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My New American Politics Class

This is an American political development course focusing on some basic or core political conflict that has existed in this country for centuries and that reappears frequently in presidential elections.

My Notebooks

I'm going to start a new segment on my wiki called "notebooks." It will collect and contain links and remarks on subjects that interest me. The idea is to have a storage space of material for future harvest. I often lose thoughts and resources. I can't keep them in the back of my mind. This is especially true of news items that provoke me. I lose them when the time comes to actually use them in a work product. So I'll start tossing items into my notebook, organized by subject. It will only be short remarks, links and notes to myself.

My Notebooks


Wittgenstein on Moral Philosophy

Updated on Thursday, July 9, 2015 at 3:19PM by Registered CommenterSean Wilson

This looks interesting. The way they have framed the issue looks very good. The question is whether the idea of connoisseurship will even enter the picture at all (as it should). The book I am working on now will expand upon this idea. Why do I already suspect that the conference won't mention either my work or its contribution? I doubt the answer has anything to do with cynicism and everything to do with the nature of academic "clubs."

Click to read more ...


The Rolling Stones in Raleigh: Mixed Emotions

I have mixed emotions about the Stones in Raleigh (pun intentional). On the good side, Mick was actually singing instead of howling and talking in the songs. I think that was one of the best vocal performances I have seen from him live. And his voice held up pretty well, with only a few weak moments toward the end. And the set list was interesting at times. Moonlight Mile was fantastic. And they did Shine a Light by request, and it, too, was fantastic. They had admitted not practicing that one and asked for "patience." It was awesome! And I loved Out of Control.

The big problem of the night, however, was Keith's guitar. It was waaay to loud in the mix. At times it sounded like a metal show. The guitar was trebly and obnoxiously loud. Mick twice had difficulty correlating with Keith on harmonica. He even had to walk away from him because of his guitar outburst. I don't know if Keith is going deaf or what. But he ruined several songs. I had to plug my ear to compensate.

The Stones are built upon both guitars being equal, "talking" to each other in the songs. It's about a groove. There was not enough bass tone in the guitar mix, even though Ronnie Wood played Les Paul. Those rich tones were not turned up enough. Keith's "metal sound" just ruined so much.

Bottom line: I enjoyed the show. Mick was really good. But I wish Keith had been under control.    


The Legacy of President Obama

The president is indeed cementing quite an impressive legacy. He corrected the financial collapse and had a second-term economy that was very impressive. He gave the country health care while keeping federal spending at 20% of GDP -- which, today, is lower than Reagan. He kept faith with the neoliberal economics (the Clinton tax rates, federal reserve policies, free trade), and did not move Democrats too far to the left. He brought about major advances in solar power, something that will pay huge dividends in the future. He continued to foster the power and efficacy of the modern presidency (Hamilton would be proud). He killed Bin Laden. In fact, he killed many terrorist leaders, very efficiently. He lead on matters of state in conjunction with Western allies -- dealing, e.g., with Russia in an effective way. He tried to garner innovative alliances that would alter power relationships (Iran). His administration was witness to historic Supreme Court precedents, and his appointees -- both women -- seem to have been especially good picks. I'm already a big Kagan fan. I don't know that there has been another president in history who appointed so many good women (Janet Yellen is Fed chair). He endured a massive smear campaign all throughout the process. His enemies desperately wanted to make him a failure. The truth is: they were outdated failures, and history witnessed their pathology. He beat them twice. And he got his way despite a Congress that tried to obstruct him. All the while, he stayed above the fray, always being positive (optimistic). He was kind and uplifting. He was intelligent and dashing -- something we haven't seen since Jack Kennedy. He was a great role model for kids. He was the first African American president, and, predictably, he survived not only vitriolic hate, but an opposition culture that went fanatic and berserk (Tea Party). He'll leave office with a deficit that is back to normal in the post-Reagan era and an unemployment rate that will be in the 4% range.

And most importantly, he played the game for the long run. He never played for short term gain. He was always thinking about tomorrow. A very good president -- every bit as good as Bill Clinton. I'm proud of this president: I'm proud of who he is.