"Santa Fe" - Beirut
From music from my childhood to music by children. Damn, are these guys young looking -- it looked like the performances at my kid's high school. Anyway, I quite liked it -- the two trumpets and accordion line-up is rather unique.
- Ross Douthat attempts to minimize concerns over the ties that Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann have to Christian extremists. Essentially Douthhat tries to make the case that if you aren't concerned about Barack Obama's connections with Jeremiah Wright or Bill Ayers, than you shouldn't get too exercised about Perry and Bachmann's links to some of America's loonier Christianists. It's an argument that sounds superficially reasonable, but doesn't withstand the most minimal scrutiny. Jeremiah Wright made controversial worldly rather than theological comments. Obama swiftly denounced those comments and there is simply no indication that Wright's sentiments were shared by him or influenced him in any way. As to Ayers, the actions for which he is pilloried occurred when Obama was a small child. Moreover, there is no evidence to suggest that the two of them have ever been close or that Obama has in any way advocated for the radical world view that the younger Ayers espoused.
This is simply not the case with Perry and Bachmann. Both of them have made repeated extreme statements with respect to matters of faith and public policy, including Bachmann's absurd contention that God is manifesting himself in earthly tectonic and climate disturbances in order to register his opposition to federal spending. (Yeah, I know, it was just a joke -- I'm dying of laughter here.) Neither of them has ever denounced these more extremist versions of alleged Christianity -- indeed, just the opposite: Perry and Bachmann show every tendency towards embracing this kind of theology and pushing it into the public sphere. A candidate who thinks God has a position on the federal debt or one who believes that prayer is a viable economic strategy is by definition operating at the very fringe of politics, one in which superstition is seen as a legitimate guide for the actions of elected officials.
Douthat strains to make all of this seem less nutty than it is -- it must be difficult to graduate from Harvard, write for the New York Times, and be surrounded by worldly east coasters, and at the same time choose these folks as your ideological bedfellows. Douthat's own extreme discomfort with sexual freedom seems to lead him to embrace some pretty unsavory characters.
Personally, I think if people paid more attention to those who have shaped Bachmann and Perry's thoughts on these matters -- such as they are -- they would be deeply alarmed at the notion of either of them running the country.
What are you doing to bring God's wrath down upon us all today (on this stunningly lovely day here in DC)?