Monday, December 31, 2007
CNN will have all the candidates on tomorrow.
On Friday December 21st, I got to see the One-Man Star Wars Trilogy at the Woolly Mammoth Theater. Written and performed by Charles Ross, the one hour show amazes. I became amazed at how integrally and intimately I knew those movies.
I'd not seen them for years, maybe more than a decade, yet a gesture, a noise, a line, a few notes of melody, a series of robotic beeps - would evoke a wealth of memories. The stories are so well-worn and so well-known, so overworked and overwrought. And the performance was fresh and funny. I took a 14 year friend and we giggled and belly laughed until we ached. I'd forgotten parts - diving into the garbage bin in Star Wars, that smelly belly Han puts Luke in at the beginning of Empire, Jabba's dancing girl - but it was all right there, conjured fully with a few evocative moments. He makes Luke out to be a whiney sap. And I remember how, like most young girls, as I grew and the movies came out Luke heroics became less interesting than Han Solo's "depth."
I wasn't feeling well that night; I was glad it wasn't longer than an hour - so the night was perfect fun. To check out the official web site (he's going to be in London), click here.
And the imagination of the films - Skywalker, Storm Trooper, Darth Vader. The two suns on Tatoonie. I remember my mother comparing Obi-Wan Kenobi to Jesus Christ. Yes, she did. How he was more powerful in death. And how R2-D2 and C3PO were like Abbot and Costello.
For my New Year's Eve, I am unwell and unable to socialize and partake in the several parties I've been invited to. Nor can I venture out to see a movie as two different girlfriends suggested. But, with that brilliant Star Wars performance on my mind, I'm going to hunker down and enjoy Star Wars - the original before it was renamed A New Hope.
I resolve to make resolutions tomorrow. My day went off, literally - with an explosion up the street and the loss of power until early afternoon. I took a bath to warm up and hunkered down under the covers again at 10 am to reread Ian McEwan's Atonement and continue to rest in hopes of securing some strength.
Good riddance to 2007! Did you see the New York Times Editorial, lamenting the unrecognizable state of our country? Their litany captures only about 1/3 of the horrors I perceive. 386 days left of Bush. I might have a party on January 20th, 2008 to begin the final year countdown. Go Obama! I'm on pins and needles about Thursday. Another Clinton campaign would destroy us. If she wins, I'll be voting for Bloomberg.
- Dr. Marvin Weinbaum,
Afghanistanand Pakistananalyst and scholar at Middle East Institute – on turning up the heat on Musaraff – (at about 35:00) I want to stress that the has to be very careful at this point. A very visible set of conditions on US might very well backfire. Any suggestion that the Pakistan USmay be violating the territorial sovereignty would be surely an explosive issue in . At this stage, because of the low stock of the Pakistan , everything we do is misconstrued. US
- Shuja Nawaz, Pakistani journalist and author of the forthcoming book, "Crossed Swords:
Pakistan, its Army, and the Wars Within" – Assertion: Efforts to work with, prop up Musharaff, has not led to progress to any of the avenues the is pursuing. He agreed. The emphasis was on military aid and giving money to the US army, without sitting down and determining benchmarks and objectives. To transform and increase the capacity of the frontier corp, who have trouble fighting their own people. In that area the key issue is not military – it’s political and economic. That’s where the solution is. Pakistan
- Anthony Cordesman, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said in response to a question should “swat teams” be poised to go in, if the situation deteriorates and becomes more unstable? Cordesman answered it wouldn’t be a swat team, that is a specialized police force. Sending in Special Forces would be an absolute nightmare (40:45) First, there’s no way you can do this covertly…If the United States would do that, there’s no way to know how the military would react to an incursion that deep into Pakistan’s sovereignty. How would
react over the months and years to come, there's very little chance of last success. Re, Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal – he said people keep raising the issue because nuclear weapons are so dangerous, not because Pakistan has shown any negligence or failed to organize it’s forces to provide effective protection. Pakistan
And I guess they'd not seen the blog I'd seen last week. I wrote about it here. And on the Chris Matthews Show on Sunday, Joe Klein reported the same thing - in the segment at the end - out of the reporters notebook, "tell me something I don't know" - Klein said that Special Forces were primed to go in. The transcript is not yet available. When it is, I'll link it.
My big brother got a scanner for Christmas from his wife. And he's been entertaining me with photos of my past - from about 1982 and 1983, when I was 16 or 17. Here are just two.
The top one - is of my Grandfather with his dog, Lucky and my Dad, with our dog Montgomery. We had a lot of fun with those dogs.
And the bottom is a high school dance. My best friend (still is, and my oldest, I've known her since I was 9!), Chantal and I were invited to attend the prom at Christian Brothers Academy. I still remember the gold strappy shoes, my first "grown-up" shoes. My friends in college always were amazed that I'd arrived with out having ever kissed a boy. As you can see, my young virtue was pretty safe with these guys!
Sunday, December 30, 2007
So what a relief to listen and absorb the Christmas message I got this morning. Before I describe it, I want to share a very personal exchange I had with my mother sometime in the weeks before she died.
She said to me, "If it wasn't blasphemy, I'd say I knew what it was like for Christ on the cross. " The week before, when I had arrived from Washington, I had given her an antique nail, evocative of the nails of the crucifixion I'd picked up on some pilgrimage somewhere. I don't remember where I got it and I don't know what happened to it - but I brought it to my mother at the hospital and gave it to her, a token of Christ's Passion.
So I was taken aback when she said that to me. I gently reminded her - and I consider it a reminder because she was the one who taught me this, as she taught me so much about my faith - that she had it backwards. That it wasn't about us putting ourselves in the place of Jesus on the cross, but rather that God put Himself in our place. God became Man, in Jesus - so that He would understand our suffering and so that we would know that He knew - not intellectually, but experientially - what we were going through. God knew what human suffering was, what it entailed, and cried with us. Jesus asked for the cup to pass from Him, asked not to be forsaken, and prayed for strength in the garden of Gethsemane. She nodded.
That conversation was disorienting for me. It told me that her suffering was so great that she lost sight of that perspective. My mother had suffered for so long with her body; for more than 20 years she struggled. So that she would not see that basic tenet of our faith informed me that this time, for her, was worse. I wish I knew what had happened to that nail in the confusion after her death.
So there I was today in Mass. I confess I still have a very hard time in church. I've yet to make it through without some tears. I so associate my religion with my mother, the love of God with the love of my mother, even the mystery of God with the mystery of my mother - that I can't be there without thinking of her and feeling a great sense of loss. And then the tears.
Today, the beautiful opening of John's Gospel was chanted -
In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. in him was lief, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it...And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.My sermon notes read as follows - Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God and if so, what does it matter? Jesus gives us God - God wants to be known and wants to know us. Jesus shows us God. Jesus shows us what God is like. God is a God of desire, desires us, has eros for us. Do we see ourselves as desirable? In Jesus, divinity partakes of humanity so that humanity could partake of divinity. Ending poem - know this single truth - God was made man in Palestine, and lives today in bread and wine.
Divinity partakes of humanity so that I could remind my mother she wasn't alone in her suffering. And yeah, that mattered. That mattered a lot.
And neither am I. I am not alone either. I hung up every single one of my 56 Christmas and holiday cards to remind me of that. At Mass, I got loving nods and acknowledgment from friends there, who'd not seen me in a long while. I've taken to going to the Cathedral, where no one knows me and asks me how I'm doing. Because even if I'm not in tears that that moment, I'm so tender during and after Communion that the query alone can cause emotion to dwell in my throat.
And I've had the gift of revelation dreams - where she's told me she's right here next to me, that the line between where she is and where I am is porous. And at a particularly trying time this summer, in my dream, she called me up on the phone - three times to let me know she was crying too.
I was awash in tears after that sermon. Couldn't even sing my favorite Christmas Carol - Greensleeves. But I was glad I went. It was good to be reminded. Amid my sense of loss and abandonment, I remember the good news of the Incarnation. I remember that Christmas was her favorite holiday. And I remember why.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
In the first act, because of recent experiences with the men in my life - I really relished this:
Show Me really resonated. Did I find comfort in knowing that my frustration with the empty words uttered by men is not new? Not really - but check out the lyrics. I mean, I'm a writer - I put value in words. They signify. A lot. So though I'm middle aged, I can still be shocked like a teenager when again and again, I believe in the words only to find them empty. I wanted to stomp my foot just as hard as Eliza. I've wanted to slug those 'blighters,' who talk, talk, talk and never show and never do. (Shall I name names? no...there are two - I've got my Freddy and Prof. Higgins too - and they know who they are). And then check out the clip from the movie.
