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Dr. Strangelove/Cheney

January 20, 2009 Leave a comment

In my last post, I described how Bush’s departure reminded me of Nixon’s more unorthodox (and equally welcome) departure in August 1974. I enjoyed reading this afternoon, in a post on the blog of The New Yorker’s Rick Hertzberg, about a connection his colleague Nick Paumgarten made between Dick Cheney and Dr. Strangelove. The two have much in common, but the relevant connection here is the wheelchair. As Hertzberg describes, New Yorker staff members were watching the inaugural activities mostly in silence, but “when Dick Cheney and his wheelchair filled the screen, a voice spoke up from the back of the room: ‘Mein Führer! I can walk!’ Kudos, please, to Nick Paumgarten for his instant recall of a great—and apt—moment in cinema history.” If you need to review the moment, see the video above.

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Transitions

January 20, 2009 1 comment

richardnixonfarewell

George W. Bush is not someone I have much personal sympathy for, but I was transfixed nonetheless by the scene on the Capitol steps today after the inauguration as he and Laura stood with Barack and Michelle Obama, and then went down the steps to board the helicopter Marine One. How difficult it must be to leave not just the job but the home and all the people who worked with and attended to him. And of course how much more difficult to leave as a failure. His failure may be reason for us to rejoice at his departure, but still, it was painful to watch.

I was reminded of that most familiar (and welcome) of presidential departures, Richard Nixon’s on August 9, 1974. It’s one of those moments, and dates, I never forget, like Kennedy’s assassination and 9/11.
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Categories: History, Politics

Tough Times at Stanford

January 20, 2009 Leave a comment

stanford

All universities are facing financial problems, even the wealthiest, and not just in their core academic budgets, so I wasn’t entirely surprised to see the headline “Facing $5M loss, Stanford Could Cut Some Teams” at the Sports Illustrated website. Nor was I surprised, on reading the AP article on Stanford’s problems, to learn that they’ve had the most successful sports program in the country for years. I knew that. This is the school, after all, that John McEnroe and Tiger Woods attended and competed for, though only briefly. But I was surprised to learn just how successful they’ve been, and I couldn’t help but wonder why they’ve made such success a priority. Here, from the article, is a summary of last year’s success:

Last year, the university captured its 14th consecutive Division I U.S. Sports Academy Directors’ Cup, a recognition presented each year to the best overall programs for each athletic division in the country.

Stanford scored points in 24 of its sports but could only count the maximum 10 each on the men’s and women’s sides — earning 12 top-five finishes. The Cardinal won an NCAA title in women’s cross country; placed second in women’s volleyball, women’s basketball, men’s gymnastics and men’s golf; third in baseball, men’s and women’s swimming, women’s gymnastics and women’s water polo; and fifth in women’s indoor track and field and women’s tennis.

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Categories: Society, Sports