Saturday, May 24, 2008

Blues Break: Shamisen with taiko

Virtuoso performances on the 3-stringed shamisen and taiko accompaniment. From Japanese television, but sadly the names of the performers and date are not available.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Missing from the cable news loops

Here's the Reverend John Hagee, the bigot whose endorsement was sought and welcomed by John McCain earlier this year.

In a recent interview on NPR's Fresh Air, Hagee shared his thoughts on divine retribution:
"I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans...I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are -- were recipients of the judgment of God for that...There was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other Gay Pride parades.... The Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the day of judgment."
Back in 2006, Hagee succumbed to pangs of nostalgia for the good old days of slavery:
To help students seeking odd jobs, his church newsletter, The Cluster, advertised a "slave" sale. "Slavery in America is returning to Cornerstone," it said. "Make plans to come and go home with a slave." Mr. Hagee apologized but, in a radio interview, protested about pressure to be "politically correct" and joked that perhaps his pet dog should be called a "canine American."
McCain has lately distanced himself from Hagee's most extreme anti-Catholic remarks. A campaign lackey stated:
"While we welcome [Hagee's] support, it shouldn't be seen as a wholesale endorsement of all of Mr. Hagee's views."
Barack Obama has gone a lot further in renouncing Reverend Jeremiah Wright's most inflammatory rhetoric. Yet we don't see CNN or Fox endlessly looping the many outrageous videos of Hagee on subjects as diverse as homosexuality, eschatology and a Christian jihad against Iran. Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and other (in the words McCain once used) "agents of intolerance" also get a free ride. As Frank Rich writes in today's NYT:
Even after Mr. Hagee’s Catholic bashing bubbled up in the mainstream media, Mr. McCain still did not reject and denounce him, as Mr. Obama did an unsolicited endorser, Louis Farrakhan, at the urging the urging of Tim Russert and Hillary Clinton. Mr. McCain instead told George Stephanopoulos two Sundays ago that while he condemns any “anti-anything” remarks by Mr. Hagee, he is still “glad to have his endorsement.”

I wonder if Mr. McCain would have given the same answer had Mr. Stephanopoulos confronted him with the graphic video of the pastor in full “Great Whore” glory. But Mr. McCain didn’t have to fear so rude a transgression. Mr. Hagee’s videos have never had the same circulation on television as Mr. Wright’s. A sonorous white preacher spouting venom just doesn’t have the telegenic zing of a theatrical black man.

In case there's any question, here's how a President McCain's religious views will influence his political appointments (hint: Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, Catholics and non-Baptist Christians need not apply):

Friday, May 02, 2008

Update: 71% and counting

Here's an update on our related blog entry for April 24th:
A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Thursday indicates that 71 percent of the American public disapprove of how Bush is handling his job as president.

"No president has ever had a higher disapproval rating in any CNN or Gallup Poll; in fact, this is the first time that any president's disapproval rating has cracked the 70 percent mark," said Keating Holland, CNN's polling director.