U2’s Top 40

October 30, 2014

40. Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses (Achtung Baby, 1991)

A full-out stomping rocker, one that would fit nicely on a Bruce Springsteen record, and a surprisingly straight-ahead song for an Achtung Baby single.

39. Drowning Man (War, 1983)

This War cut is a landmark of U2’s in-studio production eccentricities: double and tripled-up vocals, strings, delay/echo, The Edge’s weird bendy effects on acoustic and electric guitars, some of which are just starting to sound like synths at this point in U2’s evolution.

38. So Cruel (Achtung Baby, 1991)

What seems like a plea to a cruel lover is really another conflation of God and girls by Bono. And it’s definitely one of his best.

37. Get on Your Boots (No Line on the Horizon, 2009)

Bono said that the song’s title is an African euphemism for putting on a condom. That said, most of this song’s lyrics are typical of Bono’s ranting stream of consciousness. But damn, that guitar riff/bass line.

36. The Fly (Achtung Baby, 1991)

“The Fly” is a classic fist-pumping singalong for U2 fans, with one of The Edge’s best solos and one of Bono’s most compelling alter egos. Yes, Bono wore bug-eye wraparound sunglasses. Look, it was the ’90s, okay?

35. Mysterious Ways (Achtung Baby, 1991)

One of U2’s most recognizable songs and one of The Edge’s best guitar sounds to date. Another conflation of God and girls by U2: “She moves in mysterious ways.”

34. In a Little While (All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000)

One of Leave Behind most stripped-down, soulful and earnest songs, it was written a profession of love to Bono’s wife Ali Hewson. When U2 learned Joey Ramone listened to it regularly on his death bed, the band dedicated it to him on its Elevation Tour. Way better tribute than “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone).”

33. New York (All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000)

Bono’s tribute written to New York City after he moved there. “In New York, you can forget how to sit still” was his way of evoking both Lou Reed and Frank Sinatra-type sentimentalities.

32. If God Will Send His Angels (Pop, 1997) / Hold Me Kiss Me Thrill Me (The Best of 1990–2000, 2002)

U2 were all over ’90s film soundtracks, from Wim Wenders’ art-house films to blockbuster movies like City of Angels (“If God Will Send His Angels”) and Batman Forever (“Hold Me Kiss Me Thrill Me”).

31. Sweetest Thing (The Best of 1980–1990, 1998)

U2’s most successful b-side to date is also its most straightforwardly romantic. Bono wrote it for his wife Ali Hewson as an apology for being in the studio, away from her on her birthday. Adorably, U2 included limited-edition chocolate bars with European releases of “Sweetest Thing” singles in 1998.

30. Even Better Than the Real Thing (Achtung Baby, 1991)

One of U2’s most Rolling Stones-like moments, augmented with Achtung’s modernity and David Bowie-like cool, plus a detached irony that would stay with the band through the ’90s.

29. Beautiful Day (All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000)

The Big Comeback Single, the moment when U2 became more Sting than The Clash. Whether you like this era of U2 or not, “Beautiful Day” is one of its biggest and best songs yet.

28. Staring at the Sun (Pop, 1997)

U2 went to some weird places in the ’90s, but this was a single that fit with the alternative rock of the ’90s nicely, played next to Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam on rock radio and MTV regularly at the time.

27. I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight (No Line on the Horizon, 2009)

It took 30 years, but Bono wrote his artistic manifesto with, “The right to appear ridiculous is something I hold dear.” He said to the Guardian that he considered it “the final blow to people who can’t stand us.” On the U2360 Tour, he doubled down on that, turning “Crazy” into a cheesy “Discotheque”-type house jam.

26. Two Hearts Beat as One (War, 1983) / Wire (The Unforgettable Fire, 1984) / With a Shout (Jerusalem) (October, 1981)

Three early U2 songs with the same musicality (syncopated polyrhythms, chiming guitar) but touched on three of the band’s lyrical milestones. “Two Hearts” is a love song with a particularly great vocal take from Bono. “Wire” has stream-of-consciousness lyrics, a clear precursor to the dance-punk sounds of Franz Ferdinand and The Rapture. “With a Shout (Jerusalem)” is a religious lyrical take. They’re three examples of U2 broadening and clarifying its voice and coming into its own as a big-time rock band.

Related: Everclear Poke Fun at U2 By Announcing New Album Release on Windows 10

25. In God’s Country (The Joshua Tree, 1987) / One Tree Hill (The Joshua Tree, 1987)

One of Bono’s strengths as a lyricist is his poetic imagery evoking scenery. These two Joshua Tree singles are stellar examples. The “sad eyes, crooked crosses” of “In God’s Country” and “A sun so bright it leaves no shadows/ only scars carved into stone on the face of earth” of “One Tree Hill” are just beautiful.

24. Until the End of the World (Achtung Baby, 1991)

Lyrically, “Until the End of the World” is about Judas betraying Jesus. It’s literally a gospel song. But The Edge’s riffs make it not the least bit reverent or sanctimonious. His two solos absolutely destroy in a live setting.

23. Silver and Gold (Live) (Rattle & Hum Version) (Rattle and Hum, 1988)

Bono affects Elvis Presley’s vocal stylings on this live recording of U2’s song for the Artists Against Apartheid compilation Sun City. In one of the band’s best live moments, Bono lays down some knowledge about Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and South African apartheid. “Am I buggin’ you? I don’t mean to bug ya,” Bono mutters as he steps down from his soapbox. “Okay, Edge, play the blues!” then a clanging, beautiful solo.

22. Raised by Wolves (Songs of Innocence, 2014)

Its lyrics are like a successful rapper telling you about their humble beginnings except it’s a world-famous Irish rock star telling you about the religious violence and death he grew up around.

21. Stay (Faraway, So Close!) (Zooropa, 1993)

One of U2’s most melancholy songs, Bono has said its lyrics were written as elegy to the late Frank Sinatra, told with lyrics of fractured imagery. If one U2 single influenced the ’90s alternative rock of Radiohead or The Smashing Pumpkins the most, it’d likely be this one.

20. A Sort of Homecoming (The Unforgettable Fire, 1984)

The lead-off track to Unforgettable Fire was the sound of U2 longing to become more than just the rock ‘n’ roll band it was on War, October and Boy. It was also the beginning of Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois’ invaluable imprint on U2. This marks the moment U2 became a totally different band.

19. City of Blinding Lights (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004)

A go-to inspirational anthem for the Obama for America campaign in 2008 and U2 got to perform it to the president and vice president elect in Washington on Martin Luther King Jr. Day before Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration. But you haven’t heard this song until you see it on the U2360 Tour, with blinding lights shot into the sky out of an open-air stadium.

18. Miracle Drug (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004)

Bono explains this song’s lyrical subject — a paraplegic schoolmate of the band — in a 2004 interview with Blender. “Eventually, they discovered a drug that allowed him to move one muscle in his neck. So they attached this unicorn device to his forehead and he learned to type. And out of him came all these poems that he’d been storing up in his head. Then he put out a collection called Dam-Burst of Dreams, which won a load of awards and he went off to university and became a genius; all because of a mother’s love and a medical breakthrough.”

17. Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004) / Iris (Hold Me Close) (Songs of Innocence, 2014)

Lyrically, Bono is at his best when he writes elegies to the dead. These are about Bono’s late father Robert and mother Iris Hewson, respectively. Bono’s dad died in 2001, his mother when he was 14 years old. The sentimentality in “Iris” is obvious but his wry expression of love for his father is more conflicted and sarcastic but no less emotional.

16. With or Without You (The Joshua Tree, 1987)

On the radio, “With or Without You” works as a great breakup song most every listener knows. It’s U2’s ultimate love song, really. But listen closer and it’s another God/girls conflation by Bono. The song is filled with a sexy tension, longing for the subject of a breakup ballad or a God longed to be understood in a gospel song about a crisis of faith.

15. Mothers of the Disappeared (The Joshua Tree, 1987)

After the brutal junta/dictatorship of ’70s Argentina and Chile, relatives of the murdered demanded to know where the bodies of their family were left. So came the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, who demonstrated regularly for information from their government. When Bono performed this song in Santiago on the PopMart tour in 1998, it was aired on Chilean television in the kind of political theater that could make you adore Bono for his huge heart or dismiss him as an insensitive opportunistic rock star. You decide.

14. Bullet the Blue Sky (The Joshua Tree, 1987) / Bullet the Blue Sky (Live) (Rattle & Hum Version) (Rattle and Hum, 1988)

CIA and U.S. military operations in El Salvador, gun control, Mexican border violence, religious violence… heck take your pick. As far as U2 is concerned, “Bullet the Blue Sky” has been about any number of injustices foreign and domestic perpetrated by America in the more-than-25 years since it was released. The deep, ominous Zeppelin groove murmurs on record but live, with all the lights out and Bono scanning a spotlight onto the audience, it’s chilling. When it’s preceded by Jimi Hendrix’s version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Rattle and Hum, there’s no confusion as to where the ire of “Bullet the Blue Sky” is pointed.

13. Gone (Pop, 1997)

Bono wrote the lyrics to “Gone” about the perils and absurdities of rock-star fame but after the suicide of INXS frontman Michael Hutchence, a good friend of Bono’s, the song has become defacto about him.

12. All I Want Is You (Rattle and Hum, 1988) / The First Time (Zooropa, 1993)

One of U2’s best musical modes is when the band steals a bit from Lou Reed/The Velvet Underground and uses their musical elements in its own way. These are two of the best examples. The muted, gorgeous riffs on “The First Time” stand in contrast to The Edge’s usual guitar fireworks. “The First Time” works as a kind of abridged simmering version of the soft-loud-soft progression of the six-and-a-half-minute “All I Want Is You,” which is slightly better for its divine string arrangements by Van Dyke Parks.

11. Kite (All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000)

Bono wrote “Kite” about his father dying of cancer, all while contemplating his own mortality and the point in his life when his children won’t need him anymore. It’s a gorgeous and deeply sad but life-affirming song.

10. Like a Song… (War, 1983)

The best song on War that U2 never released as a single, for some crazy reason. U2 had newfound fire in its belly for getting passionately and explicitly political. It’s also one of early U2’s most remix-ready early songs. Gang of Four, eat your heart out.

9. New Year’s Day (War, 1983)

Even people who hate U2 like this song. It’s still a staple on classic-rock radio, especially on or around the titular holiday. Bono’s lyric, “Nothing changes on New Years Day” serves as an important reminder for those who both embrace and dismiss Bono’s idealistic activism. But Bono is also reminding himself in a moment of clear-eyed realism that contrasts with War’s fresh-faced political passion.

8. I Will Follow (Boy, 1980) / Vertigo (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004)

The differences and similarities of these uptempo album kick offs and singles — musically, 25 years apart — show where U2 started and where the band is now, for better or worse, capturing so much of U2 in about three minutes each. “I Will Follow” is U2 as a hungry rock band, charging out of the gate. The original recording on Boy sounds as scratchy as it does scrappy, full of deft guitar harmonics by The Edge and the excited tinkling of a glockenspiel (during the song’s sudden decrescendo around 2:10-15, Steve Lillywhite sounds so excited he drops the damn thing). Today, “I Will Follow” is U2’s most-performed song live. And one of its most overtly God-fearing (“I was lost/I am found,” Bono borrows from “Amazing Grace”). “Vertigo” is one of U2’s newer and most successful singles, immortalized in an Apple ad. If “I Will Follow” praised an unnamed god, “Vertigo” praises an undescribed sound. It, too, feels scrappy, full of similar guitar harmonics to “I Will Follow.” Both are full of surrender and those seconds right before the guitar comes in where, as the listener, it feels like you’re suspended in mid-air, holding your breath until the guitar comes in. These moments, these little surrenders, sum up U2’s barest musical bones and the breadth of its incredible evolution.

7. Running to Stand Still (The Joshua Tree, 1987) / Bad (The Unforgettable Fire, 1984)

One of understated ways in which U2 was incredibly punk was the way Bono could introduce dark, disturbing topics in ways that broke listeners’ hearts. And listeners would let him, because they knew he would give them hope, too. The best example is U2 tackling heroin addiction of Ireland’s poor in the ’80s— much in the way Lou Reed did with “Street Hassle” or “Heroin” for New York. “Running to Stand Still” and “Bad” are two of the saddest songs in U2’s discography. Both deal with Bono witnessing the addicts of the Ballymun flats, a housing project near where he grew up in Dublin. “You’ve gotta cry without weeping, talk without speaking, scream without raising your voice” on “Running to Stand Still” remains one of Bono’s most poetic lyrics. His delivery on “Bad” of “I’m wide awake/ I’m not sleeping” remains one of his most emotional vocal takes.

6. One (Achtung Baby, 1991)

Achtung Baby was famously recorded in Berlin as the Berlin Wall came down in pieces in 1990. The song looks ahead to post-Cold War German reunification, capturing but not dwelling on the moment in which it was made. “One” has since become an all-purpose song for activists and citizens worldwide coming together and moving forward, capturing a moment, despite their differences. “We’re one,” Bono sings, “but we’re not the same.” U2 fans who don’t speak English know “One” phonetically, which might be why U2 named its global campaign against poverty after it. The musical influence of “One” is massive, too, having been covered or reinterpreted by artists as diverse as Mary J. Blige, Johnny Cash, Paul Oakenfold and the cast of Glee.

5. Walk On (All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000)

“Walk On” won the GRAMMY for Record of the Year in 2002. It became a healing song for the U.S. after September 11, 2001, with U2 performing it on the TV special America: A Tribute to Heroes. Let’s just assume you know the song, even in passing. What you might not know is how “Walk On” helped Burma and its deposed democratically elected president Aung San Suu Kyi achieve justice. A tribute to the under-house-arrest Suu Kyi, removed by military junta in 1989, the lyrics of “Walk On” were written from the perspective of her husband Michael Aris, who died in 1999 while Suu Kyi was under house arrest. Possession of a copy of this song or All That You Can’t Leave Behind would’ve gotten you jail time in Burma at this time. In part due to U2 raising worldwide awareness, international pressure mounted and Suu Kyi was released in 2012, thanks in some small part to the platform U2 gave Amnesty International on the U2360 Tour. She went on tour with the members of U2, who got to perform it for her nightly. Suu Kyi said that the song’s political message is “very close to how I feel.” Today, she is a prominent Burmese MP running for president (again) in 2015. And to think, Bono said, “If the song was s–t, it could’ve made things worse.”

