Personally, this makes me happy.
On a more serious campaign note, what's with the Democratic candidates facing their enemies and/or hacktacular assholes this week? Barack Obama went on Fox News and was interviewed by Chris Wallace last weekend. Hillary Clinton is playing nice with the odious Bill O'Reilly today. And on Sunday Obama is going before Pumpkinhead's Church of John McCain on NBC. Is there some reason why all this is happening before Indiana and North Carolina?
I hadn't thought about the fact that it was an Indiana voter ID law that the Supreme Court just allowed to stand and that Indiana's presidential primary is next week. Given the usual demographics of who supports Obama and who supports Clinton, this ruling is likely to help the Clinton campaign.
Jumping on the "overheard in..." train is Overheard in Athens. My favorite so far:
# ER Doctor: Is there any chance that you are pregnant?
# Female Patient: No.
# ER Doctor: Are you sexually active?
# Female Patient: Yes.
# ER Doctor: Then how can you be sure you're not pregnant?
# Female Patient: (pointing to her female friend) Because I'm sexually active with her.
Although this one is a close second:
# Anthropology professor: As you can see in this photograph, the chair, or throne, is supported by 4 human skulls. Now, I must ask you, what kind of a leader sits on a throne of skulls?
# (Silence from students)
# Anthropology professor: A badass, that's who.
Via Pointy pointy
Courtesy of the commentariat at The Fifth Column... this has been the best chatter anywhere on the Garrison dealio.
Hey, it's not just faculty, students and alumni getting the shaft. Independent voters are getting it too.
And a bonus from Hippie Killer: If those guys are democrats then I'm an awesome space ninja.
UPDATE OF EVIL: One of the Bloodless regulars notes that his negative comment, one of the original 21 negatives, has now been deleted after having been approved, and displayed for a few days. Alas, the cache captured only the first five, so there's no resurrecting here.
So, the comments are back open at Garrison's blog. As I was paging through, what I noted was that the 20 odd negative and four positive comments were now separated by additions. For example, before comments were re-opened, the positive comment by our old friend Derek Long was immediately followed by the positive comment from Marcello Napolitano.
Manipulation of public comments! Tasty!
UPDATE: WBOY is running a poll, and without censoring, these numbers are running 60% against Garrison.
Anyone else notice that a few years back Justice Scalia became a parody of himself?
Neat map. It might not tell us much about Obama vs. Clinton (Obama has won both more wine states and more beer states than Clinton has), but it does illustrate some other divides.
Ugh. Surfing around to matter related to the preceding post I found this. Predictable. And predictably ugly.
True, it's an influential one - Gov. Easley of North Carolina, whose state will vote next week. But talk about an ugly way to endorse:
"I've been accused of being persistent, and down right aggravating…but this lady right here makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy," Easley said.
And while he says it, Hillary Clinton just stands there and smiles and laughs.
Weird. John Yarmuth had already endorsed him, and now the very popular Ben Chandler has. Kentucky's just a beyond terrible state for Obama against both Clinton and McCain. For these men to back him in what's his weakest state East of the Mississippi, and maybe in the whole country, suggests that they either really, really like him, or consider his nomination a sure thing. Both would seem to be good signs for Obama, though I still presume Clinton will post a massive win in Kentucky.
Tumulty (who I think's been doing rather nice posts over on Swampland) offers her take on the proposed gas tax holiday (favored by Senators Clinton and McCain, opposed by President Bush and Senator Obama - and of course opposed by Senator Clinton when one was proposed during the Clinton administration in 2000). She thinks McCain and Clinton are likely to win the issue politically, but that Obama and Bush are probably right as a matter of policy. That seems the likely outcome of this dispute to me. Though I've got to wonder if many voters aren't smart enough to realize that just because the 18 cent federal tax goes away for a few months, that doesn't mean that the oil companies will actually cut their prices for consumers by 18 cents - especially in the summer. So since it's a fairly obvious short-term give-away that will cut federal revenues in times of big deficits, and largely benefit the oil companies ... well I think a pretty strong ad can be made against it that would appeal to a fair number of voters. And if gas is already $3.70 a galloon - will consumers really notice 5 cents less (or around that) a gallon? That said, ads against tax cuts are always a hard sell (though ads against big oil should play really well in the current environment - really well).
A proposed new slogan for West Virginia University I just overheard in the coffee shop.
From their opinion in today's voter ID decision:
That the State accommodates some voters by permitting (not requiring) the casting of absentee or provisional ballots, is an indulgence - not a constitutional imperative that falls short of what is required.
An "indulgence". Whether or not they are right as a matter of constitutional law, that language seems awfully dismissive of a mechanism that allows many who otherwise couldn't to vote.
