is “the world’s biggest collection of song lyrics and crowd-sourced musical knowledge.”  You’ll almost surely want to bookmark it.

Hamilton is the spectacular musical that has just released a new set of tickets for . . . next fall.  It’s that sold out.

And it grows on you.

The first time I saw it, even though I had read the Ron Chernow biography, I missed a lot of the lyrics.

As I did the second time.

So here’s my suggestion:

Whether or not you see the show any time soon, listen to the original cast recording (free with some of the music services you may subscribe to, or here on NPR).

And read the lyrics!  (And click on the highlighted genius-member annotations!)

Because even if you never see the show, you will see it very pleasurably in your mind’s eye.

And if you do get to see it, you will enjoy it even more.

Hamilton was a genius of a man; Hamilton is a genius of a show; America, for all her flaws and missteps, is a genius of a country.


Did you find time to watch Secretary Kerry’s speech?  Delivered the day before the Paris attacks?  About Syria and Daesh?  As suggested yesterday?

At least one of you did — proving yet again that I may sometimes “know what I’m talking about,” but many of you know more.

John Carroll:  “There was a particularly sad observation in Kerry’s speech concerning an archaeologist on I met on a little tour of Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan I took in 2000. When we were in Palmyra, we sought out a truly knowledgeable guide. The hotel contacted Khaled al-Assad and he brought us around to all the excavations, towers, and went through the museum with us. I just barely pieced together some Greek that I realized referred to the Nicene Creed so I got some points with him. Also there was a mural I remember quite clearly with an onager depicted which reminded me of Balzac’s novel The Shagreen Skin.  Khaled al-Assad is the person to whom Kerry was referring. I have read that his head was left in a public space with his glasses still on.  Khaled’s glasses were particularly a part of his appearance. Apart from the fact that he was a very engaging person, and made a very thorough tour of Palmyra a joy, he had a profound knowledge of a place with many resonances.  There are some stele in the Met, right next to the entrance of the Islamic collection, which resemble those of Palmyra. . . . Another aspect of Palmyra is the Fakhr-al-Din al-Ma’ani Castle which dominates the site. Fakhr-al-Din was a 16th century Druze emir and the flow and ebb of his power illustrates how the Pax Ottomana functioned. There was a certain continuity for four hundred years from 1516 till WWI in the region, specifically the Syrian vilayet and the Jeruselem sanjak. It was against this continuous Ottoman/Turkish rule which Hussein, and the Arabs, were encouraged to revolt in the MacMahon-Hussein Correspondence.

“Also, something Kerry probably did not want to say publicly (and for which he did not have the time): Often people compare the Alawites to Mormons when trying to explain the Alawite relation to both Shia and Sunni Islam. In general the Alawites occupied a tenuous, low position in Syria. When Syria was allotted to the French in Sèvres in 1920, France sought to develop the Alawites as they had the Maronites in Lebanon, and in general regarded their colonial effort as a ‘civilizing mission.’ As a result Alawites were admitted to the military, eventually this important advancement led to Hafez al-Assad presiding over an entrenched Alawite faction in the military and government. . . . In 1982 Hafez al-Assad wiped out the Muslim Brotherhood and 10 to 20 thousand people in Hamas. His tactic for dealing with foreign governments in this matter was to capitalize on the fear of the Muslim Brotherhood. . . . I was puzzled that a London-trained ophthalmologist would devolve into such a murderous figure. It became apparent that the precariousness of the Alawites is the organizing factor. He is locked in an existential fight as a tribal leader as opposed to a national leader. . . . Bashar al-Assad has nowhere to go except Moscow now. He would be arrested anywhere else. This is why he is replaying the Hamas tactic of his father. ISIS/Daesh saved Assad for the moment. Assad is trying to cling to power by playing a role as the alternative to Daesh. . . . The general effect of this is that even though Kerry outlined a reasonable way forward, the dynamic of relations amongst various factions in Syria has evolved away from reasonable.”

And did you see The Donald’s ridiculous tweet saying Syrian refugees were “pouring in” and wondering if the president was “insane”?  Writes Parvez Sharma: “This is a circus. FYI the US only let in 36 Syrian refugees in the past year.”

So far, at least, it’s like the Ebola hysteria — and the Administration’s alleged terrible mishandling thereof — that dominated the news for weeks before the 2014 midterms, when it would have been more helpful to focus on the policy differences between Democrats and Republicans on issues like the minimum wage (we want to raise it), infrastructure (we want to revitalize it), universal background checks (we and 94% of Americans want to impose them), ENDA (we want to pass it), comprehensive immigration reform (likewise), and climate change (we and the scientific community believe it is real and needs urgently to be addressed).

To date the cumulative death toll from Ebola contracted in America sits at . . . zero.  Yet Donald Trump at the time was tweeting that American doctors who’d become infected helping should not be readmitted to the U.S. for treatment.  He criticized the “stupid politicians” who let them come home.



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