Sunday, January 17, 2016

Open Thread

Life has been interfering with blogging. So if anybody is out there, please feel free to contribute.

15 comments:

Kate Flannery said...

Hope all is well - and just busy. A day without Sardonicky is a day without reason and intelligence in the world of news, information and commentary. My husband and I would be bereft without this site.

Nasreen Iqbal said...

Yes, you should definitely get things in your life settled so you have plenty of time for blogging once primary season begins. We need you and... priorities priorities!

Bill Sprague said...

Of course hope you are feeling alright. Life has a way of getting in the way, no? Your blog is a bit of sanity in a crazy country...

annenigma said...

Karen, I hope things get back to normal for you soon. It's always a bright spot in my day to read a new post from you.

In regard to tonight's debate, the beauty of it is that no matter how it goes, the media will dust off their old headline 'Hillary Wins Debate!' and reprint that. It's a win-win for the DNC Clinton Machine. Because so few will be watching, as intended, it won't be too obvious that the game is being thrown in her favor, again. Hillary gets to look like the winner of every debate and since winning is more important than issues to Hillary and many Democrats, it might just be the help she needs to Win the Future nomination.

Every trick helps when you're addicted to power.

Pearl said...


Annenigma: I think it is getting harder to anoint Hillary after a debate since many articles critical of her handling many issues has finally hit major newspapers including the NYTIMES. The responses to a recent column in that paper about her underestimating Bernie Sanders' role had 1000 comments of which the very major majority supported him and criticized her record. Tonight's debate may have more people watching because of the close fight in Iowa and growing attention to Sanders along with Trump's part in all this.

Karen: I hope whatever is holding you back from blogging is resolved and that you will be back on Sardonicky as soon as you are able. As you can see from the comments we all miss your sanity which is in short supply in the nation currently.
With best wishes to you.

Ste-vo said...

Please, come back soon like the snow, AWOL, in VT. Lake Dunmore is still not completely frozen, and there is a huge ice-fishing tournament in two weeks. No winter-snow in Vermont and updated Sardonicky posts makes me think I may just have to have a G & T. Please get your act together!

Richard Ohio said...

Ditto to all the previous comments

Jay–Ottawa said...

The NY Times makes me sick. The article Pearl and others just pointed out needs a parsing and a good verbal spanking that only Karen can administer. Karen, I hope you're hearing the best wishes rising from the Sardonicate. Get back here as soon as possible and use your gifts.

As one commenter to the Times wrote in contradiction to its headline "Clinton Campaign Underestimated Sanders' Strengths," the fact is that Clinton and the DNC didn't underestimate Sanders; they underestimated the voters. A majority of Dems are still mesmerized by Obama; but the rank and file sure is on to Clinton. We know damn well for whom she fights, and it ain't any chunk or the whole of the 99%.

Meanwhile the Times underestimates its own readers. Pearl, the comment count is now approaching 2,000. I suppose the Times is keeping the door open in the hope that there will eventually come one or two comments in support of Clinton before they dare close down the comments. I went through the picks until I tired and came across not one pro-Hillary.

I should stop being annoyed with Hillary. I should also stop being so paranoid about the Times' role in this campaign. BUT...the articles the Times listed in a sidebar for more background on the issue number 5; not 1 backgrounder is about Sanders. How's that for perspective in reporting on a fight between two politicians?

Then the loaded words when the Times does deign to describe Sanders in the shadow of Clinton. For example, early on, the Times author compares "his archliberal message" to "her rational message." Give me a break. Later the Times follows with "his big government agenda" and "likely tax increases tied to his big-government agenda." Give us another break. The wars Hillary supports––past, present and future–– cost trillions that should be spent at home. And wouldn't those modest tax reforms Sanders supports on Wall Street and elsewhere recover billions from the plutocracy to pay for big government, yes, but a new mode of big government that also happens to be GOOD government for deserving chunks of the 99%. You know the list of the Sanders "big government" programs if you've spent 15 minutes listening to his pitch for healthcare, education, etc., etc. Now tell me, which of the two is the profligate spender?

And did you see that "picture" of Sanders that accompanies the article? Who needs Photoshop to disappear someone when you have such a brilliant Times photographer from the outset? It's a photo of Sanders (maybe) behind a podium. Problem is the picture was taken dead in front of the podium from down in the orchestra pit. All you see is the podium looming like a skyscraper and two arms extended to the side at the top––no head showing at all. Bernie's head and shock of white hair are completely blocked by the top of the podium. Trust us, readers, it's a picture of Sanders.

