My prediction: Patriots 38 Saints 31.
My prediction: Patriots 38 Saints 31.
As a result, though, Colley gets to make a pretty history-centered argument. I have no idea as to the merits (or novelty) of the argument, though I have to assume that by going after Eisenhower Colley is positioning himself in some sort of revisionist camp. Hopefully someone who knows more about this than I do will weigh in. (Calling Tom, Tom Please Report For Duty!)
Plus, Radiohead is fucking awesome.
September 11, 2001 had to speak for itself. A decade later, the deed will be given voice. KSM has gratuitously been presented with the greatest propaganda platform imaginable -- a civilian trial in the media capital of the world -- from which to proclaim the glory of jihad and the criminality of infidel America.
For many on the right -- and Krauthammer is only exhibit A -- the only real factor in terrorism is that it is a useful cudgel with which to whack those they disagree over the head. In the wake of that awful tragedy on 9/11 conservatives and Republicans were quick to point out that the failures of intelligence and security were the fault of no party and no politician, or rather, of all parties and all politicians, a useful conceit for them when they occupied the White House and both houses of Congress. But ever since that moment when suddenly accountability was so difficult to glean the right has been looking for ways to paint Democrats and liberals as soft on terrorism and weak on foreign policy. And if that means disparaging the American system, so be it. When Democrats and liberals criticized foreign policy during the staggering run of incompetence that was Bush years, the right was quick to play the un-American card, so quick to impugn the patriotism of those who disagreed with them. But apparently patriotism, like everything else, is contingent upon the prevailing political winds.
I think our truth is better than the jihadist propaganda. Clearly conservatives do not. That's a shame. There was a time when he seemed to love this country. It's amazing what Democrats in the White House and on Capitol Hill will do to a man's patriotism. Who knew that conservative love of country was only skin deep?
Put Khalid Shaikh Mohammed on trial. Give his poisonous rantings the widest audience possible. Not only is it the right thing to do in terms of upholding America's values. It also is the right thing to do because unlike Charles Krauthammer, I believe both that our ideas are better than the jihadists' and that any public airing of those ideas is a win for the United States of America.
I am one of those people who laments the decline, and probably eventual death, of the print newspaper. But I do not mistake the physical presence of print and cheap paper with a loss of good things to read, viable sources of opinion, or varying viewpoints. There will always be demand for these things, and the best of today's print media will adjust, the worst will fail, and that's the way the system is supposed to work. Yes, I'd miss a real honest-to-goodness Sunday newspaper, but I also believe that even a handful of those will survive, even if in morphed, national form. But the best papers are basically national in nature anyhow. The Sunday New York Times still carries with it as metro section, but let's be real -- the average reader of the Sunday Times does not give a damn about bond issues in Eastchester.
I feel about the filibuster largely what I feel about the Electoral College. Both are in desperate need of reform, but no matter when you do it the motives will seem to stem from sheer politics. In the wake of 2000 reforming the Electoral College would have seemed like nothing more than a Democratic Party reaction to the 2000 election, rather than seeing the failures of the 2000 election as impetus for reform. Changing filibuster rules would almost certainly be even more problematic, though if a party got up to 65 or so votes in the Senate they could just pound it through, but then they would have enough votes to override filibusters, and would want to reserve that right for the future.
There is so much self-interest involved that hypocrisy almost inevitably follows. But there is almost nothing democratic and not much more that is republican (small d, small r) about allowing a minority to thwart the will of the elected majority out of sheer political obstructionism. I'd happily support needing a a super-majority on some issues, and on others, such as civil rights, the will of the majority certainly is secondary to Constitutional and other rights. But on their face the Electoral College and filibuster serve to protect the few from anything other than republican democracy. Let's try to get rid of these remnants of the 19th century. There are no slaveowners whose rights we have to be cowed into protecting lest they blow the whole project apart.
AO Scott of The New York Times writes about the greatest movie moments of the past decade.
At The Boston Globe Renee Loth argues, rightly, I think, that Democrats should "call the filibuster bluff." Reconciliation seems smart to me -- assuming they have the 51 votes, ram that bill through. Let the Republicans whine about a democratic majority prevailing.
At Newsweek Niall Ferguson makes the provocative but dumb argument that 1979 was a more significant year than 1989. Hint: The Cold War was kind of a big deal.