Words! Words! Words! I'm so sick of words! I get words all day through; First from him, now from you! Is that all you blighters can do?
Don't talk of stars burning above; If you're in love, Show me! Tell me no dreams filled with desire. If you're on fire, Show me!
Here we are together in the middle of the night! Don't talk of spring! Just hold me tight! Anyone who's ever been in love'll tell you that This is no time for a chat!
Haven't your lips longed for my touch? Don't say how much, Show me! Show me!
Don't talk of love lasting through time. Make me no undying vow. Show me now!
Sing me no song! Read me no rhyme! Don't waste my time, Show me!
Don't talk of June, Don't talk of fall! Don't talk at all! Show me!
Never do I ever want to hear another word. There isn't one I haven't heard.
Here we are together in what ought to be a dream; Say one more word and I'll scream!
Haven't your arms hungered for mine? Please don't "expl'ine," Show me! Show me!
Don't wait until wrinkles and lines Pop out all over my brow, Show me now!
Friday, December 28, 2007
This one is called Snow-Flakes
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft and slow
Descends the snow.
Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.
This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.
I had also, once long ago, last summer, anticipated my own nuptials on this very day so there's that added sense of loss. I had wanted a Christmas wedding like hers. And I wanted to build a life with a man I felt so lucky to find despite my illness, whom I loved and who very nearly proposed one Saturday at lunch last July at Cafe Milano. But he did not love me enough and was not steady. I'm not yet at the point where I find that a relief. I feel want and defeated.
Surely, the rash I have on my arm, chest and face is not helping my sadness. It stings and throbs and has flattened me. The dermatologist this morning gave me something that seems finally to have helped the flare and red flaming pain. No known cause. She suggested a patch test once my skin calms down. Could be cause or exacerbated by stress. Funny@!
Sometimes I wished I lived in Wonderland.
"There is no use trying," said Alice; "one can't believe impossible things."Okay, I'm going to go off and try and believe in impossible things for at least 30 minutes.
"I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." - Lewis Carroll
Yes, the news is beyond depressing.
Michael Sheehan, Former US Ambassador for Counterterrorism, on NBC cautioned that the idea of postponing the moves toward democracy in order to fight Al-Queda was "wrongheaded. The army and the military need the support of Pakistanis people in order to be effective over the long term."
Meanwhile - I kid you not - CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reporting on the "War on Terror" noted that the Bush administration was cozying up to General Tariq Majid, Pakistan's Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman just in case Musharraf should fall.
Sounds like a really brilliant Plan C.
Meanwhile I came across a report by William Arkin, who writes a blog called Early Warning for The Washington Post, and who wrote on Wednesday at 6 am - 24 hours before the assassination - of plans to send US troops back into Pakistan. US Special Forces will vastly expand their presence as "part of an effort to train and support indigenous counter-insurgency forces and clandestine counterterrorism units, according to defense officials involved with the planning." He provides the details of how this planning occurred and concludes, "If Pakistan actually follows through, perhaps 2008 will be a better year."
Her death will make it harder to follow through.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
And a scary day for any one with a familiarity with the complexity of Pakistan's politics. Note that Musharraf's approval is in the single digits (that would be under 10%). Bhutto was over 60%.
I recommend three brief articles
- Benazir Bhutto's own statement - a blog entry - on September 1, 2007, entitled Why I'm Returning to Pakistan.
- Steve Coll writing in The New Yorker a short piece entitled Miscalculations. (those would be Musharraf's miscalculations abetted by the Bush Administration). This piece gives a good overview of the crises facing Pakistan as of November 19th, 2007.
- Finally Michael Hirsch, a Newsweek reporter wrote in November Dancing with the Dictator - How Bush's tight relationship with Pakistan's Musharraf has compromised the war on terror.
UPDATED UPDATE: Here's a New York Times Op-Ed piece written by Aitzaz Ahsan and published 4 days ago, this past Sunday. Apparently he is mostly likely to replace Bhutto as head of the PPP (Pakistan's Peoples Party). He is less conciliatory to Musharraf than Bhutto was; he's been jailed by Musharaff.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
He's even polling at 8%.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”
Monday, December 24, 2007
As my mother taught me, and her mother before her and my great-grandmother Monica Tillwack Bura taught her (we called our great-grandmother, Busha), I will host a Wigilia this evening.
Traditionally, the meal begins with the sighting of the first star. The Trifle dessert was in honor of the Syrian Christian whose Christmas was more English growing up. Besides George, my other guests included Ali, an Iranian whose mother was Christian and father Muslim; Maggie, a former Roman Catholic; and Juliana, a secular Australian, aggressively so. Made for quite a mix.
We had a lovely evening. Maggie made the mushroom soup and after some concern, the final mix enjoyed a multitude of flavors. The perogis from Sophie's Place in Baltimore was worth every minute of the hour on line. And my Christmas ham came out great - with pears and cranberries. I was a bit worried about that, as it was a new recipe and I had to make adjustments to the directions to accommodate time away from home to go to church. But my mom taught me her cooking instincts well. I also prepared the traditional cauliflower recipe and the cucumber salad.
And the evening favor's were in the mode of the city in which I live - a candy cane and an Obama bumper sticker!
Here's some more background on the Polish Wigilia that I shared with my guests.
The Wigilia (or Wilia)
- from the Latin word vigilare meaning "to watch" -
is the Polish meal on Christmas Eve.
Poles greet the evening with
such anticipation, such careful planning and such mystical symbolism,
that it is considered by many to be a greater holiday than Chrismas itself.
The meal is traditional and includes from the forest - mushrooms, wild berries and honey.
All await the the most significant moment of the entire Wigilia supper
- the breaking and sharing of the Oplatek.
Oplatek is taken from the Latin word Oblatum - meaning sacred bread.
In every house in Poland, family and friends break
the traditional wafer and exhange good wishes.
The Oplatek is a thin unleavened wafer, stamped with the figures of the
Holy Child, the Blessed Mary, the Holy Family or the Angels.
The Oplatek is known as the Bread of Love and wafers are sent to absent family members.
A small layer of hay is place under the tablecloth in memory of the Godchild
in the manager & to remind one and all of our humble beginnings.
Sweet Christmas hay, my Polish childhood knew,
You cradle in your tangled wisps the white
Unleaven bread and spread your fragrance through
the mystic silence of the sacred night...
While we remember how the Virgin smiled
Beside a hay filled manager on her child.
by Victoria Janda, Walls of Space 1945
"A Guest in the Home is God in the Home." - ancient Polish adage
It's pretty horrifying, especially if you care about history. David Addington, of course, had a hand in this. This archivist is the one whose work revealed that Cheney is neither part of the Executive branch or the Legislative Branch but in some uber-branch in between.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
And they're going to exploit fear just like Bush. (In September, I wrote of Hillary's personality traits that resemble Bush here). Boy, they are not pretty when they are desperate.
Also from the Post -
But the Clintons regard any discussion of the Nineties to be good for them, evoking memories of a booming economy and a time when the United States enjoyed greater popularity around the world.They must have confidence in the ability of the American people to forget.
- Remember what they did to the employees of the Travel Office,
- remember the funny fund raising from China, (this one has not completely disappeared - see blog entry from October 19th.
- remember the selling of the Lincoln Bedroom,
- remember the disappearing/reappearing billing records,
- remember Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky, Kathleen Wiley,
- remember how Bill was held to be in contempt of court and disbarred.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Just in case you're tempted to think that Guiliani is simply a persecuted victim of an unfair press (sounds like the Clintons) - but you've got to read this lengthy Vanity Fair article, A Tale of Two Giulianis from the January Issue.
Last year, when a binder full of confidential Giuliani campaign documents was either stolen or lost in Florida, and the contents found their way to reporters, a handwritten list of potential trouble spots in the candidate’s résumé seemed especially revealing. There, with the obvious sticky subjects—the messy divorce from Hanover, and subsequent wife Nathan—was a single word: business.And this piece outlines all of that and it's very shady, very corrupt, very evil.
A revelation hit me in reading this piece. Since Reagan's election in 1980, the Republicans have run on a platform to shrink the government. In fact, given Clinton's presidency, they seem to have won the argument that small government is good governing. Clinton shrunk many governmental functions as well.
We already witness that antipathy toward government translates into incompetence. If you don't respect what government can do and don't believe government should do, then you get ineptitude and criminal neglect (Katrina).
But now the eggs have hatched, and we know another result of their small government platform.
Small government under the Republicans doesn't mean fewer government functions - it means outsourcing the jobs to private entities - a.k.a. private contractors. "Republican small government" results in higher costs, enriching private companies, outside law, no public accountability. We've privatized half of the armies' functions, including the security of visiting diplomats in Iraq. But I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about roads in America.
Why would an Australian colossus like Macquarie buy a money-losing U.S. investment bank? Perhaps because Macquarie is making inroads—literally—in the U.S., acquiring the leases on state highways and operating them as toll roads, in Indiana and Illinois, with more states to follow. The toll-road business is highly controversial and involves politics right up to the top. It can’t hurt to have helped out a man who might be the next president. (A Macquarie spokesperson says the only reason for the purchase of Giuliani Capital Advisors was “new sectors and new locations for us,” and that Giuliani “was not involved in discussions for acquisition of G.C.A. by Macquarie.”)
Even before the deal, there had been only one degree of separation between Macquarie and Giuliani. Macquarie’s partner in a $3.8 billion Indiana toll road is a Spanish company called Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte, S.A. Cintra, in turn, is represented by a Texas law firm once known as Bracewell & Patterson, now called Bracewell & Giuliani.
Read it and weep. And he shows no shame.
I recommend three brief articles
Benazir Bhutto's own statement - a blog entry - on September 1, 2007, entitled Why I'm Returning to Pakistan.
Steve Coll writing in The New Yorker a short piece entitled Miscalculations. (those would be Musharraf's miscalculations abetted by the Bush Administration). This piece gives a good overview of the crises facing Pakistan as of November 19th, 2007.
Finally Michael Hirsch, a Newsweek reporter writes Dancing with the Dictator - How Bush's tight relationship with Pakistan's Musharraf has compromised the war on terror.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
In case you've not heard - this was Bill yesterday:
Well, the first thing she intends to do, because you can do this without passing a bill, the first thing she intends to do is to send me and former President Bush and a number of other people around the world to tell them that America is open for business and cooperation again.So everyone was sort of amazed by this assertion - both by the fact of it and the reason behind it.
This is what I think: just like the Clinton campaign has co-opted the change message, this is their attempt to embrace Obama's unity message. That's they'll be better able to deliver UNITY. Bill thinks, hmmm, I know Bush 41 pretty well, we've done this before. We Clintons can show unity with the other side; I have already! And so he puts it out there. His mouth ahead of his brain. (Yeah - no rolls of the dice with that team!)
Problem no. 1 - nobody wants unity with anyone named Bush - not even the Republicans running for the top job. The point is to get beyond Bush and Rove's scorched earth, running-to- the-base politics.
Problem no. 2 - he'd not run it by his good buddy Bush 41 who was none too pleased by the implication that he didn't approve of his son's job performance (never mind Brent Scowcroft)
Former President Bush wholeheartedly supports the President of the United States, including his foreign policy. He has never discussed an "around-the-world mission" with either former President Bill Clinton or Senator Clinton, nor does he think such a mission is warranted since he is proud of the role America continues to play around the world as the beacon of hope for freedom and democracy.Yeah, and 41 won't be endorsing Hillary either:
President Bush is excited about several of the excellent Republican candidates running for President, and looks forward to supporting their candidacy once the Republican nominee is determined.Both Clintons were in Iowa today, campaigning with Magic Johnson. Well, that was no slam dunk. It's inept - and surprising for its ineptness. But I think they see that the unity message is appealing and they want in on it.
Huffington summaries all the permutations of their knickers in a twist. And she points out that they are crippled in doing anything about it because they could be accused of being elitist -a charge usually slung at East Coast liberals.
There are a lot of terrific links (see Andrew Sullivan's). Start with Huffington here.
- There are reasons to think that, among Democrats, Obama is better prepared for this madness.
- Obama is an inner-directed man in a profession filled with insecure outer-directed ones.
- Like most of the rival campaigns, I’ve been poring over press clippings from Obama’s past, looking for inconsistencies and flip-flops. There are virtually none.
- Obama also has powers of observation that may mitigate his own inexperience and the isolating pressures of the White House.
