March 31, 2008

What 37 Looks Like

JA notes the birthdays of Ewan McGregor and Nathan Fillion.

Posted by armand at 02:29 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

This is working very well for them

Via LGM and The Monkey Cage, a piece by a Stanford PhD candidate called Republican Vote Buying in the 2004 US Presidential Election (PDF). The abstract:

In the aftermath of the summer 2004 Florida hurricane season, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) distributed $1.2 billion in disaster aid to Florida residents. This research presents two empirical findings that collectively suggest the Bush administration engaged in vote buying behavior. First, by tracking the geographic location of each aid recipient, the data reveal that FEMA treated applicants from Republican neighborhoods much more favorably than those from Democratic or moderate neighborhoods, even conditioning on hurricane severity, home value, and demographic factors. Second, I compare precinct-level vote counts from the post-hurricane (November 2004) and pre-hurricane (November 2002) elections to measure the effect of FEMA aid on Bush’s vote share. Using a two-stage least squares estimator, this analysis reveals that core Republican voters are easily swayed by FEMA aid – $16,800 buys one additional vote for Bush – while Democrats and moderates are not. Collectively, these results suggest the Bush administration maximized its 2004 vote share by concentrating FEMA disaster aid among core Republicans.

So, anyone know of something similar going on with data from Katrina?

Posted by binky at 12:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Klein on Prison Rape, ObWi on McCain's Scary Advisors

So now that the break is over, we'll be getting back to posting. I'll start by noting a few things worth checking out from Sunday. Ezra Klein has a nice op-ed on our society's appalling views regarding prison rape. Hilzoy has a post on the happily cold-hearted Phil Gramm, the man who's supposedly teaching John McCain about economics. And Publius has a bone-chilling quotation from one of McCain's foreign policy advisors. And McCain is supposedly the national security candidate? Scary.

Posted by armand at 12:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 26, 2008

Spring Break!

Okay, so it is now almost the middle of the middle day in Spring Break. So I think the three of us are go on something of a blogging hiatus for the rest of the week. Sadly none of us are off to Senor Tadpole's to have margaritas made in our mouths, but life away from computers will do us some good. We might check in occasionally, maybe even with some Spring Break adventure to share. But expect posting to be very light (if it occurs at all). Enjoy the rest of your week, and we'll be back with you before the end of the month.

Posted by armand at 11:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Clinton Volunteers to be Interviewed by Scaife? Why?

Ewwww. That's far beyond a cats and dogs living together moment. As Josh Marshall notes, that's just wrong on a hundred levels.

Remember, this is the guy who spent millions of dollars puffing up wingnut fantasies about Hillary's having Vince Foster whacked and lots of other curdled and ugly nonsense. Scaife was the nerve center of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

Indeed. So why on Earth would she do it? One reason does seem pretty obvious.

But the idea Sen. Clinton and her staff went into an editorial board meeting with Scaife and his lackey reporters without a clear sense that they were going to get at least one choice Jeremiah Wright question just somehow doesn't ring true to me.
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Now Is the Time to Pressure Maliki to Integrate the Sunni Militias

High problematic from a Shiite point of view, sure, but Marc Lynch makes a pretty good case for it here. Why now and what can be gained?

The downside is that if Maliki doesn't go along, dragging his feet and ignoring American advice as usual, then things may well get ugly. But all signs suggest that they will get ugly anyway - and better that they get ugly while the US is at the highest troop levels it will ever have. If Maliki won't do this now, when US troop levels are high and security is relatively better, with the shadow of a new President who likely will not continue to offer an open-ended commitment, then he never will... and everyone should know this. The upside is that if it works, then the next President - whoever it is - will be dealing with a more competent and more effectively sovereign Iraqi state in which the weight of Sunni arms is more vested rather than with an uneasy, violent standoff between heavily armed and mistrustful militias seperated only by American troops.
Posted by armand at 10:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 25, 2008

Armand's Song of the Week - New Order's "1963"

Okay, maybe that'd be more appropriately a song of the week in 1987, but I am in even more of a New Order mood than usual lately (which is pretty close to impossible, yet somehow has happened), and this song is underappreciated. Who'd have thought a wacky Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory could create something so light and entertaining?

Posted by armand at 07:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Police Chief in Fallujah

Yesterday the Washington Post ran this profile of the police chief in Fallujah, a former member of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard, and a man who enthusiastically fought Americans in the wake of the war.

For the next two years, Zobaie said he was a commander in the Sunni insurgency. "Everywhere I could reach, I fought the Americans," he said. "I didn't feel well until I hit the Americans. Then I felt comfortable."

While most of the article focuses on his (very) tough tactics, it definitely paints a bleak picture of the future.

What Zobaie wants is for the U.S. military to hand over full control of Fallujah. He believes Iraq's current leaders are not strong enough. Asked whether democracy could ever bloom here, he replied: "No democracy in Iraq. Ever."
Posted by armand at 02:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No More Boudin Noir

Via Modern Fabulousity I see that Florent is going out with style - a five-week going away bash, with each week themed around one of the stages of grieving. I'll miss it. It was a fun, and wonderfully convenient, place.

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After Dark

Last night I finished reading another Murakami novel, his latest novel, After Dark. It's the fourth novel of his I've read, and the fourth I've very much enjoyed. It's not as grand or sweeping as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle or Kafka on the Shore. Here he is looking at one night - and how a few people in a rough neighborhood of Tokyo interact during the darl hours. And while there is a feeling of a threatening gloom all around, and some bloody violence, ultimately the story is about a few characters working through the night, connecting, and surviving. On that note Walter Kirn concluded his review in the New York Times thusly:

He sees how bravely earthlings muddle on, bits of eternity lashed, prodded by baffling appetites and instincts into vinyl-upholstered booths at Denny's and Lysol-soaked rent-by-the-hour motel cubicles. No wonder it's his practice as a writer to log every song that comes in over the radio; catchy tunes offer legitimate solace to such beings. In the darkness a beacon is anything that shines, however weakly, however briefly. Standing sentry above the common gloom, Murakami detects phosphorescence everywhere, but chiefly in the auras around people, which glow brightest at night and when combined but fade at dawn, when we go our separate ways.
Posted by armand at 01:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The European Naval Surge in the Middle East

Yesterday Galrahn posted on the big increase in naval activity in the Middle East - "we find it noteworthy we are in the midst of the largest European naval surge to the Middle East in the 21st century and nobody is talking about it." Yeah, that is interesting. I don't think it necessarily means war. But given the enormous tensions in Lebanon at the moment, it does appear the Europeans will be in a strong position to protect their citizens and interests if war breaks out.

