Over on his blog, Martin pushes back against the demonization of BP by President Obama, arguing that he’s gone “cowboy” on the London-based oil company and is doing damage to American-British relations. I am not making this up.
First, I want to make plain that I’m unimpressed with he administration’s handling of the BP ordeal. The urgency from the White House has been completely out of proportion with the scale of the calamity. The private sector should have been set on this mess long ago, as well as all of the scientific and international hands we can get. Instead, we’re getting what from all appearances is a delayed reaction from a government agency wholly unprepared to deal with an historic disaster in which its own lack of oversight is complicit. So this is in no way a defense of Obama’s handling of the spill, or the MMS’s regulatory practices.
But rather than make a coherent argument, Nathan is parroting men from the British parliament and press who seem to have an astonishing inability to assess the moral culpability of the company they are defending. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s trying to express sympathy for the many innocent Britons whose finances are likely to be devastated by BP’s misfortune. That does indeed suck. But the stop-hating-on-BP argument is worth taking on because it is so out of touch with the painful reality in the Gulf.
The idea is that Obama is “turning the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe into a BP blame game.” But this formulation of the situation is deeply wrong. It strips the entire situation of its moral weight and reduces it to tactical politics; it hints that Obama is just interested in winning a “game” and that BP is somehow getting more blame than it deserves.
The right-wing Media Research Center is dusting off what, unbeknownst to me, has been a conservative World Cup meme for the entire decade: reading the media’s promotion of the event in the United States as, like everything else, another socialist plot.
This year is no different. The 2010 World Cup is set to begin in South Africa on June 11. More than just covering the month-long event, the media are already doing their best to hype it, overstating its popularity in the United States and its potential appeal to U.S. sports fans. From Time magazine dedicating an entire issue to “The Global Game,” to CBS’s helpful “The World Cup Guide for Americans,” the public is being brow-beaten to catch “World Cup Fever.”
And while soccer partisans may try (mostly unsuccessfully) to score on point-by-point comparisons to baseball or football, the most compelling argument many media outlets can muster is, “The rest of the world loves it. We should too.”
The liberal media have always been uncomfortable with “American exceptionalism” – the belief that the United States is unique among nations, a leader and a force for good. And they are no happier with America’s rejection of soccer than with its rejection of socialism.
Be sure and read the whole thing, especially the outrageous quotes from The Weekly Standard.
When did American leaders forget the meaning of friendship?
Over the last 198 years, the United Kingdom’s faithfulness as an ally has proved invaluable, but as the Obama administration spins street-tough rhetoric — turning the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe into a BP blame game — the British people are asking themselves just what friendship with the United States is actually worth.
Lost in the talk of dripping pelicans and destroyed businesses looms another devastating tragedy, threatening the livelihood and future of the working class in the U.K., and the deepest of diplomatic ties. While President Obama may not be able to singlehandly stop the oil spill, his reckless words and cowboy-like rhetoric have undermined the financial security of, not evil corporations, but millions of British (and American middle-class workers) and their hopes for avoiding bankruptcy in their old age.
I’m currently reviewing the book Popes and Bankers for Thomas Nelson publishers. It’s a history of credit and debt from the Ancient Greeks to the Modern present. Admittedly, I’m only up to the Reformation, but so far it’s a pretty enjoyable read. It combines a laid-back, easy-to-understand style with constant literary allusions and academic snark and sarcasm that paradoxically mocks the “Institution” while obviously speaking from within its intellectual ranks.
But as I said, this book has been published by Thomas Nelson publishers — the house that brings us Max Lucado (read my recent review), John Eldridge, and books such as Rick and Bubba’s Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage. In short, this is the publishing house for many of the books that send postmodern Christian twentysomethings into cringing spasms. At times, these criticisms are a bit unwarranted (as in the case of Lucado), but Thomas Nelson unquestionably specializes in light Christian fiction and fare, mainly focusing on devotionals and “Christian” self-help.
One of the elements of punk rock that has always intrigued me is the deep-seated, almost innate sense that something is very, very wrong with the world as it is. On Friday night, my band was privileged to play with a fellow who embodies this attribute as well as anyone I’ve seen.
He plays under the name Homeless Gospel Choir, although he is just one guy. I had pretty much given up on the idea of a one-man punk band after trying to pull it off myself for a couple years with very little success. But the Homeless Gospel Choir succeeds where I failed. He is simultaneously abrasive, funny, and catchy — three attributes that describe a lot of the best punk rock groups out there (think NOFX).
The entanglement of the online v. print literary worlds can be baffling, and these days who doesn’t have an opinion about adapting to the way of the future or preserving the way of the past. Recently, for the first time, I’ve gotten to know a writer, Susan Orlean, first online and then in print. I started following @susanorlean on Twitter because I saw her name listed on some post, somewhere, about the best authors to follow on Twitter. @neilhimself (Neil Gaimon) also made the list as did @MargaretAtwood, both of whom I’ve previously read in print and enjoy following online.
There were others on the list who I have not read and began to follow, but Susan Orlean is different. She is incredibly funny. She has interesting conversations, and not just with other authors. She is down to earth. Every once in a while our literary worlds cross cyber-paths, which is in part what can make Twitter fun.
Before I began to follow her, I’d heard Susan Orlean’s name, but couldn’t have told you what she’d written. When I started following her, I didn’t even know if she wrote fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or one of those fancy hybrid forms. Turns out, she says on her website that she loves “writing shorter pieces for magazines” but she’s now on her 8th book, many of which include portions of shorter columns or articles. From what she tweets, I gather that she travels a lot doing book tours and research. I knew I was hooked on her when she wondered how she’d managed to pack 3 pairs of shoes and no underwear.
Hello friends. I’m writing from Paris where I’ve come to follow up on Sessions’ French pension reform story. We’re really going to nail this thing.
No. That’s not true.
I’m actually on vacation with my wife celebrating our five year wedding anniversary, but while I’m here I wanted to direct your attention to both an excellent blog and, I think, a fairly decent post.
The blog is called “Speaking of Faith Observed” and it is the blog of American Public Radio’s religion-based show “Speaking of Faith,” hosted by Krista Tippett. I recommend both to you. The blog post I want to bring your attention to is my first piece for SOF Observed entitled “Defenders of the Faith.” It’s about embracing extremists and bringing them back into the fold.
That’s all for now. Keep it real stateside.
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