AFTERTHOUGHTS. A trio of timely pieces in today's NYTimes brings all the post-election flag waving and hand wringing rhetoric into clearer perspective. Sorting Out the Election notes that "Tuesday's election .... was hardly an order from the American people to discard the progress of the past two years and start over again." Voters were evenly split on health care reform and on cutting the deficit. A majority correctly blamed former President George W. Bush and Wall Street for our current economic trainwreck. The main force driving calls for change seems to be that change isn't happening quickly enough -- a stunningly short-sighted view, given that it took us three decades to become so mired in failed Republican policies, which can be summed up as driving a car by looking only into the rearview mirror.
In The Day After the Day After, Gail Collins offers some tongue-in-cheek advice to Democrats, whose chief shortcoming lies in excessive self-effacement. And in Mr. Obama, It's Time for Some Poetry, Nicholas D. Kristof suggests that the president needs to reclaim the resounding enthusiasm of his campaign, and notes in passing that both Bill Clinton and Franklin D. Roosevelt overcame the traditional losses of midterm elections and went on to resounding second terms in the White House. As Mark Twain famously commented, "The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated."
BEETHOVEN. For the visual and listening delight of music lovers, here is a reprise of an ingenious presentation of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7, Second Movement (Allegretto). You will not only hear the lush harmonies and intricate melodic progressions of this wondrous piece, you'll also see a moving, color-coded musical score roll across the screen. With practice, you'll find yourself able to predict both the notes and the instruments which are about to sound. The visuals are fascinating, and the music by itself (with eyes closed) is timeless. Note -- click on any image to enlarge.