4. Sunday Bloody Sunday (War, 1983)

U2’s go-to political anthem, written about The Troubles, the religious conflict between England and Northern Ireland, namely its tragic Bloody Sunday massacre. Though they’re Irish, the members of U2 were horrified by The Troubles’ religious terrorism as teenagers. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” was their plea for peace and humanity on both sides of the conflict. Since 1983, Bono has introduced it as “This is not a rebel song!” over its martial drum beat. It’s been played and repurposed worldwide by countless varied political and social movements, primarily as anti-war and humanitarian anthems. U2 has repurposed it for the Arab Spring, the Israel/Palestine conflict and more. How long must they sing this song? Too long.

3. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (The Joshua Tree, 1987) / I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (Live) (Rattle & Hum Version) (Rattle and Hum, 1988)

It’d be an understatement to say that conflating God and girls is a recurring theme for U2. But the band’s never done it better than this song. Bono, a lapsed Catholic who still believes deeply in God, wrote lyrics to a gospel song and secular love song simultaneously with “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” Not in two halves, but two full songs co-existing in one. It became a smash hit that stadiums full of people around the world sing along to and let it mean whatever it means to them, regardless of their faith, love or lack thereof. Sure, the live version on Rattle and Hum (featuring the New Voices of Freedom Gospel Choir on backing vocals, performed at Madison Square Garden) drives the God part home particularly hard. Regardless, the song’s about longing, that galactic pull toward something very far away.

2. Pride (In the Name of Love) (The Unforgettable Fire, 1984) / Pride (In the Name of Love) (Live) (Rattle & Hum Version) (Rattle and Hum, 1988)

As an Irishman still new to the U.S. and fascinated by American culture, Bono misstated the time of day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in both of these “Pride’ cuts. Dr. King was killed in the late afternoon/early evening, not “early morning, April 4,” as Bono sings. But it doesn’t even matter. “Pride (In the Name of Love)” is one of the most moving and lasting songs written about the slain civil-rights leader. About two years before the first Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was observed as a federal holiday, it reignited awareness of Dr. King’s legacy. The song was imbued with controversy at the opening date of U2’s The Joshua Tree Tour in Arizona, where the state’s governor intended to abolish the holiday. Before U2 came on stage, the show’s local concert promoter read a statement on behalf of U2 denouncing him.

1. Where the Streets Have No Name (The Joshua Tree, 1987)

Here’s the thing about “Streets”: it shouldn’t exist. By all rights, it never should’ve gotten released. The lyrics, even for Bono, read as contrived on the page. That makes sense, seeing as Bono wrote those lyrics haphazardly on an airline barf bag. The band spent about half its Joshua Tree recording sessions trying to get its sound just right. Frustrated, Brian Eno tried to stage an accident to delete the progress they had made. It shouldn’t exist. Yet it does. It’s been a fixture on U2’s live setlists since its release. Musically, it’s influenced the sound of britpop, emo, electronic music, shoegaze, mainstream and indie rock from the U.S., U.K. and beyond. Even South Africa’s Soweto Gospel Choir covered it. So did Pet Shop Boys. So did Muse. Countless times, The Edge’s guitar sound on “Streets” has been attempted but never duplicated. Because it sounds like an original moment of inspiration, like soaring freedom. By all rights, this song shouldn’t exist. But it does. And music is better for it.

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U2’s Rank 141-41

October 30, 2014

Every U2 Song, Ranked

By Paul de Revere

One thing you can say for U2 and its fans: they’re incredible archivists. Just the band’s own website is a trove of information that a U2 superfan could spend all day clicking around in. That’s not even mentioning @U2 and all the fan-uploaded goodies on YouTube. They made it easy to set parameters for this list of Every U2 Song, Ranked.

Included are songs from U2’s 13 full-length studio albums (Rattle and Hum is partially a studio album, so it counts), plus odds ‘n’ ends that weren’t live tracks or remixes included on U2’s two Best Of’s and its U218 singles collection, plus some recent one-off singles (“Invisible,” “Ordinary Love”) for timeliness. Altogether, there are about 150 songs in 141 rankings. Some songs are tied to each other, whether through live versions or through indistinguishable thematic similarities.

The lyrics span the full spectrum of Bono and The Edge: cheeky ironies, jokes and personas, reflections on childhood innocence, tributes to the living and elegies to the dead, conflation of the political/personal and — and this is a big one — God/girls. “Most bands start off writing about girls and end up writing about God, but we started off writing about God and ended up writing about girls,” Bono said in the Guardian. “But we found the God in the girls, that would be my retort.”

Musically, most of the songs on this list fall into one of a few modes. There’s the “With or Without You” mode, a fusion of rock power-ballad and soulful torch song with a prominent mid-tempo bass line, usually with a minimal lead guitar solo. There’s the “Where Streets Have No Name” mode, with a constant 4/4 pulse mimicking a drum machine, building to a big crescendo, with shimmering guitar sounds The Edge is known for, competing with Bono’s soaring vocals. There’s soul-and-gospel-influenced jams like “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” or “One.” There’s also the scrappy uptempo rocker, driving like “I Will Follow” or marching like “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” The musical modes and lyrical themes tend to cross pollinate in U2’s catalog, as you’ll see on this list.

Related: Bono on U2 iTunes Invasion: ‘We Might Have Gotten a Bit Carried Away’

Some of the highest-ranking songs are paragons of the tried-and-true devices listed above. But the band had to start somewhere and, while Boy and October are solid albums, not every song on it is a classic. Some of U2’s best songs are successful experiments with these devices (“Bad”) and syntheses of new ones (“Discotheque”). Some are simply dreadful (“White as Snow”).

Here’s hoping you really like U2.

~

141. White as Snow (No Line on the Horizon, 2009)

140. Original of the Species (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004)

139. FEZ-Being Born (No Line on the Horizon, 2009)

138. Unknown Caller (No Line on the Horizon, 2009)

137. Cedars of Lebanon (No Line on the Horizon, 2009)

136. If You Wear That Velvet Dress (Pop, 1997)

135. Summer Rain (The Best of 1990–2000, 2002)

134. Peace on Earth (All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000)

133. One Step Closer (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004)

132. The Playboy Mansion (Pop, 1997)

131. 4th of July (The Unforgettable Fire, 1984)

