December 31, 2008

Bobby Rush's Supposed Commitment to Having a Black Senator

So the Chicago congressman thinks blocking the appointment of Roland Burris is akin to a lynching. And yet when he had the opportunity to support a black candidate for an open US Senate seat in 2004 he opted to oppose Barack Obama and support (white) Blair Hull instead. If Rush had his way there wouldn't have been a black senator for the last four years.

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December 30, 2008

"What you have just said is absolutely wrong"


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Hamlet II

If I had one complaint about nursing it would be that you don't get to make-out with your patients.

The movie has a few funny lines and concepts (I loved the influence and wisdom of the Barthes-quoting tiny drama critic), but I can only give it a C. Steve Coogan is a funny guy, but this movie was just far too uneven.

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Blago Will Name Roland Burris to Obama's Senate Seat

Will be interesting to see the reaction to this.

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December 29, 2008

"Life Is Still Like a Box of Chocolates"

That's how a friend described The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I should say that her comments about it were favorable, but that line succinctly describes why I haven't been in a rush to see it.

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December 28, 2008

A Christmas Tale

So does this story of three generations meeting up for the first time in many years, one of the best reviewed films of the season, live up to the hype? It's engrossing, and it's well acted by an impressive cast. But I don't know that all of its strands are equally strong. It's good. Very good. But I'd need to see more of this award season's productions before I'm ready to say it merits top 10 status.

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The All-Time Great Houses of the Los Angeles Area

While I might be expected to favor one of the Wright's (#3 and #10 on the list), which are indeed great, if I was to live in one of these I'd pick the Neutra.

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December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

If this is a day you celebrate, hope you are having a lovely time with friends and family.

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December 22, 2008

Does Jennifer Palmieri Have As Poor a Political Instincts As Her Former Boss?

Given the reaction to this, I'd say yes.

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December 21, 2008

Quit Picking on Caroline Kennedy

I'm no fan of dynasty politics, but I am sick and tired of hearing people piling on Caroline Kennedy. Why exactly are people saying she's unfit for the US Senate? There are a lot of abysmally-unqualified senators who'd never be there if some of the hurdles others are imposing on Kennedy were imposed more broadly. It's hardly her fault that the law calls for a senator to be appointed, not elected. We've gone decades thinking it perfectly understandable to rally behind candidates from famous families (with well-known names that poll well) without this kind of hue and cry. And frankly I don't give a damn if she votes a straight ticket in New York. There have been numerous appalling candidates on that ballot, and holding open the possibility of voting for Mayor Bloomberg is hardly signing onto the Christmas card lists of Focus on the Family and the American Enterprise Institute.

She's a public-minded individual who has a history of philanthropic works. Politically, there's every reason in the world to appoint her. Her name and fundraising potential would make her a strong bet for reelection, so no wonder the Republicans are trying to block her appointment. Given her strong ties with the Obama campaign, she would offer New Yorkers a connection to the White House that no other appointee is like to have. And she's shown considerable political skill over the last 2 weeks, adept manuveuring to put herself forward in a way that blocks other potential candidates. She may not be the best possible nominee - but 1) no one has ever been held to that standard, and 2) there's hardly agreement on what qualifies one as the best possible nominee. I haven't heard any reason to believe she couldn't be an able US senator. And why the press is trumpeting Republican party press releases on this, or why we should feel sorry for the bruised feelings of another child privilege (Andrew Cuomo) is beyond me.

I didn't have particular strong feelings about her appointment one way or the other before all this began, but this backlash is pushing me into her camp.

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Casting the Next Film Adaptation of The Great Gatsby

So Baz Luhrmann is going to make another film of one of the 20th century's best-known novels. If you were going to cast it, who would you pick?

Going off the top of my head, presuming we are sticking with a Mia Farrow-esque Daisy, Amy Adams seems an obvious choice. But if one reason to do another film is to do something a bit different than the Farrow/Redford version, how about Rachael McAdams, Emily Blunt, or Sophia Myles? I'd take Maggie G. as her friend Jordan. For Nick, Lee Pace or maybe Ben Whishaw? For Tom ... hmmm, Jason Dohring (Veronica Mars) could use work now that Moonlight is done. As for the man himself - maybe Patrick Wilson? Or Ryan Gosling? What do you think?

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We wish you a merry... shitting log

Awesome (a little long, but very interesting):


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December 18, 2008

Mary Beth Maxwell Would Have Quieted the Furor Over Rick Warren?

Uh, no, Ambinder's wrong. Politically active gays know who Rick Warren is. They don't know who Maxwell is. And even if they did, many wouldn't give a damn about who the Labor Secretary is, whereas a hell of a lot of 'em care about Warren's noxious, anti-gay politics. If Obama had named someone who's out to one of the big 4 cabinet positions, that might have quieted the outrage. Or if he named someone to a position where being out would convey a great deal symbolically and seem a significant change (say, Navy Secretary), that might have at least limited it. But would have naming someone who's out to Labor, Transportation or the EPA have quieted the outrage over Warren? No.

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Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA) Will Be Secretary of Labor

One of the last open seats in the cabinet has apparently been filled with a solid progressive.

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Ellen Greene and Britney's Circus

So since I shared these thoughts with Ryan last night I thought I'd note them here too. First, in light of another lovely performance last night, I'd love to see Ellen Greene as an Emmy nominee for her work on Pushing Daisies. And of course Lee Pace should be nominated for his work as The Pie Maker. Greene gets some of the most interesting acting work on the show, and of course she nails the lines beautifully.

When it comes to the sounds of music, what I've listend to most this week is Britney's latest album. And all I can say is that I find any review which says half of it is good, and highlights the strength of the second half ... that's weird. I think the first half is much better.

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December 17, 2008

"I never saw Andre the Giant hit the ground...

And this kind of thing (scroll down for the Christmas tale and skip the NSFW thumbnails) is why I decided not to have a tree this year:

I never saw Andre the Giant hit the ground, because at this exact moment I was awoken from my dream by a crashing sound from the living room. "What the fuck was that?!"I yelled none too politely, but I knew the answer before it came. Please let it be a drunk driver who had just crashed his car into the front of my house. Please let it be a plane that crashed into my back lanai. Just don't let it be what I think it is. "The Christmas tree just fell over."

Mother. Fucker.

You see, here's the deal. All through the Air Force and living in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and back to Massachusetts and then down here to Florida, I've always "gone home" for Christmas. Back to Rochester, NY. I've never actually celebrated Christmas in my own fucking house; I'm always the guy in from out of town for a week. Last year I decided enough was enough, I'm staying in my own house for Christmas this year and while my door is open to all who want to enter, I'm keeping my fat ass here. And so for my first Christmas, I made myself a promise of pulling out all the stops. And so I went out and bought The Tree. It was eleven feet tall, but it's down to ten and a half now after some trimming. And it was perfect; healthy, straight, full, symmetrical, no bare spots, smelled nice, the whole smash. It cost twice as much as the same tree up in New England, but hey that's the cost of living where the coconuts grow. Anyway, in the back of the pickup it goes and after a little struggling I manage to get The Tree up and balanced. And when I say balanced, I mean fucking perfectly. This is one of those things I'm OCD on; I mean this motherfucker was dead God damned center and straight up and down as a fucking arrow. (Yes, I'm starting to get pissed off again). Right after I had it set up, I briefly considered using some fishing line to secure it, but after a few test shakes with no hint of a lean I decide, "Nah, it's perfectly balanced, why bother?" Yeah, we'll revisit those fateful words in a minute. Anyway, I get all the ornaments out of the attic. Bought a new tree skirt. Went out and bought 1,000 energy saving white lights (incandescent, I think the LEDs look like shit). I put it altogether and it looks FUCKING TITS. I mean perfect. Martha Stewart would swing by my house to drop off some mashed potatoes and say, "Goddamn!" And for the next six days I baby this tree. I always keep the two gallon water basin full right to the brim. Always mix in some of the tree food they gave me. I sang to the motherfucker as I was hanging the fucking ornaments. I even let it watch television past 9pm. Yes, this tree had it fucking made.

And just for the record, yes, on the first Christmas after I moved into my house with 10 foot ceilings, I decided I needed to get the 9 foot tree. Which also happened to be about 9 feet in diameter and required wiring to two walls to stay upright. So, yeah. I can identify.


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You Can Vote For the Most Inane Punditry of 2008

Though really, how can you choose? I'd say Chris Matthews should win the gold, the silver, and the bronze, unless one wanted to honor David Brook's sad attempt to create a world in which he's an average guy - a world unconnected to this reality.

