Monday, August 30, 2004

Ron Silver at GOP Convention

I missed the actor Ron Silver's speech at the Republican National Convention, but Drudge has a link to the whole text. Boy, that's a good speech. Fiesty, and he's not mincing words on the terrorist war.

Ron Silver's had a reputation as a liberal, but some weeks ago, I heard him on John Bachelor's show on WABC out of New York (AM 770, 10 PM - 1 AM, weeknights) discussing his support for President Bush on the war (terrorism in general and Iraq in particular, I think). I was really surprised, and he might have made some mildly conservative arguments on other topics as well. Tonight, Tony Snow on Fox asked Silver about his politics after the speech, expressing the same surprise I had. Silver said that he still is a liberal on some things, but not on others. I'm trying to remember--did the Democrats have any conservatives speak at their convention? Or Republicans? They had Ron Reagan, but I'm pretty sure he's no Republican. He's certainly not a conservative; that's been known for a long time. The Republicans have so far had former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat who is voting for Bush, Ron Silver, a formerly liberal actor, and they'll be getting Sen. Zell Miller, another Democrat voting for Bush. Interesting.

And the whole thing about the moderates being front & center in this convention? Well, as long as they don't compromise on policy in the speeches, I'm happy with them. John McCain did a good job tonight. A mostly serious speech, and it had some rousing moments.

But wow! Rudy Giuliani! I came in just after he started, and it was mesmerizing. This was the best speech I've seen in a long, long time. It was funny, his criticisms of Kerry were lighthearted, and he had the enthusiasm, the passion that I really like to see in a rousing political speech. Wow!

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Critique of the 9/11 Commission Report

David Rivkin and Lee Casey have a very long, detailed critique of the 9/11 Commission's report on National Review Online today. I haven't had the chance to read it, but at first glance it seems worthy of printing out for a careful read later.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Not that we're surprised

I watched part of that PBS series, "Wide Angle," last night. They had on a documentary about North Korea, filmed within the country. The film crew got to see a lot of things that no outside film crew had been allowed to before, although they certainly didn't have free rein and were constrained in whom they were allowed to interview.

One thing jumped out at me--in Pyongyang, all of the apartments have the state's radio station (of course, there is only the state's radio station) piped into the kitchen. The residents can turn the volume up or down...but not off.

Does everybody remember their 1984? Everybody had the (2-way) TV in their apartments that they could turn down but never turn off.

Was this also true in the Soviet Union of the late 1940s (when Orwell wrote his book)? I don't mean a 2-way TV, but any TV or radio. Did Soviet subjects have a TV or radio that they couldn't turn off? If not, then either Orwell was frighteningly prophetic, or the Dear Leader actually got some of his ideas from an anti-Communist novel.

Send the Elgin Marbles to Tennessee?

The Social Affairs Unit is a British blog I was just introduced to, through the New Criterion. An intriguing post by Prof. Christie Davies is on there from earlier this week, suggesting that the famed Elgin marbles might be bought from the British Museum and sent to Nashville!

Now, this isn't an agreed-upon plan, but it's been suggested by "Greek-American multi-billionaire Evyenios Papadakis" as a compromise to the fight over possession of the marbles. (For historical background, Elgin took the marbles from the Parthenon in the early 1800s, while Greece was under Ottoman rule. The Greeks want them back, while the British Museum argues they were taken legally and does not want to give them up.) The Greeks want to place the marbles back in the open air Parthenon, and part of the British Museum's argument is that they will quickly degrade in the smoggy Athenian air (although there has been an offer to put them in a sealed room).

Mr. Papadakis toured the American South last year, particularly Alabama and Tennessee, and he was impressed both by the "sophisticated charm of the South" (Social Affair's words, but I appreciate them!)...and Nashville's full-scale replica of the Parthenon (the only such in the world). Ahah! thought he. A relatively smog-free city with a replica of the Parthenon.

I'll let you read the rest. It's a very interesting idea, and the Social Affairs Unit seems to think there's a chance the British Museum would accept the sale. I can't judge for myself, but it would be an exciting opportunity for my state.

On a related tangent, the Parthenon and Centennial Park in Nashville sits on some old family land. Cockrill Springs, where the paddle boats splash around next to the Parthenon, still bears the name of that branch of the family. A family friend is a sculptor and helped her nephew to build the two-storey-tall statue of Athena within the Parthenon, only completed a few years ago (the Parthenon has been there for over a century). I can't remember if the Elgin marbles are recreated within its walls as well, but I'm sure the city would be more than happy to have the originals.