When Tom Snyder asked John Lennon in the famous Tomorrow Show interview why he became a musician and formed a band, Lennon replied slyly, “For the birds, Tom. That’s why every guy does it. To get girls….”
Pattie Boyd was one of the most famous of “the birds….”
Now Boyd has published her autobiography. It should be a riveting read for anyone interested in rock music, rock history, or rock stars in our popular culture.
As an inquisitive person trying to survive life relatively unscathed and to leave the world at least a little better off for my presence, I need answers to two fundamental questions:
How does the world work?
Why does it work that way?
We all struggle, I suppose, with the really big question: What is the meaning of life? Or, if you’re a socially conscious, progressive person, this somewhat smaller question: How can I try to fix what’s wrong? But I can’t consider either of those without compelling answers to the first two.
A beautiful young blonde stares into the camera, “whore” written on the duct tape over her mouth. Her defiant eyes speak the words that the slur tried to silence. In another photo, she stares over her shoulder, the words “Fat ass” taped to her back, pointing at her anything-but-fat derriÃ¨re.
In 1682 or thereabouts the English poet John Dryden’s famous mock-epic, “MacFlecknoe,” was published (perhaps without the author’s consent). In it Dryden butchers his contemporary, the comparatively less talented Thomas Shadwell (who nonetheless became Poet Laureate later on), a man with whom Dryden had a series of disagreements (artistic, religious and political). The premise of the poem is that the poet Richard Flecknoe, characterized as the worst poet in history, is seeking the successor to that ignoble throne.
Even though Mohamed ElBaradei is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, he’s not resting on his laurels. Continuing in his role as the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, he handed in his report on Iran’s nuclear program to the IAEA’s Board of Governors yesterday.
Reuters got a hold of a copy and summed it up: “Iran’s uranium enrichment program is operating well below capacity and is far from producing nuclear fuel in significant amounts.” A passing grade, in other words. Continue reading →
It doesn’t seem controversial to suggest that journalism in America (and beyond) is in trouble, and there are any number of factors contributing to the malaise.
A particular concern of mine has been the decline in the efficacy of what we’ll call “objective journalism” – that is, the institutionalized press that dominated newsgathering and production throughout the better part of the 20th Century. These institutions and brands are still quite viable economically (New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, ABC, CBS, NBC, Reuters, AP, etc.), but the sad fact is that consolidation, layoffs and ratings frenzies have dramatically eroded the value these agencies provide to a society in need of top-quality information and insightful analysis. You can’t make good decisions on bad information, and increasingly you can’t get good information from the legacy press.
At the same moment when the institutions are faltering we’re experiencing an explosion in “non-traditional journalism.” Continue reading →
Q: The Lower 9th Ward is one of the most impoverished areas of the region. Many residents who lived there before felt neglected. What do you say if they today now feel that way, that, well, they’re not back up to snuff, whereas everybody else is much further ahead?
CHAIRMAN POWELL: I say to those people â€” and I have a sense of responsibility â€” but one of the things I remember looking at is St. Bernard Parish and the 9th Ward and New Orleans East was some of the most devastated areas as it relates to the storm. If you look at those flood maps, it is dramatic in those areas how much they’re improved.
So, again, that’s the federal government’s commitment, to making sure that it crosses the entire section of those areas. There is some activity going on in the 9th Ward. I go to the 9th Ward often. I see some people going â€” that area was devastated, as was St. Bernard Parish. They’re a little slower than others coming back, but it’s a result of â€” I mean, the devastation there was just extraordinary.
“If you want to see hate, urged violence, bigotry, racism, and intolerance in general, and anti-American speech, this is the event.”
“[It's] bigger than any KKK, Nazi, or Muslim terrorist gathering … that has ever occurred…”
“If we ignore these growing, this growing radical segment of our society, they could and likely will become a force of hatred, intolerance, and bigotry that helps one of their supporters seize the White House in 2008. And may God have mercy upon us if that happens.”
HOLY SHIT! It’s the scariest pack of baby-sacrificing, blood-sucking, Osama bin Hitler-worshipping freedom-haters in HISTORY. Jews! Queers! Negroes! RUN! RUN, I say! It’s … it’s … ummmm … Continue reading →
On Monday, an incoming freshman at the University of Colorado was injured in a knife attack by a mentally ill former university employee. The student is fine, fortunately, and the assailant is in custody.
As the Denver Post story notes, there are some disturbing issues where the attacker is concerned.
The suspect, identified as 39-year-old Kenton Drew Astin, worked at CU last year as a cashier at the Alferd Packer Grill at the student center. He was arrested and hospitalized Monday with serious stab wounds, the school said.
Astin was sent to a state mental hospital in 2001 after being accused of stabbing a 21-year-old Longmont man. Court records show Astin pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity on charges including attempted first-degree murder in that case.
What does it really mean to be “objective?” Someone trained in the sciences will have a different answer than someone trained as a journalist. Scientists and engineers most often use the following definition: “expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations” (from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). Journalists, however, seem to use a very different definition, one that appears to create distortions by its fundamental nature.
Journalistic objectivity is based on the idea that, in order to be “objective,” one has to present factual information free of personal biases. However, in the process of pursuing ideal objectivity, sometimes very important information is left on the cutting room floor. For example, if a science journalist presents the evolution vs. intelligent design debate on equal terms, he has objectively indicated that there is a debate. But given that intelligent design (ID) isn’t even a scientific theory (ID cannot be tested empirically, therefore it cannot be considered a scientific hypothesis), the fact that ID was presented as equal to the scientific theory of evolution is itself a distortion. In this example, supposedly objective science reporting is inherently biased in favor of the non-scientific idea and biased against the actual science of evolution itself.
Speaking before an American Legion group yesterday, President Bush described Iran as the “world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.” Its pursuit of technology which could lead to nuclear weapons, he added, threatens to put the region “under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust.”
To most Americans this is just bluster. They can’t imagine that the administration, bogged down in one war gone bad, would be crazy enough to start another one. Apparently Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad concurs. As also reported on Tuesday, he asserted that Bush & Co. wouldn’t dare attack Iran.
“They have to solve the question of Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. “Politicians do not deal with imaginary things.” Continue reading →
Former Sen. John Edwards, a Democratic candidate for the presidency of the United States, has proposed, with the exquisite timing of a politician, on the cusp of the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a six-point plan to “Help Get New Orleans Back on its Feet.”
His proposals would address nursing and other medical shortages, safety on the streets, efforts to return all former residents to the city, appointment of a “chief recovery officer” (can you say “czar”?), appointment of a special Gulf Coast inspector general, and enactment of “Brownie’s Law” to insure that political hacks don’t get jobs they can’t perform.
We should be pleased that at least one presidential candidate has a devastated American city on his or her mind. But I’d rather hear his answers to a few questions missing from his Web site’s proposal:
How much will it cost?
Who’s gonna decide how the money’s spent?
Who’s gonna pay for it?
Rhetoric will not resolve New Orleans’ issues. Answers to those questions must accompany proposals imbued with political vagueness.
The hottest thing on the Internets right now is the video of Miss Teen South Carolina trying, unsuccessfully, to answer a painfully simple question. In this SVR Special Report, we look at new developments in this breaking story.
First, for those of you who had trouble following Miss Upton’s answer, here’s a subtitled version, which adds a whole new layer of texture and nuance.
Our friends at Blackwater Security are creating their own air force. The company which provides “security solutions” by contract to the United States in Iraq (and is building bases in every coastal state in the US), already has a fleet of armed helicopters which it uses in Iraq. The first of the planes that Blackwater is buying, the Embraer Super Tucano light combat prop jets, will be shipped to the US so that Blackwater may begin training pilots shortly.
I know I’m crazy with the posting today, but I wanted to mention another resignation that will be much less heralded, and much more lamented: Economist and uber-progressive blogger Max Sawicky is hanging it up.
I’m a latecomer to Max’s readership, but his work has inspired me to be a better, stronger writer and blogger. Max told it like it was, never gave an inch, yet was always willing to listen and debate. He put centrist Democrats and the netroots both on notice that being DINOs (Democrats In Name Only) was unacceptable, that simply electing anyone who called themselves a Democrat wasn’t enough, and that progressives had a right to demand more of the so-called “liberal” party than Blue Dogs and slavish adherents to free trade.
When I grow up, I want to be an irascible, cranky, uncompromising, brilliant, eloquent, and still passionate proponent of real progressive change–with a ponytail from New Jersey, just like Max. I’ve got the ponytail and the origins right, but I don’t think I’ll ever match Max’s wit, wisdom, and style.
No one can, really, but Max himself. Come back soon, man.
If you’re a Comcast subscriber who likes to use your connection for downloading videos, playing games, or anything more intensive than surfing the Web and checking e-mail, watch out–your connection could get restricted or shut off without any notice.
The company has a bandwidth limitation that, if broken, can result in a 12-month suspension of service. The problem, according to customer complaints, is that the telecom giant refuses to reveal how much downloading is too much. Continue reading →
The fact that this is happening bright and early on a Monday morning makes me think that it wasn’t done at Bush’s behest–if the White House had been in control of this, they’d have waited until the Friday of Labor Day weekend to bury it. So, then, what can we say about this development? Continue reading →
What things one does dream, thought [Pahom]. – “How Much Land Does a Man Need?”
The greatest struggle in the American experience is the one between democracy and capitalism. As de Tocqueville observed, “As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in?” Americans like to think of themselves as the people who brought the world the bellwether concepts of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But the “pursuit of happiness” for Americans has tended to follow the Coolidge dictum: “The business of America is business.” Continue reading →