The same day they vote to block even a weak public option from being in the health care bill they vote to bring back part of the good old days of George W. Bush. It only passed in committee by one vote - thanks guys! Ugh.
Oopsie, I guess this means we need to push Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito off the Supreme Court, and revoke masses of legislation. You see in Nellie's world they are all illegitimate.
Is there a more cowardly and easily cowed politician in this country.
At the half Rich Rod and Michigan are losing to lowly Indiana. Yes!
UPDATE: Oh well. That was nice while it lasted. At least LSU finally woke up, and, rather impressively, held on to win.
UPDATE 2: Okay, I was much better picking games last weekend than I was this weekend. I was no Spencer Tillman, that's for sure. I am pleased that his prediction of Iowa beating Penn State by double-digits came true.
Here's a nice report from Kate Pickert on an amendment sponsored by Bill Nelson to scrap the deal between the White House and PhRMA being voted down in the Finance Committee, mostly because of Republican opposition. The top Republican on Finance, Grassley, of course had earlier called the deal embarrassing.
Riiiight. It's now in the fourth quarter, they are behind a not too impressive Gamecocks team, and have only scored 3 points. How about we not rank teams until October? You know, after everyone's played a game against someone who's better than a high school team?
Whereas David Vitter has admitted engaging in criminal activity while in public office; Whereas David Vitter has used taxpayer-funded government facilities to engage in criminal activity; Whereas David Vitter has been the subject of repeated criminal and civil investigations by federal and local law enforcement ...
Well, you get the idea.
Bruce Bartlett lays out why people shouldn't fall for that constant, simplistic talking-point.
Who knew that Fox News and vast majorities in Congress had it in for Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman?
Of course the movie that wins Best Picture isn't always the year's best picture. But it's an interesting set of films, and Kris Tapley has decided to present a list of his personal top 10 out of those winners. It's a difficult task. Of course I haven't seen lots of the winners, and I've forgotten large sections of some of the ones I've seen. But if I was picking a top half dozen out of the movies that have won Best Picture I'd go with Annie Hall, Casablanca, Silence of the Lambs, Schindler's List, Gone With the Wind, and Rebecca. C'mon - how can I not include the one directed by Hitchcock? Your thoughts?
I didn't think the strategy and messaging side of that operation could look worse in retrospect. I was wrong. Though, really, it's also kind of funny.
... that colors could be misleading.
Not surprising. But with a field that big it'll be interesting to see just how small a fraction of the vote the victor wins.
The good: Kristin Chenoweth wins! Michael Emerson wins! Willow looked beautiful. Neil Patrick Harris was good - though I think he was better on the Tonys.
The bad: Leighton Meester ... Honey, you need a new stylist, a new make-up concept, and a dress that doesn't look like it's being held up be a bunch of dishrags tied over your shoulders.
The !!!: And I'll throw in a third, separate category to give special recognition to Blake Lively's cleavage, because, ummm, wow.
As I mentioned earlier this week, those who bemoan a lack of bipartisanship in this country are ignoring the actions overwhelmingly supported by politicians of both major parties against ACORN. The governor of Louisiana though has kicked this anti-ACORNism up a notch:
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an executive order to keep any state money from going to the controversy-wracked Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which has its national headquarters in New Orleans. According to the state's Division of Administration, no state agencies have existing contracts with ACORN.
An executive order against non-extistent funding? Well if that's where his focus as governor lies I eagerly await his executive orders against funding COBRA, SPECTRE, and the Legion of Doom.
Find your home on the toxic water map, and read about poor WV in the NYT.
Memory loss is less about storage and more about retrieval.
Only 3% of Oklahoma high school students can pass the citizenship test, which 92% of immigrants get right through. Proud to be an Amurkan!
Professors are more likely to be stalked than the general population.
Surprise! When you don't talk about communistmarxisthusseinobamaBLARGH!!!! people actually favor what the Dems are talking about.
KBR and Halliburton one step closer to being held accountable for heinous conduct.
Did you know that domestic violence is a preexisting condition?
Given the Treaty of Tripolii, President Adams and the entire Senate of 1797 apparently believed it wasn't.
President Obama has nominated a second person to fill one of the five vacancies on the US Court of Appeals that has jurisdiction over West Virginia (and the Carolinas, Virginia, and Maryland). It continues the administration's practice, unlike that seen in recent Republican administrations, to nominate people for Court of Appeals seats who are in their late 50s-60. Indeed there has yet to be any nominee to one of the Appeals Courts who is younger than their early 50s. We also have yet to see any Obama judicial nominee, at any level of federal court, confirmed by the Senate other than Justice Sotomayor, even though we are almost 8 months into the Obama administration.
By a vote of 83-7 the Senate voted today to ban ACORN from receiving housing grants. Look - bipartisanship! The 7 senators who would rain on FoxNews' parade were Bernie Sanders of Vermont and 6 Democrats - Leahy of Vermont, Casey of Pennsylvania, Burris and Durbin of Illinois, Whitehouse of Rhode Island, and Gillibrand of New York.
