May 31, 2008

Hillary's Reaction; And Who's Disenfranchised?

I think Publius is absolutely right. What the DNC decides today doesn't matter at all. How Sen. Clinton responds to it, that will be the important news of the day. And it could well reverberate all the way to November.

In related news Josh Marshall points out an often overlooked point. At the time Michigan and Florida were presumed not to count. So many people who would've otherwise voted didn't. If the MI and FL delegations end up being seated by the rules being altered after the fact, aren't they then disenfranchised?

Posted by armand at 10:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 30, 2008

Burton and Depp Do Sweeney Todd

So I finally got around to watching last fall's Sweeney Todd adaptation. I've never seen the play, so I can't compare it to that. And sure, if amazing singing performances were the goal you wouldn't cast Mr. Depp or Ms. Bonham Carter (especially her). But all that said, I really enjoyed the movie. I thought it was quite effectively done, very Burton, very engaging, and now I'm really rather interested in hearing the score and a Broadway cast recording because it's clearly got great music. While the show's biggest fans might have found it a disappointment, for the average movie-goer who's okay with musicals, I think it was a nice piece of work.

Posted by armand at 03:22 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Harvey Korman Has Died

... and Methodists!

Ah, Hedley Lamarr is gone.

Posted by armand at 09:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Alan Mollohan Endorses Obama

Our congressman has come out for the Illinois senator. That makes all 4 of the state's congressional Democrats for Obama - which of course stands in contrast to the preferences of the state's voters that were prominently displayed in the primary earlier this month.

Posted by armand at 09:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 29, 2008

It's Madeline Kahn Appreciation Day!

StinkyLulu has organized this set of posts honoring one of the great actresses.

Posted by armand at 12:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Joint Trip to Iraq

Well, of course it's a political stunt. But it's a damn clever one. Score one for the McCain campaign.

Posted by armand at 11:56 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 28, 2008

$152 Billion Goes Unaudited at the DOD

Wow. Given the penchant of a lot of contractors to rip off the government/taxpayer, and fact that that sum is more than the combined budgets of a host of federal departments, that's pretty amazing.

Posted by armand at 03:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tony Blair's Recent Brush With Death

Huh. I missed this in last week's news, but it's a reminder of just how tense things are in Israel right now.

Tony Blair came within moments of being killed when two Israeli fighter aircraft threatened to shoot down a private jet taking him to a Middle East conference in the belief that it might have been staging a terrorist attack.
Posted by armand at 03:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Award Winners at Cannes

In case you, like me, were away for a long weekend - here are the winners. Benicio del Toro took Best Actor for Soderbergh's Che.

Posted by armand at 11:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Kathy G.'s Strong Case Against Jim Webb; Novakula's Silly Tirade Against Kathleen Sebelius

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - Jim Webb should not be Sen. Obama's choice for Vice President.

On the other hand, infuriating Bob Novak is often a good thing, so that's one more reason to put Kathleen Sebelius on the national ticket. I mean, what is his point here? Sebelius is pro-choice and that's ... scary? That Obama might want a pro-choice running-mate isn't exactly surprising.

Posted by armand at 11:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 25, 2008

Who knew keffiyehs came in paisley?

Wonkette (and everyone else under the sun) shoot fish in a barrel.

I find this funny because I've had the same thing happen to me. In fact, the person who had Armand's job before him was warming up to give me a stern lecture about wearing a keffiyah, its cultural significance etc and so forth (which, as a long time student of comparative politics, I was acquainted with already) and I think was warming up to make sweeping generalizations and get busy with some tsk-tsking about my (presumed) politics. I think I must have given him the "are you fucking stupid" look as I unwound my buffalo plaid scarf and held it out to him saying "you mean this?.

So, yeah, Rachael Ray, I feel your pain (even if you do endorse sucky coffee).

Posted by binky at 12:22 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 23, 2008


My score is 71. I also think this would be more accurate if it counted public transport, because this doesn't account for how I can go weeks without driving anywhere except the grocery store, and, actually, I could go to the grocery store as long as a) I kept it light and b) I didn't buy melty things like ice cream and popcicles.

Posted by binky at 04:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Juan Cole on Why Grand Ayatollah Sistani Might Turn Against US Troops in Iraq

Cole has a long post on this important issue, and notes a few possibilities of why Sistani might choose to do this now. Personally, I think this is the most likely reason about the timing.

I have all along believed that Sistani would ultimately issue a fatwa saying that it was illegitimate for there to continue to be foreign troops on Iraqi soil. I think he would have gone in that direction if Bush had not given in on the January, 2005, elections. But he had been concerned about a resurgence of the Baath, about the rise of the Salafi Jihadis (radical Sunnis, which are in my view mistakenly called 'al-Qaeda'), and about the weakness of the Shiite government.

Ironically, the more success the Americans have in reducing sectarian violence and strengthening the Iraqi state, the more likely it is that Sistani will put his foot down about the foreign military presence.

