Thatcher Shatz Coates

I don’t know if I’ve ever “journaled” by smartphone, but let’s give this a try.

Some great pieces in the new (Dec. 3) issue of The London Review of Books I just received.

Money quotes so far:

From David Runiciman on Margaret Thatcher:


“She had no desire to live in a world where her personal principles and her private interests were at odds with each other. She was a conservative.”



From Adam Shatz on ISIS, which starts, “All the actors in the Syria cauldron — the Gulf. . .

“All actors in the Syrian cauldron — the Gulf States, Turkey, Hizbullah, the Russians, the Americans — have had a hand in creating this monster, but no one seems to want to fight it, apart from the Kurds.”




And, no picture needed, finally, an actually critical review of Te-Nehisi Coates’ new book, Between the World and Me.

The World is Absurd: Trumping Daesh

We seem to have entered a world of true absurdities with no foreseeable end. Let’s take them one at a time.

All enemies foreign . . . 

Foreign Policy:

Location: Syria & Iraq

Key Players:

Daesh/ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State — Bloodthirsty terrorist group claiming to have created the new caliphate. It’s a splinter group from al Qaeda, the leadership of which considered its tactics too violent. You may remember it by its old name, al Qaeda in Iraq, or acronym, AQI. It has claimed territory in both Iraq and Syria with a capital based in Raqqa, Syria. It stretches from Iraq to Syria with branches elsewhere.

Free Syrian Army — Supposedly secular force opposed to the rule of Syrian President Assad (who everyone but the Russians and Iranians say has to go). They were the targets of our efforts to train native forces there. We see how that turned out — Daesh quickly captured graduates and weapons. There are questions about just how secular the FSA is. It is likely allied, to some degree, and has within its ranks members of Daesh. Continue reading

OCD, Misty and Class War

My OCD has been tormenting me in recent days. The intrusive thoughts and worries and compulsions are growing. I should have noticed the early signs, probably. Increased wishful thinking, counting more than usual — then it blew up into this, full-on . . . I don’t necessarily have the words right now to describe it. It really is torture. It really could take over one’s life if one let it or if the disease prevented anything resembling a real life.

People have it worse.

I think my worsening symptoms are caused by a change in manufacturers of the generic version of Lamictal (lamotrigine). It’s happened before. I’ll have to get my psychiatrist to tell the insurance company (fortunately, we have insurance through my company now) that only the brand-name version works. It does work best. Hopefully, and more than likely, the insurance company will preauthorize it and we’ll be good to go.

For the brand-name Lamictal, it can cost thousands of dollars a month, if your dosage is high enough. I was paying nearly a thousand or more a month out-of-pocket/on credit/on someone else’s credit before we were able to get insurance through Obamacare and then my job. That was for 90 pills (30 days’ worth) of 200 mg Lamictal pills.

Anyway, not much I can do but suffer until I get the real thing.


Misty is out-of-town visiting her folks in Waco for a while. It’s good for her to get away for a little while, I think. Tomorrow, she has an interview with the U.S. Digital Service, described in this article as the government’s startup, where designers, developers, engineers and others are recruited from the private sector to work to improve the digital technology aspects of government and increase citizen interaction with the federal government. They’re what grew out of the small team who fixed

I’m really proud of her for getting the interview. It’s very competitive. My best wishes are, as always, with her.

Anyone paying attention has heard something about the refugee crisis in the European Union stemming from the war in Syria and, let’s be honest, the violence and starvation in many refugees’ varied home countries in the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans and elsewhere. They wouldn’t be leaving otherwise. The rhetoric by some leaders — especially the Tories in Britain — is beyond ridicule.

My question is: How does this influx of immigrants, who are bolstering some nation’s declining birthrates and replacing lost labor, affect the class issues I pondered in my last post. What will be the effect of more well-educated, un- and under-employed young people being on the European job market? (For many of these immigrants aren’t low-skilled farmers but educated doctors and bankers and computer scientists.) Will they (the immigrants or the Britons) agitate for change? How will the British lower classes (and by that I mean most everyone not in the highest levels of income and assets) react to a tighter job market with (possibly) lower wages? At what point do all the idle freelancers take to the streets?

In fact, the British Labour Party has just voted Jeremy Corbyn, their version of our socialist Congressman Bernie Sanders, as party leader. His own party has been tearing him apart because, they say, he’s unelectable in the general election. Sort of the same thing we say about Bernie. Worse, though, is if either were elected president or prime minister, they likely couldn’t get anything done — both parties would oppose any real sort of reform. But would that intransigence cause the people to demand something different? Something more? Down the rabbit hole we go . . .

When I talk of change, I’m not advocating for a particular ideology or plan for government — at least not yet. I haven’t found or created one that satisfies me yet. One thing I know is that I don’t want to kick the poets out of the republic,


Satire doesn’t work on TV?


William Cook’s powers of induction are great – greatly abused.

While he may find no humor in certain British television shows, to state that satire does not work on television over-generalizes (“The Heckler: how funny really was Spitting Image?,” 21 Feb. 2015). He says that “[s]atirising politicians has always worked in print . . . but it simple doesn’t work on television.” He apparently can’t see across the Atlantic through his “one-eyed god.” Jon Stewart, South Park, certainly Stephen Colbert, John Oliver (a Brit!), et al. all display, without caveat, that satire can — and is — communicated via the “one-eyed god.”

You almost wonder who here is one-eyed.


William Pate

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