Saturday, July 04, 2009

Saturday Musical Tribute

A song that's been on Harrogate's mind lately.

Poem of the Day: Saturday, Independence Day, 2009

Happy Fourth of July to all Situationers, although some of you are Anglophiles unfortunately. Ye know who you are. :-)

Also, Happy George Steinbrenner's birthday.

Robert Frost, "The Pasture"

I'm going out to clean the pasture spring;
I'll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I sha'n't be gone long. You come too.
I'm going out to fetch the little calf
That's standing by the mother. It's so young,
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I sha'n't be gone long. You come too.

Friday, July 03, 2009

File Under WTF:

According to CNN: Palin will resign as Governor of Alaska.

There is a lot of speculation that she will run for President in 2012 and, consequently, she will not run for reelection for Governor in 2010.

But, why would you resign now and not finish your term? Is everything in Alaska going to go down hill so fast that you think you will not be blamed for it?

Update: File under this is incredibly stupid. from CNN:

Palin added in a statement that she was "determined to take the right path for Alaska even though it is not the easiest path. ... Once I decided not to run for re-election, I also felt that to embrace the conventional lame duck status in this particular climate would just be another dose of politics as usual, something I campaigned against and will always oppose."
Let's think about this statement. If Palin were to run for president and win, then she faces a dilemma. Since, under current constitutional standards, which I assume would not change, if Palin were elected in 2012, then she would not run for reelection in 2016 because every president who wins reelection is a lame duck. Of course, this also means that a victory in 2012 and a conviction against being a lame duck, means that if she were to win in 2012 she would be a lame duck president and, hence, should resign.

She is just bizarre. And no too bright politically. At least she is doing what is best for the citizens of Alaska. Maybe she will do the same for the rest of the country by resigning from politics.

Update II:
She said she believes politics is "superficial." Define Irony.

Update III: Watch it yourself. I am waiting for the 5:30pm showing on MSNBC. And the Geese in the background.

I guess we will no longer have Nixon to kick around. Oh wait. That was before he won the presidency. Shit.

Poem of the Day: Friday, July 3, 2009

Megs looked at my funny the other night when Sweet Toddler J and I sat in the bedroom and read a few of Emily Dickinson's poems. When Sweet Toddler J. was only two months old, I remember that I soothed her from a crying fit as I read a few Robert Frost poems to her. Wednesday night, we had a grand time on the Chase as we drank apple juice and read Dickinson.

Unfortunately, I cannot find one of Dickinson's poems that I read to the little one. But in the spirit of that night, here is the poem of the day:

"This World is not Conclusion," Emily Dickinson

This World is not Conclusion.
A Species stands beyond --
Invisible, as Music --
But positive, as Sound --
It beckons, and it baffles --
Philosophy -- don't know --
And through a Riddle, at the last --
Sagacity, must go --
To guess it, puzzles scholars --
To gain it, Men have borne
Contempt of Generations
And Crucifixion, shown --
Faith slips -- and laughs, and rallies --
Blushes, if any see --
Plucks at a twig of Evidence --
And asks a Vane, the way --
Much Gesture, from the Pulpit --
Strong Hallelujahs roll --
Narcotics cannot still the Tooth
That nibbles at the soul --

Thursday, July 02, 2009

George W. Bush, Richard M. Nixon, and James Buchanan

President Buchanan did nothing to prevent the Civil War. President Nixon, well, did too many things to list.

President Bush: invaded a country with no WMDs because of a poker bluff Saddam played to hold off Iran. CNN has more but I cannot make it through the article.

Poem of the Day

The Choice, William Butler Yeats

The intellect of man is forced to choose
perfection of the life, or of the work,
And if it take the second must refuse
A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.
When all that story's finished, what's the news?
In luck or out the toil has left its mark:
That old perplexity an empty purse,
Or the day's vanity, the night's remorse.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

New Stupid Piece of Shit from Sony

Since Solon likes shiny new technology, he might like this. (Or does it have to be from Apple?)

Wednesday Musical Tribute

Same Orchestra, doing "Jupiter." Freaking incredible.

Todd Purdum on Sarah Palin

There is a new article by Todd Purdum in Vanity Fair concerning Sarah Palin and the 2008 Presidential Election. This article is an interesting text as it reveals very little that we did not know before and takes a few, deep and dark swipes against Sarah Palin that seem to be unfair against her and that come from a source (Purdum) who is unqualified to make these claims.

With so little new information, and what new information in the article does not seem too relevant, I have too questions: first, why should anyone other than political junkies read the piece? Second, even after reading the piece and reading the terrible slams on Palin (postpartum? seriously? what are your qualifications to diagnose this?) why cannot I not, even in good conscience, defend Palin? After everything she said and did during the campaign, I feel as if I should not even mention that the postpartum claim is outlandish because Palin deserves almost every unsubstantiated claim against her for ever unsubstantiated claim she delivered.

Update: Watch this video.

It is discourse like this, with not so subtle references to Obama as a terrorist and Obama as King Kong (no racial implications here, none whatsoever), and Palin as a national, and erotic, savior (notice the kinky, right-wing military and sex fethish with the erect missiles in relation to Palin in a military uniform-- starbursts indeed) that makes me believe everyday the network news should run the Thanksgiving footage of Palin being interviewed as turkeys were slaughtered. That is the correct metaphor for discussing what would happen to the US if Palin ever achieved national office.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Going" Green or Merely "Performing" Green? And When, O When, Will We Stop with the Compulsive Use of Ironic Quotation Marks

Last week, Megs raised an excellent question about Americans, ranging "from esteemed blogger Andrew Sullivan to our own Harrogate," who have "changed their identifying display to the color in support of Iranian protesters."