I am also worried about a world in which Sarah Palin is the spokesperson for modern conservatism. But today the ruthlessly dishonest Sarah Palin represents the most vocal world of conservatism, yet we know that she is deeply and profoundly mendacious. And she is unwilling to be challenged.
Based on sheer politics a huge part of me hopes that Palin becomes the GOP brand. But the problem with that would be that Republicans would then be compelled to support her. I knew Ronald Reagan. I loathed Ronald Reagan. And yet Sarah Palin is no Ronald Reagan. I hope that America's right knows the difference. I fear that they don't.
Up! is simply a beautiful movie. Toward the beginning it has what might be the single most emotionally powerful rendering of lived love between a couple as they grow old together. It is a movie about many things, not least of them loss, and it is poignant and funny and, yes, heart-breaking. It is perfectly suitable for -- indeed might be best appreciated by -- adults, but if you do not have kids, borrow someone else's so you are not the skeevie adult going to a Pixar movie.
One great story (that I've heard from multiple sources) among myriads that people roughly my parents' age tell that created the band's local legend involves Steve Tyler hitting on my Mom. It's an anecdote that embodies both figures quite well. At a party one night Tyler was wearing nothing but a fur coat. He went up to my Mom and sort of embraced her, opened up his coat, and put himself on offer. My Mom's response? "Put it away, Steve."
So despite the fact that it has been a long, long time since Aerosmith put out anything even vaguely relevant, it was still something of a shock to know that the band may be no more. Always racked by fraught internal dynamics (they broke up once before in the early 1980s) it seems that Tyler has decided to walk that way.
I know it is too grad-schoolish of me, but I find sympathy with both Leich and Pierce on Sportsguy.
But of course they didn't. As a general rule of thumb, the baby boomers who tell you all about how they changed the world are not the ones who actually changed the world. So some ex hippie will prattle on about peace and love and someone like John Lewis, who really did change a particularly noxious corner of the world, doesn't feel the need constantly to reinforce that point. And John Lewis is a politician, for whom plugging his role in changing the world ought to be front-and-center. (It's actually remarkable how few of the Civil Rights Movement's activists act like your apodictic baby boomers, when the irony is that they are the ones who are most in a position to act like self-important, self-righteous, and self-indulgent twits. Ahhh, baby boomers, the dubious gift that keeps on giving, even when we make it clear we really don't like the gift.)
Don't get me wrong -- 1968 was a remarkable year, made all the more so because its currents were truly international. It's a year I love to teach. And it's a year that has come to symbolize both the best and worst of that strange decade. But for my generation, 1989 was every bit as important, with the added benefit of 1989 having been a time when the world really did re-order itself significantly.
Twenty years ago (gulp) I graduated from high school and headed off to Williams. Little did I know when I made the two-plus hour ride into an entirely different world that within a few months much of the world that I knew would transform itself. The Berlin Wall, the prevailing symbol and metaphor of the Cold War, would fall, and that collapse would itself provide a metaphor for the crumbling of the Eastern Bloc and the dawn of a new era. As 1989 gave way to 1990 FW de Klerk, who had risen from the ranks of Afrikaner Nationalism with a seemingly impeccable apartheid pedigree, released Nelson Mandela from prison and unbanned the ANC and PAC, setting the stage for epochal transformations in South Africa. The Simpsons made its debut in December 1989. And of course Milli Vanilli's first album, destined to win a Grammy in 1990, was released in the United States. Tectonic shifts all.
By the way, I don't know if I buy the idea that the new seasons are worse than the so-called golden age. Golden Age mythologies are almost always shallow and wrong, and what I find is that The Simpsons gets better with age -- episodes that at first don't blend with our idealized images of good Simpsons suddenly fit perfectly once blended into syndication.
That said, as far as favorite moments go, I would have to go with any number of Mr. Burns lines, such as when Mr. Smithers proposed that they go out for Chinese, and Burns replies, "Bah, those people are all gristle," or when, after losing an election for Governor Burns looks at the hoi paloi and remarks "Look at those slackjawed troglodytes, Smithers. Yet if I were to have them killed I'd be the one to go to prison."
Plus, I am not certain I could teach my classes without The Simpsons as a reference. The Simpsons: Is there anything it can't do?
Speaking of major publishing events (shamelessness follows!) this weekend at the Southern Historical Association's annual meeting the University Press of Kentucky will be holding various book signings for some of its authors. I will be signing copies of Freedom's Main Line on Saturday at noonish in the book exhibit. If you are in the Kentuckianaohio area, swing by!