Monday, December 31, 2012
From the piece:
Even the most earth-shattering global events are difficult and sometimes impossible for the ostensibly most well-informed of governments and organizations to anticipate--indeed, they are difficult to anticipateas they are happening. As the political scientist Jay Ulfelder recently argued, by its very nature, international political forecasting will never be definitely solved by a Nate Silver-like numbers cruncher. Out in the real world, events gain an unpredictable momentum based on factors that no current statistical model can account for--which is another way of saying that political science can't perfectly comprehend the full spectrum of human nature. Such uncertainty is part of what makes foreign affairs so interesting in the first place. Yes, the latest Council on Foreign Relations Preventative Priorities Survey says that a war over Ngarno-Karbach isn't all that likely. But that doesn't mean that journalists won't be flocking to Baku and Yerevan at some point in 2013, pacing anxiously as the Azeri and Armenian militaries prepare for battle.
With that in mind, and with the utmost possible humility, here are six mostly vague and probably wrong predictions for the coming year. Whether they're vindicated or not, don't say we didn't warn you.
From the piece:
Come, then. Let us weep for the 20 children shot to pieces by the young man who invaded their elementary school wielding semiautomatic weapons. Let us mourn for the six adults who could not save the children, could not save themselves, who died as the children died, shot multiple times at close range. Let us whisper our sorrows and shed our tears. Let us stagger against one another in our mountainous grief. Let us light our candles and leave them at makeshift shrines to be cared for by the uncaring sun and rain.
But let us also understand these as acts of moral masturbation, in that they satisfy some need, yet have no chance of producing anything of lasting consequence. Let us not pretend our sorrow in this moment means a damn thing or changes a damn thing, because it doesn't and won't. Not until or unless the American nation is finally willing to confront its unholy gun love.
Update: There are some Washington reporters who are saying there's still a chance the House might vote tonight, though nothing is scheduled. Maybe the only thing it will mean is that tonight you are technically voting for a tax increase on upper-income earners while tomorrow you are technically voting for a tax cut on everyone except those upper-income earners?
Earlier: Multiple media outlets are reporting that there will be no vote in the House tonight on the developing fiscal cliff plan - though there might be one in the Senate - meaning taxes will technically go up on everyone at midnight.
What does that mean in the long run? If this deal comes together tomorrow or the next day, not much, at least when it comes to this round of craziness. But given the state of things, I'm sure Congress - and the rest of us - will find ample reason to continue jumping from political crisis to political crisis.
A Myrtle Beach man in the Charleston area earlier this year was charged for wearing a mask near the outside of a bank, and now this.
Does this stuff really make sense?
From the piece:
I did not then and do not now feel stronger, and the idea that the death of my little boy would have any positive effect on the lives of those who loved him still strikes me as obscene.
Maybe the updated, serious report about the Secretary of State will give people pause before going down this road again ...
Now that details of a potential deal are emerging, both sides are taking note, with many people on both sides of the aisle crying foul at one level or another. Sounds like progress to me.
Or, it could be that each side is spinning itself into a false perception that could make things worse just a few months from now:
From the piece:
Let’s call 2012 the year of the suicide: On Friday, the Department of the Army released a reportrevealing that suicides continue to outnumber combat-related deaths among American soldiers —an average of one suicide a day— a number that’s increasing despite the fact that the armed forces have installed new training and awareness programs over the past few years. Stateside, suicide has become the leading cause of death by injury, and is the 10th leading cause of death overall. According to a CDC report released over the summer, suicide attempts by high-school students has risen to from 6.3 percent in 2009 to 7.8 percent in 2011, and accounts for 13 percent of all deaths among people between the ages of 10 and 24 — the third leading cause of death in that age group.
I know we love blaming the politicians for the mess in Washington, but are our hands really clean?
We sent this mix of leaders to Capitol Hill. We created this divided government.