Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Republicans Trash and Cash Strategy

I was speaking briefly yesterday with an elderly fellow about our soured economy and he said "Boy, some change we got", which was meant to be a bite at President Obama. It isn't like he voted for him, or ever liked him at all.

The narrative many follow now is that everything was hunky dory until Jan. 2009 when Obama was sworn into office, neatly avoiding all reality, ignoring the crisis craziness about our tanking economy in 2008 when Republican candidate for prez John McCain held a press conference saying the presidential debate should be canceled so politicos could rally in Washington for an emergency meeting (which never really happened). But now, of course, all changes enacted to stop the battering of our economy are horrible, evil failures from an evil Marxist dictator.

Republicans hunt out cameras like they're supermodels, trash all policy plans from Democrats in Congress and from President Obama's administration, then run home, checks in hand from those same policies, and claim success for saving jobs. And not just a few of them - the list is long and part of the public record.

Rep. Phil Roe here in East Tennessee did it too.

And Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander did the same, as they arrived to cheer the re-opening of a Tennessee auto plant, thanks to a plan they called evil.

The crowd of employees booed them.

At a ceremony to celebrate the news on Friday, Tennessee politicians flocked to get a piece of the happy action, including Republican Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, along with Rep. Marsha Blackburn -- all three of whom voted against the auto bailout. The UAW employees in attendance booed lustily, saving their strongest scorn for Corker, who made no friends in union ranks two years ago when he argued that no federal aid should go to American car companies until and unless worker wages and benefits were reduced to levels "competitive" with foreign labor.

GM's employees did end up taking a hit in the managed bankruptcy organized by the Obama administration. But it wasn't as brutal a blow as southern Republicans representing work-for-hire states like Tennessee would have preferred. And since it was a Democratic administration that ultimately came to the rescue of the auto industry, the auto-bailout immediately had to be dubbed "a major power grab." Socialism! Or Fascism! Whatever -- it was bad, bad, bad!"

Monday, September 20, 2010

19th Century Pulp Fiction

Emory University has launched a huge online library of books known as Yellowback Novels, which were marketed mostly at railway travelers in Great Britain in the late 19th century. The books were digitized with a new scanner system, so even the ads for unusual products of the era are included in many of the books.

Emory has placed 1,200 of these novels as PDF files online:

Yellowbacks were cheap, 19th century British literature sold at railway book stalls, with colorful, sensational covers to attract buyers. While some were well-known books such as “Sense and Sensibility,” many of the yellowbacks were obscure titles by authors unknown nowadays. “They were the equivalent of a popular novel you’d read on a plane today,” says David Faulds, MARBL’s rare book librarian.

"The genres and topics include romance, detective fiction, war, biography, medicine, horse racing, hunting and fishing. “Some of these books are so rare that they’ve been lost to history,” Faulds says. “Scholars and casual readers can now discover these works. There may be aspects of them that are of interest not only to literary researchers but also social historians looking at Britain or America in the 19th century or women’s lives in this period – what they were reading, how they are portrayed or what they wrote.”

You’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader. To access the yellowbacks:

1. Click here for a preloaded search of "Emory digital library" yellowbacks, or search for a yellowback title or author of your choice.

2. Click on the selection you wish to read, or click on the green "online access" link next to the entry. (Or scroll down under details, and at the second blue arrow, right-click on "PDF version," then click on "open in new window.")

3. The yellowback will load; note the first page is usually blank. You can then save the novel to your desktop or a flash drive and read it at your leisure."