Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Bob Dylan did what very, very few singers ever do. He changed popular singing. And we have been living in a world shaped by Dylan's singing ever since. Almost no one sings like Elvis Presley anymore. Hundreds try to sing like Dylan. When Sam Cooke played Dylan for the young Bobby Womack, Womack said he didn't understand it. Cooke explained that from now on, it's not going to be about how pretty the voice is. It's going to be about believing that the voice is telling the truth.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
One impression from Obama's interactions with the Republicans and Democrats in Congress: Obama clearly sees the presidency as a different institution than his immediate predecessor. This is a good thing, it seems to me. Bush had imbibed a monarchical sense of the office from his father and his godfather (Cheney). The monarch decided. If you were lucky, you'd get an explanation later, usually dolled up in propaganda. But the president had one accountability moment - the election of 2004 - and the rest of the time he saw the presidency as a form of power that should be used with total boldness and declarative clarity.
At times, Bush's indifference to the system around him bordered on a kind of political autism. And so one of the oddest aspects of Bush's presidency was his tendency to declare things as if merely saying them as president could make them so. The model was clear and dramatically intensified by wartime: the president pronounced; Congress anemically responded; the base rallied. At the start, it felt like magic, but as reality slipped through the fast-eroding firewall of reckless spending and military misadventure, Bush's authority disappeared all the more quickly - because his so-certain predictions were so obviously wrong. The Decider had no response to this. He just had to keep deciding and asserting, to less and less effect, that he was right all along. Hence the excruciating final months. Within a democratic system, we had replicated all the comedy and tragedy of cocooned authoritarianism.
Now look at Obama. What the critics misread in his Inaugural was its classical structure. He was not running any more. He was presiding. His job was not to rally vast crowds, but to set the scene for the broader constitutional tableau to come to life. Hence the obvious shock of some Republican Congressman at debating with a president who seemed interested in actual conversation, aas opposed to pure politics. Last Tuesday, there were none of the bold declarative predictions of the Second Bush Inaugural - and none of the slightly creepy Decider idolatry. Yes, Obama set some very clear directional goals, but the key difference is what came next: a window of invitation. The invitation is to the other co-equal branches of government to play their part; and for the citizenry to play its. This is an understanding of the president as one node in a constitutional order - not a near-dictator outside and superior to other branches of government. It is a return to traditional constitutional order. And it is rooted in a traditional, small-c conservative understanding of the presidency.
If Bush was about the presidency as power, Obama is about the presidency as authority. It's fascinating to watch this deep difference in understanding slowly but unmistakably realize itself in public actions. Somewhere the Founders are smiling. The system is correcting itself after one of the most unbalanced periods in American history. But it took the self-restraint of one man to do it.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
It's funny but even during the mayhem of Inauguration week, the image of that A320 being landed safely on the Hudson kept coming back to me. And when I read that its remains had ended up floating not far from Ground Zero, I couldn't help but marvel at the historical and civilizational symmetry of it all.
Over seven years ago, a group of religious extremists seized control of an aircraft in that same airspace, men who had very little flying experience and a philosophy of maximizing the deaths of innocent civilians on the ground. They did all they could to murder as many as they could in order to secure the maximum reward for themselves in heaven and in worldly renown.
Seven years later, two pilots who have since remained remarkably distant from media attention, were in a similar cockpit in the same crowded area and their over-riding concern was to prevent any civilian casualties at all. That's why they even avoided small airports which might have led to a crash into inhabited neighborhoods. With enormous expertise, gained by rigorous training in a civilized society, they managed to land safely on the river and save everyone both on board and on the ground.
It seems to me that dignity and training and expertise and humaneness are the values of our society at its best. All of them are self-evidently superior to the values of vainglory, amateurism, impulsiveness and cruelty that bedevil our enemies. If these are the grounds on which we fight this war - and they are ours to choose - then we will win. And we will deserve to.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--
I, too, am America.
- Langston Hughes
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Jan 15th 2009
From The Economist print edition
Few people will mourn the departure of the 43rd president
HE LEAVES the White House as one of the least popular and most divisive presidents in American history. At home, his approval rating has been stuck in the 20s for months; abroad, George Bush has presided over the most catastrophic collapse in America’s reputation since the second world war. The American economy is in deep recession, brought on by a crisis that forced Mr Bush to preside over huge and unpopular bail-outs.
America is embroiled in two wars, one of which Mr Bush launched against the tide of world opinion. The Bush family name, once among the most illustrious in American political life, is now so tainted that Jeb, George’s younger brother, recently decided not to run for the Senate from Florida. A Bush relative describes family gatherings as “funeral wakes”.
READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE: http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstates/displayStory.cfm?story_id=12931660&source=hptextfeature
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
Pato on January 12, 2009 2:14 PM said:
Have you dodger fans seen your starting pitching rotation lately? Even with Manny, it won't be a walk in the park for this division without Penny and Lowe. No big acquisitions for the dodgers this offseason means they got worse. If you let the Giants come up and steal Manny away then you might as well start looking towards 2010.
As for the Giants, Sabean is mentally retarded so he should get some kind of break when it comes to signing free agents. The league should intervene whenever Sabean is caught looking at another past their prime veteran. Lets not sign Pat Burrell for 8 million and lets take that cash and go after a real difference maker like renteria... If they sign Manny though Giants will run away with the division.
Not happy with the lack of progress in securing Manny. If I didn't hate the Giants soooooooooo much I would wish they would sign him just to rub it in the McCourts faces....I swear this small-market mentality of the dodgers is KILLIN' ME!!!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
WHAT IS DESERT ISLAND DISCS? HERE'S YOUR ANSWER COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA:
Desert Island Discs is a long-running BBC Radio 4 programme. It was first broadcast on 29 January 1942 and is said by the Guinness Book of Records to be the longest-running music programme in the history of radio.  Guests are invited to imagine themselves castaways on a desert island, and to choose eight pieces of music to take with them; discussion of their choices permits a review of their life. They must also specify which one of these pieces they regard most highly. Aside from music, they are permitted one book, excluding the Bible or other religious work and the complete works of Shakespeare, which are already present on the island to force more original choices. They also choose one luxury which must be inanimate and of no survival value, though large supplies of champagne seem to be allowed. The names and selections of some of the more recent guests are listed separately.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
They did give away this recoridng to Cilla Black (Check it out).
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
Sunday, January 4, 2009
A wounded Palestinian boy is helped as he arrives at a hospital on January 4, 2009 in Gaza City, Gaza. Medics and witnesses have reported that Israeli shells killed at least 12 Palestinian civilians and wounded 40 others when they exploded in Gaza City's main shopping area. By Abid Katib/Getty.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
“All of the perplexities, confusion, and distress in America arises, not from the defects of the Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation.”
-John Adams, Founding Father of the American Constitution.
“I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world, no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”
- Woodrow Wilson