Sade – "By Your Side"
That's one silky vocal.
The film claims that disabled people have been allowed to survive thanks by modern medicines, in defiance of the laws of natural selection. Theirs lives are depicted as unproductive and meaningless.
Every reasonable person would prefer death to such an existence, and would not condemn any incurable patient who sought deliverance through death. Our National Socialist state, taking into account the purpose and value of human life, has adopted measures by which those afflicted of an incurable mental illness, can be relieved of their terrible suffering and hellish existence, by a humane and gentle death.
Hanna, the beautiful young wife of professor Thomas Heyt, is suffering from multiple sclerosis. Her husband, the newly appointed director of the Anatomical Institute of Munich University, knows that there is little hope for his wife. Hanna first asks her personal physician and family friend Bernhard Lang to end her life should the moment of unbearable suffering occur. Lang refuses and says: ‘I am your best friend, but I am also a doctor, and as such I am a servant of life. Life must be preserved at any cost.’
Hanna then approaches her husband Thomas in a very emotional way: ‘You must help me. I want to remain your Hanna till the very end, I don’t want to become somebody else who is deaf, blind, and idiotic. I wouldn’t endure that. Thomas, if you really love me, promise that you will deliver me from this beforehand.’
Hanna’s medical condition rapidly deteriorates. Thomas and Bernhard realize she has only a few weeks to live. One day they are together at Hanna’s bedside. Hanna kindly asks Bernhard to leave the room. She wants to be alone with Thomas. Bernhard goes to the piano in the living room where he starts to play. While the piano music can be heard in the bedroom Thomas fetches a bottle containing a sedative and poors a fatal dose into Hannna’s glass. Before passing away Hanna says, ‘I feel so happy, I wish I were dead.’ Thomas replies, ‘Death is coming, Hanna.’ Hanna responds, ‘I love you, Thomas.’ ‘I love you, too, Hanna,’ says Thomas.
Bernhard is furious when Thomas informs him what has happened. Domestic servant Bertha then accuses Thomas of murdering his wife and takes him to court. At issue is: can a doctor be allowed to cause the death of a terminally ill patient after that person explicitly requested him to do so? One of the witnesses is Bernhard. He says that he initially also opposed Hanna’s request, but now he sees things from a different perspective. ‘Thomas, you are not a murderer!’ he says loud and clear in the courtroom. Thomas himself then accuses (‘I accuse!’) those doctors and judges who by adhering to strict rules fail to serve the people. ‘Try me! Whatever the outcome, your judgment will be a signal to all those who are in the same position like me! Yes, I confess: I did kill my incurably ill wife, but it was at her request.’
From a propagandistic point of view the film was a success. The Gestapo, the secret state police, reported that the film received much attention in the whole Reich. A Dutch woman living in Düsseldorf at the time told me in an interview: ‘All my colleagues were impressed by the film. They suddenly understood the dilemma of a doctor who is confronted with an incurable disease.’
A writer in the Washington Post today, a black woman said it's as if you are minimizing "I Have a Dream." That you're saying it's a nice sentiment, but it took a white president to get blacks to the mountaintop.
Williams: As we sit here, this, as many of you may know, is the Reverend Martin Luther King's birthday. Race was one of the issues we expected to discuss here tonight. Our sponsors expected it of us. No one, however, expected it to be quite so prominent in this race as it has been over the last 10 days.
We needn't go back over all that has happened, except to say that this discussion, before it was over, involved Dr. King, President Johnson, even Sidney Poitier, several members of Congress, and a prominent African-American businessman supporting Senator Clinton, who made what seemed to be a reference to a party of Senator Obama's teenage past that the Senator himself has written about in his autobiography.
The question to begin with here tonight, Senator Clinton, is: How did we get here?
Tim Russert: In terms of accountability, Senator Obama, Senator Clinton on Sunday told me that the Obama campaign had been pushing this storyline. And, true enough, your press secretary in South Carolina -- four pages of alleged comments made by the Clinton people about the issue of race.
In hindsight, do you regret pushing this story?
Russert: Do you believe this is a deliberate attempt to marginalize you as the black candidate?
Russert: In New Hampshire, your polling was much higher than the actual vote result. Do you believe, in the privacy of the voting booth, people used race as an issue?
Russert: Senator Clinton, in terms of accountability, you told me on Sunday morning, "Any time anyone has said anything that I thought was out of bounds, they're gone. I've gotten rid of them."
Shortly thereafter, that same afternoon, Robert Johnson, at your event, said, quote, "When Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood, that I won't say what he was doing, but he said it in his book," widely viewed as a reference to Senator Obama's book,"Dreams From My Father" from 1995, where he talked about his drug use as a teenager.
Will you now not allow Robert Johnson to participate in any of your campaign events because of that conduct?
Russert: Were his comments out of bounds?
Natalie Morales: Thank you, Brian.
And this is a question for Senator Edwards. It comes to us from Margaret Wells from San Diego, California.
Senator, she's asking, "The policy differences among the remaining candidates is so slight that we appear to be choosing on the basis of personality and life story. That being said, why should I, as a progressive woman, not resent being forced to choose between the first viable female candidate and the first viable African American candidate?"