So with the knowledge that I had to watch some of my NetFlix movies if I ever hoped to receive disc 1 of The Tudors from them, I watched this character study/crime drama last night. It's pretty much exactly what you'd expect. And that's not a bad thing at all. Especially not when what you are expecting is a Joseph Gordon-Levitt vehicle. I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and he did not disappoint. Beyond his turn, for the most part I liked the writing, and there was a nice, unexpected supporting turn from Jeff Daniels. And Bruce McGill is so good at those fatherly scenes. All in all, it was a nice diversion. It gets a thumbs-up from me.
Provost Lang has submitted his resignation in response to the report on the Bresch scandal.
Interesting wording ("privilege" twice in the first paragraph) and replay (all he's done for WVU). Doesn't sound very penitent. I wonder if this will be the first, last and only.
UPDATE: Hippie Killer hears that Sears will go too.
UPDATE: WBOY says that Sears has submitted his resignation as well.
So I went to see this Dennis Quaid and Sarah Jessica Parker film today with she who I believe has chosen to go as kikimonster here at Bloodless Coup. I'd give it a thumbs up. I'd warn that it's about some almost impossible to like people. And so it takes a while to get into it. Oh, and Ellen Page needs to play some other kind of role fast because her work in this just seemed like a reprise of her performance in Juno. But there's a lot else to the movie, and all in all, once you got to the end credits, it was something I'd enjoyed. Nice music too.
Wtf?!? Now the premise of this piece, that Hillary Clinton very well might win the nomination and that somehow that'll get decided by Kentucky shows that Eleanor Clift knows just as little about national politics as ever (and yet for some reason Newsweek's chosen to keep her in its employ for decades). And that she likes to fawn over the likes of destructive, but "debonair", right-wingers as Tony Blankley is similarly old hat. But beyond that - what's this piece about? That they hold grudges and that they'll hold big ones against much of the party and the media is not exactly an earth-shattering bit of "news". Now if Clift had actually decided to write on the policy implications of this, that'd be interesting. How would a President Clinton deal with Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy as president, and how would that affect such a presidency? That might actually tell her readers something useful. But to spend a whole column on vindicitiveness and grudges and comparing the Clintons to mobsters ... I'm no Hillary Clinton fan, but even I don't really see any value added to the national debate by that. Really it simply looks lazy - like she picked up some column from 15 years ago, changed the names (the targets of the Clintons' grudges), and published it as something provocative.
This fine alum posts on the intemperance of "radical" professors (emphasis mine):
As I read the host of negative comments toward President Garrison I was reminded why, as West Virginians we are constantly defending our position in society. Some West Virginians are scared of progress, or anything different from status quo. People are intimidated by a young, energetic, and successful University President who does not meet some cookie cutter standard a few radical academics think is a must for a successful University climate. So when any type of problem arises these radicals set out on a head hunting mission to smear President Garrison. This mentality must end! If we truly want to make our University the best it can be we must support President Garrison while he takes the nessisary steps to hold the guily parties responsible and move the University forward. Keep up the good work Mike! Derek V. Long B.S. Business Administration Little Birch, West Virginia
Different from the status quo, unlike, you know, smug old-boy networks.
The report investigating the controversial awarding of an advanced degree to Gov. Manchin's (D-WV) daughter is out - and it is scathing. The response so far? Well, among other things the usual critics of President Garrison are promising to propose punitive action against WVU's president and provost. The local paper is calling for the mass resignation or firing of 9 top university officials (including President Garrison, Provost Lang, General Counsel Alex Macia, and Garrison's Chief of Staff, Craig Walker). What's WVU's Board of Governors calling for? Well, nothing so drastic. Though want Garrison to "accept responsibility" and implement the report's recommendations, which primarily deal with matters such as record keeping.
A reminder of why we shouldn't "get over it".
So this isn't related to anything in particular. But I just thought I'd share that my love for Becki Newton's Amanda on Ugly Betty increases by the day. If there's someone working on tv today who does a better line delivery, I have yet to see that performer. I mean I can just hear her now ...
"I'm sorry. You were looking at me and saying things. I wasn't really listening."
"No. There's an h in it."
"And this concludes another episode of true, but dull."
"You mean like if he falls down the stairs?"
"So you're saying we're over? And I'm fat?"
Yes it should. But at least StinkyLulu is organizing a special day to celebrate her - I am now looking forward to May 29th.
How weird is it that one of Clinton's top surrogates is making the argument that members of Congress from Indiana shouldn't make a public endorsement in the presidential nomination fight?
I live about a half block from one of the local high schools, and get a fair share of the unhappy consequences: kids sitting on my front steps smoking, tossing cigarette butts in the yard, candy wrappers in the garden, plants and flowers ripped up. But there are some good sides, and some nice kids from the neighborhood that I've watched grow up and who always say hi, even though it's embarrassing to have that old lady in her goofy gardening outfit waving at you. One of my favorites is a young woman who always takes the time to walk by and pet the dogs, undeterred by their vociferousness. Plus, she used to wear blue hair, which totally rocks.
