Saturday, May 26, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Gay Marriage

Kudos to Obama for finally not riding the fence on gay marriage:

Obama supports gay marriage, taking a risky stand

As Bill Maher said on twitter (@billmaher):

I predict Obama coming out for will help his re-election cuz it will make Repubs defend bigotry which will energize Dem's base

People will support a candidate that stands for something.  Do you think LBJ's advisors were telling him to support the Civil Rights Act?  I doubt it.  It was a political risk but a stance that had to be taken ... as is this one.  History will not look kindly upon those on the wrong side.

This is perfect because it forces the Right to defend the indefensible. At best
they appear as religious zealots. At worst ... out-of-touch bigots.  And I don't believe that this is going to cost the votes that some people think it will.  Those strongest in opposition of gay marriage were the type of voters that would not have voted for Obama anyway.  And despite the tendency of Black and Hispanic voters to generally be against gay marriage, this is hardly the issue that would push them into the "reed-in-the-wind" Romney camp.  Romney ... who has never had an opinion on anything.

Taking a principled stand is what the base of the Democratic Party has been looking for Obama to do.  Everything doesn't have to be politically calculated.  Take a stand, goddamn it!  People want to be inspired, not lulled to sleep.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Podcast(s) of the Week

I've always enjoyed Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo's work, partly for their own aesthetic but also for the undeniable real life drama that encompassed the artists themselves. Politics and Mexican culture are integral to their art and probably the reasons that I'm drawn to them. The Phoenix Art Museum, where we are members, is lucky enough to have several paintings by both artists.

These 2 recent podcasts do a great job of talking about the tragedies and experiences that influenced Kahlo as an artist and a person.  Interestingly, her marriage to Rivera could be construed as both ... a tragedy and a positive experience.

Frida Kahlo podcast from Stuff You Missed in History Class:

Part 1
Part 2

They've both been portrayed on-screen very well, most notably in Frida with Salma Hayek in the title role and Alfred Molina as Rivera.  I also like Ruben Blades as Rivera in Tim Robbin's Cradle Will Rock, a very good movie on art and politics in 1930's America.


I will listen to Neil deGrasse Tyson in whatever capacity he speaks.  He is the most vocal American proponent of an active space program and one of our best spokesman for the popularization of science and a reality-based world.  Here he is on a recent NPR Science Friday with Ira Flatow speaking on both of those things:

NPR's Science Friday - March 24, 2012


Earl Scruggs, who just recently passed away at the age of 88, was one of the pioneers of bluegrass music and a true innovator of banjo playing, creating a completely new way of picking.  Most people think they don't know of him, but if you have ever heard the getaway music in Bonnie and Clyde or the theme to the Beverly Hillbillies, then you have heard his playing.  He was greatly influential and touched musicians in completely different genres.

Terry Gross interviewed him in 2003 and after his passing, NPR re-aired the interview:

Earl Scruggs: The 2003 Fresh Air Interview

This NY Times article of his passing has a short video of some of the people that he influenced:

Earl Scruggs, Bluegrass Pioneer, Dies at 88