Roger Federer has already won 5 straight US Open singles championships and 15 Grand Slam singles championships - 2 feats no other man has accomplished in the history of tennis. He'll be going for his 6th straight and 16th overall after his win this evening. Interestingly he's defeated 5 different men to win the US Open, and his next foe will be a sixth different player. He's never lost the US Open final, and he's never lost any Grand Slam final to anyone other than Rafael Nadal - and Nadal lost earlier today.
Sadly it's not the first time she's behaved so terribly. And sadly it took away from a a great win for Kim Clijsters who has made it all the way to the finals as a wild card. Clijsters is a great story. This is the first time she's been in the Open since winning it in 2005. And she joins only a handful of mothers to advance this far in a major. That her success is overshadowed by this threatening and offensive behavior, well, it's sad.
Tom Ford has made his first movie (trailer here). Yes, the Tom Ford that Mary Cherry believes should be the subject of high school science exams. The early reviews are superb - see The Times Online, Variety, and Kris Tapley. And one thing they all agree on is that this might well be Colin Firth's best work ever. Tapley thinks the film, A Single Man, based on a Christopher Isherwood book, will win the Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion, and that Firth will take the festival's Best Actor prize. I can't wait to hear of this getting a distributor. That cast and an evocative look reminiscent of Wong Kar Wai? I'm looking forward to it.
Daniel Ellsberg makes some interesting historical comparisons - and boy oh boy does Howard Kurtz appear appalled.
What is there to say? Is he trying to sell me a second-hand sofa? Or advertising a low-grade local seafood outlet? Yeesh this guy is terrible.
I'm going back to watching Matthew Morrison.
Before this Congress there had never been more than two female committee chairs in in any session of the US Senate. Now that Tom Harkin will be taking over for the late Ted Kennedy on HELP, it appears likely that there will be four for the remainder of this Congress. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas should succeed Harkin as the chair of Agriculture. She'll join three other women who are currently chairing committees in the Senate - Barbara Boxer on Environment and Public Works, Dianne Feinstein on Intelligence, and Mary Landrieu on Small Business. Of course if Kay Bailey Hutchison resigns to run for governor of Texas there won't even be four women left in the Senate on the other side of the aisle.
Well, I was busy actually having fun this weekend, and I missed the political highlight of the fall season here in West-by-God-Virginia. A concert!
HOLDEN, W.Va. -- Thousands showed up to a free Labor Day rally at a reclaimed mine site in Holden, where musicians and speakers fired up the crowd with one part country music and another part politics at a gathering that highlighted jobs, the working class and the future of coal.
Musicians such as Hank Williams Jr. John Rich, Halfway to Hazard and the Blackwater Outlaws joined Fox News political commentator Sean Hannity and other speakers, including coal industry executives, on the main stage. Rocker Ted Nugent, nicknamed the Motor City Madman, emceed the Friends of America Rally and played a shrieking guitar rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Hank Jr. I've heard of. John Rich, "Halfway to Hazard" (is that a play on the Dukes of Hazard?), and the "Blackwater Outlaws" I've never heard of. However, they sound suspiciously country, which means I don't think I want to hear of them. Hannity is only slightly less spittle-flecked then Glenn Beck, so I want to stay far away from him. And the Nuge is so far round the bend that he's frothing. In general, I think I'm frightened of the list I see. And by no stretch can it be called "entertainment."
By early Monday afternoon, the crowd was well below the 100,000 expected to show.
Really? Thousands upon thousands of people DIDN'T drive to bumfuck WV (you look up Holden WV on Google Maps; tell me it looks like a mountain paradise) for a concert? Whatever one thinks of the merits of the location, it is not central to anything.
Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, who told the crowd he spent about $1 million on the rally, offered sharp criticism of multinational corporations, Republicans, Democrats and "environmental nuts" who are trying, he said, to ship American jobs to China.
Blankenship is nuttier than a Snickers Bar. Has been, will be. He's the guy who bought a seat on the WV Supreme Court, then got caught with the Chief Justice of the WV Supreme Court in Monaco or something. That case went to the US Supreme Court. The fact that Blankenship sponsored this nutfest doesn't really surprise me. Notice Blankenship's logic here: environmentalists (who seek to improve the environment) are encouraging US jobs to move to China (that bastion of environmental responsibility and cleanliness). The result of this is, somehow, a more clean environment? I don't see the logical chain here...
Federal cap-and-trade legislation was at the heart of Monday's rally. The speakers and musicians, however, evoked the weakened economy, jobs, President Obama, illegal immigration, hippies, hunting and gun rights, health-care reform, religion and Appalachian culture to strike a nerve with the audience.
Well, that looks like a standard wingnut recipe of topics. I'm not surprised that the "talent" had to reach outside the cap-and-trade argument to whip up the crowd. Even in coal-friendly West Virginia, cap-and-trade isn't widely debated/discussed (other than "it's bad"). I'm sure the folks who came for music just loved hearing a long discussion of cap-and-trade, so its no surprise they moved onto more "red meat" subjects.
"Today's the day when the American worker takes back this country," Nugent said. "That's what I think."