Today as she walked by she stopped, but didn't say hello or speak to the animals. And I noted that she was wearing a homemade National Day of Silence t-shirt. Double rock.
Some related links:
FAGBUG - one woman's response to graffiti on her car. Why not get a bumber sticker and join the campaign?
Last week Steve Benen posted this handy list of John McCain flip-flops. You might want to save it away for later.
She needs 70% of the remaining elected delegates and over 60% of the remaining superdelegates. Given that, I don't see any way for her to win the nomination. But then I haven't seen much more than a faint glimmer of hope for her chances since the first week in March.
And will try to put organic non rGBH users out of business by forcing them to put propaganda on milk cartons.
I swear, every day I get closer to moving to the country, buying some goats and getting off the fucking grid.
Actually I don't remember some of these. But yeah, True Blue was pretty damn unfortunate.
Josh Marshall asks a good question in light of the big New York Times story this weekend.
The august university I work at has named a new (and inaugural) "Director of Sustainability" who will be responsible for efforts to reduce usage of natural resources and general efforts towards conservation. The gentlemen taking the position had previously served as...
...(wait for it)...
...a projects director with the National Research Center for Coal and Energy.
(Hey, I gotta fox here, anyone see a hen house?)
So what gives with the timing of this? Is it a talking point for Team Obama to use tonight (a bit of good news to mention during a night of a probable Clinton win)? And if it's not that ... wouldn't you do it on a day when political coverage wasn't going to be dominated by events in Pennsylvania?
Chili chocolate gelato made me feel a lot better - maybe it'd work for you too.
Via Sullivan, an interesting map of where news breaks - not entirely what I would've expected.
After noting some stunning numbers on how men dominant today's movies, Sasha Stone makes the case for one factor affecting this phenomenon - the lack of women in the fanboy universe.
Apparenly someone doesn't know anything about international sporting events in 1936.
Looks like this piece in The New Republic has something for everyone. For those looking for a reason to back Obama, it charts the backstabbing world of the Clinton campaign (really, would anyone want a White House staff like this?). For those who back Clinton it can be filed away as another piece of media bias. Perhaps not for the content of the story (lot of pieces have been written on the warring factions inside the Clinton campaign), but certainly for an insulting title "Voices in Her Head: Inside Hillaryland's Fatal Psychodrama". I mean really, why didn't TNR work "hysterical" into the subtitle and be done with it?
According to exit polls, 61 years of rule by the Colorado Party is about to come to an end.
Nico Pitney analyzes the questions that've been asked in the 4 one-on-one debates, and finds that the ABC debate was in a class of its own with its focus on alleged personal scandals. And, interestingly, Obama has been the target of those questions by an overwhelming margin. Of the 21 "scandal" questions asked at the 4 debates, Obama has been the target of 17 of them.
Is it just me, or is that kind of funny? It's predictable, and probably doesn't matter at all in terms of the vote, but Mr. Vast Right Wing Conspiracy siding with the woman he long painted as a socialist dragon lady ... it's wacky in a way.
Just back in town after a couple of days away...
Disney characters reimagined. Ahem.
Larry Bartels had a column in yesterday's New York Times noting that it's not working-class people who vote at unusual levels on social issues - it's wealthier people.
This holds internationally too right? The green revolution in Europe, or the willingness of states like Germany and the UK to incur the wrath of the Chinese by not sending their leaders to the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, it's the richer countries that have more room to pursue ideological policies, right? Presuming that is true (and correct me if I'm wrong) is Bartels' analysis of the NES data really that surprising? I know What's the Matter With Kansas was influential - but isn't a focus on "what's the matter with Connecticut" more telling about the impact social views and ideology have on state behavior?
These are horrifying, and heartbreaking, numbers.
Roughly one in five U.S. troops is suffering from major depression or post-traumatic stress from serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and an equal number have suffered brain injuries, a new study estimates ...
A recently completed survey showed 18.5% - or 300,000 people - said they have symptoms of depression or PTSD, the researchers said. Nineteen% - or 320,000 - suffered head injuries ranging from mild concussions to penetrating head wounds.
