All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
published by Alfred A. Knopf, 1992
David Brooks' writes on January 18, 2010 in an Op-Ed article for the New York Times titled The Pragmatic Leviathan:
"A year ago, the country rallied behind a new president who promised to end the pendulumlike swings, who seemed likely to restore equilibrium with his moderate temper and pragmatic mind.
In many ways, Barack Obama has lived up to his promise. He has created a thoughtful, pragmatic administration marked by a culture of honest and vigorous debate. When Obama makes a decision, you can be sure that he has heard and accounted for every opposing argument. If he senses an important viewpoint is not represented at a meeting, he will stop the proceedings and demand that it gets included.
If the evidence leads him in directions he finds uncomfortable, he will still follow the evidence. He is beholden to no ideological camp, and there is no group in his political base that he has not angered at some point in his first year.
But his has become a voracious pragmatism. Driven by circumstances and self-confidence, the president has made himself the star performer in the national drama. He has been ubiquitous, appearing everywhere, trying to overhaul most sectors of national life: finance, health, energy, automobiles and transportation, housing, and education, among others.
He is no ideologue, but over the past year he has come to seem like the sovereign on the cover of "Leviathan" - the brain of the nation to which all the cells in the body and the nervous system must report and defer.
Americans, with their deep, vestigial sense of proportion, have reacted. ..."
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In a previous Op-Ed article by Mr. Brooks published by the New York Times on January 4, 2010 titled The Tea Party Teens, it caught my eye that a reader from Boulder, CO wrote in as a comment "Oh, just say it like it is -- it's the educated class versus the morons, and the morons are winning. Is it any wonder that the country is going in the wrong direction?"
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Tonight, as reported by Michael Cooper in his article titled G.O.P. Takes Massachusetts Senate Seat in the Times:
"Scott Brown, a little-known Republican state senator, rode an old pickup truck and a growing sense of unease among independent voters to an extraordinary upset Tuesday night when he was elected to fill the Senate seat that was long held by Edward M. Kennedy in the overwhelmingly Democratic state of Massachusetts."
"The election left Democrats in Congress scrambling to salvage a bill overhauling the nation's health care system, which the late Mr. Kennedy had called "the cause of my life." Mr. Brown has vowed to oppose the bill, and once he takes office the Democrats will lose their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate."
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"John Grady took a deep pull on the cigarette and leaned back.
What do you want to know? he said.
Only what the world wants to know.
What does the world want to know.
The world wants to know if you have cojones. If you are brave.
He lit his own cigarette and laid the lighter on top of the pack of cigarettes on the table and blew a thin stream of smoke.
Then it can decide your price, he said.
Some people dont have a price.
That is true.
What about those people?
Those people die.
I aint afraid to die.
That is good. It will help you to die. It will not help you to live."
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"... In the end we all come to be cured of our sentiments. Those whom life does not cure death will. The world is quite ruthless in selecting between the dream and the reality, even where we will not. Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting. I've thought a great deal about my life and about my country. I think there is little that can be truly known. My family has been fortunate. Others were less so. As they are often quick to point out.
When I was in school I studied biology. I learned that in making their experiments scientists will take some group - bacteria, mice, people - and subject that group to certain conditions. They compare the results with a second group which has not been disturbed. This second group is called the control group. It is the control group which enables the scientist to gauge the effect of his experiment. To judge the significance of what has occurred. In history there are no control groups. There is no one to tell us what might have been. We weep over the might have been, but there is no might have been. There never was. It is supposed to be true that those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it. I dont believe knowing can save us. What is constant in history is greed and foolishness and a love of blood and this is a thing that even God - who knows all that can be known - seems powerless to change."