behaviour begetting juvenile behaviour, but I won't -- Michael.
I made a mistake regarding unemployment figures under Bush, they stayed flat until the year before the Wall Street Crash, then went into free fall. I thank James for posting the figures, but again, what is the lag-time involved in statistics reflecting what's going on.
Dr. Bill, there was nothing inflammatory in my first post but my challenge of the Received Wisdom of St. George of the small Shrub. Now to me, that underlined part is funny, particularly since there's a Monty Python reference in it as well as a reference to Bush's primary journalistic antagonist in Texas, Molly Ivins, who wrote a book entitled Shrub. There's a third reference that I choose not to put my finger on. And the conspicuous religiosity about his politics, as if they'd been delivered by UPS, United Prayer Services. Molly Ivins also predicted that Bush would do to the US what he'd done to Texas which saw its education scores plummet and its economy go soft. She was wrong, he did a lot worse.
So in that small amount of prose we have a parody of the obeisance of many here to the God-like George of the falling house of cards, the treatment of his opinion as Received Wisdom and inerrant, and a bunch of amusing stuff for people who if they weren't so intent on their own opinions they might see the empty hole for the Shrubbery.
Now I don't particularly care if you, or anybody likes my sense of humour. It amuses me, it amuses my friends who stay as far away from this forum as it is possible to stay, because they recognize that it is to a predominant degree The Land of the Closed MInd.
Toni. I find myself both appreciating what you have written and agreeing with you on a number of points.
When I first started here, I was subjected to 2 years of personal attacks and insults, which after a while I embraced and joined in the game of pin the tail on the previous poster.
While it may not appear like it, but I'm not nearly as stuck on my own opinion as you think I am, nor are my attacks personal by and large. If I'm going to complain I try to complain in general about the staunchly Conservative Republican nature of the majority here. I stumble sometimes, I apologize sometimes, I acknowledge error some times, like this one regarding Bush unemployment statistics, which behaviour I don't see being emulated by any other member here. The thinkers here are largely silent. Dr. Bill, Josh Katz, Mark Flax and Jonah, who disagrees with most of what I say, but doesn't smack me over the head for it.
Because I am now less mobile than I was, the computer is my source of amusement. From the first time I visited SE I was astonished at how one sided it was, with only Dave Konkel as a voice of, in my opinion, sanity. I watched and read while horrible back-stabbing things were said while he was on holiday, blaming him for all the contention that bubbled here, and I decided then that he wasn't going to be the lone voice on the left. I made a choice to join in here for a reason, and that reason was "reason". There was so much parrotting of FoxNews and Republican extremists and the out put of Conservative think tanks who produce Pablum for the politically inept, that I joined in and tried to give as good as I got. (Does anybody know that Pablum was invented here in Toronto at the Hospital for Sick Children? Okay, I acknowledge I have a love of extraneous information.)
Then my family situation disintegrated and I was forced to take some time off. I think if you compared my posts from 2004, to the end of 2006 would be pretty offensive, and I'd probably nuke 98% of them. Since I returned in about 2008 I have been far less contentious personally while still expressing my opinion. I think what irritates people is that I continue to assert my opinion in an overly academic way while throwing in peculiar humour. I think on one hand I intimidate and on the other I make people feel I think less of them. That is categorically not true. As far as we as members of SE are concerned you are all my equals. Would I throw in obscure jokes if I didn't want you to catch them, at least some of them? Now I'm as guilty as the next person of showing off sometimes viz the 3rd paragraph of this monstrous thing, but so what. "Rob must be bored or maybe he thought this was funny, but it doesn't appeal to me", is all I expect, not attack.
Now a generally accepted cliche is that humour grows out of anger, so despite the fact that I feel fine, and I am not Peeved with anybody particularly, though James and Mike do try not to miss an opportunity for a shot, I'm still quite a happy person, as anybody who knows me will tell you (leaving aside my wife, okay?). I am guilty at times of writing things for my own amusement like that incoherent post on English and the different conventions of naming people on the two sides of the Atlantic, and sailing on into stream of consciousness waters because I wasn't falling asleep and I desperately wanted to.
I am willing to acknowledge that I have what is now a quiescent Mt St. Helens in me that fuels my humour and which attracts a lot of people to me. You're just going to have to trust me on that, but I used to throw parties which are still legendary among my friends, one of which broke up at 2 in the afternoon the next day having made two stops on the way. Our wedding was so unconventional and so enjoyable that a number of friends had us organize theirs. Once I get my place properly organized, and get another 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 bookshelves for the rest of my books and my records, and my DVD's (most of my CD's are already out and all are at least findable) then I'll probably try throwing parties and getting back into music. Being out of music, and not performing at least occasionally was a big mistake.
