Saturday, September 12, 2009
Here's a test: when you see as many posters lambasting Bush and Cheney and the GOP for getting us into this crisis in the first place, I will take these people seriously as genuine small government non-partisan conservatives and independents. In so far as they can pressure the Congress and president into taking the debt seriously in the future, good for them. In so far as they are proposing no practical solutions, and echo truly disturbing hatred of a president barely eight months in office, facing huge crises on all fronts, they are doing their own cause far more harm than good.
The Grateful Dead in 1970. Vocals by Ron "Pigpen" McKernan. Two drummers on the stage and nine fingers on Jerry Garcia, who plays an exceptionally lucid solo. I think that's the future CEO of American Express in the audience. Song written by Otis Redding, Al Bell, and Allen Jones.
Appearing exclusively in Rancho Santa Margarita at the St. John's Episcopal School Family Festival, the Epidemic, with their tight set spanning 40 years of rock and roll, demonstrated that St. John's students such as Mossimo (whose parents, Sam and Uma, were watching proudly today) definitely master the fundamentals. They skillfully played the Otis Redding/Black Crowes/Grateful Dead chestnut "Hard To Handle," the Beatles' "Come Together" (in honor of the 09/09/09 release of their remastered greats), and even the Who's "My Generation."
After the set, before he was overwhelmed by well-wishers, I asked Mossimo how he learned John Entwistle's swift, powerful runs. "On-line," he said.
He's been playing bass a year. Hey, kid: Don't forget who taught you religion in fifth grade.
Jeanne M. Kempthorne, a Salem defense lawyer and former longtime federal prosecutor, said it was “perfectly legitimate’’ for prosecutors to weigh the potential impact of Sullivan’s case on his immigration status.
“Am I offended by the notion that prosecutors take into account collateral circumstances? No,’’ she said. “They should be doing that. That’s humane.’’
As editor of the weekly student paper, the Cynosure, at Abbot Academy, a girls boarding school in Andover, Massachusetts, Jeanne invited me to be the managing editor for the spring term of my senior year at neighboring Phillips Academy, which enabled me on production nights to be the only boy in the basement of Draper Hall, the largest Abbot dorm, after hours.
Welcome to America, Andrew!
Friday, September 11, 2009
Hat tip to Instapundit
When she started an Episcopal/Lutheran ministry at [California State University] Channel Islands, the group dubbed itself the Abundant Table because its “worship experience is centered around the sacred meal of the Eucharist, the Holy Communion that feeds us,” Morris said. “Plus, it was a reflection of the rich agricultural community all around us.”
Best of all for those of us who admire the political craft was the speech’s seductive nature and careful ambiguity. Obama threw out enough rhetorical chum to keep the liberals happy, yet he subtly staked out ground in the center on nearly every substantive issue in order to win over the moderates needed to get anything passed.
[C]ritics are scandalized that Jones once accused "white environmentalists" of "essentially steering poison into the people of colored communities."
In fact, from a global perspective, Jones is right. Environmentalists -- overwhelmingly white and middle/upper class -- have blocked drilling offshore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. From where do you think the world gets the missing oil? From the poor, exploited, poisoned people of the Niger Delta, the Amazon Basin and other infinitely less-regulated and infinitely dirtier regions of the Third World.
Affluent enviros are all for wind farms, until one is proposed that might mar the serenity of a sail from the crew-necked precincts near Nantucket Sound. Then it's clean energy for thee, not for me.
Jones' genius as an ideological entrepreneur was to mine white liberal anxiety -- they are quite aware of their own NIMBY hypocrisy -- by selling them the "green jobs" shtick to reconcile class/racial guilt with environmental enthusiasm, thus making them feel better about themselves.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
McGovern pointed out that if you look at elections in a certain way, you could say that Ross Perot elected Bill Clinton and Ralph Nader put George W. Bush over the top. “In 1968, George Wallace had garnered 10 million votes and we figured that, running again in 1972, he might pick up as many as 20 million votes,” McGovern said. The segregationist Alabama governor had been campaigning with the slogan “Send Them a Message,” and it was assumed that his votes would almost all come from Nixon’s base, but on May 15, 1972, an assassination attempt left Wallace paralyzed from the waist down and he was forced to withdraw from the race. I was still wondering where McGovern was going with this when he came to a shocking supposition: “You know, Wallace went to his grave thinking Nixon’s people were behind the shooting. I thought at the time, ‘Well, George is a little gaga.’ But now … you have to wonder … ”
I can be as partisan as the next person, but a cogent defense of Wilson is impossible, even on the substance of his remarks. I believe the critique of the health care bill's provision denying government-funded coverage to illegal aliens is that it lacks enforcement teeth. What a surprise! How many times have legislatures, no matter which party holds sway, passed spending caps or no-deficit measures they have no means or intention of enforcing? I'll bet Wilson even voted for some of them. Basically, at one time or another, they're all liars (please forgive the fleeting misanthropic indulgence).
Second, unless we want to look foolish to our own people and the world, civility must reign during a joint session of Congress. The American head of state deserves the respect we afford to his or her office. Throw out Congress's carefully tended rules of procedure and civil discourse because you happen to disagree with what the President says, and you help ruin democracy.
