Now that Blonde Redhead aren't that great anymore, what does Italy have to offer? How about a separation of church and state and people who actually make sense when they talk? From the Ny Times:
But abortion is a non-issue here - perhaps the best example of the more civil tone of the debate over religion and state. Here, it seems less an argument than a very long conversation.
"I don't think the situation is so bad," said Rocco Buttiglione, an Italian governmental minister, a rigorous Catholic and a friend of the pope who has become something of a lightning rod on the issue of religion in Europe. "I think we can talk."
Conservative politicians like him and the Vatican lament the decline of values and religion, some wondering whether Italy and Europe have lost touch with their Christian roots at a time when, as some see it, the West is facing a deep challenge from Islam.
Mr. Buttiglione was rejected last month for a top post in the European Union for his opinions - private, he says, and thus distinct from any public duties - that homosexuality is a sin and that women would be better off married and at home.
But many of his general views, to American ears, can sound almost liberal. In an interview, he spoke of the complexities of the abortion debate, how even unwavering anti-abortionists like himself need to understand the difficulties of asserting the rights of a fetus against those of its mother.
"I have one rule, the rule of liberal society, which is the rule of freedom," he said. "I respect your freedom and you respect mine. Within this, we can talk."
Could you imagine a leader of the religious right talking like that in our country?
And a little more:
"Everybody thinks that the pope is the only moral figure in my country as far as war and social justice go," said Emma Bonino, a leader of the Radical Party, who spearheaded the campaign to legalize abortion in the 1970's. "But on personal behavior, meaning sex, meaning divorce, meaning motherhood and pregnancy, people frankly do not care."
Turning to the world of music, have you ever wondered about the mysterious world of Pitchfork? Wonder no more because the NY Observer has the answers- even if they aren't the answers Travis Morrison wants to hear.
Mr. Hougland of Other Music explained: "The writer for Spin makes more money, but the Pitchfork dude has way more power. If you look at the media and the blogs, it’s the music version of that."
Nothing illustrates the point better than two recent records: Funeral, by the new Canadian band the Arcade Fire, and Travistan, by indie darling Travis Morrison. About two months ago, Pitchfork reviewed Funeral and gave it a rave. Writer David Moore emoted, with the personal intensity and creative hyperbole that’s a hallmark of PF scribes: "Their search for salvation in the midst of real chaos is ours; their eventual catharsis is part of our continual enlightenment." Funeral earned the high mark of 9.7 on the site’s numerical rating system, where 10.0 is the top and 0.0 the bottom. Almost immediately, it became impossible to find Funeral in a New York City record store.
"Without Pitchfork, I can’t imagine that all the hype around the Arcade Fire would have happened," says Mr. Hougland. "It’s totally Pitchfork; it’s not even worth speculating about. It’s possible that they would have gotten that popular, but it would have taken a lot longer." Merge Records, the North Carolina–based indie label that put out Funeral, sold out their initial printing of the record and now have pressed an additional 60,000 to fill demand. Tickets for the band’s November show at the Bowery Ballroom sold out weeks before the event, a rare occurrence for a group with one hard-to-find record on its first headlining tour.
On the flip side is the dreaded 0.0, most recently awarded to Travis Morrison’s Travistan. Mr. Morrison had formerly found favor with Pitchfork as frontman of the D.C. art-rock quartet the Dismemberment Plan; in 1999, the D-Plan’s Emergency and I was voted Pitchfork’s No. 1 record of the year. The review of Travistan was so spiteful, it was almost as if Mr. Morrison had been trashed simply for going solo. Chris Dahlen wrote: "I’ve never heard a record more angry, frustrated, and even defensive about its own weaknesses, or more determined to slug those flaws right down your throat." In the wake of the piece, a skepticism about Travistan took hold, with some college-radio programmers—who normally would have been pushing a much-anticipated solo record from someone like Mr. Morrison—making excuses for why it wasn’t in heavy rotation. At least one record-store owner initially declined to stock the record (he later changed his mind). Other critics followed Pitchfork’s suit; a number of pieces about the record discussed the 0.0 before even engaging with it.
In the world of technology, I can't believe Balgavy hasn't mentioned this gem yet.
Inventive Ken Schaffer, monitoring Russian TV from his laptop in Central Park, can make local programming portable anywhere the Internet can be reached.
So the next time, Marc decides to "go" to Louisville, he can still watch his New York video shows on Channel 25 without even setting the DVR!
And finally, in the world of bullshit, I wonder why we aren't as smart as the people in Ukraine who when they smell fraud actually do something about it.
Which, is of course, the exact opposite of Americans. We let Bush steal the 2000 election and anyone who doesn't think that the Ohio escapades of 2004 aren't a little fishy is either a Republican or a person who shuts down upon reading double negatives. The only difference between Ukraine (and other countries with ridiculously faked elections) and our country is that when there is fraud in our country, the winning side (recently always Republicans) is smart enough to make it close rather than a 97%- 3% landslide.
But now we can actually do something (at least in Washington state). Read Wisdom Weasel to find out how.