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Politico Takes on Democratic Dynasties

It's not that I'm pro-dynasty or think Beau Biden should have his father's Senate seat, but how exactly is this a partisan thing? Last time I checked the Republican president's father was ... a Republican president. Mitt Romney, Sen. Gregg, Sen. Bennett, Rep. Capito, the Frelinghuysens, and the list goes on. If people don't like dynasties, fine. But they've been present on both sides of the aisle for as long as the country and the parties have been around.

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December 16, 2008

The New Committee Chairs in the Senate

Dianne Feinstein, John Kerry, Mary Landrieu and Jay Rockefeller have new jobs.

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December 15, 2008

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists Awards for 2008

Check out the "Special Mention" awards at the bottom. Some of those are funny. And I guess there's one more reason why I need to finally catch Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

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Loop Quantum Cosmology

Via ModFab, the bouncing universe. I don't know that I'm smart enough to get this exactly - but nonetheless, it's neat.

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December 14, 2008

There's a word that's been on the tip of my tongue... I see all the discussion about whether or not autoworkers make too much. It's a word I think of when I wonder about the supposed wisdom of planning to pay future pensions by hoping there will be enough money to pay them, due to assuming the company will be doing fine.


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Shoulda picked the Scissor Sisters

Now that would have been a fun band in the inauguration parade.

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Weather That'll Make You Go Wacky

So I just checked, and tomorrow's high is supposed to be 62. And then Tuesday's high is supposed to be 33. It'll be wet both days, but other than that putting those two days back to back is awfully confusing.

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December 12, 2008

Gawker Redesign: Ugly and hard to read

What, was their ISP charging by font size or something? Gross.

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Dear US News Media: Learn To Read

Dear Media:

I have noticed a recent trend in calling Obama's incoming Cabinet by an old phrase - "The Best and The Brightest." You should note that this phrase refers to a good book, but the book uses the phrase ironically.

The point of Halberstam's book is to show that the brightest people in DC made idiotic decisions that made us more and more involved in Vietnam. In other words, the "Best and the Brightest" made a bad situation worse.

If it is your intention to say that Obama's choices are smart, but are going to screw up the government worse than it is, than using this phrase is correct. If it is your intention to say that Obama is choosing bright people, and Washington might not be as screwed up, you should find another phrase. Your continued use is mostly making you (the Media) look like idiots.

That is all.

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BB&T Promotes Libertarianism, Takes Government Handouts

Via WV Public Radio, we find out that our somewhat-local bank BB&T has given money to some local universities to fund a teaching position in capitalism. On of the requirements is that Rand' Atlas Shrugged must be read and discussed.

Of course, this is the same BB&T that just took $3billion from the Feds as part of the bailout.

How does BB&T square this circle?

BB&T recently accepted more then $3 billion in bailout money from the federal government. BB&T realizes it goes against their corporate philosophy, but spokesman Bob Denham says it was something they were forced into.

"We did not like the program, we opposed the program we wish it had not been implemented, but that said you want to look like a team player," Denham said.

"What happens is if all your competitors are getting low cost capital? Then that would certainly put BB&T at a distinct disadvantage with our competitors," Denham said.

Uh, last I checked (I haven't read Atlas Shrugged in a decade or so), the book was pretty much all about people (the capitalists - the good guys) not being team players, and not doing things that were morally incorrect, no matter how much economic benefit that created. In fact, the point was that by acting morally, people will succeed economically. In other words, BB&T has now violated all of the Randian positions in one fell swoop.

What do they call a flexible philosophy again? Opportunism? Whatever it is, it isn't Objectivism.

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December 11, 2008

Meanwhile, in Kirkuk

Over 150 casualties in a restaurant bombing.

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The Golden Globe Nominees

Anything strike you out of these?

I'm thrilled to see the recognition for In Bruges, Brendan Gleeson and Robert Downey Jr. The Meryl Streep nomination for Mamma Mia! is horrifying, if predictable. And when it comes to the tv picks, the True Blood nomination is weird, but fun

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In West Virginia, Can Lesbians Be Foster Parents?

The state Supreme Court will take the case, after a lower-court judge ordered the baby removed from the couple's home.

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Ressner's Best Political Films of 2008

I've only seen #2 and #10 - but I'll be deeply impressed if any of the others is better than Recount (#2).

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December 09, 2008

Will Penn Dems Get Behind Chris Matthews?

Parties like famous candidates. It's established in the poli sci literature that celebrity candidates do better than average. But will PA Democrats, who voted heavily for Hillary Clinton, take to Chris Matthews who was a prominent antagonist of her candidacy? Apparently some are seriously considering it - though I'd personally like to see Allyson Schwartz, Katie McGinty or Patrick Murphy in that race instead of the talking head.

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The Feds Grab Blago

Wow. Some politicians are incredibly dumb, on top of being hugely unpopular. Suddently Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn (D) becomes relevant. Who'd have expected that? And I'm betting this isn't going to help former Gov. George Ryan's (R) quest for a pardon. And perhaps it explains why Blago was taking so long to fill the seat - he was searching for the most cash possible!

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December 07, 2008


Now that is a classic that stands the test of time. I hadn't watched the Otto Preminger film starring Clifton Webb, Dana Andrews, Vincent Price, Gene Tierney, and Judith Anderson in years. But it is as good as I remembered, if not better. The script is great, it looks great, it's shot exquisitely, and the acting is right on target. For me the highlight might be Anderson's monologue, but the movie is so good, why have a favorite part?

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Dollar Bill Jefferson Loses

The last two congressional races of the year were held yesterday in Louisiana. In LA-4, Morris' district, the candidate he liked, Dr. Fleming, appears to have eked out one of the narrowest wins in the country. That seat is a Republican hold as it's being vacated by Jim McCrery, the top Republican on Ways & Means.

The other race also saw a narrow victory - but a much more unexpected one. Unknown Joseph Cao (R), who came to the US when Saigon fell, has defeated embattled Rep. Bill Jefferson. That a Republican won this seat is little short of amazing. As DavidNYC pointed out on DailyKos - there is no House district in the country as Republican as this district is Democratic. He was no doubt helped by extremely low voter turnout.

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Music to plaster by

Specifically, to sustain one's interest in applying a skim coat to the ceiling:

Drown Culture (which, by the way, you should be checking out anyway)


As long as I don't start making up lyrics about joint compound in my eyes, I think it's OK.

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December 06, 2008

Roll Fall Tide

Gators 31, Tide 20. Gooooooo Gators!

Sorry JPW.

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Senator Caroline Kennedy?

Might Gov. Paterson name Kennedy to replace Sen. Clinton? It is the Senate seat once held by her uncle Bobby.

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December 05, 2008


Hopefully your naps will be undisturbed, and all your cheetos will stay down:

Via Dooce's Daily Chuck

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December 04, 2008

Ivan Maisel on Auburn and Tommy Tuberville

He thinks Auburn is nuts to have lost (forced out?) their football coach.

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December 03, 2008

And speaking of gay...

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An Openly Gay Member of the Cabinet?

Ambinder describes someone else (Gov. Granholm of Michigan) as the leading candidate, but apparently an out lesbian is a top contender to be the next Secretary of Labor. That would be a first that I was not expecting.

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December 02, 2008


Last night I finally got around to seeing Steven Speilberg's Munich. And I've got to say I can't imagine it would have been a Best Picture nominee without the Speilberg factor. I mean it was a perfectly respectable piece of work. There were parts of it that were very well done. And I liked the scope of it. I think including the section with Bana after Europe was essential to the film and increased it's worth greatly. But egads was it overdone in parts. Some of the acting bordered on silly at times. And could the script have been any more predictable? Everything is spelled out to the n-th degree and some of the dialogue is nearly embarrassing. I don't want to be too harsh. It's not a bad piece of work at all. But it's not brilliant either.

Though I should say it's always fun to see Michael Lonsdale as a wise Frenchman with nefarious connections, and seeing both the lead and the villain of the latest Bond film in this was a pleasant surprise. If only they'd had a scene together.

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December 01, 2008

"Pinochet in heels"


In short, McCain entered this election season being the worst thing that anyone can be, in the eyes of the Rove-school Republicans: Different. Independent. His own man. He exited the campaign on his knees, all his dignity gone, having handed the White House to the hated liberals after spending the last months of the race with numb-nuts Sarah Palin on his arm and Karl Rove's cock in his mouth.

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Iraq, November 2008

A story on the latest bombings concludes with a look at recent trends. The US death toll is down. The civilian death toll is up.

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