Joe Kenehan Center

Wednesday, December 25, 2002
Happy Holidays

Christmas greetings from the staff of the Joe Kenehan Center.

We hope you had a chance to catch It's A Wonderful Life on TV this Christmastime, because it's such a compelling articulation of progressive values like solidarity and community. I confess I hadn't watched it all the way through until a few years ago. When I finally did, I was startled to hear such full-throated economically populist arguments in a film that's too often dismissed as an over-sentimental Christmas tearjerker.

George Bailey's speeches -- at the board meeting after his father dies and his plea to his customers to have faith in the savings trust -- are remarkable. I seriously believe should be included alongside Cuomo's 1984 keynote, FDR's 1936 inaugural, Jesse Jackson's 1988 convention address, and any of King's speeches as important arguments for a better America.

Battle of the Bands '02

The staff of the center has been enjoying the holidays, keeping us from blogging. On Saturday I was drafted by my schoolteacher little brother to serve as an alumni judge at our alma mater, where he's teaching 9th grade World History.

To their credit, this year's battle participants were noticeably better than I remember my contemporaries being. Nervestruck won with a polished set of rap-metal. On my card I had The Undesirables coming in second, based on their charming NBA game style introduction and their punkish cover of John Denver's "Leavin' On A Jetplane." (R.I.P. Strummer). Other standouts included Nerd Warfare, who dazzled during their soundcheck but turned in a slightly lackluster set when their turn came. They definitely lost points with a by-the-numbers, uninspired cover of BTO's "Takin' Care of Business", which summed up the unfortunate failure of nerve that undermined the rest of their performance.