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Tuesday: March 23, 2010

Time To Watch Rashomon?

Filed under: — site admin @ 6:35 AM GMT-0500

Nothing to do with politics. Today is Akira Kurosawa’s 100th birthday. I wonder how many culture bloggers will mention it. No one seems to have noticed Hugo Wolf’s 150th, which was 10 days ago.

Just Wondering

Filed under: — site admin @ 6:17 AM GMT-0500

I heard on the radio yesterday that Obama plans to sign the Health Care abomination on the South Lawn of the White House this morning. Having the ceremony in public and outdoors seems unwise. Will there be masses of booing demonstrators with clever signs in view (and hearing) of the cameras, or will he use the Park Police and Secret Service to keep disgruntled constituents far away from the ceremony? Perhaps the weather will ‘force’ him to move the ceremony indoors. “A chance of showers after noon” (NWS) doesn’t seem quite enough for that.

Sunday: March 21, 2010

Depressing Thought

Filed under: — site admin @ 6:02 PM GMT-0500

I saw Dr. Faustus at the Blackfriars Playhouse this afternoon, and it just occurred to me that it was the most appropriate play for today’s vote in the House of Representatives. Too bad Bart Stupak and his buddies are selling our souls and bodies while they sell their own. (This assumes that my previous post is over-optimistic. We shall soon see, but I’m going to go see Love’s Labour’s Lost at the Blackfriar’s instead of sitting hunched over my PC clicking refresh like a crack-addicted monkey: a much healthier way to spend the evening. It’s being done by the undergraduates of Eastern Mennonite, and starts in half an hour, so I don’t suppose anyone reading this will be going who wasn’t already planning to go.)

Is It Really Over?

Filed under: — site admin @ 5:38 PM GMT-0500

Now that Stupak has apparently caved, everyone, right and left, seems to be assuming that Obama’s health care monstrosity will pass the House in the next couple of hours. Are we so sure? What if there really are enough Democrats opposed to it to kill it? They would have a strong incentive to pretend otherwise. If they all tell Pelosi the truth about how they plan to vote, she will delay the vote and keep on pressuring and nagging and harassing and threatening and attempting to bribe them for days or weeks or months, and so will the demonstrators on the other side (but without the bribes), making their lives a living Hell. The only way to end the ordeal is to convince Pelosi she’ll win so she holds the vote tonight. I won’t say it’s probable, but it’s certainly possible that a few anti-HCR Democrats are lying to Pelosi, or slyly misleading her, so they can finally get the voting over with and kill the bill tonight. They could always claim afterwards that they were quite sincere ‘yes’ votes the last time they talked to her but their wives or grandmothers or bishops – maybe even their constituents! – changed their minds between then and when they actually cast their votes. They could even plausibly claim that the horror of the whole degrading spectacle finally got to them and they suddenly asked themselves “What the Hell am I doing voting for this evil monstrosity?” (the bill, I mean, not Pelosi).

We can always hope. Polls have been wrong before.

Update: (11:00 pm)

Well, so much for slim hopes. The monstrous bill passed 219-212. Now it’s time to think about minimizing the damage and planning how to repair it. I wonder if Bart Stupak knows that he will be listed in history books in the same class as Smoot and Hawley? Or perhaps in a worse class, since as far as I know they were well-intentioned but ignorant and incompetent, whereas he must surely know that what he just did was profoundly evil as well as stupid.

Saturday: March 20, 2010

A 2000th Anniversary, And I Almost Missed It

Filed under: — site admin @ 10:42 PM GMT-0500

Ovid was born on March 20th, 43 B.C., and exiled to Tomis (now Constanza, on the coast of Romania) in A.D. 8. There he wrote five books of Tristia and four of Epistulae ex Ponto, lamenting his fate at great and sometimes tedious length. Tristia 3.13 is a gloomy non-celebration of his birthday, and the third book of Tristia can be dated to 10 A.D. (So says Sir Ronald Syme, History in Ovid, 38.) Assuming that it was in fact written on his birthday, anyone who reads it in the next 18 minutes is reading it on the 2000th anniversary of its composition. Anyone in the eastern U.S., that is – it’s already March 21st in Ovid’s hemisphere.