Monday, December 17, 2007
She no longer asserting, as she did to Katie Couric a month ago, that she WILL be the nominee and she's hasn't at all considered the possibility that she wouldn't be. She was not campaigning as much in Iowa,and now she's doing a helicopter tour.
This change in tone was the course chosen rather than a shake up, that was rumored to be considered late last week. A shake up of her campaign staff (a.k.a. firing Mark Penn) was seen as feeding the image of her being too tough and mean. So instead they've carted her out this way. She was on all six morning shows (that's better than a full Ginsberg) today.
I don't think this is going to work because it reinforces another negative narrative about her - which that she's slippery and capable of changing her personality (if not her positions) to fit the circumstances.
It was fun to read of Bill Clinton's agitation on Charlie Rose, so much so that his staff was trying to abort the interview before he did something regrettable (reported in the New York Times, see last paragraphs). Chris Matthews properly pointed out the big whopping lie of Bill's in that interview - that he didn't run in 1988 because he knew he wasn't yet ready (and that this is what Obama should do). Matthews correctly points out that the reason Bill didn't run in '88 was because he was told of all the "bimbo eruptions" that could derail his ambition. If only he'd listened and never ran.
I also think that when you try to co-opt the message of your opponent, that's a sign you're not the strategic, politically acute candidate you've been posing as. Hillary given up on the "experience" reason for electing her because Obama (with help from Oprah) has convinced voters that experience of her ilk (a.k.a. the old ways of partisan Washington politics) is NOT what we need. He won that argument, and hence his rise in the polls.
So now Hillary is admitting "change" is the important issue. There was a front page article in the New York Times about this new strategy. So now she is arguing - in her soft tone - that she is the one to deliver it - not by demanding it (Edwards) or hoping for it (Obama) but working for it (her!). I don't even trust her tone!
Here's another question. Who would want to be Hillary's VP, with Bill in the picture?
UPDATE: December 18th - E.J. Dionne "Clinton's Difficulties Deeper Than Strategy" assembles many of the points of difficulty - including that she wasn't running in Iowa until very recently because she was so focused on a general election. He also highlights Obama's November 10th speech (at the Jefferson Jackson dinner) and how good it was - good in itself and good for his campaign. And he notes that she argues that with her - there are no surprises, while Obama (according to Bill) is a "roll of the dice."
But that simply isn't true. As long as Hillary is married to Bill, one thing we know for sure - there will be surprises. He's volatile. And he is even now traveling with a press secretary to keep him on message.
I've been thinking a lot about the use of images ever since I attended a talk on revelation dreams by a writer. He spoke of how metaphors work or don't work. They don't work when they are superimposed on the words. Rather, for them to be effective and powerful, the words should attach to the image.
And this is easier to do with film.
In Atonement the image of water repeated over and over. A pot chip in a fountain, a girl in a fountain, a man in a tub, a hand on the surface of water as if to still it (or still the emotions within), a child recklessly jumping into a waterfall. And then there's the sea - as a means of escape from Dunkirk, the sea as a dream or a smell, the sea as a place of retreat. Then there's the powerful image of a mother washing her son's feet. Powerful to me because of its religious evocation and the message of redemption and humility and love. And the horrifying image of water rushing into a London tube station.
And then there's the tears - tears of longing, tears of horror, tears of fright, tears of guilt. So many emotions qualifying human tears.
Water is there but unable to be grasped. Likewise, in the story, reality is there but unable to be grasped.
Some reviewers thought the movie too heavy handed with the images, referring to the images of horror and war. They argued that one picture conveys enough horror - that the viewer doesn't need as many as are offered. Perhaps that's a fair critique of the film. But the darkness, for me, matched theme of the story and of storytelling. And that storytelling improves that darkness.
On Saturday Mr. Obama responded, this time criticizing Mr. Edwards by name. He declared that “We want to reduce the power of drug companies and insurance companies and so forth, but the notion that they will have no say-so at all in anything is just not realistic...Anyone who thinks that the next president can achieve real change without bitter confrontation is living in a fantasy world.And then he called Obama unrealistic.
Krugman is being unrealistic. I watched Obama on Saturday (on CSPAN). And that's not all of what he said or stressed. His message was that people, the population, had to be informed and invested from the beginning to end in order to be able to dispel the myths of the insurance and drug companies when they take their profits and start running ads. Not just ads against any change. But Obama spoke of challenging their assertions that their profits went into development and research and showing instead that they are running ads to boost drug sales to increase their profits. He even made an ED joke.
I admire Krugman, but he just wasn't fairly portraying the choice. It's not between a naive compromiser (Obama) or a white fighting knight (Edwards). It's between a man who understands community organizing to get change or a lawyer who sues to get change. They are both effective in their ways. But whatever you may think on that, Krugman should at least have portrayed Obama's message accurately and he did not.
Here's what he said back in May as reported in the New Yorker:
"Take health care, for example. 'If you’re starting from scratch,” he says, “then a single-payer system'—a government-managed system like Canada’s, which disconnects health insurance from employment—'would probably make sense. But we’ve got all these legacy systems in place, and managing the transition, as well as adjusting the culture to a different system, would be difficult to pull off. So we may need a system that’s not so disruptive that people feel like suddenly what they’ve known for most of their lives is thrown by the wayside.'”That makes sense to me. And he's not talking about coddling the drug and insurance companies; he's talking about the investment and buy in of the people.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
First they frame the criteria this way:
The choice, then, comes down to preparedness: Who is best prepared to confront the enormous challenges the nation faces — from ending the Iraq war to shoring up America’s middle class to confronting global climate change?Well, if that's the criteria, then Biden is your man. Not Hillary who by comparison has half the experience and what judgments she has made have been deeply flawed. Even her answer in this week's Des Moines Register debate about what she learned from her health plan debacle was that she didn't have a communications strategy. That she didn't explain her plan properly not that she was WRONG to exclude the Congress. She alienated Bill Bradley and Daniel Moynihan.
The job requires a president who not only understands the changes needed to move the country forward but also possesses the discipline and skill to navigate the reality of the resistant Washington power structure to get things done.
Read here. Biden always the gentleman said that the Register was fair on Late Edition this morning. Last week Biden was on This Week - his best line was re the Bush Administration "They're like Nixon, but without the competence."
And actually, because Clinton is so divisive - she won't be able to get anything done to "confront the enormous challenges." And with her money raising she's a part and parcel of the "resistant Washington power structure."
Bad call. There must be a story behind this.
I've seen the testimony of William Polk before this weekend, but again I was struck by how intelligent his remarks were. He concluded by quoting Thomas Jefferson: "Let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty and safety."
To read the text of Polk's testimony to the US Democratic Caucus on September 17, 2007 (about a week after Petreus' report), click here.
William Polk is an honors grad of Harvard and Oxford; taught at Harvard and the Univ. of Chicago, and worked for the Kennedy White House (and was a participant in the “crisis management committee” during the Cuban Missile Crisis - that historical event that Dana Perino had never heard of, and believe me, she wasn't joking as she belatedly claims).
Thursday, December 13, 2007
This morning the Golden Globes were announced and Atonement leads. It's gotten mixed reviews - lukewarm from The New Yorker and the New York Times, favorable from the Wall Street Journal (only available to subscribers) and the Washington Post. The seven films nominated films in the best drama category. Aside from "Atonement," the other nominees are "American Gangster," "Eastern Promises," "The Great Debaters," "Michael Clayton," "No Country for Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood."
I've not been able to go to the cinema lately, so the only ones of those I've seen is Michael Clayton, which I liked very very much. Last night, my aunt and uncle told me they very much liked American Gangster.
Jon Hamm was nominated for best actor and Mad Men nominated for best Drama!!! Yeah!
For more details, click here.
Let's note that the Dems have debated 15 times while the Republicans have only 9. Weasels.
The debate will be broadcast on CNN at 2 pm today.
And according to this New York Newsday piece, Mark Penn is getting grief the those on the "Bill" side of the campaign. They have different ideas about how to run her. Penn thinks she should run as an "incumbent" (which to me just reinforces the sense that she's arrogant) and that she should not go negative on Obama because doing so would raise her already high "negatives."
I agree with that. It's ugly to hear Hillary say (or anyone say), now the fun part starts, emphasis on fun - as she did last week. See for yourself:
Okay, so strategy may dictate the need for going negative. People understand that. It's like a necessary evil. But it is unsettling to hear someone say so convincingly that the necessary evil is "fun." Steve G. Brant, a blogger for the Huffington Post, captures well the problem with this attitude. Check out the home page of the Huffington Post