“Where I am, I don’t know, I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”
“My mistakes are my life.”
“We are all born mad. Some remain so.”
“Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order.”
“Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.”Continue Reading
I only spent a short time in Japan, but I noted in my travel blog how smitten I was by courteous way all Japanese seemed to behave. Nicholas Kristof confirms these observations in the NY Times and digs a lot deeper into psyche of the Japanese. I hope that Japan will be spared a deeper nuclear crisis.
The Japanese Could Teach Us a Thing or Two
When America is under stress, as is happening right now with debates about where to pare the budget, we sometimes trample the least powerful and most vulnerable among us.
So maybe we can learn something from Japan, where the earthquake, tsunami and radiation leaks haven’t caused society to come apart at the seams but to be knit together more tightly than ever. The selflessness, stoicism and discipline in Japan these days are epitomized by those workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, uncomplainingly and anonymously risking dangerous doses of radiation as they struggle to prevent a complete meltdown that would endanger their fellow citizens.Continue Reading
Hendrik Hertzberg provides the facts behind the defeat of the Democrats and highlights that Obama can show in the next two years that he is a great president by overcoming huge challenges.
ELECTORAL DISSONANCE (New Yorker)
Barack Obama had the mot juste last Wednesday for what had just befallen him and his party: a “shellacking.” The President’s choice of word was one syllable (and one “g”) longer than his predecessor’s summary after a parallel midterm debacle. But, then, Obama’s shellacking was several syllables worse than the “thumpin’ ” that George W. Bush and the Republicans took in 2006. That year, President Bush’s party lost thirty seats in the House of Representatives; this year, President Obama’s lost more than twice as many. It was a historic defeat. The Democrats retained their Senate majority, now much reduced, only by the grace of the Tea Party, which, in Colorado, Delaware, and Nevada, saddled Republicans with nominees so weighted with extremism and general bizarreness that they sank beneath the wave so many others rode. Come January, for only the second time in eight decades and the first in more than six, the House will have fewer than two hundred Democrats in it. And because Democrats also lost eleven governorships and control of nineteen state legislative chambers, the decennial festival of gerrymandering will put their congressional starting line for 2012 at least twenty seats farther back.
From the the Writer’s Almanac: On this day in 1864 Union General Sherman wrote to the Atlanta City Council: “You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it.”
General Sherman had just captured Atlanta. Along the way, his soldiers had taken part in something known as “total war”: They’d burned down crops, confiscated millions of pounds of corn and feed, and destroyed thousands of horses and mules and cows. They’d wrecked bridges, torn up railroad tracks to make train transport unusable, and they’d destroyed telegraph lines. In late August, they’d forced the surrender of Atlanta, occupied the city, and demanded that it be evacuated.
If you have been studying the business pages of major newspapers and business magazines, you will realize that a fierce battle is being waged by believers in demand or supply side economics. Everyone after the Great Depression used to be a demand sider; then Milton Friedman and his conspirators convinced many politians that government spending created short terms fixes but long-term growth problems. I would like to have someone spell out for me what evidence made the majority of economists swing the the demand side camp only in the 1970s and 1980s. David Brooks paints a thoughtful portrait, sympathiszing with demand siders, of the difficult positions Barak Obama and David Cameron are in. With regard to Cameron’s proposal to cut government spending by 40%, I think this is simply a negotiation ploy with the British bureaucracy. If not, God save the British people from the economic pain that Cameron will inflict on them in the short term.Continue Reading
Ellen McCarthy (Washington Post) puts her finger on just how significant the news of Al and Tipper Gore’s divorce is and spells out what this means for the instution of marriage in a modern wolrd with life expectancies reaching nine decades.
Al and Tipper Gore’s separation makes us fear for our parents, ourselves
Please Al and Tipper, don’t do this. For our sakes—don’t.
We can’t handle it.
These kinds of things stopped bothering us long ago. Name almost any famous couple, and we’re happy to place under/over bets on the date they’ll divorce.
But the Gores were different. We believed in them. Even if we didn’t agree with their politics, we admired their marriage—the way, after all these years, they still genuinely seemed into each other.
Robert Hilburn pieces together for the best account to day why Michael Jackson is dead.
Michael Jackson: the wounds, the broken heart
Pop music critic Robert Hilburn recalls the years when the public turned its back on the singer. ‘I’m lonely,’ a 23-year-old Jackson said.
I’ll always regret that the last conversation I had with Michael Jackson ended with him angrily hanging up the phone—at least I’ve long thought of Michael’s mood that day more than a decade ago as angry. I now realize the more accurate description would be “wounded.” Michael was at times among the sweetest and most talented people I met during my 35 years of covering pop music for the Los Angeles Times.
The only columnist who I follow every week is David Brooks. Maybe you should too.
The Long Voyage Home By DAVID BROOKS (NY Times)
Republicans generally like Westerns. They generally admire John Wayne-style heroes who are rugged, individualistic and brave. They like leaders—from Goldwater to Reagan to Bush to Palin—who play up their Western heritage. Republicans like the way Westerns seem to celebrate their core themes—freedom, individualism, opportunity and moral clarity. But the greatest of all Western directors, John Ford, actually used Westerns to tell a different story. Ford’s movies didn’t really celebrate the rugged individual. They celebrated civic order. For example, in Ford’s 1946 movie, “My Darling Clementine,” Henry Fonda plays Wyatt Earp, the marshal who tamed Tombstone.
I had not followed British politics and until I read this column by David Brooks, I did not know why the Tory party won the local elections in Great Britain last week.
The Conservative Revival
For years, American and British politics were in sync. Reagan came in roughly the same time as Thatcher, and ClintonContinue Reading