Posted by armand at 10:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Drum on the Media's Protection of McCain/Belief in His Cred

Exactly. It's a huge part of why McCain was always the strongest possible Republican nominee. No matter what he does, the media believes in him and his righteousness across a host of issue areas. It's a huge advantage for his campaign.

Posted by armand at 10:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 24, 2008

The Screening Room's Top Ten Songs in Movies

I don't know what I'd say the Top 10 are, but this list features some I imagine a fair number of people would agree with. I think the listings of Needle in the Hay and Waterloo are great choices.

Posted by armand at 05:24 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

McCain on Lebanon, Desert Storm, and Bosnia

Joshua Keating looks at the history of John McCain's commentary on foreign involvements over the last quarter century and notes he hasn't always held the views he does now.

On Lebanon:

The longer we stay in Lebanon, the harder it will be for us to leave. We will be trapped by the case we make for having our troops there in the first place.

On Desert Storm:

We cannot even contemplate, in my view, trading American blood for Iraqi blood.

On Bosnia:

If we find ourselves involved in a conflict in which American casualties mount, in which there is no end in sight, in which we take sides in a foreign civil war, in which American fighting men and women have great difficulty distinguishing between friend and foe, then I suggest that American support for military involvement would rapidly evaporate.

Such sentiments really don't fit with his let's stay in Iraq for 100 or 1,000 years statements, do they?

Posted by armand at 04:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"First, Be Not Afraid" - The Obama Doctrine

Spencer Ackerman spends some time with Sen. Obama's foreign policy advisors in an attempt to determine the core of his foreign policy.

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Tim Johnson Wavering, Bredesen Argues For Back Room Deals

The Democratic race promises to go on and on and on - and the longer it goes on, the more different people are coming up with their own rules for deciding this thing. Yesterday Campaign Diaries noted that Sen. Johnson of South Dakota announced he'd back Clinton is she won his state, even though he'd previously come out for Obama. And Gov. Bredesen of Tennessee actually argued for the candidates getting together with the supers after June 3 to tell them their positions (uh, has Bredesen not been paying attention to the race for the last year?), and have the supers make the decision after that. Yes ladies and gentlemen, he's arguing for a return to the smoke-filled rooms of yore!

This really needs to end. The longer it plays out the more it breaks down. It reminds me of the 1992 election and the endless numbers of ways members of the House promised to decide how they would vote if they had to decide the presidential election that year. Creating more uncertainty and more arbitrary mechanisms of decision might be good for the Clinton campaign - but it's terrible for the party, and is sure to make many question the legitimacy of the process. That can't be good for the party or its nominee.

Posted by armand at 10:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Simpsons Line of the Day

From last night's rerun about the Springfield primary:

We have Alec Baldwin. They have Stephen Baldwin. They might as well not even have a Baldwin.
Posted by armand at 10:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 23, 2008

A Mighty Heart

I put off watching this Michael Winterbottom film for a long time. I figured it was going to be rough getting through it, given the subject matter. But actually it wasn't - and it's really quite good.

I should say at the start that I don't tend to care for the way Winterbottom directs, and that was to a degree once again the case here. I mean his "you are there" style works perfectly for the way the story is told, so that's fine. But the way it's shot and edited is distracting and choppy. It's nice how he just throws you in a scene, and the camera moves all around - but the choppy presentation makes it a bit hard to follow at times.

But getting beyond that, the shooting, the script, the setting, the acting, the cross-cutting of scenes from different times - it's all really good. The film is surprisingly life-affirming and optimistic - though of course what it chronicles is a horrible time. It's primarily a procedural. What you are watching for 100 minutes is mostly a chronicle of what went on in the life of Mariane Pearl and those around her as they tried to get news and free her husband. Here and there you see how that search fit into a wide array of political disputes and competing frames of international relations and journalism - for example, how this was tied into the India/Pakistan dispute, or the role that US newspapers should or shouldn't have in cooperating with the US government, and the effects of their choices. And those things are quite interesting. But mostly you are simply watching the (great) difficulties involved in the search - even when massive pressure is being put on the Pakistani president by Secretary Powell, and even though the (quite cooperative) local police have interrogation methods at their disposal that US police do not.

All in all, I'd recommend it if you think you might be interested in it. It is a compeling film. And actually would be one that a lot of International Studies majors and the like could probably get a lot out of. Oh, and Ms. Jolie is indeed very good. Really quite good. If I had to pick a "most impressive" person out of the cast I'd likely go with Irfan Khan - but Jolie, Dan Futterman, and the rest of the cast are all very good in their roles.

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Yeah, it's like that

Posted by binky at 12:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wrongness

I know everyone else means about the Iraq war, but I just have to confess, especially to Armand, that I was terribly wrong about Buffy being "teh suck."

Posted by binky at 12:17 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Sweet!

WVU sends Duke home!

Posted by binky at 12:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 22, 2008

Sarkozy Dedicates "Le Terrible"

Once again we see that European navies know how to choose properly fearsome names for their warships - while our great naval weapons of influence and destruction get terrifying names like Gerald Ford, Nebraska, and Chancellorsville. Well I suppose there is something disturbing that we name very expensive US Navy warships after victories for the Confederacy - but that's not the kind of terrifying I had in mind.

Posted by armand at 03:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bob Novak Is Floating Jindal for VP This Weekend

So in his widely-read weekend column Bob Novak (Novakula, the Prince of Darkness, what have you) is noting that a lot of people on the right are floating the name of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as a possible vice presidential nominee. This is true. I've seen Jindal's name floated in a number of places. But is it terribly rude of me to call - BULLSHIT - on such talk? Jindal is half McCain's age, and he's been governor for 2 months. True, he's impressed many on the right since he was in his mid-20s, and he's a conservative Christian who'd add some ethnic/racial diversity to the ticket, but c'mon. He's 36 and has been governor for 2 months. Given that McCain's campaign is going to be based on experience and preparedness, is it really a good idea for him to name Jindal?