So last night I went down to a local watering hole to watch the debate. I had a nice evening - as long as I didn't concentrate on the debate too deeply because, well, the whole spectacle was appalling. Josh Marshall and Andrew Sullivan, among others, have commented on how bad the moderators were. They've received scathing reviews in both the press and from the veiwing public. But while ABC was putting on a "shoddy, despicable" affair, Hillary Clinton was matching their performance. I really don't know quite what to say about it, so I'll just repeat an e-mail I sent to a friend (a Clinton supporter) this morning:
Clinton was beastly and as well as seeming to embrace being a smiling liar. She seems to implicitly argue that Obama has to be able withstand mendacious attacks that demean lots of Democrats as well as Obama himself. That may or may not be true - but how in the world does it follow that it's appropriate for her to make such attacks? Shouldn't that be the job of FoxNews, not the job of Sen. Clinton who tells us again and again that what she really cares about is a Democrat winning in November? Why should Democrats reward that behavior - and put her at the head of their party no less? I've been trying to think of who she seemed most like last night. The best I can come up with is a more pandering, less principled version of George Wallace. I mean I'd still vote for her in November if it came to that (though it won't, and that makes her attacks all the more horrible) - but she's really a rather terrible person who's more than happy to throw parts of the Democratic alliance (including some of its best parts and some of its weakest parts) under the bus of her own ambition. All she's done is legitimize the worst parts of the Republican attack machine and the politics of personal destruction, while making it hard to turn this election's focus on issues that directly affect the lives of most American. Well that, and snearingly stereotype Democrats by bringing up "San Francisco", Farrakhan, and implying that the Democrat's presidential nominee isn't patriotic and doesn't understand or honor 9/11 appropriately.
Interesting. Maybe Moon or one of our usually silent readers could say if this was expected or not, but since I presume that Western PA should generally be strong for Clinton it's probably notable that its biggest paper is going for Obama. Between this and the endorsements of people like Auditor General Jack Wagner, Jerome Bettis and Mr. Rooney (the Steelers) perhaps Clinton won't do quite as well as she would have otherwise - though of course the value of endorsements is much debated.
Pennsylvania - this encrusted, change-averse commonwealth where a state liquor monopoly holds on against all reason and where municipal fiefdoms shrink from sensible consolidation - needs to take a strong look at the new face and the new hope in this race. Because political business-as-usual is more likely to bring the usual disappointment for the Democrats this fall, the Post-Gazette endorses the nomination of Barack Obama, who has brought an excitement and an electricity to American politics not seen since the days of John F. Kennedy
Uh-huh. This hits a little close to home.
And if you aren't reading DTWOF... get with it!
Ah, Florida. Because there are never enough graven images to worship.
She's always been one of my favorites and probably has had as much of an effect on me getting into movies as much as I am as any actor. She's outstanding and always highly watchable. JA (love the nod to Dead Again) and Joe list their 5 favorite Thompson performances. I don't think I could get my list down to 5. Her work in Howards End, Angels in America, and as Sybil Trelawney (I love her in comedy) would make my list. But beyond that I don't know how to choose between Remains of the Day, Sense and Sensibility, Dead Again, The Tall Guy, Cheers, In the Name of the Father, Much Ado About Nothing, Peter's Friends, Impromptu, Primary Colors ... Well, I guess I'd go with Sense and Sensibility and In the Name of the Father. But I really appreciate so much of her work, even if it's a tiny point in a small role. She is a great actress - and I can't wait to see what she does with Lady Marchmain.
That's a huge amount of "black gold", lots more (lots and lots and lots more) than exists in US reserves:
A deep-water exploration area could contain as much as 33 billion barrels of oil, an amount that would nearly triple Brazil's reserves and make the offshore bloc the world's third-largest known oil reserve, a top energy official said Monday.
And JA appropriately notes the occasion with pics of the talented and exceedingly attractive actor. I am such a fan.
Something I did not know.
In the latest report, for March, the Labor Department reported the jobless rate - also called the "not employed rate" by some - at 13.1 percent for men in the prime age group. Only once during a post-World War II recession did the rate ever get that high. It hit 13.3 percent in June 1982, the 12th month of the brutal 1981-82 recession, and continued to rise from there.
It was much ado about nothing in terms of the basic idea, which is far from controversial. Along with many others, Bill Clinton's said much the same thing. And of course neither the Clintons, nor the Republican chorus denouncing the remarks, are remotely not elitist. Of course Obama's specific wording of his point was terrible. But from the start at least some of the media have been calling "bullshit" on Clintons for trying to spin this into a political maelstrom, as well they should. I mean Sen. Clinton even started her comments at last night's faith debate (which McCain chose to skip) by once again calling Sen. Clinton an elitist. And it's hitting this "elitist and out of touch" drumbeat constantly that has John Cole once again again calling her Nixon in a Pantsuit (yes, I'm linking to a lot of Balloon Juice posts here - but they've been posting good stuff on this outrage), and what I think is the most gut-wrenching part of this whole controversy. As was the case with the Wright brouhaha you have the Clinton campaign ginning up a media narrative that's the kind of thing associated with Atwater, Rove, Bush and Nixon - painting Democrats as snobs who aren't real Americans and can't be trusted. It's her willingness to embrace and reinforce these right-wing frames that has me really worried about a nomination campaign that drifts into the summer, and doubt how progressive she'd really be as a president. Whether it's her painful and ridiculouspandering on guns, Wright, or this, Clinton's behavior looks entirely self-interested, largely unprincipled, and mostly aimed at unscrupulously tearing down Obama and those like him (or anyone who'd get in the way of her ambition) - and resupporting the political narrative that the Roves of the world say is what US politics should represent (even if virtually none of its proponents have any interest in living in Appalachia or going to NASCAR events).
UPDATE: Interesting. And all too predictable. This is helping John McCain most.
538 looks at the polling data of these two jolts to the Obama campaign. Interestingly, the two incidents that Clinton pounced on damaged both Clinton and Obama equally - and their main effect has been to solidify Republicans behind McCain. And this makes sense: the kind of political-cultural warfare this represents is pure Rovism. It's designed to help Republicans. Which may be all that the Clintons will accomplish with this.
Warms my geeky little sci-fi loving stats crunching heart, it does.
Benisch stands by his decision to suspend Harris, saying it sends a clear message about substance abuse.
"This is really, really, seriously dangerous," Benisch said.
In his letter suspending the child, Benisch wrote that smelling the marker fumes could cause the boy to "become intoxicated."
A toxicologist with the Rocky Mountain Poison Control Center says that claim is nearly impossible.
Dr. Eric Lavonas says non-toxic markers like Sharpies, while pungent-smelling, cannot be used to get high.
That's the way things look according to the reports at West Virginia Blue. And that was certainly the case here in Mon county. As West Virginia's delegates are alotted according to the outcome of the primary election it's not clear how important this is. But it is clear that this election is bringing a lot of people into state politics - people who don't always agree with the traditional powers that be in the party.
The Witch: I'm not a witch I'm not a witch!
Sir Bedevere: But you are dressed as one
The Witch: *They* dressed me up like this!
Crowd: We didn't! We didn't...
The Witch: And this isn't my nose. It's a false one.
Sir Bedevere: [lifts up her false nose] Well?
Peasant 1: Well, we did do the nose.
Sir Bedevere: The nose?
Peasant 1: And the hat, but she is a witch!
Crowd: Yeah! Burn her! Burn her!
Sir Bedevere: Did you dress her up like this?
Peasant 1: No!
Peasant 3, Peasant 2: No!
Peasant 3: No!
Peasant 1: No!
Peasant 3, Peasant 2: No!
Peasant 1: Yes!
Peasant 2: Yes!
Peasant 1: Yeah a bit.
Peasant 3: A bit!
Peasant 1, Peasant 2: A bit!
Peasant 2: a bit
Peasant 1: But she has got a wart!
If you were wondering if you should get a pet, here is a simple (engineering based) discussion:
As usual with engineering-based explanations, there should be few questions.
Given Baltar's connection to Vermont, and my favorable feelings about instant run-off voting, I thought I'd link to this story on gov. Douglas vetoing an IRV system in Vermont which Fruits and Votes described thusly:
The governor of Vermont, with one stroke of the pen and a series of really specious arguments, blocked the majority’s efforts to adopt majority voting, via "instant runoff."
He's got some very good arguments. Of course whether or not they might actually come to pass is an entirely different matter.
We have the most awesome postal worker. I think sometimes that my dogs love him more than they love me, because every time he visits, every time they see him, he brings treats. So, they have developed this habit of rushing our front gate when they hear the neighbor's mailbox slam shut. Today was no different, an they hauled ass to the front of the yard barking and hollering and yodeling because their bestest buddy ever was on his way. Except it wasn't their bestest buddy. Their bestest buddy had the day off, and this was another guy. I apologized for the ruckus and explained that the dogs were superfans of the regular postman. The sub said, yeah, I know, no problem. I thought that was the end of it, until about 20 minutes later the ruckus begins again. I see the sub coming up to the house, and I thought, hm, maybe he forgot to leave a piece of mail. But no, he had a fistful of treats, and the beasts got seconds and thirds. Their best buddy might have some competition.
Fyi, the Spring movie I've most been wanting to see has finally made it to town.
On Monday April 21st How I Met Your Mother is going to devote an entire episode to the backstory associated with one of their funniest gags.
According to the Consumerist, Stabucks new coffee tastes like Dunkin' Donuts coffee. You mean, like watery ass? Gross.
This lighter roast (clearly a response to widespread complaints about Starbucks's penchant for over-roasting) allows a broader spectrum of flavors and aromatics to emerge, things that can sometimes be burnt away in a darker roast. Starbucks might not like this, but it kind of reminds me of Dunkin' Donuts' house coffee.
The only reason I ever go to Starbucks is because it's the only place that makes coffee that is close to the Brazilian swill I love so much.
Scott L. makes the case for Wilson. I'd say he's definitely in the running. Though given the fawning over John Adams lately I think he deserves a look in this category as well.
