Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Contemplate This Phrase

From a New York Times Article on an allegedly blasphemous blogger:

While Mr. Hasayin has won some admiration and support abroad — a Facebook group has formed in solidarity, along with several online petitions — others on Facebook are calling for his execution.


That is seriously fucked up.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thursday-Embarrassment of Riches

This Thursday November 11, 2010 we have a situation requiring bi- and tri-locational abilities...

1) Annie Crane presents a night of music at Banjo Jim's which consists of:

Jordan Levinson at 7:00; The Bowmans at 8:00; the aforesaid Annie Crane with a tour kickoff show at 9:00; Hunter Paye at 10:00 and the inimitable Frank Hoier at 11:00

2) Steve Stavola at Caffe Vivaldi at 8:00.

3) Brook Pridemore at Little Skips. Music starts at 8:00.

4) Rachel and Dan/The Festival/Matthew Peverly at Northeast Kingdom starting at 9:00.

5) Shilpa Ray And Her Happy Hookers at Southpaw w/ Patti Smith at 7:00.

Why I Shouldn't Read Op-Ed Pieces

I had just come home from a wonderful evening at the Tuesday Teacup at Goodbye Blue Monday when what to my wandering eyes should appear but an op-ed piece in the New York Times by John R. Bolton and John Yoo. It contains the following statement:

Voters want government brought closer to the vision the framers outlined in the Constitution, and the first test could be the fate of the flawed New Start arms control treaty, which was signed by President Obama and President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia last spring but awaits ratification. The Senate should heed the will of the voters and either reject the treaty or amend it so that it doesn’t weaken our national defense.

Remember a few posts ago I warned you to beware of people claiming stuff about the will of the voters etc. etc. This certainly fits that category. But there is another aspect of this statement, which is so galling and upsetting to me-- namely the notion that somehow the vision of the Constitution is such that the Senate is supposed to heed the results of a single election in which only a third of its members are elected. The Senate under the Constitution is a continuous body with only a one third turnover every two years. By definition it is representing peoples views from different time periods as to which persons the voters of each state deem fit to represent them not some poll on a particuluar issue. That is the constitutional vision, and by the way it is not the vision of the framers since the framers' vision had the senate appointed by State Legislatures not the people of the State. It's maddening. Uggh. I need to calm down.

Here's another sentence from the same piece which is utterly meaningless and either intentionally or mistakenly deceptive:

The Constitution’s plain meaning, so prized by the voters in last week’s elections, requires no less.

How do these two guy divine what the "voters" prize? All voters? Every single voter? Or just the few that turned the elections for the handful of the one third of the seats that changed hands?

I wish I were back at Goodbye Blue Monday...

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Fermata Meets Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Michael Campbell and Jesse Smith of A Fermata whom I hardly ever get to hear anymore, but to whose myspace I will repair when seeking solace, will be joining Patti Smith at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. According to the Wall Street Journal they have written musical accompaniment to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "Kubla Khan", and are apparently preparing other stuff around the Met's "The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty.   If you go listen to A Fermata and then read the poem I think you gotta realize that these were made for each other. I personally think Coleridge wouldn't have needed the opium, but could have written the poem after going to an A Fermata show. Unfortunately he doesn't get that kind of a do over what with the this time's arrow thingy we seem to have going in the world. We do however get to see what the hearing of the poem has produced in these great 20/21st century artists. So despite the chronological asymmetry I  am actually spending severe money to sit in the penultimate row, decreeing my own stately pleasure-dome for the evening. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

60-40 55-45 51-49

As election day winds down all sorts of statements will be made about the electorate en masse, the people, the zeitgeist, the public mood. I therefore bid you to remember this: an alleged landslide of 60% to 40% is the same as 6 to 4 which means all you have to do is convince one person out of 10 to change their vote and voila its 50/50. Imagine a room with ten people, all you have to do is convince one person who may be on the fence anyway.  A 55/45 split and that one person out of ten sways the election to the other side and that huge 55% to 45% victory switches to a huge defeat (or the defeat becomes victory) and a 51/49 split all you have to do is convince one out of a hundred people to change their vote and its a tie, 2 out of a hundred and the fortunes are reversed.

All of which is to say, anyone who tells you all sorts of amazing things about everybody and the state of the world based on election results, is most likely either guessing, fundamentally wrong, needs to fill up print space and/or airtime or is simply being intellectually lazy or dishonest. Of course they may be right as well. What do I know? I just think in terms of rooms with 10 or 100 people in them....