One reason Sara disappears for days at a time is simple, she reads real books, and when at full speed can do about four a week. She puts new books in piles, sometimes with previously read books on the same topic, and asserts the right not to do instant analysis, but to re-read and think and all that, and sometimes it is not productive of posts.
So recent reading -- Matt Bai's book that was rather quickly dismissed in Blogger circles, "The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers and the Battle to Remake the Democratic Party" -- which I found of interest on two levels, both because it does contain useful recent history, but also because from what Bai has to Say, Rob Stein is very proud of being an Antiochian, Class of 66, (Stein being the organizer of the Billionaire part of the title), and is totally open about how a true progressive education matters. I had fun with just that bit out of Bai's book -- posting Stein's accomplishments raising funds for Democratic Infrastructure on the Alumni site -- and oh dear, someone said it was not a good idea to post what was already in a book, and probably in the Times. In fact the negotiations appear to be totally stonewalled between the Alumni who have incorporated with some millions behind them, and the University Board which wants, apparently to hold on to the real estate value of a mid 19th century college campus for the sake of a profitable conference center sans college. We've just told the current students to look elsewhere, and June 30th, the place gets boarded up.
Anyhow, Bai's book about how to invent or re-invent a progressive infrastructure, with Stein as the star of the show essentially, and Stein telling Bai during coffees in DC how much of what he invisions for the Democratic Party is really a product of his Antioch Education, but then he isn't really a precence in the current conflab -- well what in the hell is going on.
Of course anyone who looks at reality knows that Progressives need to build institutions, and what bothers me is why they can't see their way to building and preserving one that is now over 150 years old.
Beyond this connection with the personalities in Bai's book, no one who is vaguely progressive should not read. The whole culture of not exactly knowing what they are "for" and what they might want to oppose among the Billionaires in the Democratic circle, it needs understanding. Many were bought up short supporting Kerry without adequate analysis, others are more locally oriented. Many are specific issue oriented. Unlike the Republicans who were rallied by a memo from Justice Powell to focus and concentrate their efforts, we need to comprehend why this hasn't happened on our side.
Many Bloggers have dismissed Bai's book -- I think it worth a good read.