San Francisco

The Fortunate Journey

The Escorial: Art and Power in the Renaissance By Henry Kamen (Yale University Press, 291 pp., $35) The historian Henry Kamen has spent a distinguished career presenting what he calls a “revisionist” history of early modern Spain.

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In an item hooked to legal challenges to California high speed rail being made by some Bay Area cities outside San Francisco, Streetsblog links to a bicycling blog trumpeting Paul Weyrich’s work on transit. Yes, that Paul Weyrich, co-founder of both the Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority. Weyrich’s work anticipates all the arguments of the professional anti-transit gadflies who, for a fee, appear in cities around the country to argue against whatever transit proposal happens to be on the ballot.

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President Obama's speech in New Orleans on Sunday, commemorating the fifth anniversary of Katrina, didn't have one clear message so much as two. The city has rebuilt and, in some ways, rebuilt itself into something better. But a lot of work, too much work, remains unfinished. If you read my dispatches from New Orleans two weeks ago, then you know that was the impression I, too, took away. One question that Obama didn't address was "why"--as in "why bother"? From the first days after the storm, people began asking whether it was time just to give up on New Orleans.

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Lyle Denniston thinks so: From the moment nearly 15 months ago that two master legal tacticians, David Boies and Theodore Olson, launched the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, it was almost universally expected that it would become a historic Supreme Court test of gay marriage and the Constitution.   Now, perhaps for the first time, it seems realistic to suggest that this particular high-stakes battle may never get  much beyond California, especially in terms of its impact on the Constitution. That prospect came into view Thursday as U.S. District Judge Vaughn R.

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Conservative talk-show host Dennis Prager writes that liberals hate conservatives, but not vice versa: Every one of us on the right has seen this hatred. I am not referring to leftist bloggers or to anonymous comments by angry leftists on conservative blogs — such things exist on the right as well — but to mainstream, elite liberal journalists. There is simply nothing analogous among elite conservative journalists. Yes, nearly all conservatives believe that the Left is leading America to ruin.

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I have just had a sensational night at the movies, and the picture was only 83 years old. At the Silent Film Festival in San Francisco, the Castro Theater was packed for a showing of a “complete” Metropolis. Moreover, the screening was graced by the presence of the two Argentineans—scholar Fernando Pena and archivist Paula Felix-Didier—who discovered the previously lost footage in Buenos Aires a couple of years ago. I honor their work, and their amusing commentary on the discovery—they were a couple once, then separated, then back together with the excitement of the find.

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I had known Elliott Kastner a little over the years, by way of phone calls. He had tracked me down once and called, and I had wondered why, and it was just to say he had enjoyed some things I had written. Without any strain, I told him I was very fond of some of his pictures. So we agreed we should meet some time, but nothing ever developed until a couple of years ago. He was coming to San Francisco, where I live—let’s have dinner. He had a plan. That’s where he broke it to me, at Post Trio. He was a character, he said, but he was not in the best of health.

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The once-great Maradona wants everyone in the world to know, just in case there was any doubt, that he’s not gay. No sirree, he certainly is not. He likes women. He really likes women. He’s fucking pretty Veronica. I received an email from Daniel Alarcon this morning asking whether I planned to write anything about his dingbatness’ “I’m not gay” press conference, because if I wasn’t, he intended to. I had no idea what he was talking about, and so I watched the press conference—I watched the 55 second clip before I had my morning coffee.

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Nationwide, the economic recovery looks more fragile than it did just a few months ago. GDP is growing at a moderate pace but not nearly as rapidly as at the end of last year. Almost no private sector jobs were created in May. The unemployment rate dipped from 9.9 percent in April to 9.7 percent in May, but mostly because fewer people were looking for work. Nearly half the unemployed in May were out of work for more than six months.

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Howard Wolfson asks whether soccer has arrived in America? Good entry, but my question is who is Matt Drudge? This might make me look stupid (not that difficult), but I don’t know who he is. I’ve come across his name before, I assume he’s new media, and I’m an old person. But that’s neither here nor there.  So forgive me for the upcoming mini-rant, Howard. It is not directed at you by any means. I’m just tired of the question.  Has soccer arrived? I’ve always wondered why that question is asked. Has soccer ever not been in America for it to arrive? I’m not being facetious.

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