Archive: September, 2009
Probably no one under my age of 50 knows who Andy Williams is anymore; he was a crooner who was popular for a time in the '60s, and he also dabbled in politics as an avid supporter of the late Bobby Kennedy's liberal, ill-fated White House bid, so it's sad to see that he's migrated over to Goon River:
But Williams had a less favourable opinion of the current president.
The ghost of Gene Mauch may not be hovering above Busch Stadium, ready to pay an unwelcome visit to Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. But with the Cardinals wheezing in the final days of a potentially devastating finish to the regular season, an increasingly restless La Russa may start hearing strange murmurs in the middle of the night.
The late Mauch managed the 1964 Philadelphia Phillies, and his name will always be bordered in cobwebs and black crepe. An otherwise respected and even acclaimed manager, Mauch's reputation took an eternal, irreversible hit in '64 when the Phillies choked on a 6 1/2 game lead with 12 games remaining.
I've never been someone to watch "Law & Order" -- guess I should start:
Last night's episode of television's longest running drama -- NBC's "Law & Order" -- featured District Attorney Jack McCoy prosecuting a John Yoo-esque Bush administration Justice Department attorney for writing a legal memo authorizing the torture of detainees.
I had no intention of wading into the morass that is the somewhat, um, belated arrest of filmmaker Romam Polanski -- but I've been rather shocked by some posts on some prominent blogs defending Polanski, criticizing his arrest or trying to excuse his behavior from 1973 (no links, find them yourself).
That just won't fly here -- the guy raped a 13-year-old girl, period, and he's been able to escape justice because of his money and powerful friends; I can't think of anything more repulsive. Anyone here who thinks that liberals are broadly supporting Polanski should read the "recommended" post on the subject (as voted by readers) on the uber-liberal Daily Kos right now, which echoes my own sentiments. Polanski is 76, and the magnitude of his crime is such that he should die in jail.
I put an asterisk on the headline because whenever I say it's the last word on a subject, it never is. The post I wrote last week on ACORN got a large response, as I expected -- and I wanted to follow up with one clarification and also a question for those who continue to see this anti-poverty agency as Public Enemy No. 1.
First, the clarification: As several posters kindly pointed out over the weekend, there is indeed a problem with an article from the Washington Post that's linked near the end of the post. There's also a problem with me, in that I made a mistake that I should have known better after all these years, in trusting the Washington Post! I was actually aware that their story on James O'Keefe had a correction -- it's right on top of the version that I linked to -- but I also mistakenly thought the Post did what the Daily News and every other newspaper does when there's a correction, which is to fix the actual body of the article online. Reading the correction and the article again, it doesn't look like they did that, or they did a lousy job of it. So now I've gone back myself and removed the paragraph in question, with a note.
William Safire, the former Nixon speechwriter turned New York Times op-ed columnist, died today at age 79. He did more than any other American over the last generation to get people talking about words and phrases and the way that we use them. That makes it hard to find the perfect words to say about his passing. His life and his voluminous writings taught us that words have not only poetry -- and sometimes roots as intricate as a giant Sequoia tree could be jealous -- but also power, power that could be either righteous or destructive or both.
Safire is still remembered some 40 years later for the words that he put in the mouth of a previously inarticulate and later disgraced vice president, Spiro Agnew, and for one phrase in particular:
Regardless of how the push for heathcare reform turns out, I wonder if we'll be looking back 10 or 20 years from now and wondering why we were so incapable of handling the even bigger issues of the 21st Century, such as the growing danger of the implosion of the oil-based global economy. Author Peter Maass has a new book out called “Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil” and it sounds pretty good; I was stuck by this passage in the New York Times review:
Maass is less interested in crunching oil-supply numbers, however, than in exposing the cruelty and soullessness of humankind’s lust for this “violence-inducing intoxicant,” as he calls it. His book teaches us an old lesson anew: that the true wealth of nations is not discovered in the ground, but created by the ingenuity and sweat of citizens. It’s the same lesson the Spanish learned centuries ago when they discovered gold, the oil of their time, in the New World. They piled up bullion but squandered it on imperial fantasies and failed to build enduring prosperity, while destroying the civilizations from which they seized it.