Morales: Senator Edwards, as a follow-up to Margaret Wells' question, what is a white male to do running against these historic candidacies?
Williams: Question for Senator Obama. You won the women's vote in Iowa, but Senator Clinton won the women's vote in New Hampshire, and there probably isn't an American alive today who hasn't heard the post-game analysis of New Hampshire, all the reasons the analysts give for Senator Clinton's victory. Senator Clinton had a moment where she became briefly emotional at a campaign appearance.
But another given was at the last televised debate, when you, in a comment directed to Senator Clinton, looked down and said, "You're likable enough, Hillary."
That caused Frank Rich to write, on the op-ed page of the New York Times, that it was "your most inhuman moment, to date." And it clearly was a factor and added up.
Senator Obama, do you regret the comment, and comments like that, today?
Williams: And one more question about that last televised debate, Senator Edwards. Afterwards, Senator Clinton said it was as if you and Senator Obama had formed a buddy system against her. Senator Clinton put out an Internet ad that was entitled "Piling On."
Looking back on it, the campaign for New Hampshire in total, do you admit that it might have looked that way?
Russert: Senator Clinton, one of your pollsters was quoted in The New Yorker magazine as saying this: "The Hispanic voter has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates."
Does that represent the view of your campaign?
Russert: Let me ask Senator Obama. Do you believe there's a history of a decision, where Latino voters will not vote for a black candidate?
Morales: This one is to Senator Obama. This comes to us from one of our co-sponsors of tonight's debate, the 100 Black Men of America.
They ask, "To what do you attribute the disproportionately high dropout of black males at every level in our educational process, and what would you do to stem the tide of black men exiting the educational system?"
The takeaway "insight" from this Hardball was that the Democratic race is now a battle between the racist old bitches and the sexist African Americans. Fabulous. (White men like Chris, you'll notice, are the only ones voting purely on the merits in this little scenario.)
The Picnic, An Homage to Civil Rights
We spread torn quilts and blankets,
mashing the grass under us until it was hard,
piled the baskets of steamed crabs
by the trees in columns that hid the trunk,
put our coolers of soda pop
on the edges to mark the encampment,
like gypsies settling in for revelry
in a forest in Romania or pioneers
blazing through the land of the Sioux,
the Apache, and the Arapaho, looking guardedly
over our perimeters for poachers
or the curious noses of fat women
ambling past on the backs of their shoes.
The sun crashed through the trees,
rumbling down and splattering in shadows
on the baseball diamond like mashed bananas.
We hunted for wild animals in the clumps
of forests, fried hot dogs until the odor
turned solid in our nostrils like wood.
We were in the park.
One uncle talked incessantly, because he knew
the universe; another was the griot
who stomped his foot in syncopation
to call the details from the base of his mind;
another was a cynic who doubted everything,
toasting everyone around with gin.
The patriarchal council mumbled on,
while the women took the evening to tune
their hearts to the slow air and buzzing flies,
to hold their hands out so angels could stand
in their palms and give dispensation,
as we played a rough game of softball
in the diamond with borrowed gloves,
singing Chuck Berry and Chubby Checker,
diving in long lines into the public pool,
throwing empty peanut shells to the lion,
buying cotton candy in the aviary
of the old mansion, laughing at monkeys,
running open-mouthed and full in the heat
until our smell was pungent and natural,
while the sun made our fathers and uncles
fall down in naps on their wives' laps, and
we frolicked like wealthy children on an English estate,
as reluctant laws and bloodied heads
tacked God's theses on wooden doors,
guaranteed the canopy of the firmament above us.
— Afaa Michael Weaver
"But yeah, look, I'm sure people view me as a warmonger and I view myself as peacemaker."
PROJECT FOR EXCELLENCE GETS SOMETHING RIGHT: With that surprising headline in mind, we recommend Greg Sargent’s piece about that group’s new study, a study regarding the coverage of Edwards. In our view, Edwards has been “mugged by narrative” in a way few candidates ever have. Your press corps loves to write easy novels, and “first women versus first African-American” was about as simple as narrative gets. And alas—that novel had no place for Edwards. The gentleman therefore got disappeared. Except for his haircuts, of course.
Here’s how The Band Meme goes. You are about to have your own band’s CD cover. Follow these directions to the letter. Go to……
The first article title on the page is the name of your band.
The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
4. Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together, and post the result as a comment in this post. Also, pass it along in your own journal because it’s more amusing that way.
A member of Andy Olmsted's family has just written me to say that if people want to do something in honor of him, they can send donations to a fund that has been set up for the four children of CPT Thomas Casey, who served under Andy and was killed while trying to help him. The address is here:
Capt. Thomas Casey Children's Fund
P.O. Box 1306
Chester, CA 96020
Thanks so much.
"The pirouettes are amazing," says Brokaw, who was analyzing the campaign on MSNBC. "The utter confidence with which everyone had been wrong 20 minutes earlier, they have the same utter confidence about what produced this surprise. It's intellectually dishonest."