No, not Mr. Spock. Mapping CO2 emissions.
Appalachia is not as "clean" and the West Coast is more so than I would have expected.
Here's a primer. It's complicated.
Key dates to keep in mind in the near term are this coming Saturday, when the counties are holding their conventions to choose delegates for the state convention in June, and April 22, which is the last day to register to vote or change party registration.
UPDATE: Ah, you've got to love the transperancy of WV politics. Apparently the Mon County Democratic convention has been moved - just days before it's to be held, and the old location is still on the state party website. Anyway, apparently now it's at the Mon County Seniors Center. Registration starts at 9:30 and the event starts at 10am. You must be registered in Mon County as a Democrat to take part.
Do they scare me? You bet. But they also amuse me. Now they are adapting a classic The Eurythmics.
The upcoming appropriations season has started some intraparty discussions about Byrd:
Senior Democratic senators privately considered Tuesday Sen. Robert Byrd's capacity to handle his spot at the top of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, but the 90-year-old lawmaker won't be stepping down from the demanding job, his office told CNN.
Roll Call first reported the discussions by several Democratic senators, and a Democratic aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to CNN the thrust of the newspaper report.
That picture they chose is horrible... he looks sort of Borg like.
Seriously, how often does McCain get to make comments that imply he knows nothing about the region's people, or terrorist organizations, before the powers that be in the media start to question his understanding of foreign and national security policy?
SUSA is having a good year when it comes to accurately predicting election outcomes. ARG is not. So I'd say ignore those numbers suggesting that Obama is cutting in to Clinton's lead in PA - because according to SUSA she's up by 18, and trends seem to run in her favor.
It's not the usual narrative on McCain, so it's worth considering.
"For one, he's extremely undisciplined. With virtually no pressure on him at all, he's already offered a series of troubling gaffes. He's also prone to - as Kaus says - "reflexive righteous blunderbuss denials" that often get him in more trouble than the original accusation. Third, he's a horrible speaker. Finally, his fundraising operation has not only been anemic, it's based on the models of the past.
He's been able to get away with all this largely because he has yet to come under sustained scrutiny. Yes, he won the Republican nomination, which is no small feat. But he won it in the most untested way possible. He was written off for a year and then charged at the very last minute as Rudy collapsed and Huckabee surged.
There's a lot of truth in this. I thought McCain was the strongest general election candidate of the Republicans running - but given who he was up against that wasn't necessarily a wildly impressive achievement. He is a poor speaker and fundraiser. But does any of that matter? Is the apparatus around him strong enough to make up for his weaknesses? Will media love inflate him? Will his long-standing popularity mean he gets the benefit of the doubt throughout the campaign? Do positive feelings toward a candidate outweigh flubs and mistakes by the candidate? Does poor speaking or "blunderbuss" really hurt a candidate? After all, George Bush won in 2004 after an atrocious debate performance, and most people don't watch candidates' speeches.
Woo-hoo! As someone who loathed the Electoral College before that was cool, I'm happy to see that Illinois has joined Maryland and New Jersey. Together they have 47 electoral votes - states totaling 270 votes must join for it to take effect.
Still busy. For your browsing pleasure:
And my personal favorite...
Couldn't go to SXSW?
That's OK, you can still listen.
And if you don't want to listen, you can still read gems like this:
When you were 23 and living alone without many friends and definitely no girlfriends, did you ever jerk off and cry at the same time? This is your song.
Ouch! That's delicious!
Hat tip to the divine Ms. Jenn, my partner in musical crime.
Todd Van Der Werff has a great review of the first episode of Season 4.
John Cole runs down the details. She's continuing to tell a health care tale that doesn't fit with the facts of the case - facts her campaign has been alerted to. And of course she's continuing of the nonsense of arguing that she was more against the Iraq War than Sen. Obama.
UPDATE: Looks like the Clinton criticism on the hospital/insurance story went too far. Cole notes that the campaign's actions here were not the same as the Tuzla nonsense.
Hmmm, what did she do? Did she set fire to the neighbor's garage? Assault an old lady? Steal a High School Musical Poster? No? Can't guess?
Police in Houston say a 14-year-old girl who delivered a stillborn fetus in an airliner restroom on her way back from a middle-school field trip will not be charged with any wrongdoing.
Homicide investigators say they interviewed both the girl and a 14-year-old boy believed to be the father.
Police say that prosecutors decided not to pursue charges against the girl. The fetus was found in a waste can on a Continental Airlines flight that landed at Houston after a flight from New York.
OK, aside from the whole "found" in the trash aspect, on what planet do we send homicide cops to interrogate an adolescent who just had a miscarriage?
Oh, that's right. Planet Texas.
