Dano, I Hardly Knew Ye…

Blogger’s been completely rewritten. This blindsided me; I hadn’t caught wind of this ‘Dano’ project and now it’s upon us. I remain dubious however. Although I have been wedded to Blogger (partly because my webhost doesn’t allow for Movable Type and I’m too lazy to switch hosts), I’ve been impatient with the bugs and the sluggish support. Even though I’m a paying (“blogger Pro”) customer (therefore supposed to get VIP treatment). Perhaps it has been because they were secretly devoting their time and energy to this new development project. Let us hope it is because of and not in spite of that… Let’s see how Dano’s shakedown cruise goes. (The FAQ doesn’t tell us where they got the name, though…)

The Other Future:

Via Danny O’Brien’s Oblomovka: “Trotskyist libertarian science fiction writer and Denis-Healey-level political bruiser Ken Macleod just got himself a blog. I’ve always said that if the neocons didn’t exist, Ken Macleod would have to invent them. I wonder what happens now they’re all in the same online novel?”


America: a country where ridiculous proportions of the population believe they were created by god, abducted by aliens, and attacked by Iraq. Also where some people believe that someone who burns a paper drawing of a US flag is as good as asking to be crushed under a bulldozer. It’s not just the Right. Every political persuasion in the US contains many more stupid people than it or its equivalent does in Europe. On the Left Bank of the Seine you see poststructuralists smoking, flirting, and eating veal. Poststructuralism in America gave us La-La Land liberal toytown totalitarianism. French Maoism gave us Sartre and Althusser. American Maoism gave us Klonsky and Avakian. (I could go on.)

I know, like, and respect lots of Americans. Most of the weblogs I follow are written by Americans. Many of the books I read are written by Americans. But this particular distribution curve has a long tail at the low end. Why? The answer I’ve come up with, after some agonising over that question, is this:

Not because Americans are more stupid than anyone else, but because there is no American party of the Left. There is no labour (labor) party. There is no liberal party. (On any scale that registers, I mean. There are Liberal and Labor parties here and there.) The Democratic Party isn’t a liberal party. It has liberals within it, which is a different thing. Nor is it a labour party, though it gets support from organised labour.

This means that the American Right can indulge in lying and character assassination with almost as much impunity as if it dominated a one-party state. And it means that the American Left either buries itself in the Democratic Party, where it’s treated as an embarrassment, or spins its wheels with a complete lack of social traction (in academia or in tiny irrelevant sects) and embarrasses itself.

GOP leaders furious with Frist

This could be an exciting sign of fractiousness in the Republican majority. Inexperienced Senate majority leader Bill Frist, eager to balance all interests and have the Senate start its Easter recess on time, not only accepted limits on Bush’s requested tax cuts but failed to announce it before taking off last week. He has raised the ire of Republican leaders in both the House and Senate and grassroots figures including freshman senator Lindsey Graham (R.-SC) who, in 1997, led the rebellion against House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Chicago Sun-Times