After visiting my folks, we went to Fort Collins to visit my in-laws. I went to high school and a few years of college in that town, so used to know it pretty well. Visiting there is often a bit tricky for me, but never so much as this time. I am not sure why, but the ghosts were really out in abundance this trip. Perhaps the emotions of all the family stuff, I am not sure. I was reminded of the story about the 100 year old composer who referred to the different people he has been during his life, and that kept coming to mind as I drove around my old haunts. I am a completely different person than I was when I lived in Fort Collins, and have no real good way to introduce the Streak of today to the one some would see. It was an odd feeling.
I have been catching up on the news after really being out of the loop for the last week. Tony caught several good stories, including another Wiley Drake idiocy and the RNC chair nominee who sent around the "Barack the Magic Negro" recording (from the Rush Limbaugh show) to help his candidacy. Stay classy, Republicans. Just keep doing what you are doing. As TPM noted, appealing to white racists can't go wrong, right?
Once more with feeling: Virginity pledges don't work - Feministing: "Yet another study shows that teenagers who take virginity pledges are just as likely to have pre-marital sex than non-pledgers. And, naturally, after years of being taught that birth control pills are evil and condoms cause cancer - teens who take virginity pledges are less likely to use contraception when they do have sex."That is what bothers me about this approach. I have no problem urging and encouraging abstinence, but when it is presented alone, it endangers kids. It isn't just a policy that doesn't work, it actually causes more harm.
Krugman's column is especially good this time. As readers of this blog know, I am increasingly frustrated with the Grover Norquist approach to policy, and believe we are seeing the consequences of a "tax-cut" first economic policy. Our states are in big economic trouble as they are being squeezed on both ends. Federal funds have declined, and their own attacks on taxes has reduced their ability to raise revenue. It all works ok when the economy is flush, but when it is in decline, we are in trouble. Here is hoping that Norquist's brand of destructive policy will be the real casualty of this economic slide.
Finally, just catching up on the Israeli incursion into Gaza. I still don't know what to think of it, though I hate to see any of this. Listened to NPR coming through Wichita and realized that I simply don't trust Israel any more. I completely distrust Hamas, to be sure, but Israel has lost a lot of credibility over the last few years. Add to that the timing which seems clearly because they know that they can bomb anyone they want with George Bush as President, and you can see my discomfort. I support Israel just as I support any sovereign nation's right to defend itself, and truly believe there is a lot of legitimacy to their problems with Hamas, but also think that Israel has not been a completely honest broker in the region of late.
Anyway. Good to be back and hope to hear from people.