Now you know why you should guffaw whenever you hear the NY Times being called America's newspaper of record.

I'm just fine with Sanders' domestic platform, as I've written here before. As a politician he can't take on too many opponents at the same time. Perhaps it is politically wise for him at this point not to tilt against the establishment's foreign policy, i.e., State and Defense. In any event, I deeply doubt he would be more bellicose than Hillary. By the end of this campaign year, if Sanders takes the nomination and says nothing before the general election about the other revolution needed in America, the one concerning our foreign policy, I just might vote for him anyway. Bernie's half a loaf is better than Hillary's crumbs.

Maybe next time, Jill.

Kat said...

Read about something called "classdojo" today it is a "learning management" app and it is "free". So we know what that means.
A teacher creates an account for her classroom and assigns each child a cartoon-monster avatar. Then she creates lists of behaviors she wants to encourage or discourage. Staying on-task, participating and helping others might earn points; getting off-task, being unprepared or talking out of turn could cost points.

Kids can see, when the teacher displays the whole-class tally on the classroom’s interactive whiteboard, how they and their classmates are doing. Elliott sets a class point goal for the week. With her phone usually in reach, she gives kids points and takes them away throughout the day.

“Sometimes I leave (the app) up with the sound on, so they can hear whenever I give a point,” she said. “That really keeps them focused” on their conduct.

Parents get periodic customized reports showing the positive and negative points their children earned.

Beyond the behavior management, ClassDojo links parents to teachers and one another via text messages, emails or a website. Teachers can post photos, news of the classroom and general announcements; they also use the app to communicate directly with a parent.


Ahh.. behavior mamagement. That is what it is all about now. I have this sinking feeling that if we were to ever get single payer that we would get government mandated fitness trackers. Silicon valley would find a way to benefit.
Besides the privacy concerns and the idea that kids are going to learn to make good choices from external rewards and punishments, what about the fact that some rules are unjust? Rosa Parks anyone?

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks for all your good wishes! I am fine, not sick, just been attending to some obligations. I'll be back here soon. Looking forward to tonight's DNC debate (9 p.m. EST, NBC -- ergo, the establishment media are actually alerting viewers.) I think they're hoping for blood, or at least for one of the candidates to stroke out on live TV.

If the Times commentariat responding to Patrick Healy's article are even marginally reflective of the body politic, Hillary looks poised for a primary defeat of epic proportions. All Bernie has to do at the debate is stare at her in disbelief and he's already won. Unless, of course, he again prefaces each answer with "I like and respect Hillary Clinton."

Pearl said...

Jay and others: put in search: 'Bernie Sanders and the Issues' and one of them listed (second or third) has a photo of him speaking with the words Benedictus Collegium written on the speakers platform probably at the Christian university he appeared at. It is a lengthy listing of his beliefs in all areas of concern which are interesting and informative. I have seen other interviews with him where he went into details about foreign policy problems and how he was involved in voting decisions beyond the Iraq one as well as how the nation has to deal with possible attacks, etc. (for example he voted against every Patriot Act decisions that have been made)
I think he would do well in that area should he become President with emphasis on negotiation with other nations avoiding the need for military conflict and the destruction that results. Most of America is sick of war in all the political parties and he could be a unifier should he get the chance. His persona which people remark on of honesty, industry, communication, concern along with civil fighting instincts (a lot like MLK) whom he revered, would be what is needed. As we celebrate MLK day, I remember a man who should have been the first black president of the nation and whose statements remain as important today as when he said them.
And Bernie knows this.

Anonymous said...

Dear Karen et alia,

I am seeking information regarding Captain Howard Levy, M.D., one of the early Vietnam protesters. It has come to my attention that the 50th anniversary of his court-martial is only a year and a half hence.

It is my impression that his invoking the Nuremburg defense during his court-martial was the first time that defense was used in this country.

I came upon Levy's story while researching the story of some of our local Vietnam service people who were active against the Vietnam War. Howard Levy, while not local, strikes me as one of the most impressive - and not only for having been relatively early in his resistance, but for having been so boldly confident in his own defense.

