Saturday, November 28, 2009

Carnival of the Liberals 99

Welcome to this month's selection of the best in Liberal blogging - or the best in North American Liberal blogging, to be precise. As this carnival's occasional token British host, every now and then I get an unrivalled opportunity to catch up with what is happening on the other side of the Atlantic.

The rules have changed since the last time I did this. These days I have to choose the best 10 posts from those nominated and then list all the rest that have been nominated this month (apart from those from the lady who sent in 15 different posts from her own blog).

The Top 10
Let's begin with My Political Side, where Susan Gaissert writes: "We need a new myth. The cowboy is a man of the past."

I had a cowboy suit and a gun that fired caps when I was a little boy in the 1960s. And I came to appreciate Westerns later in life when I realised that they are the American version of the Classical myths: wild country, strange weather, hostile forces.

But I think Susan is right when she says:
The cowboy myth, with its “bring it on” swagger, is outdated. Even the pioneers didn’t stay pioneers. They formed towns and cities and states and a country that must keep advancing in the way it treats people. Therefore, little boys must grow up and stop playing “cowboys and Indians.”
But then my favourite Westerns tell you just this. Little Joey has to stay and grow up to be a farmer rather than ride off with Shane. In Once Upon a Time in the West the men kill one another with their silly games. It is Claudia Cardinale who endures and builds the town. As the camera pulls back you are suddenly aware of all the Black and Chinese faces among the labourers. She has built America.

I don't know where this new myth is to come from - it is the people that chooses their myths not governments that impose them - and here in Britain the lack of a frontier or wilderness - real or metaphorical - is at the root of our malaise. But I am sure Susan is right.

Almost as American as the Western, we European liberals tend to think, is the death penalty.

Joint Stock Company has a thoughtful post on State governors' approaches to clemency appeals:
Sometimes it seems like Gov. Perry isn’t concerned with doing justice, and would rather not be bothered by the details. It takes a special kind of hubris to be so sure based on such little evidence. The Dallas Morning News calls it a “political blunder“, but isn’t the bigger point that we should consider this an ethical blunder a breach of the governor’s public duty to seek justice?
Another form of American (and other) government-sponsored killing is that taking place in the Middle East. The End Times Hoax looks at the effect of this back home, concentrating on the case of Major Nidal Malik Hasan.

It is not the main point of the post, but I was struck by this observation:
In other mass casualty shootings across America one of the common denominators conveniently overlooked is the use of psychotropic drugs by those doing the shooting. The media has generally ignored the more pervasive and dangerous legal prescription drug pandemic going on in the public school system.
(((Billy))) the Atheist looks at the continuing Conservative reaction to Obama's victory in the last Presidential election. Maybe I am misreading him and he is being ironic all the way through, but I sense he shares my disappointment with modern Conservatives. Where are the Conservative virtues like respect for authority, love of tradition and high moral standards? They just aren't very Conservative these days.

Still we mustn't be too hard on them. The Primate Diaries points us to research showing that:
determined was that Republican men showed significant reductions in testosterone after they learned that their candidate had lost the election.
Marriage is a concern of the next two posts. At Sex and Relationships, Mandy van Deven looks at the work of Lauren Rosewarne, who asks if sleeping with a married man is sexist. Rosewarne concludes that it is, but feminist flesh may be as weak as any other.

Meanwhile, Michelle Ball at The Gaytheists pledges:
I’ll continue to fight for marriage equality for same-sex couples, to hit the pavement and talk until people’s ears bleed, because without it, my [straight] marriage isn’t equal.
On to health reform. At Disillusioned Words, Jeffrey Slingerstein sets out his ambitions:
In a country that has more wealth than any nation in the history of Civilization, it is abominable that some Americans must go without. We can achieve change. We can have a system that works. We can have the highest life expectancy in the world. The question is whether or not we have the will.
Jacob Johnson at Common Sense Caucus would sympathise. He believes that Democratic campaigning on the subject has not been ruthless enough so far, but that there is still time to put things right.

Finally in the Top 10, Correr Es Mi Destino writes on the travails of being an atheist in North America:
Religion isn’t part of private life: it’s everywhere. It bothered me for a while that public buses in Ottawa have religious-supported anti-abortion ads. Abortion is legal in Canada and although it can be your choice not to go that way if you ever find yourself facing this issue, let others make up their mind.
I don’t like when people come to my door and try to convert me. I’m busy and you are invading my private space, no matter how nice you are.

The Other Nominations ("You're All Winners")

Let's see if we can sort these into categories.

Humour (You say "Humor" I say "Humour")
Mad Kane's Political Madness submitted five limericks:

Sexual politics

Andrew Heath on The Ugly Side of Workplace Discrimination against Gays and Lesbians.

The Primate Diaries says The Gay Animal Kingdom Should Now Be Required Reading.

Disillusioned Words sees The Bigots Win in Maine. give their WTF of the Week: Et tu Maine?

Culture (aka I can't think of any more categories)

The Evolving Mind offers Quick Hits: Nurturing Pro-Social Behavior

Martial Development looks at When the Powerful Copy the Weak: Eric Hoffer’s American Prophecy

The Primate Diaries tells us to Remember, Remember the Fifth of November. Eric Johnson might be reassured to know that in the town where I live (Market Harborough, since you ask) the best firework display on 5 November is the one held by the Roman Catholic primary school.

Greg Laden's Blog cries Let the War on Christmas Begin. Atheist Style.

The Richmonder searches for The invisible campaign of Creigh Deeds.

Joint Stock Company is Rethinking aid: Getting the Basics Right.

Winter Harvest is Reviewing the Insanity Plea.

Rough Fractals says Let Us Now Praise Famous Men - Mike and Son...

U.S. Common Sense has the pithiest title of all - Nigel Coleman: Idiot

I had not heard of Mr Coleman before, but I feel I know him now.

Next Time

The next Carnival of the Liberals will be posted on 26 December at And Doctor Biobrain's Response Is... All nominations via the Carnival home page please.



Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for including my pos5t. I am honored! I look forward to reading the other posts.

Ruchira Paul said...

Good selection. Thanks for hosting the Carnival and for saying "humour."

U.S. Common Sense said...

You would be surprised by how many people did a Google search for "Nigel Coleman is an idiot" that weekend. Glad to see so many out there shared the same first impression on the news item. :)

Anonymous said...

I realized that when I thanked you, I wrote the link for my unschooling blog, instead of my political blog. (Well, actually, unschooling is a political act . . .) So, thanks again -- I loved your rlections about your favorite western films. And I'm signing off with the correct link this time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for including my article. I'm glad it found a good home at your blog ;-)