Another take on the broadcast

From David Brody of CBN:
Finally, this move by The White House to allow cameras in for the event played right into one of the President’s main strengths. In case you haven’t noticed, the guy is smart. Every time a Republican had a fact, the President had one to match.  While you may not agree with the President’s argument, he was able to argue his point but not come across as argumentative. That’s not easy. With all due respect to the President’s ability to give a good speech, he’s actually better without the teleprompter. It makes him less robotic and instead more real. Lofty rhetoric sounds nice but talking regular makes for more believability. [...]

While there was a political motive behind this (when is there ever not a political motive? That’s why it’s called POLITICS) that doesn’t change one simple fact: The President of the United States took a gamble. He showed up. He took the GOP’s best shot and while he probably didn’t leave the room with fewer critics, he left with something far more important: more credibility with the American people who want to see politicians stand up, start solving problems and act like grown ups rather than little children.
I think the fact that absolutely none of the above surprised me in any way is indicative of how much I learned about Obama from some of his very first appearances as a candidate. But, I honestly wonder how many people are going to see this, and as far as policy education, I think most won't learn too much from this.

One more post on the Obama thing

  • Fox News cut away from the broadcast early.
  • MSNBC put on a special report, and is re-airing the original debate.
Clearest evidence yet of an ideological bias on both sides. There is no reason to re-air the entire discussion when its all on the web, and there was no solid reason to back away - it was high quality political discussion.

Can we stop pretending now?

Obama and the GOP today

Here's the MSNBC video link.

It wasn't good politics for the GOP, because their opposition has been character based, as opposed to a policy-based approach by the President.

I wish it would happen more often, but because we are (again) scoring this as a winner and loser, I think this little experiment won't happen again. Would be good for folks to do it with the cameras off, though.

After a few days in a Vermont back-country camp.... realizes the incredible value of a few basic tools, such as a wood stove, an axe, and snoeshoes.

But then I think about my life at Williams. I'm using an incredible device that's easily transported, which can communicate with the rest of the word via over-the-air signals that, upon entering a campus wide network of routers, fly to parts unknown. This device can display false images on a backlit screen of literally anything, and provide instructions for any situation. I'm sitting a good 30 or 40 feet off the ground in a building that I enter by swiping a magnetically coded card, and I have 24/7 facilities and security services to call upon. I'm surrounded by some of the smartest and most talented people from across my country, which has the largest GDP of any, and I'm spending my time tapping a bunch of little keys with symbols on them, so that you can read these words over that same communications system I mentioned earlier.

Technology is incredible.

Press for being Williamsy

From the Bowdoin Orient:
2. Williams galore for Minnesota
At one point on Sunday, I counted three players who had the name Williams stitched on the back of their white with purple trim jerseys: Pat, Kevin, and Madieu—and they were all on one side of the ball.
Three...out of eleven! That's nearly 30% of Minnesota's defense boasting the same cognomen. If we wanted to take their current season to the stage, naturally Tennessee Williams would write the play, John Williams the score, and its setting would be in Williamstown, MA at Williams College. Venus and Serena surely would be casted as cheerleaders.


Sometimes, Williams is amazing

It's when I'm sitting for hours in the Gibson room, discovering the depths of a new friendship.

It's when I sit surrounded by friends on all sides and 130 more people, just to hear someone tell their story.

It's when I can knock on a near-stranger's door and have a pleasant conversation at 1 am.

IMAGE: It's when I can get academic credit for snoeshoing into a beautiful back-country camp, and writing about the interesting people I met there.

It's when I see Goodrich filled to capacity, just to hear a few students of varying ability play their original works of music.

It's when I'm sitting with graduates of the early 1940s, and hearing their stories of Williams from an era so long past.

It's when I can have a real conversation with a trustee at my college.

It's when I and joyful when friends return from abroad, and when the thought of them leaving gives me a tear.

It is NOT when I am scrambling to finish the requisite work for said project. But that's where posts like this come in.

No more random quoting

I can now directly share items with you, so there's no more need for random quoting. Just look up! (PS - yes, I wish there was a ay to do content, but I can't find it. All help appreciated.

Ribbons For Bedrooms (from Google Reader)

Ribbons For Bedrooms: "

A first-person blog from Haiti:

Port-au-Prince is now a city where most people are sleeping outside at
night (estimates put it at 80 percent of the residents). I drove back
to our camp just after dark a couple of nights ago, rushing to meet our
own night-time curfew. At street corner after corner, people had
blocked access to their blocks by placing stones in the way. They
didn't want vehicles rushing blindly in and injuring sleeping families.
I looked up these blocks and saw winding ribbons of re-created
bedrooms, demarcated with bedsheets and string, as far as my eyes could
see in the dark.

How To Make A Political Scientist Angry

How To Make A Political Scientist Angry: "

Call a third of Americans independents. Responding to Zakaria and Bai, John Sides hits the caps lock:



How many DAMN TIMES must this be said before this MOST BASIC OF FINDINGS — first explicated at length almost 20 YEARS AGO! — sinks into the heads of pundits.

I will keep linking to this post
as long as it takes. To repeat: true, honest-to-God independents are
about 10% of the American population. Declining support for Obama among
independents accounts for less than a fifth of Obama’s overall decline
in support."

Haiti Relief at Williams

To the Williams Community,

The devastation in Haiti and especially the horrible human suffering there have touched us all. The news has been almost heart-stopping.

No Williams students were in the country at the time but at least one student appears to have lost family members. On a special online discussion group set up for alumni, many have reported that their family members are safe but that is not true for all.

A news story about an alumnus now providing medical help there, Hernando Garzon '84, can be read at .

Students, faculty, and staff are organizing Williams-based responses. You can follow the plans and join in through .

Many organizations are taking donations to support relief efforts, including:

The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund at
The American Red Cross at
Partners in Health (Paul Farmer's organization) at
The Boston Foundation (where donations are being matched dollar for dollar) at

I trust that in this time of such unimaginable human suffering we will each of us be moved to do all that we possibly can to help.

With regards,
Bill Wagner
Interim President

I just got this e-mail

Tue, 26 Jan 2010 07:23:10 -0500

State Gov   
Department of Citizenship Immigration
undisclosed recipients: ;   

Read the attached copy of the Visa winning notification
reply this winning notification massages to the claim agent assigned to handle your visa documentation. He will guide you through your visa and flight ticket documents processing.[
Mrs. Julie Vilsack
Visa Program Information

Attachment: U.S.A.jpg (498k bytes) Open

Thanks, Youtube.

I can't really add much to this link.

Sondheim coverage

From the Albany Times-Union:
Perhaps most entertaining were a series of questions Rich posed about the craft of songwriting. At one point Sondheim ruthlessly took apart the work of Lorenz Hart, proclaiming the frequent Richard Rodgers collaborator to be "genuinely lazy lyrics writer." But Sondheim was also willing to turn the glass on himself and his mentor, Oscar Hammerstein - pointing out weaknesses in their material as well.

What might have been a dry conversation about craft or simply a troll through the highlights of an impressive life was instead a thrilling event full of unexpected revelations and useful information.

Greenwald on the Court's Decision

From Salon:
The case, Citizens United v. FEC, presents some very difficult free speech questions, and I'm deeply ambivalent about the court's ruling.  There are several dubious aspects of the majority's opinion (principally its decision to invalidate the entire campaign finance scheme rather than exercising "judicial restraint" through a narrower holding).  Beyond that, I believe that corporate influence over our political process is easily one of the top sicknesses afflicting our political culture.  But there are also very real First Amendment interests implicated by laws which bar entities from spending money to express political viewpoints.