Today’s Clips

David Brooks, the junior member of the minority party on the Times Op-Ed page, had me nodding along in his column about John Kerry this morning. His basic point was that Kerry’s Vietnam-era speeches were passionate and full of conviction, but no longer:

Kerry’s speeches in the 1990’s read nothing like that 1971 testimony. The passion is gone. The pompous prevaricator is in. You read them and you see a man so cautiously calculating not to put a foot wrong that he envelops himself in a fog of caveats and equivocations. You see a man losing the ability to think like a normal human being and starting instead to think like an embassy.

I just keep coming back to Yeats:

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

The Journal had a leader today on independent bookstores that are beating the superstores at their own game, getting larger and larger in order to compete. The spectacular Powell’s is mentioned, although the focus of the article is a PA/OH chain owned by a former in-law of the Borders brothers.

What I’d like to know is when we get some of these stores in New York? The city bookstore scene has been declining for years. We have no equivalent to Powell’s, or even to Bookman’s, the used and new bookstore in Tucson that also features movies, CDs and even “antique” collectible PCs (Mac 128, anyone?).

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