Cory Leonard

Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

Inside the Senate’s battle over climate change : The New Yorker

In politics on October 12, 2010 at 3:59 pm

The must-read on how Rome, er, the United States poltical system is unable to enact change–breaking down the composite factors–as recommended by T. Friedman.

  • Mindless tribal partisanship: Lizza describing what happened to Senator Graham when it became clear in his home state of South Carolina that he was supporting a clean energy bill with Democrats: “Graham was holding a town-hall meeting in the gym of a high school in Greenville, South Carolina. His constituents were not happy. One man accused him of ‘making a pact with the Devil.’ Another shouted, ‘No principled compromise!’ One audience member asked, ‘Why do you think it’s necessary to get in bed with people like John Kerry?’ Graham, dressed in a blue blazer and khakis, paced the floor, explaining that there were only forty Republicans in the Senate, which meant that he had to work with the sixty Democrats. A man in the bleachers shouted, “You’re a traitor, Mr. Graham! You’ve betrayed this nation and you’ve betrayed this state!’ ”
  • A TV network acting as the political enforcer of the Republican Party
  • Special interests buying policy
  • Politicians who put their interests before the country’s
  • A political system that cannot manage multiple policy shifts at once — even though it needs to

 

See Inside the Senate’s battle over climate change : The New Yorker.

Lord of the Internet Rings – NYTimes.com

In tech on October 12, 2010 at 3:04 pm

 

Usually Dowd annoys as she carries the burden of cleverness.  (How to come up with catchy nicknames all the time that are fit to print?).  But here I give due where it is deserved.  Her essay comparing “Das Rheingold” to “The Social Network” is brilliant (dare I say “Brooks-like”) in its timeliness, insight, and literary themes:

This is a drama about quarrels over riches, social hierarchy, envy, theft and the consequence of deceit — a world upended where the vassals suddenly become lords and the lords suddenly lose their magic.

 

 

The beauty who rejects the gnome at the start is furious when he turns around and betrays her, humiliating her before the world. And the giant brothers looming over the action justifiably feel they’ve provided the keys to the castle and want their reward. One is more trusting than the other, but both go berserk, feeling they’ve been swindled after entering into a legitimate business compact.

But as I watched the opera, my mind kept flashing to the “The Social Network,” another dazzling drama about quarrels over riches, social hierarchy, envy, theft and the consequences of deceit. A Sony executive called “The Social Network,” the David Fincher-Aaron Sorkin movie about Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his circle of ex-friends and partners, “the first really modern movie.” Yet the strikingly similar themes in Wagner’s feudal “Das Rheingold” — the Ring cycle is based on the medieval German epic poem “Das Nibelungenlied,” which some experts say helped inspire J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” — underscore how little human drama changes through the ages. …

We are always fighting about social status, identity, money, power, turf, control, lust and love. We are always trying to get even, get more and climb higher. And we are always trying to cross the bridge to Valhalla.

 

 

via Op-Ed Columnist – Lord of the Internet Rings – NYTimes.com.

 

 

The invisible man takes over the second most powerful job in Washington | David Rothkopf

In politics on October 12, 2010 at 2:51 am

 

From the epithet-laden Chicago street pol to a mild mannered insider.  What is the best leadership style for a chief of staff?  Rothkopf makes the case that situational leadership works, but even more so–President Obama would be well-served by someone who can add the unique challenges/opportunities facing the current commander in chief:

It’s for this reason that I think the president might be better off with a strong, independent minded James Baker-style chief of staff who will be his best advocate behind the scenes but also can challenge the president and bring out the best in him behind closed doors. If it turns out that Rouse can be that man, so be it, but many among even his legions of supporters wonder whether he is the guy to push, prod and challenge Obama to the next level.

 

 

via The invisible man takes over the second most powerful job in Washington | David Rothkopf.

 

 

Books of The Times – Jack Anderson in Mark Feldstein’s ‘Poisoning the Press’ – NYTimes.com

In media, politics on October 1, 2010 at 4:25 am

Thing about this one:  Jack Anderson and Richard Nixon as mirror images:

They had plenty in common. Both were born in small Western towns, had strict religious upbringings (Anderson was a Mormon, Nixon a Quaker) and signed up for sea duty during World War II. Both arrived in Washington in 1947. The parallels go further. Both were homophobes. Both were uncouth middle-class guys tormented by class resentments. Both hated to give an inch.

“Nothing produces such exhilaration, zest for daily life, and all-around gratification as a protracted, ugly, bitter-end vendetta that rages for years and exhausts both sides, often bringing one to ruin,” Anderson wrote. That line could easily have been Nixon’s. About this odd couple, Mr. Feldstein observes, “Each saw his ugliest reflection in his enemy’s likeness.”

via Books of The Times – Jack Anderson in Mark Feldstein’s ‘Poisoning the Press’ – NYTimes.com.

A new biography presents a complicated, fascinating political journalist who was the creature of a different era, an unflattering persona–and yet, strangely inspiring.

Study Hacks » Does Living a Remarkable Life Require Courage or Effort?

In career on October 1, 2010 at 4:25 am

How to live a “remarkable life”:

When we consider people who do seem to be living the type of life described above, we notice, almost without exception, that they validate my theory.

Consider, for example, the author Neal Stephenson. In two previous posts, I described his envious workday. He writes only in the morning, when his focus is at its peak, and then spends the afternoons working on interesting projects — typically things that require the use of his hands. He ignores most e-mail so that he can have more time to think, write, and, in general, enjoy life. He’s revered by his fans and well-compensated.

How did Neal earn this remarkable life? It wasn’t because he decided to eschew a traditional career and instead become a writer. (Plenty of people try this and fail.) What earned him his reward is that he became exceptional at writing a particular style of book. (We can assume that this was a slow process replete with lots of hard focus.)

via Study Hacks » Blog Archive » Does Living a Remarkable Life Require Courage or Effort?.