Monday, January 30, 2017

Juan Cole

I read this months ago, and it's been bee-bopping in my head recently. Just might be the best paragraph Cole' ever written:

It is downright weird that we haven’t been able to find any evidence of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, given how old and big it is.  It occurs to me that carbon-based life may have a tendency to evolve toward an intelligent species that discovers how to manipulate fire.  But in each case, it isn’t quite intelligent enough to avoid burning so many hydrocarbons that it cooks its planet and causes its own extinction.  Hence, no radio waves from these serial hyper-tropical worlds. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

"LBJ: Architect of American Ambition" by Randall B. Woods

I recently read that bio. Two great passages in it:

Chapter 11, A Populist Gentlemen's Club, p. 246:
The North and Midwest viewed the Southeast as the most backward part of the nation, the most resistant to change, and the most out of step with postwar realities. Southerners viewed the Northeast as economic exploiters and racist hypocrites.

Chapter 39, Tet, p. 818:
Reform is rare and difficult in the United States, a deeply conservative country.