Via Aunt Twisty
Yeah, this really does cut to the chase, doesn't it:
So, just so that we're clear on this. We are building an army full of people who are still getting pension payments from an organization that the U.S. has designated a terrorist organization. And we are basing our entire future in Iraq on that army.
And John McCain thinks somehow our support for this military hurts Iran? I really wish the press would wake up and realize that he has no idea what he's talking about.
Last time I mentioned Wheeling's Drown Culture, which is kind of local to us. This time it's a band that has its roots in Tuscaloosa (yeah, I know there's probably some rule against a transplanted Gator having anything to do with a band that says "roooooooollllll tide" on stage):
This is another one of those bands that I think you really can't appreciate until you hear them live, in their loud and sloppy (I mean this is a very good way) glory. So if you like the new material, you might want to check out these streaming mp3s of a live recording done by the wonderful Sloan Simpson.
From a comment thread discussion about NG subscribers:
NG has a lot of features that attract compulsive hoarders. They are pretty. They carry some status. You can spend time sorting and displaying them.
[whistles a happy tune and keeps moving]
It's US House race run-off day in two special elections in the Bayou State. In LA-1 there's a race on the Republican side to choose the certain successor to Gov. Bobby Jindal. But in LA-6 (the district based around Baton Rouge) these run-offs could produce the closest race in this district in years - and potentially end over 3 decades of Republican representation of this congressional district. If today's results set up a Cazayoux-Jenkins race, Democrats can reasonably hope for a pick-up in the special election in early May.
In other Louisiana election news Republican John Kennedy raised more in the first quarter of this year than US Senator Mary Landrieu. But Landrieu continues to sit on a warchest that dwarfs Kennedy's.
Warning, whiny rant ahead.
This time of year is the hardest to be involved in academics, whether on the consumer or provider side of things. The earth is burgeoning, bursting with color, the weather is warming, the days are getting longer, and the winter doldrums are giving way to all kinds of urges to get out, get active, get going.
The academic calendar, however, is at that precise point that requires the greatest focus to important and large projects, the working on weekends to either write or read papers and create presentations, to attend conferences, to meet big deadlines before the end of the semester in about a month. It's also the time that if one hasn't been attending to all the details, suddenly hits with a crushing blow of "oh shit! there are three weeks left in the semester!"
So, this is yet another of what seem to be appraching an endless stream of "bad blogger, no cookie" moments for me. Huge deadline for next weekend, and a couple of smaller projects in the two weeks after that, and then I hope life and blogging can come out of hibernation for real.
Which really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, but you never know if such news might affect some voters. Between this and Clinton telling a tall tale (lie?) in her stock health care speech she's likely in for a slightly bumpy weekend on the campaign trail. But I don't think the tax information would be nearly as damaging as disclosing the contributors to Bill Clinton's presidential library - and the campaign is, predictably, refusing to do that.
So now that the Clinton's have shown their tax records will the press pressure McCain to disclose his? I doubt it, but it would be appropriate, right?
Via War is Boring I see this depressing story touching on the capabilities and strength of the Iraqi military.
More than 1,000 Iraqi soldiers and policemen either refused to fight or simply abandoned their posts during the inconclusive assault against Shiite militias in Basra last week, a senior Iraqi government official said Thursday. Iraqi military officials said the group included dozens of officers, including at least two senior field commanders in the battle.
My most recent novel was this award winner (its honors include the National Book Award) by Richard Powers. While not my favorite Powers, it's a very fine novel, and deals with some interesting questions about who any one of us really is. For more details, and an interesting comparison to The Wizard of Oz, I'd refer to you this review by Margaret Atwood.
I won't be able to go as I have other plans, but it looks like there's a fun collection of bloggers in Morgantown for a panel tonight.
Years and years and years and years and years later ... and Joey and Jonathan remain the cutest. Plus ca change ...
So, every place I ate in San Francisco last week was delicious. Honestly, every place. And how do they make such wonderful bread out there? Anyway, I thought I'd just briefly note two places, in case any readers will be going to the city. First, breakfast at Dottie's is totally worth the line. Really good stuff - and gives you plenty of energy for walking the hills. Secondly, Osha Thai Noodle Cafe might not look like anything, but YUM. Amazingly tasty. I had this mostly seafood dish, but with eggplant and coconut milk, and I think maybe some red curry (though I could be imagining that) and it was just a taste and texture delight. Can't wait to get back to that city and try more restaurants, because it's remarkable how good everything is.
The Republicans may finally have found their candidate against veteran US senator Frank Lautenberg (D) of New Jersey. But the bigger news in this race is that long-time US Rep. Rob Andrews from South Jersey is going to challenge Launtenberg in the Democratic primary. Andrews, who is ideologically to the right of Lautenberg, is going to have the support of a lot of the county party bosses in the state, though Gov. Corzine is sticking with Lautenberg. Given that party apparatus support Andrews could mount a strong challenge, though at the moment he's far behind Lautenberg in the polls.
