A Cautious Man
October 22, 2006
Sunday Night Springsteen
Okay, so we are not even on a regular "Sunday Night Springsteen" schedule, never mind on an actual regular posting schedule.

My bad.

Be that as it may, the following is a performance from August 31, 2003. That happened to be my birthday. That happened to be a concert I attended. That happened to be a great day of tailgaiting, followed by the closing night of a ten-night stand at Giants Stadium. It was a good day. You can hear the crowd sing along in this clip, which makes the song.

The song is "Jersey Girl", by Tom Waits. The original may have been ironic, but the Springsteen version is a simple tribute, and an expression of hopeful, perhaps desperate love.

October 08, 2006
Sunday Night Springsteen
A "Bring 'Em Home" from the Conan O'Brien show, since the performance linked to below appears to be unavailable any more.

Sunday Night Springsteen Olbermann
I was catching up on my reading this weekend, and found this from "Countdown" last Thursday. Some of the best parts -
And lastly tonight, a special comment about lying.

While the leadership in Congress has self-destructed over the revelations of an unmatched, and unrelieved, march through a cesspool...

While the leadership inside the White House has self-destructed over the revelations of a book with a glowing red cover...

The president of the United States—unbowed, undeterred and unconnected to reality—has continued his extraordinary trek through our country rooting out the enemies of freedom: The Democrats.

Yesterday at a fundraiser for an Arizona congressman, Mr. Bush claimed, “177 of the opposition party said, ‘You know, we don‘t think we ought to be listening to the conversations of terrorists.‘”

The hell they did.

A hundred seventy-seven Democrats opposed the president‘s seizure of yet another part of the Constitution.

Not even the White House press office could actually name a single Democrat who had ever said the government shouldn‘t be listening to the conversations of terrorists.

President Bush hears what he wants.

Tuesday, at another fundraiser in California, he had said that, “Democrats take a law enforcement approach to terrorism. That means America will wait until we‘re attacked again before we respond.”

Mr. Bush fabricated that, too.

And evidently he has begun to fancy himself as a mind reader.

“If you listen closely to some of the leaders of the Democratic Party,” the president said at yet another fundraiser, Monday in Nevada, “it sounds like they think the best way to protect the American people is, wait until we‘re attacked again.”

The president does not just hear what he wants, he hears things that only he can hear.

It defies belief that this president and his administration could continue to find new unexplored political gutters into which they could wallow. Yet they do.

It is startling enough that such things could be said out loud by any president in this nation‘s history.

Rhetorically, it is about an inch short of Mr. Bush accusing Democratic leaders, Democrats, the majority of Americans who disagree with his policies of treason. But it is the context that truly makes the head spin.

Just 25 days ago, on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, this same man spoke to this nation and insisted, “We must put aside our differences and work together to meet the test that history has given us.”

Mr. Bush, this is a test you have already failed.

If your commitment to “put aside differences and work together” is replaced in the span of merely three weeks by claiming your political opponents prefer to wait to see this country attacked again, and by spewing fabrications about what they‘ve said, then the questions your critics need to be asking are no longer about your policies.

They are, instead, solemn and even terrible questions, about your fitness to fulfill the responsibilities of your office.

No Democrat, sir, has ever said anything approaching the suggestion that the best means of self-defense is to “wait until we‘re attacked again.”

No critic, no commentator, no reluctant Republican in the Senate has ever said anything that any responsible person could even have exaggerated into the slander you spoke in Nevada on Monday night, nor the slander you spoke in California on Tuesday, nor the slander you spoke in Arizona on Wednesday—nor whatever is next.

You have dishonored your party, sir; you have dishonored your supporters; you have dishonored yourself.

But tonight the stark question we must face is—why?

Why has the ferocity of your venom against the Democrats now exceeded the ferocity of your venom against the terrorists?

Why have you chosen to go down in history as the president who made things up?

In less than one month you have gone from a flawed call to unity to this clarion call to hatred of Americans, by Americans.

If this is not simply the most shameless example of the rhetorical of political hackery, then it would have to be the cry of a leader crumbling under the weight of his own lies.

