December 11, 2002
The Man Behind The Curtain
Hopefully, you ALL know who the man on the left is. But who, you may ask, is the man, laughing ever so heartily and somewhat ironically, to the President's right?
I have yet to find Karl Rove's official title in the Bush administration. But, whether you know it or not, Rove is the most powerful man in Washington, right after The President. Even the White House Chief of Staff seems to give only qualified answers when speaking about Rove. As Bush's chief political strategist, Rove has spent the better part of his adult life trying to craft a permanent political majority for the Republican Party. And he may have succeeded.
But what kind of America is that? Well, Rove was a protege of the late Lee Atwater, the former RNC chairman under George Herbert Walker Bush who masterminded the WIllie Horton campaign in the 1988 election. Here, in an article from Esquire magazine, the guy who was handpicked by Bush to run the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and has since resigned, talks about the almost gleeful ignorance Rove & Co. show regarding the actual impact of the policies they advocate for purely political purposes.
God help us.
"Strange, New Worlds"
Here's an article about NASA's new project to develop computer simulated models of what kinds of planets could support water/light based life, to be used as a referential database when they send their new set of deep-space probes to start exploring and cataloging planets with possible neighbors. Too bad that they're just looking for life as we know it on earth, rather than sentience, which may not necessarily be carbon-based. "Baby steps", as they say.
The Conscience of A King
I usually only comment on specific movies at Macroscope when I think it's something worthwhile that you might miss in the daily roar of film advertising, so, it may seem strange for me to say something about the next installment of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, The Two Towers, here. Losing this film on the media radar would be the equivalent of forgetting your standing on planet Earth, giving all the promotional saturation its received. However, I would like to take a moment to comment on one aspect of the film you might miss.
Many folks say that the CGI-created Gollum is the most compelling character in the film, but, for my money, the guy I could not take my eyes off of was Theoden, King of the human city of Rohan, played by Bernard Hill. If you look closely, you may recognize Hill as the Captain of James Cameron's Titanic. It's an interesting bit of casting, since, in both instances, he's a man given the responsibility for the lives of a doomed people.
In light of my recent commentary about the morally questionable activities of the Bush administration in the wake of 9/11, my far more conservative brother (and father of two) made an observation that's haunted me ever since: "It's hard to stand on your morals when you're responsible for the lives of others." There's a look in the eyes of King Theoden as the full-weight of his mistakes and the horrible consequences of his actions begin to set in, that made me think of the look in G.W. Bush's eyes, later on that week after 9/11. One would hope that a leader acts in a way that he believes will be the most beneficial for his people. But, as history has taught us, decisions at that level always involve some kind of human calculus - what action will cost the fewest lives while saving the most? Bernard Hill's portrayal of Theoden reminded me that the cost of that job can quite often include your soul.
See the movie.
And watch his eyes.