Posted by armand at 02:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Crazy Cajun Carville Accuses Bill Richardson of Murdering Jesus?

Well, not quite - but political gun for hire and extremely skinny guy James Carville (to see him in tight jeans is a wee bit disconcerting) has likened New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to Judas and is talking about "30 pieces of silver". A little over the top, no? The Clinton camp is not taking Richardson's endorsement of Obama well.

Posted by armand at 01:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 21, 2008

"Do We Really Know Obama" at WVU

Interesting. Today through my office building copies of a sheet of paper have been taped up and posted. The paper details Obama's supposed flip-flops on NAFTA (with a reference to the debunked AP/Canada story), supposed flip-flops on troop withdrawals (with the thinnest gruel possible to story the charge), the Wright imbroglio (with completely inaccurate commentary), Michelle Obama's "proud of my country" comment (again, with completely inaccurate commentary), and "Obamas connection with known terrorists William Ayers" (which is mostly some 3rd party saying the 2 men know one another, and a review of Ayers' acts in the 60s). Putting aside that whoever wrote up this twisted hit job can't be bothered with the rules of punctuation and spelling, I find the timing of this interesting - since the Clinton campaign is pushing the Wright story and sees undermining Obama, making him unelectable, as the only shot it has at winning the nomination. And of course Senator Clinton was just in West Virginia, so maybe the campaign was giving some tips to some of her local fans?

Though one also wonders about the timing of this placement on the walls of the hallways. It's a holiday. Almost no one is here today. The building is locked. Unless the pamphleteer's intended audience is the custodial staff, it's an odd time to post this. But hey, maybe that's what the campaign is going for (that's not a slam at custodians - I just mean maybe the campaign may be targeting a specific demographic and knowing when it can get to them).

Posted by armand at 04:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Bush Lies to the American People About Iran (Dog Bites Man)

This really is rather staggering. President Bush is not a stupid man. But there seem to be things he simply insists on believing, whether or not they have any connection to reality. This is bad enough when it comes to foreign policy decision making inside the administration. But to tell bald-faced lies (or to be more polite I guess I could say "gross inaccuracies") to the US populace on an issue this important is really rather shameful - as well as terribly hurtful to any attempt to have a serious national discussion about an issue that certainly merits one.

Posted by armand at 02:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Federal Action, "Rings"

Not that I am opposed to catching criminals, but I find it awfully interesting that suddenly Morgantown is a hotbed of federal investigation into two criminal rings, one for drugs and another for prostitution.

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Hillary Clinton on Coal

Now that she's campaigning in Coal Country (WV this week, and I presume she'll be in Kentucky soon given that both areas fit her base demographic perfectly) Senator Clinton has being sharing her views on coal. Sen. Obama, from the coal state of Illinois, has caught a lot of criticism for his statements about "clean coal". But it turns out that Clinton's no better (in the eyes of most Democrats) than he is on the issue.

Posted by armand at 12:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Passport File Breaches

Unlike a lot of other screaming headlines of "OMG!11!! Sumonez aftr Obama!!1!" due to the reported security breaches, I'm not shocked, surprised or particularly appalled. This kind of stuff has always gone on, with medical records and everything else. Flunkies have access to sensitive information. The only good news is that now with computerized systems that log access, it is easier to see when they've done it. This is why 13 people were fired for looking at Brit Brit's psych files. Just to be clear, I'm not saying I think files should be breached, mind you, just that this is far from new. And this is why in this day an age there is no such thing as a private doctor-patient relationship.

Posted by binky at 12:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

About the Turn at Spruce and Pleasant St.

There really does need to be better signage there that shows that both lanes can turn left. I've thought that for a long time, and the screech and ca-chunk I heard behind me there this morning reminded me of the problem (didn't see it, but I can guess what happened). Keep it in mind if you drive by there as often as I do.

Posted by armand at 11:18 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Richardson Endorses Obama

Now this makes me happy, mostly at the thought that Richardson could be considered for a VP or other major foreign policy spot in an Obama administration. As you know, I have been less willing than Armand to commit in my consideration of the two democratic candidates, but this definitely means something to me. Having a real diplomat with Richardson's experience on board would be a very big check mark on the Obama side.

Posted by binky at 09:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Crazy Preachers

Bitch PhD makes a list of some of the White, and from the Right, nuttiness in order to point out the double standard:

Kotsko sums it up:

white preachers obviously believe all kinds of crazy things -- for instance, that political events in the Middle East should be manipulated so as to conform to some kind of magical heavenly code that will set off the end of the world

Not to mention that Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans, that America is "no different" than Nazi Germany, that we should rewrite the Constitution to "god's standards", that America deserved 9/11.

And no, the powerful white fundamentalist nutjobs are not marginal figures: Bush, McCain, and Reagan all had close ties with him. Bush has been more than happy to give federal jobs to graduates of Pat Robertson's law school (see also here. McCain, as we all know, actively courted Hagee's endorsement.

Posted by binky at 09:38 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

March 19, 2008

Late Night French Music Break

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A Plug for a Local(ish) Band

Drown Culture is streaming their new, er, maybe album. They have posted that the destination is unknown (when you hear the songs, you'll get why that is such an appropriate statement), meaning there is as of yet no actual album. This is one of my favorite "local" bands to see, along with GirlTalk (even less local, and less frequent these days now that he is famous), and always a great live show. Smart, good music, and lots of fun. Plus, one of the guys in the band is a former student of mine and a super nice guy. Check 'em out!

Posted by binky at 07:51 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Permits For New Construction Plunge to a 16 Year Low

Yay. Some good economic news.

