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Or not, but at least we're getting there.

Yes, this is a work in progress, and in no way constitutes a finished blog. However, you might at least notice how much faster it is. The PBAHQ will be moved in full ASAP, and you will not believe how much you will notice things working for you in life once again.

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Ossia Cadenza from Piano Concerto No. 3 in d-minor Op. 30

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Ossia Cadenza from Piano Concerto No. 3 in d-minor Op. 30

Performed by Nick Lewis

Ossia Cadenza from Rachmaninoff's 3rd Piano Concerto [Listen in MP3]The Original God Awful Recording from a year ago

Notes: Since the release of the movie Shine, Sergei Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto has enjoyed the reputation as "The Mount Everest of Piano Literature". The “Rach 3” runs about 45 minutes, and requires a full orchestra. On average, it contains more notes per second than any other piano concerto. In this recording, I play the Ossia Cadenza from the first movement. A cadenza is a section in a concerto where the orchestra stops playing; the idea is to give the soloist the full stage to show off. Rachmaninoff wrote two cadenzas for his third piano concerto; the first cadenza is shorter, softer, and fluid; in contrast, the ossia cadenza (played here) is longer, grander, and more difficult. Rachmaninoff did not play the Ossia Cadenza. Somewhere, I read that he thought the ossia cadenza sounded too much like an ending, and was thus inappropriate for the first movement. It's also rumored that he muttered, "and it's too damn hard..."Since I am a self-taught pianist, my recording of the Ossia Cadenza contains numerous errors. I hope the listeners will forgive me for them; at some points in this cadenza, there are literally over 70 notes per measure. I consider this recording a first draft. However, in the interest of educating the listeners, I have provided recordings of both cadenzas by two of the 20th Century's greatest piano virtuosos: Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Vladimir Ashkenazy.Original Cadenza: Performed by Sergei Rachmaninoff

The Progressive Blog Alliance Mission Statement

The PBA is an emergent, self-organized network of independent activists, journalists, and writers. We do not exclusively identify ourselves with a single nation, but rather our world society as a whole. We recognize that on a fundamental level, we are all one.

We demand our members to show complete intolerance for oppression, bigotry, ignorance, violence, corruption, and exploitation. We may choose to deny membership to individuals who support certain politicians; for example, George W. Bush. However, we will never require our members to subscribe to any list of creeds, tenets, or dogmas. We are not a political cult. Progressive libertarians are just as welcome as progressive socialists.

We do not represent any particular ideology. By "ideology" we firstly mean political opinions which are based upon the assumptions and biases of philosophers living between the 17th and 19th century; and in turn using their antiquanted manifestos and treatises as the lenses through which one judges the world. But secondly -- and this is far more important -- we mean those systems of thought which squelch one's individuality; while at the same time shrinking one's possible range of thought. The majority of ideologies were designed to turn followers into unthinking, obedient drones, all of whom quack the same slogans. The PBA is bound by its common principles, not its ideological labels.

On American Nationalism

Where as the majority of nationalisms are founded upon a belief in ethnic or cultural superiority; the American Nationalist believes in the superiority of our political ideal. This would make sense, as we feel a great deal of pride in our nation's cultural and ethnic diversity. America is the great "melting pot", so the cliche goes... Thus, George W. Bush's claim that Bin Laden attacked us because he "hated freedom", provides the prototypical example of

The Living Web

Those who attempt to predict the future generally fall under one of four categories: Technologists, Spiritualists, Futurists, and Historians. The Technologists are opitimized by people like Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs. Technologists are interested in buzzwords, and “killer apps”; they don’t so much predict the future, as much as they attempt to invent it. They enjoy making far reaching claims such as “by 2012, the Home Entertainment Center will be fully controlled by the Personal Computer.” So here at the beginning I tell the reader not to worry: I’m no technologist.Then there are the Spiritualists. Their predictions are usually based upon an eclectic mixture of metaphysical energies that are focused through crystals, and directed towards the third eye of a psychic. The psychic has a “vision” which provides an astrologer with a “key” to read the stars. The astrologer then reports his findings to a guru who in turn informs the public of “the approaching age of Aquarius”. I never went to wizard school, so I’m not qualified to give such predictions.The more scientific cousins of the spiritualists are the futurists. When the futurists aren’t attending their weekly Klingon classe, or preparing their Borg costume for the next Star Trek Convention; they will be found creating technologically advanced nowhere lands. However, this group has lost considerable authority since the building of space needles at world fairs went out of style.

Bringing Light to a World in Darkness

There is no political movement whose goals are more admirable, necessary, or virtuous than that of the Progressives. We fight the forces of war, ignorance, and greed with all of our hearts; many of us even understand that the survival of civilization, and perhaps humanity itself, may rest upon our shoulders during the next 100 years. And for better or worse, it will be up to us: we who, against all odds, are willing to fight for a better world. Unlike the generations before us, we will not allow ourselves to be content in handing our children a world shaped by ignorance and collective irresponsibility. Most every progressive understands this, on one level or another -- though most fail to remind each other of it often enough.

The life of a progressive is mostly one of suffering. The reason being that our minds are cursed with an unrelenting conflict between outer realities and our own inner ideals. Everyday, we endure wars between our limitless imaginations ,and our knowledge and acceptance of a tragedy which surrounds all of us; some call it "the real world". It is a ghastly affliction. But it happens to be who we are.
Most of us have tried, at one time or another, to run from our powerful spirits and minds. We've tried alcohol, drugs, sex, and a few have even resorted to suicide. Tragically, it's no suprise that such a dark world compells the brightest of its spirits to surrender and willingly extinguish their flames.

A lot has been said about bloggers, and the blogosphere; some call it a fad, others call it a revolution -- I think both positions start from the wrong place. A blogger is nothing more than a person who writes their thoughts for others to read. Period. To speak of bloggers or blogs as a whole is as foolish as speaking of books and authors as a whole.

A Call To Arms

Magnificent isn’t it? Over to the bottom left we have a blogroll with a picture of armed ruffians sitting atop a dead elephant. At this point in time, our less than two week old alliance finds itself at cross roads. Our first option, is to do what all alliances have traditionally done: watch the roll grow – like a plant – until it becomes a massive bean stock of discombobulated links. Give it a little time, and we’ll probably grow tired of it wasting the space it requires on our template. The alliances members will slowly begin to erase their blogrolls out of complete lack of interest. Eventually, the Progressive blog Alliance -- like the Liberal coalition, and its even lamer liberal webring compatriots – will wither into yet another wasteland that falls under our philosophy's name.

Another option is to only admit bloggers that meet certain standards of “reputation”, who are “sufficiently progressive”. I violently oppose that option. For one, such a system unnecessarily encourages factions and disagreements among us. Furthermore, as we our a politically charged outfit, we’d be required to agree on the meaning of political terminology. And how is that supposed to happen? Am I supposed to send out an e-mail asking you to anonymously answer the question: “what is a progressive”? If I did, most of you would probably just wonder what I hoped to gain from assigning the alliance an essay question.

Remember, we are progressives and leftists! We must remain forward thinking, open-minded, and – above all – willing to fight in the interests of the underdogs. It often amazes me that someone can feel so strongly about creating a just, equal, and free society, yet act as stingy as a freakin’ hard-core libertarian when it comes to giving someone a link. We must differentiate ourselves from the snobby attitudes of the liberal coalition (who, I suppose deamed me unfit to join their ranks), and alliance of free blogs. Both of those organizations maintain a perpetual attitude of, “this blogger isn’t established enough”, or “what sort of link/traffic benefits can I expect by allowing them to join the alliance?”

I on the otherhand, believe there is a greater reward in giving someone who shares our world view a helping hand as they climb up the slippery and overcrowded ladder of the blogosphere. I would gain more satisfaction from that, than winning additional rounds of blogosphere link-realpolitik . I say let members join with 0 links from 0 sources. Perhaps our support might encourage them! Perhaps they might have something to say if they thought people were listening. If you doubt my optimism, take a look at the first post that you ever wrote. Furthermore, think of the long term benefits of presenting ourselves in such stark contrast to the rest of the sphere? Remember, our philosophy requires our actions to be consistant with our words.

So I’ve gone ahead and made a few decisions.

The Error of the Electoral Collegiophiles

George F. Will recently asserted that the electoral college, like the constitution, "was not devised by, and should not be revised by, simple-minded majoritarians." Indeed, the electoral college was a brilliant 18th century solution to clusters of 18th century problems.There were three good reasons that the constitutional convention rejected the idea of direct elections for the presidency. First off, there was no method of communication that could sufficiently educate voters about presidential candidates. Secondly, our framers worried that the masses had neither the education, nor the refinement required to make prudent decisions. Thirdly, the implementation of national elections would have upset the balance of power among states. For example, direct presidential elections would cause the south to lose most of its political power. Under the electoral college, slaves couldn't vote, but could be still counted as 3/5 man when deciding the number of Representatives and electors for states.

Delusions of War

The very idea of a "just war" strikes me as oxymoronic. I'll conceed that wars are occassionaly fought out of absolute necessity. However, I remain unconvinced that necessity equals justice. The truth is: If you truly believe that all people are born equal, than you can never refer to a war as "just". Amongst the American public, I've identified roughly three different view points on war. These three views are not intended to be a label to pidgeon hole to others.


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