The Nation’s Pulse

The Nation's Pulse

Crosby, Stills & Nash: Still Harmonizing in Their Seventies

By 5.27.15

One of the rock ’n’ roll’s first supergroups was Crosby, Stills & Nash. David Crosby attained stardom with the Byrds, Stephen Stills found fame with Buffalo Springfield, while Graham Nash was part of the British Invasion with the Hollies. Whether they played hard rock or soft ballads the common denominator was their three-part harmony which helped define popular music in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. Now in their seventies, when Crosby, Stills & Nash get together their harmonies are as powerful as ever as was demonstrated when they performed before a sold out audience at Boston’s Wang Theatre last week.

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Asian-American Leaders Are Scarce in Silicon Valley. And?

By 5.22.15

A longtime friend of mine who will go unnamed was never a great student. In high school, he “achieved” passable grades by babysitting the teachers’ kids. I kid you not. He was in band, but couldn’t play his instrument. Or at least not very well, whatever it was. But what he could play was the conductor, by making him laugh and otherwise inundating him with hard-to-resist charm. This white and partly Hispanic friend of mine got by on a kind of old school personality type that relies more on street smarts than books smarts. And now he’s a successful salesman, living internationally no less.

The above comes to mind — as does public high school corruption, come to think of it — when hearing about the paltry number of Asian-Americans in executive positions in Silicon Valley. Paltry when considering that Asian-Americans are roughly 50% of the SV workforce. Mother Jones’ Josh Harkinson queries America’s social conscience on the matter:

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New Republic Admits: Liberal Racism Caused Baltimore Riots

By 5.5.15

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Over at the New Republic — which backs itself up with a link to the Atlantic — liberals are finally admitting that their addiction to racism was responsible for the Baltimore riots.

The one caveat? They didn’t even recognize what they were saying. Here’s the story, with a hat tip to NewsBusters’ Tom Johnson who found it.

The episode was launched with this editorial from the Wall Street Journal titled: “The Blue-City Model Baltimore shows how progressivism has failed urban America.”

New Republic writer Rebecca Leber’s story was headlined: “Liberal Policies Didn’t Fail Baltimore. Here’s What Did.”

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America: Band That I Love

By 4.27.15

You can blame America. That would be the band, not the country.

In fact, the first time I ever saw the word America was on an album cover. This would have been circa 1975-1976, possibly earlier. It was spelled in capital letters. Below it were America’s three members — Dewey Bunnell, Gerry Beckley, and Dan Peek. The sons of U.S. Air Force personnel who became friends while attending high school in London were dressed casually and sitting even more casually on some pillows appearing to engage in light conversation. In back of them is a large photo of three American Indians looking both sad and stern. I have always been struck by the juxtaposition of the two images.

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Those Annoying, Stunningly Stupid Warning Labels

By 4.24.15

It’s everywhere. The legalese. The lawyers’ gobbledygook. The hocus‑pocus and mumbo‑jumbo from a generation dominated by the legal profession. It’s the fallout from our litigious society.

The warning labels and messages are everywhere: on ladders, cigarettes, and lawnmowers, on prescription drugs and alcoholic beverages. Most of these warnings are expected. We hardly recognize them any more. We’ve become jaded and mesmerized by them.

Manufacturers go to laughable lengths to protect their customers from harm, bombarding them with ridiculous warning labels or stunningly obvious explanations of how their products work. Why else would a carton of eggs actually say that the product may contain eggs?

Of course the plaintiff’s bar has had plenty to do with this silly — and costly — trend. Sham product-liability cases can and do rack up Lotto size jury verdicts. According to Jury Verdict Research, which tracks results of personal-injury claims, in 2011 the median jury award in product liability cases was almost $2 million. Today, most likely that median damage award is much higher.

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An Afternoon With Carol Burnett

By 4.21.15

One of the most endearing qualities of Carol Burnett’s comedy is her willingness to answer questions from her audience. The spontaneous nature of these exchanges demonstrates her ability to work a room and shows Burnett at her funniest. Hillary Clinton could learn a thing or two from her.