Posted by armand at 03:18 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Supreme Court and Heller

Dahlia Lithwick reviews the oral argument in the big gun case, and note the Humpty-Dumpty world it has produced:

Today we have four liberals rediscovering the beauty of local government and judicial restraint and five conservatives poised to identify a fundamental personal right that will have judges mucking about in gun cases for years to come. After all these years of deep conservative suspicion of turning over policy matters to the courts, the Roberts Court has fallen in love with a new constitutional right. And while they don't seem much concerned about how the judges will manage it, they've just about ensured that judges around the country will soon be ruling in gun cases the way they used to rule on speeding tickets.
And Jack Balkin finds the whole thing utterly predictable, and very much in line with the thinking of those who believe in a living constitution. And liberals who don't like it should be more politically active.

If you don't like the result in Heller, it's because you don't like a country dominated by political conservatives who have influenced political culture for the past generation, and who have sufficient political clout that they have been able to staff most of the federal judiciary and a majority of the positions on the Supreme Court.

Living constitutionalists like me can make fun of the Supreme Court all they like, and believe me, I'm happy to throw in my share of zingers. But we should recognize that we are making fun of the same forces that produce decisions that keep the Constitution in line with changing attitudes. In this particular case, they are changing attitudes that most liberals like myself do not like. Well, that's constitutional politics. If you don't like the living Constitution you get, you really should be working harder to get the national politics you like, because that's pretty much how the Constitution changes over time. Living constitutionalism isn't just a set of positions about interpretation, it's a process of argument and persuasion that gets worked out in politics and is eventually reflected in law. The engines of living constitutionalism gave us Lawrence, now they give us Heller; that is how the game is played. As they say about those Powerball jackpots, you can't win if you don't play.

Posted by armand at 02:14 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Arthur C. Clarke Is Dead

I suppose we should note the passing of one of the most influential science fiction writers of the 20th century. Childhood's End was one of my favorite novels when I was a teenager.

Posted by armand at 11:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jack Murtha Endorses Hillary

In one more step toward her coming big victory in the PA primary, Sen. Clinton has won the support of Rep. Jack Murtha, arguably the most influential member of PA's House delegation, and an influential Democrat in the Congress as a whole. Helpful to the Clinton campaign, no doubt, though personally the fact that she's won the support of Murtha, a back-scratching social conservative, makes me more confident in my choice of Obama.

Posted by armand at 11:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 18, 2008

Drezner on Holbrooke and Zoellick

Snap. This is too delicious not to link to:

4) Both Robert Zoellick and Richard Holbrooke are very, very smart, and are fully aware of how smart they are. There are two significant differences between them:

a) Zoellick displays flashes of arrogance, but usually keeps it in check; Holbrooke, on the other hand, cannot appear to function in any mode other than pure disdain -- unless there's someone more powerful than him in the room.

b) Zoellick can talk about economic issues with just as much fluency as security issues; Holbrooke knows squat about economics. To be fair, I fear that Zoellick is the last of a dying breed.

Steve Clemons has similar thoughts.

Posted by armand at 05:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

JA's Love of Donnie Darko

Since a couple of you just watched it, thought I'd link to this list of 20 things to love about it. My favorites are definitely #19 and #20 - but there's a lot here to enjoy.

Posted by armand at 03:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dan In Real Life

Ugh. Who was the brilliant exec who decided to include "In Real Life" in the title of the most contrived film I've seen in years? On top of the beyond stupid, predictable and irrititating script, the director was downright cruel to the actors. Did Dianne Wiest have a single moment in frame when she wasn't cooking or doing laundry? Did the side relatives ever have a moment where their lines didn't follow a sudden turn into the action/dialogue - followed quickly by a turn away? What a terrible waste of a promising cast.

Posted by armand at 10:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The AP's Fournier Blasts Obama's Arrogance

Errr, what the hell is this? He takes a string of jokes, and a comment by the candidate's wife (who is, not surprisingly, proud of him and thinks he is qualified to be president), and asserts that the Obama campaign may be about to be crushed by its sense of entitlement? Duh - what? That's your basis for such a charge? Jokes? Oh wait, it's that he holds firm views and doesn't like to be challenged? Ummm, name a president in the last quarter century that wasn't true of, dude.

And of course he slams Clinton for her sense of entitlement, but then implies it doesn't matter because everyone knows the Clinton's have a sense of entitlement. And actually in her case her sense of entitlement is kind of a good thing?

That may seem unfair to a candidate who's running against Clinton, the former first lady who is the model of overbearing pride. This is a woman, after all, who claims experience from her eight years as first lady but won't release her White House records; who trails Obama in delegates but deigned to suggest he'd be her running mate; and who has more baggage than Samsonite yet says Obama lacks "vetting." But voters expect arrogance from Clinton and her husband, Bill. It's part of the package. It's a 90s-thing. The Clintons' utter self-absorption comes with a record of achievement and brass-knuckle passion that Obama cannot match - and that Democratic voters know could come in handy against GOP nominee-in-waiting John McCain.

And then he concludes with two short paragraphs that would seem to imply Fournier is just making up this entire rant on the basis of nothing whatsoever that's already happened - but it might happen, and he better not get too cocky!

What a weird column. Though I guess the gist is of it really is that Fournier is not an Obama fan.

Posted by armand at 10:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 17, 2008

Someone Should Ask Clinton What She Did About Disbanding the Iraqi Army

So today Hillary Clinton is giving a speech explaining why she is better prepared to lead on security matters than is John McCain or Barack Obama. I find that laughable given that she voted for and supported going to war with Iraq, has dialed up tensions with Iran, and has of late spent most of her time talking about securty and foreign policy inventing stories of a fake past in which boldly took tough stands and "led" on complex issues like Rwanda and the wars in the former Yugoslavia. Yeah, right. But apropos of the post below about the disbanding of the Iraqi army, something that something like 95% of military analysts think's been an enormous disaster, as Mark Kleiman notes some enterprising reporter should ask her what she did when Bush/Rumsfeld/Bremer disbanded the Iraqi army. After all, she is on Armed Services, and is thereby in charge of monitoring US military moves. Did she take action in response to that move? And if so, what did she do?

Posted by armand at 10:39 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Teamwork

Yep. That's what you call it:

The account that emerges from those interviews, and from access to previously unpublished documents, makes clear that Mr. Bremer’s decree reversed an earlier plan - one that would have relied on the Iraqi military to help secure and rebuild the country, and had been approved at a White House meeting that Mr. Bush convened just 10 weeks earlier.

