April 15, 2004
Test Spin: Melissa Etheridge
| April 15, 2004
Melissa, methinks thou doth protest too much.
Etheridge’s new album, Lucky, lacks nothing in the way of intensity. From the get-go, Melissa’s pop-folk sound is hard-hitting and exciting. The album lines up one clamorous, unrestrained song after another, ignoring all loud-then-quiet conventions.
The first three tracks are especially boisterous and unrelenting, affording the album some serious gusto. At the same time, though, the album’s untamed, libidinous energy feels overwhelming; the lack of contrast between songs that defines the album makes it at once monotonous and unmoving.
Dramatic, too. Lyrically, Lucky is definitively hyperbolic, so much so that its lyrics are nearly unconvincing. Etheridge’s efforts to write meaningfully about loss and heartbreak sometimes backfire. Lyrics like, “Oh I want to give you the stars/ All that I can hold in my arms/ Placing them where you lay/ Tell the angels they’ll just have to wait,” come in such large quantity on Lucky that they begin to sound banal, unpersuasive, and exaggerated.
Even in the midst of her emotional wailings, though, Etheridge finds at least a few inspired moments: “Breathe” and “Will You Still Love Me” are well-crafted and subtly endearing. These softer, more relaxed tracks are somehow more believable than the rest, and they achieve the sincerity for which Etheridge strives. That is to say, Etheridge gets Lucky in the end.
Archived article by Lynne Feeley Red Letter Daze Staff Writer
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April 16, 2004
As a part of the annual Union Days program sponsored by the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, three panelists discussed “Labor and Politics in 2004” before a mixed crowd of students, faculty and alumni yesterday afternoon in the Doherty Lounge in Ives Hall. The panelists represented three viewpoints on labor and politics. Bob Muehlenkamp, senior labor advisor for the Howard Dean campaign, spoke about his experiences on the campaign trail; Prof. Adolph Reed, political science, The New School, spoke from his experience as a professor and historian and Rick Perlstein, chief national political correspondent for the Village Voice, spoke from his experiences as a political journalist. Muehlenkamp spoke first, outlining his political career with the Dinkins and Clinton campaigns and then described his involvement with the Dean campaign. “I wanted to make sure that the labor movement did not end up on the wrong side of the issue this time,” he said, speaking about the war in Iraq and his reasons for wanting to work on the Dean campaign. He said that Dick Gephardt was the favorite to win the AFL-CIO endorsement in the Democratic primary, and that his job was to make sure that did not happen. In the end, Gephardt only received the support of one-third of the labor movement, and Dean had the endorsement of four major unions. Muehlenkamp also told the crowd the reasons that he believed that Dean fell out of favor with voters. He said that the negative campaigning between Dean and Gephardt “tore them apart” leaving room for other candidates to rise. He said that he thought that other candidates ganged up on Dean and that the “press decapitated his candidate.” In addition, he believes that Dean made many of his own mistakes, saying that “[the campaign advisors] could not keep up with the major gaffes.” In closing his segment, he said that the labor movement is running an aggressive campaign against President George W. Bush. “Twenty-six percent of votes cast in 2000 were from union families,” he said, “and 65 percent of them voted Democrat.” He added that the Democratic party has to concentrate on the persuadable votes. “Only nine states actually count in this election, and 45 percent of each of those states is on one side, and 45 percent is on the other side. So only nine percent of the votes in this country are actually up for grabs: that’s what its all about,” he said. “This will be the most polarized election since the civil war.” Reed began his portion of the discussion by saying that “this is the most dangerous administration that has been in the White House in [his] lifetime.” He said that Dean was “in a position to be vocal against the war that congressional Democrats couldn’t be in because they all voted for it in some way.” Adding that Dean enabled the country to have a different kind of debate. Reed spoke about the “deepening crisis involving the increasing costs of higher education in America.” He said that although most of the candidates had higher education plans, most were “convoluted.” He closed his portion of the discussion with his views on the 2004 presidential election, saying that the Republicans are going to run on the “gay marriage platform.” “They’re going to say that gay marriage is a blight in the eyes of God, man and the Easter Bunny,” he said. Perlstein, the final speaker, spoke about his experience as a political journalist. Although he covers national politics, he “stays as far away from [the campaign reporters] as possible.” He compared Dean to a bee, saying that his campaign “stung the Democratic Party before it died,” explaining the new life that he brought to the party. In his travels covering the political scene, Perlstein said that he went to political rallies and fundraisers. He spoke about a Lieberman fundraiser in particular. “The Lieberman campaign is what happens to a party when it doesn’t want to win, but it wants not to lose,” he said, saying that Lieberman was trying to act conservative in an attempt to gain the moderate vote. Perlstein went on a road trip through Illinois asking people who they plan to vote for in the upcoming election. He found that many of the people who voted for Bush in the 2000 election are now changing their allegiance based on employment and economic issues. He also spoke about white-collar outsourcing, the movement of white-collar jobs overseas, saying that he saw someone with a t-shirt that read “I lost my job to India and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.” “Efficiency cannot be the only value in the economy, you have to have equity,” he said. He closed saying that, “the Democrats may be able to win the next election, but will they be able to win an election 14, 16 years from now? I don’t know.” After their statements, the floor was opened for questions from the audience. The first audience member asked who the panelists believed would be the Democratic nominee for vice-president. None of the candidates would garner a response, saying that they did not want to predict the outcome at this point. Another member of the audience asked about the panelists feelings about Ralph Nader and his effect on the upcoming election. Muehlenkamp said that he is working to “help Nader make a contribution without having to run.” He added that, “Nader wont drop out of the election.” Perlsteino said that in order for the Democratic party to be successful, they have to “have ambitious, grand ideas that need hard work to implement over several election cycles.”Archived article by Eric Finkelstein Sun News Editor
