Joe Reid says it here.
Wow. You rarely see someone taken down so thoroughly, and yet at the same time in such a calm and reasonable tone.
I should probably start out by saying that I really like Wong Kar Wai movies. I've never seen a bad one, and 2046 is one of my favorite films ever. So it is only in that context that the following sentence should be understood - I was disappointed. He does his usual stylish things, and he's got a highly watchable cast (I mean how can you not want to watch the likes of Strathairn, Law, and Portman?) even if he does lead some of them into questionable accents (I'm looking mostly at you, Ms. Weisz). It's a perfectly pleasant film, and on a regular scale I'd rate it, oh, a B- or something. So it's not that it's bad. It's not bad. But his films can be brilliant. And sadly it's not that either. So sadly I must add it to the long list of movies I've seen of late that have underwhelmed me - though obviously it's better than the likes of Hellboy II, and vastly superior to that pile of tedious, rotting shit that is X-Files: I Want to Believe. I really shouldn't put them in the same paragraph together.
Though I will note that it's much more a fantasy film than the latter two films, even though the latter include elves, goblins, and what I presume are non-existent surgical procedures. In the opening 15 minutes of the film we meet Jude Law. He's a reasonably successful (at least he's getting by) cafe owner in SoHo. He's nice. He's a touch romantic, but not too romantic. He's a little damaged/wise. He cooks. Not only that - he cooks cupcakes and pies. And he cooks a blueberry pie every night just for Norah Jones, and he stays up late every night just to listen to and slightly flirt with her. And yet Jones leaves him in order to take multiple menial jobs across America. And sure, I guess one could argue that in the film's world it makes sense. But a world where you you leave a loving, responsible, attentive, pie-providing Jude Law who thinks you are the bee's knees, and instead opt for no social life and working double shifts at the South's dingiest dives - either she's insane, or that's the most off-kilter fantasyland I've ever heard of.
First he was elitist, then arrogant, then presumptuous, and now he's a celebrity. Josh Marshall considers how this (thoroughly lame, though sadly all too predictable) campaign theme looks when one considers the color of Obama's skin.
In September there will be a new prime minister.
Do they get an extra minute or two if the exam is interrupted by an earthquake?
As you have likely seen, the senior Republican in the US Senate has been indicted. This means he'll have to step aside from the top GOP post on Commerce, Science and Transportation, a committee with powers over a hell of a lot, and a great place to fundraise. The next most senior Republican on the committee is the committee's former chairman, John McCain. As Sen. McCain is otherwise engaged at the moment, I presume the interim-ranking member (and perhaps permanent ranking member should Stevens leave the Senate in the next several months) will be Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas.
But they feel the need to make sure the ladies get looked at. Argh.
The McCain campaign is apparently floating the idea of picking Fred Smith. Since current reports seem to have the choice otherwise nailed down to one between Mitt Romney and T-Paw, well on the basis of his resume, Fred Smith would seem a much more appealing selection than either of those two. And Democrats like Jim Sasser have said they might vote for McCain if he picks Smith (though of course Sasser is from Tennessee). Smith's name has gotten a few mentions earlier in the cycle, and honestly I'm surprised he hasn't garnered more attention.
And apparently the Obama veep-vetters are meeting with the senator in Eric Holder's office. For whatever it's worth, if you go by Intrade, the soporific and intensely moderate junior senator from Indiana is Obama's likeliest pick.
The mind reels. That she held such a position of power is revolting. And I probably can't get my head around just how damaging her actions were to the US Department of Justice.
UPDATE: Does the incompetence of it all make the corruption better or worse?
So the leader of the Tories gave Senator Obama some cds - The Smiths, Radiohead, and Gorillaz. I don't know if I'd vote for the Conservative Party if I was British, but it's nice to see politicians who'll readily admit to listening to more than the likes of Lee Greenwood and Toby Keith.
So I realize that once one becomes a pundit it's virtually impossible to lose the status no matter how many inane things you say or write, but this is damn weak stuff. Quite apart from the fact that his ideological lens is, per the norm, rather too apparent, what's he been smoking for him to think of these 13 people was the two presidential candidate's prospective justices? Conservatives would have a problem with every one of the people listed as possible McCain picks except for Paul Clement. True, he could very well pick Sen. Graham of South Carolina, but that'd cause intra-party problems, and the other four seem non-starters given Greenburg's book on President Bush's pick. And Taylor says that Obama might pick a "crusading liberal", but most of the names he lists don't fit that description at all. Sunstein, maybe, but his politics are varied, and perhaps Kagan, but no one really knows since the Republicans blocked her nomination to the DC Circuit back in the 1990s. Garland, Sotomayor and Wood? Uh, I don't think so. And I think Holder and Clinton are fairly unlikely nominees. Maybe I'm picking on Taylor. It's not like he's the only guy around writing expected, useless, sloppy columns. But since there are so few columns written on how the election might affect the Supreme Court, the weaknesses in his piece are arguably worse than yet another piece of fluffy drivel written on the latest 1.5 point shift in the polls.
No, it's not your imagine, the media is continually throwing around the word "presumptuous" to describe the Democratic nominee - on pretty much every show and pretty much every channel. There's such a constant drumbeat of the same word, you'd think they responded to Republican talking points or something.
