Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington under nine presidents and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

January 17, 2009



Living in a rural community if someone doesn't leave by age 18 when they graduate from high school, others think there was something wrong with them. What's the effect of that exodus on the local economy? The USDA has been doing a 35 year long study in the non-metropolitan US south: of those who leave, 40% may return (a higher percentage than other places), 60% leave. Some more telling statistics are that raising a child to high school graduation costs around $135,000, the local governmental payment for this schooling is about $100,000 and the expected family contribution for college is around $16,000. That adds up to $251,000 per student. With 34 high school graduates leaving town each year at $250,000 each, that's an $8,500,000 investment in young people that is exported every year. This is a huge "brain drain" that US colleges are doing intentionally around the world not to mention the very poor return on our investment. I think we need a static economy a la Herman Daly; the growth economy will kill the planet if we don't stop it. - Howard Switzer, Linden, TN


Church, heal thyself. I don't think people who advocate institutional pedophilia should have the right to say much of anything. - Robbie

I find it ironic that a guy who wears a dress, has his panties in such a tight bunch about homosexuality.

The underlying insanity of the church's postition on this (non)issue is made plain in its formulation that "homosexuality is not a sin, but homosexual acts are sinful". The creatures of George Orwell's Airstrip 1 could not have come up with a neater summation of the type of hysteria and illogic that surrounds the religiously-minded on this topic.


The whole stock market is a Ponzi scheme. The crooks take what they want and leave the crumbs to retail investors. As soon as this market somewhat recovers - I'm out - for good.


Sokal's publication in Social Texts closed the book for many on modern literary criticism--exposing it as a sham, a glass bead game, a jargon whose primary purpose is obfuscation of its underlying meaninglessness.

While some of the issues and methods raised in modern criticism are interesting, they are invariably pursued stupidly. It is a miserable irony that modern literary culture values neither clarity nor conciseness.

Most of Foucault's books could be condensed to index cards without losing a single idea. Derrida's life work might similarly fit on a gum wrapper. To call these authors worthless is an understatement. They have trivialized art and science, and seduced able minds away from worthwhile pursuits.

I welcome Fleming's criticism, and hope others like him succeed one day in purging the discipline of its clowns. - Todd


I wouldn't presume to speak to whether or not Obama is homophobic. That Rick Warren is, there is no doubt. "Unrepentent Gays" are not allowed to attend services at Saddleback Church. We have a bigot kicking off the inauguration.

We also have a President-Elect who, despite his promises to not pander to "special interests" or "do business as usual" in Washington, is doing exactly that.

Obama's pandering offends me as much as Warren's bigotry. So much so, that I have "unsubscribed" to all things Obama-related. - Elder Lady

It's refreshing to know that, with the dawning of the Age of Obama will also come the dawning of the knowledge that black evangelicals are every bit as perversely stupid as their white brothers.

If Obama wants to include someone who disagrees with him to give the invocation, who could possibly be more appropriate than Sam Smith, who has proved incapable of finding a nice thing to say about Barack. Rick Warren is a horrible choice, a modern Elmer Gantry who has done very, very well in the religion game. Please, oh please, no religion at this or any inauguration. A poet, fine one, that is, perhaps allusive but not didactic. An inscrutable poet, dense and unfathomable, whose words leave Wolf Blitzer speechless, the way he is best endured.

This from a presumably progressive commentator: "He's really the wrong person to lead the president into office." Why should any monotheistic preacher lead your president into office? You Usanians sound weirder than ever - Axel, Montreal


He should invite them to his Inauguration. - Robbie


Obama's appointments,
including four retired four-star generals in top security posts, keeping the heads of the DOD and CIA in place, begs the question of who has appointed whom. Do not expect anything from one who is apparently a hood ornament. Ditto for our rubber-stamp Congress. Try to realize how far down the fascist road we are, folks. Did you vote for the detention camps that a Halliburton subsidiary is building around the country? Did you vote for American infantry divisions to be trained for crowd control and counter-insurgency within the USA? Wake up and consider that the hell that we have wreaked around the world for the last sixty years may be coming home. - Tony Vodvarka

I wish the progressive left would just shut up and stop whining, at least until after Jan. 20th. America is a profoundly conservative country; it will never be Denmark or Germany. You should be deeply grateful the Bushies are out of power.

I still think President-elect Obama is going to surprise a lot of people, just not in the way you think. Try to be a little patient. FDR ran an identical campaign and he was from a ruling class background, not a self-made man of minority background. Obama's success has stunned the world. At least be willing to cut him some slack until he is actually in power. What about the honeymoon? And, by the way, your comparing him to Madoff is beneath contempt. - R Hagar, Pope Valley, CA

I didn't fall in love with Obama, in fact I thought that he was a Trojan horse. I had read about his connections and his wife's connections and they didn't sound like progressive heroes to me. Still I did give in the end because everyone around me was just plain loving this man. I am not surprised now and I find his choices disgusting and I am not looking forward to the next act in this disgusting play - the one that began with the election of that grade B actor. I could not believe that people believed in his lies so you see that leaves me out in the cold wishing that I could come in.

Wow, the guy hasn't even taken office yet and already you and everyone else here are demonizing him. Thanks a lot for giving him the chance to prove or disprove your thesis. Don't forget that his appointees are going to be taking direction from him; at the very least, give him the chance to do so before writing him off. If things get as bleak as you paint them in a year or two, then I'll buy your argument. - Thomas

The parallel with Mr. Madoff
is exactly right. And we're all so shocked with him that nobody suspected a thing was amiss. Like the hustler is duty bound to tip us off or something? Am scraping the damned Obama-Biden sticker off my long suffering bumper - Another sucker in Detroit

Obama's recent appointments
are another good reason reporters or other citizens should pester candidates about their potential staff choices during the course of a campaign. I doubt Mr. Obama started thinking of his cabinet list only after November 4. - xilii


I'm in Nebraska, and there are no acorns here, either. Poor squirrels are resorting to eating whatever one puts out for the birds. I broke down and bought a sack of squirrel feed.


Well, that's only fair. The Palestinians are killing Israeli citizens and the Israelis are killing Palestinian terrorists. In fact, 20 to 1 probably understates the relative value of civilians to terrorists. Of course, the resident anti-Semites will sing a different tune.


Your revisionist lies about Ronald Reagan will play better after those of us that lived through those years are gone. Convince the young people, scum, because you will never convice us, comrade.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I lived through Reagan and there is nothing revisionist about Sam's take on him. You obviously still haven't taken off your rose-colored GOP glasses.

January 18, 2009 9:57 AM  

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