Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
-- How About the Next John F. Kennedy?
I've heard a couple of folks express concern that Obama could be the next Jimmy Carter. That would be bad, but I think he could be the next JFK, which could be even worse.
Check out this excerpt from this article by Tony Blankley from Real Clear Politics:
Now, it is doubtlessly true that our invasion of Iraq (and Afghanistan) helped al-Qaida's recruitment. I have been told that by U.S. government experts I trust. But that is an old fact. What Osama bin Laden famously said about recruitment is also true: People follow the strong horse. And the new fact is that as we are winning in Iraq, as we are killing al-Qaida fighters and other Islamist terrorists there by the truckload (along with other insurgent opponents of the Iraqi government we support with our blood and wealth), we are proving to be the strong horse after all and can expect to see a reduced attraction for young men to join the Islamist terrorist ranks.
Fighting and winning always impress. Even merely fighting and persisting impress. Shortly after the fall of Soviet Communism, I had dinner with a then-recently former senior Red army general. He told me that the Soviets were astounded and impressed by the fact that we were prepared to fight and lose 50,000 men in Vietnam, when the Soviets never thought we even had a strategic interest there. They thus calculated that they'd better be careful with the United States. What might we do, they thought, if our interests really were threatened?
What kind of message is our next president going to send to our friends, adversaries and enemies? With regard to Obama, in the world of Realpolitik, our adversaries and enemies aren't going to give a rat's a** about "hope" and "change". And, if they sense or suspect our president is a gullible naif in the world of power politics, they will exploit that weakness to their advantage.We saw this happen with Jimmy Carter when the Soviets took advantage of him by invading Afghanistan. But, we also saw this, and paid a much larger price, when the Soviets perceived John Kennedy as a lightweight. This emboldened them to try and install nuclear missiles in Cuba and, as a result, we almost had World War III.
And, despite liberal historians depiction of Kennedy as some sort of master diplomat staring down the Russians, the truth is his handling of that crisis demonstrated strategic stupidity of the highest order. In Diplomacy 101, everyone learns that "saving face" is the key to relations between nations. When you win an international dispute, you always -- always -- give your adversary a face saving "out".
Kennedy did not do this in the Cuban Missile Crisis. To the contrary, by very publicly confronting the Russians, he put them in the position of either fighting or backing down. They knew they could not win a war against us in our hemisphere, so they had to back down; they were humiliated in front of the world and, consequently, were determined to not let it happen again. Since Kennedy embarrassed them and did not give them a face saving way out, we got into a huge arms race that cost our nations billions upon billions of dollars over the next 20 years.
If it's a choice between Obama-as-Carter or Obama-as-Kennedy -- give me an inept Obama-as-Carter instead of another dangerously stupid Obama-as-Kennedy.
Listen to Uber-liberal Justice Stevens as he whined about the Supreme Court's Heller decision today:
Gosh, I wonder if he would have been as equally dismissive of the Court's decision when it "discovered" a "right" to abortion and and whether he would have argued that such decisions should be left to the state legislatures. What a blatant hypocrite.
Justice John Paul Stevens spoke from the bench to denounce the decision, which he said violated the court's precedent that the Second Amendment refers to a right to bear arms only for military purposes.
He spoke dismissively of the court's "newly discovered right" and said decisions about gun control should be made by legislatures.
Monday, June 23, 2008
or nearer at least.
Here's a great post from the Journal's Best-of-the-Web blog.
Mary Ann Lindley is an editor at the Tallahassee Democrat, the main newspaper in Florida's capital. In a blog entry on the paper's Web site, she writes that a friend recently gave her a copy of the Democrat dated Jan. 21, 1981--the day after Ronald Reagan was inaugurated and the mad mullahs who ran Iran released the American diplomats they had taken prisoner, a crime that has gone unpunished in the 27 subsequent years.
"But the thing that caught my attention in that 27 year old newspaper," Lindley writes, "was a letter to the editor from a Darrell E. Levi":
In 1981, Mr. Levi's concern was the "accelerating devastation of the world's tropical forests and with that the possibility of major changes in the world's climate."
He went on to write that "over the past 20 years, it has become clearer that the main, most inexorable threat humans face is not political or ideological conflict, social disintegration or economic chaos--as real and important as these things are--but destruction of the very biolgoical [sic] basis of life."
That was long ago, and yet the warnings he issued are almost precisely the ones we hear today: that we run great risk if we ignore our interdependency with soil, air, water, plants and animals and that a global ecological crisis is upon us and will destroy us without an informed citizenry prepared to respond and help steer a new course for "Spaceship Earth."
