Monday, January 26, 2009

Are Books Next?

Liberal education as we know it might also be a thing of the past. I wonder if anyone really cares or realizes the cost?

Here is a comment from a reader, Andrew Davis, of The New Republic:

In other news, American Airlines announces they will no longer fly airplanes.

For more of my collages go to Application of the Senses
"After careful analysis, we discovered that we make most of our profit selling tickets, not flying planes, so we are canceling all flights henceforth. Tickets, however, are still available on-line, over the phone, or from an agent. Our customers will also be glad to know that we are also reducing our fuel surcharge fifty percent."

clipped from

Why Book Reviews Matter
Rumors surfaced last Friday that Book World, the Washington Post's highly-respected weekly stand-alone on all things literary, might be closing. Politico's Michael Calderone quickly confirmed that, while no decision has been made, it's under high-level discussion as a cost-cutting measure. This would leave the New York Times' Book Review as the last stand-alone book section in American dailies.
In recent years, in-house book reviewing has been eliminated, abridged, or downgraded by the Atlanta Journal- Constitution, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Cleveland's Plain Dealer, The San Diego Union-Tribune--the list goes on.

blog it

Monday, January 19, 2009

What HBO didn't want you to hear

Today, Sunday, the 18th of January, at the Lincoln Memorial, openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson called on God to "bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people." However, his prayer was cut from the HBO broadcast!

Here is the full text of his prayer:

The Most Rev. Gene Robinson
Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire
Invocation, Inaugural Concert
Lincoln Memorial
Washington, D.C.
Jan. 18, 2009 2:20 p.m. EST

Oh, God of our many understandings, we pray that you will bless us with tears, tears for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women in many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria and AIDS.

Bless this nation with anger – anger at discrimination at home and abroad against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Bless us with discomfort at the easy, simplistic answers we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians instead of the truth about ourselves and our world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be fixed anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a Messiah.

Bless us with humility, open to understanding that our own needs as a nation must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance, replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences.

And bless us with compassion and generosity, remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable.

And God, we give you thanks for your child, Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States. Give him wisdom beyond his years. Inspire him with President Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style; President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for all people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our ship of state needs a steady, calm captain.

Give him stirring words. We will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership there will be "neither red nor blue states, but the United States."

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him strength to find family time and privacy and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And, please God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our Presidents and we are asking far too much of this one. We implore You, O good and great God, to keep him safe; hold him in the palm of Your hand, that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace. Amen.

Monday, January 05, 2009

15 Days and Counting

Notes on paintings chosen for display at the Inaugural Luncheon in the Capitol.

View of the Yosemite Valley by Thomas Hill, Oil on canvas, 1865.
New-York Historical Society, Gift of Charles T. Harbeck

A few thoughts about the office of POTUS, looking back on the first three years of Barack Obama's administration. I wrote this 15 days before he was sworn in. I will continue to stand up for him, and work to get him re-elected.

The sense of the oldest version of the word “inauguration,” the Latin inaugurātus, is more than a just formal ceremony in which the person chosen for an office accepts its responsibilities and promises to fulfill its requirements. It was a blessing, augur. We humans try to coax the pantheon of the gods help move all the forces of the universe into alignment to create the most favorable circumstances possible for the office-holder to fulfill of his or her responsibilities.

Although I prefer a more secular interpretation of the word, there is something to that older, more sacred meaning. We humans, in our role as citizens, make a pact with the powers of the universe, that they will guide and protect Barack Obama to fight for the freedom of all people, to nurture all life, and to take care for humans in need—“to provide for the common good.” It is not one-sided. The humans have their role to play as well as the unseen powers. That is certainly what lead me to support Barack’s bid for the presidency, and I will be there, either in person or in spirit, to pledge my support as he sets out to make good on his promises.

The portrait, dated 1821, is of course Thomas Jefferson, by the 19th century portrait artist Thomas Sully. Bill Clinton displayed it at the Inaugural Luncheon in the Capitol for his 1st Inauguration.

I had imagined that Barack Obama would choose one of Lincoln. Instead he chose one that was painted the year that Lincoln was assassinated, View of the Yosemite Valley by Thomas Hill. The breath of Hill vision has room for many, many possibilities. I say that those possibilities still exist if we honor our part in the bargain.