Vic Chesnutt, who died of an overdose in 2009, was one of the best and most unusual songwriters of his generation. Country-rock veterans Cowboy Junkies are far more conventional. So Chesnutt diehards might not find much to like in this collection of his songs, but the album may provide newcomers a bridge to his work.
Stephen Colbert's commencement speech at Northwestern wasn't as funny as Conan O'Brien's at Dartmouth, but the inevitable "now I'm serious kids, please keep listening" section was far better--it was pretty much a hard-hitting sermon.
Mark Silk notes an interesting moment at the Republican
presidential debate Monday night in New Hampshire: Rick Santorum's take on
religion in public life sounds an awful lot like the one then-Senator Obama articulated in 2006.
All 50 states have regressive tax structures: the lower your
income, the larger share of it goes to state taxes. While a few states have
flat income-tax rates--here in Illinois, everyone pays 5 percent--most are
mildly progressive (higher rates for higher income).
I don't know whether Rep. Anthony Weiner sent a lewd photo
of himself to a college student via Twitter. The evidence is mixed: on the one
hand, Weiner's claim that someone else sent the photo as a prank is quite
plausible given security
holes (since fixed) in photo-sharing service yfrog.
After President Obama's inauguration in 2009, I wrote about going to a DC church that weekend
at which I heard him referred to from the pulpit as a prophet called by God.
Love the president or hate him, that's a troubling category mistake.
The day before my wedding, I picked up ten cases of table
wine from a local winery--and one bottle of sweet wine for communion. The folks
at the winery had encountered local-food enthusiasts planning receptions before,
but the communion thing seemed to surprise them. "My son always says this
tastes just like altar wine!" said the woman who rang me up.