Raptorous Sophistry

Update on the ‘liberal hawks’ ‘ ‘reconsideration’ of the invasion of Iraq. Christopher Hitchens remains incredibly misguided, arguing that we have no choice but to pursue foreign policy by the ‘presumption of guilt’; excusing the flow of body bags home to the US with a brief nod to ‘utilitarianism’ (dismissing concerns about the fiscal cost of bogging down in the morass in the same breath), lulling himself with the conviction that bin Laden is already dead and arguing inanely that “you could have genuine inspections only by way of regime change”, a quote out of context by which he dishonors the persecuted whistleblower weapons expert Dr. David Kelly. He says the Kenneth Pollack’s candid reappraisal of his support for the war, the only really thoughtful reassessment in this Slate dialogue, does not ‘affect the essential case’ in the least, poor soul.

Meanwhile, Paul Berman reiterates with the fervor of the zealot how he is the only one who sees the broader and deeper picture.


Spalding Gray Is Reported Missing

I fear the worst for the famed, wry monologist who has been reported missing by his wife after failing to return from a walk in New York. The 62-year old Gray has been depressed since suffering a head injury in a 2001 auto accident and underwent psychiatric hospitalization in October 2002 after being talked down from a contemplated jump from a bridge. His mother apparently suicided when she was around his age.

(Many do not appreciate that, after a head trauma, a stroke or other brain insult, depression is not only common but recalcitrant, as it is not simply an emotional reaction to the demoralizing injury but often an ‘organic’ effect on the brain’s function. Not only the mood change but a deterioration in control over impulsive behavior, including self-destructive impulses, is often seen.)


Cold Mercy

From Garret: “Time for me to repeat my seasonal plea — have mercy on those without shelter. Extra blankets, clothes you might have. I used to purchase a “Happy Meal”? when returning from my own lunchtime in NYC [during the infamous Reagan years] and hand it to the first homeless person I would meet. Your “doggie bag” is a prime candidate for immediate donation. The homeless tend to be very appreciative of this gesture.

In this case [45-below wind chill?], there may be no other succour but to get the persons in shelter. If you see a homeless individual trying to tough it out, I would advise calling the police or other emergency service to have them take the individual to a shelter.” —dangerousmeta!


Bush Plan to Honor Dr. King Stirs Criticism

Bush makes a mockery of the memory of Dr. King on the seventy-fifth aniversary of his birth. The President’s perfunctory appearance at Dr. King’s grave allows him to get the federal government to pick up the considerable tab for the $2,000-a-plate Republican fundraiser in Atlanta. Civil rights leaders are outraged at the poor taste of pairing the two events.

Every president since Ronald Reagan has come to Atlanta, the birthplace of Dr. King, to lay a wreath at his grave. When President Clinton came in 1996, he received a standing ovation. But this presidential visit will be different. It seems to have lifted the lid on long-simmering anger many blacks feel toward Mr. Bush. Some Bush policies, including tax cuts mainly benefiting those with higher incomes and cutting back on welfare-type programs, have alienated black voters, analysts say. —New York Times