So last night the Coup gathered to watch Southland Tales, the post-nuclear-attack epic by the maker of Donnie Darko. I get that it was supposed to be a political satire, and I get that he's got a thing for time travel, but beyond that - urmmm, what the hell was that about? Or was that all there was to it? I mean it looked good, had some fun ideas, and featured some good music (oh Binky I looked it up - that was part of Beethoven's Ninth), and I guess the acting was appropriate to the characters ... but the writing ... I'm just not clear on what it was that I was watching.
First the complaints. Recently, our fine institution revamped its websites, from the main page to the libraries to the directory search function. Guess what? Functionality to the toilet. I should never have complained before about the online databases automatically logging me out and losing all my search items, because now, well, gee, now, I can't even get into the fucking databases. The pages are so slow to load, and I'm on my third page (third!) database entry page, and this is even before logins. [head slap] Oh, and the directory doesn't work either. If I need to find someone across campus, I use google.
So, instead of reading scholarly journals, as I wait for the multiple entry pages to load I am reading from the internets instead.
Oh wait! The last entry page loaded now, and it's barely readable! All the text is shoved to the right half of the page. [head slappity slap] But now, trying to log in, the connection is refused when trying to put in my university ID. Jesus fucking christ on a crutch.
OK, links away:
Anti-immigrant=Anti-business: Hope you didn't want any tomatoes in your salad this summer.
Why do some non-smokers get lung cancer (and some smokers don't get it)? Tobacco works with genes. And guess what... the same genes that activate the lung cancer also make the smokers more addicted, and less likely to quit. There's a nice little piece of evolution for you.
In this case he doesn't even know his own mind. Yesterday in one interview he described Sadr as a major player whose influence must be reduced. In a different interview yesterday he said Sadr's influence had been on the wane for some time.
Now the latter is clearly inaccurate, and as to the former I really do wish the media would note that what McCain is arguing for is the US taking sides in a civil war (in which both sides are allied with Iran). His weak hold on the facts of the conflict are as troubling as his own inability to express coherent thoughts about them.
Our overlords, Fafblog, seems to have returned.
In case you were confused, this is good.
(Unless this is an April Fools Day Joke, in which case I'll be pissed.)
So I got an update from Project Vote Smart about what the legislature was up to in its last meeting. Among the highlights (or lowlights) - it made the driving privileges of teens dependent on their school attendance and grades. This strikes me as a pretty bad idea, but only 15 delegates (all Republicans) voted against it. A more remarkable move to me though has to do with a bill that was passed that bans employers from forcing their employees to take part in political events. That it was passed seems quite appropriate. But what I find striking is that 33 delegates (mostly Republicans), over a third of those voting, voted against it. That's troubling.
Krugman is talking about regulating financial markets:
For example, there was a 2003 photo-op in which officials from multiple agencies used pruning shears and chainsaws to chop up stacks of banking regulations. The occasion symbolized the shared determination of Bush appointees to suspend adult supervision just as the financial industry was starting to run wild.
The latest numbers are up on Campaign Diaries. Obama's lead over Clinton among the pledged delegates has grown to 162 (1415.5 to 1253.5). I don't see any way Clinton can overcome that. And I still find it weird that people seriously discuss the idea that the superdelegates might support the candidate who doesn't lead in pledged delegates. The race remains close to a lock for Obama. Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky can't change that. Perhaps the Clintons themselves can do something to destroy him - but I don't see how that wouldn't destroy her chances in November (and both of their reputations in the party). But short of "dead girl, live boy" revelation, Obama's a very heavy favorite to win the Democratic nomination. Given that fact I find it odd so many superdelegates are remaining on the sidelines. But then politicians are often followers, not leaders.
Something else to make many nervous about the outcome of the recent fighting between the Iraqi government and Sadr's forces.
Brig. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, who helped U.S.-backed Iraqi leaders negotiate a deal with radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr to stop the fighting in Iraq's largely Shiite south, is named on U.S. Treasury Department and U.N. Security Council watch lists for alleged involvement in terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear and missile technology.
Weapons programs exceeding their budget is nothing new - but the scale of this is pretty amazing nonetheless.
Government auditors issued a scathing review yesterday of dozens of the Pentagon's biggest weapons systems, saying ships, aircraft and satellites are billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule.
The Government Accountability Office found that 95 major systems have exceeded their original budgets by a total of $295 billion, bringing their total cost to $1.6 trillion, and are delivered almost two years late on average. In addition, none of the systems that the GAO looked at had met all of the standards for best management practices during their development stages.
"Scathing", "dozens" and "years behind" are all quite troubling - but I'd say that "none" is perhaps the most worrisome word in that overview of the GAO report. Remember, as the Republicans tell us, that's "your money" - and of course it's also your security.