A Cautious Man
August 19, 2007
 
Sunday Night Springsteen
What else could it be? We're "Countin' on a Miracle" ...
It's a fairytale so tragic
There's no prince to break the spell
I don't believe in the magic
But for you I will, for you I will



And the obscure acoustic version, for those of you like myself -


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August 16, 2007
 
Show A Little Faith, There's Magic In The Night
Posted without comment, but with a lot of anticipation -
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2007

Bruce Springsteen's 'Magic' Set for October 2 Release on Columbia Records

'Magic,' Bruce Springsteen's new studio recording and his first with the E Street Band in five years, is set for release by Columbia Records on October 2, 2007. Produced and mixed by Brendan O'Brien, the album features eleven new Springsteen songs and was recorded at Southern Tracks Recording Studio in Atlanta, GA.

'Magic' Song Titles:

1. Radio Nowhere
2. You'll Be Comin' Down
3. Livin' in the Future
4. Your Own Worst Enemy
5. Gypsy Biker
6. Girls in Their Summer Clothes
7. I'll Work for Your Love
8. Magic
9. Last to Die
10. Long Walk Home
11. Devil's Arcade

'Magic' is the first new studio album by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band since 2002's GRAMMY Award-winning, multi-platinum, number one album 'The Rising' (Columbia Records), which was also produced by O'Brien.

Bruce Springsteen's longtime manager Jon Landau said, "'Magic' is a high energy rock CD. It's light on its feet, incredibly well played by Bruce and the members of the E Street Band, and, as always, has plenty to say. It's also immensely entertaining. 'Magic' is the third collaboration between Bruce and Brendan O'Brien and is a culmination of their very productive creative relationship."

Go here for more details.

Developing ...

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August 10, 2007
 
Waiting For The Bells That Ring
Last month I mentioned that the Cautious Wife and I are treating ourselves to a vacation in London at the end of the month.

So now what do I see in the news? Big Ben is going silent during our visit -
Big Ben, the bell in the clock tower above Britain's Parliament in London, will fall silent tomorrow until the end of September to accommodate repairs.

The clock will strike for the last time this month at 8 a.m. Saturday. An hour later, a team of specialists will scale down the tower's south side to clean the iconic face, an event which takes place every five years.

Quarter bells, which play a tune every 15 minutes, also will stop for maintenance. The 13.8-ton hour bell, from which the tower gets its nickname, is in the final phase of a repair program before its 150th anniversary in 2009.

"Hopefully as a tourist you won't notice anything different," Mike McCann, who has held the title of keeper of the great clock for the past decade, said in a telephone interview. "The hands will still be going. You just won't hear any bongs."

I thought the "bongs" were the whole point. Who the heck do I sue, here?

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August 09, 2007
 
City of Ruins
This is the anniversary of the second use of an atomic bomb on a populated area, as a weapon of war. The other day, Bill Cork had a post on his blog which cited a provocatively-titled article, that referred to the first use of the atomic bomb, at Hiroshima, as one of the worst acts of terrorism in human history.

As I said, provocative. Is it useful to analyze the use of atomic bombs in WWII using the "terrorism" label? To the extent that it provokes serious thought, about the consequences of a nation's actions against others, I think it is useful.

The classic argument is that it is the motive and ultimate goal of the attacker, that determines whether something should be analyzed as being “terrorism” – in other words, look at it from the point of view of the attacker. Mr. Cork's post provoked a vehement reaction in his comments, from someone who asked: “Were these not the same Japanese who manipulated their dwindling numbers of men into acts of ‘glorious martyrdom’ and boarded them on fully-fueled aircraft filled to the teeth with explosives in the last year of the war? They were so ready to treat with us that they employed suicide attacks against military targets?” Mr. Cork responded, in part, by pointing out that another point of view to consider, is that of the ones being attacked and killed: “Finally, realize that a couple hundred thousand innocent people were expressly targeted specifically to frighten their government into capitulating. How is that different from terrorism?”

That’s not an accusation that the U.S. is on a par with Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. I think it’s legitimate to analyze the methods being used, to supposedly further our country’s goals, from the standpoint of what those methods do to the innocent – because it’s certain that others are looking at it that way.

And one more thing, regarding the argument that these were the same Japanese willing to fight and martyr themselves for the emperor – that’s not the case for all of them
Like the primary target Kokura, Nagasaki was overcast that morning. With barely enough fuel remaining to reach Okinawa, Major Sweeney and his crew had to pinpoint their target in the course of only one run over the city. By chance a crack opened in the clouds, revealing the industrial zone stretching from the Mitsubishi sports field in Hamaguchi-machi to the Mitsubishi Steel Works in Mori-machi and automatically designating this as the bombing target. The actual explosion, however, occurred some five or six hundred meters to the north over a tennis court in Matsuyama-machi. The details of the explosion can be summarized as follows.

Known as Urakami, the district around the hypocenter (ground zero) area had been populated for centuries by Japanese people of the Roman Catholic faith. At the time of the bombing, between 15,000 and 16,000 Catholics - the majority of the approximately 20,000 people of that faith in Nagasaki and about half of the local population - lived in the Urakami district. It is said that about 10,000 Catholics were killed by the atomic bomb. Although traditionally a rustic isolated suburb, the Urakami district was chosen as the site for munitions factories in the 1920s, after which time the population soared and an industrial zone quickly took shape. The district was also home to the Nagasaki Medical College and a large number of other schools and public buildings. The industrial and school zones of the Urakami district lay to the east of the Urakami River, while the congested residential district of Shiroyama stretched to the hillsides on the west side of the river. It was over this section of Nagasaki that the second atomic bomb exploded at 11:02 a.m., August 9, 1945. The damages inflicted on Nagasaki by the atomic bombing defy description. The 20 machi or neighborhoods within a one kilometer radius of the atomic bombing were completely destroyed by the heat flash and blast wind generated by the explosion and then reduced to ashes by the subsequent fires. About 80% of houses in the more than 20 neighborhoods between one and two kilometers from the hypocenter collapsed and burned, and when the smoke cleared the entire area was strewn with corpses.

Arguing that it’s their own fault, that they lived and worked within a country and a system that was fighting the United States, and so deserve what happened to them – well, that’s the same kind of argument that made Ward Churchill such a “poster boy” for people who want to shut down any criticism of the government.

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August 01, 2007
 
More From the FRIGGIN' Bombardier
Two summers ago, in a post entitled "Playing Backyard Bombardier", we saw Congressman Tom Tancredo's absolutely idiotic proposal to deter terrorist attacks:
TANCREDO: Well, what if you said something like, if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites.

CAMPBELL: You're talking about bombing Mecca.

TANCREDO: Yeah. I mean, what if you said, "We recognize that this is the ultimate threat to the United States, therefore this is the ultimate threat, this is the ultimate response." I mean, I don't know -- I'm just throwing out there some ideas because it seems to me, at this point in time, or at that point in time, you would be talking about taking the most draconian measures you could possibly imagine. Because other than that all you could do is, once again, tighten up internally.
A few days later, he issued a statement to say that he was just "musing", and not really serious -
"I do not advocate this. Much more thought would need to be given to the potential ramifications of such a horrific response," Tancredo wrote.

His spokesman, Will Adams, said the congressman is a "free thinker" who was grappling with a hypothetical situation.
And, at the time, this is what I thought of that -
Now, I have a serious problem with this. First of all, this is a statement which could only come from someone who was either screamingly ignorant, or simply venal - because he confuses "Muslim" with "terrorist". But, more important, you know that if some Imam somewhere said that it would be a good idea to set off a bomb at the National Cathedral, or the Lincoln Memorial, as payback for something that America did, the usual crowd from Fox News and talk radio would be foaming at the mouth, demanding that every single Muslim denounce such statements - and continuously bringing it up in case they didn't think the denunciations were public enough or strong enough.

Not to mention the fact that a headline like "U.S. Official Threatens Bombing of Holy Sites" not only hinders our nation's ability to reach out for allies in the Muslim world, but is also a handy little recruiting tool for those who need pliable, impressionable young men to strap on a bomb vest and blow themselves up.

Well, via Talking Points Memo, we see that apparently he's at it again -
Followers of radical Islam must be deterred from committing a nuclear attack on U.S. soil, Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo said Tuesday morning, saying that as president he would take drastic measures to prevent such attacks.

"If it is up to me, we are going to explain that an attack on this homeland of that nature would be followed by an attack on the holy sites in Mecca and Medina," the GOP presidential candidate said. "That is the only thing I can think of that might deter somebody from doing what they would otherwise do. If I am wrong fine, tell me, and I would be happy to do something else. But you had better find a deterrent or you will find an attack. There is no other way around it. There have to be negative consequences for the actions they take. That's the most negative I can think of."

Are the Republicans going to distance themselves from this guy? Does anyone think that would happen?

[Edited to add] Well, wonders never cease, and I stand (partially) corrected. Commentator Jim Geraghty at the National Review (of all places) has a major take-down of Tancredo over this, similar to the thoughts I had previously expressed -
The problem, Congressman, is that having already lost an American city in this scenario, we will have gone from having some debated percentage of the Muslim world as our enemy to having 100 percent of the Muslim world as our enemy. And then our problems will be even worse than they were when we had lost one city.

And oh, by the way, casual discussion of nuking two holy sites seems likely to make the situation worse in the here and now, not just a future horrific time. If a foreign state talked about deterring Christians by attacking Rome and Jerusalem, would we feel assured that the country was not "at war with Christianity"?

Let's hope for more of the same.

[Edited again to add] His campaign spokesperson, Bay Buchanan, is apparently just as nuts as Congressman Tancredo. According to her, the fact that he would make this threat is a positive aspect of his personality -
“This shows that we mean business,” said Bay Buchanan, a senior Tancredo adviser. “There’s no more effective deterrent than that. But he is open-minded and willing to embrace other options. This is just a means to deter them from attacking us.”

In the same news story, the State Department has an appropriate response to this -
Tom Casey, a deputy spokesman for the State Department, told CNN’s Elise Labott that the congressman’s comments were “reprehensible” and “absolutely crazy.”

And, of course, there are reports overseas, in Muslim countries, about this now, and governments of even our allies are reacting, such as in Pakistan -
Speaker National Assembly Chaudhary Amir Hussain has said that a full-fledged debate on the highly provocative statement of Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo would be carried out in the parliament on Monday.

Talking to APP here Saturday evening, he expressed the hope that house will unanimously adopt a resolution against this mischievous statement. Amir Hussain said that Makkah and Madina are the holiest places of Islam and Muslim Ummah would not tolerate such statement which are highly condemnable.

It is a fact that such statements would further widen the gap between Muslims and rest of the world, he added.

Seriously, his fellow Republicans have to say something about this, and they had better condemn it.

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