There are lot of reasons that anyone in the administration who praises us as a first-rate university should be mocked at length (or hey, if it's a Godwin toadie, let the rotten fruit fly). But really our library is a full-on disgrace. No school with such a small collection is in good shape. And the library's hours merit ridicule. I need a book, and just realized I won't be able to get it for over a day because right now the library closes at 5 on Saturday and doesn't open again until 6 on Sunday evening. And by "right now" I mean during the entire summer. It's a disgrace, and you'd think that student government would do something about it. But ...
There really aren't words for how bad this is. It's beyond forced. Fans of Russians, gays, or Catholic priests are likely to be pissed off. But on the list of crimes this movie commits, tiresomely playing on predictable stereotypes is arguably minor. The writing is just ... honestly I don't think I know English words to convey the horribleness of it all. And I don't recall the last time I saw a movie this bad.
Mil perdones, people. We are under a spam attack and I was hastily trying to keep up with the cleaning up and accidentally deleted some comments. Morris, Jacflash, Moon, Armand, Baltar, and myself too got axed. Maybe Ryan, and anyone else? Sorry guys.
It's a deliberate choice:
Women are kind of fucked, as we've gone over time and time again. We've internalized the idea that a) a neat house is necessary for peace of mind and b) that no one else will do that for you. Some men are neat people and feel the same, but it's clear that in many, probably most houses, men just don’t have these same pressures. Unless a man goes out of his way to do 50% of the work, then, women are going to be stuck with most of the housework. Women get angry, and then men say, well just let it go like I do. Half of those men are full of shit and will start complaining as soon as they see how messy things really can get, and the other half just don’t understand how cruel it is to tell someone that her peace of mind just isn’t that important. Is that their fault? Are they bad people? Are they sexist? Well, only so far as most of us are, but I’d say not really. They just haven't walked in your shoes and they don't know what it's like.
That's from a post at Pandagon. I had a conversation with some friends the other day, and was trying to explain to them why having my house look like a shithole was a healthier choice than trying to keep it clean. One friend said, "well, it's easier. " But I replied, no, really, it's healthier. It's not easier, or it wasn't initially. What would have been easy would be to step right into the trap of traditional gender roles without thinking. To decide that it was my job to clean the house based on the fact that other people would judge me for the size of my dust bunnies, and the vague feeling of dread that it reflected on me as a person if my house wasn't clean. That's definitely the unhealthy. What's hard is the unlearning, the deciding that it really doesn't matter, the choosing to spend energy outside. It's hard to let go - really let go - of a lifetime of social programming.
Would I like my house to be clean? Sure! And I'd also like a pair of new Fluevog boots, size 39 to be delivered once a month, along with a fresh box of tropical fruit ice cream and sorbet flown in from Manaus (leave out the cupuacu but don't forget the umbu). And for there to be no homeless doggies or kitties. And world peace.
I know there are people in my family - and surely some friends too - who are or would likely be appalled at my housekeeping. Big fucking deal. I have jobs and hobbies, and being bound by gendered standards or housework isn't among them. Also missing from the list is nagging and/or being resentful of a partner who doesn't care about housecleaning, as well as is taking up the slack for a partner who declines to clean up. If the person I live with doesn't give a fuck, well then, fuck! I don't give a fuck either. There are a couple of exceptions, such as crap on the toilet seat or kitty litter outside the box, but otherwise if it isn't going to put me in the hospital, fuck it.
As long as the bed is clear for sleeping, I'm good.
p.s. Also, this comment is right on target.
"Coincidentally, this all began in May, shortly after I began a series of investigative reports critical of the TSA. Eleven flights now since May 19. On different airlines, my name pops up forcing me to go to the counter, show my identification, sometimes the agent has to make a call before I get my ticket," Griffin reported. "What does the TSA say? Nothing, at least nothing on camera. Over the phone a public affairs worker told me again I'm not on the watch list, and don't even think that someone in the TSA or anyone else is trying to get even."
The TSA, which is a part of the Department of Homeland Security, said Griffin's name wasn't even on the watch list, and the agency blamed the airlines for the delays the reporter experienced. The airlines, on the other hand, said they were simply following a list provided by TSA.
If you can't say anything nice ...
It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't good, and while it did look very pretty ... well, sometimes that's just not enough. This movie was lame. Binky and I liked the first Hellboy movie better.
How about some interesting things to read?
Nature's vibrant color
A friend of the blog interviews Billy Bob
This puts me in mind of my mom saying "sometimes mothers don't have to do a thing..."
First Read is reporting a story that has his choices down to 3: Romney, Pawlenty and Jindal. That list is so predictable that Arizona's senior senator seems determined to bore us to death, as well as to charge on directly into the jaws of defeat.
Of course he also apparently had a private lunch with Eric Cantor this week. So perhaps there's a slim glimmer of hope for those who hope he'll name someone with a future and who might brighten the moods of those looking for a new face for the Right. But I guess today's gossip is that it's down to those other 3.
Of course Atrios is generally good at cutting quips - but this one is particularly good. And sadly, he's got a point about Big Media treading lightly around McCain's (often factually impaired) comments of late.
