Thursday, November 12, 2009

Obama Visits Section 60 at Arlington

This report from the New York Daily News is very moving. I just saw the author, James Gordon Meek, on MSNBC and will post the video if/when it becomes available.

It's especially so, when aware that afterward, from 2:30 to 4:50 pm he met with his team to weigh the options for Afghanistan.

Read the whole thing, but here's a taste:
"Well, we appreciate his service very much," Obama told me.

I then told him I'm a reporter for the Daily News - but was just there to visit friends.

"Well, James," he said, looking me in the eye, "just because you're a journalist doesn't mean you can't honor your friends here."

The First Lady smiled and squeezed my hand. I thanked her for coming to Section 60.

Her face opened up into a smile filled with warmth and comfort, a welcome antidote for the weather and sadness around her. She said there was no finer place to be on Veterans Day.

Oprah Previews Palin Interview

Won't broadcast until next Monday, but here's the official Oprah preview:

Regarding Levi Johnson, US Magazine has a bit more -
Of Johnston badmouthing the family to press, the former Alaska Gov. says: "We don't have to keep going down this road of controversy and drama all the time. We're not really into the drama. We don't really like that. We're more productive. We have other things to concentrate on...."
Sure - that's why she responds to every thing Levi says - to NOT keep it going.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sean Hannity Admits Wrong

"As much as it pains him," Sean Hannity admits Jon Stewart caught him red handed. Called it inadvertent. Sure, just like the labeled Sen. Specter as a Democrat (before he actually became one).

Facts matter not. Here's the video:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

FOX - Liar, Liar - Caught With Pants on Fire

One of the two messages I still have from my mother is her saying good-bye to me, a message left at a point when I was driving back to DC.  After saying you good bye, she added - "Did you hear that Fox News identified Mark Foley as a Democrat.  Can you believe that outfit?!?  Bye"

Well Mom - I know you'd appreciate this: 

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Sean Hannity Uses Glenn Beck's Protest Footage
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Daily Show Mocks Beck Brilliantly

This was so funny, I laughed until I cried. Probably only funny if you've actually seen Beck's show. Stewart's satire is a relief (and no worse than Affleck mimicking Olbermann on SNL).

"The Communists who want to socialize your Nazism." blissful ignorance indeed.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The 11/3 Project
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ricky Gervais on the Graham Norton show

I love Ricky and I love the Graham Norton show. Enjoy a laugh

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Poetry about Michael

These words, by Maya Angelou, a poem entitled "We Had Him" were relayed by Queen Latifah. Very moving.

We Had Him by Maya Angelou
Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing, now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind.

Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace. Sing our songs among the stars and walk our dances across the face of the moon. In the instant that Michael is gone, we know nothing. No clocks can tell time. No oceans can rush our tides with the abrupt absence of our treasure.

Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone, piercingly alone.

Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him.

He came to us from the creator, trailing creativity in abundance.

Despite the anguish, his life was sheathed in mother love, family love, and survived and did more than that.

He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style. We had him whether we know who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his.

We had him, beautiful, delighting our eyes.

His hat, aslant over his brow, and took a pose on his toes for all of us.

And we laughed and stomped our feet for him.

We were enchanted with his passion because he held nothing. He gave us all he had been given.

Today in Tokyo, beneath the Eiffel Tower, in Ghana's Black Star Square.

In Johannesburg and Pittsburgh, in Birmingham, Alabama, and Birmingham, England

We are missing Michael.

But we do know we had him, and we are the world.

Brooke Shield quoted The Little Prince -

"What moves me so deeply about this sleeping little prince is his loyalty to a flower--the image of a rose shining within him like a flame within a lamp, even when he's asleep... And I realized he was even more fragile than I thought. Lamps must be protected. A gust of wind can blow them out."

And -

Eyes are blind, you have to look with the heart, what is most important is invisible.

Brooke did the best at humanizing Michael Jackson.

He (and Brooke) were came of age when I did - in the 80s. Not just his music, yes, that. But his dance moves. His magic moves greatly influenced the choreography I danced and performed as a teenager ; I see it now in the videos. And later too, just for fun, on the Mug floor. He was of my age.

Now he belongs to the ages.

"Feeling, Soul and Know. He Had a Lot of Know"

"He had to know something to sing that song like that."- Smokey Robinson

After a video of the Jackson 5 performing “Who’s Lovin’ You,” Smokey Robinson, who
wrote it, marveled at the 10-year-old Michael’s ability to sing these lyrics -

Who’s Lovin’ You

When I had you, I treated you bad and wrong my dear

And girl since, since you went away

Don’t you know I sit around with my head hanging down

And I wonder who’s lovin’ you

I,I,I,I,I should have never ever, ever made you cry

And girl since, since you’ve been gone

Don’t you know I sit around with my head hanging down

And I wonder who’s lovin’ you

Life without love is oh, so lonely

I don’t think, I don’t thin I’m gonna make it

All my love, all my love, yeah, belongs to you only

Come on and take it, girl, come on and take it

Because I, all I can do, all I can do

Since you been gone is cry

And you, and ever wonder or worry your pretty little head

“Bout what I do

Don’t you know I sit around with my head hanging down

And I wonder who’s lovin’ you

Who’s lovin’ you

Who’s lovin’ you

Who’s lovin’ you

Near Miss


Last night Olbermann assembled a medley of Palin moments from over the last 11 months. Quite frightening to see all together and quite a sense of just missed disaster. And a reminder of what a remarkable campaign it was.


