April 30, 2007
With presidential campaign spending expected to hit numbers resembling the GDP of some small countries, Ad Age wonders if any candidates will make the ultimate ad purchase: time during the Super Bowl.
Mstislav Rostropovich, one of the world’s finest cellists, has died.
“He was the most inspiring musician that I have ever known,” said David Finckel, the Emerson String Quartet’s cellist who studied with Rostropovich for nine years. “He had a way to channel his energy through other people, and it was magical.”
Rostropovich’s sympathies against the Communist leaders of his homeland started with the denunciations of his teachers, Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev during the Stalin era.
Under Leonid Brezhnev’s regime, Rostropovich and his wife, the Bolshoi Opera soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, sheltered the dissident writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn in their dacha in the early 1970s.
After Solzhenitsyn won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970, Rostropovich wrote an open letter to the Soviet media protesting the official vilification of the author.
“Explain to me please, why in our literature and art (that) so often, people absolutely incompetent in this field have the final word?” Rostropovich asserted in the letter that went unpublished.
He played Bach cello suites as the Berlin Wall was torn down and protested the attempted coup of Mikhail Gorbachev by hardline Communists. He was a gifted musician and a lover of freedom. He will be missed.
April 28, 2007
Technorati Tags: Rudy+Giuliani George+W+Bush Gay+Marriage Civil+Unions
April 27, 2007
“When I talk to conservatives who are dismissive of Obama, I am reminded of that Bob Dylan line: Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is.”-Philip Klein
“In the following confrontation, where Obama expressed a sort of generic Albrightian foreign policy, I saw a flash of Reagan – the same kind of ballsiness and economy of language, if obviously not the substance. Any Republican who things he’s going to fade out or implode is, frankly, delusional.”-David Weigel
I find it hard to imagine Barack Obama as the eventual Democratic nominee, I do. And it’s not because of his lack of experience, the fact that his middle name is Hussein or that media darlings rarely do well when confronted with actual voters (see McCain, John or Dean, Howard).
I see Obama as a blank slate onto which Democrats can project their hopes.
He speaks in sweeping generalizations; when asked if he’s for gay marriage he’ll respond that he’s against gay bashing. When asked if he is pro-choice, he talks about praying to assume the best in people who are not.
His sunny optimism is certainly catchy after years of “America sucks and everything we do is wrong” rhetoric by the other members of his party.
But I see all of this as only going so far. He can get away with vague thoughts on issues because of this ridiculously long primary season, but he’ll have to eventually actually answer some questions.
So, no, I’m not saying that Republicans should expect a cakewalk if Obama is the nominee but I’m definitely more worried about a match-up with Hillary. And while I’m not dismissive of Obama, I also have yet to see evidence that he walks on water despite what the media seems to imply. I’m afraid, though, that Republicans will become so overwhelmed by a Democrat who is actually optimistic, and more or less normal, that they won’t attack him on the issues. There’s a lot to question and there’s a lot to criticize. Taking him seriously means not being afraid to do just that.
Todd Commish has the cliff notes for those that missed last night’s debate.
April 26, 2007
Howard Dean said that the best way to get candidates to really talk about the issues is to close the discussion off to press. Dean suggests the candidates have “meetings” with voters where they can discuss the issues off the record. How idyllic it would be, citizens throughout the country gathering around in small meetings and questioning Hillary about her real thoughts on gay marriage, or what Obama would do about Iran. Of course, most people have jobs to go to, kids to raise, errands to run, American Idol to watch and don’t have time to listen to each individual candidate at a location that may or may not be near their home, espouse on the views they can fit into the time alloted for the meeting. That’s where the media comes in. They have to listen to these people all the live long day. And then they tell us the important or interesting parts of what was said. Everybody is happy.
What does it say about Democrats that their leader doesn’t want you to know what they’ll do should you elect them to office? It says that they ran on a “we’re not Bush” message in 2006 and that’s unlikely to be enough in 2008. Howard Dean knows there is no message, there is no plan, there are no new ideas and the American people won’t buy what the Democrats are selling if it’s sold honestly. They’re holding together a very fractured coalition of people brought together in their hatred of George W. Bush, and the less the voters find out about their various positions, the better.
Voters deserve to know what they’re getting, and if a candidate can’t talk about the issues for fear of it being reported in the press, they aren’t a candidate worth taking seriously.
The two candidates in the runoff for the French presidential election have really fascinating personal lives. Nicolas Sarkozy’s wife disappeared for the campaign trail in weeks leading up to the election leading to speculation she was having an affair. Why would people just assume that? Well:
The couple’s relationship has been in the spotlight before. The pair, who have a young son, separated briefly last year after she had an affair with an advertising executive while Sarkozy dated a journalist.
