February 15th, 2007

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Good Article on Venezuala

Those aware of Venezuala and what's going on there probably have some vague notion that it amounts to a repeat of Castro in the 1960s (after all, Chavez himself claims Castro as an inspiration and that he is continuing his revolutionary tradition).

But this article in the Houston Chronicle (which hardly counts as a radical lefty publication) makes a number of important points for Americans who want to understand what is happening in Venezuala and, to some degree, in the rest of South and Central America.
http://www.freepress.net/news/20947. (link goes to free reprint on Free Press cite, which has Chronicle link embedded.)

I wish I had more time to write on this. The story of how the U.S. squandered the good will it enjoyed after the end of the Cold War -- a process of squandering that goes back to the Clinton administration and has a lot more to do with bread and butter trade issues than Iraq or Israel/Palestine or the one or two other "big ticket" items that are all people hear about in the media -- is one that needs to be understood for the formulation of a foreign policy that generates peace and economic propserity for us and the rest of the world.

Finally, it would be well to ask why we have taken zero action on Russia -- which has engaged in a far more egregiuous pattern of silencing critics, renationalizing industries, and opposing our interests abroad -- but are getting hot and bothered on Venezuala.
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What's the deal on Laura Sessions Stepp

I confess I am sufficiently old and out of the mainstream that I am having enormous trouble assessing whether Washington Post reporter Laura Sessions Stepp is accurately reporting on the current sexual and emotional lives of twenty-something women.

If so, it's intriguing and raises a host of fun sociological questions. Her whole description of the "hook up" culture with the deliberate desire to avoid emotional intimacy and commitment is almost a complete duplicate of the stereotypical male attitude of an earlier generation.

I'm also wondering about the male sex and relationship studies, if any.

The notion of sex being divorced from emotional intimacy is, of course, hardly new. But even in societies were sex, marriage, and emotional intimacy might have nothing to do with each other, there were other emotional and economic drivers for pair bonding and breeding.

A society in which both men and women avoid emotional intimacy, have no economic incentive to pair-bond or breed (and, in fact, strong economic incentive not to), and have ready access to non-intimate sex would be, I believe, a wholly new phenomena.

OTOH, her Washington Post Valentine's Day column seems to me much the stuff of right-wing fodder in the "feminists killed Cupid" mode, so I'm not entirely sure what to think. OTher than that I am old.

Now excuse me, I need to, as John Hodgeman might say, scurry upstairs and make like a parrie vole.