Posted by armand at 10:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Why Al Qaeda Would Rather Not Be Based in Failed States

Interesting - so Pakistan is better for them than Iraq, like Kenya is better than Somalia.

Posted by armand at 10:23 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Wells on Synecdoche, New York

I was planning on seeing this later this year anyway. But after this description I am so seeing it:

I've just emerged from the semi-nourishing, semi-tortured Fellini-esque Chinese box mindfuck-dreamscape that is Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York ...
Posted by armand at 09:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 22, 2008

Another Reason to Love the Senators from Rhode Island

Ever since last summer I've been starting to think that Rhode Island might now have the best delegation in the US Senate. Today I noted more evidence supporting that thought. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse were the only two Democrats to vote against the bloated and damaging Farm Bill (they were joined by thirteen Republicans). And hey, I can add this to the reasons why I like Jack Reed and think he should be considered for a promotion (I didn't know about this when I wrote the post below).

Posted by armand at 02:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Voting with their feet

People always move on from college towns. And in my years here, several of my close friends, some of whom were otherwise very happy with life in Morgantown, have left because of their dissatisfaction with the management of the university and their view of what their futures might look like in the college. It's one thing for restive junior faculty to make a decision to move out and up before they get too settled. It's another thing entirely when renowned researchers with millions of dollars of federal contracts or award winning teachers decide to move on.

Posted by binky at 01:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Obama Starts His Veep Search

Ambinder also has a post up on the start of the Obama campaign's search for a vice presidential nominee. He hits on the basic political issues involved, and he has a list of possibilities. Some of them are appalling (Nunn, Strickland, Roemer, Casey, Hagel - what's Ambinder smoking thinking that an anti-choice politician will be the pick?) and some are bad in my view (Biden and Webb) but he's also listing the three people who are to me the most likely possibilities (Sebelius, Richardson and Napolitano). I'd also throw Jack Reed and possibly Sherrod Brown into the mix (especially Reed).

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

McCain Floats Jindal, Romney and Crist as Running Mates

That's who he's quite publicly meeting with this weekend. I think Crist could be an excellent choice - Jindal (who's getting hammered in the Louisiana press of late, something the national press might want to look at) and Romney, not so much.

Posted by armand at 09:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 21, 2008

The Bizarre Power of Puerto Rico in the Democratic Contest

Kos notes something I was unaware of - Puerto Rico gets to send more delegates to the Democratic National Convention than 26 states (including those Appalachian areas that have been much discussed of late, Kentucky and West Virginia).

Posted by armand at 04:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

He's Not Dead Yet

Just stop it. I'm sure I'm not the first to make this point, but would someone remind the national news that Sen. Kennedy is not dead? All these premature obituaries that are being run are just morbid. He's ill, but he's still an influential guy who has important work to do. Note the prognosis, but there's another time to report on the effects he's had on American political development.

Posted by armand at 09:18 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Future of Lebanonese Politics: A Deal Is Struck

The keys according to the New York Times: Lebanon will finally get a president, but Hezbollah will have veto power over the new government.

One wonders if Israel's peace talks with Syria are tied to this. And will John McCain denounce the Bush administration if they deal with this Hezbollah-influenced government? Will he denounce Israel for dealing with Syria (indirectly)?

Posted by armand at 08:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 20, 2008

I Get Cartman's Complaint

So last night I watched several episodes of The Family Guy for the first time in ages. And I've got to say I get what Cartman was arguing in the "Cartoon Wars" episodes of South Park. As The Family Guy developed it has become more dependent on jokes thrown together completely randomly, and it let jokes, many of which were unfunny in the first place, run waaay too long. It's too bad as Brian and Stewie remain funny - but the rest, not so much.

Posted by armand at 01:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Polling Vice Presidential Prospects

So SUSA has polled Pennsylvania and shows that in a head-to-head Obama leads McCain 48-40. They also polled a variety of tickets involving the two senators. Is this really all that helpful? I mean I don't find it at all surprising that tickets including John Edwards and the governor of Pennsylvania polled better for Obama than tickets featuring Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Sen. Chuck Hagel, given that I imagine most voters aren't familiar with those two individuals. Name ID seems to really skew such polls. That said, the low numbers for McCain-Romney are kind of interesting given that Romney should be relatively well known after his presidential bid.

Posted by armand at 01:21 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Dale Carpenter on the California Marriage Decision

The Volokh Conspiracy's go-to guy on issues tied to same-sex marriage has weighed in on the California Supreme Court's recent marriage decision (here). I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on tv, but I'd agree that these points appear key (I imagine Ryan and maybe Moon will want to comment on this eventually):

A possible limiting factor on the influence of the California decision is that it arose in the unusual context of a state that had already granted all of the substantive rights of marriage to gay couples under the state's domestic partnership laws. The California court emphasized this point throughout the opinion ...

