living on the ground

Okay, this is not real. Someone has carefully made a hilarious (to me) soundtrack to go with the visuals from this performance at the inauguration. Ulitmately, I have found these execellent musicians choice to mime their art discouraging. I admire all of them as musicians. And I actually sort of liked (godhelpme) John 
William’s composition which has been derided widely by musicians.  But I like this video best of all. heh.

“Remember those memoranda about torture that President Bush and Vice President Cheney both stressed they relied upon in deciding to torture prisoners? It looks like the Justice Department’s own ethics experts have had a look, and concluded that the memos in question are professionally incompetent—not worth the paper they’re written on.”

Internal Justice Probe Lambasts Yoo and Bradbury over Memos by Scott Horton, 2/14/09 Harpers online


Why does this not surprise me?

I keep wondering about the congressional Republicans being so stalwart against the stimulus package.  I imagine this is a result of a combination of factors. It looks like Pelosi put together the orginal house bill with little input from Republicans or the White House. Then the house Republicans have seemed to be strongly oriented to their ideology. This is who got elected.

So they all opposed portions of the bill that invested in government spending and didn’t reduce taxes. Then the senate Republicans were undoubtedly pressured to follow suit. 

Of course this is the best of both worlds for the minority. Step back and refuse to support action. Then reap the benifits whether it works or not. If it works, these representatives and senators will be less likely be held accountible by voters who are benefiting. If it doesn’t work, they can say they were prescient in their opposition.

Having looked at the Senate version of the bill, I have a bit of understanding as to why people who believe government should not intervene in the lives of the people and that taxes should be de-emphasized would not be strong supporters of this bill. Also I am pretty confused about what actually would help the current crazy economy. But I have been confused for years about how business people seem to be viewing the idea of trade and responsibility to the community at large. 


I don’t think that partisanship is the problem, as much as ideology versus governing. The quote above reminds me of just how important ideology has been in the government for the last eight years or so.  “Right thinking” has trumped reflective consideration and transparency for so long that the government seems pretty broken. 

But it’s hard to tell living on the ground. 

I do admire the way Obama seems to be elevating the public rhetoric:

I often wake up in the morning and remember a comment a high school teacher once made to me: “What’s more important poetry or the news? Poetry, of course.”

Recently chatting with a reasonably intelligent human I realized that I was talking about Dylan Thomas and he had no idea who I was talking about. I mentioned “Do not go gentle…”  No glint of recognition. 

So for people still in love with words here are couple of closing links:

The full text of Roald Dahl’s short story: “Parson’s Pleasure.” (I haven’t read it yet, but have it sitting in my browser so that I can read it when I get a chance.)


And just for giggles, here’s the poem, “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.” As I watch the last flickering of my father’s personality (due to his dementia), I sometimes think of this poem that Dylan Thomas wrote for his own father. As a metaphor for battling a terminal illness, I don’t find it helpful. But I can relate to the idea that when one is facing the “good night” one’s self, raving, burning, raging, all seem to be as profound a response to extinguishment as gentleness. Probably the whole mix is how one faces it, if one is lucky enough to see it coming clearly.

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