Friday QuickTakes

A semi-random collection of thoughts too brief by themselves for a solo blog entry:

I remain appalled by Turkey’s near complete denial that a mass killing of Armenians even took place almost a century ago. Turkey’s objection to whether or not it is called a genocide is almost beside the point (see this NYT article). It is too reminiscent of Holocaust denials (which sadly also remain in the news thanks to, among others, Iran’s President) and is just as disgusting. Still, doesn’t the U.S. Congress have more important things to worry about than whether or not to call this chapter of history a genocide? Especially so given the political headaches it is causing? This is one of those rare occasions where I actually agree with Bush’s position.

I haven’t yet seen the new documentary “My Kid Could Paint That.” From the reviews I have read, however, it appears to raise some intriguing questions. Is a 4-year-old capable of producing quality abstract art? If so, what does this say about our definition of such art? What really separates the wheat from the chaff in this arena? The film also raises the question of whether or not Marla received help in producing her art. What the film apparently does not address (although it is of interest to me) is: Why should it matter whether or not Marla received help? If it is a great work of art, shouldn’t it remain a great work of art whoever created it? Or has Marla already become like Picasso. A Picasso painting would turn out to be worth a lot less if it were discovered that it was painted by someone else. In such cases, the value of the work is more due to who created it than the merits of the work itself.

On the face of it, the idea that we may bomb Iran before next year’s Presidential election seems too crazy to be true. With support for the President’s war in Iraq at an all-time low and continuing to fall still further, with the public finally aware of how many lies it has been fed to fuel support for this war, how can Bush even think about getting away with starting yet another Mideast war? Yet, people are taking this prospect seriously. Even worse, many Democrats seem unwilling to vigorously oppose the idea. Hillary Clinton is one of these Democrats (see this NYT column). Democrats in Congress are not much better. They now seem poised to give immunity to the telecommunications companies that assisted Bush in his illegal wiretapping program, another component of his “war on terror.” Is it too soon to say “A pox on both their houses”?

Enough already with America’s anti-attitude towards any new tax. It’s time for it to end. To those of you are wealthy enough to pay an increased tax without any financial burden, I say: “What is with you? Isn’t it enough that you can already afford to fly on a private jet, own three multi-million dollar homes, and take vacations that cost more than most people make in a lifetime? How about also supporting a tax increase to pay for some truly valuable government programs?” And to those with a much more moderate income who still resent any additional dollar given to the government, I say: “Not every tax increase is a bad idea. The government pays for all sorts of things that you support, from police to schools to roads. It is underfunded in key areas that you probably favor, including drug oversight by the FDA and telecommunications oversight by the FCC. We could use more money to fight the effects of global warming. And how about better health care? None of this is free. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you want the government to do more, at some point you have to pay more.” Now is that point.

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