Monday, July 06, 2009

Two Smart Ladies Have It on Palin, Sanford & More

Here's Michelle Goldberg, whose essay at The Daily Beast I highlighted over the weekend, and Ann Althouse discussing Palin, Sanford and Edwards.

(Yes, that Ann Althouse who met her husband online, via the comments section of her blog. See Commoner Captures Princess, Blog Version from The New York Times, April of this year.)

View of Caesar Augustus' Home

My mom loved Steven Saylor's mysteries set in ancient Rome. And it was her favorite city to visit. As a lover of history she'd appreciated this report from the BBC (h/t The Washington Note):

This BBC news video, from March 2008, offers a tour of four restored rooms in Emperor Caesar Augustus' first home on the Palatine Hill. Pretty amazing.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

That Mark McKinnon Helped Palin

To me, one of the most surprising revelations of Todd Purdum's It Came From Wasilla was the role Mark McKinnon played in preparing Palin for the Vice Presidential debate last fall.
By this point, Palin’s relations with Nicolle Wallace—a veteran of the Bush White House and a former CBS News analyst who had tried to help Palin get ready for the Couric interview, and whom Palin blamed for the result—were so strained that campaign aides cast about for someone who could serve as a calming presence: Palin’s horse whisperer. They settled on Mark McKinnon, a smart, funny, soft-spoken former Democrat from Texas. McKinnon had long admired McCain, and had begun the Republican primary season helping him out—though warning that he would never work against Obama in the general election. But now McKinnon, whose role in helping prepare Palin has not been previously reported, and who declined to elaborate on it to V.F., changed his mind and quietly signed on.
Well, I'd admired him, for his anti-Rove posture. Turned out to be false.

McKinnonwrites now for The Daily Beast and shared more information about his role, how he rationalized it (having said he'd do nothing to attack Obama), and what he knows about How Her Mind Works. First his rationalization (and a peak of how desperate they were)
I spent a total of three hours of the entire campaign with Palin. A week before her debate, I got a call out of the blue asking if I could spend the next week helping run Palin’s debate preparation. There was clearly an emergency at hand. But, cognizant of my pledge not to campaign against Obama because I didn’t want to be the tip of the spear attacking him, which led to my departure from the campaign in June, I was worried that this exercise would inevitably drag me into uncomfortable territory. So, I said no. My friends, clearly in a desperate situation pleaded with me to reconsider. I didn’t want to totally let them down, so I compromised in a way that satisfied my own conscience. I agreed to spend one initial session, about three hours, with Palin talking about basic debate techniques and fundamentals. But, made clear that I would not participate in any discussions about strategies to attack Obama.
This take gives me no comfort:
She is one of the most fascinating women I have ever met. She crackles with energy like a live electrical wire and on first meeting gets about three inches from your face. Her instant subliminal message is: “I don’t know you very well, but I’m very clear about who I am.” She reeks of moxie and self confidence. And she’s fearless.

Well, she was mostly fearless when I intersected with her. But, she was also a week out from a nationally televised debate with Joe Biden, and she knew she was in trouble. She knew she wasn’t prepared. And she knew it would be difficult, maybe impossible to be ready. And the brief session I witnessed, verified as much and I was convinced the debate would be a disaster. But, despite the crushingly stressful situation in which she found herself, and despite the aching vulnerability, she squared up in her uniquely Palin way and made it clear to all of us in the room that she was going to bear down, get ready, and was not, under any circumstances, going to let John McCain down. But, I frankly thought she would.

But damned if she didn’t. I watched the debate on television from Austin and was stunned. The difference in the person I’d seen just five days earlier and the woman I saw step onto the stage with Joe Biden was a complete transformation. Granted, expectations were low, but she cleared ‘em.

Politicians and Narcissism

Michelle Goldberg, writing over at The Daily Beast originally titled this Is She A Narcissist, and then after Palin's strange resignation updated the piece and changed the title: Palin Has Really Gone Rogue.
Politics has always attracted the deeply screwed up, but our current political system seems to do so more than most. Perhaps that’s because healthy people looking to make their mark on the world don’t want to subject themselves to the inquisitorial media attention or crushing vapidity of modern campaigning. The gloriously sane Barack Obama is the exception that proves the rule—watch people wonder at his unfeigned affection for his family, the fact that he doesn’t seem desperate for praise. Success in our politics often requires a voracious, antinomian egotism, a sense that rules are for others.
Obama is no exception to that egotism, but he is more normal and smarter than most politicians. People with his talents rarely go into public service.