Third, Wilson just gave permission to the still-to-be-self-appointed buffoon who will insult the next GOP President. On Handel's show today, I actually heard a guy justify what Wilson did because some of President Bush's critics may have secretly enjoyed the shoe incident. What are we, in kindergarten?
A Facebook reader of this post tells me that Bill Handel, having voted twice for George W. Bush, is center right, not center left. Since I don't listen to him very often, I shouldn't have tried to pigeonhole him. Sept. 12: I just realized that an alliterative flourish of which I was so proud, "the means justified the moccasins," makes no sense. "The purposes justified the pumps" would've been better. Or not. One thing about having almost no readers is that one can err in peace.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
[Obama Middle East envoy George] Mitchell is expected to convey “gestures of normalisation” from a number of moderate Arab states in recognition of Israel’s settlement freeze. These could include the reopening of interest offices and some trade and tourism ties.
Once a month I have the inestimable blessing of presiding at what we call (well, I call) a Yoot Euch -- a service of Holy Eucharist -- using a paten and chalice Patti and the young people made last year during a visit to Color Me Mine. Tonight we talked about the Syrophoenician (or Canaanite or, not to put too fine a point on it, Palestinian) woman, whose plea on behalf of her daughter Jesus first appears to spurn since she's a Gentile rather than a Jew. When she argues that even the dogs under the master's table usually end up cadging some scraps, Jesus relents, impressed not so much by her faith as her irreducible logic. God obviously cares for all his people, does he not? You don't have to ask the St. John's kids twice.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
It seems axiomatic that certain privileges come with being President. Riding on Air Force One. Throwing out the first pitch. Getting to say things like this to children:
[A]t the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, the best schools in the world -- and none of it will make a difference, none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities, unless you show up to those schools, unless you pay attention to those teachers, unless you listen to your parents and grandparents and other adults and put in the hard work it takes to succeed. That's what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education.How secretly socialist of him. Yes, I know the initial study materials distributed by the White House asked kids to think about what they could do to "help the President" -- which actually doesn't bug me that much, either. I know Congress dogged George H. W. Bush about the cost of his own speech to kids -- which was nothing next to the right's latest Obamaspasm.
What was up? Everyone else has opinion, so here's mine. There were these factors at play:
1) Anxious people. A still-struggling economy, a depressed job market, and parents in an H1N1 A-1 back-to-school tizzy. Congratulations -- we are the richest and most obsessively worried country in human history.
2) Unfamiliar leader. To those who didn't ride the Obama wave, he still may seem aloof and a bit fey. Though I don't always agree with him, I like and admire Obama. But every once in a while, when I see his name or image, I have to pinch myself, only because I didn't know he existed five years ago, he doesn't seem especially familiar yet, but there he is, astride the globe. Over on the fringes with the racists and birthers (and no, I don't equate them), there's a sharp edge that totally creeps me out. Watch this revolting Alan Keyes video and see what I mean about the hard malice of Obama's sternest political foes. Maybe wack job leftists were as scary in the Nixon, Reagan, and Bush eras, but I didn't feel as accountable for them as I do some of those who, more often than not, may actually vote as I do.
3) Overreaching administration: Obama can't do much about 1) and 2). But it was his call to go for ontological change in health care. Perhaps he decided that he shouldn't have to trim his sails because of the errors of his predecessors. Perhaps he felt he had a massive mandate. I never did. Perhaps he felt he could sneak his bold reforms through in the generalized enthusiasm about his election and the seemingly undifferentiated consensus that a new approach to national government was needed. But once mass economic panic faded, and with trillions in new spending and future deficits already out the door, the health care effort was bound to get caught in legislative molasses as senators and representatives started hearing from home. We're still a centrist country, as Bill Clinton learned in the 1994 midterms.
If Obama hadn't done 3), would 1) and 2) still have generated the embarrassing spectacle of a popularly elected and well-meaning President having to defend his decision to tell his nation's children to do their homework? When I discussed this with colleagues over breakfast yesterday, a discerning Obama supporter said he suspected the answer was yes. I agree. Obama may end up wishing he hadn't spent so much capital on health care. But the rest of the American people are responsible for managing their corrosive and somewhat narcissistic anxiety. A little British stiff upper lip (if even they still do that) wouldn't be the end of the world. And conservatives? They had better get the lunatic fringe into line, or moderates may decide to go for a long walk.
Sept. 12 note: A reader points out that the creepy Keyes video -- in which the former Presidential candidate called Obama a radical communist and then looked at the camera and said he must be "stopped" -- has been de-YouTubed. Probably best.
John Doe and the Sadies, performing the Patsy Cline classic in Toronto in 2009.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Carter says the two-state solution is still preferable. The full text of his Post op-ed is here.
"A majority of the Palestinian leaders with whom we met are seriously considering acceptance of one state, between the The Washington Post.and the ," Carter wrote in an op-ed piece in
"By renouncing the dream of an independent Palestine, they would become fellow citizens with their Jewish neighbors and then demand equal rights within a democracy," he explained. "In this non-violent civil rights struggle, their examples would be , . and Nelson Mandela."
Carter noted that in doing so, Palestinian leaders were taking into consideration current demographic trends.
He said non-Jews were already a slight majority of total citizens in this area, "and within a few years Arabs will constitute a clear majority."
Hat tip to Mike Cheever