Friday, September 19, 2008

Song Lyrics and Meaning

Here's what happens when you use Google's language tools to translate R.E.M.'s "So. Central Rain" from English to Finnish, from Finnish to German, from German to French, from French to Greek, from Greek to Croatian, and from Croatian back into English:

Central Rain Sunday

That's all I call you?
Waited for a call
These rivers are proposed for me
Trees are Bend, cities destroyed
Urban river, is a girl without a dream

Sorry ...

Eastern Europe and the mountains, the third request, the definition
Wise man built words, if the rock
But I am not obliged to follow
Trees turn, the debate was boring
Go to build a second home, this option is not for me

Sorry ...

That's all I call you? Waited for a call
These rivers are proposed for me
Blood in the ocean, the debate was boring
Go to build a second dream, this is not for me

Sorry ...

And here's what happens when you translate Pavement's "Here" from English to Korean, from Korean to Norwegian, from Norwegian to Russian, from Russian to Czech, and from Czech back to English:

There is

I have to succeed, but the success of the upcoming clothing
I am the only person who laughs
His jokes are so bad that
A bad jokes Semper
But because they are not so bad.
Let us pray together
We are waiting for you for your words
I like it.
Dock empty you all to prevent an attack bulimin activities.
And if you rent at the forefront when the rain fog
Of course.
We need to send in the last quarter of a temporary
Also, what's on the wall.
Painted a portrait of the slave and a midwife
Shell movie mavens and feast
Their laughter and not
And they are bad jokes?
All this is a bad guy, and a joke
But because they are not so bad.
Let us be with us.
We are waiting for you for your words
I loved
A sold all the lights in Spain, died.
A: Take a piece of rock - "shake the highway running trip.
I sent him in the last quarter of a chance, I think.
I think it will be my best, in our opinion, I believe.
Finally, in recent years the best times

Sunday, September 14, 2008

David Foster Wallace, Dead at 46

When I saw Wallace read at the First Parish Church in Cambridge shortly after the publication of Oblivion, he was discussing his plans to marry. He also encouraged me to buy a set of the (unabridged) Oxford English Dictionary. According to the Times obit, he committed suicide.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bare Knuckles

Both the Post and the Times have stories up about the Obama campaign's newfound aggressiveness. Time will tell whether they're really willing to take the gloves off, but in politics, there's no such thing as being above it all. You're either hitting back and aggressively denying your opponent's claims or you're passively allowing them to be echoed until they become conventional wisdom. In any case, there are a couple things about the articles that troubled me. First, in the Times there's this:

“We’re sensitive to the fluid dynamics of the campaign, but we have a game plan and a strategy,” said Mr. Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe. “We’re familiar with this. And I’m sure between now and Nov. 4 there will be another period of hand-wringing and bed-wetting. It comes with the territory.”

Unfortunately, it's true that a lot of Democrats react this way at the first sign of controversy, but this is not how you should talk about your campaign.

Then later, there's this:

[Obama's] aides said they were looking to the news media to debunk the image of her as a blue-collar reformer, even as they argued that her power to help Mr. McCain was overstated.

The Obama campaign shouldn't be waiting for the shouldn't be waiting for the media to do their job for them. They should be pushing this line at every opportunity. And where the hell is Biden? Obama needs to avoid looking as though he's attacking Palin, but Joe can afford to get his hands dirty. In fact, that's part of why he's on the ticket.

The Washington Post offers this:

Asked why they have not pressed harder on reports that Palin's home town of Wasilla charged victims of sexual assault for their rape-testing kits, Obama spokesman Bill Burton gingerly mentioned it was "something we're looking at."

When journalists as much as tell you they're ready to run with a story, it's time to stop looking into it and start aggressively talking about it.

Look, it's not that hard. Palin represents a hard right shift in the McCain campaign. Everything about her undercuts McCain's claims to being a maverick promoting change, more so than McCain's shifts in policy because her brand extreme conservatism is so iconic. She may well shore up the base, but the majority of Americans would find her views alienating if only they knew about them. Furthermore, McCain's attempts to make her conform to his own carefully cultivated maverick image are transparently phony. This business of earmarks and eBay and the Bridge to Nowhere is all lies. Blandly worded fact checks in the backs of newspapers aren't going to sway voters because most will never see them. If the Obama campaign starts shouting this from the rooftops, it may just find its way to the front page.

If there's anything the Obama campaign can learn from Karl Rove, it's that they need to go after McCain's strengths. Some Democrats may be squeamish about that kind of politics, but there's a way to do it honestly. It certainly helps if your opponents are continuously lying, and McCain and Palin certainly are.

Big Surprise

Via Steve, Palin's first cable interview will be with Sean Hannity. What courage these mavericks have.

Daily TPM Link: Lies!

It's become pathological. John McCain just claimed on TV that Sarah Palin has never requested an earmark for her state -- when actually her state gets more earmarks than any other state in the country. And this year she asked for $197 million worth of them herself.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Big Truth or Small Truth?

"The more the New York Times and The Washington Post go after Sarah Palin, the better off she is, because there's a bigger truth out there and the bigger truths are she's new, she's popular in Alaska and she is an insurgent," [Republican strategist John] Feehery said. "As long as those are out there, these little facts don't really matter."

Daily TPM Link: Fight! Fight! Fight!

They've both embraced a level of dishonesty that disqualifies them for high office. Democrats owe it to the country to make clear who these people are. No apologies or excuses. If Democrats can say at the end of this campaign that they made clear exactly how and why these two are unfit for high office they can be satisfied they served their country.

And the World Hasn't Ended . . .