The interviews show that while Mr. Bush endorsed Mr. Bremer's plan in the May 22 meeting, the decision was made without thorough consultations within government, and without the counsel of the secretary of state or the senior American commander in Iraq, said the commander, Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan. The decree by Mr. Bremer, who is known as Jerry, prompted bitter infighting within the government and the military, with recriminations continuing to this day.

Colin L. Powell, the secretary of state and a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he was never asked for advice, and was in Paris when the May 22 meeting was held.

Mr. Powell, who views the decree as a major blunder, later asked Condoleezza Rice, who was serving as Mr. Bush’s national security adviser, for an explanation.

"I talked to Rice and said, 'Condi, what happened?'" he recalled. "And her reaction was: 'I was surprised too, but it is a decision that has been made and the president is standing behind Jerry's decision. Jerry is the guy on the ground.' And there was no further debate about it."

Posted by binky at 09:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 16, 2008

Connecting semi-random dots

A little meandering brain action...on music, photos, friends.

Last Thursday night some friends talked me into driving up to the 'Burgh to see Chris Knight, a singer songwriter from Kentucky with a dedicated fan base but not a lot of national exposure. It was kind of a tough sell, after a long work day and to see someone I've never really listened to beyond a once-through his myspace tunes. On the other hand, in the last few years I've grown to appreciate "Americana" - a term I don't really like, by the way - a lot more than I ever expected I would. I mean, I have fond memories of traveling around South America with a friend in the early 90s, listening to Uncle Tupelo, but for me Americana (or one of the numerous other things this genre gets called) has always been one of those "I like the idea of it but listening to it, eh, not so much" things.

Chris Knight hit me firmly in the "meh" zone. He's a wonderful lyricist and storyteller, but with the singer/songwriter, one guy on the stage with his guitar setup, the songs kind of sounded all the same. And this is all my problem, but his voice sounds like Mellencamp, and there is only so much of that I can take. The guy who talked me into going was in heaven, which was good. And it was fun to hang out, and watch people drinking beers and having fun (watching, given that I am a lightweight and one will put me to sleep).

Another of the members of our group brought his fancy Nikon and was taking lots of photos. It was a great setup for getting close shots, a tiny "club" in a Pittsburgh neighborhood. Club is a loose term, because a friend who lives a few blocks away expressed wonderment that we had gone to a show there, since everyone int he neighborhood knows it as an "old man bar," aka the kind where the local retirees are snockered by 2pm. The point being, the place probably held about 100 people, max, on its best day, an the stage was a short platform with no barrier between the music and the crowd. My friend with the camera got to be up close, and get some nice "nose hair perspective" (you know, crouching under the singer looking up) photos. I'm not sure what camera he had, but he had the most brutal flash I've ever experienced. It was like those new car headlamps that are surely great for the person driving the car, but blind the oncoming traffic. It hurt even with my eyes closed. We were all ready to kill him by the end of the night, and he was shooting from behind us. I can't imagine what it was like to take that full in the face.

I have another friend who I consider a "real" photographer. She has worked mostly in daily print journalism, from entertainment to covering school board meetings, but also does quite a bit of freelancing, mostly for music magazines. We'll call her Slash, because works as a writer slash photographer. Slash is great at both, and has that skill of being able to very quickly compose and capture shots and be invisible at the same time. Unlike Flash Boy. As good as she is, especially at rock portraits (including some amazing shots of Patti Smith that I'm not sure her employer at the time ever ran in print), Slash is enthusiastic and nonjudgmental in her encouragement of others. She has aided and abetted my amateur aspirations. We've gone on a couple of photographic expeditions, and loosely worked our combined efforts into something that might be exhibitable.

And this friend was also responsible for letting me be her assistant on a couple of concert shoots. This meant that I got to tag along and hang with her, and get to use her much better gear. And a couple of times, she took a set or two off to let me be the one in the pit, especially when the Flaming Lips were onstage. It happened at Coachella, when Wayne Coyne debuted his giant hamster ball, which had a standard three song pit policy. It also happened at Allgood, which had no three and out, so I got to take lots and lots and lots (and lots and lots) of photos.

See, I have this thing about the FLips. My co-blogger sees it as a sickness, but I call it "enjoying a show."

All of this was a very roundabout way of getting to what started this post in the first place. Some amazing concert photos, of the only other band I have seen live as often (and it's getting to be more than) and whose music I love as much as the Flaming Lips. It happens to be a set of photos from a band my co-blogger introduced me to, and about which we now both have the "sickness." This band is the Drive By Truckers. We both have written about DBT before, and there also seems to be some kind of Appalachian IR love thing going on with the band that suggests it's not just us. I can't write enough good things about this band, and about their live shows, and I can't write anything about them without descending into total fan geekdom, so I'll restrain myself for your sake. As I've said before, however, you should go see them. Now. Get there early and stand right in front of Patterson Hood and he might share his Jack Daniels with you. We are talking about The Rock Show here, after all.

Anyway, here are the amazing shots of DBT on Leap Day (Via Alabama Ass Whuppin' and Pointy Pointy). The photographer has a great eye, excellent placement and some really fucking nice equipment. I've had my amateur ass close to the stage a bunch, but in the crowd, with not-so-nice gear, and bouncing around like a happy dork. Take the chance to go check out Todd Owyoung's photos because he clearly suffers from none of those deficits.

Let there be rock (and photography)!

Posted by binky at 10:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fear and Hatred

Everyone else has heard about Rep. Kern, but we've got ugly in our backyard too.

Makes me want to break out the brokeback mountaineer shirts I had ready to go when Fr*d Ph%lps was planning a protest here.

Posted by binky at 09:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sleazy Tactics

That's what stands to be revealed in the discovery phase of a suit against the RIAA:

Lybeck tells Ars that he'll be digging into agreements between the RIAA, RIAA member companies, MediaSentry, and the Settlement Support Sentry. Part of that will involve looking at compensation, like how much MediaSentry gets from each settlement. "I'd love to know what kind of bounty MediaSentry got paid to supply erroneous identities to the RIAA," Lybeck says.

One of the allegations in the amended complaint will involve MediaSentry's status as a private investigator. "MediaSentry claims it is able to gain access to people's hard drives without their permission and collect information," notes Lybeck. "It's illegal because they're not licensed to do that work."

The amended complaint and subsequent discovery will also focus on what Lybeck calls the "flawed nature" of the RIAA's investigations. "We know [the RIAA] cannot identify individuals," he says in response to a question on false positives. "We want to know how many dolphins the RIAA is catching," referring to a former RIAA spokesperson's 2003 comment about accidentally catching a few dolphins when fishing with a net.

The RIAA is likely to fight the discovery process tooth and nail, however, as the information that is unearthed could prove to be extremely embarrassing, if not problematic. "They've operated in this zone of secrecy for five years now, and we hope to put a stop to that," Lybeck stated emphatically, "because it will become obvious that their conduct is illegal an their whole scheme is flawed at its basic core."

Via

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March 15, 2008

Magazines

I seem to have an affinity (addiction) to paper magazines. I get a warm feeling having actual knowledge delivered to my house every week/month. And relatively cheaply, too.

Yglesias and Ezra Klein (bigger blogs than this) started a conversation specifically about the Economist (they claim that it's pretentious, and it's what trendy pretentious people read to prove that they are trendy and pretentious; I claim that it has faults, but you can't get a better weekly international news magazine), but it's drifted into what else they read.

My list (I get most of my news online, so there isn't much politics here):

The Economist

Armed Forces & Society (Journal of the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society; I get it for being a member)

The Atlantic (god awful; I canceled my subscription, but they keep sending it)

CMJ New Music Monthly (used to be good; now not so much - on the way out)

Car & Driver

Autoweek

Funny Times

Revolver (not so good)

Decibel (much better)

Runners World (I don't need this; I know how to run - they keep sending it to me anyway)

And a short list of things that appear at my house that I glance at every now and again

Vanity Fair (too much fluff; too much silliness)

Bust (interesting, but uneven)

And I'm thinking of adding three (just for fun). Does anybody know anything about N+1, MONOCLE, or the New York Review of Books? (The NYRB I've heard about, and looked at every now and again, but I really need a source that reviews non-fiction books, since the Atlantic and the New York Times have given up on it.)

Anyone have any other suggestions? I'd really love to find some good music magazines, but Rolling Stone, Spin, Blender all suck, and No Depression is ceasing publishing (and Pitchfork is too annoying).

Posted by baltar at 12:59 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

March 14, 2008

Cows with guns

Friday night funnies (disregard the incorrect anatomy in the drawings): Cows with guns

Posted by binky at 06:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Ji Yeon

Okay, I thought that was the worst episode of Lost we've seen this season. Well, apart from Juliet revealing Sun's secret - that was awesome. I love Juliet. But the rest seemed lame and pointless and wasn't too terribly well written.

But in case any of you have theories or want to comment on the show, feel free to do so in this thread. Is Jin really dead? I assume so. Are Jack, Kate, Aaron, Hurley, Sun and Sayid the Oceanic 6? I'd think so, though I guess I'm not entirely sure about Sayid, given the earlier flashforward. Is the captain really a bad guy? Or was that note passing along disinformation from Ben? I've read today that some people think that the janitor isn't Michael but an aged Walt. That seems a stretch, but who knows? Have to wait a week to find out.

Posted by armand at 12:39 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Many, Many Measures By Which Obama Is Winning

Kos notes that Obama leads Clinton among: pledged delegates, primaries won, caucuses won, red states won, blue states won, overall contests won, and money raised.

Posted by armand at 10:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Democrats Are Likely to Lose a House Seat in Alabama

This year is likely to see big wins for Democrats in both the House and Senate, and the news has been almost uniformly good for them when it comes to key races. But not today. Rep. Bud Cramer has announced he's going to retire from the House. Cramer represents the Northern end of Alabama, and while it's possible a Democrat can hold on to his seat, I'd say it's unlikely.

Posted by armand at 10:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 13, 2008

In the Big East Tournament, WVU Beat UConn Today

How the hell did that happen? Well, Joe Alexander scored a career-high 34 points, but still ... that was unexpected. I presume Georgetown will crush the Mountaineers tomorrow. But then I expected the Huskies to win today, so maybe I shouldn't make predictions about the basketball team.

Posted by armand at 05:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Hart and Jackson Coalitions Versus the Mondale Coalition

I think Shugart is definitely on to something in describing the race that way. Seems surprisingly spot-on considering that it's comparing today's campaigns to a race that took place before some of my friends were born.

Posted by armand at 05:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Onorato and Ravenstahl to Endorse Clinton

As I expect Clinton to win Pennsylvania by a lot, these endorsements might not be that surprising or that meaningful. But they are still noteworthy and a sign of Clinton's strengthen in the Pittsburgh area.

Posted by armand at 05:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

UK Denies Gay Teen Asylum - Gives Him a Death Sentence?

Errrr, what are the courts in the UK smoking - they don't think there is systematic persecution of gays in Iran? That would come as a shock to the gays of Iran. Seems pretty clear to me if this teenager's boyfriend was executed for being gay that chances are that if the British return him to Iran he'll be executed too. Am I missing something? Or are the Brits?

Posted by armand at 02:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Armand's New Show - Ugly Betty

So for some time now I've been using Netflix to try to get into tv shows I've missed. And of late, since having finally gotten through all of Frasier and the new Doctor Who and Torchwood seasons that are on dvd, I've had trouble finding a new show that'll hold my interest. But I think I've finally stumbled on one I like. Ugly Betty. From seeing 5 minutes of it here and there over the last couple years I was under the impression that it was really rather tedious, and silly, but not in a fun way. But one disc in I'm actually liking it. Nice combo of camp and sincere, with a great look and some really game and talented performers. So ... hopefully it'll hold up and actually improve. Because of late the movie dvd releases are lacking. The early part of the year is so dreary - Hollywood releases crap, and it's too early for the good fall/winter movies to be out on dvd yet.

Posted by armand at 11:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 12, 2008

Bill Clinton's De-Gayed Autobiography

This is about the former president, not the junior senator from New York. But it's really rather striking, and is yet another reason why I find gay people's love for the Clinton's bizarre. "It's the economy, faggot" indeed.

