Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

Month: May 2007

Fora.tv: Sharpton v. Hitchens

A while back, I added a link to Fora.tv. I regret not doing more to promote them – they’ve really done an excellent job of covering and making available all sorts of interesting intellectual events that would otherwise have gone unnoticed. So it shames me, to a certain extent, that it’s something of a tabloid event that brings me to link them again. Here is the Rev. Al Sharpton v. Christopher Hitchens debate on the existence of a divine being:

Sigh. Easy embedding is apparently a 2008 technology. So click here for the video.

It’s really quite entertaining, as you might expect. Both Sharpton and Hitchens possess abilities far beyond their varying causes, and that’s on full display here.

Hillary Clinton: Can’t Stop Thinking About . . . Yesterday?

Every time I hear Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow, I’m whipped back to 1992 and the thrill of getting a President that cared about my America. I’m not a big Fleetwood Mac fan (more a Stevie Nicks boy), and even though Bill Clinton might have been the biggest political disappointment of my life (thus far), hearing that song always pulls at something idealistic deep in me. So, from that, I’ve decided that campaign themes can be important.

And now it seems that Hillary Clinton, like every other decision she makes, is testing the waters to see what the public wants for a campaign theme. Go ahead, vote. These are my thoughts on the choices:

  • City of Blinding Lights – U2. Just a bad choice. I think campaign songs need to be an anthem, for the most part. This is not something that moves people.
  • Suddenly I See – KT Tunstall. OMFG. LOL. Did someone really suggest the theme for the Devil Wears Prada as a campaign song? Fire him/her. Right now. (The Blacknell.net headquarters peanut gallery announced that they’ll vote for this song (sample lyrics: “you can see she’s a beautiful girl, she’s a beautiful girl”) the moment the Republican nominee starts using the John Denver song (sample lyrics: “thank god I’m a country boy.”)
  • I’m a Believer – Smash Mouth. Eh. It’s serviceable. But why not the Monkees version?
  • Get Ready – The Temptations. Not the best of the catalogue. Not the worst. Much like the candidate, I suppose.
  • Ready to Run – Dixie Chicks. If you’re going to pick a Dixie Chicks song, pick Not Ready to Make Nice. Otherwise, drop it.
  • Rock This Country! – Shania Twain. Okay, the music and lyrics seem a decent choice. But really, does Shania Twain *really* say Hillary Clinton to you? No. Unless it’s “That Don’t Impress Me Much.”
  • Beautiful Day – U2. I have to abstain from voting on this one. This song, for me, is indelibly associated with walking through Lafayette Park (in front of the White House ) the morning of 9/11/01. For me, there are absolutely no good associations with this song.
  • Right Here, Right Now – Jesus Jones. They called. It wants to know why those 1970s washups Fleetwood Mac got your husband’s theme, instead of these 1991 stars.
  • I’ll Take You There – The Staple Singers. Love this song. But it is so overplayed. Next.

So, that’s my take. Go vote.

Update: The Lede (at the NYTimes) offers up an alternate:

“Ain’t No Hollaback Girl” found here though a showdown at the bleachers is a pretty apt fight song —

“Both of us want to be the winner, but there can only be one
So I’m gonna fight, gonna give it my all
Gonna make you fall, gonna sock it to you
That’s right I’m the last one standing, another one bites the dust.”

I can’t really find any serious alternatives. I keep thinking – Cake’s “Short skirt, long jacket” or Tatu’s “All the Things She Said” (sample lyrics: “All the things she said, running through my head . . . this is not enough!”).

Remembering Falwell’s Contributions to Society

His own words, courtesy of Voices of American Sexuality:

  • “AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals”
  • It appears that America’s anti-Biblical feminist movement is at last dying, thank God, and is possibly being replaced by a Christ-centered men’s movement which may become the foundation for a desperately needed national spiritual awakening.”
  • “If you’re not a born-again Christian, you’re a failure as a human being.”
  • After the September 11 attacks Falwell said, “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.”
  • “Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions”
  • “[Homosexuals are] brute beasts…part of a vile and satanic system [that] will be utterly annihilated, and there will be a celebration in heaven.”

Colorado River, 2007

Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona, 2007

Something Unexpected

So my lunchtime training ride often takes me past the playground of a private school. As I approached the edge of it today, I saw three boys standing there. Eight, maybe nine years old. All three were watching me approach. Two were wearing doubtful smirks, and one was watching me with great intensity. I noticed his hands were tightly clenched, and I immediately started forming a plan for how I was going to jump off the bike to catch and haul the little bastard off to his teacher.  Because obviously, he was planning to chuck a rock at me on a dare from his friends.

So I let the hill slow my pace a bit, and was ready to swing off the saddle the moment he raised his arm over his head. Except as I drew up next to him, he didn’t raise his arm. In fact, he took off running. Next to me.

It seems I’d been challenged to a race.

It’s funny, how much you can take in over 50-something meters and a few seconds. He was putting his all into it, little chest heaving at the effort, legs flailing away. His friends behind him, cheering. And then the giant smile when he was the first past the signpost.  Good things can still happen, in this world.

You’re Doing It Wrong

This isn’t me*, but I definitely identify. The plan, at the moment, is to take a day or two to regroup and refocus. After tomorrow’s race, of course.

*The subject actually rolled out of that, and finished in a respectable place at the Smith Mountain Lake Triathlon this past Saturday.

Turkey & the EU

Despite my infrequent posting on the matter, the subject of Turkey‘s possible place in the European Union has been a subject of much fascination for me.   Putting aside my qualms about EU overexpansion, I think the dance between Turkey and the EU powers can yield lessons for the much bigger global dance that we’re all involved in (like it or not).  This Slate column does a decent job of touching on some of those issues.  Check it out.

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