Monthly Archives: May 2009

The Cinch Review

President Barack Obama and the Right to Trial

PrisonPresident Obama’s policy (as of today) with regard to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility seems to me to be summarizable in the following way:

The use of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay has damaged the reputation of the United States around the world. The U.S. has compromised its principles by detaining people there. We can do better. We will try those who we can in the U.S. court system. We will use military tribunals to decide the fate of a select few. We will repatriate certain others, or persuade other nations to detain them in some manner. In the end, I know we will still be left with some individuals who cannot be dealt with in these ways. These are individuals who cannot be tried in our courts due to a lack of conventional evidence and charges, but who we know all the same to be dangerous men. I, as President, will not under any circumstances risk the security of Americans by letting these individuals go free, given their potential to cause great harm. Therefore we will find a way to legally detain them, here in the U.S., in maximum security prisons, for as long as may be necessary.

The above is no attempt to caricature or to mock the president’s policy, but simply an attempt to state it briefly and fairly based on his own recent remarks and those of members of his administration.

I wonder, however, at what point all those who have been calling for the closure of Guantanamo Bay (some since late in 2001) will realize the implications of President Obama’s policy, if and when it is fully realized. Continue reading President Barack Obama and the Right to Trial

Bob Dylan and John Ford: More on the Douglas Brinkley / Rolling Stone interview

bob dylanI want to continue looking at some noteworthy things that came out of the Douglas Brinkley/Bob Dylan Rolling Stone interview, both the print version and the online outtakes (which are now gone but not forgotten).

There is this from the print article on Bob Dylan’s taste in movies: Continue reading Bob Dylan and John Ford: More on the Douglas Brinkley / Rolling Stone interview

The Cinch Review

Together Through Life – Bob Dylan

Review of Together Through Life by Bob DylanTogether Through Life, the album just released by Bob Dylan, has entered both the U.S. and U.K. charts at the number one position, and is at or near the top of the charts in numerous other countries across the world. Dylan appears to be doing something very right, in commercial terms, at the ripe old age of 68, but I question whether even he has any firm idea of what that might be. One thing for which he doesn’t get much credit, but which I think has paid off for him in the end, is his consistency. The curious thing is that his kind of consistency has often been portrayed instead as a mysterious and chameleon-like series of transformations, perhaps largely because of a failure by commentators to grasp the nature of the steadiness at the core of his work. Average listeners may well appreciate it better than the storied rock critics who have filled shelves with books on his songs and his various phases and incarnations.

I think that his consistency extends to his tastefulness (in musical terms), his instinct for spontaneous and dynamic creativity in the studio, and his particular way of looking at the world in his songs. Although all of these qualities are apparent on the new album, it is the latter one that is perhaps the easiest to contemplate in print. Continue reading Together Through Life – Bob Dylan