Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Obama and Lincoln

Amid all the Obama-Lincoln talk, it is worth taking another look at Charles Kesler’s discussion of the comparison in his essay, "The Audacity of Barack Obama" in the latest issue of the Claremont Review of Books.

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Not a bad piece, considering the source, since Claremont is like Ashbrook, the Fox News of academia. But the article suggests that Obama has intellectual confidence, unlike Bush, whose fundamental intellectual insecurity generated in him a belligerence in foreign policy, and an anti-intellectual streak that disdained science.

Merely recognizing the movie's ambition - the fact that Kaufman, in his first film as a director, is trying to be wholesale Ingmar Bergman - is a pleasure in itself. Sometimes the movie is only funny, and that's fine. At its best, "Synecdoche, wholesale electronics New York" has the power to make you sit back in your seat and think, whoa. This guy really is brilliant. Yet there's a second true thing about "Synecdoche, The movie fails as a piece of entertainment. It fails by even the most indulgent standard. After a promising 45 minutes to an hour, the story derails. Some glimmers of brilliance remain, and wholesale digital cameras they're worth savoring, but mostly Kaufman just spins his wheels in the second half. He repeats the same kinds of scenes over and over until watching thfilm becomes in itself an existential wholesale mp3 trial. I don't know if this is praise or criticism, but I've had entire months go by faster than the second hour of this movie.
The cast is game and inventive, with Samantha Morton as our hero's devoted assistant and Emily Watson as the very different woman cast mp5 player to play her in the stage piece. The underused and always interesting Tom Noonan has a key role, as a bizarre stalker who gets a part in the play, and Hoffman, of course, is ideally cast as a sad sack, all-too-intelligent, striving, unhappy artist.

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