Friday, July 23, 2010

Notes on recent occurrences

Last week I once again attended an informal breakfast where Elizabeth Warren spoke. In case you've been away from the papers, she's the Harvard law professor who has directed the oversight panel reviewing the TARP expenditures. She's probably the leading expert in the U.S. on bankruptcy and consumer credit. She struck me as exceedingly able and aware on all aspects of the subject and especially oriented toward the interests of consumers and middle-class people. At the same time she understands what credit is all about and how the financial system works--she just doesn't think that the only interest worth recognizing is the bankers' lobby. I do hope the President names her to head the new consumer protection agency. It's the rare occasion when there's a perfect candidate. He'll take some flak from the interests but that goes with the job.

What to make of all the recent deaths in the Yankee world? Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard and Major Ralph Houk. I suppose I'll miss Sheppard the most because he was such a class act as the public address announcer for the last million years. I enjoy Keith Olberman's program but his move to get Steinbrenner immediately into the Hall of Fame is a misjudgment; I'm sure he'll get there eventually but the stories about those left out who are more deserving these past few days include Curt Flood and Marvin Miller and even Col. Jacob Ruppert. I'd vote for all of them before him, but George had enough impact to merit selection, especially when you have someone like Charley Comiskey in there. Buck Weaver should replace him.

Deborah Voigt will do Annie Get Your Gun next summer at Glimmerglass Opera. Sounds fine to me, because even opera singers have trouble matching up with Merman. At least they won't use amplification. I found myself warming to the bill announced for next year at George Mason down here by Virginia Opera: Rigoletto, Cosi, Die Walkure, and Butterfly. Hard to beat that for pure enjoyment. I missed the event of the summer: the Will Crutchfield Norma at Caramoor with the new sensation, Angela Meade.

I've been working on proposals for projects all across the Balkans and the Caucasus, two of my old stamping grounds. Too much has not changed in too many of these places. I read the specs of the RFPs and realize that so many of the Rule of Law projects fail to achieve their entirely unrealistic objectives. Not that we have anything much to boast about here of late: the Supreme Court refused to review a Texas case where the judge and the prosecutor were having it off. No problem there, I suppose.

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