Sunday, December 30, 2007

This and That

I'm not sure if it's a particularly tenacious virus, a severe cold, exhaustion from this past quarter, or some combo of all of the above, but I'm still battling the tail end of a severe cold/the flu, which has included a sore throat, a cough that felt like someone was grating bricks in my chest, and, over the last few days, an earache (which I haven't had in years), which explains the lack of posts over the last week. I've felt too horrible to do much of anything except taking lots of medicine and drinking lots of tea, paying bills, reading books and essays I hadn't managed to finish during the quarter, venturing out only when necessary, answering necessary emails, and, for those students and friends who may have been wondering, sending off recommendations. I haven't been able to focus enough even to post some unfinished prior posts, memorializing Vèvè Clark and others (Jane Rule, Karlheinz Stockhausen, St. Clair Bourne, Oscar Peterson) who've passed, but I'll try to do so soon.

So here's a belated best wishes for the holidays--Merry Christmas and Happy Kwanzaa (Habari Gani)--to people dropping in here, and I'll try to post a timely New Year's Day message.


A belated congratulations to Byron and Richard, whose commitment ceremony took place on Christmas Day in Santo Domingo. Felicidades, and here's to a lifetime of love and joy between them.


I don't have anything to add to the spate of online commentary about the horrific assassination of Benazir Bhutto the other day beyond my sadness at this turn of events, though I do want to note one minor point: I've been noting that few online commentators, and certainly none of the mainstream media talking heads, have discussed the stated politics of her Pakistan's People's Party, which is socialist in its vision, if not in name. That is, the current right-wing administration had brokered a deal to install a socialist-leaning party in power as a way of maintaining--if not legitimizing--the authoritarian rule of dictator Pervez Busharraf Musharraf, but then I no longer doubt that the W Gang has any clue as to the ramifications of its actions. As my cousin Lowell Denny pointed out to me in an email the party's stated principles, viewable on its website, include: "Socialism is our economics." You can't be clearer than that. I'm not sure how much Bhutto intended to hold to this transparent notion, but considering Pakistan's current economic problems and widespread poverty, and considering this administration's overt hostility towards avowed socialist governments (socialist-lite, like Brazil or Chile, is much more palatable), I wonder how far Bhutto and the PPP would have gotten with even modest socialist-leaning economic "reforms" before the US began actively trying to destabilize her government. It appears their close ally wasn't going to take any chances.

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