Thursday Thoughts

Just a few of what Thomas Sowell might call "random thoughts on the passing scene":  I had intended to include a few more items, but decided to go ahead and post.  Perhaps more to follow.

While up in Washington DC last week, I had the great pleasure of meeting Congressman Tim Scott of South Carolina.  One of two African American Republicans in the House of Representatives, Scott's story is an amazing one.  With Tea Party backing, Scott challenged — and defeated — perhaps the highest levels of state "establishment":  the grandson of former Governor and Senator-for-Life Strom Thurmond, and the son of two-term former Governor Carroll Campbell.

Scott's message was one of optimism — he "guaranteed" a Republican sweep of President, House, and Senate — and his manner was engaging and dynamic.  There was definitely a buzz in the room as he spoke.  He should get a good speaking role at the Republican National Convention this summer.


Also while in Washington, I attended receptions at two different embassies:  New Zealand and Georgia.  While the people were friendly at both, there was an interesting dichotomy.  The NZ Ambassador, himself a former Prime Minister and former head of the World Trade Organization, spoke at length of the shared interests of the Kiwis and the Americans:  in trade, security, democracy, and general world outlook.  He also had one of the firmest handshakes I've ever received.  The lamb and New Zealand wine were excellent.

The Georgian Ambassador was himself very dynamic, and from what I could gather quite pro-American (I couldn't understand but about one of every three words, because I was in a secondary room) with a warm, ebullient sense of humor.  The Georgian wine was quite good — thick, spicy, dry — and the food was very Greek-Lebanese-ish.  What was interesting, however, were the Cold War-era cartoons that decorated that walls of the embassy.  It was intriguing to see the caricatures of capitalists, NATO, European countries, etc.

All-in-all, good hosts, both.


I heard that Junior Seau died Wednesday of an apparent suicide.   If you remember him as a player, particularly at his prime playing for the Chargers, you remember that he was a great — not just good, but great — defensive player.  With the Saints "bountygate" still percolating in the news, the other early deaths of players over the past few years, and players like Jim McMahon having injury-related problems, the NFL could be heading towards a huge payout for failing to adequately protect players from head injury.


Wednesday night I saw Florence + the Machine in concert at the Bayou Music Center in Houston.  First of all, this is the absolute best venue for a concert I've ever seen — it is intimate yet there's plenty of room, the acoustics are amazing, and there literally isn't a bad seat (or, typically for me, place to stand) in the house.  It has recently taken a back seat often to the House of Blues on getting the most high-profile shows, but BMC (nee Verizon Wireless Theatre, nee Aerial Theatre) is by far the superior venue.

The show was absolutely stunning.  F+tM incorporates Celtic, rock, alternative, soul, and perhaps a few other genres into their sound, but it is the voice of lead singer Florence Welch that makes them more than just another eclectic band.  Like Adele, Florence's range is amazing — she can do soulful, but she can also sound operatic and angelic in an upbeat way that Adele hasn't yet shown.  From anthemic rockers like "What the Water Gave Me" to the straight ahead "Dog Days Are Over", Florence and her mates held the crowd almost in a trance for 90 minutes of amazing vocal artistry.  If you haven't seen them yet, you should.

Another thing I noticed in DC was that everyone in the GOP is at least talking a good talk about lining up behind Romney.  There was a definite subtext:  get more limited government supporters in the House and Senate to pressure him to govern as he's campaigned.

The current GOP Chairman, Reince Priebus, is much different than his predecessor.  While I think Michael Steele is great and a very talented guy, I think he was miscast for the role of party head — it's a nuts-and-bolts job, and Steele is an ideas, charisma, and motivational guy.  Priebus seems to have a handle on the details, from individual districts that will need phone banks and bused-in "boots on the ground", to fund raising:  he's erased the debt left by Steele and the party is in good financial shape heading into November.

I do hope that if Romney is elected, there is a place for Steele in his Administration.  He's way too talented to be left behind.


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