We have, of course, survived all manner of political hackery, of every shape, size and party. We will have to suffer it for as long as the Republic stands. But the premise of a president who comes across as a compulsive liar is nothing less than terrifying.

A president who since 9/11 will not listen, is not listening—and thanks to Bob Woodward‘s most recent account—evidently has never listened.

A president who since 9/11 so hates or fears other Americans that he accuses them of advocating deliberate inaction in the face of the enemy.

A president who since 9/11 has savaged the very freedoms he claims to be protecting from attack - attack by terrorists, or by Democrats, or by both? It‘s now impossible to find a consistent thread of logic as to who Mr. Bush believes the enemy truly is.

But if we know one thing for certain about President Bush, it is this:

This president—in his bullying of the Senate last month and in his slandering of the Democrats this month—has shown us that he believes whoever the enemies actually are, they are hiding themselves inside a dangerous cloak called the Constitution of the United States of America.


And the vice president is a chilling figure, still unable, it seems, to accept the conclusions of his own party‘s leaders in the Senate, that the foundations of his public position, are made out of sand.

There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but he still says so.

There was no link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, but he still says so.

And thus, gripping firmly these figments of his own imagination, Mr. Cheney lives on, in defiance, and spreads around him and before him, darkness, like some contagion of fear.

They are never wrong, and they never regret—admirable in a French torch singer, cataclysmic in an American leader.

Thus, the sickening attempt to blame the Foley scandal on the negligence of others or “the Clinton era,” even though the Foley scandal began before the Lewinsky scandal.

Thus, last month‘s enraged attacks on this administration‘s predecessors, about Osama bin Laden, a projection of their own negligence in the immediate months before 9/11.

Thus, the terrifying attempt to hamstring the fundament of our freedom, the Constitution, a triumph for al Qaeda, one the terrorists could not hope to achieve on their own with a hundred 9/11‘s.

And thus, worst of all perhaps, these newest lies by President Bush about Democrats choosing to await another attack and not listen to the conversations of terrorists.

It is the terror and the guilt within your own heart, Mr. Bush, that you redirect at others who simply wish for you to temper your certainty with counsel.

It is the failure and the incompetence within your own memory, Mr. Bush, that leads you to demonize those who might merely quote to you the pleadings of Oliver Cromwell: “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.”

It is not the Democrats whose inaction in the face of the enemy you fear, Sir. It is your own — before 9/11, and — and you alone know this - perhaps afterwards.

Mr. President, these new lies go to the heart of what it is that you truly wish to preserve.

It is not our freedom, nor our country — your actions against the Constitution give irrefutable proof of that.

You want to preserve a political party‘s power. And obviously you will sell this country out, to do it.

These are lies about the Democrats—piled atop lies about Iraq—piled atop lies about your preparations for al Qaeda.

To you, perhaps, they feel like the weight of a million centuries—as crushing, as immovable. But they are not.

If you add more lies to them, you cannot free yourself, and us, from them.

But if you stop—if you stop fabricating quotes, and stop building straw-men, and stop inspiring those around you to do the same—you may yet liberate yourself and this nation.

Please, sir, do not throw this country‘s principles away because your lies have made it such that you can no longer differentiate between the terrorists and the critics.

Goodnight and good luck.

It needed to be said - especially that part that's emphasized above.

October 01, 2006
Sunday Night Springsteen
Maybe it’s self-explanatory. We have a disagreement here, among those of us who are citizens of the United States.

Look – I know, and we all know, that there are people out there who think that the greatest thing in the world would be that they kill some of us.

But, does that mean that we have to throw out everything that our Constitution means?

The old line about “History will judge” is not reassuring. I am disappointed that we have to actually confront our own government, and point out that they are acting like a “third world” regime. This video is a performance that, well, was from a time when we assumed that our own government could not be accused of imprisoning or holding people without any basic rights, a time when we thought that those who did that were the “others”, in those other, repressive and distrusted countries.

That having been said, this is a performance of Bob Dylan's “Chimes of Freedom”, with Tracy Chapman, Sting, Peter Gabriel and Youssou n'Dour, from the Amnesty International concert tour, 1988


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