Mark Feldstein, a George Washington University journalism professor, describes political reporters as "superficial sportswriters. Covering the campaign is almost like joining a cult, with a cocoonlike bubble as you travel from event to event. There's a lemminglike quality."
And then, at 10:31, MSNBC projected Hillary as the winner. CNN and Fox followed suit 15 minutes later, and the scrambling began. Spin was modified, explanations revised.
"One of the greatest political upsets in American political history," Russert said.
The biggest loser of all was Hillary Clinton. If she can't win in Iowa, where can she win? In every contested race since 1972 (Bill Clinton ran unopposed in 1996), the winner of the Iowa caucuses for the Democrats has gone on to be elected President, except for 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 2000 and 2004 when the winner did not go on to be elected President. Iowans have an uncanny ability to predict which Democrat can win in the general election, which means Hillary's campaign may be doomed. Look for members of the party establishment to start looking for another candidate, maybe even going outside the party to someone like McCain who could win both the Republican and Democrat nominations and run on a unity ticket with Mike Bloomberg or Joe Lieberman as his vice president, sparing voters the burden of having to make a hard choice in November. David Broder and his friends are already ecstatic at the prospect.
63 percent of the stories focused on political strategy and 17 percent on the candidates' backgrounds, compared with 15 percent on their proposals and 1 percent on their records. The remaining 4 percent dealt with miscellaneous topics.
* 88 percent agree that the news media focuses too much on trivial rather than important issues.
* 92 percent say that it is important that the news media provide information on candidates' specific policy plans, but 61 percent believe that the news media is not providing enough coverage of policy plans
* 67 percent say that coverage of embarrassing incidents or mistakes that make a candidate look bad is not important, but 68 percent say the news media is providing too much coverage of embarrassing incidents and mistakes
The conclusion was painfully obvious: Citizens claimed they were getting "exactly the type of campaign coverage that they want the least," according to the report. [Emphasis added.]
In other words, news consumers want issues, issues, issues, while the press obsesses over tactics, tactics, tactics.
Today, the victim is Candidate Edwards. As with Clinton, as with Romney, the Post’s profile contains four parts:
1. An insipid attempt at psycho-biography, written by one of the world’s dumbest people.
2. A piece called “How He’s Running.” (According to Kornblut, who writes today’s piece, “Edwards is running as ‘the son of a millworker.’”)
3. A piece called “How He Looks” (Robin Givhan).
4. A piece called “How He Talks” (Dana Milbank).
That’s right! In this morning’s Post, there's a full report about John Edwards’ clothes—but no report about his proposals! Nowhere in these “front-runner” profiles does the Post explain what the candidates have proposed in the course of their White House campaigns.
Every reporter who spends any real time on the campaign trail gets wrapped up in the horse race. It's inevitable. You tell me how you can spend nearly two years watching the dullest speeches known to man and not spend most of your time wondering about the one surefire interesting moment the whole thing has to offer: the ending.
Stripped of its prognosticating element, most campaign journalism is essentially a clerical job, and not a particularly noble one at that. On the trail, we reporters aren't watching politics in action: The real stuff happens behind closed doors, where armies of faceless fund-raising pros are glad-handing equally faceless members of the political donor class, collecting hundreds of millions of dollars that will be paid off in very specific favors over the course of the next four years. That's the real high-stakes poker game in this business, and we don't get to sit at that table.
Instead, we get to be herded day after day into one completely controlled environment after another, where we listen to an array of ideologically similar politicians deliver professionally crafted advertising messages that we, in turn, have the privilege of delivering to the public free of charge. We rarely get to ask the candidates real questions, and even when we do, they almost never answer.
If you could train a chimpanzee to sit still through a Joe Biden speech, it could probably do the job. The only thing that elevates this work above monkey level is that we get to guess who wins.
For most of us, this is a guilty pleasure. But some of us get so used to being asked who should be running the world that our brains start to ferment. I've seen it happen. The first few times a newbie comes on the campaign trail, he's watching all the flag-waving and the soldier-humping and he's writing it all down with this stunned expression, as if to say, "Jesus, I went to college for this?" Two months later, he's doing six hits a day on MSNBC as a Senior Political Analyst and he's got this weirdly pissed-off look on his face, like he's mad that the world woke up and forgot to kiss his ass that morning. This same meek rookie you saw bent over a steno book just months ago is suddenly talking about how Hillary Clinton needs to do this, Barack Obama needs to do that — and he's serious! He's not kidding! Next thing you know, he's got an eight-figure book deal and a ten-foot pole up his crack, and he's wearing a tie and loafers to bed. In other words, he's Jonathan Alter.
I call it the Revenge of the Nerds effect. Give an army of proud professionals nothing but a silly horse race to cover, and inevitably they'll elevate even the most meaningless details of that horse race to cosmic importance.
This is how you end up getting candidates bludgeoned to death on the altar of such trivialities as "rookie mistakes" and "lack of warmth"; it's how you end up getting elections decided because candidates like John Kerry are unable to overcome adjectives like "looks French" and "long-faced Easter Island statue."
That's what happened in Iowa. For once, voters tried to say that they were perfectly capable of choosing a president without us, that they could do without any of this nonsense. But they were wrong. Nonsense would have its day!