In the World
Steve Thorngate on public life and culture
Hey, the Feast of the Presentation falls on a Sunday this year! That's as good a reason as any to post this full-band recording of my setting of Simeon's song.
Pete Seeger’s friend Woody Guthrie wrote “This machine kills fascists” on his guitar. Seeger’s banjo offered a telling variation: “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.”
In general, I agree with Kevin Drum's take on last night's State of the Union address: it was pretty effective for what it was, which wasn't all that much, and it was not at all what the White House sold it as, newspaper headlines and pundit roundtables notwithstanding.
I’ve become a loyal viewer of the ABC drama Nashville. The story sort of comes and goes—here it’s a subtly observed relationship drama, there it’s an off-the-rails primetime soap—but it’s perhaps the first TV musical with consistently great music direction, and some of the performers are pretty good, too. So I wait the silly story lines out and keep watching. Last week’s episode followed young country star Juliette Barnes through the aftermath of her confrontation with a conservative Christian protester.
This week, the Senate very nearly advanced an extension of unemployment benefits, but it couldn't quite get it done. While some congressional Republican favored an extension if it were offset by spending cuts elsewhere, a popular conservative argument holds that people who have longer access to unemployment benefits will take longer to find a job. The well-worn implication: why work for a living when you can get literally hundreds of dollars a month for free?
Thanks for reading my blog. Here are the 13 posts people read the most this year.
So, I'm a dad, and I'm taking paternity leave. It'll be several weeks before I'm posting regularly again.