January 2011

Rebellion and Revolution

January 31, 2011

With the current events in Egypt following upon the still unfolding story in Tunisia, the nature and potential consequences of revolutionary upheaval are much on people’s minds. For Egypt, as generally for the Middle East, democrats everywhere celebrate the swell of a common spirit of liberty seeking to throw off shackles. Realists, even among democrats, […]

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CineFile – Five Easy Pieces

January 30, 2011

It isn’t the most famous scene in the film – that would be holding the chicken between her knees – but it is the film’s most emotionally naked, its thematic center. As Jack Nicholson’s Bobby Dupea reveals himself to his stricken, speechless father, played by William Challee, whose apparently compassionate face bears, in its unresponsive […]

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How We Lived on It (33) – The Ascendance of Shanghai

January 29, 2011

The contrast in these photos, of Shanghai 1990 and 2010, is an eye opener more than literally. It is the Chinese economic and urban development behemoth let loose. (H/T Derek Thompson) Here is NPR in December 2006. It’s become an urban myth that at one time, one-quarter of the world’s construction cranes were in Shanghai. […]

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Native America in the Courts of the Conqueror

January 28, 2011

Image via Wikipedia A common sense of the matter among those little knowledgeable or arrogantly unreflective about the Native conquest in what became the United States is that it took the form, simply, of ages old civilizational conflicts, in which one expanding and militarily superior culture historically and amorally superseded another. Like the Persian Empire […]

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The Right’s Responsibility for the Tucson Shooting

January 27, 2011

The Washington Post provided fascinating news about Jared Lee Loughner yesterday. In the weeks and days before the shooting rampage in Tucson, suspect Jared Lee Loughner surfed the Internet on his computer in what investigators believe was an effort to prepare for his alleged assassination attempt, law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation said. Loughner […]

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Jazz Is: 25 – Louis Armstrong: “Dinah”

January 26, 2011

Even if you’re old enough to remember him, even if you’ve seen film or video, you’ve probably never seen and heard Louis Armstrong like this. He was young, and the cat could scat – and swing. In Copenhagen. [ad#adsense] Related articles The House of Jazzman Louis Armstrong: The Corona, Queens, house where jazz… (curbed.com) Visitors’ […]

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The Next GOP Assault on Working Americans: State Bankruptcy

January 24, 2011

In fact, it has been going on for over thirty years. It has taken the form of nearly stagnant wages, while the accumulation of wealth among the richest Americans has reached proportions beyond all previous measure. It grew in the increased turn to a contingent labor force, steadily shorn of worker protections, benefits, and even […]

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Benjamin Franklin & U.S. Grant on the American Constitution

January 24, 2011

Harvard historian Jill Lepore had an excellent piece int The New Yorker a week ago on “the Constitution and its worshippers.” In it she quotes from the speech the frail Benjamin Franklin had delivered for him just before the signing of the document on September 17, 1787. We have a record of it from the […]

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CineFile – The Farewell Waltz

January 23, 2011

Mervyn LerRoy’s Waterloo Bridge is a quintessential Golden Age Hollywood romance of love tragically interrupted by war. Both of its stars, Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh, later recalled their roles as perhaps the favorite of their careers. This is its most exquisite scene, offering a typically sentimentalized representation of high-cultured English civilization before the coming […]

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Eating Poetry (XXX) – In Memory of W. B. Yeats

January 22, 2011

For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives/ …/A way of happening, a mouth. This coming Friday, January 28, will be the 72st anniversary of the death of W. B. Yeats, just before the calamity of the century that W. H. Auden would auger again in “September 1, 1939.” Here, one great poet of the twentieth […]

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David Brooks on Joe Lieberman: Muddled Moderation

January 21, 2011

Image via Wikipedia There is more than a superficial appeal to the calming voice. While it sounds reasonable, and it appears to spy a path from lost to found – “if you can keep your head when all around you” and all that – it also reassures.  Often it is the still center that saves […]

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Israel Responds to Time Magazine

January 20, 2011

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the following response from Ron Dermer, Senior Adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, to the latest of Time Magazine’s increasingly and starkly biased reports on Israel is not how well-reasoned and clearly presented it is. What is most remarkable is how obvious the various counter points are to the […]

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The Insurrectionism Timeline

January 20, 2011

Not that I lack a proper regard for my own intellectual product and scribble, but today will be a day for sharing some better reads of the past twenty-four hours or so. Image via Wikipedia After Representative Gabrielle Giffords and others were shot in Tucson two weekends ago, some on the Left, repelled by two […]

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Jazz Is: 24 – The Death of Charlie Parker

January 19, 2011

from the PBS American Masters series… Related articles Jeff Bridges teases PBS’ “The Dude Abides” with interview, clip (hollywoodnews.com) Trailer and Clip for PBS’s JEFF BRIDGES: THE DUDE ABIDES (geektyrant.com) Jeff Bridges Interview AMERICAN MASTERS – JEFF BRIDGES: THE DUDE ABIDES (collider.com)

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It’s All a Great Big Google

January 18, 2011

The news came out last month. With little fanfare, Google has made a mammoth database culled from nearly 5.2 million digitized books available to the public for free downloads and online searches, opening a new landscape of possibilities for research and education in the humanities. The digital storehouse, which comprises words and short phrases as […]

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Stuxnet, WikiLeaks, and the Cold War

January 17, 2011

Everyone’s talking about an extraordinarily well report article in The New York Times this weekend that finally begins to put together the story behind the Stuxnet worm and its attack on the Iranian nuclear program. Apparently, to no one’s surprise, it was an American-Israeli coup accomplished with the probable help of Britain and Germany, including […]

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January 16, 2011

Hans Richter (1888-1976) was an early Dadaist, and along with Futurists Bruno Corra and Arnaldo Ginna and fellow German Walter Ruttmann, was among the earliest makers of abstract film. Filmstudie (1926) was his third film, following on Rhytmus 21 and Rhytmus 23. Richter moved to the U.S. in 1941 and in the 1950s was Professor […]

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How We Lived on It (32) – All I Need

January 15, 2011

Footage from the 1996 French film “Microcosmos.” [ad#adsense]

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My Political Calendar for Friday, January 14, 2011

January 14, 2011

6 a.m. Morning in America 6:30 a.m. Exercise 1st Amendment right 2 tell liberal neighbor he’s an asshole. 7 a.m. Exercise 2nd Amendment right: target practice (neighbor leaves 4 work) 7:30 a.m. Morning Joe 8:30 a.m. “Rush” Hour 9:30 a.m. National conversation about race 10:30 a.m. Seek the better angels of our nature in a […]

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Death to Incivility

January 13, 2011

Please. I kid incivility. We should be more civil in our intimations of deadly force. Amid all the angry and confused debate since the Tucson shooting – confusions in personal values and in the terms of the debate – the fairly simple and genuine subject of greatest import actually arose quite clearly at the start. […]

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Jazz Is: 23 – Charlie Parker and Birdland

January 12, 2011

The jazzman’s jazzman. The jazz club’s jazz club. [ad#adsense] Related articles The House of Jazzman Louis Armstrong: The Corona, Queens, house where jazz… (curbed.com) Brian Ross: Christian McBride & Inside Straight – Fame Eludes Greatness (huffingtonpost.com) Coming to London’s Vortex Jazz Club (avantmusicnews.com)

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