double bollocks to those who like to talk about the sacredness of untouched nature. Kill environmentalism, and bring on the environmental science.

We don't need to protect the animals because they're cute, or unique, or interesting. We need to protect them because they keep us alive. We don't need to protect the trees because they're sacred and old, but because they filter our water, maintain our atmosphere, and keep our topsoil in place. Coral reefs shouldn't be protected because they're fun to visit, but because populations will starve and the reefs will cease to protect coasts from the full force of storms. The earth doesn't need us, we need it.]

A bit ago, Liquid List highlighted a preview of a movie about corporations which will be opening in the states June 4, 2004. Good timing, because I think Bush's basement level approval ratings indicate that the country is approaching a teachable moment.

Eve of the Apocalypse on what people are saying about how brand America affects American brands.

Body and Soul touches on Bush's 2006 budget cut plans, and points to an ounce of prevention.

Rittenhouse on Dean backing Hoeffel and the race against Specter, as well as the cultural chasm between wealthy New Yorkers and poverty-stricken parts of the world.

Ampersand posts on UN troops abusing Congolese refugees (hey, we're not the only country with bad people skills), some good same-sex marriage links, and another good set of links to stories about civil liberties and international affairs.

Dave Neiwert on the legal underpinnings of our national disgrace, and standing up to hate in Portland.

Respectful of Otters on an extra level of secrecy that the Bush administration has added to government contracts. Truly atrocious, and something that President Kerry will need to be lobbied about reversing.

Digby on why Bush isn't just a bad president, but a bad son. Also, Digby pointed to a really good Tristero post on why democracy can't be imposed.

Left Coaster on turning turkey waste into fuel oil, and the substance of Kerry's speech.

A bit ago, Avedon Carol wrote what I consider to be an important essay about liberals and mistakes, I'll give you a tease, but please read the whole thing if you haven't seen it yet:

...This is really how the whole "conservative" Thing works - simply dismiss what is known, write off all of the lessons of the past, dump all empirical evidence, run right back to the stone age and pretend that thousands of years worth of civilization that brought us out of the caves and into the light was just a silly liberal mistake.

...And liberalism is the understanding that those things are not mistakes. We argue that poverty hurts us all, that peace is better than war, because we do understand them. The surprise we are seeing now from those who supported the invasion is a result of the fact that they did not.

Posted by natasha at May 28, 2004 02:18 AM | Recommended Reading | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |

Good point about environmental science. I always feel this approach works best for a variety of issues. For instance, war with Iraq was inadvisable not just because innocent people would die but because it would destabilize the region and create a breeding ground for new terrorists. Or, legalizing gay marriage is a good idea not because it makes people happy together but because it combines incomes and is good for the economy. That sort of argument is always harder to tear down.

Posted by: Plucky Punk at May 28, 2004 06:52 AM

Appreciate the recognition of excess behind the comments on environmentalism, and the ensuing practical approach to issues thereof. But, sorry, there _is_ a place for reverence and yes, sanctity, in our dealings with the natural world, as indeed there should be in all affairs, with nature and with each other. I am not prone to hugging trees, and I'm not talking about God or Mother Nature. But there is simply more than our narrow interest ("We need...") at stake here, which does get shafted in this political world.

Posted by: paul at May 28, 2004 02:57 PM


Actually, I have tremendous reverence for Nature, and I think it's entirely appropriate. I've just come to the conclusion that it makes about the lousiest possible argument for winning over the unconvinced.

Most people already have a spiritual path, they don't need to be offered what looks like another one. Come to them with the facts, come to them with seriousness. Respect their intelligence, and wait for them to slowly come to an understanding of the beautiful intricacies of the ecosystems we depend on for our livelihoods. The reverence, it comes natural after a while.

Posted by: natasha at May 30, 2004 07:26 AM

That's not what you said:

"Bollocks to people who want to spread a message of brotherhood with the animals, and double bollocks to those who like to talk about the sacredness of untouched nature. Kill environmentalism, and bring on the environmental science."

You said "kill."

For two decades every frightened leftist has trashed everyone two millimeters to his or her left--using the stereotypes provided by the right, who then just sit back and grin at the carnage their memes are sponsoring. One of the reasons we soared into Iraq was that "center leftists" pulled out every right-wing stereotype against the bandana-wearing anti-war crowd, few of whom were actually wearing bandanas. They knew it was an "exaggeration," but they thought they needed to marginalize "the fringe" so that "reason would prevail."

Hey what. That worked, eh? Actually the "center left" just solidified the stereotype system to the point where none but rightwing voices could be heard. It didn't win them a place at the table; if they deviated from the script, they became bandana-wearers.

If we triangulate against the treehuggers the right will suddenly respect us and environmental science will win the day! Right? Come on.

There's plenty of room for internal criticism, but the left is pretty much dead in the water until it puts a stop to this reflex.

Posted by: T. V. at June 5, 2004 07:50 AM