Here's the interesting take:
The Alaska governor shares the personality flaws of many of her male peers, but there’s no evidence she express them via the preferred method of politicians like John Edwards or Mark Sanford—by being sexually reckless....Palin may have gone rogue on John McCain, had public feuds with her grandson’s teenage father, turned on loyal aids, flubbed interviews, spent tens of thousands of other people’s money on clothes, told countless lies and now walked away from her responsibilities, but as far as we know she hasn’t cheated on her husband. If congenital narcissists dominate our politics, Palin may still be just the narcissist the GOP needs.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Palin Hits 30 (Public) Lies

Andrew Sullivan has been tracking the lies of Sarah Palin and he's now up to thirty. He is quiet opinionated and pithy and sharp, which I appreciate even when I disagree with him (which isn't often).

Here he is on the 30th lie, the about the band-aid
The point is not that this is a grave sin. It isn't. Most of her lies aren't (with a few exceptions). They are just a function of someone who makes stories up all the time, who says things that may momentarily impress but that are inconsistent with past statements and with, you know, reality. That's why I'm such a skeptic about everything she does. And why I've come to believe that you need documentation to verify every strange story she tells.-- AS (like you didn't know)
Unfortunately, I know others like this so witnessing the unraveling of her lies has been instructive.

The Sarah Palin Debate Flow Chart

It's worth the re-posting The Sarah Palin Debate Flow Chart, after that announcement yesterday, and this new twist on her debate prep.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Does Palin Still Matter?

Here's a summary from Politico on the infighting amid the GOP regarding Todd Purnam's piece in Vanity Fair - Sarah Palin Story Sparks Republican Family Feud.

What's concerning is that if the emotions are still so strongly felt, and they're all fighting about her, she's still deemed relevant.
The vitriol also suggests the degree to which Palin remains a Rorschach test not simply to Republicans nationally but within a tight circle of elite operatives and commentators, many of whom seem ready to carry their arguments in 2012. Was Palin a fresh talent whose debut was mishandled by self-serving campaign insiders, or an eccentric “diva” who had no business on the national stage? Going forward, does she offer a conservative and charismatic face for a demoralized and star-less party? Or is she a loose cannon who should be consigned to the tabloids where she can reside in perpetuity with other flash-in-the-pan sensations?
The end of the piece had me laughing out loud. Purnam answered exactly as I would have. In fact, I've used Google to check out the symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Kristol only reveals himself as completely out of it - hmm, not that "well educated."
In his post, Kristol also criticized Purdum for writing that several Alaskans had told him during the reporting of the piece that they had checked the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders definition of “narcissistic personality disorder” and found it fit their governor.

“Is there any real chance that ‘several’ Alaskans independently told Purdum that they had consulted the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders?” Kristol wrote. “I don’t believe it for a moment. I’ve (for better or worse) moved in pretty well-educated circles in my life, and I’ve gone decades without ‘several’ people telling me they had consulted the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.”

In response, Purdum, a Princeton graduate, wrote of his Harvard-degreed critic: “I'm not nearly as well-educated as Bill, but the great Irving Berlin taught me that ‘you don't have to go to a private school not to pick up a penny near a stubborn mule.’ In the age of Google, I'm confident that plenty of Alaskans know more about finding medical reference works – and all sorts of other knowledge – than Bill thinks they do.”

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Obama the Writer Celebrates Artists

I am loving the concert - all music I know - which is a rarity.  Forrest Whitaker just read these very lines from Faulkner's banquet speech when he accepted the Noble Prize.  
It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

I read elsewhere that Faulkner was drunk, had to be lied to in order to get him on the plane to Norway, he just didn't want to go.

Thank goodness he did.

Can read the full text here.

Thank goodness Obama is an artist and a writer himself.  A new day.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

AT&T - The Worst Company in the World

This is a pretty funny - because we all have had these experiences with phone companies - rendition of what occurs when in addition to trying to get services up and running you also try and correct grammar.  

Stanley Fish calls it The Return of the Old Grouch, but who wouldn't be grouchy after dealing with such ineptitude? 

What has happen to America?   

Thursday, January 01, 2009

My Mother's Family

Here is an op-ed that I would have discussed with my mother.   Her Italian family was from that region of Italy, Reggio di Calabria.  Plus she and my dad were married on the Feast of Holy Innocents (December 28th). 

This bit of personal family history about a catastrophic tidal wave that hit southern Italy on that date, this past Sunday - A Deadly Wave, a Lucky Star.

Quite a story.

New Year Poems

Mild is the Parting Year

Mild is the parting year, and sweet
The odour of the falling spray;
Life passes on more rudely fleet,
And balmless is its closing day.

I wait its close, I court its gloom,
But mourn that never must there fall
Or on my breast or on my tomb
The tear that would have soothed it all.

Burning the Old Year

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.

Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers.

Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things I didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.