April 05, 2011

Many, Many Thanks

I regret that this will be just a brief note. But I want to express my profound gratitude to all those who responded to my plea for help. Your kindness is overwhelming. I find it impossible to express my thanks properly.

I'll be all right in terms of basic living expenses for the next several months. That is a very great relief indeed. Given my concerns about my "recovery" from the latest heart episode (and related problems), I'll see if I can get at least some small amount of medical care. I might be able to manage one visit to a doctor of my choosing (as opposed to a free medical clinic, which can't offer the kind of assistance I need at this point based on the inquiries I've made). But since I have no insurance, the cost of even basic tests is significant, so I'm not sure how much good that might do. I'll make some further calls, though, and see what's possible. I confess that I don't hold out much hope on that score, but I also hope to be proven wrong.

At the moment, I have to rest a lot more. I'd been feeling a little bit better for a day or two, but since Sunday I've been feeling worse again. On top of everything else, I'm having a lot of trouble getting any restful sleep, for I keep getting jolted awake by awful muscle spasms and cramps. Compared to my other ailments, cramps are exceedingly minor, but they're very painful and make it almost impossible to relax fully and get sleep which is genuinely refreshing to any meaningful degree. So uncomfortably lying down is what I end up doing, but lying down still is better than trying to sit up for more than a couple of minutes.

But damn it, there are some things I want to write about. I have been able to make some notes about two new essays, and I'm hoping I can actually devote time to them in a day or two.

My great thanks to all of you once more. I'd also hoped to write some thank-you emails by now, but I'm afraid my physical limitations are making that close to impossible at the moment. Please forgive me if I seem at all unappreciative. As I've said, and as I repeat, my gratitude is immense. My failing body makes it enormously difficult for me to express it in all the ways I would wish to.

I hope to be back with a new article or two in a few days. Bless you all.

April 02, 2011


[Two Updates appear at the bottom of this post. I had originally placed them here in full, but decided to move them to the end in keeping with the general style followed in such matters. I'll keep to that style in future. The text of the Updates is unchanged.]

Kevin Drum:
So what should I think about this? If it had been my call, I wouldn't have gone into Libya. But the reason I voted for Obama in 2008 is because I trust his judgment. And not in any merely abstract way, either: I mean that if he and I were in a room and disagreed about some issue on which I had any doubt at all, I'd literally trust his judgment over my own. I think he's smarter than me, better informed, better able to understand the consequences of his actions, and more farsighted. I voted for him because I trust his judgment, and I still do.
SCENE: The Oval Office. President Obama and Kevin Drum are in conference. They are alone.

OBAMA: It's been great seeing you, Kevin. I need lots of supporters just like you, especially in 2012. Now, I need you to do one more thing for me.

DRUM: Of course, Mr. President. I literally trust your judgment over my own! I think you're smarter than me, better informed, better able to understand the consequences of your actions, and more farsighted! Whatever you need. Please tell me. Please.

OBAMA: I want you to take a deep breath, Kevin. Then hold it. Just hold it, until I tell you otherwise. Don't take a breath again until I say you can.

(Drum does as he is instructed. Two minutes pass.)

DRUM: (very quietly, with a sound of gentle inquiry) Mmmfffttt?!?!?!?!

OBAMA: (smiling, with approval and encouragement in his tone) You're doing fine, Kevin. Don't breathe! This is the path to still greater enlightenment! You trust me, don't you, Kevin? More than you trust yourself? You said you did. Didn't you mean it? (A note of sternness enters his voice.) I hope you meant it.

DRUM: (weakly nods his head affirmatively) Mmm-hmmm!! (After another minute or so, his face begins to turn purple.)

OBAMA: It's absolutely crucial that you don't breathe, Kevin. If you take even the smallest breath, the effect will be ruined. Full enlightenment, Kevin! It's coming!!

(Several more minutes pass.)

DRUM: (barely audible) Mmm...ff...tt.... (His mumbles finally trail away. His head droops, and he falls from his chair onto the floor.

After several minutes, Obama presses a button on his desk. Two paramedics enter and cross to Drum's body. One of them checks for a pulse.)


OBAMA: Notify his family. Be gentle. And inspiring! He died for his country, for his chosen leader. No greater duty hath any man! (Obama smiles broadly.) Who's still out there?

SECOND PARAMEDIC: (checking the list he's carrying) Um, that guy with the funny name ... oh, yeah, Atrios. And a woman with a funny name, Digby. What's with all the funny names?

OBAMA: Who knows, who cares. God, I love my supporters, especially the ones with "reservations." They're the best! They still always come through for me in the end. And shit, it's not like I need any of them in particular. Plenty more where they came from! (He offers his most dazzling smile.) And I hardly ever have this much fun. Oh, except with Bradley Manning. Christ, I love that guy. Bombing people thousands of miles away just isn't the same. Still fun, but you don't get the same rush, know what I mean? (He laughs. The paramedics join in, and then they carry Drum's body out of the office.

Obama sits back, and smiles again. As the lights slowly dim, we hear his soft chuckles continue.)

UPDATE: I just reread Drum's post, noting that it is dated April 1. Is it possible this was Drum's idea of an April Fool's joke? Perhaps; a few turns of phrase suggest that to me (although it's not very well executed, if that was the intent). But if it is a joke, I would suggest the joke is finally on Drum. That is: he did vote for Obama, as he tells us -- and he did despite the fact that some of us loudly and repeatedly trumpeted what Obama stood for and what he would do, including in foreign affairs. And I'm virtually certain that Drum will vote for Obama again next year. After all, even though Obama has adopted every one of Bush's policies that people of Drum's political persuasion denounced (and even expanded a number of them), we can't possibly let Republicans take over, can we? I mean (sputter sputter sputter), Republicans are crazy!

So, ah, where's the joke exactly? The mindset Drum describes -- in particular, the deference to authority and America as a prime example of what I call an "obedience culture" -- is precisely the problem that so terribly afflicts most people today, as it has throughout much of history. I will soon have much more on that subject, all jokes aside.

P.S. By entertaining the possibility that Drum intended this as a joke in some manner, I may be paying him a compliment he doesn't deserve. I'm just that kind of guy. :>)

OH, DEAR: Dear, dear, dear. Dearie me. Drum was entirely serious. As the first Update indicates, I am an unfailingly charitable fellow. And to think some readers consider me harsh, implacable and unforgiving! How I survive in such an unjust world continues to astonish me. (Other readers view me in terms that I will not repeat, not because those terms are exceedingly nasty and negative, but because they are unimaginatively so. If my critics demonstrated a bit more creativity, I would be more willing to engage them.)

As I've already indicated, I'll have more about Drum's posts and the more general issues when I continue my examination of the tragically widespread problem of deference to authority and the "obedience culture." Until then, I will note that Drum is a thoroughly execrable thinker (and writer).

And his own "judgment" stinks worse than the top 10 stinky cheeses in the world combined into one. On an insufferably hot summer day.

That right there is eloquent, baby.