April 16, 2004
After attending an informal luncheon with 35 students from the Johnson Graduate School of Management, Stephen Friedman ’59, President George W. Bush’s assistant for economic policy and director of the national economic council, addressed a full Statler Auditorium yesterday to speak about the country’s economic situation. Friedman was appointed to his current position in Dec. 2002. His economic experience includes working with Goldman Sachs & Co. for 28 years, serving as co-chair for two years and chair for two years. Friedman then became a senior principal at March & McLennan, where he stayed until his political appointment. Friedman’s address came on the second day of the two-day “Managing the Future” summit at the business school. Robert Swieringa, the Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean of the Johnson Graduate School of Management, said, “Most of Thursday is really looking to the future.” Opening his address, Friedman said that he spent his time as an undergraduate split between Teagle Hall and various sororities. “My time was extremely well spent,” he joked. In his introduction to Friedman’s lecture, President Jeffrey S. Lehman ’77 recognized the speaker’s athletic accomplishments at Cornell. He was inducted into the Cornell University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984 for his success as a college wrestler. Friedman, whose wife Barbara Benioff Friedman ’59 is vice chair of the Board of Trustees, serves on the Athletics Advisory Council. The Friedman Strength and Conditioning Center and the Friedman Wrestling Center, the first facility in college athletics to solely house wrestling, were named to honor the family’s significant gifts to the University. Friedman spoke about the many levels of the American government system from an insider’s view. Comparing it to other organizations, he said, “there is none more complex than the U.S. government.” Each of the many committees and interest groups “sees one aspect of the elephant,” he said. Because there are so many departments within the government, Friedman stressed the importance of “a coordinated approach” to tackle all political and economic issues. Friedman then turned to create “a snapshot of where we are today” in business. He spoke about the many “bubbles” that have popped over the past few years, including the stock market dip in 2000, an “excess of business optimism” that led to dangerous capital spending and the collapse of the job market. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to Friedman, “weighed on business confidence.” He claimed that despite the “dire effect” of corporate and accounting scandals, the employment crisis is starting to turn around. Even though there is some recovery, Friedman said, “labor is clearly not yet satisfactory.” The majority of Friedman’s address focused on the need for strong federal fiscal policies and the importance of keeping America’s economy flexible. After the Jan. 2003 tax cut, Friedman said, business capital spending improved, causing an increase in consumer confidence and spending. This resulted in a more stable stock market, which is now helping to strengthen the labor market. “We have that vibrancy” to recover from a “nearly catastrophic series of body blows,” Friedman said as he touched upon the economic effects of the terrorist attacks. Friedman then discussed what he sees to be some of the weaker parts of the American economy. He first mentioned the “lawsuit burden,” the harmful economic repercussions of having high administrative costs in a very litigious society. Friedman also said that the cost of health care has resulted in a decreased efficiency in the industry. “Efficiency … is back where American industry was 25 years ago,” he said. We must work on “finding that combination of incentives and stimuli” to make health care as efficient as a Fortune 500 company, he said. Friedman said that there does not have to be a tradeoff between health care quality and efficiency. Rather, he suggested, “they go hand in glove.” He also mentioned the need for a new energy plan so that businesses are not driven offshore for cheaper energy. Finally, Friedman spoke about the need for a globalized economy. “This administration has a very strong free-trade orientation,” he said. “Anything that puts up barriers runs the risk of having retaliation. We want to avoid … a tit-for-tat world,” he explained. The address continued with a few minutes about education in America. Friedman said, “The living standard [is] tremendously correlated to the level of education” a person receives. He said that while graduate and higher education in America are “the gems of the world,” our country’s lower levels of public education are weak. “We have a major challenge,” he warned. “Economic forecasting is an enormous challenge,” Friedman said regarding the summit’s title. Because “the pendulum always swings too far one way and then too far the other way … people get overly optimistic and then they sink into a trough.” In his introduction, Lehman called the summit’s speakers a “cavalcade of great thinkers.” Earlier in the day Walter LaFeber, the Andrew H. and James S. Tisch Distinguished University Professor spoke on “Globalization and Globalizers.” Jay Walker ’77, Founder and Chair of Walker Digital, LLC and Founder of Priceline.com followed LaFeber with an address. Warren Staley MBA ’67, Chair and CEO of Cargill, Inc. lectured on the topic “The Future is Now: Building a Global Sustainable Enterprise.” Abby Joseph Cohen ’73, Managing Director and Chair of the Investment Policy Committee at Goldman Sachs lectured on “U.S. Companies and Markets back in the Global Flow.” Later in the afternoon, there was a panel discussion on “Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century.” The final address was by Jeffrey Immelt, Chair and CEO of General Electric Company and this year’s Robert S. Hatfield Fellow in Economic Education.Archived article by Melissa Korn Sun Senior Writer