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2008 January Archive at Three Roads Blog
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Archive for January, 2008

Guess who’s back!

From Democracy in America:

It’s as if he spent the past seven years hibernating in an underwater grotto, rolled over, stretched, yawned, made some sandals from ropes of seaweed, ate a few barnacles and paddled up to shore.

Answer after the jump.

Continue reading ‘Guess who’s back!’

Whoops!

From a post I wrote in November:

Still, there are aspects of [John McCain's] personality that I like, namely his surly, unscripted side. I’m not talking about the highly cultivated “maverick” shtick, but rather the side that’s not afraid to call a college kid a “little jerk” for asking him if he’s too old to be president. I find his notorious temper oddly appealing. (If he were elected, it would concern me more, but at this point his chances seem pretty slim.)

Having won the Florida primary, John McCain is now considered likely (if not quite guaranteed) to win the GOP nomination. A lot can change in a few months! While he’s still far from taking the oath of office, he’s doing much better than I (and everyone else) predicted.

I wonder how much McCain’s appeal comes from being seen, however erroneously, as the anti-establishment candidate. If he’s the frontrunner, won’t he lose his outsider appeal? And surely the press will start to give him long overdue scrutiny.

“Stars and Bars”: not just racist

No, I will not respect your Confederate heritage, you treasonous bigot:

So slack is our grasp of history and principle that we seem unable to think of the Confederacy as other than “offensive” to blacks. But there are two Republican candidates in this election—[Mike Huckabee and] the absurd and sinister Ron Paul being the other—who choose this crucial moment in our time to exalt those who attempted to destroy the Union by force, and those who solicited the help of foreign powers in order to do so, and whose treason led to the violent deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans. Should their patriotism be questioned? I would say most definitely yes, and questioned repeatedly, at that, perhaps especially if they are seeking the nomination of the party of Lincoln.

–Christopher Hitchens, “Why are the media ignoring Mike Huckabee’s remarks about the Confederate flag?”

I’d also like to second Hitchens’ characterization of Ron Paul as “absurd and sinister.” More absurd than sinister, but still.

“Beautiful, strange, impossible, but most of all radical”

Sarah Vowell, writing for the Times:

Here’s what Dr. King got out of the Sermon on the Mount. On Nov. 17, 1957, in Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, he concluded the learned discourse that came to be known as the “loving your enemies” sermon this way: “So this morning, as I look into your eyes and into the eyes of all of my brothers in Alabama and all over America and over the world, I say to you: ‘I love you. I would rather die than hate you.’ ”

Go ahead and re-read that. That is hands down the most beautiful, strange, impossible, but most of all radical thing a human being can say. And it comes from reading the most beautiful, strange, impossible, but most of all radical civics lesson ever taught, when Jesus of Nazareth went to a hill in Galilee and told his disciples, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you.”

In this age of a slower, grubbier mutually assured destruction, when no one’s typed the word “nonviolence” since the typewriter, it’s worth reading Dr. King’s quarrel with the cold war’s MAD ploy. In the “loving your enemies” text he tells a pretty little parable about how one night his brother A. D. drove him to Tennessee. Infuriated by all the other cars’ brights, A. D. vowed to crank his lights and blind the next driver passing by. Dr. King told him not to, that it would just get everybody killed. “Somebody got to have some sense on this highway,” he said.

 

MLK Jr.

Don’t let the pseudo flap between Barack and Hillary distract you from what you’re supposed to be doing today: Thinking about how incredibly awesome Martin Luther King Jr. was. Here’s a link to a transcript and video of his “I Have a Dream” speech. Amazing.

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm

Quiz

What do New Jersey and Russia, Colorado and Finland, and Texas and Canada have in common?

Click below to find the answer.

Continue reading ‘Quiz’

A New Type of Sadness

Talking to my mom on the phone yesterday, the subject of the weather came up. The temperature in Vermont—keep in mind this is January—was pushing 60 degrees. Earlier that day, I’d heard there were flood warnings for upstate New York and parts of Vermont.

Here in Colorado, winter is typically peppered with mild days, some of which go into 60 degree territory. Vermont, however, is not supposed to be like Colorado.

“It’s creepy,” my mom said of the warm spell.

I agreed. Pause.

This month’s issue of Wired Magazine features a short article with the headline, “How the Next Victim of Climate Change Will Be Our Minds,” and it tells the story of Glenn Albrecht, an Australian philosopher who has created a new word.

The word, solastalgia, is an amalgam of the latin words solacium (comfort) and algia (pain), “which together aptly conjure the word nostalgia,” notes the author of the story.

Albrecht created the new word to describe the reaction of his fellow Aussies to the effects of climate change.

In interviews Albrecht conducted over the past few years, scores of Australians described their deep, wrenching sense of loss as they watch the landscape around them change. Familiar plants don’t grow any more. Gardens won’t take. Birds are gone. “They no longer feel like they know the place they’ve lived for decades,” [Albrecht] says.

The current and potential economic and environmental effects of climate change are forefront in people’s minds. But what about the mental effects? Albrecht’s observations are a wake-up call: there will be a mental toll to climate change. “In the modern, industrialized West, many of us have forgotten how deeply we rely on the stability of nature for our psychic well-being,” says Albrecht.

Thinking about my conversation with my mom, with this new word in my brain, I guess there was a sense of loss in our exchange. It wasn’t creepy that Vermont was so warm in January—it was just sad.

Writer Clive Thompson closes the article with this harrowing thought: “In a world that’s quickly heating up and drying up, you can’t go home again — even if you never leave.”