Daily Office:


Matins: What I wouldn’t pay to witness an encounter between Joe the Plumber and Joe the Jervis.

Prime: Who knew? New York has five, count ’em five, Main Streets: one per borough! (Can there be but one Wall Street?)

Tierce: Pakistani and Afghan elders are getting together for a jiragai (a “mini” council), to talk over the increased violence in both countries. Right at the start, however, an Afghan official throws a spanner in the works:

Afghan Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta said last week his government was at the start of a dialogue process, but it would only negotiate with those who lay down arms.

Can anyone tell me the source of this crazy condition, which pops up over and over again when states feel obliged to deal with internal opponents?

Sext: Business as usual: An Army intelligence report notes that terrorists could make use of Twitter. Nobody’s asking why they would want to. Want to be terrorists, that is. Hell, no! What’s the Army without terrorists? (via JMG)

Vespers: Margaret Talbot writes in The New Yorker about recent research into red state/blue state family values. The red state family values — this will come as no surprise to attentive observers — are largely eyewash.


§ Matins. Not that I haven’t piped up about Joe the Jervis the Congressman/Assemblyman/City Councillor. Not here, and not to Joe himself — but my reticence is henceforth a thing of the past. “Go(d) My Joe!”

§ Prime. “Main Street, New York,” of course, is on Roosevelt Island, technically part of Manhattan/New York County. Taking the 7 Train out to Main Street, Flushing, in Queens, is a perennial New Year’s resolution. The three others were news to me. That Main Streets in Brooklyn (a relic of old times) and the Bronx (a joke) are very short comes as no surprise; but as for Main Street in Tottenville, on Staten Island, I say, give the damn thing to Jersey. Staten Island is a carbuncle — a jewel to New Jersey that’s a growth on the face of New York City.

§ Tierce. It’s very much like the schoolyard cry, “No fair!” But statecraft is not a game. And labeling an adversary, for any reason, as unworthy of negotiation has never proved to be very effective. It still postpones the inevitable resolution.

§ Sext. The report suggests that progressive “activists” at the Republican Convention just might be the next-best thing to terrorists:

Twitter was recently used as a countersurveillance, command and control, and movement tool by activists at the Republican National Convention,” the report notes.”The activists would Tweet each other and their Twitter pages to add information on what was happening with Law Enforcement near real time.

§ Vespers. Attentive observers were not surprised when there was no conservative outlash against Bristol Palin’s unwed pregnancy. Whatever their views about sexuality itself, blue staters are firm believers in strong, sound families.

The “pro-family” efforts of social conservatives—the campaigns against gay marriage and abortion—do nothing to instill the emotional discipline or the psychological smarts that forsaking all others often involves. Evangelicals are very good at articulating their sexual ideals, but they have little practical advice for their young followers. Social liberals, meanwhile, are not very good at articulating values on marriage and teen sexuality—indeed, they may feel that it’s unseemly or judgmental to do so. But in fact the new middle-class morality is squarely pro-family. Maybe these choices weren’t originally about values—maybe they were about maximizing education and careers—yet the result is a more stable family system. Not only do couples who marry later stay married longer; children born to older couples fare better on a variety of measures, including educational attainment, regardless of their parents’ economic circumstances. The new middle-class culture of intensive parenting has ridiculous aspects, but it’s pretty successful at turning out productive, emotionally resilient young adults. And its intensity may be one reason that teen-agers from close families see child-rearing as a project for which they’re not yet ready. For too long, the conventional wisdom has been that social conservatives are the upholders of family values, whereas liberals are the proponents of a polymorphous selfishness. This isn’t true, and, every once in a while, liberals might point that out.

One Response to “Daily Office:

  1. Tony says:

    I would pay good money to see the Joe vs. Joe match. And I know who my money would be on too. Could we sell tickets?