Thursday, October 27, 2005

Does David Brooks think I'm stupid?

This past Sunday, David Brooks wrote a column for the New York Times (I'd link, but it's stuck behind TimesSelect's walls) in which he argues that conservative criticism of George W. Bush, while understandable, is archaic and self-destructive. Bush, Brooks says, has "modernized and saved" conservatism, because classic small-government conservatism is unpopular with voters.

With the electorate preferring "Democratic ideas on issue after issue by 20-point margins," Bush
rejected the prejudice that the private sector is good and the public sector is bad, and he tried to use government to encourage responsible citizenship and community service. He sought to mobilize government so the children of prisoners can build their lives, so parents can get data to measure their school's performance, so millions of AIDS victims in Africa can live another day, so people around the world can dream of freedom.

"Government should help people improve their lives, not run their lives," Bush said. This is not the Government-Is-the-Problem philosophy of a governing majority party in a country where people look to government to play a positive but not overbearing role in their lives.
Brooks seems to think that Bush's brand of conservatism is good for the people. That notion offends me. Bush is saddling us with a massive deficit which must be paid back at some point. And who's going to have to help pay it? You and me. That's certainly not good for me, nor is it good for you.

Brooks never even makes a passing reference to the deficit. In his world, you can have it all--low taxes and government programs. And I guess I'm not supposed to question that.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I needed that

At its best, live rock 'n roll possesses a healing power that the best medicine can never hope to attain. With the proper blend of melody, notes, rhythm, and most importantly, attitude and energy, a rock show has the power to cleanse the soul and mend the spirit.

Few bands have a clue how to reach those lofty levels. But one band that does masterfully impress and excite its fans with unrelenting energy is Marah. I saw them perform at T.T. The Bear's in Cambridge on Sunday, and they were, as expected, incredible.

I took some pictures, and while they can't possibly capture the show's vibe, they're still worth seeing.

Lead singer Dave Bielanko

Serge Bielanko wailing away on the harmonica

Dave and Serge share a mic.

Serge takes over lead-singing duties.

Understanding that rock 'n roll is about rebellion, Dave violates Cambridge's smoking ban.