Sarkozy couldn’t be that shocked by her affair, though. They met at her wedding to another man. Sarkozy was officiating. I mean, have you ever heard of such a thing?!
Should his opponent, Segolene Royal, win, she would be France’s first woman president and its first single leader. Royal’s boyfriend is Socialist Party leader Francois Hollande. They have four children but Francois says that if Royal wins he won’t be living in the presidential palace. “Royal says they did not need marriage to prove their love — a common sentiment in today’s France, where nearly half of babies are born out of wedlock.”
Not to get all “marriage stabilizes society” on you or anything, but how long do you think France has got left? A generation? Less?
Technorati Tags: Nicolas+Sarkozy Segolene+Royal French+Presidential+Election
How I know I’ve stayed up too late:
April 25, 2007
The most important (and entertaining) book of the year is “America Alone” by Mark Steyn. It is the book that I have recommended to everyone I know, the book I consider a must-read for everyone, regardless of political affiliation.
Last night, I saw this year’s must-see movie: Evan Coyne Maloney’s Indoctrinate U. I saw the early incarnation of this film, when it was called “Brainwashing 101″, during that conservative film festival in Dallas, and it was so powerful in its exposure of speech codes and anti-freedom activities on our college campuses. The full-length movie is even more so. You must see it. You must tell everyone you know to see it.
Steyn’s book is about the numbers problem: reproduction is at an all-time low in the western world and we risk losing the war of ideas to the Islamofascists because with child-bearing numbers being as they are, there just won’t be enough of us around to defend the positions of a free society. Evan’s movie shows that defending those positions is a risky business, even today, even here in America. It isn’t a Republican thing, it’s a freedom thing. One guy in the movie was nearly expelled from his college because he put up a flier which “caused offense”. The flier consisted of the name of a book by a speaker visiting the campus. The fact that this innocuous flier could get him nearly expelled should be chilling to everyone, even those that voted for John Kerry in the last election.
I know most people who read this blog, or blogs in general, will be savvy to this type of thing. We know about political correctness and speech codes and the appalling lack of intellectual diversity on campus. Still, nothing can prepare you for seeing an entire film on this premise. You can’t be ready for the kind of abuse documented in the film and the lengths that students and teachers have gone through to fight a system of speech codes and political correctness that has a chokehold on our colleges.
On the Indoctrinate U. site, you can request a local screening of the movie. Click over and do that, it’s the best way to get this movie more exposure, something all freedom-lovers, whether Republican or Democrat should want.
My baby brother turns 25 today which means…I’m old. Dawn has a post up about the wonderfulness that is Ronnie. You can’t have him, Dawn.
“I don’t expect this will cause him any problems given his solidly pro-life Senate voting record and the fact that, as the anointed party savior, he’s bulletproof. Besides, he’s still no further to the left on this issue than any other leading Republican.”
**Giuliani says electing Democrats will lead to another 9/11. I guess we’ll see if he’s the one guy in politics who can get away with saying something like that.
**Ryan Sager reviews John McCain’s return to the Daily Show. He confused me with this:
“”The Daily Show” is a fairly reliable barometer of center-left political opinion. And, so, I’ve always taken John McCain’s appearances on the show (tonight marked his ninth) as an excellent way to gauge his standing with an important part of the electorate.”
Wait, why does McCain care about the center-left? They’re not voting in the Republican primary and their certainly not voting for a Republican in the general election. Ryan continues,
“That part of the electorate also happens to encompass much of the media.”
Oh. Right. McCain’s most important constituency, the one he’s always courting: the media.
**Mitt? Where’s Mitt?
Technorati Tags: Republican+2008+Candidates Fred+Thompson Rudy+Giuliani Mitt+Romney John+McCain
April 24, 2007
If you thought Jim McGreevey couldn’t get any more disgusting, you were wrong.
“1/4 of the country is retarded”, said Stan Marsh in the episode of South Park on 9/11 conspiracy theorists (summary here), referring to the 25% of Americans who believe 9/11 was an inside job. John Kerry, for once, seems to pick the not-retarded side, so says Allah. We’ll see how long that lasts.
I see 9/11 “Truth” stickers all over New York now, it’s really sick. Commenter natesnake at Hotair asks “Who wants to give the over/under on how many years before the Truthers’ version of events is included in U.S. history books?” I’m so afraid he’s right and the 1/4 of Americans who are retarded will infect the rest of us.
I caught yet another great show tonight, Boulder-based band The Motet. It’s the kind of band that makes you want to dance all night, and if it was the weekend I would’ve.