Posted by armand at 08:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Ferraro, the Hillary Voter, and Pennsylvania

I'd say Will Bunch is onto something here.

Posted by armand at 02:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

For Those of You Considering A Jude Law Rental ...

Nathaniel R has his list of the top 10 performances of one of the planet's premiere DILFs. As should be the case since he was utterly brilliant in both, Law's work in Ripley and Huckabees tops the list. Damn those were amazingly good performances. But there are a number of other things on here that you might not have seen, and he is indeed quite good in, for instance, Alfie (the movie's not great, but it's not bad either). So if you are looking for an excuse to spend an hour or two enjoying talent and pretty, here are some possible rentals. Oh, and for what it's worth I'd have put his work in eXistenZ in a list of his top 10 performances.

Posted by armand at 10:33 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Obama Campaign Says Its Pledged Delegate Lead Is 161

And they've got a chart to prove it. There's no way the Clinton campaign will come anywhere close to erasing that lead. They'll cut into it in Pennsylvania and some other states, but even if she gets revotes in Florida and Michigan and wins them (not a sure thing in Michigan) Obama is going to stay far ahead of her in pledged delegates.

So since we know the way this is going to play itself out at the end of the primary process, why are we expected to wait around for almost 3 months to settle this? We know: a) Obama is going to have a big pledged delegate lead, but b) that won't be enough for him to secure the nomination, so c) the superdelegates are going to decide it. So why don't they get off the fence already? The longer this campaign is about tearing down Obama and Clinton instead of tearing down McCain the worse it is for the party. If they want to wait out the PA primary so they can develop a better ground game there for November, fine. But there's really no reason for this to go into the summer. The superdelegates should commit already and settle this, one way or the other.

Posted by armand at 10:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Second Muslim Member of Congress

Was elected yesterday. The other Muslim member of Congress is Keith Ellison (D-MN). The new one is Andre Carson who won a special election yesterday in the US House district centered on Indianapolis. I actually had no idea he was a Muslim until this morning. Interesting that that didn't get played up more by the national press during the campaign.

Posted by armand at 10:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 11, 2008

Dr. Laura: Mrs. Spitzer Needs to Please Her Man

I have to think that in a truly civilized society she'd be shunned, if not exiled. Instead, the fine folks at NBC give her a national stage on which to blame the governor's wife. I'm so happy I don't watch TV (usually).

Posted by armand at 09:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This thought occurred to me too

...and they did change the photo to a generic medical graphic.

Posted by binky at 08:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gerry Ferraro: Racist, Stupid, or Stunningly Insecure?

What the hell is she thinking? The Clinton campaign's response to all this (Obama's the racist because he's pointing out race-based language by our people!) is predictably tiresome, but it's also utterly predictable. But this ... please. I'd say save her from herself, but I think she completely deserves the attacks she's going to receive.

And what's a Clinton surrogate doing on the Fox network anyway?

Posted by armand at 08:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Adm. Fallon Has Resigned

I'm sure it's just a coincidence that the head of CENTCOM has announced his resignation in the wake of this profile. Right?

Posted by armand at 04:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sinbad Calls Outs Clinton's Claims Regarding Their "Harrowing" Trip

Sinbad thinks Hillary Clinton is being misleading in stating that her 1996 trip to Bosnia was dangerous and a sign that she's battled tested and ready for those 3am phone calls. He was on the trip, and didn't feel imperiled. And he thinks the notion that it was a dangerous mission is silly.

As Sinbad put it: "What kind of president would say, 'Hey, man, I can't go 'cause I might get shot so I'm going to send my wife .. oh, and take a guitar player and a comedian with you.'"
Posted by armand at 01:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Al Franken Secures Democratic Senate Nomination in Minnesota

Could the man who brought us Stuart Smalley really be a US senator? Well, he just got a lot closer to the office.

Posted by armand at 10:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 10, 2008

I'm not saying it's the mother of all bad ideas...

...bit it's close.

Posted by binky at 03:53 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Obama's Terrible, Horrible, So Bad Week - As If

To hear the press and Cilnton tell it, Obama's campaign is stalled and on ther verge of collapse. Weird. Since as Kos notes, Obama picked up more delegates than Clinton did last week.

I really wish the press would report things as they are instead of getting worked into a tizzy about OH and PA and MI and FL. Throw 'em all in and what've you got? Barring a complete and utter collapse Obama is, at the end of the day, going to have more pledged delegates than Clinton, even if she posts big wins in PA and FL. Her only - ONLY - hope is for superdelegates to reverse Obama's win among pledged delegates nationwide. Is that so hard to report?

Posted by armand at 09:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 09, 2008

Sunday Linkstravaganza

No surprise here, but the Bush administration ignored lots of warnings about Bin Laden, and a new book has the details.

So those missing emails from the White House? Yeah. Your choices are deliberate or incompetent, and an expert in the field pokes holes in the White House decision-making on backups.

A report obtained by The Associated Press said soldiers experienced skin abscesses, cellulitis, skin infections, diarrhea and other illnesses after using discolored, smelly water for personal hygiene and laundry at five U.S. military sites in Iraq. Are we surprised KBR is involved?

Chris Clarke's book, Walking with Zeke is out now. Zeke and Chris had a long friendship, and the touching series of posts made me cry on more than one occasion.

Reseachers found that an expensive placebo works better than a cheap one. I'd love to see how homogeneous that volunteer sample is.

Hang on, isn't mouthwash supposed to prevent this kind of thing?

Posted by binky at 02:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Bill Foster Plays Richard Vander Veen

In 1974 there was a special House election to replace a long-time Republican House leader. And though Gerald Ford had held his Midwestern seat for 24 years, his replacement turned out to be a Democrat, Richard Vander Veen. In 2008 we've now seen something similar. Long-time Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert's old House seat in Illinois has been won by a Democrat, scientist Bill Foster. I think it's a great sign that the Democrats huge wins of 2006, which I'd say was their best election year since 1974, look likely to continue this fall.

