Wednesday, November 03, 2004


I won't be adding my thoughts to the many who will be commenting on the elections. Suffice it to say that if Democrats want national power, they ought to look to Illinois for a model. The state is rural, conservative, white, industrial, urban, liberal, diverse, and wealthy. What works in Illinois will work elsewhere. Try moderate politics, embracing policies that are good for people, regardless of where they come from, and making things work. Just a thought.


A few weeks ago I finally finished The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto. It is about New York in the Dutch period. Shorto is too much the New Yorker, and gets on thin ice when he claims that American values of tolerance come from the Dutch influence in New York. I would argue that most immigrants brought tolerance with them, since they generally left somewhere to be left alone. All in all, however, it is a pretty interesting read. RECOMMENDATION: get it at the library.

Last night I finished Plague by Edward Marriott. It is sort of all over the place. It tells the story of the discovery of the plague bacillus in Hong Kong, then meanders through some other plague issues and cool rat stories. The point was that the Japanese guy who was credited with discovering the bacillus didn't, and that plague could break out again any day, especially since there are drug-resistant strains in Madagascar. It was OK. RECOMMENDATION: borrow it from a friend, don't take the energy to go to the library for it.

Now I am reading Gunter Grass's Crabwalk. I kind of like it, but I suspect it will be too Grassian for most people. Thank God I'm reading it in English. Some of the changes in perspective are tough enough to follow in English. In German he would have lost me.


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