Restating the Obvious

Which direction do prayers go?

When Christians — and here I am speaking particularly of rightwing Christians who typically care nothing for the this-worldly condition of other people — offer thoughts and prayers following a disaster, what does it mean? Are the freethinkers right, that it just means “I don’t really ...

A little book tells a story

While listening to the Christian Broadcasting Network, I heard a commercial for a hate book about Muslims. The pitch started like this: “We Christians with our commitment to tolerance may have difficulty understanding a religion dedicated to intolerance . . .”: Although no cult has a ...

Book Review 402: The Army and Vietnam

THE ARMY AND VIETNAM, by Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr. 318 pages, illustrated. Johns Hopkins paperback In 1986, Andrew Krepinevich, then on the faculty at West Point, published his devastating critique of the ignominious American defeat in South Vietnam. It was then 14 years since the retreat, and ...

Real news

I.F. Stone, the red journalist, used to say that the government publishes everything it knows, a reporter just has to work to find it. Stone came to that conclusion as a result of a personal crisis. When he began losing his hearing and could no longer conduct interviewsS he began reading ...

How guns protect

Follow this link: http://juanitajean.com/fun-with-guns-what-did-the-lord-say-cometh-before-a-fall-edition/

Book Review 403: Lord Strange’s Men and Their Plays

LORD STRANGE’S MEN AND THEIR PLAYS, by Lawrence Manley and Sally-Beth MacLean.475 pages, illustrated. Yale It sounds like a summary of today’s news: “Dread of foreign enemies and a series of unsuccessful military adventures abroad, coupled with fear of dissension and conspiracy at ...

Book Review 401: The Maisky Diaries

THE MAISKY DIARIES: Red Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, edited by Gabriel Gorodetsky. 584 pages, illustrated. Yale No insurance underwriter in the late ‘30s would have considered a policy on Ivan Maisky, a half-Jew Menshevik with bourgeois tastes who worked for Joe Stalin as ...

A request to the gun nuts

I suppose it is too early after the child murders in California today to talk about gun control. I don't know how long we are supposed to wait. However long that is, could you gun nuts please call a moratorium on mass child murders for the appropriate length of time so we can get on with it?

Ramblin’ man

Wow! WBD enters the Twilight Zone. And as long as I'm running through pop-cult items, there's this:

Hoping for Armageddon

The Guardian has an interview with the survivors of the famiy that had had members murdered thanks to the fact that the United States does not have any gun laws. It will sound unbelievable to sane people, but I grew up among these fanatics and I can assure that you out in the reality-based ...

Book Review 400: The Holocaust and the Book

THE HOLOCAUST AND THE BOOK: Destruction and Preservation, edited by Jonathan Rose. 314 pages, illustrated. Massachusetts Just days after Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany, university students organized a series of book collections and carefully staged burnings across the nation. This ...

Thoughts and prayers

So, another big shoot-'em-up in a gun-crazy state. Somehow or other, the presence of heavily armed citizens did not deter the shooter. Rightwingers -- specifically Attorney General Ken Paxton, than whom you can get no further right -- offered thoughts and prayers. They never say what they are ...

The mistake in the tax bill

It probably isn't a mistake. More likely it's a con job from the rightwing. But for the purpose of elucidation, it doesn't matter, so let's be generous and assume that the Republicans pushing the tax changes are stupid. Hey, it could happen! The details in the bill don't matter, only the ...

Book Review 399: Female Complaints

FEMALE COMPLAINTS: Lydia Pinkham and the Business of Women’s Medicine. 304 pages, illustrated. Norton. You can still buy Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound, although it is now called “Herbal Compound” and its ingredients are not the same as in the 1875 product that launched billions ...

Ten-Shun!

A wise and prudent man who holds a high government position would probably not want to reveal that he is a fanboy of the Lost Cause and an apologist for slavery. John Kelly was presented, uncritically, as a disciplined, sharp, controlled ex-Marine when he became WBD's chief of staff. A sort ...

Book Review 398: A Pint of Plain

A PINT OF PLAIN: Tradition, Change, and the Fate of the Irish Pub by Bill Barich. 242 pages. Walker, $25 The Irish pub was reeling when Bill Barich wrote”A Pint of Plain” in 2007-8. At the time, it appeared that modernity would do for them, in two ways — first, prosperity was making pubs ...

Pence is a nazi too

America used to be a free country. In theory anyway. You didn't have to pass a religion test to go to college -- like in England-- and you did not risk your job by voting for the wrong party. There were exceptions. Individual employers could be unfair, and the FBI tried to keep people it ...

Book Review 397: The politics of the Prussian Army

THE POLITICS OF THE PRUSSIAN ARMY 1640-1945, by Gordon A. Craig. 538 pages. Oxford paperback. A detailed study of “The Politics of the Prussian Army” might not have seemed to have had any relevance to American politics when it was published 60 years ago, but circumstances change and today ...

Sessions the nazi

Attorney General Jeff Sessions attacked federal judges yesterday. He sounded like a nazi. That's because he is. " 'Some judges have failed to respect our representatives in Congress and failed to appropriately respect the prerogatives and perspectives of the executive branch,' the ...

A case of fruit beer

About 50 years ago, I read about fruit beer, but it was decades before I ever saw any. If ever there was a monoculture, it was American beermaking between 1945 and about 1976. But eventually, I found myself in an Austrian restaurant on Long Island which had raspberry beer on the menu. They ...