Tuesday, January 26, 2010

This and That

Just when I thought I actually knew something about the Japanese language, I was reminded how far I have to go (and have come) when the first Level 3 class convened last night. Same teacher as we had for levels 1 and 2, and four of my pals from the first semester came along for the ride. So it was nice to see familiar faces and pick up with friends and language skills where I left off in early December.


Mom is truckin' along with her new hip. The Bionic Woman shows guts and determination, as she is up and about and walking the halls of her own home. She's getting on that plane to M's Bar Mitzvah in a few weeks---I have no doubt about that. Amazing. So happy for her and grateful for this so-far ideal outcome.


Paul Krugman's column yesterday in the NYT echoes my own thoughts about the Fed and Bernancke, which I wrote about here http://bobonaroll.blogspot.com/2010/01/fed-up.html. Krugman comes out on the side of let's reappoint Bernancke, which I agree with basically. What I don't see is a willingness to structure financial regulatory reform in a way that is not Fed-based, and, frankly, if that is the outcome facing us, then that will be a big signal from DC that this team is not serious about preventing another Catastrophe. Krugman's point--which I strongly agree with--is that the members of the 'club' have all drunk the Koolaid and are unlikely to reach beyond conventional practice for solutions with teeth. When it walks like a duck and eats like a duck and quacks like a duck, well, it's just....a duck!


The French have done it again. There is now a dress code for Muslim women that will prevent them from wearing "all encompassing" veils that hide their faces in public accommodations such as government offices, public transport, etc. This new policy, when combined with the ban on head scarves for girls in schools, should give us all pause. Under this same logic, shouldn't Orthodox Jewish women be asked to remove their wigs when undergoing identity checks so that the authorities can have a better look at their natural hair color and head markings? Though the burkas and eye slit head coverings worn by some Muslim women seem weird and repressive to me, should government be in a position to make these judgments? At Glenbrook North High School back in the day, the dean and associate dean would patrol the halls to ensure that no boy could wear his hair long enough to touch his shirt collar. Great use of public funds, huh?


The most consequential decision impacting our politics has come from the recent Supreme Court ruling which treats corporations as persons for the purpose of laws regulating political campaign contributions and spending on behalf of candidates for public office. It's just a disaster for our country and further entrenches the power of money versus the power of ideas in our democracy. We can't turn the clock back to the pamphleteering Thomas Paine era, but shouldn't the Justices weigh more seriously the impact of financial corruption on our constitutional system. I sometimes wonder whether correct jurisprudence yields an outcome that nobody really wants, and that we do more harm than good by upholding a particular view of the Constitution and our citizenry that ignores on-the-ground impact of a financial free-for-all.

1 comment:

  1. Have a wonderful, eye-popping trip. I look forward to "travelling with you" via your postings.