Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Truth In Packaging Or: Oh The Hypocrisy!

This week, we may be hearing even more about the "nuclear option" as a means of avoiding a filibuster of health "reform" legislation in the Senate. With 1000 pages of legislation, a host of variables may lead you to conclude that what you see is not what you get. In politics, it hasn't always been easy to clear the obfuscation or assign the hypocrisy.

My father dabbled in politics at the local and state level back in the 1950s. After being deceived by what he thought were friendly forces in his home county, his moral compass directed him away from elective office. I wish he'd given the game another try, but he was seldom open to compromise and never one to accept losing graciously. No one likes to lose, but the art of politics seldom leads to winners all around. Someone will be on the outside. And being in or out can surely color one's political posture. When my dad found himself on the outside fifty years ago, exposing the postures wasn't so easy. Today, it's so easy it's downright embarrassing as this Naked Emperor News video shows:

Simply amazing performances. And they are performances. And they can be powerful and persuasive. Caveat emptor

Sources: Powerline, Drudge Report

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

America In An Era of Joblessness

OTR is generally not in the habit of spreading pessimism. Like most rational people he is far happier looking forward to better times. But reason operates in a world of observable reality, and sometimes a reader finds something that's not very pretty, but makes good sense. Don Peck has written one of those finds for The Atlantic. For my generation, America was a remarkable post-war opportunity. The national social and political landscape Peck imagines for our young adult children will be significantly more challenging. In fact, he feels a new era of joblessness will grow out of this recession and it will transform our national experience in ways we could never imagine. Here's your link to the article. My source: Instapundit.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Female Academy

With 57% of college students being female, the "boy gap" in education has produced great odds for successful dating in higher education. On the other hand, it doesn't speak well for a system of public education founded on the equality of opportunity. Something's a bit out of adjustment. Today, Joanne Jacobs addresses this situation in a PajamasMedia post that's worth your time and attention. As is often the case, there are a host of revealing comments following the article. My source: Instapundit.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Governing From The Left

Today's Opinion Journal has a fine editorial that uses recent American history to explain why the Obama administration and Democrats face continued opposition to their economic fix for a sick economy. Older Americans should have no problem seeing the simple facts of this Democrat dilemma over funding the welfare state.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Revolution In Music

This year marks the centennial of the premiere of a signature composition that began a revolution in classical music in the 20th century West. The piece is The Firebird, written by 27 year-old Igor Stravinsky. The music would make him famous. It also led to a collaboration with Sergei Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes in Paris.

Stravinsky spent his last 32 years as part of the American experience. He arrived on these shores in 1939, became a naturalized citizen in 1946, and expanded musical soundscapes for the world until his passing in 1971. His legacy of independence, experimentation, perseverance, and respect insures his place in the elite of Western composers.

I probably first heard The Firebird lying in my bed in Salisbury, Maryland, late at night and listening to WMAR-FM/WBAL-FM - now WIYY - broadcasting from Baltimore. At that time, it was a full-time classical music station and one of the few I could reasonably depend on for some reception and popular programming. Although elementary school teachers made certain my classmates and I knew about classical music, I think the real incentive for my personal, late night listening to the classics was born in the death of Jan Sibelius in late 1957. For the next year or two following his death, the music of Sibelius took center stage in my music classes in elementary and middle school. From there, my interests broadened over fifty years to admit few exceptions in music. But I do have my favorites, and Stravinsky's Firebird is among them.

We can only imagine what the music of Firebird meant to those who first heard it and saw it danced a century ago at the Ballet Russe. For those expecting moderne, it was certainly that. For others, it was the rap of its time. Regardless, Diaghilev was impressed, and his enthusiasm would lead to the remarkable - some would say scandalous - Rite of Spring (1911) and two years later to Petrushka.

Here is music written in 1910 that foretells the orchestral moment of much of the twentieth century. The video segment you are about to watch is a faithful attempt to recreate the original production in costume and dance. Imagine it is 1910. Queen Victoria has been dead for almost a decade after a near 64 year reign of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. The United States has 1000 miles of concrete roads. The beloved American humorist, Mark Twain, passes away. Just over half of the U.S. population of 92 million lives in cities of 2500 or more. Babe Ruth turns fourteen years old. The baby who would become Mother Teresa is born in Macedonia.

You are your own doing in a century on the move charting its own course.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More PC Madness

Mark Steyn makes note of a case illustrating how the sense of entitlement is devouring our sense of reason and leading toward behavioral gridlock. The story appeared in the Seattle Weekly under this headline:

Gay, Mentally Challenged, Biracial Male Cheerleader Claims Discrimination.

No good deed shall go unpunished. No good deed shall go. No good deed. No good. No. My source: Dr. Sanity.

Searching For Lake Wobegon

The psychoanalyst blogging as Shrinkwrapped has produced another thought-provoking perspective on this nation's quest for equality. Entitled Race and Fairness, the post offers some eye-opening statistics and related links as the author dismantles what he calls the "pernicious legal theory" of disparate impact. Well worth your time. And given a day or two, I'd expect some equally interesting comments.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Akbar Zeb? "I Cannot Tell What The Dickens His Name Is . . . "

Akbar Zeb wants to be an ambassador but he has a big problem, one that is so funny you just can't make it up. Power Line's Scott Johnson has the story here, along with a hilarious illustration of the predicament taken from Monty Python's The Life of Brian. Guaranteed to make your day. My thanks to Shakespeare for the quote.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

That Certain Feeling

Robot Maria, Tin Man, Roy Batty, and David all had it to some degree. But creating intelligent robots with empathy is one thing on film and quite something else as we approach the doorway called the Singularity. Though we cannot predict the path through this new world with any certainty, there is vast space for speculation and Shrinkwrapped, the blogging psychiatrist, has taken up the challenge once more. This time, he deals with the question of coding empathy into human artificial intelligence. If you find this subject fascinating, here is your link. More inclined to explore it through entertainment? Add Metropolis (1927), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Blade Runner (1982) and Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001) to your queue.