Megs wondered whether it makes a difference at all, do the Iranian proestors even care? "Normally," she observed, "I'm all for the grassroots movement, but this one seems just too easy. Click a button, it says to me. That's all you have to do to help these people." Reading this post from the snug, secure confines of a hallowed Ivy League Library, Harrogate found himself feeling extra vapid. Worse, he was not much heartened by the latter half of Megs' post, which made an interesting move towards embracing the possibility that this "click of a button" movement might actually be doing something beyond making us feel proud of ourselves.

Sigh. Harrogate has no effective answer to this issue. But since Solon is right that intention always matters no matter how embedded in Theory we get, Harrogate in his own rambling way, would like to take a shot at stating why he went with the Green identifier.

First off, an important distinction needs to be made between Andrew Sullivan and us facebookers and lightly-trafficked bloggers (as friends know, Harrogate has deep ambivalence towards Sullivan, because Sullivan is a committed neoliberal, which Harrogate finds only marginally less repulsive than the mainstream American brand of social conservatism. But that is beside the point here). Sullivan's blogger coverage of the Iranian election and its aftermath has been beyond stellar, and one would be hard pressed to suggest that Sullivan has made no difference in shaping the public imagination, both in the United States and abroad, on these important events. To the extent that the Iranians have had uncensored access to the Internet during this time, Sullivan has in all likelihood reached protestors there as well.

Sullivan inspired Harrogate to identify Green on Facebook. Cannot remember the post (there are sooo many), but there was one where Sullivan argued that these identifiers matter. That whereas Obama and the Congress have a responsibility to be cautious with their Rhetoric, bloggers and "plugged in" citizens in the United States and throughout the Western world are not at all beholden to caution, and that while it may only be the click of a button, it sends a "human family" message.

Sullivan's was an assertion of the importance of Rhetoric in the most layman sense of the term. "That's just Rhetoric," some might say. But "Rhetoric matters," Sullivan responds, for it adds momentum to a sense of global sympathy for those who fight for their political freedom.

As Megs said, we all here in the US (except for those who want to bomb Iran and are thus sad that its people are suddenly humanized in the mainstream American imaginary) support the protestors there. Harrogate, persuaded by Sullivan, decided to inscrbe that support on Facebook, and he admits to having entertained the idea that some protestors would notice, and be gladdened by, the fact that so many are doing this.

In the end, Harrogate comes down believing that that we are, in some way and in Megs' hopeful words, "speaking to the Iranian populous" with these identifiers. But we also ought not to flatter ourselves that we are hardcore political activists in changing a Facebook Profile Picture from Picture of Ric Flair to a Placard asking "Where are Their Votes?"

Tuesday Musical Tribute

Mind-Blowing 2009 BBC performance of "Mars." Perfect with the morning coffee while thinking about all sorts of things. Will get ya every time.

Poem of the Day: Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Lonely House, Emily Dickinson


I know some lonely houses off the road
A robber 'd like the look of, --
Wooden barred,
And windows hanging low,
Inviting to
A portico,
Where two could creep:
One hand the tools,
The other peep
To make sure all's asleep.
Old-fashioned eyes,
Not easy to surprise!

How orderly the kitchen 'd look by night,
With just a clock, --
But they could gag the tick,
And mice won't bark;
And so the walls don't tell,
None will.

A pair of spectacles ajar just stir --
An almanac's aware.
Was it the mat winked,
Or a nervous star?
The moon slides down the stair
To see who's there.

There's plunder, -- where?
Tankard, or spoon,
Earring, or stone,
A watch, some ancient brooch
To match the grandmamma,
Staid sleeping there.

Day rattles, too,
Stealth's slow;
The sun has got as far
As the third sycamore.
Screams chanticleer,
"Who's there?"
And echoes, trains away,
Sneer -- "Where?"
While the old couple, just astir,
Fancy the sunrise left the door ajar!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Poem of the Day

CHANCE MEETINGS, Conrad Aiken (1889-1973)

IN the mazes of loitering people, the watchful and furtive,
The shadows of tree-trunks and shadows of leaves,
In the drowse of the sunlight, among the low voices,
I suddenly face you,

Your dark eyes return for a space from her who is with you,
They shine into mine with a sunlit desire,
They say an 'I love you, what star do you live on?'
They smile and then darken,

And silent, I answer 'You too--I have known you,--I love you!--'
And the shadows of tree-trunks and shadows of leaves
Interlace with low voices and footsteps and sunlight
To divide us forever.

Monday Morning Movie Flashback (MMMF), and the Question of the Day

Can ye believe True Romance is 16 years old? What a wonderful scene this is, and how redolent with TRS-ness. Which brings us to the Question of the Day:

Is Floyd's rhetoric here appropriate to his Rhetorical Situation?

What about here? Moreover, here, does Gandolfini really "conde-n-scend," or is Floyd just being overly sensitive? Looks like a pretty cordial exchange to Harrogate....

The Morning Read

Over at Balkinization, Law Professor Sandy Levinson writes about constitutional defects, constitutional ideology, constitutional interpretation, and constitutional politics in relation to Chief Justice John Robert's comments on the infamous Dred Scott decision.

If you want to understand the complexity of controversial Supreme Court decisions, this is the blog post to read.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Musical Tribute

Upon his return Harrogate sees that much has taken place here. He hopes to speak to M and Paperweight soon, to express his delight for them. He also plans a response to Megs' probing post about the whole Green Thing.

But as decompression continues, for now Harrogate submits this cover of "Suffragette City" by none other than Boy George.

A good cover? Harrogate reports, you decide.

Oh, and heh. If this has put ye in a Boy George State of Mind®, then get your fill by checking this wondrousness out: