The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge

rmrilkeRainer Maria Rilke is one of the more influential poets of the last century. Writing in German, his verse is lyrically intense and often mysterious. Critically Rilke is best considered a strong influence moving away from the traditional into the modernist forms of poetry and prose where introspection and critical observation began to supplant the traditional themes and techniques. Rilke wrote only one novel, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

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Dysfunctional Washington

Boy is this a surprise:

Congressional Experts: Republicans At “The Core Of The Problem” Of A “Dysfunctional” Washington

Mann And Ornstein: “Let’s Just Say It: The Republicans Are The Problem.” In their April 29 Washington Post op-ed, the duo lay out the thesis of their latest book, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism:

We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.

“Both sides do it” or “There is plenty of blame to go around” are the traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of bias, while political scientists prefer generality and neutrality when discussing partisan polarization. Many self-styled bipartisan groups, in their search for common ground, propose solutions that move both sides to the center, a strategy that is simply untenable when one side is so far out of reach. [The Washington Post4/29/2012]

Mann And Ornstein Are “A Brand” In Washington And Considered “The Two Most Respected, Committed Scholars” Studying The U.S. Congress. The Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein wrote in regard to Mann’s and Ornstein’s recent op-ed:

In Washington, “Mann and Ornstein” are a brand. Mann works at the centrist Brookings Institution, Ornstein at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. Over their four-decade partnership, they have established themselves as the two most respected, committed scholars — and defenders — of the U.S. Congress. They never tire of pointing out that the way the Founders designed the federal government, Congress came first, and it was intended to have an “institutional identity,” not a partisan identity. It’s that institutional identity, they now say, that is under threat, and more from one party than the other. [The Washington Post5/11/2012]

Full article at MediaMatters.