130. The Ocean (Boy, 1980)

129. Shadows and Tall Trees (Boy, 1980)

128. Stranger in a Strange Land (October, 1981)

127. Fire (October, 1981)

126. An Cat Dubh (Boy, 1980)

125. The Electric Co. (Boy, 1980)

124. Helter Skelter (Live) (Rattle & Hum Version) (Rattle and Hum, 1988)

123. All Along the Watchtower (Live) (Rattle & Hum Version) (Rattle and Hum, 1988)

122. Wake Up Dead Man (Pop, 1997)

121. Miami (Pop, 1997)

120. Your Blue Room (The Best of 1990–2000, 2002)

119. Window in the Skies (U218 Singles, 2006)

118. Babyface (Zooropa, 1997)

117. Numb (Zooropa, 1993) / Lemon (Zooropa, 1993)

116. Dirty Day (Zooropa, 1993)

115. I Threw a Brick Through a Window (October, 1981)

114. Another Time Another Place (Boy, 1980)

113. Scarlet (October, 1981) / Is That All? (October, 1981)

112. MLK (The Unforgettable Fire, 1984)

111. Stories for Boys (Boy, 1980)

110. A Day Without Me (Boy, 1980)

109. Twilight (Boy, 1980)

108. Acrobat (Achtung Baby, 1991)

107. Last Night on Earth (Pop, 1997)

106. Hawkmoon 269 (Rattle and Hum, 1988)

105. Crumbs from Your Table (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004)

104. North and South of the River (The Best of 1990–2000, 2002)

103. Grace (All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000)

102. No Line on the Horizon (No Line on the Horizon, 2009)

101. Miss Sarajevo (feat. Luciano Pavarotti) (The Best of 1990–2000, 2002)

100. Zooropa (Zooropa, 1993)

99. Moment of Surrender (No Line on the Horizon, 2009)

98. Wild Honey (All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000)

97. Stand Up Comedy (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004)

96. Mofo (Pop, 1997)

95. The Saints Are Coming (feat. Green Day) (U218 Singles, 2006)

94. Some Days Are Better Than Others (Zooropa, 1993)

93. Zoo Station (Achtung Baby, 1991)

92. Elvis Presley & America (The Unforgettable Fire, 1984)

91. The Refugee (War, 1983)

90. The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone) (Songs of Innocence, 2014)

89. God Part II (Rattle and Hum, 1988)

A riff off of a John Lennon song that sounds too slick to be on the rootsy, salt-of-the-earth Rattle and Hum.

88. Heartland (Rattle and Hum, 1988)

Works as a U2 travelogue of poetic imagery evoking Middle American landscapes. Bono’s fascination with America as a landscape and concept has rarely been expressed better.

87. Do You Feel Loved (Pop, 1997)

Slinky, sexy guitar sounds on a U2 song that’s ready for a high-fashion runway.

86. Elevation (All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000)

The lyric “Can’t sing but I’ve got soul” works as something of a self-deprecating manifesto for Bono.

85. Love Is Blindness (Achtung Baby, 1991)

The dark, moody and somewhat anticlimactic Achtung Baby finale recalls Dire Straits’ “Brothers in Arms.”

84. The Hands That Built America (The Best of 1990–2000, 2002)

A song for Gangs of New York that documents the triumph and tragedy of generations of Irish-American New Yorkers, from the Potato Famine to the end of The Troubles to the September 11 attacks.

83. Seconds (War, 1983)

An oddity in the U2 catalog, as it features The Edge’s vocals on a verse and a sampled vocal actuality of a military march.

82. Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World (Achtung Baby, 1991)

Quotes feminist Australian politician Irina Dunn with its lyric, “And a woman needs a man/ like a fish needs a bicycle.”

81. Sleep Like a Baby Tonight (Songs of Innocence, 2014)

The odd song out on Songs of Innocence that sounds like an Achtung Baby-era skewering of organized religion’s easy answers.

80. The Troubles (feat. Lykke Li) (Songs of Innocence, 2014)

Li’s vocals add to the despondency on this song, with lyrics written by Bono and The Edge about internalizing Ireland’s Troubles.

79. Volcano (Songs of Innocence, 2014)

A rousing ass-shaking War-era throwback simply about the power of rock ‘n’ roll.

78. Trip Through Your Wires (The Joshua Tree, 1987)

Bono shows off his harmonica skills on this Joshua Tree deep cut, one that was meant to be paired with “Sweetest Thing.”

77. A Man and a Woman (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004)

One of the few U2 songs that’s straight-ahead romantic and flirtatious. For mostly unexplored territory, U2 pull it off pretty well.

76. Breathe (No Line on the Horizon, 2009)

Bono in another stream of consciousness — a rant, really— with a moment of clarity on the lyric, “I’ve found grace inside a sound/ I found grace, it’s all that I found.”

75. I Fall Down (October, 1981)

One of a handful of songs between Boy and October that really hinted at how grandiose U2 would eventually sound.

74. Tomorrow (October, 1981)

One of the few U2 songs to feature overtly sounds of its native Ireland’s music, namely a fiddle and bagpipes, in this case.

73. When Love Comes to Town (Rattle and Hum, 1988)

U2 throws down with B.B. King and Little Richard for the third single off Rattle and Hum and is as wonderfully rootsy (and cheesy) as you think it is.

72. Red Hill Mining Town (The Joshua Tree, 1987)

Joshua Tree’s least adorned song, building slowly to a crescendo in tribute to workers in England’s National Union of Mineworkers’ 1984 strike.

71. Gloria (October, 1981)

The first track of October was arguably the “I Will Follow” that never really took off, with Bono’s lyrics evoking the Latin liturgy of Catholicism, conflating God and girls.

70. Into the Heart (Boy, 1980)

A remarkable U2 album cut in that its first two minutes sound like post-rock before post-rock (think: Explosions in the Sky) until Bono’s voice comes in.

69. October (October, 1981)

A mostly instrumental interlude that you may recognize as the musical bed for Jimmy Fallon’s “Thank You Notes” bit on Late Night and The Tonight Show.

68. Promenade (The Unforgettable Fire, 1984)

Just an ambient, chiming interlude, but for one of U2’s best records — one you want to go on another two-and-a-half minutes.

67. Out of Control (Boy, 1980)

Its lyrics read like an anti-war plea. Musically, it’s one of The Edge’s best early riffs and sounds like a Bruce Springsteen song interpreted by Magazine or Gang of Four.

66. The Unforgettable Fire (The Unforgettable Fire, 1984)

One of the most electronica-sounding early tracks of U2, with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois starting to gain almost full reign over U2 production-wise.

65. Song for Someone (Songs of Innocence, 2014) / Every Breaking Wave (Songs of Innocence, 2014)

Since 2000, U2 has tries to evoke its Peak Era sound with varying degrees of success. These two Songs of Innocence songs do a pretty good job of evoking “With or Without You”-type rock balladry.

64. When I Look at the World (All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000)

This lyrical crisis of faith from Bono is one of those great U2 songs that gets lost in the band’s post-’90s middle age. It also features one of the The Edge’s best solos.

63. Cedarwood Road (Songs of Innocence, 2014)

Bono detailing the class struggle and religious terrorism of his old neighborhood. “Sometimes fear is the only place we can call our home.”

62. Love and Peace or Else (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004)

Eno and Lanois’ churning synths make a return on this song, one of the band’s signature anti-war cries, namely against religious violence.

61. Surrender (War, 1983)

Adam Clayton’s lead bass line and backing vocals, via the backup singers of Latin disco band Kid Creole and the Coconuts, really shine here. The chanting vocal outro is stunning.

60. Desire (Rattle and Hum, 1988)

U2 stripping most of its Joshua Tree studio gloss away to show its blues/hootenanny roots with a classic Bo Diddley beat.

59. Ultra Violet (Light My Way) (Achtung Baby, 1991)

One of U2’s most popular non-singles brings some much needed brightness to a shadowy and moody Achtung Baby.

58. Exit (The Joshua Tree, 1987) / Please (Pop, 1997)

Slow-burning penultimate tracks of their respective albums with tense grooves that contain a little early musical DNA for Radiohead’s post-Bends sound.

57. Ordinary Love

Meant to coincide with the Nelson Mandela biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom but ended up coinciding closer to Mandela’s death. It’s a breakup song about the troubled marriage of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, a refreshingly apolitical take.

56. Invisible

A one-off single U2 gave away for free during the Super Bowl this year, produced with Danger Mouse from its Songs of Innocence session. Lyrically, Bono sings in the voice of an underdog with something to prove: himself as a teenager? Africa?

55. Magnificent (No Line on the Horizon, 2009)

The kind of U2 song that’s good as an anthemic sing-along but truly great when remixed by the right Euro house producer.

54. Electrical Storm (The Best of 1990–2000, 2002)

A great one-off single from U2 that, if released with more fanfare, could’ve been one of the band’s most popular to date.

53. Discotheque (Pop, 1997)

In 1997, this house-y jam — and Pop and Zooropa in general — was a middle finger in the face of U2’s rockist fans. Yet it’s also one of The Edge’s best guitar riffs to date.

52. Yahweh (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004)

A grandiose finale/prayer for Atomic Bomb, an album made to protest religious violence, in which Bono sings the unspeakable name of the Jewish God. Totally punk-rock, in their own way.

51. Van Diemen’s Land (Live) (Rattle & Hum Version) (Rattle and Hum, 1988) / The Wanderer (feat. Johnny Cash) (Zooropa, 1993)

U2 dipped into country gospel too infrequently in its rootsy days. The Man in Black helped the band out on Zooropa, singing over a drum machine. Yet The Edge proved he was more than capable of writing and singing a great country song on Rattle and Hum.

50. 40 (War, 1983)

War’s outro, reprising “How long must we sing this song?” of its lead track “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and answers it with “I will sing a new song,” which is exactly what U2 would go on to do with its career. It’s a thematic bookend to U2’s first truly great album.

49. Love Rescue Me (Rattle and Hum, 1988)

Remember that time Bob Dylan sang backing vocals on that soulful gospel throwdown with U2 and The Memphis Horns? That was pretty cool.

48. This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now (Songs of Innocence, 2014)

Dedicated to Joe Strummer, this tribute is a good approximation of a Sandinista! or, more accurately, War-era groove.

47. Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of (All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000)

A stripped-down Leave Behind single more gospel than rock ‘n’ roll. Its ending refrain is arguably The Edge’s best vocal take to date. Bono’s lyrics are a conversation with late INXS frontman Michael Hutchence, a close friend, who he imagines talking out of his 1997 suicide.

46. Angel of Harlem (Rattle and Hum, 1988)

An overlooked U2 single and a strong example of late-’80s U2’s fixation on Americana. There are plenty of middle-aged U2 fans waiting for today’s U2 to sound like this again.

45. California (There Is No End to Love) (Songs of Innocence, 2014)

One of the best grabs at Beach Boys-esque melodies and harmonies U2 has attempted. Recalls Bono’s fascination with the American landscape that filled U2’s earlier years.

44. All Because of You (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004)

Bono’s latter-day rock ‘n’ roll scream followed by The Edge’s rip-roaring solo makes this Atomic Bomb cut one of U2’s best straight-up rockers to date.

43. Indian Summer Sky (The Unforgettable Fire, 1984)

An encapsulation of the more-ambient sound U2 was going for on The Unforgettable Fire. The Edge’s chiming guitar and Adam Clayton’s versatile bass playing entangle beautifully.

42. Red Light (War, 1983)

One of The Edge’s best riffs and solos that never made it to being a single. It’s an oddity for U2’s War era, featuring prominent backing vocals and a horn solo.

41. Rejoice (October, 1981)

To quote Bono in an early U2 fan magazine, “I used the word ‘rejoice’ precisely because I knew people have a mental block against it. It’s a powerful word, it’s lovely to say. It’s implying more than ‘Get up and dance, baby.’”

~

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~

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77. A Man and a Woman (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004)

One of the few U2 songs that’s straight-ahead romantic and flirtatious. For mostly unexplored territory, U2 pull it off pretty well.

76. Breathe (No Line on the Horizon, 2009)

Bono in another stream of consciousness — a rant, really— with a moment of clarity on the lyric, “I’ve found grace inside a sound/ I found grace, it’s all that I found.”

75. I Fall Down (October, 1981)

One of a handful of songs between Boy and October that really hinted at how grandiose U2 would eventually sound.

74. Tomorrow (October, 1981)

One of the few U2 songs to feature overtly sounds of its native Ireland’s music, namely a fiddle and bagpipes, in this case.

73. When Love Comes to Town (Rattle and Hum, 1988)

U2 throws down with B.B. King and Little Richard for the third single off Rattle and Hum and is as wonderfully rootsy (and cheesy) as you think it is.

72. Red Hill Mining Town (The Joshua Tree, 1987)

Joshua Tree’s least adorned song, building slowly to a crescendo in tribute to workers in England’s National Union of Mineworkers’ 1984 strike.

71. Gloria (October, 1981)

The first track of October was arguably the “I Will Follow” that never really took off, with Bono’s lyrics evoking the Latin liturgy of Catholicism, conflating God and girls.

70. Into the Heart (Boy, 1980)

A remarkable U2 album cut in that its first two minutes sound like post-rock before post-rock (think: Explosions in the Sky) until Bono’s voice comes in.

69. October (October, 1981)

A mostly instrumental interlude that you may recognize as the musical bed for Jimmy Fallon’s “Thank You Notes” bit on Late Night and The Tonight Show.

68. Promenade (The Unforgettable Fire, 1984)

Just an ambient, chiming interlude, but for one of U2’s best records — one you want to go on another two-and-a-half minutes.

67. Out of Control (Boy, 1980)

Its lyrics read like an anti-war plea. Musically, it’s one of The Edge’s best early riffs and sounds like a Bruce Springsteen song interpreted by Magazine or Gang of Four.

66. The Unforgettable Fire (The Unforgettable Fire, 1984)

One of the most electronica-sounding early tracks of U2, with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois starting to gain almost full reign over U2 production-wise.

65. Song for Someone (Songs of Innocence, 2014) / Every Breaking Wave (Songs of Innocence, 2014)

Since 2000, U2 has tries to evoke its Peak Era sound with varying degrees of success. These two Songs of Innocence songs do a pretty good job of evoking “With or Without You”-type rock balladry.

64. When I Look at the World (All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000)

This lyrical crisis of faith from Bono is one of those great U2 songs that gets lost in the band’s post-’90s middle age. It also features one of the The Edge’s best solos.

63. Cedarwood Road (Songs of Innocence, 2014)

Bono detailing the class struggle and religious terrorism of his old neighborhood. “Sometimes fear is the only place we can call our home.”

62. Love and Peace or Else (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004)

Eno and Lanois’ churning synths make a return on this song, one of the band’s signature anti-war cries, namely against religious violence.

61. Surrender (War, 1983)

Adam Clayton’s lead bass line and backing vocals, via the backup singers of Latin disco band Kid Creole and the Coconuts, really shine here. The chanting vocal outro is stunning.

60. Desire (Rattle and Hum, 1988)

U2 stripping most of its Joshua Tree studio gloss away to show its blues/hootenanny roots with a classic Bo Diddley beat.

59. Ultra Violet (Light My Way) (Achtung Baby, 1991)

One of U2’s most popular non-singles brings some much needed brightness to a shadowy and moody Achtung Baby.

58. Exit (The Joshua Tree, 1987) / Please (Pop, 1997)

Slow-burning penultimate tracks of their respective albums with tense grooves that contain a little early musical DNA for Radiohead’s post-Bends sound.

57. Ordinary Love

Meant to coincide with the Nelson Mandela biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom but ended up coinciding closer to Mandela’s death. It’s a breakup song about the troubled marriage of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, a refreshingly apolitical take.

56. Invisible

A one-off single U2 gave away for free during the Super Bowl this year, produced with Danger Mouse from its Songs of Innocence session. Lyrically, Bono sings in the voice of an underdog with something to prove: himself as a teenager? Africa?

55. Magnificent (No Line on the Horizon, 2009)

The kind of U2 song that’s good as an anthemic sing-along but truly great when remixed by the right Euro house producer.

54. Electrical Storm (The Best of 1990–2000, 2002)

A great one-off single from U2 that, if released with more fanfare, could’ve been one of the band’s most popular to date.

53. Discotheque (Pop, 1997)

In 1997, this house-y jam — and Pop and Zooropa in general — was a middle finger in the face of U2’s rockist fans. Yet it’s also one of The Edge’s best guitar riffs to date.

52. Yahweh (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004)

A grandiose finale/prayer for Atomic Bomb, an album made to protest religious violence, in which Bono sings the unspeakable name of the Jewish God. Totally punk-rock, in their own way.

51. Van Diemen’s Land (Live) (Rattle & Hum Version) (Rattle and Hum, 1988) / The Wanderer (feat. Johnny Cash) (Zooropa, 1993)

U2 dipped into country gospel too infrequently in its rootsy days. The Man in Black helped the band out on Zooropa, singing over a drum machine. Yet The Edge proved he was more than capable of writing and singing a great country song on Rattle and Hum.

50. 40 (War, 1983)

War’s outro, reprising “How long must we sing this song?” of its lead track “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and answers it with “I will sing a new song,” which is exactly what U2 would go on to do with its career. It’s a thematic bookend to U2’s first truly great album.

49. Love Rescue Me (Rattle and Hum, 1988)

Remember that time Bob Dylan sang backing vocals on that soulful gospel throwdown with U2 and The Memphis Horns? That was pretty cool.

48. This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now (Songs of Innocence, 2014)

Dedicated to Joe Strummer, this tribute is a good approximation of a Sandinista! or, more accurately, War-era groove.

47. Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of (All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000)

A stripped-down Leave Behind single more gospel than rock ‘n’ roll. Its ending refrain is arguably The Edge’s best vocal take to date. Bono’s lyrics are a conversation with late INXS frontman Michael Hutchence, a close friend, who he imagines talking out of his 1997 suicide.

46. Angel of Harlem (Rattle and Hum, 1988)

An overlooked U2 single and a strong example of late-’80s U2’s fixation on Americana. There are plenty of middle-aged U2 fans waiting for today’s U2 to sound like this again.

45. California (There Is No End to Love) (Songs of Innocence, 2014)

One of the best grabs at Beach Boys-esque melodies and harmonies U2 has attempted. Recalls Bono’s fascination with the American landscape that filled U2’s earlier years.

44. All Because of You (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004)

Bono’s latter-day rock ‘n’ roll scream followed by The Edge’s rip-roaring solo makes this Atomic Bomb cut one of U2’s best straight-up rockers to date.

43. Indian Summer Sky (The Unforgettable Fire, 1984)

An encapsulation of the more-ambient sound U2 was going for on The Unforgettable Fire. The Edge’s chiming guitar and Adam Clayton’s versatile bass playing entangle beautifully.

42. Red Light (War, 1983)

One of The Edge’s best riffs and solos that never made it to being a single. It’s an oddity for U2’s War era, featuring prominent backing vocals and a horn solo.

41. Rejoice (October, 1981)

To quote Bono in an early U2 fan magazine, “I used the word ‘rejoice’ precisely because I knew people have a mental block against it. It’s a powerful word, it’s lovely to say. It’s implying more than ‘Get up and dance, baby.’”

Stop the State-Run Media

October 24, 2014

It’s time we stop letting the media set the rules.

The Future

October 20, 2014

Given the frenzy of interest following the announcement of the Apple Watch, you might think wearables will be the next really important shift in technology.

Not so.

Wearables will have their moment in the sun, but they’re simply a transition technology.

Technology will move from existing outside our bodies to residing inside us.

That’s the next big frontier.

Here are nine signs that implantable tech is here now, growing rapidly, and that it will be part of your life (and your body) in the near future.

1. Implantable smartphones

Sure, we’re virtual connected to our phones 24/7 now, but what if we were actually connected to our phones?

That’s already starting to happen.

Last year, for instance, artist Anthony Antonellis had an RFID chip embedded in his arm that could store and transfer art to his handheld smartphone.

Researchers are experimenting with embedded sensors that turn human bone into living speakers.

Other scientists are working on eye implants that let an image be captured with a blink and transmitted to any local storage (such as that arm-borne RFID chip).

But what takes the place of the screen if the phone is inside you? Techs at Autodesk are experimenting with a system that can display images through artificial skin.

Or the images may appear in your eye implants.

2. Healing chips

Right now, patients are using cyber-implants that tie directly to smartphone apps to monitor and treat diseases.

A new bionic pancreas being tested at America’s Boston University, for instance, has a tiny sensor on an implantable needle that talks directly to a smartphone app to monitor blood-sugar levels for diabetics.

Scientists in London are developing swallowable capsule-sized circuits that monitor fat levels in obese patients and generate genetic material that makes them feel “full”.

It has potential as an alternative to current surgery or other invasive ways to handle gross obesity.

Dozens of other medical issues from heart murmurs to anxiety have implant/phone initiatives under way.

3. Cyber pills that talk to your doctor

Implantables won’t just communicate with your phone; they’ll chat up your doctor, too.

In a project named Proteus, after the eensy body-navigating vessel in the film Fantastic Voyage, a British research team is developing cyber-pills with microprocessors in them that can text doctors directly from inside your body.

The pills can share (literally) inside info to help doctors know if you are taking your medication properly and if it is having the desired effect.

4. Bill Gates’ implantable birth control

The Gates Foundation is supporting an MIT project to create an implantable female compu-contraceptive controlled by an external remote control.

The tiny chip generates small amounts of contraceptive hormone from within the woman’s body for up to 16 years.

Implantation is no more invasive than a tattoo.

And, “The ability to turn the device on and off provides a certain convenience factor for those who are planning their family.”, said Dr Robert Farra of MIT.

Gives losing the remote a whole new meaning.

5. Smart tattoos

Tattoos are hip and seemingly ubiquitous, so why not smart, digital tattoos that not only look cool, but can also perform useful tasks, like unlocking your car or entering mobile phone codes with a finger-point?

Researchers at the University of Illinois have crafted an implantable skin mesh of computer fibers thinner than a human hair that can monitor your body’s inner workings from the surface.

A company called Dangerous Things has an NFC chip that can be embedded in a finger through a tattoo-like process, letting you unlock things or enter codes simply by pointing.

A Texas research group has developed microparticles that can be injected just under the skin, like tattoo ink, and can track body processes.

All of these are much wiser choices than the name of a soon-to-be-ex.

6. Brain-computer interface

Having the human brain linked directly to computers is the dream (or nightmare) of sci-fi.