Posted by armand at 11:13 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 08, 2008

The gays are infiltrating the city councils

Including the one up the road in Pittsburgh, according to an Oklahoma politician:

More information on her, and Oklahoma politics at Okie Funk. Rep. Kern's page. In addition to freaking out about the gays, looks like she loves her some Creationism (check out the committees she's on).

Hat tip to Perez Hilton. The source of the audio.

Posted by binky at 05:41 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The County Clerk Thinks I Moved?

So I just got a card from the county clerk asking me to confirm my address since she's gotten news that I've moved. I'm really curious how she got such news, because I certainly haven't moved. And the timing of this, coming two months before the primary ... is some party or campaign playing dirty with the voter rolls?

Posted by armand at 02:10 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Why Is Gov. Jindal (R-LA) Holding Up Expanding the Port of New Orleans?

This expansion seems like a no-brainer, and other Gulf Coast ports are spending big bucks to improve their facilities as container shipping booms. Why won't Gov. Jindal support a similar expansion of the port of New Orleans?

Posted by armand at 02:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sleet Repellent

I had forgotten about this video. Alice Cooper and Clint Eastwood!

p.s. For the fan geeks, there's a TV documentary call The Madness of Prince Charming, part one here.

Posted by binky at 12:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 07, 2008

Doubting Thomas(es)

Interesting read.

HT

Posted by binky at 11:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Does Hillary Clinton Think McCain Would Be Better on Foreign Policy Than Obama?

That certainly seems to be what she's implying. Someone should ask her to confirm that explicitly. And if she thinks that, why that's so.

Posted by armand at 10:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 06, 2008

Nick Rahall Endorses Obama

The congressman from coal country, the chairman of the House Resources Committee, has come out in support of Sen. Obama. He becomes, after Sen. Rockefeller, the second member of West Virginia's congressional delegation to endorse the senator from Illinois.

Posted by armand at 03:42 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Democratic Math - Don't Forget the UADs!

I didn't even know these existed. They are yet reason it's hard to see Clinton winning the nomination.

Posted by armand at 01:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Uh, But Humphrey Lost

So it seems like everyone and his mother has commented on this post of Drum's dealing with whether or not tough primary fights are harmful for a party's general election chances. He says, hey the 1968 primary was a mess, but the Democrats still barely lost. So it didn't hurt them that badly, right?

Well, yeah, but they still lost. And they still lost even though George Wallace was draining loads of votes that would've tended Nixon's way. And you are making an inference from an N of 1 - and N of 1 that existed in an entirely different political environment that didn't feature today's primary system or (especially important) today's campaign finance laws.

Basically, it's a really bad analogy for 2008 - or at least it is if the goal is to find the lesson he takes from it. And there's a strong argument to be made for the idea that a divise primary is harmful to the party. Though of course looking across a wide set of elections that effect isn't as strong as, say, the impact of the economy.

Posted by armand at 09:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 05, 2008

McCain-XXXXXX; And Cindy Is Spooky

So since John McCain wrapped up the Republican nomination last night it's not surprising that there are pieces out there today focused on his potential running mates. Someone, I forget who, was touting Chris Cox. This piece is the Times hits on the usual names (Sanford, Pawlenty, Huntsman, Crist, Ridge, Portman, Romney and Huckabee). So if you feel like making a Wed. afternoon guess, feel free to do so below. Or if you feel like trying to describe what Cindy McCain looks like in that photo, you could do that too. That's ... a weird look. Vaguely creepy.

Posted by armand at 12:59 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Compared to Glenn Beck, John Hagee Is the Steady Voice of Moderation

Seriously, does Glenn Beck have pics of half of CNN's board feasting on babies? Because if not, how does the man keep his job? I mean really - "Is Barack Obama (or Hillary Clinton) the anti-Christ?"

Posted by armand at 11:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 04, 2008

Won't you wear a sweater?

March 15-20 are "Won't You Be My Neighbor Days" in southwestern PA, and March 20 is Sweater Day.

More information here.

HT

Posted by binky at 09:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 02, 2008

Margot at the Wedding

The worst film of 2007? I think I have to agree. Wretched doesn't begin to describe it.

Posted by armand at 11:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 01, 2008

Choices are bad, people are stupid

Two of the ten principles of economics.

Posted by binky at 02:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Anyone surprised that the major labels are greedy lying bastards?

Anyone? Anyone?:

"Artist managers and lawyers have been wondering for months when their artists will see money from the copyright settlements and how it will be accounted for," said lawyer John Branca, who has represented Korn, Don Henley, and The Rolling Stones, among others.

"Some of them are even talking about filing lawsuits if they don't get paid soon."

Record label sources said corporate bosses are still deciding on how best to split the money. In determining the payout, they said not every artist is owed money and it must be calculated with regard to the level of copyright infringement for each artist.

What's more, these sources said that after the labels recouped their legal expenses, there wasn't much left to pass along to the artists.

I'm shocked (shocked!) that anyone would think that the major labels are up to anything other than protecting the rights of artists, and ensuring their financial future.

Posted by binky at 11:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Failed policy

Not only does the TSA not keep you safe and make you go through ridiculous contortions of disrobing and showing the world your liquids, but it's setting you up to get robbed:

A Fox affiliate managed to get ahold of the TSA's raw data on luggage theft on their watch and is reporting that a whopping $31 million worth of valuables disappeared from the aviation system in the past three years. Many of these items went missing from within suitcases, pilfered in transit after the TSA inaugurated its no-locks policy on checked bags. Now that's security.

Posted by binky at 11:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New angle on attacking HIV

Via Queerty, a new scientific discovery:

Stephen Barr, a molecular virologist in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, says his team has identified a gene called TRIM22 that can block HIV infection in a cell culture by preventing the assembly of the virus.

...

"This means that TRIM22 is an essential part of our body's ability to fight off HIV. The results are very exciting because they show that our bodies have a gene that is capable of stopping the spread of HIV."

...

"We are currently trying to figure out why this gene does not work in people infected with HIV and if there is a way to turn this gene on in those individuals," he added. "We hope that our research will lead to the design of new drugs, or vaccines that can halt the person-to-person transmission of HIV and the spread of the virus in the body, thereby blocking the onset of AIDS."

Go team Canada.

Posted by binky at 11:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack