Thursday, October 30, 2014

Falling Prey to the Thatcher-Reagan Zeitgeist

A couple of weeks ago, I wondered if it was possible to say, discuss, think of, a just society because our reference points had moved so far to the right under the influence of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

Thomas Edsall provides an example:
What if the notion that a large segment of the electorate is made up of moderates who hunger for centrist compromise is illusory? What if ordinary voters are, in many respects, even more extreme in their views than members of Congress?
And I would ask
What if the political commentators who are so obsessed with centrist compromise are asking the wrong questions?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bits and Pieces - October 23, 2014

This is really important: Russia Today Lacks Resources to Use ‘Crimean Scenario’ Everywhere It Might Like, Moscow Analysts Say. Russia simply does not have the military forces to continue a low-level war in Ukraine, destabilize the Baltic States, occupy the Arctic, and guard its border with China. This is why President Obama and European leaders don't bother to respond to Vladimir Putin's bluster. It's just bluster. I hope to do a more quantitative post on this.

A couple of good new blogs: "Millysievert" describes herself as: Professional nuclear layperson, a.k.a. Executive Assistant to the World Nuclear Association Director General. Got a C in GCSE Physics. Fascinated by nuclear despite that. She is letting us join her learning curve at Nuclear Layperson. Red mercury is famous as a substance that makes nuclear weapons easier to build. Except it doesn't exist. Now it seems to be in Africa and someone finds it necessary to debunk it.

In case you missed it: how sex began.

Kazakhstan is where apples came from. Like a lot of other plants, their genetic diversity is now in danger.

Does Ebola immunize people without their getting sick? Other viruses do, and if Ebola does, the prospects for a general epidemic are less.

If you need a holiday, today is Mole Day!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hilary Mantel on Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan turned the Anglo-American world around. In office at the same time, they thought similarly, a reaction to the slowdown of postwar liberalism. The political ideas that had given the United States prosperity and rebuilt Britain in the fifties turned out, unsurprisingly, not to have covered everything. Some aspects of liberal economics, along with actions like OPEC’s oil embargo, slowed economies. Voters were ready for a change, and Thatcher and Reagan offered a new start.