But now, a team at Brown University called BrainGate is at the forefront of the real-world movement to link human brains directly to computers for a host of uses.

As the BrainGate website says, “using a baby aspirin-sized array of electrodes implanted into the brain, early research from the BrainGate team has shown that the neural signals can be ‘decoded’ by a computer in real-time and used to operate external devices.”

Chip maker Intel predicts practical computer-brain interfaces by 2020.

Intel scientist Dean Pomerleau said in a recent article, “Eventually people may be willing to be more committed to brain implants.”

“Imagine being able to surf the Web with the power of your thoughts.”

7. Meltable bio-batteries

One of the challenges for implantable tech has been how to get power to devices tethered inside or floating around in human bodies.

You can’t plug them in.

You can’t easily take them out to replace a battery.

A team at Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is working on biodegradable batteries.

They generate power inside the body, transfer it wirelessly where needed, and then simply melt away.

Another project is looking at how to use the body’s own glucose to generate power for implantables.

Think the potato battery of grammar school science, but smaller and much more advanced.

8. Smart dust

Perhaps the most startling of current implantable innovations is smart dust, arrays of full computers with antennas, each much smaller than a grain of sand, that can organize themselves inside the body into as-needed networks to power a whole range of complex internal processes.

Imagine swarms of these nano-devices, called motes, attacking early cancer or bringing pain relief to a wound or even storing critical personal information in a manner that is deeply encrypted and hard to hack.

With smart dust, doctors will be able to act inside your body without opening you up, and information could be stored inside you, deeply encrypted, until you unlocked it from your very personal nano network.

9. The verified self

Implantables hammer against social norms.

They raise privacy issues and even point to a larger potential dystopia.

This technology could be used to ID every single human being, for example.

Already, the US military has serious programs afoot to equip soldiers with implanted RFID chips, so keeping track of troops becomes automatic and worldwide.

Many social critics believe the expansion of this kind of ID is inevitable.

Some see it as a positive: improved crime fighting, universal secure elections, a positive revolution in medical information and response, and never a lost child again.

Others see the perfect Orwellian society: a Big Brother who, knowing all and seeing all, can control all.

And some see the first big, fatal step toward the Singularity, that moment when humanity turns its future over to software.

Confidence?

October 15, 2014

This Ebola thing is starting to get out of control. But I’m sure President Obola will protect us.
Ken

On Tuesday, October 14, 2014 5:25 PM, Gary Bauer wrote:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

To: Friends & Supporters

From: Gary L. Bauer

Ebola In America: Day 14

There is dismay at the disappointing news in Dallas that a nurse who treated Thomas Duncan has contracted the deadly Ebola virus. The Centers for Disease Control’s initial reaction was to blame the nurse for a “breach of protocol.” But the breach has yet to be identified and how the nurse became infected remains a mystery.

Needless to say, there is growing concern for the other health workers who helped to treat Mr. Duncan. CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said, “We have to rethink the way we address Ebola infection control, because even a single infection is unacceptable.” Dr. Frieden added, “We’re concerned, and unfortunately would not be surprised if we did see additional [Ebola] cases in healthcare workers.” And this is coming from the very folks who repeatedly assured us that everything was under control.

Adding to the confusion, and the lack of confidence in the government’s efforts, is the fact that the CDC doesn’t know exactly how many hospital workers were treating Thomas Duncan. The Associated Press suggests it could be as many as 70 people.

Unfortunately, the nurse’s unexplained infection is raising disturbing concerns, including the possibility that the virus may somehow spread through droplets in the air. That still seems unlikely, but the CDC’s credibility is dropping by the day.

How Nigeria Succeeded

When news of Thomas Duncan’s Ebola infection broke, priority number one for the Obama Administration was to reassure the public. But Ebola seemed to be such a low priority at the White House that it was nearly a week before Obama told the American people that his administration would be “working on protocols to do additional passenger screening” at airports.

Out of curiosity, I re-read press accounts of how Nigeria responded after its first confirmed Ebola case this year. According to USA Today, Nigeria succeeded in stopping Ebola from spreading because, “The government immediately imposed strict measures to quarantine those who were ill and to screen thousands of their contacts. . .” Nigeria also imposed flight restrictions on “Ebola-infected countries,” something the Obama Administration isn’t even considering.

Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, suggested Sunday that the U.S. should consider “temporarily suspending the 13,000 visas” currently held by individuals in the most afflicted countries. Such a proposal would be widely popular with the American people — and it is the right thing to do.

A new ABC News / Washington Post poll finds that nearly two-thirds of Americans are concerned about an Ebola outbreak in this country and only 33% believe the Obama Administration is doing enough to prevent it. When asked whether they would support “restricting entry to the United States by people who’ve been in affected countries,” 67% of those surveyed said “Yes.”

Liberals Blame Conservatives

It’s election year, so it was only a matter of time before Ebola managed to work its way into a campaign ad. Liberals are now running ads blaming budget cuts at the CDC for the Ebola outbreak in Dallas. The ad will begin airing in Kentucky and will run in at least three other states. The ad was produced by the same group that created a spot depicting Rep. Paul Ryan pushing an elderly woman in a wheelchair off a cliff.

The charge that budget cuts are responsible for the Ebola outbreak is, of course, ludicrous. And the left might want to think twice about pointing fingers. As we have noted before, it was the Obama Administration that cancelled quarantine regulations drafted in 2005.

Meanwhile, the government seems to have plenty of money for politically correct studies including one examining why lesbians are obese. After the Sandy Hook shootings, you may recall that President Obama ordered the CDC to conduct a study on gun violence as if it were some sort of disease. (The results were not what he had hoped for.)

The government also spent your tax dollars studying the health risks of dating a Mexican prostitute. Nearly $900,000 was spent on a cost/benefit analysis of snail sex. (Did they interview the snails?)

Budget cuts aren’t the problem. It’s left-wing bureaucrats with blank checks we need to be worried about.

Os Guinness

Faithful presence is not enough. It is merely the beginning.

Jesus was not merely present in the world, but far, far more. He was intensely active: he taught extensively, he healed countless people from all sorts of sickness and disease, he delivered from the domination of evil spirits, he drove out moneychangers from the temple, he raised people from the dead, he confronted hypocrisy, and he set his face toward Jerusalem and his active choice to die.

Like him, then, we must be not only present but active, and so dedicated to the world yet so dead to the world to which we are dedicated, that in some small way we too may strike a critical tension with the world that will be the source of the culture-shaping power that only the church can exhibit. The fact is that the principle is easy to say but hard to follow, for the pressures of the modern world are unrelenting.

So if we really wish to be agents of transforming engagement in our time, we have to be constantly asking Lenin’s questions: Who? Whom? Is the church shaping the culture, or is the culture shaping the church?

But those questions assume other questions that must come even before that. Do we know the world well enough to know how and where it is likely to be squeezing us into its mold? And do we know our faith well enough to know where the mold of our world will be beneficial and where it would be harmful?

In sum, we are to be as close as we can be to our Lord’s call to us to be in the world but not of it—a challenge that requires not only faithfulness and obedience, but discernment and the willingness to count the cost and say no to the world.