Now, we're not exactly sure what kind of "changes in the world's climate" Levi meant to warn about. Back in the 1970s, people worried about a new Ice Age, but at some point between then and 1988, the concern shifted to global warming. It's possible that in the interim, an informed citizenry did steer a new course for Spaceship Earth, one that took the craft dangerously close to the sun.
Possible, but--let's be honest--not probable. We like to think we're pretty informed, and we don't remember anything like this happening. Anyway, the Earth isn't really a spaceship. Its course is fixed by nature, God or some combination thereof.
The lesson of Darrell E. Levi would seem to be that doomsayers will always be with us. They were with us in 1981, they are with us in 2008, and we feel confident predicting that they will be with us in 2035.
Incredibly, though, Lindley draws the opposite conclusion--that Levi's predictions were prescient not because they came true but because people are making similar predictions now:
It's easy to dismiss today's "alarmists" who speak of the dire consequences of our various policy choices and personal decisions. But Mr. Levi's letter is riveting. He was--and is--right on the money. Everything he said then still applies, squared.
The good news is that some of today's citizenry is more informed and some leaders, such as Governor Crist, are aiming their sites [sic] on solutions, however incremental, to save the ship known as Spaceship Earth.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
... in order to make money in any business you need to sell your products, not sit around your trailer consuming them. :-)
|Meth lab busted in Larimer trailer home|
|By Kieran Nicholson|
The Denver Post
The Denver Post
|Article Last Updated:06/18/2008 04:04:22 PM MDT|
A tip about a fugitive led Larimer County deputies to a methamphetamine lab in a trailer home where three people, including the fugitive, were arrested, the sheriff's office said.
Early Tuesday morning, the sheriff's office received a tip that William Curtis Miller, 36, wanted in Mississippi for theft and in Larimer County for a parole violation, was at a trailer home at 2025 N. College Ave. No. 46, the sheriff's office said in a news release.
When deputies went to the trailer, the occupants refused to open the door, the sheriff's office said.
Deputies got a search warrant, entered the trailer, and found Miller and evidence of a meth lab, the sheriff's office said.
They obtained another search warrant, based on the meth discovery, and arrested Miller and two others inside the trailer.
Todd Ted Rowell, 50, and Lynn Ann Baker, 40, were arrested on suspicion of manufacturing methamphetamine.
All three were being held at the Larimer County Jail.
The frustrated entreprenuers
Can you believe this?
Guy kidnaps ex-girlfriend to get ironing done
Mon Jun 16, 2:16 PM ET
An Italian man was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping his ex-girlfriend from a pub, taking her home and forcing her to iron his clothes and wash the dishes, police said Monday.
The 43-year-old man dragged the woman out of a pub in the port city of Genoa, shoved her into a car and took her to his home where he made her iron and wash
dishes after threatening her, they said.
Police arrived at his house after being tipped off by a friend of the woman who watched the scene at the pub.
The man, who was apparently furious at his ex-girlfriend for leaving him, was arrested on charges of kidnapping, police said.
Monday, June 09, 2008
This article could have been written about me and Ellen. I know that if beautiful Ellen passed away, I, too, would soon be gone.
After 65 years, couple inseparable - even in death
'They couldn't be parted': After long life together, husband and wife die of natural causes within 23 hours of each other.
By DOUG IRVING
The Orange County Register
-- Jerry Aten didn't last a day without his wife Marilyn. Santa Ana
She died on a Monday evening last month. He tried to give her one last kiss, but he was too unsteady to get out of his wheelchair. He held her hand, laid his head on her bed, and cried.
Their friends always use the same word to describe Jerry and Marilyn: inseparable. And so, 23 hours later, when his caretaker heard his breath go heavy and deep, and then stop, it seemed to them more a gift than a surprise.
Doctors who work with the elderly say it's not unusual for the death of one spouse to make the other feel more at peace with dying as well. Some researchers even believe that the loss of a loved one can stun the heart and cause symptoms similar to a heart attack, a phenomenon often called "broken heart syndrome."
But what happened with Jerry, 89, and Marilyn, 85, left even their pastor searching for words. "It's almost like they planned their departure perfectly," said Rev. Wilfredo Benitez of St. Anselm of Canterbury Episcopal Church in
. Garden Grove
"I don't have any explanation for that. I can't say whether God planned it," he added. "It just seemed to me that the bond between the two of them was so strong that, even in death, they couldn't be parted."
They met on a blind date. He was a
Michiganfarm boy stationed with the Army in Northern California. She was a small-town girl who always called him "Honey." California
They were married 65 years ago in April.
She died at home, in her bed. Jerry tried to lift himself out of his wheelchair to kiss her good-bye, then fell back and laid his head on her bed, next to her arm. He didn't say anything, just cried softly.
It was 11:40 p.m. on May 5.
Jerry woke up the next morning, talked to his son, greeted a neighbor. But he began crying again in the afternoon, and he was still crying when his caretaker, Theresa Palepale, helped him into bed that night.
She heard his breathing change and then stop about an hour later. She felt for a pulse, but didn't find one.
It was 10:40 p.m. on May 6.
Physicians would later determine that Marilyn had died of gastric cancer, and Jerry had died 23 hours later, to the minute, of cardiopulmonary arrest. They were buried in
. Riverside National Cemetery
Their obituary ran in the newspaper on the day of the funeral. "Aten, Marilyn and Jerry," it read. "Together for eternity."
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Well, nothing is really new in politics. The only "change" Obama will bring is how much he'll look like a former president. Unfortunately, so far, it seems that the only president he resembles is one we'd rather forget!
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Great editorial in today's Investor's Business Daily. The quote I used to title this post very neatly sums up who we'll get when/if Obama is elected. And, as the editorial also points out, if any criticism or tough questions are condemned as being racist, it's likely he will be elected. :-(
Historic First Or Carter Redux?
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, June 04, 2008 4:20 PM PT
Decision '08: Barack Obama is the first African-American presidential candidate of a major political party. It is a historic accomplishment. Unfortunately for us, it's his only accomplishment.
As Martin Luther King might put it, we have been to the mountaintop and seen the promised land. But having taken another giant step towards true equality and a genuinely color-blind society, we hope Sen. Obama and John McCain will be treated equally in the press.
Politics ain't beanbag, as someone once said, and we hope that attacks on Obama's leftist and quasi-Marxist positions and associations will not be deflected as racist criticisms. The heat he will face in this campaign is nothing compared with what he would face on the world stage.
After the last balloon is popped, what we have is a 46-year-old freshman senator who has spent three years in the U.S. Senate, two of them running for president. As we have noted, his policy is basically to raise taxes at home and to surrender to our enemies abroad.
His choice of friends, associates, pastors and churches bespeaks a lack of judgment that gives us pause as to who will fill important positions in the government and his cabinet. We'd prefer that the next secretaries of defense, energy and state, as well as the next Supreme Court justices be appointed by a President McCain.
Some will say the nation has finally accepted the idea of a black American running for president. So far, the only thing certain is that it's OK for a black Democrat to run for president. We wonder, for example, if the press would swoon if it were a Condoleezza Rice running as a Republican.
There's much to criticize about Obama. He promised a post-racial candidacy, but he brought race to the fore with his associations with a church that embraces black liberation theology and one preacher who said the
government invented AIDS to kill black people and another who said Obama's opponent, Hillary Clinton, was the embodiment of white entitlement. U.S.
It was out of political expediency, not principle, that he renounced them and the church that gave them standing ovations. His other associations — from influence peddler Tony Rezko to terrorist bombers William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn — cannot be dismissed as people from the neighborhood.
Obama will warn the nation that McCain represents a third Bush term. We'll do our best to point out that even if true, it's a better prospect than the second coming of Jimmy Carter. His naivete on foreign policy and his willingness to make nice with the world's loons have won the endorsement of Hamas leaders.
On the domestic front, Obama proposes to replace the American dream with a mandate of service and servitude to an ever-larger federal behemoth. He will repeal the Bush tax cuts and add new burdens.
He says: "You can take your diploma, walk off this stage and chase only after the big house and the nice suits and all the other things that our money culture says you should. But I hope you don't."
Well, we hope you do — and so does John McCain.
needs more people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, people who needn't apologize for making money while making our lives better and our country stronger. America
We wonder how many will vote for Obama just to have the opportunity to make more history. The nation cannot afford eight or even four years of him. His policies would lead us to an economic and strategic disaster of historical proportions.
We've made enough history for now.
CSO Continues its Reign
Even though Maestro Muti won't be at Ravinia, it's always a great time to sit on the lawn on a beautiful summer evening listening to one of the world's best symphony orchestras. Muti's coming to Chicago to lead the CSO demonstrates that this symphony continues to attract the best talent.
Ricardo Muti, CSO a potent combination New conductor brings energy, experience
By John von Rhein Tribune critic
May 11, 2008
I wouldn't blame the orchestra players for gloating up a storm right now.
With last week's announcement that Riccardo Muti will become the next music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra finds itself the envy of the symphonic world.
To make the coup even bigger, the CSO stole the brilliant and charismatic Italian maestro right out from under the New York Philharmonic, which has been unable to secure formal commitments from him, despite offering him the music directorship at least once. Muti's current guest conducting arrangement with that orchestra will cease when he begins his five-year tenure here in 2010-11.
Muti is too diplomatic to say so, of course, but the reasons he chose
Chicagoover New Yorkseem implicitly clear: Chicagohas the better orchestra; management promised him conditions he couldn't find in ; and he faces nothing here like the podium competition he would encounter on the East Coast. New York
What A-list senior conductor in the Indian summer of a distinguished career—Muti is a vibrant 66—would not wish to set down roots here? It's the Chicago Symphony, after all.
It has not taken long for the bloggers to weigh in. There are worries that Muti's repertoire may be too conservative. The New Yorker's Alex Ross questions the "jet-set celebrity conductor" mind-set that supposedly brought Muti here, while the San Francisco Chronicle's Joshua Kosman worries that the CSO may be trading long-term security for a "short-term payoff."
If you look at Muti's programming with the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he was music director from 1980 to 1992, you'll see he conducted a fair amount of new music in many styles—including Chicago's Ralph Shapey and Shulamit Ran, Gyorgy Ligeti, Luciano Berio, Bernard Rands, William Bolcom, Christopher Rouse, Richard Wernick and Vincent Persichetti. There is no reason to assume Muti will be any less adventuresome with the CSO. He already has commissions in mind.
The CSO did not hire just a marquee name, but a marquee name who is also a superb musician and strong orchestra builder and who seems to be fully committed to the institution, the city and the community.
I don't recall anyone raising the slightest objection when the CSO hired Georg Solti—another "jet-set celebrity conductor," if you will—to take over the CSO in 1969.
In these perilous economic times, an orchestra that only recently extricated itself from years of serious deficits and is slowly reversing the audience erosion that occurred after 2001 has to ask: Which world-class conductor has the best shot at ensuring long-term solvency and artistic pre-eminence? In both respects Muti was the best, perhaps only, choice for the Chicago Symphony.
Both the New York Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic recently hitched their fortunes to talented but relatively untested young music directors, Alan Gilbert and Gustavo Dudamel respectively. It's a high-risk gamble. Each podium dervish could carry his orchestra to new heights and stir new excitement among the public; or each could crash and burn, taking his orchestra with him.
The Chicago Symphony is not a gambling orchestra. It chose age and experience over youth and flash. The modus operandi has proved spectacularly successful for the orchestra over the years. Why change now?
Beyond Solti's historic achievements in
, look at all the good things Bernard Haitink, 79, and Pierre Boulez, 83, are doing in their capacity as the CSO's interim leadership team. The challenges Muti will face at the CSO will be made easier by the strong impression he has made with the musicians, public and press after only a month of concerts last September at Orchestra Hall and on the orchestra's European tour. Chicago
Already he has developed a productive working relationship with CSO association president Deborah R. Card and the rest of the staff.
"Right now I am full of enthusiasm," the music director-designate said last week, viewing his appointment in the context of his long career. "I feel like a marathon runner does when he nears the finish line. You run with even more energy because you are happy about the victory."
Clearly the management and board are looking to Muti to do for the Chicago Symphony what Michael Jordan did for the Bulls during the 1990s—pull in more people who would not ordinarily be interested in the "sport" and make them a permanent part of the crowd that cheers the home team to glory.
That's a tall order, but Muti says he is willing to proselytize for classical music within the community and engage with potential donors and new audience members. This immediately sets him apart from his elitist predecessor, Daniel Barenboim, who shunned responsibilities that did not relate specifically to the music.
"I believe an orchestra exists for everybody in the community, not just for the people who can afford to give money and buy tickets," said Muti.
"A music director also has to work with the sponsors to convince them the money they give to support the arts, music in particular, is something that serves the community," he added. "I am prepared to go everywhere to make people aware of the importance of music, to prepare for the next generation."
Muti's contract with the orchestra association calls for him to spend a minimum of 10 weeks a season with the CSO, at home and on tour. That is par for the course for today's jet-propelled international conductors. Those who believe it's too short a residency should remember it is about the same number of weeks Barenboim gave
for most of his 15-year tenure. Whether we like it or not, the days of the live-in music director are over. (Muti says he and his wife, Christina, will be living out of Chicago hotels, at least for the time being, because, as he jokes, he can't even boil an egg for himself.) Chicago
An extremely focused musician who's known for the energy and concentration he brings to each musical project, Muti may be counted on to make maximum use of his weeks here. "For me," he said, "to be a music director means to be involved deeply in the life of an institution, not just to be the sort of conductor that conducts more weeks than others."
His 19 seasons as music director of Milan's famed Teatro alla Scala found him taking charge of many aspects of the operation of that historic opera house, just as his 12-year tenure as music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra saw him stumping for funds and campaigning for the creation of the new concert facility that eventually became Verizon Hall.
Muti gained the reputation for being arrogant following his departure from La Scala in 2005, in a testy imbroglio involving members of the orchestra and other workers in the theater. Even so, I have yet to hear any
musician voice the complaint that Muti is arrogant. To adhere to high standards and to expect those around you to adhere to them too is not the same as being arrogant or dictatorial, CSO members point out. Chicago
"The orchestra has adapted to Muti's musicmaking style with complete ease, and each concert [registers] a greater mutual understanding between us," said CSO assistant principal oboist Michael Henoch, a member of the search committee that enthusiastically recommended the board engage Muti.
Along with his experience as one of the world's great operatic conductors, Muti will bring a wide symphonic repertoire to
, as his voluminous discography proves. Chicago
He has recorded complete cycles of the Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Schumann and Tchaikovsky symphonies, with notable success. He conducts a great deal of Haydn, Mozart, Bruckner and other German and Austrian works central to the CSO's repertoire, even if Mahler has claimed his attention only selectively. No living conductor has done more to bring the broad range of Italian music to audiences, from Giovanni Pergolesi to Berio. He should fit fine into the orchestra's musical tradition.
We can expect him to bring concert opera back to Orchestra Hall, just as he did in
. His 20th Century repertoire is wider than commonly believed. He has championed the music of Hindemith, Dallapiccola, Petrassi, Ligeti, Britten and Shostakovich to wide acclaim. His taste in contemporary music is a good deal more inclusive than Barenboim's. Also, as one blogger who had been disgruntled with Barenboim's programming observes, Muti doesn't do Elliott Carter. Philadelphia
Muti is famed as a strict-constructionist conductor who gives you the score and nothing but the score. As with all such generalities, that is far from the whole story. While he is well known for preventing the singers with whom he works from inserting unwritten notes into certain arias, the maestro is by no means pedantic about doing everything come scritto (as written). Flexibility is key to his approach.
Man of culture
So exacting is his ear for orchestral sonority that you are unlikely to mistake his Debussy for his Wagner. The jury is still out about his Mozart. The Muti performances I have heard have tended to overly prettify Mozart in a romantic style Orchestra Hall heard rather too much of under Daniel Barenboim.
A man of wide culture, Muti advises musicians and audience members wishing to better understand the meaning of a given piece of music to consider it in the context of contemporaneous art works—a mass by the Italian composer Luigi Cherubini alongside the sculptures of neoclassical Italian sculptor Antonio Canova, for example.
Given his ear for clean-lined objectivity in performance, he has sometimes been likened to Arturo Toscanini, a great predecessor at La Scala. That may be true for certain performances of certain pieces, but Muti, in the last analysis, is his own man.
And he is a masterful architect of orchestral sound and structure.
It was clear from his CSO performances of Scriabin, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky last September that he can pull from this orchestra nuances of sonority, line, phrasing and articulation that it did not know it possessed while making something viscerally exciting of the whole.
Based on everything I know about how Muti and the CSO function together, I predict some spectacular concerts are in the offing. I believe the maestro and his musicians are going to be very, very good for each other over the long haul. And together they will be very, very good for the city and its standing in the cultural world.
Copyright © 2008, Chicago Tribune
- ► 2011 (56)
- ► 2010 (61)
- ► 2009 (59)
- Not Wasting Any Time I'm sure you all heard the g...
- Obama the Next Jimmy Carter?-- How About the Next ...
- What Hypocrisy Listen to Uber-liberal Justice Ste...
- or nearer at least.Here's a great post from the Jo...
- Here's a Tip ...... in order to make money in any ...
- What an OutrageCan you believe this? Guy kidn...
- Having Fun with the Toyota Prius
- "the bond between the two of them was so strong th...
- Thinking of Voting Obama for the "Change" He'll Br...
- "his policy is basically to raise taxes at home an...
- CSO Continues its ReignEven though Maestro Muti wo...
- Chris W. Cox's Remarks at NRA's 137th Annual Mtg ...
- ▼ June (12)
- ► 2007 (195)
- ► 2006 (293)