Me: Frank Lynch. These are my daily rants, mostly political. For something less spontaneous, I maintain The Samuel Johnson Sound Bite Page (over 1,800 Johnson quotes), perhaps your best online resource for insight into his thinking.
DISCLOSURE: I work for Abt SRBI. We do polling, public policy research, surveys, etc. My opinions should not be construed as representing those of my employer.
first: frankplynch at gmail dot com; now delete the 'a' in my name
Bio: Born 1957, raised in Florida, moved to New York area in 1982; now live in Brooklyn. Married, with one daughter. I work in marketing research for Abt SRBI. My opinions should not be construed as representing those of my employer.
Britain proud to proclaim it's no longer Top Nation?
Allow me to cite Burke's efforts on tolerance towards the Colonies (that was us, then) as a point that while he, himself, was not stubborn, the monarchy and most of Parliament were. Somehow the Ministers never got the word that there was a famous error in a spreadsheet, and are digging their heels in on the whole austerity thing, rather than listen to Keynes, their homeboy.
The Proms are a fabulous cultural institution. There's certainly nothing like it here, and every visiting orchestra understands they have to put their game face on and do their best. (I remember a trip to the UK about ten years ago, when we trained up to Edinburgh, got into our hotel, and happily saw an incredible performance of Shostakovich's 5th. What a fabulous treat.)
Don't be a putz, Cameron; don't defund the Proms. That would be so, uh, so Kansas.
First, we should all acknowledge that there's something "Springtime For Hitler"-ish about a musical conceived on the life and death of Alexander Hamilton. AND I'm sure if you Googled for articles on this musical you'd find I'm not the first to mention this. The hilarity of The Producers was of course that SfH's creators never wanted it to succeed as anything more than fraud. As you know, it failed, and succeeded. And "Hamilton" is quite a success.
We saw it last night, with tickets that had been bought many months ago on the basis of the buzz and our connection to an institution named after Hamilton. It's damned pricey, and if I'd been part of the decision I'd have vetoed it.
Good thing I was not consulted, because it's damned good. So much of what has been said about it has described it as being our first hip-hop musical, and while I'm not inclined to do any research to refute that, and I accept it, hip-hop just isn't a form I like that much; consequently I anticipated an evening like the rap (get it?) on Wagner, 45 minutes of dullness until you get to something really grand. Not the case here at all; the hip-hop often is like the recitative in an opera, but actual "songs" come quickly. And they are inventive. And frequently funny. And not just the songs themselves, but also the rap, as in a couplet before a duel (not "the" duel), exploring whether or not the duel was truly called for:
"Your behavior has been ruinous."
"Okay, we're doin' this."
I mean, what's not to love with moments like that?
On top of that, they've managed to lay in an incredible amount of history in the two and a half hours (or so) of the show, using the Greek chorus technique (sometimes delivered by Aaron Burr, played by Leslie Odom Jr. [who you might recognize from CBS's Person of Interest, where he was in a dozen episodes in Season 3]), and when Burr calls out the many highlights of Hamilton's career it not only advances the Hamilton story but also positions Burr as being amazed over his, to Burr, inexplicable, astonishing success.
Like I said, they pack in an incredible amount of history... Hamilton being an immigrant, his efforts to become a general in the American army, his ambivalence between the woman he married and her sister, the Federalist papers, the creation of the Federal banking system, and whether or not to take sides in a war between England and France. On these latter two, arguments between Jefferon and Hamilton, it's a rap battle, well employed.
I just had a fabulous time, and haven't talked about 25% of the things I'd like to. My deepest regret is that the price of tickets presents a barrier, and I wish more could see it (especially since it's hip-hop). Long before the movie version of "Into the Woods" existed, some company made an original cast DVD of it. I hope that will be the case with this, it's really so wonderful.
I get what Sanders is saying, that lax immigration policies could lead to an oversupply in the labor force and suppress wages. But I also get what John McCain said years ago, that a lot of the work which is done is back-breaking farm labor which not-recently-arrived Americans aren't willing to do. I think it's wrong to point to farm labor as defining the whole range, though: there are a good number of coders coming in, too, and that enables the tech companies to pay less.
One of the problems I see, however, is that without a reasonable policy there's going to be an underground economy supported by low wage immigrant labor, reducing the price point for wages. Doesn't have to be in the mani-pedi industry; it could be in the car wash, it could be in your restaurant. YOU don't know the status of the people who bus your table. And if they're undocumented and want to stay under cover, it's not like they're going to call out labor abuses.
Billionaire Donald Trump may be leading in the polls for the GOP presidential primary, but former Texas Governor Rick Perry knows how he can beat his rival candidate. Asked about Trumpís critique of his candidacy, Perry challenged Trump to a pull-up contest.
I get it, the debate format won't accept the also-runs who aren't in the top 10, and they're all working be number 10. But seriously: Chin ups? Are we going to soon hear whose daddy can beat up whose?
I very much doubt that Reince would listen to me, but the format is all wrong. The GOP should create a web site showing all the candidates' answers and positions on 10-20 questions and issues. Allow the visitors to whittle down, select specific comparisons just like Consumer Reports does. It's not difficult.
Does the GOP really want this ridiculous circular firing squad?
Marco Rubio disqualifies himself for the presidency.
Rubio disqualified himself for the Oval Office today, during Secretary of State John Kerry's appearance on the Iran nuclear deal. (Weird thing is, it was the second time in a week in which he'd disqualified himself. The first time was when he'd said Trump's McCain insult disqualified Trump for the Oval Office, not having said anything like that over Trump's comments on undocumented Mexican immigrants.) So today:
Many of the criticisms had a hit-and-run quality.
For example, Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee and is running for president, derided the agreement before the members and departed promptly.
As in, he didn't stick around to hear what Kerry had to say. He oafishly grandstanded and then split. No presidential qualities there, Senator.