In a move that should be seen as a slap in the face to law enforcement officers, everywhere, the students of Goddard College in Vermont have selected convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal to deliver the school’s Fall commencement address.
Abu-Jamal, who was removed from death row in 2011, has been serving out a life sentence at the Mahanoy State Correctional Institution in Frackville, Pa. In 1996, he received a bachelor’s degree from the Plainfield, Vt. liberal arts school.
Abu-Jamal will will record a video of his remarks in prison to be played at the commencement ceremony.
He has long maintained his innocence, but the evidence against him is overwhelming.
“The question of Abu-Jamal’s guilt is not a close call,” according to John Fund. “Two hospital workers testified that Abu-Jamal confessed to them: ‘I shot the motherf***er, and I hope the motherf***er dies.’ His brother, William, has never testified to his brother’s innocence even though he was at the scene of the crime. Abu-Jamal himself chose not to testify in his own defense.”
As Faulkner tried to arrest Abu-Jamal’s brother during a traffic stop, Abu-Jamal shot the policeman once in the back and then stood over him and shot him four more times at close range, once directly in the face. Multiple eyewitnesses were present during the crime.
It would be one thing of Abu-Jamal had confessed his crime, apologized and tried to make amends.
The first step toward forgiveness and redemption is admission of guilt. But cop killer Abu-Jamal has done none of that. Instead he’s played the race card and the victim card and manipulated a lot of gullible liberals – including these students at Goddard – to lionize him.

David Porter
Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. — A man convicted in the shooting death of a New Jersey state trooper in a crime that still provokes strong emotion among law enforcement more than 40 years later was ordered released on parole by a state appeals court Monday.

Sundiata Acoli was known as Clark Edward Squire when he was convicted of the 1973 slaying of state trooper Werner Foerster during a stop on the New Jersey Turnpike. Now in his mid-70s, he was denied parole most recently in 2011, but the appellate judges reversed that ruling Monday.

Trooper Werner Foerster. (New Jersey State Police Memorial Association Image)
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In a 28-page opinion, the panel wrote that the parole board ignored evidence favorable to Acoli and gave undue consideration to past events such as a probation violation that occurred decades earlier.

One of the three people in the car when it was stopped was Joanne Chesimard, who also was convicted of Foerster’s slaying, but eventually escaped to Cuba and is now known as Assata Shakur. Last year, state and federal authorities announced a $2 million reward for information leading to her capture, and the FBI made her the first woman on its list of most wanted terrorists. She and Acoli were members of black militant organizations at the time.

At the news conference last year announcing the increased reward for Shakur, Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey state police, called the case “an open wound.”

“I am both disheartened and disappointed by the appellate decision in this matter,” Fuentes said through a spokesman Monday. “The mere passage of time should not excuse someone from the commission of such a horrendous act. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Foerster family whose lives have been deprived of a father and son.”

According to court documents, Acoli’s gun went off during a struggle with Foerster, who had responded as backup after another officer pulled over the car for a broken tail light. The state contended Chesimard shot Trooper James Harper, wounding him, then took Foerster’s gun and shot him twice in the head with his own gun as he lay on the ground. A third man in the car, James Costen, died from his injuries at the scene.

Acoli has claimed he was grazed by a bullet and blacked out, and couldn’t remember the exact sequence of events. He was sentenced in 1974 to life plus 24 to 30 years, and was denied parole in 1993 and 2004. He is currently in prison in Otisville, New York, about 75 miles northwest of New York City.

The appellate judges wrote Monday that the parole board ignored a prison psychologist’s favorable report on Acoli and the fact that he had expressed remorse for the trooper’s death and had had no disciplinary incidents in prison since 1996. They also faulted the board for giving too much weight to Acoli’s past criminal record and an unspecified probation violation, which occurred several decades before the board’s decision.

“Make no mistake, we are completely appalled by Acoli’s senseless crimes, which left a member of the State Police dead and another injured, as well as one of Acoli’s associates dead and the other injured,” the judges wrote. “But Acoli has paid the penalty under the laws of this State for his crimes.”

Christopher Burgos, president of the state troopers’ fraternal association, called the court’s decision “unbelievably insane.”

“Once again the families affected who have lost loved ones in service to their state and country, law enforcement in New Jersey and the US have had wounds ripped open again 40 years later, and sadly we have seen the failure of our justice system to keep these violent offenders behind bars for the rest of their lives,” he wrote in an email.

Through a spokesman, the state attorney general’s office said it would appeal the decision and could seek a stay that, if granted, would postpone Acoli’s release.

Balance or Extremes

October 1, 2014

Pastors and scholars try their best to be “balanced” as they work through different aspects of theology. Balance is a worthy goal, of course, since imbalance tilts us toward extremes, which drop off into heresies.

Not long before he died, John Stott included “balance” as one of the eight aspects of radical discipleship most needed in today’s church. He focused on balance between individual discipleship and corporate fellowship, balance between worship and work, and balance between pilgrimage and citizenship.

Balance is a worthy pursuit, but there are times this pursuit can hinder us from hearing something that may come from “out of the blue.” We are tempted to dismiss someone who continually harps on one subject as being “imbalanced; we ignore the person who seems to direct inordinate attention in one direction, when it may be that we need to hear this voice in order that we ourselves can maintain a proper balance.

To illustrate my point, I’d like to point out a quote from Jurgen Moltmann, an influential theologian of the past century. Moltmann is well known for his emphasis on a theology of “hope” – the attempt to see and interpret Christianity through an eschatological lens, which unfortunately led him into process and liberation theology. Still, I believe he is instructive when he explains why a singular focus can be helpful at times:

“To draw theology together to a single point like this, illuminating it from a single focus, of course leads to one-sidedness. But the person who is caught up in a discussion, who wants to speak to a particular situation, cannot be complete and harmoniously balanced. In standing up for one’s own concern one must over-emphasize, putting one’s viewpoint over against others, if need be polemically. . . . No theology can escape a degree of passionate extremism.”

Is Moltmann’s emphasis on eschatology imbalanced? Of course it is, which he readily admits. But the benefit of his focus is that, taken with other theologians who may downplay or neglect the eschatological aspect of discipleship, it can serve to balance us out.

Martin Luther tended to interpret everything through the lens of justification by faith and a strong Law/Gospel dichotomy. Was he imbalanced in some of his exegesis? Most scholars today would probably say, “Yes. At times, Luther was unbalanced.” But thank God he was! In recovering a central New Testament insight that was in danger of being lost, Luther’s theology sometimes leaned toward passionate extremism, but God used his passion to preserve the gospel of grace.

We could multiply examples.

Take Calvin’s emphasis on finding comfort in God’s inscrutable sovereignty.
Or Jonathan Edwards’ desire to connect everything to God’s glory.
Consider Barth’s allergic reaction to anything that smelled like natural theology (because of the liberal excesses he had witnessed).
Or N.T. Wright’s interpretation of the New Testament from within the systematic framework of “the end of exile.”
The list could go on and on. Different theologians and church traditions put forth their insights vigorously, all with a degree of passionate extremism.

Some evangelicals engage the theological task looking for what is either totally true or totally in error. But much of our theological study should instead be seen more as a balancing of emphases – a tapestry where different streams throughout Christian history and different theologians with varying degrees of insight into important subjects are weaved together to help us get a better glimpse of the whole.

It’s because some theologians are unbalanced that the church is able to stay steady. The Church is the better for it.

Trevin Wax