First, the California court held that the fundamental right to marry includes the right of same-sex couples to marry, just as it concluded in 1948 that the right to marry includes the right of inter-racial couples to marry, not that there is a fundamental right to "inter-racial marriage." Op. at 51. The California court did not hold that there is a new and separate fundamental right to something called "same-sex marriage," a nuance some critics of the decision have missed. This holding is a first for a state high court in marriage litigation. Most of the courts so far have missed the distinction and have assumed that the claim at issue was for recognition of a new fundamental right to same-sex marriage and then, having under-theorized the issue, they've gone on to reject the "new" right ...

The California court concludes that the state’s legislative domestic-partnership enactments have not created a new constitutional right but are a confirmation and official recognition of an underlying truth about the equal needs and capacities of gay couples and families. So even if California had not enacted the domestic partnership laws for same-sex couples, the California court would have concluded under its own logic that they were included within the fundamental right to marry ...

Second, the holding that excluding gay couples from marriage is sexual-orientation discrimination and that such discrimination cannot survive strict scrutiny also does not depend on whether the state previously enacted domestic partnership laws. If the substantive right of marriage, and the dignitary interest in having the relationship called "marriage" by the state, cannot be denied on the basis of sexual orientation it should not matter that the state has left gay families completely without legal protection or has seen fit to protect them in all substantive ways but withheld the title marriage. Indeed, if the state had refused to give gay couples any protection under state law, or had given them only very little protection, the affront to equal protection principles under the court's reasoning would be even greater. The equal protection holding, quite apart from the fundamental-right holding, has potential to influence sister state courts in future marriage litigation.

Of course the Court's decision that sexual-orientation discrimination should be subject to heightened scrutiny might be the most important part of this ruling. But Carpenter doesn't go into that at length, and not being an expert on that I feel unqualified to comment on it.

Posted by armand at 11:01 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 19, 2008

Speaking of Elites Pressuring Students ...

The country's top political donor promised the leaders of Young Democrats of America $1 million if they wouldn't back Sen. Obama. The Young Democrats though stood with their pro-Obama membership and turned down the $1 million. While this race looks over (and has for some time) the Clintons are clearly still fighting hard for every vote.

Posted by armand at 08:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 15, 2008

Bresch-Related Things That Make You Go Hmmmm ...


Gov. Joe Manchin's daughter, Heather Bresch, was being considered for at least two posts on advisory boards for West Virginia University about the time her academic credentials came into question. Last fall Bresch was being considered as a potential member of both the WVU Foundation and the advisory board at the College of Business and Economics, indicating WVU officials regarded her as more than just the average ex-student
Posted by armand at 10:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 14, 2008

A Game Changer for the November Election?

Marc Ambinder discusses the implications of the ruling California's Supreme Court is going to issue tomorrow relating to that state's anti-gay marriage initiative.

Posted by armand at 07:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

West Virginia Might Be the State That Looks Least Like America

Racially, educationally, in terms of its economy, in terms of the age of its population, it is an outlier. Something that you'd think more people might have brought up on tv last night when interpreting the supposed larger meanings of West Virginia's vote.

Posted by armand at 10:34 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

"It's Almost Like She's the Al Sharpton of White People"

Seriously, is there anyone on tv who's more perfect for today's political media environment than Chris Matthews? It's like they popped him out of a network talking head machine.

And, more broadly, why won't the networks say poor white people? That's what they kept implying again and again and again last night. But they kept saying "working class" (apparently no one who makes more than 50k works). Is poor a dirty word or something? It doesn't seem any more negative to me than the implication that no one who earns more than $50,000 a year works for a living.

Posted by armand at 10:29 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 13, 2008

For Gov. Chris Gregoire (D-WA) Pork-Barrel Spending Comes Before National Security

The governor of Washington state took time out of her busy schedule today to write a diary on Daily Kos in which she attacks Sen. McCain for leading the fight that allowed for a major air tanker contract to be won by Airbus, not Boeing. Now I understand that she has to do things to appease angry constituents, but discussing the tanker contract as "economic stimulus" seems to kind of miss the point, no? The tankers aren't being built to improve the economies of France or Washington, they are being built to provide a vital service that's key to our national security. I don't think there's much debate that the Airbus plane rated better than the Boeing plane, in terms of our military's needs. So, personally, if she feels the need to attack John McCain I wish she would do it on one of the issues on which he's horrible (there are many) and not on an issue on which he can argue he is more concerned with the national security needs of the country than a Democrat.

Posted by armand at 04:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Would You Be Vice President?" - The Hill Asks 97 Senators

And happily some of them actually have a sense of humor (predictably, some don't).

Ted Stevens: "No. I've got too many things that I still want to do as a senator. And I don't like the idea of a job where you sit around and wait for someone to die."

Barbara Mikulski: "Absolutely. Absolutely. I think I would be great. First of all, I know how to behave at weddings and funerals. And I know how to be commander in chief. I'd bring a lot of fun to the job. We would rock the Naval Observatory."

Robert C. Byrd: "No, I can already preside over the Senate, and I do not enjoy spending a lot of time at 'undisclosed locations.'"

Roger Wicker: "The chances of that are so remote that I'm more likely to be hit by an asteroid."

Daniel Inouye: "If I were asked, I would say, 'You're out of your mind.'"

James Inhofe: "No. I enjoy life too much."

Chuck Grassley: "I'm too old to be vice president. But I am young enough to be reelected to the Senate." [So he's going to run again, at 77, in 2010?]

Larry Craig: I would say "No, Hillary.'"

Lamar Alexander: "I know already who it will be: the man in charge of the search. There's no need for me to respond. That's how you get to be vice president."

Posted by armand at 02:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mississippi's 1st District

Marc Ambinder is arguing that today's important election isn't in West Virginia, it's in Mississippi. And indeed, if the Democrats manage to win a blood-red seat in the Deep South that President Bush won by 25 points in 2004 that'll be a sign that the Republican brand is pretty much toxic at this point. Though of course Democratic pick-ups in Louisiana and Illinois (former Speaker Hastert's seat) earlier this year are already pointing in that direction.

Posted by armand at 01:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Robert Rauschenberg Has Died

He was long one of my favorite American artists. The New York Times obituary (with links to a few works) is here.

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

Rumors of my (computer's) demise

Are true.

While in comparison to the havoc wreaked on others' lives and livelihoods, my loss is small, the storms that passed across the country this weekend were responsible for completely soaking my computer. It was sitting near a window that in ten years living in my house has never once been a problem for rain entering. This storm was something different. When I got home and picked it up it felt heavy, and then when I opened the top I saw droplets of water on the keyboard. I thought, "hmmm, did I just dribble from my glass of water?" not thinking that there was an external source.

The bad news is that the laptop is dead. The good news is that I bought a $20 doohickey that has now converted my (former) hard drive to a (now) external drive, and it appears I have lost no data. So, all the Flaming Lips shows and photos of the Drive By Truckers are safe! However it means my access will be spotty until I get a new computer, as I am working on anyone else's who will share.

So, be back soon, hopefully.

Posted by binky at 12:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Dirtiest Side of the Bresch Scandal: Intimidating WVU Students

Miles Layton buried the lead in his story in today's Dominion-Post on the climate of fear that's come to exist at WVU. It's well known that those friendly to the Goodwin/Garrison side of things have been putting pressure on certain faculty, especially at the medical center, to openly side with President Garrison, or at the very least not come out against him. But something else that's also gone on is far more disturbing.

Layton notes, several paragraphs into his story, that students who've wanted to take a stand against the mismanagement of the Garrison administration have come under heavy pressure from other students, especially some associated with student government, not to do so. In fact students who had agreed to serve in the new group that is trying to improve the university's reputation in the wake of the scandal, Mountaineers for Integrity and Responsibility, have been pressured out of joining the organization. As to the students in question, it's no great secret who some of them are - while SGA President Jason Parson has publicly backed Garrison, SGA Vice President Tommy Napier and others have been openly critical of the administration's failings.

What Layton fails to report though is exactly what kind of pressure the pro-Garrison students are putting on the critics of the administration - and why that pressure would be enough to silence, at least a bit, students who've spoken out against the misdeeds of some in the administration. Basically, pro-Garrison/Goodwin students (or at least one of them) have conveyed threats from a prominent member of the Board of Governors, telling these students that they will never have careers in this state unless they shut up. That a member of the Board of Governors is threatening WVU undergrads is horrifying. That a WVU student (who will of course deny it) is happily serving as his hatchet man is equally despicable. That WVU undergrads (who obviously can't speak out about it) find themselves in this position for wanting to improve their university is a sad, sad thing.

[NOTE: Mike Garrison is NOT involved in this intimidation of students. But that one his allies on the Board has engaged in it shows that getting back to business as usual is the last thing this state and university needs.]

Posted by armand at 09:52 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 12, 2008

Mike Garrison Thinks Tenured Faculty Make Around $100,000

Clueless barely begins to describe it. Faculty wanting to voice their frustrations with our clueless monarch are strongly encouraged to come to the special Faculty Assembly being held at 1:30 on Wed. at the Creative Arts Center. I fear turnout is going to be really low (could it possibly be scheduled at a more inconvenient time?), and that would send a bad message.

Posted by armand at 03:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 11, 2008


So since earlier today I brought up the question of McCain's running-mate, I figure I might as well open a thread for any thoughts anyone has about who Sen. Obama should choose. My top choices? Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, former Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, retired Gen. Wesley Clark, and to make it an even half-dozen I'll throw Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona into the mix (since according to Marc Ambinder Obama likes her a lot). Other names have been suggested of course, but many of them have drawbacks. All three prominent Virginians who are often discussed come with some problems, many of the leading senators voted for the war, and Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has said he doesn't want it. I think any anti-choice politicians are non-starters, though a few like Sen. Casey of Pennsylvania have some supporters. Any names you like out of that list? Or are there other names that should be thrown into the mix?

Posted by armand at 08:40 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Bill Clinton, Still Running on Elitism, Fears and Lies

He was at it again today in Mingo county.

He told them his wife represented "people like you, in places like this", and urged voters to turn out in record numbers on Tuesday to send a message to the "higher-type people" who were trying to force her out of the race.

I wasn't a giant Clinton cheerleader in the 1990s, but any respect I had for the man has been completely erased in this campaign.

Posted by armand at 08:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Finding the Cabin

"You're certainly not."

I think the most interesting point in Jeff Jensen's recap of this week's (very intriguing) Lost has to do with John and Ben's timelines - how they are related, and how they point to one of them being favored by the island. Now as to which one is really favored, that's not clear yet.

And I'm really not at all clear on what we are supposed to make of Horace's appearance.

Posted by armand at 03:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Are 10 Republican Senate Seats in Danger?

It might be a little hard to imagine, but as recent polling shows Senators Smith (OR), Cornyn (TX) and Dole (NC) to be in trouble, it's starting to look possible. In contrast, the Republicans are really only contesting 1 Democratic Senate seat at the moment.

Posted by armand at 01:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Once Again Considering the Question of McCain's Running Mate

So last night Ryan and I were once again talking about who McCain might run with. And I was having trouble thinking of many possibilities. Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah seem like good possibilities, as does former Rep. Rob Portman of Ohio. I think former Gov. (and Homeland Security Secretary) Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania should get more attention than he does, and I find the idea that people are advocating Gov. Bobby Jindal (Louisiana) and Gov. Sarah Palin (Alaska) to be bizarre - both are brand new to their jobs, and so young that it might highlight just how old McCain is. I get the argument in favor of Sen. John Thune of South Dakota (he's young, handsome and very conservative), but I don't find him a likely choice for similar reasons. Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida has obviously been hugely helpful to the McCain campaign, but he too is relatively inexperienced. And of course a lot of people are speaking up for Mitt Romney, but I don't get that he adds much to the ticket, and it certainly appeared during the primary campaign that Romney and McCain weren't fond of each other.

So am I leaving anyone off the list? If not, does that make Pawlenty the heavy favorite? Personally, if I was McCain, I'd take Ridge or Huntsman. But he's close to Pawlenty, who's quite conservative, young but not too young, an experienced governor of a "purple" state, and of course the host of this summer's convention.

Posted by armand at 01:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 10, 2008

Publius Argues That Clinton Lost Because of Iraq

He makes a pretty good case.

Posted by armand at 04:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Spring Throws Up on Angie Harmon

Think Angie Harmon can pull off most any outfit? Think again.

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

Lightning + Erupting Volcano

Some amazing pictures involving the eruption of Chaiten in Chile.

Posted by armand at 02:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 09, 2008

Hezbollah Turns Against Fellow Lebanese

Awful news from Beirut.

The battles spread within moments of a rare news conference by the leader of the Shiite Hezbollah movement, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, who effectively endorsed the use of violence by his supporters against fellow Lebanese. This is a first in the history of the group, which had always declared that it is armed only to defend Lebanon against Israeli aggression.

They've already seized control of much of West Beirut. A couple of things to keep an eye on for how they affect the response to this - Hezbollah's leader Nasrallah has become extremely popular in many areas of the Arab world since the 2006 war, so some regional governments may incur domestic costs by taking him on, and Israel may very soon (very soon) be going through a transition in its leadership.

Posted by armand at 02:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Trauma Mommas

In honor of Mothers Day, "10 Horrifying Moms from Non-Horror Movies". Damn I love some of these characters.

Posted by armand at 02:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

ARG Has Clinton Up 66-23 in West Virginia

And 45% of likely Democratic primary voters in WV say there's no way they'd vote for Obama in the fall.

Posted by armand at 11:32 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 08, 2008

Hillary Clinton Praises Her Support From "White Americans"

I'm a lot less worried about the racial tinge to what she said than the fact that what she said flies in the face of reality. Over time Obama's been becoming more and more popular in those voting blocs that Clinton seems to think matter more than others. I noticed that yesterday as I was looking over exit poll data, prepping for a radio interview. Kos has numbers on the trend here.

Posted by armand at 02:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fred Kaplan's Daydream Believers

It's a good book on why US foreign and national security policies have gone off the rails in recent years. The core point seems to be this (p.192):

The great divide in thinking about American foreign policy today is not so much between Realists and Neoconservatives; it's between realists (with a small r) and fantasists. The split lies not in what is desirable over the long run but in what is possible here and now.

In telling the story of the (at least temporary) triumph of the fantastists Kaplan recounts the dangerous influence of Wohlstetter and his followers, Reagan's push for SDI, our bizarre policies relating toward North Korea, Rumsfeld's prioritization of transformation above all, and of course the Bush administration's policies toward the Middle East. It's a disheartening tale, but one filled with valuable and informative detail. And one that's in the end somewhat hopeful. US decision makers may finally be back on the road toward being reality-based.

Posted by armand at 10:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Prince Caspian

So since I'm feeling sickly this week and can only talk for limited periods (allergies - bad bad allergies) I figured it was a good night to stay in and read Prince Caspian again in preparation for next week's release of the film adaptation. And what I remembered turned out to be true. I think it's the weakest of the Chronicles of Narnia. There's remarkably little from which to base a summer release - much less one whose trailer makes it out to be part IV of The Lord of the Rings. The story's brief, and not much happens. So now I'm actually kind of more interested to see the film than I was earlier because I'm wondering what they'll do to make it interesting.

While I get making the films in order, books 3 and 4 are should make much better movies.

Posted by armand at 09:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 07, 2008

Garrison spends the day on politics with Heather's dad

A bold move, no?

Love this picture.

Accompanying story here.

Posted by binky at 09:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 06, 2008

"Gosford Park meets Paranoid Park"

The new Brideshead Revisited looks well worth seeing. Of course Emma Thompson in a great role is always worth seeing, and it's based on an excellent novel. But I've got to say that this trailer, while it looks a bit like the book, doesn't feel like the book (which I've always taken to be principally about the role of religion in people's lives - well, in addition to all the usual constraints on those who live in gilded cages stuff).

Posted by armand at 02:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

When Governors Were Lauded for Militias Gunning Down Striking Workers

The fight for labor protections didn't only turn deadly in the famous conflicts in West Virginia and the Rocky Mountain States. It happened in mild-mannered Wisconsin too.

Posted by armand at 10:09 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 05, 2008

Short Link-Round Up on Garrison Tonight

Some of these are repeating from comments, but these are the relevant stories covering the WVU Faculty Senate vote that recommended that WVU President Garrison resign:

The basic news blurb from our local AM talk radio station.

Commentary from one of the bigger local-only talk radio personalities.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette has a brief article (I suspect something longer tomorrow).

And, of course, the best news/gossip/rumor is on the ever-changing comment threads at Fifth Column (the most recent discussion is here).

I haven't linked to Garrison's statement (below, and easily found) or the AP newswire report of the faculty vote (the links above have more information). The Charleston Gazette seems to be avoiding the story (they have the AP blurb on the site, but you have to search for it). I haven't bothered to check the local newspaper (they only update their website once a day, with a copy of their printed newspaper).

Garrison is clearly going to try to hang on. The entire faculty will (presumably) vote on May 14 (just before graduation; should be interesting timing), but that vote will have no more legal weight than this one. It will ratchet up the pressure on Garrison, but accomplish nothing directly. The graduation ceremonies themselves migth also: if the students take the opportunity to make their feelings known, that could be interesting.

The vote just happened a few hours ago, so more detailed analysis, commentary, and reaction are likely to come tomorrow.

Posted by baltar at 10:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mike Garrison says "Fuck you, faculty"

Or thereabouts. Either he writes quickly or he had this prepared before the faculty vote.

Since my appointment as President of WVU, I have worked with hundreds of students, faculty members, and staff who have stepped forward to address the challenges and opportunities which face us as a University. We have accomplished great things together - and we will continue to do so - by focusing on the future of the University.

The essence of all the motions presented in the Senate today contains a clear message: we at WVU must work to create an environment that assures everyone that this will never happen again.

I have also heard from scores of students, from faculty across the university, from staff, from alumni, and from people across this state. Many have voiced their concerns. Others urged me not to allow a climate of anger and confusion to distract us from our mission. Many have urged me to press forward for the good of the university.

But on one thing we are united: We all love this University. We must continue the great work we do for our students and for our state.

The faculty are the heart of the University. I've said many times before, my faculty mentors are among the people who had great influence on my life. I will continue to work closely with faculty members, particularly those who have already demonstrated a commitment and willingness to work with others across campuses, across disciplines, and across differences of opinion, on each of the challenges that face us.

Our love for this University binds us together in our work.

Our hardest work is ahead.

The Board of Governors has asked me to implement the changes recommended by the committee, and to continue the momentum we have developed on the campuswide and statewide priorities for the past year. It is the work I have been asked to do. It is the work I love to do. It is the work I intend to do.

And pardon me, but "confusion" my ass. The only confusion seems to have been among the administration on which made up story they were going to select to justify their favor.

Posted by binky at 07:34 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

77 to 19: Garrison "must resign"

"The WVU Faculty Senate has voted to call on WVU President Mike Garrison to resign "for the good of the institution" as a result of the Heather Bresch scandal. The motion passed 77 to 19 with one abstention during a special meeting of the 114-member Senate.

The Senators rejected a second motion that would have simply censured Garrison and a third that recommended no action against the President. "

Posted by binky at 06:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Why Isn't McCain Apologizing for Liddy?

If Obama has to apologize for Ayers that is. The answer is of course abundantly obvious. The media likes McCain, has decided his character is not campaign issue, and has told the public how great McCain is for a good decade now. So the public is likely to assume the best of McCain and not think he really approves of Liddy's past actions. But if all 3 presidential candidates were held to the same standard, as Steve Chapman notes, John McCain's praise of Liddy and associations with Liddy might be a problem.

Posted by armand at 10:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Garrison Doesn't Know If Bresch Earned Her Degree?

Pardon me while I bang my head against the wall. Mike Garrison still says he has no way of knowing if Bresch earned her degree or not? Was I imagining it when he said he accepted the Bresch report - which stated conclusively that she did not earn her degree? No wonder 110 faculty have publicly called for his resignation (no doubt many more feel that way but are declining to take their opinions public, give that the hacktastic Garrison may hold it against them in the future). Can it be any clearer that he considers this entire matter simply an inconvenience? Garrison has to go if WVU is to maintain its integrity.

Posted by armand at 09:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

So last night I got around to watching Schnabel's much lauded film from last year. I can get the accolades for the direction, and it is indeed a nice film, and definitely something anyone looking for a "triumph of the human spirit" story will enjoy. But I don't get the calls by some to name it 2007's best film. It was good, no question. But best of the year, that I don't see.

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

May 04, 2008

Hillary Clinton - Still Dishonest and Threatening the Obliteration of Millions

Yup, that headline is sure to piss some off, including perhaps some of the other members of the Coup. But when she insists on restating her threats against Iran and her call for a gas tax holiday ... well, c'mon. They're both true statements. Hilzoy engages what her behavior on the gas tax says about her character and decision-making processes here. On that issue Mark Kleiman says she's Bushian - appealing to ignorance and parting company with the reality based community. But perhaps its her morning affirmation of her "obliterate Iran" comment that's more disturbing. Of course there is the troubling morality of the statement. But there are also the very real, tangible policy results that engaging in such "cowboy diplomacy" produces - results that harm US interests and US foreign policy goals, as Kleiman discusses here.

Posted by armand at 06:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Things That Annoy Armand - #253

Having to write a scathing review on a beautiful Spring day, because someone actually thinks that crappy manuscript X, which would be lucky to get a B- in a grad seminar here, should be published by what's arguably the top journal in the field. I'm sometimes a fan of ambition - but delusions (and not having the slightest clue about appropriate research designs) are something else entirely.

Posted by armand at 06:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Iron Man

I'd only give the film a B/B-, but that's not bad for a summer blockbuster, and Robert Downey Jr.'s performance makes it well worth seeing. He's loads of fun, as one would expect. And since I was cooler on the film as a whole than Baltar was, well, I think I can say all of us would recommend it.

Ah, Robert Downey Jr. - love him. Go watch Kiss Kiss Bang Bang if you haven't already. Oh, and sure, this too.

Posted by armand at 06:09 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 03, 2008


One of my favorite cool things vanished from the web, but on a lark I searched again and found it: organic html. It's back in the blogroll under diversions.

By the way, just playing with different sites, the one that is the most fun is Norbizness. Try it.

Posted by binky at 10:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Obama Wins Guam

The least important contest of the primary cycle? Perhaps. But at this point both campaigns want every delegate they can get. There's still 1 precinct (out of 19) outstanding, but his lead should be secure as he's up by 6-7% at the moment.

Posted by armand at 04:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Woods Fund

Ari Berman investigates what it does, and how it connects Obama and Ayers (this link goes out to Morris, given his Ayers fixation - and to the Clinton campaign which keeps pushing the Obama-n-Ayers smears).

Posted by armand at 04:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Race and Democrats' Favorability Ratings of Clinton and Obama

Charles Blow points out some interesting data. Despite all the pundits' analysis and hyperbole, over the course of the presidential campaign (since last July) white Democrats' opinions of Barack Obama haven't changed much - both his favorables and his unfavorables have increased by 5%, with his favorable ratings still far higher than his unfavorables. On the other hand Hillary Clinton's favorable ratings among black Democrats have collapsed. Her favorables are still well ahead of her unfavorables, but they've fallen by 36%.

Back last Christmas my #1 DC connection argued that the race would be decided by black women (they'd be the key demographic - where they went and how they shifted would shape the outcome). More and more it's looking like that was an accurate prediction.

Posted by armand at 03:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Most Intriguing EW Speculation About This Week's Lost

Is Claire a ghost?

Posted by armand at 01:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bill Clinton Continues to Be a Divisive Ass

Oh please.

"The great divide in this country is not by race or even income, it's by those who think they are better than everyone else and think they should play by a different set of rules," he said. "In West Virginia and Arkansas, we know that when we see it."

If there's one group that wants to play by its own set of rules it's the Clinton campaign.

And while at least he didn't come right out and say "pointy-headed-intellectuals", am I reading to much into this when I read it as implying that Obama supporters aren't real Americans or hard-working people?

Posted by armand at 01:29 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 02, 2008

Garrison Scandal Around the World

Now picked up in the Economist.


Posted by binky at 11:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Baltar's doppleganger takes London

And Labour takes a beating all over.

Posted by binky at 11:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Entire Oklahoma Legislature to go to prison

Well, at least according to the Oklahoma Statutes on forcible sodomy, and forcible sodomy being what they have legislated. And given that they have just proposed to "[force] another person to engage in the detestable and abominable crime against nature" multiple times, they're all going for life without parole.

See also Salon and Shakesville for more on how Oklahoma decided to legislate rape.

Posted by binky at 03:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Getting Pakistan Back on Track

60 judges, including the chief justice, are to return to their jobs. That would seem to be bad news for Musharraf - but good news for a freer Pakistan.

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

Soccer moms ruining the environment

Or at least just pissing me off.

I am sitting here on my porch, trying to take advantage of a lovely spring afternoon to do some reading of research articles while sitting in the shade in my nice recycled barrel chair. I live on a narrow, residential street near one of the local high schools, as the attentive reader may recall. Right now I am looking at three, count 'em three, SUVs that have been idling at the curb for 15 minutes. There is one Chevy Suburban (with one female driver) with the windows down, and the woman's (expensively dyed and cut) hair blowing in the breeze of air conditioning. There is another in a Chevy Silverado truck, running with the windows shut and the a/c on, also with one person in the vehicle. That one has been here longer than the other two, so probably idling for more than 15 minutes. The third is a large Toyota minivan, and appears to be turned off. Bonus to that dad for being something less of a gas hog. Each of these vehicles is equipped to carry lots of people and/or stuff, but does not. Plus, they stink. Instead of flowers and grass (and, I admit, a whiff of dog poop every now and again since the pets have been busy while I am reading) I smell exhaust. And, they are parked in front of resident's driveways.

Argh! My street is not your parking lot! Especially not if you are going to sit there are idle and stink the place up!

Posted by binky at 02:47 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Kentucky Derby, 2008

So several weeks ago I looked at the possible field, and settled on 5 horses to keep my eye on - Pyro, Big Brown, Fierce Wind, Elysium Fields and Georgie Boy. Now that we are actually one day from the Derby 2 of those horses (the first 2) are in the race, and indeed they are 2 of the 3 favorites. Between the two I'd put money on Big Brown. No offense to Pyro who's still a nice horse, but Derby winners don't come in 10th in their final preps. So at this point I'm not really thinking Pyro has much of a shot. Who do I have my eye on? Big Brown and Colonel John of course, plus Z Fortune, Gayego and Recapturetheglory. And since the horse with the best work often wins I suppose Denis of Cork should be thrown into the mix.

Posted by armand at 01:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Local Election Disaster for Labour

I assumed Labour would do poorly, but I didn't think they'd do this poorly:

Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour Party was headed toward its worst local election defeat in four decades on Friday, fueling doubts about Brown's ability to lead his party to victory in a general election.

It's not clear yet if Boris Johnson or Ken Livingstone will win in London.

Posted by armand at 09:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 01, 2008

Drown Culture: Contest of Human

Drown Culture is playing Friday night at 123 Pleasant Street in Morgantown, and will be selling copies of their new CD Contest of Human. I've linked to the streaming version before, but now have an advance copy of the CD in my hot little hands.

Or more accurately, I've got the hot pink goodness of the CD spinning in my drive, and it's making it hard to sit still and type. You want to hear it. Yes, you do. You need to listen to this tasty treat! And then you will want to dance.

So Morgantown folks, step out to the fifth anniversary of the Mayday dance party and support a hometown (almost) band. All humans are urged to attend.

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


I officially name that Armand's word of the day. Yes, this is a truly random thought.

Posted by armand at 03:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Projecting Indiana's Primary Results

North Carolina is the most populous state voting on Tuesday, but the perception seems to be that Indiana is the swingiest. So with that in mind, FiveThirtyEight projects the likely outcome here.

Posted by armand at 02:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This Morning's Whacks at the Clinton Campaign

Joe Andrew tears it to shreds, arguing it's cheap Rovian "old politics" that the country needs to rise above in this moving letter that explains why he's jumping ship and backing Sen. Obama.

And also via Ben Smith, I see this response from Iran regarding Sen. Clintons's claim that she'd "totally obliterate" Iran if it attacked Israel. Iran is claiming the charge is a violation of the UN Charter. And one does wonder what the American response would be if a leading Iranian politician had made a similar campaign promise. Or if perhaps you already know the answer to that, maybe you'll want to wonder why Sen. Clinton apparently has so little faith in Israel's own nuclear deterrent.

Posted by armand at 10:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack