Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Rock


Crowning the entrance of 30 Rockefeller Center sits a concrete relief of Zeus over the inscription –“Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times”; on top of the god’s shoulders rest (like Atlas’s Globe) the immense 71-story GE Building, towering 872-feet into the sky while Zeus reaches down to those craning their necks below. Tourists and shoppers capture photos of their children, framed in front of a falling and gilded Prometheus. The deity smirks at smiling faces from graceful ice-skaters, unaffected by the violently flapping flags that outline this sunken plaza.

Beyond the carefree whims of these proud celebrants flashes the scrolling red letters of an NBC news wire…Five Dead in Car Bomb Attack…UK releases scathing environmental report…Such headlines don’t appear to affect those sipping lattes in Dean and Deluca or bustling in and out of one Gap to the next Banana Republic; after all, troubling events and fleeting words, eventually, blur together to become the same thing –unfortunate distractions.

Rockefeller Center isn’t my favorite place in New York; after all, I loathe the wasteful and religiously inspired holiday pageantry, its usually teeming with out-of-towners, and how can I ever forget the cold wind that blew through this blue concrete canyon on that remarkably red November 3rd, 2004? Moreover, I’ve always held a certain reservation for the Rockefeller’s treatment of Diego Rivera’s never-completed painting “Man at the Crossroads.” Nevertheless, despite its audacious idealism, incredible contradictions, and foreboding modern design; “the rock” remains one of Manhattan’s more inspiring landscapes.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Misguided Idealism

By Nicholas Allanach

Predictably, the President chose a more optimistic tone for the State of the Union this midterm election year than he has for previous evaluations. “Cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable energy alternatives” are a welcome (and surprising) proposition from this Texas-Oil-Man-and-Chief. Furthermore, both sides of Congress can (assuming a strategy exists) support “a clear plan for victory in Iraq.” Unfortunately, by choosing fantasy the President wasted another opportunity to realistically confront the nation’s problems.

Environmentalists could thank Bush for intervening in our “addiction to oil”; unfortunately, more will protest this as too little too late. After all, it’s easy for Bush to acknowledge “our” problem with a grin while Congress applauds him; however, it’s another to solve the crisis. How can one not scoff? Eight-hours earlier, Exxon-Mobil reported record-breaking earnings; furthermore, a “22 percent increase in clean-energy research at the Department of Energy” is a weak road to recovery from any “addiction.” Perhaps 22 percent is satisfying; unless it demarcates one’s job-approval rating (which I suspect Mr. Bush’s will soon plummet).

Addressing his critics, Bush recognized many see his aims as “misguided idealism.” Unfortunately, nothing the President said will discourage such disapproval. His evaluation offers false hope to the troubling realities of growing trade-deficits, exporting American jobs, and mounting resentment towards US foreign policy. Bush’s agenda is fiction not reality. Sadly, the American people suffer from these “misguided” ideals. To counteract such impracticality we can follow Harry Reid’s advice and recognize this is all “Bush doublespeak…whatever he said, think the opposite.”