Burnett, who will turn 82 next week, can still connect with an audience as she demonstrated this past Sunday afternoon at Boston’s Symphony Hall. Unfortunately, due to a cold she was unable to do her trademark Tarzan yell. She also needed to sit down midway through the show. But this did not diminish her spirit nor her wit, which remains razor sharp. When an audience member asked Burnett what drew her to comedy, she quipped, “My face.” This brought much laughter and there was a lot more from where that came.

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Assisted Suicide — It’s Civil Rights for the Affluent

By 4.13.15

The assisted-suicide movement is the rare self-proclaimed civil rights movement that exists to cater to the wishes of affluent Americans. On Tuesday, the California Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on SB 128, a bill to legalize assisted suicide in the state. (Proponents don’t like the word suicide, so they call the measure the “End of Life Option Act.”) Supporters talk of their fear of medical personnel’s prolonging their lives, of pain and lack of autonomy; opponents fear that the bill’s passage would represent a callous act of cultural abandonment of the sick and disabled.

I don’t mean to suggest that life is easy for those who have a personal stake in the bill’s passage. Christina Symonds, 43, gave heart-rending testimony about her battle with ALS. Because she wants the ability to choose assisted suicide, her family moved to Oregon, which legalized assisted suicide 17 years ago. “I do not want to live my last days in a wheelchair, fully paralyzed, connected to a breathing machine,” she said. “To me, that is the picture of horror.” That is certainly not the end any young mother would choose.

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Intellectual Dishonesty Is Winning Every Time

By 4.6.15

I am depressed. Normally I’m a cheerful guy, but this week I’m depressed.

It isn’t because of any personal problems. Personally I’m doing okay. My health is good. I have money in the bank. My wife and kids and grandkids are fine. Even my cat is doing well. The only really negative thing in my personal life is that, being an old man, I’ll probably not live long enough to read all my books.

The cause of my depression is that my normal anxiety about the future of American society spiked to unprecedented levels during this past week or two. This had to do with the state of Indiana and its Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). It isn’t simply that my side (the morally conservative side) suffered a great defeat at the hands of a tremendously powerful and effective gay-liberal propaganda machine — a machine made up, not just of the Democratic Party and the mainstream media and Hollywood, but of a big section of American big business.

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Can’t I Support Gays and Religious Freedom?

By 3.31.15

I’m a not particularly religious Jewish libertarian, which means — if you wouldn’t have guessed — that I don’t have a moral objection to, nor a public policy framework for, homosexuality.

But the reaction by many others who aren’t social issues conservatives to Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act — modeled on a federal law sponsored by liberal Democrat Chuck Schumer (NY), passed 97-3 in the Senate in 1993, and then signed by President Bill Clinton (while Democrats still had majorities in both houses of Congress) — borders on the insane.

The NCAA wondered how the new law would negatively impact the upcoming Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis. The obvious answer: it won’t.

Openly gay actor George Takei (of Lieutenant Sulu fame from the original Star Trek series) is “demanding that socially responsible companies withdraw their business, conferences and support” from Indiana.

Liberal bloggers, in a typical mindless reaction, are calling for boycotts of products made in Indiana.

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Liberation Theology Denounces Netanyahu’s Reelection

By 3.27.15

The reelection of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will certainly inflame the small but outspoken segment of American Protestantism that is anti-Israel. Mainline Protestant elites, undeterred by their empty pews, have been ideologically hostile to Israel for decades. More politically significant is the growing segment of Evangelical elites, many of them shifting left on a wide range of issues, who have become more critical of Israel than is common among mainstream Evangelicals.

One recent example straddles both religious worlds. Miguel De La Torre is a Cuban-American theologian, formerly conservative, who was ordained Southern Baptist and previously taught at largely Evangelical Hope College in Michigan until his controversial left-leaning polemics evidently lead to his departure for the firmly liberal Iliff School of Theology in Denver, a United Methodist seminary.