A very close friend who has known me since Grad school gave me the book The Artist's Way, and it is very much me. In some respects I should have quit school and become a full time performer, because I'd get to do all this for an audience, and get instant feedback. As shy a person as I am, I still enjoy performing even when it's just for one other person whom I may never see again.
Now I don't want to be the St. Stephen in the crowd, but if it happens, and it has, it happens. So long as I'm happy with where my head is, and I'm getting out and getting things done around the apartment and at friends places, I'm fine. I don't see myself as nearly the edgy character that Dr. Bill seems to see me. And I do think that some of my better, and more coherent pieces with references aren't half bad. Some of them I wouldn't be ashamed to turn in as assignments. So it's not as if there is an absence of a self-critical function here. I have performed academically at a very, very good level, and some of what I've put together here isn't bad for a first draft, but it is generally dismissed by those who wouldn't acknowledge it even if they recognized its worth, because it is "the other".
I listen to Republican candidates, and some of them I respect, but a lot of them, like the Duke of Orange (Bohner), speak in Republican "boiler plate" (That's the fine print in a legal document) with all the belief and sincerity of a voice-speech synthesizer. There are others like Palin and Bachman and Rand Paul who scare me because they're Wm. Jennings Bryan's successors though regrettably not as eloquent or well read. They're demagogues, or the tools for demagogues. And that's the reason for my contempt and dislike of George W. Bush. I don't think he made a real decision in his presidency based on reason. I think he was winging it from day one, and I think in 20 years or less he will be seen as the worst President in the history of the United States and his father as one of the most underestimated.
I did mean what I said early on, I feel quite certain he could not have made it through his undergraduate degree let alone a Havard MBA without a cadre of people writing his papers for him, and tutoring him for exams. I have had to mark Undergraduate essays, and he gets a failing grade for what he communicated. I just point to his speeches and his off the cuff remarks as evidence. He got confused in the middle of speeches written for him, and he could not speak to save his life. "Misunderestimated" "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice well... you won't get fooled again." Well at least he got The Who quotation right. Now it is just possible that he did get the first part of that saying right or kind of bobbled it, but with all the other gobbledegook he said, how can we be sure.
And his warmth and his humanity, when the reporter asked him a serious question about something that had importance to people living in the United States, that made an impact on them while he was playing golf, and he just brushed it aside as trivial and the people of the United States as equally trivial and then went on to what was important to him "Now watch me hit this drahv." His entire life is the story of the failed child, always looking for validation in his parent's eyes, and I don't think he's ever gotten it, not ever. I'm not taking a shot at Bush here, I am very sincere, and somewhat hurt for him and that fruitless quest.
Why Jeb was put in a corner is a mystery to me. Jeb is 3 times George W. I wouldn't have agreed with him, but I'd have put my hand over my heart when he walked or drove by. And he wouldn't have scared me as President, and he wouldn't have thought you could pursue conflicting policies, those of reducing revenue for the Federal Government while fighting two ?unplanned? wars. I still think Wall Street would have screwed up, but I don't think the knees would have shaken or the bailout been so costly with Jeb at the wheel. Jeb had too many smarts for that. He might even have been smart enough to see it coming and intervene, and I'm sure he'd have chosen a Cabinet for their opinions and smarts, not their cohesiveness in backing him to implement their agenda. Do you remember how fast Colin Powell was out of the Bush Cabinet??? 4 years, and I bet they felt like 40 to him. And Condoleeza Rice? She's a smart woman, how could she stick it out, especially when Colin gracefully jumped ship.
But perhaps that was the problem. Certain elements of the Republican Party wanted a front man who wouldn't argue with them, who would just do as they said. Cheney Rove Regan Wolfowitz and the rest made a trade. "You gimme mah War with Saddam Hoosayne, an' I'll do whatever you say." I really think that's a plausible deal and a plausible reason for George W's Presidency. Now I'd be willing to grant a fair level of sibling rivalry in there too, because Jeb was always the smart one, and like all not- very-bright 3rd or 4th children, George grew up with a lot of anger and no place to put it in that cold New England family.
So there I go again, off into the ozone, thinking aloud via a computer on the Internet. But I don't think that there's nearly as much dross in this as the folks at SE will think there is.
Michael, James Tony, I disagree with what you say, but I will fight to the death to let you say it. And that goes for everybody here,