There is something profoundly touching - heroic, even - in the photos of Levy during his court-martial: a thin, "geeky"-looking Brooklyn Jew who barely fills out his uniform, has terrible but somewhat cocky posture, huge glasses, and yet had the balls to take on the military, and the courage to accept his unjust punishment. (And to have done so on an army base on Southern soil is particularly impressive for those of us who remember how Jews and other "ethnic" urban draftees were often treated on those bases, even in subsequent decades.)

His story is told in a few books, in the 2005 documentary "Sir! No Sir!", and in a Wisconsin Law Review. But I was hoping for something more recent. It does seem that the 50th anniversary should be marked with a biography, or a film. Perhaps just a plaque near his parents home in Brooklyn.

If anyone is aware of any plans to honor his upcoming 50th anniversary, or knows if he is still politically active, please post them here.

Pearl said...

FOLLOWING UP
By Joseph P. Fried
A 60's Lightning Rod, Now on History TV It was one of the most highly publicized acts of resistance to the Vietnam War. In 1967, a United States Army doctor, Capt. Howard Levy, was court-martialed for refusing to provide medical training for Special Forces soldiers headed for the war zone. Captain Levy, a 30-year-old dermatologist from Brooklyn, was convicted of disobedience and seeking to promote disloyalty. He served 26 months in prison.


Or, copy and paste this URL into your browser: http://nyti.ms/1yLHFG3
To get unlimited access to all New York Times articles, subscribe today. See Subscription Options.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Pearl. I'd seen that, but, unfortunately, it doesn't really answer the question because that article in itself, so limited in its detail, is already fourteen years old. (I know, where does the time fly?) It actually predates the documentary.

While not bringing us up to date, NYRB has two brilliant articles written during the court martial and aftermath by the great Andrew Kopkind that flesh out a great deal more detail. Hard to believe the Kopkind articles didn't result in a movie... it feels like a contemporary of "Inside Llewyn Davis" - but with much higher stakes, and a much funnier, punchier, and more moral central character. The rest of the supporting players are no less fascinating. From Kopkind:

"Sgt. Charles Sanders, a quiet southern Army lawyer, serving as Levy’s military counsel, was wrenched out of shape. He had started the case as a routine assignment. By the time it was over, he had to question his values, his background, his deepest sense of himself. Levy’s act seemed to touch Sanders directly, at the same personal level on which it was made. Morgan had been working hard on the case for six months, and he was utterly involved and completely worn, but he managed to pull the pieces of the case together for a moving and masterly summation. Where it touched the law was not entirely apparent. But it was so painfully personal and so profoundly felt that even the court may have been moved to mercy.
“Events occur in the life of the world that are irrational, and the reason that they occur is that good men don’t stop them,” Morgan said. He is a great whale of a man, rumpled and sweaty at the slightest exertion, and he ranged around the small courtroom, talking without a script. “This case shouldn’t be here. Dr. Levy shouldn’t even be in the Army. Some place down the line, there was a place for this to stop, but it didn’t. Now it’s your responsibility to stop this thing as it monumentally cascades on to some crazy wild conclusion.”
Morgan knew how things get out of hand. He had been a lawyer in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963 when he spoke—tentatively at first—against white racism. He was forced to leave the state. “Men are constantly being fitted into structures and sometimes they conform and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes men become martyrs by inadvertance, and around them swirl great movements. I don’t want a martyr. I want acquittal and we’re entitled to it and the Army will not fall if Levy goes free.
“More lives have been taken for hereesy and witchcraft than for all the crimes in human history. More people have been tried for crimes that do not exist than for those which exist. Men are constantly put on trial for their minds and words. Your whole lives are involved in the context of freedom; true patriotism involves a man’s right to dream and believe and think and speak and act. This trial has to do with free men and responsibility. I truly do not want a martyr. I want a free man."

The irony is that the military's punishment of Levy did little harm to Levy, but great harm to itself. The Wisconsin Law Review piece is also fascinating, far-ranging, and absurdly detailed. But seriously, if anyone has any recent news or articles (can we define that as being in the last half-decade?) please share here.

Jay–Ottawa said...

@ Anon

Re: Levy

Such a common name (I mean Levy, not Anonymous). A professional genealogist could find Doctor Levy, or his obit, in short order. For real money, alas. Good luck with what appears to be the bio of a worthy soul.