If you haven't seen it yet, don't click on the link. But if you have ... This is some of the stuff that I thought was most interesting about the film - fitting it with today's world and issues. I suppose you could throw in the sonar stuff too, though that bit was terribly underwritten (and really rather poorly written).
More evidence that Obama is the candidate of savvy members of the foreign policy establishment (which tends to be populated by George H.W. Bush Republicans). And for good reason.
Obama rarely speaks in the moralistic tones of the current Bush administration. He doesn't divide the world into good and evil even when speaking about terrorism. He sees countries and even extremist groups as complex, motivated by power, greed and fear as much as by pure ideology. His interest in diplomacy seems motivated by the sense that one can probe, learn and possibly divide and influence countries and movements precisely because they are not monoliths. When speaking to me about Islamic extremism, for example, he repeatedly emphasized the diversity within the Islamic world, speaking of Arabs, Persians, Africans, Southeast Asians, Shiites and Sunnis, all of whom have their own interests and agendas.
Obama never uses the soaring language of Bush's freedom agenda, preferring instead to talk about enhancing people's economic prospects, civil society and - his key word - "dignity." He rejects Bush's obsession with elections and political rights, and argues that people's aspirations are broader and more basic - including food, shelter, jobs. "Once these aspirations are met," he told The New York Times's James Traub, "it opens up space for the kind of democratic regimes we want." This is a view of democratic development that is slow, organic and incremental, usually held by conservatives.
And while its nice to see someone of Zakaria's stature and influence point this out, it's unfortunate that he frames this as some sort of discovery and surprisingly fact. The George W. Bush administration wasn't Realist for years, and yet Zakaria still refers to the Idealism of the Republicans as ironic. Would've been nice to see that more fully discussed and critiqued by the media in 2002 and 2003.
Since it merits a thread, and since neither Binky nor Baltar has put one up, well, place any comments you'd like to make about it below. Quick thoughts from moi: it is indeed very good, Heath Ledger is excellent, but you know what (and yes, I'm a cold-blooded heretic) - personally I thought Aaron Eckhart was the best supporting actor in the film. Ledger is great, I don't mean to make light of his work - but I don't think it lives up to the hype (there's really no way it could), and he's helped by great dialogue and make-up. Maggie G. was great too, as was the script. On the whole I'd say it is one of the best pieces of summer entertainment we're likely to get - but it's not the best movie in history (as I think it's been rated on imdb).
I think Hilzoy is right here. And if the press is paying attention the larger trend, I think Maliki's comments could be even worse for McCain than they at first appear.
First the Bush administration started appeasing negotiating with Iran, as Obama had suggested; then McCain essentially adopted Obama's position on Afghanistan; then the Bush administration agreed to what they called a "general time horizon"for withdrawing troops. (Wait: now it's "Joint aspirational time horizons"!) McCain and Bush seemed to be adopting Obama's positions all over the place. For a risky, inexperienced novice, Obama seemed to have gotten a lot of things right. And for an experienced, serious old hand with a command of foreign policy, McCain seemed to be spending a lot of time playing catch-up. And every time Obama gets to say, in effect, 'Hi, John! What took you so long?', McCain's only winning message gets that much weaker.
And of course the White House's ham-handed pressure to get Maliki to recant his words isn't exactly helping the Arizona senator.
Every so often Novakula reports something interesting. And this definitely qualifies.
Evangelicals and their allies, dominating last weekend's Iowa Republican state convention, dumped their critic, Sen. Chuck Grassley, from the state's delegation to the national convention in St. Paul, Minn. The five-term senator is Iowa's senior Republican elected official.
Grassley has aroused the ire of Christian conservatives by launching a Senate Finance Committee investigation of six televangelists for alleged lavish spending. Leading conservatives, headed by Paul Weyrich and Ken Blackwell, have charged Grassley with violating the First Amendment religious freedom guarantee.
Somehow I don't think throwing such an audacious insult against the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee is likely to stop those investigations.
So someone texted me a trivia question about a vice president last night, and it got me thinking about something. Unless I'm mistaken, and that's entirely possible, on January 20 of next year the US will see for the first time ever 2 consecutive 8 year tenures by Vice Presidents. Given how old the country is, and how many elections we've had, that's kind of interesting.
Which sitting member of the US Senate has appeared (credited) in one of this summers blockbuster action movies (though he didn't do damage to anyone)?
This is the worst Chris Cillizza can come up with? He's an ambitious, populist pol who's happy to twist his views to fit with McCain? When did that become a net minus? And Cillizza thinks the country wants national politicians who are workhorses and not showhorses? That's news to me. Unless Crist can't be vetted I'd say he's the Republicans' strongest possible Veep nominee.
Anything grab you here?
I'm particularly pleased about the noms for Recount, Michael Emerson, NPH, Tom Wilkinson and Laura Linney for Recount, Zeljko Ivanek (haven't seen the show, but have been a fan for years), Alec Baldwin, and Amy Poehler.
I expected seeing a turkey in flight near Chili's was going to be my oddest bird sighting of the week. But I was wrong. Yesterday evening a hummingbird decided to hum around my head for a surprisingly long period of time. Who knew they were so friendly?
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. And even NPR is finally complaining about it:
Mr. Goodwin told a couple of reporters that Mr. Garrison would no longer be employed by WVU after Sept. 1st, but would continue to work as a consultant.
Fury over this proposed arrangement erupted. Three days later (Friday), WVU released a signed agreement between Mr. Garrison and the Board of Governors that did not include a consulting gig.
Mr. Garrison will serve as president until Aug. 1st, then he will work as an advisor to help Mr. Magrath transition into his new role as interim president.
New BOG chairwoman Carolyn Long acknowledged that this agreement was different than what was being talked about earlier in the week. She said that Mr. Garrison decided not to stay on as a consultant because it would not be good for WVU.
On Monday, I asked Ms. Long if I could have a copy of the first Garrison agreement approved at the July 8th BOG meeting. I was denied. Ms. Long said it was only a "contract in form" and it was a "fluid document."
This answer was not satisfactory. A document approved by a public body is supposed to be public information. So I asked for the document several more times. But Ms. Long wouldn't budge. She continued to re-explain that it was a fluid document and it had not been signed by either party. According to Ms. Long, it's not a public document since it was a "fluid" document.
That's not all. Ms. Long also said that it is legit for the board to approve an incomplete document. I asked Ms. Long if the BOG needs to meet again to approve the revised agreement. She said she doesn't believe so. Ms. Long said the motion passed July 8th makes clear it was an agreement in discussion and gave the board chair permission to make changes if necessary.
That's not true.
Read the rest. As always on back door WVU dealings, the link was found at Hippie Killer's comment section.
Oh, and looks like the PPG is still going on the phone records.
Ugh. Talk about racial politics in its most identity-over-policy form:
Among the other eye-raising contributions tallied by Tinker is a $5,000 one from the Congressional Black Caucus. That's the caucus the white Cohen tried to join - and was rejected - upon becoming a US Congressman.
Cohen's gotten strong reviews in his first term and has a far better liberal/progressive than Harold Ford, Jr. did or than Tinker's likely to have given her public statements and background. And since that's the politics promoted by most leading members of the CBC you'd think they'd like that. But apparently they put race over policy.
So recently Ryan sent me his top 25 tv villains. I made up my own list of favorites, but on further review I decided some characters I was considering weren't clearly villains, or villainous enough. I decided some were too campy to actually be villainous (Princess Ardala on Buck Rogers, Tomax and Xamot on GI Joe, and Ares on Xena), some were too ambiguous (Number 6 and Ben Linus), some had too many nice moments of kindness even if they were evil (Mr. Burns), some rarely implemented evil even if they were generally nasty (Newman), and some turned into heroes (Andrew Wells). When all was said and done I'd knocked my original list down quite a bit. Now it's quite possible I'm forgetting some characters I really liked, but at present I'd rate the following as my 15 favorite tv villains:
Alex Krycek from The X-Files, Bebe from Frasier, Cartman from South Park, Mr. Morden from Babylon 5, Baltar from Battlestar Galactica, Sylar from Heroes, Nicole Julian from Popular, Drusilla and Glory from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation, George Williams and Andrew Van De Kamp from Desperate Housewives, The Weeping Angels from Doctor Who, Bob from Twin Peaks, and Lucas Buck from the short-lived American Gothic
Are there any others you'd throw into the mix? I'm sure some of you would have quite different picks. And hey, I could be forgetting several tv shows.
After trying to watch it all morning - looks like the site was swamped by lots of loving clicks - I finally got to see the first part of the Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog. If you liked Once More, With Feeling then this is right up your alley. It stars Neil Patrick Harris as the nerdy lovesick wannabe Dr. Horrible and Nathan Fillion as Captain Hammer (with a delightfully cheesy entrance). But don't wait! Episode one is up today, number two on Thursday and then Three on Saturday. It's all getting pulled Sunday.
Thought I'd link to this since we haven't had a Veepstakes post in a little bit. I'd say it's wise. Personally, my top choice at this point is Sebelius, followed by Napolitano, and then either Kaine or Reed.
Oh the humanity. One of our regular readers had told me it was terrible, but … wow. I had no idea that style of that movie could be that bad.
The good? Hmmm - the guy who played the unfortunate Boleyn brother, and I suppose the costumes. The bad? Well, how long do you have? And all the bad was so bad, and yet never in even a slightly amusing way. The script was horrid. The direction matched it. The editing, Ms. Portman … if I list more I will start remembering the film, and have no interest in doing that. The sooner I forget it, the happier I will be.
I do not care how much you like costume dramas, 16th century English history, or any of the stars of this film. You will want to skip this. Watch The Tudors instead. That's a googolplex times better.
So I am finally starting to watch 30 Rock on dvd. My favorite has to be Jack McBrayer. In the few seconds he was on Arrested Development it was clear he had real talent and the potential to breakout. It is nice to see that he has. Other than him, Mr. Baldwin is predictably funny, and per the norm Jane Krakowski can do no wrong. And the writing is pretty sharp. My favorite lines so far (both Baldwin’s):
Those shoes are definitely bicurious.
I was at a luncheon for Ann Coulter’s 60th birthday.
The abrupt dismissal of a veteran University of Alabama employee who blogged about the firing of seven US Attorneys has added a bizarre new twist to allegations that the state's US Attorneys targeted political opponents for prosecution.
Roger Shuler -- a high-profile blogger and leading critic of Alabama's judicial system -- has written extensively about alleged corruption among U.S. Attorneys for over a year. In particular, Shuler focused on two US Attorneys from his home state: Alice H. Martin of the Northern District and Leura G. Canary of the Middle District.
An editor in the University of Alabama Birmingham publications office for the last 12 years and a university employee for 19, Shuler was placed on administrative leave May 7 and formally fired May 19.
"I had worked there for 19 years and never received anything but positive performance reviews," Schuler wrote RAW STORY in May. "I never received an oral warning about anything. Then I was fired without warning, contrary to university policy and almost certainly in violation of federal law."
Though he admits he can't prove it, Shuler believes that he was fired for criticizing Alice Martin and other high-ranking political players in Alabama, including Canary, and Alabama's Republican governor, Bob Riley.
Check out more straight from the Schnauzer's mouth.
Today I tried an experiment: cooking bananada. It's a Brazilian sweet that is made from bananas and sugar, cooked until they are an opaque dark brown. I have only ever bought it on the side of the road, but I remember once asking my friend - as we stopped to buy some on the way from Curitiba to the beach - why she bought it from a sketchy looking shack instead of just making it. Her reply came back to me today as I waited for the bananada to change color and texture: "porque tem que cozina-la durante o dia inteiro!" But it is such a tasty treat, tangy, with the texture of soft taffy, and a little crunch from the sugary coating, that I think I had put the time part out of my mind.
I started it on the stove, about 600g of sugar to just under a kilo of banana, just about 2:00. I just took it off the stove to cool. It had cooked down to barely 3/4" of dense brown sticky goo in the bottom of the pan. I'm going to let it sit over night to come all the way to room temperature, then tomorrow make it into little blocks and roll them in granulated sugar to keep them from sticking (and up the sugar quotient to "bounding off the walls"). Updates to come on whether it tastes anything like the real deal from the side of the road.
George Lucas should never make movies again. Ever. Seriously.
I'm not kidding.
In the larger scheme of things, Clear Channel Communications is only moderately evil. They don't actively kill people (Zimbabwe, Myanmar), don't actively impoverish them (Monsanto, Dow), nor do they violate anyones civil rights (Bush, Telecom companies). They just took over FM radio, and played really shitty music. Evil, but not ninth-circle-of-hell evil.
Still, they are a corporation. And an evil one (see above). Thus, when they heard that someone was writing a book about the evilness that Clear Channel had done, they quickly took steps to make sure the author would have a chance to interview the company, and made a good-faith effort to see their side of the story told.
Ha ha. No, of course they didn't do that. They immediately blocked efforts by the author to get anywhere near anyone employed by Clear Channel, and hired someone else to write a competing book about Clear Channel. Yup; they fought fire with fire. Rumors (in the original WSJ story) indicated that Clear Channel paid the hack $100k, own the copyright to the book, had right to change anything they wanted in the text, and had to pay the publisher to put it out. I'm sure it's completely unbiased, and a truly moving story of corporate compassion that only has a marginal association with the truth.
Clear Channel remains evil. FM radio still sucks.
Zimbabwe is a mess. Mugabe has clearly "stolen" the election via violence and intimidation. For whatever reason (likely related to past histories of colonialism and rejecting those former colonizers politics), the African states (especially South Africa) seem unwilling to put much pressure on Mugabe to leave/make concessions. The US has little influence in Africa; not a lot of trade (compared to Europe/Asia/Latin America), not any troops (AFRICOM still isn't really up and running, and won't have a lot of assets in any event), and no real political interest (most Americans don't know or care about what happens there; witness US lack-of-reaction to Darfur).
But Bush, to his credit, did what he could. He pushed the UN to take direct action against Mugabe, and put economic sanctions in place. Problem was, Russia and China vetoed it. So, Mugabe wins (at least until he dies of old age; he's in his 80s).
What is more interesting (and less depressing to think about) is why China and Russia vetoed the UN Security Council resolution. The NYT article makes clear that Russia was taking the lead on this, and China just came along (China wouldn't have vetoed it alone). Farley (over at LGM) argues that Russia has no interests in Zimbabwe, and is just thumbing their noses at us because we're annoying them over other issues (missile defense, Iran, etc.). That seems reasonable (and likely one of the reasons), but I don't think we can completely reject the Russian's stated reasons: unwanted interference in a sovereign nation's internal affairs. Russia clearly doesn't want the world to have any say in how they conduct business and politics (the same is likely true for China). So, sure, Russia (as Farley notes) is likely playing Great Power Realism Tit-For-Tat Tennis Bargaining (volleying stuff back and forth), but they are also continuing a long-standing trend of pushing back against the Western/US poking and prodding that we have done to Russia. From our perspective, the last ten years have seen Russia move in a bad direction (away from open democracy, towards closed authoritarianism). Russians view it the other way: the last ten years have moved the country away from political and economic chaos and towards prosperity and respect (Chechnya is mostly OK, oil prices have made them rich, etc.). From the Russian point of view, the last ten years have also coincided with a move towards pushing away Western institutions (businesses and NGOs) and Western ideas (democracy, capitalism). For many Russians, this relationship is causal (rejecting Western ideas/institutions has caused their prosperity/respect) not coincidental. So, when the US wants to sanction Zimbabwe for having an election that looks a bit like the last Russian one, there are real ideological strains within Russia that oppose US/Western influence in any country.
John Cole seems to want to throw the remote over what's been uncovered or undercovered. And we haven't even seen Friday's news yet - but somehow I imagine that's going to be just as disappointing.
I have been guilty of a few of these in my time.
How did I not know about this sooner?
Tonight I played an international game of, essentially, RISK. I played with Baltar and a former student of ours who now works for a European government. This former student, who keeps vampire hours evidently, popped up in my gmail chat: "I'm bored. Want to play RISK?"
Sure, how about global thermonuclear war?
I'm not very good at RISK. I get a little bored, or a little tipsy, and next thing you know Yakutsk is attacking everyone. That never stopped me from playing with a bunch of friends who all went to statistics summer camp together. We would even took our RISK board to a group beach vacation, playing late into the night. Adulthood with jobs and relationships and kids have scattered us around the country, so it's been awhile since we've had the chance to roll the dice on a cardboard invasion. But with this new capability, I don't know, maybe Yakutsk might be warming up to an arms race once again.
Donald Cazayoux's win in the US House seat centered around Baton Rouge was one of 3 big wins the Democrats had in the House in the last year - wins where they picked up previously Republican seats in the South and Illinois (the seat of former Speaker Hastert). But it looks like Michael Jackson, a Democratic state Rep. that Cazayoux beat in the primary is a sore loser and is planning to run this fall as an Independent. Given the tilt of the district and a strong Republican candidate (much stronger than the man Cazayoux beat), it looks like the seat is likely to return to the Republicans if Jackson runs.
On my front porch I have a tall cabinet that I use for a mini garden "shed." It used to be a friend's kitchen pantry, but when they got new cabinets, it was destined for the dump. Being the chronic recycler that I am, I saved it and a few other pieces of the cabinetry. Some got turned into hallways tables, others to cold frames/plant stands, and still others to an island in my kitchen. The tall cabinet however, just fit to one side of my front door on our little porch, and I quickly filled its shelves with garden tools, rolls of twine, little jars of seeds I have collected, plant stakes, as well as various and sundry other garden paraphernalia. My list is not the end of its utility, because some local robins have decided that its top is also an ideal spot to raise a family.
Sadly, though, the family has dwindled over the last couple of weeks. What started as a clutch of three bright blue eggs dropped to two. One morning I walked out to eggshells and partially formed birdie bits all over the porch. I did not hear a ruckus so I don't know if a thief in the night made a failed getaway with a tasty prize or whether mama bird decided something was wrong with the egg and gave it the old heave ho. A couple of days later, the two eggs hatched (and I have no idea what happened to the shells because they are not in the nest and nowhere to be seen on the porch or its environs). They were fuzzy lumps, still too small to peep in protest of empty bellies, but they were both breathing and looking about the same size. Last night I noticed that now when I rustle around on the porch or go into the cabinet for my trowel that there is noise coming from above. But this morning when I peeked in on the - I assumed - two little ones, there was only one baby. And contrary to yesterday, it wasn't peeping or sticking up its gaping maw. I have looked around and can't find either a baby or a body on the ground or porch. There are some other things up top of the cabinet (old pots and what not) but I can't see the baby up there on quick inspection and don't want to mess around too much and upset the parents.
I hope that the remaining nestling makes it, but am not encouraged by his relative quiescence. Last year's cardinal nest turned out one success and two casualties, so I am hoping that the robins can do the same.
So it's been a very rainy day, and because of that I've been watching some Law & Order reruns. I really should try to check out some of its new episodes given that it now stars Linus Roache and Jeremy Sisto. But checking out this era of the show (from probably around 2004-2005 I think) I remember why I gave up on it. Rohm is just a terrible actress. She almost did in the first season of Angel, and on this - ugh. She's no Angie Harman, to say the least. She's worse than all the ADAs who came before her.
Have to link to this, given Ryan's love of this scene.
Thought Morris might be interested in this. I believe Obama is a poker player. I don't know if he bets the kind of money that McCain does.
UPDATE: Here's an even better summary of the article.
Brings you urban art.
And a new video from uncle Norman (who has a cameo near the end).
That line was a joke back during season 1 of Frasier. But in their latest 36 Hours column The New York Times says you should really give it a try.
Federer had won the men's singles championship five straight times. But he failed to win a sixth straight title. Nadal beat him in the longest final ever played. Since I think they are both great, it's fun to see that they played what might go down as the greatest men's final ever.
But at the moment I'm having trouble thinking of a more malevolent member of Congress - much less one who served for 30 years (thank you Helms voters in North Carolina!). Hilzoy collects some of his finer moments here. President Bush called him kind, decent and humble. I think the president could use a dictionary, because none of those words apply to Helms.
I know that a certain level of friendliness to Republicans runs in his family (his brother is President Bush's Ambassador to Japan), but this is ridiculous. Last week he pretty much creates the whole Wesley Clark "controversy" all by himself. This week, he tries to pull the exact same thing with John Kerry. This is both shameful, and a perfect example of one of the key reasons I always thought McCain would be the Republicans' strongest possible candidate.
And this doesn't even get into the problems involved in having to get a mass of security clearances all at one time ... when obviously we don't have the staff to do those clearances in a short time period. It's a structural problem of our system of government. And sadly we rarely do much to fix those.
Nathaniel at The Film Experience notes that Josh Brolin is a natural choice to play George W. Bush, given an earlier performance.
What's that saying about only the good dying young ... ? I say mark the day appropriately - get smashed at a gay bar, or something like that.
On the one hand I find this remark quite troubling, partially because it suggest limitations over women's health care rights, and partially because it seems to take mental health less seriously than physical health. On the other hand I really don't think there's much of a story here. The president of the United States isn't going to be writing the details of legal opinions, and his opposition to Gonzalez v. Carhart probably has far greater implications for where he would come down on laws tied to regulating abortions.
Does this push him up to the first-tier of vice presidential possibilities? Perhaps not. But it can't hurt.
FSP talks about the ways in which scientists are - and are not - like rock stars. I've thought about this before, but more in terms of the similarities in being on stage and being public personalities.
When I first moved to a small university town and took a teaching job that called for me to teach classes sized in the hundreds instead of tens, I underestimated the degree to which that would make me a recognizable public figure. I guess everyone makes this adjustment, even if they don't teach large sections, especially in a small town. I've also done community forum things, being on stage in front of a few hundred people, after which non-students would also recognize me. It changed my behavior and habits, it changed the way I dressed, and it changed the way I felt about my house as a home.
Much of it had to do with being increasingly professional or "on" at times where I normally wouldn't have thought about it. Wearing a short skirt to the grocery store for a quick trip was now a no-no because of the students who were baggers whose eyes popped out of their heads staring. Students "happened" to ride their bikes by my house, catching me in the yard, filthy, in a tank or possibly a bikini top, digging in the dirt. They'd stop by to ask for books. I'd be walking down the street or in a restaurant and they would come up to say hi, or bring their mom and dad over to be introduced.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about having people who appreciated my work. And I have always been grateful to be the kind of teacher who students could approach (even though this is devalued among many in the profession, and is seen as being stereotypically female). However I became a lot more conscious of the professional role I increasingly played.
Likewise I started to realize how looking at a few professors (and in my area, often only one who is a woman) a year from a crowd differs from looking at a few hundred students: I may recognize them and know all their names and know even more about a subset, but they all stare at us. It is a little bit like being a rock star, recalibrated for nerddom. If politics is Hollywood for ugly people, academics are the rock stars of the dork world. We've all heard some academics referred to as "rock stars" because of their work, and there are always people who scan the crowds at conferences looking for the big names in order to bask in the presence.
I suppose that some people like to bask in the attention, while others appreciate it but find it still fairly puzzling, and others don't want to have anything to do with their student public after class lets out. I'd put myself in the middle category... generally happy to engage with students and their families, sometimes puzzled, and sometimes exasperated at others' inability to respect boundaries. That to me seems a pretty fair parallel to what happens with real rock stars, although they surely endure far far more boundary crossing (not even talking about media).
This has always been one of the reasons that I am not generally interested in meeting the bands whose music I love so much. I think about how when I'm getting ready to give a lecture (our version of performance) and am trying to get mentally ordered, but someone wants to come up and chat about something random, just because they want to share with you. Or you're done, and you have pets or people - or let's face it, a new book - to get home to, and the "minions" (as one of my colleagues always calls them) want to stay around to chat. You like them, you are glad they are there, you enjoy the energy they give to the mutual experience that is a class, but there are limits. How many of us have multiple, insistent signs insisting that We! Request! Privacy! DO NOT DISTURB! us in our offices as we are Trying! To! Think! and yet the knocks keep coming. A little peace and quiet is essential, even to a big extrovert.
There are a couple of bands I've seen a multiple times - a girlfriend and I have been to see the Flaming Lips a bunch and Baltar and I have hit Drive By Truckers shows pretty heavy the last couple of years. At least one member has acknowledged our presence for "hanging with" the band on the road over several dates. But to me that's the end of the natural boundary line. I expect that students aren't going to show up at my house, and I'm not going to go hang out by the door to the bus (unless that is where the line forms to get in the venue). There's an experience in the moment, and maybe an expression of gratitude when it's over, but beyond that I think about how it sucks not to be able to let your dog out while wearing your jammies in the morning or even simply having some down time where you can stop being "on" and just be.
Besides, all good things come to an end, and a little mystery never hurts.
Thank you Morgantown... GOOD NIGHT!
West Virginia is the second fattest state in the union.
It's not completely correlated with poverty, but there are regional trends.
Personally I can think of few things more important to a president's success than his ability to manage his decision-making team. Hilzoy appears to similarly prioritze that attribute, and here discusses (drawing from the Rolling Stone article) what we know about Obama as a manager, given how he's run his campaign. Basically, he's been stunningly successful. It looks like he'll employ what we in poli sci would describe as a "collegial" style - but the discussion of the characteristics of his system is much deeper than that. And it would appear to point to continued success for his campaign/presidency. His style appears to contrast markedly with the ineptness, confusion, and isolated hierarchies that frequently characterized the Bush White House and the Hillary Clinton campaign.
I need help. And I'm looking at you for answers to what this volunteer in my tomato bed might be.
It looks somewhat radishy in the pod, but the flowers are yellow, not white or pink/purple. The leaves have a vague broccolish flavor, but a hint of heat too, but not enough to be mustard (and they aren't hairy, more like smooth and slightly spongy). The stem and root do not have a bulb like a radish, beet, etc. (and yes, look at all that crap growing out of the compost). Here is the wide view, of the mystery plant hanging out with the tomato showing how tall it is.
I've uploaded big files taken with the macro setting, so if you use flickr log in and click the "all sizes" to really see the detail. Please. I need to know.
So, what do you think? I've shown it around and heard guesses of mustard, rapini, and radish. I've never planted anything like it, so who knows the source (here birdy birdy birdy...) Can I eat it?
She was kidnapped several years ago during her campaign for the presidency of Colombia. She and others were rescued from the FARC by the Colombian military.
Or at least arguments - but probably a pretty effective one too.
Eric Martin restates the obvious.
Of course a simple way of seeing that is that it's been extended long past the date when the president first promised it would end. But somehow that's viewed as a sign of success, not failure.
I rarely have anything good to say about Carville, so I suppose I should give him credit for a good line:
If being a fighter pilot qualifies you to be president, then somebody get Randy 'Duke' Cunningham out of jail, because he's the best fighter pilot we've ever had.
This is the coolest thing I've seen this month.
(Post title reference to a DBT song.)
From today's WaPo:
Americans' love affair with 22-inch rims, eight cylinders and four-wheel drive wrapped in an 8,000-pound package is over. And the breakup is going to cost.
With $4-a-gallon gas coming between drivers and their very large vehicles, consumers are dropping their once-beloved rides, fast. But not fast enough, it seems. As the price of gas has gone up, the value of sport-utility vehicles has gone down.
For those determined to swap their fuel-thirsty behemoths for gas-sipping subcompacts, the glut increasingly means taking a financial hit. In the worst cases, declining SUV values leave owners owing more money to the bank than their vehicle is worth.
The question they face is: Which is worse for the wallet -- the cost of gas or the money lost selling the vehicle?
SUVs remain one of the silliest fads ever seen on the road. There is a (small) class of people who need a big car and go off-road frequently (ranchers, some farmers, some construction/contractors). As the article notes, one in eight US drivers owned an SUV in 2002. Which is ridiculous. I'm not feeling any sympathy for any of those people stuck with these $30k to $40k behemoths, who are stuck filling them with $4 a gallon gas. I haven't been able to see down the road for years now (those SUVs have always been to damn big); karma is a bitch.
If the co-host of a big Obama fundraiser did this I think it's safe to say it'd be a story for weeks. I haven't heard a peep about this though in the "mainstream" press - or of course from Rush, Malkin, FauxNews, etc.
I had no idea Nelson Mandela was on the terror watch list until just now, when I spotted this report that he was being removed by a bill today.
South Africa's apartheid government had designated the ANC a terrorist organization during the group's decades-long struggle against whites-only rule. Its members have been barred from receiving U.S. visas without special permission, and the bill Bush signed will lift that requirement, State Department spokesman Tom Casey said.
Just "wow." Just thinking about the enormity of the uselessness of that list (those lists?) makes me tired.
Like we didn't know this already, but now it's confirmed:
Mr. Garrison testified that although he stepped down from his post, he did not resign, a distinction apparently designed to give him the option of remaining at the university for the two years left on his employment contract. "I didn't indicate I was resigning effective Sept. 1. I indicated that I was stepping down as president Sept. 1," Mr. Garrison said in a 10-hour deposition June 12 as part of the university's lawsuit against former head football coach Rich Rodriguez.
I live in the most socially conservative state in the country. Goody for me.
So my latest Netflix rental was an ITV movie about a loser from Manchester being revealed as the Son of God - and the consequences that result from that. I rented it because it was created by Russell Davies (who brought back Doctor Who) and starred Christopher Eccleston (the first of the new Doctors). It was better than I expected, even though I already respected the talent involved. The first half works better than the second half, but the second half ends well - again, better than I expected it to - which is no small matter since it's no doubt a fairly difficult task to come up with an ending for such a tale. Mark Benton is probably the best thing in the movie, but Eccleston does a very nice job with a difficult role. I am such a fan of his.
So just to go on the record about it, of late I'm annoyed by the senator from Illinois (since I know some people, like my younger brother, sometimes accuse us of never saying negative things about leading Democrats). I'm annoyed he disassociated himself from Gen. Clark's completely reasonable comments about Sen. McCain. I find it disappointing he's not backing primary challengers who were loyal to him, and who are opposing Democrats who are nothing to write home about (in some cases that's putting it mildly). I'm troubled by his support for increasing funding for faith-based innitiatives (while it's possible that wouldn't be funding proselytizing, I have my doubts about that). Now it should be said that I think most every move he's made has been the right political move if his goal is to not only win this fall, but to win big. He seems to have his finger on a specific pulse that'll get him and a lot of other Democrats elected this fall - and with margins and a message that'll allow for a productive legislative Spring in 2009. But personally, I'm not thrilled by the ideological consequences of these moves.
That said, I still think he'll make a better president, and be more liberal, that Hillary Clinton would have been.