quarta-feira, dezembro 31, 2008
OBAMA E O VOTO RELIGIOSO
How Obama can appeal to religious voters without abandoning his party's principles.
(In The New Republic, 29-12-2008)
"President-elect Barack Obama remains under fire from some liberals for inviting Pastor Rick Warren--an evangelical who is pro-life and anti-gay marriage--to deliver the invocation at his inauguration. Say what you will about the Rick Warren controversy, one reason Barack Obama will be sworn in on January 20 is that he courted and won the votes of more religious Americans than any other Democratic candidate in a decade. He received more votes from Catholics and Evangelicals than John Kerry, and improved upon both Kerry and Al Gore's performances with those who attend worship services more than once a week by eight percentage points.
Obama began his faith outreach effort long before he announced his presidential run, delivering a much-discussed speech in 2006 embracing a robust role for religion in public life, and expanding on the ideas further in The Audacity of Hope. Throughout the campaign, he honed the art of showing respect for religious voters even while disagreeing with them on policy. He spoke at Warren's Saddleback megachurch and other religious venues, even though he knew the audience was skeptical. He met with religious leaders across the ideological and denominational spectrum and granted interviews to religious media outlets. On the trail, he often recounted his decision to revise his Senate campaign website when an Illinois voter confronted him about its harsh language about pro-life advocates. "I will listen to you, especially when we disagree," became one of his most popular refrains. His choice of Pastor Warren is his latest, and most controversial, symbolic outreach toward religious voters.
But a president does more than listen and offer symbols--he acts. In office, Obama has a chance to show his sensitivity to religious voters' concerns, and, in some cases, advance policies that are important to them, without sacrificing Democratic principles. "
terça-feira, dezembro 30, 2008
QUE FITA VAI HOJE? - FILMES DE COWBOYS
segunda-feira, dezembro 29, 2008
QUE FITA VAI HOJE? - OS SESSENTA NO SEU MELHOR
domingo, dezembro 28, 2008
QUE FITA VAI HOJE? - PS 2
PASSEIO DE DOMINGO - LAON, FRANÇA
De Laon - e é daqui que me vem a ideia deste passeio - foi Bispo o famoso Adalberão, ou Adalberon, que viveu na volta do século X para o século XI, e foi o autor da célebre fórmula da trifuncionalidade medieval... Uns rezam, (oratores), outros combatem (belatores), outros trabalham (laboratores). Deve-se a Georges Duby ("Les trois ordres ou l'imaginaire du féodalisme") uma interessante análise deste conceito.
Por agora sugiro o passeio, pelo menos espiritual até estas bandas da velha Europa, que também tem os seus encantos.
sábado, dezembro 27, 2008
QUE FITA VAI HOJE? - O FEITICEIRO DE OZ
P. S. Está (são agora quase dez da noite) na RTP1 - já me tinha esquecido - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie e a fábrica de chocolate, Tim Burton, 2005), adaptado de um livro de Roald Dahl. As histórias para crianças de Roald Dahl, sem a ressonância da história da menina dos sapatos vermelhos, são clássicos da literatura infantil moderna anglo-saxónica. As que não são para crianças incluem algumas "pequenas maravilhas" de humor, sarcasmo, terror, brilhantemente escritas. Dahl foi casado muito tempo com Patricia Neal, que nos anos 60 ficou quase inutilizada por uma trombose e vimos há relativamente pouco tempo no simpático filme de Robert Altman Cookie's Fortune (1999); dela também podíamos falar toda a noite: sem ir mais longe, The Fountainhead, de King Vidor, com Gary Cooper, 1949, A face in the crowd, Elia Kazan, 1957, Hud, de Martin Ritt, com Paul Newman, 1963...
quinta-feira, dezembro 25, 2008
JOHN O'SULLIVAN SOBRE SARAH PALIN NO WSJ
Conservative Snobs Are Wrong About Palin
I know Maggie Thatcher. The two women have a lot in common.
By JOHN O'SULLIVAN
Being listed in fourth place for Time magazine's "Person of the Year," as Sarah Palin was for 2008, sounds a little like being awarded the Order of Purity (Fourth Class). But it testifies to something important.
Though regularly pronounced sick, dying, dead, cremated and scattered at sea, Mrs. Palin is still amazingly around. She has survived more media assassination attempts than Fidel Castro has survived real ones (Cuban official figure: 638). In her case, one particular method of assassination is especially popular -- namely, the desperate assertion that, in addition to her other handicaps, she is "no Margaret Thatcher."
Very few express this view in a calm or considered manner. Some employ profanity. Most claim to be conservative admirers of Mrs. Thatcher. Others admit they had always disliked the former British prime minister until someone compared her to "Sarracuda" -- at which point they suddenly realized Mrs. Thatcher must have been absolutely brilliant (at least by comparison).
Inevitably, Lloyd Bentsen's famous put-down of Dan Quayle in the 1988 vice-presidential debate is resurrected, such as by Paul Waugh (in the London Evening Standard) and Marie Cocco (in the Washington Post): "Newsflash! Governor, You're No Maggie Thatcher," sneered Mr. Waugh. Added Ms. Coco, "now we know Sarah Palin is no Margaret Thatcher -- and no Dan Quayle either!"
Jolly, rib-tickling stuff. But, as it happens, I know Margaret Thatcher. Margaret Thatcher is a friend of mine. And as a matter of fact, Margaret Thatcher and Sarah Palin have a great deal in common.
They are far from identical; they rose in different political systems requiring different skills. As a parliamentarian, Mrs. Thatcher needed forensic and debating skills which her training in Oxford politics and as a tax lawyer gave her. Mrs. Palin is a good speaker, but she needs to hone her debating tactics if she is to match those of the Iron Lady.
On the other hand, Mrs. Palin rose in state politics to jobs requiring executive ability. Her successful conduct of the negotiations with Canada, Canadian provinces and American states over the Alaska pipeline was a larger executive task than anything handled by Mrs. Thatcher until she entered the Cabinet and, arguably, until she became prime minister.
Mrs. Thatcher's most senior position until then had been education secretary in the government of Edward Heath where, as she conceded in her memoirs, she lacked real executive power. Her political influence within that government was so small that it took 17 months for her to get an interview with him. Even then, a considerate civil servant assured Heath that others would be present to make the meeting less "boring." Her main political legacy from that job was the vitriolic slogan, "Margaret Thatcher, Milk-Snatcher," thrown at her by the left because of a budgetary decision she had opposed to charge some children for school meals and milk. It was the single most famous thing about her when she defeated Heath for the Tory leadership in 1975.
At this point she became almost as "controversial" as Sarah Palin. Heath, for example, made it plain privately that he would not serve under her. And Sir Ian Gilmour, an intellectual leader of the Tory "wets," privately dismissed her as a "Daily Telegraph woman." There is no precise equivalent in American English, but "narrow, repressed suburbanite" catches the sense.
Mrs. Thatcher attracted such abuse for two reasons. First, she was seen by the chattering classes as representing a blend of provincial conservative values and market economics -- Middle England as it has come to be called -- against their own metropolitan liberalism. They thought this blend was an economic dead-end in a modern complex society and a political retreat into futile nostalgia. Of course, they failed to notice that their modern complex society was splintering under their statist burdens even as they denounced her extremism.
Second, Margaret Thatcher was not yet Margaret Thatcher. She had not won the 1979 election, recovered the Falklands, reformed trade union law, defeated the miners, and helped destroy Soviet communism peacefully.
Things like that change your mind about a girl. But they also take time, during which she had to turn her instinctive beliefs into intellectually coherent policies against opposition inside and outside her own party. Like Mrs. Palin this year, Mrs. Thatcher knew there were serious gaps in her knowledge, especially of foreign affairs. She recruited experts who shared her general outlook (such as Robert Conquest and Hugh Thomas) to tutor her on these things. Even so she often seemed very alone in the Tory high command.
As a parliamentary sketch writer for the Daily Telegraph (and a not very repressed suburbanite), I watched Mrs. Thatcher's progress as opposition leader. She had been a good performer in less exalted positions. But initially she faltered. Against the smooth, condescending Prime Minister James Callaghan in particular she had a hard time. In contrast to his chuckling baritone she sounded shrill when she attacked. But she lowered her tone (vocally not morally), took lessons in presentation from (among others) Laurence Olivier, and prepared diligently for every debate and Question Time.
I can still recall her breakthrough performance in a July 1977 debate on the Labour government's collapsing economy. She dominated the House of Commons so wittily that the next day the Daily Mail's acerbic correspondent, Andrew Alexander, began his report: "If Mrs. Thatcher were a racehorse, she would have been tested for drugs yesterday." She was now on the way to becoming the world-historical figure who today is the gold standard of conservative statesmanship.
Mrs. Palin has a long way to go to match this. Circumstances may never give her the chance to do so. Even if she gets that chance, she may lack Mrs. Thatcher's depths of courage, firmness and stamina -- we only ever know such things in retrospect.
But she has plenty of time, probably eight years, to analyze America's problems, recruit her own expert advice, and develop conservative solutions to them. She has obvious intelligence, drive, serious moral character, and a Reaganesque likability. Her likely Republican rivals such as Bobby Jindal and Mitt Romney, not to mention Barack Obama, have most of these same qualities too. But she shares with Mrs. Thatcher a very rare charisma. As Ronnie Millar, the latter's speechwriter and a successful playwright, used to say in theatrical tones: She may be depressed, ill-dressed and having a bad hair day, but when the curtain rises, out onto the stage she steps looking like a billion dollars. That's the mark of a star, dear boy. They rise to the big occasions.
Mrs. Palin had four big occasions in the late, doomed Republican campaign: her introduction by John McCain in Ohio, her speech at the GOP convention, her vice-presidential debate with Sen. Joe Biden, and her appearance on Saturday Night Live. With minimal preparation, she rose to all four of them. That's the mark of a star.
If conservative intellectuals, Republican operatives and McCain "handlers" can't see it, then so much the worse for them.
Mr. O'Sullivan is executive editor of Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty in Prague, and a former special adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. His book, "The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister" (Regnery), has just been published in paperback.
CANÇÃO DE NATAL - G.K.CHESTERTON
His hair was like a fire.
But here the world's desire.)
His hair was like a crown,
And all the stars looked down.
G.K. Chesterton (Robert, Cyril - Mary Immaculate: God's Mother and Mine, 1946)
sábado, dezembro 20, 2008
QUE FITA VAI HOJE? - PRATICAMENTE NENHUMA
quarta-feira, dezembro 17, 2008
'If you can stand the loss, leave SA'
17 December 2008, 12:09
"One of South Africa's most celebrated writers has issued a damning attack on the South African political order for failing the country's citizens. Breyten Breytenbach, the poet, writer and anti-apartheid activist, has written a scathing article titled Mandela's Smile: notes on South Africa's failed revolution, in the latest edition of the US magazine, Harpers. Breytenbach now divides his time between New York, where he teaches creative writing at New York University, and the Goree Institute in Senegal.A reviewer of the article said that Breytenbach cites "the relentless, mindless violence, nepotism and corruption that prevail here as sources both of South Africa's shame and of Breytenbach's incendiary call to quit the country".In a subsequent radio interview, Breytenbach charged: "Critical institutions have practically imploded under our national health system, to some extent our educational system, certainly our security system. It is claimed that even under apartheid more houses were built for the poor than has been built by the new government."He said that could be explained, in part at least, because of the "very difficult national conditions" in which the ANC took power."But a lot of it must be brought to the door of responsibility of those in power within the ANC. There's been a very rapid promotion and enrichment, quite obscenely so, of a small number of senior cadres."He said the transition to democracy could be rightly described as a "boardroom revolution", to the exclusion of the poor. "It's a very intelligent and I suppose natural way for the very rich international enterprises in South Africa to obtain credibility by co-opting black faces or brown faces or Indian faces and paying them extraordinary amounts of money to do so," he told Democracy Now.Breytenbach was appalled by South Africa's crime rate."The situation is that we have an average of 55 murders a day. "We probably have something like 150 women being raped. We have, in vast parts of the country in urban areas, what are in effect being considered as war zones. With organised hijacking, with police repression."The Harper's article is accessible to subscribers only, but news reports on the internet quote Breytenbach suggesting: "If a young South African were to ask me whether he or she should stay or leave, my bitter advice would be to go. For the foreseeable future now, if you want to live your life to the full, and with some satisfaction and usefulness, and you can stand the loss - then go!"Breytenbach was born in Bonnievale, about 180km outside of Cape Town, and his work includes the book, The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist, in which he describes aspects of his imprisonment by the apartheid state. "
segunda-feira, dezembro 15, 2008
MILTON ON SHAKESPEARE
An Epitaph on the Admirable Dramatic Poet W. Shakespeare
What needs my Shakespeare for his honored bones
domingo, dezembro 14, 2008
PASSEIO DE DOMINGO - ANGOLA, FOZ DO CUANZA
Uma, quase imperdoável:a propósito da batalha do Cuíto, em 1993-1994, eu escrevi que foi uma espécie de "mini-Leninegrado"! É claro, e um amigo chamou-me a atenção, que é "mini-Estalinegrado"!
Já está corrigida - esta e outras de menor gravidade - para a segunda edição, que vai sair dentro de dias. Quer no meu livro de "Introdução à Política", quer na Tese de Doutoramento, tenho muitas páginas sobre esta batalha decisiva da Segunda Guerra. Mas imagino o gozo ressabiado de alguns "amigos" , dos que à falta de outras actividades se entretêm pacientemente a procurar e explorar estes erros que nós, os que fazemos coisas - escrevemos, publicamos, ensinamos, estamos na linha da frente das causas que são comuns - acabamos por dar de vez em quando.
sábado, dezembro 06, 2008
O HOMEM QUE ERA QUINTA-FEIRA
(James Scott, London Review of Books, 9 de Outubro de 2008, recensão do livro Empires of Intelligence, de Martin Thomas)
QUE FITA VAI HOJE? - SÁBADO Á NOITE
terça-feira, dezembro 02, 2008
GEORGE SCHULTZ ELOGIA HILLARY CLINTON
Shultz's major concern is not with her abilities or positions, but rather the dynamic between the two former nemeses. "The key is her relationship with the president. That has to be close," he says. "It has to be very clear that they're close, and it has to be clear to all the people she's dealing with that there is no daylight between her and the president, otherwise the whole thing falls down."
Shultz downplays the importance of major policy differences between Obama and Clinton. "It always seems to me that your first criterion has to be high competence," he says. "And obviously you want someone who is, philosophically and politically, reasonably in tune with you. But when you sacrifice the former for the latter, you get in trouble."
He also thinks that Obama is a strong enough leader to set the policy agenda for his administration. "In the end, he's the one who will have to decide," Shultz says. "And she's the one who has to recognize that he's the one who got elected. When you win an election, that's what happens."