There's that keen Nuge intellect: a bunch of people taking a day off on an reclaimed coal mine in Nowheresville, WV will take the country back that same day. The concert will somehow do this. Or something. I'm confused at this point.
Blankenship criticized the political action committee of railroad company CSX for donating to the campaign of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and also Caterpillar, a top manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, for supporting caps on emissions of carbon dioxide.
"In my view they are un-American, and I have told them so," Blankenship said of Caterpillar.
Well, American corporate history is replete with companies playing both sides of the fence (contributing to both parties); its worked pretty well for them. Moreover, I'd be willing to bet that Blankenship donates to some WV Democrats; they run the state he's digging up for coal, so I'd imagine that he'd find a need to buy some access here. So, this is the pot calling the kettle black. And I'm sure that Caterpillar was very frightened to hear that Don Blankenship thought they were "un-American." Caterpillar has more problems (recession) than whatever crap Blankenship can throw their way.
Blankenship told the crowd their own government is the worst enemy of American labor today, and asked if they want a government that shuts down coal mines.
He dismissed the notion of global warming, and criticized TV ads that say it's real.
"Only God can change the Earth's temperature, not Al Gore," he said, later adding, "Global warming is pure make-believe."
This is the real howler in the article. I've never seen the (neo-Creationist) argument that global warming is incorrect because only the divine being can cause temperature shifts. This is a particularly nice utilization of Creationism: only God can move massive things like the earth and heavens, and our entire planet's weather is clearly in that camp of objects, so puny humans couldn't possibly have done anything to actually cause temperatures to change. Thus, QED, there is no global warming. (Note, by the way, that the actual logic here doesn't argue that there can't be global warming, only that any global warming must be caused by God, not by people. So there still can be global warming; its just a sign of divine dissatisfaction. I think that might be worse than the regular "humans did it" version.)
Like Nugent and others, Blankenship called on the crowd to contact their lawmakers to discourage cap-and-trade legislation.
"This crowd will scare these politicians to death," Blankenship said. "We all need to learn that cap-and-trade is a Ponzi scheme."
How is cap-and-trade like a Ponzi scheme? A Ponzi scheme uses a small number of suckers to create a larger group; paying off the few to suck in the many. A cap-and-trade system (even by the warped standards of the wingnuts) is a rationing scheme that will cause businesses to fail because they'll pay to pollute (and go out of business). How is one like the other? He's just making shit up at this point.
There aren't anymore good (awful) quotes in the article (the best of the rest is a Nuge quote telling everyone to "pack 'em and stack 'em" during deer hunting; but Nuge always says crazy shit like that, so I can't even begin to get worked up), so I'll call it quits here. I'm very glad this happened a long way away from me, and none of the crazies were local.
Its depressing that the wingnuts have destroyed rational discourse at this point. There are real issues facing us, decisions that will likely have generational impacts (health care, budget deficits, reforms of financial services, global warming legislation), and we have no rational debate about any of it. I'm not sure when rational discussion died, but it was somewhere around election time last year. I think those on the left though the election had actually decided something, and we'd all get to argue about how far Obama could take us. Those on the right took the election as a sign that they should double-down on their LSD and see how many people they could convince to join them on a walk to Pluto. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of shared ideology or belief between the two camps at this point, and the national dialog reflects that (Liberals: "We should do something about all the people without health care." Republicans: "BOOGA-BOOGA! SOCIALISTFASCISTCOMMIE! SHOW ME YOUR BIRTH CERTIFICATE! NO PRESIDENTS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS! DEMOCRATS WANT DEATH PANELS TO ELIMINATE MEDICARE! QUICK, I NEED MORE LSD!). I'm not sure any rational argument will bring the sides close enough to have a rational argument.
On the other hand, has anyone noticed that foreign policy issues have pretty much fallen off the table? The only thing going on is a low-scale debate among elites (and mostly left-wing ones at that) about whether the US should stay on in Afghanistan, or start moving out of there soonish. Everything else is mostly non-controversial (Iraq, North Korea, Israel, China, etc.). There are lots of international problems, but no one in the US seems to care much at this point. Which is strange, since the election was about a whole host of international problems that are still there, but just ignored by Americans.
We live in a very weird country right now.
One of the courses I teach is the university class on wine appreciation. Technically, I co-teach it, but I have the fun part of the job (wine tasting). We have about a hundred students, and the class fills up very quickly (usually within a few minutes of the pre-registration system going online in the previous semester).
We had 75% attendance tonight.
I'm beginning to wonder about the motivations (or distinct lack thereof) of modern college students when they can't be bothered to go to a wine tasting class. I mean, what's the motivation to miss the drinking class, before going out drinking (a common occurrence among undergrads on a Tuesday night, by the way)?
Note to students: Someday, I'm retiring, and all you sorry bastards are going to have to support my Social Security checks. I will not be pleased if they shrink.
The Israeli attack on Osirak wasn't even the first attack on that facility. Joshua Pollack reviews the long history of such attacks. And the last attack he proposes to include on such a list is interesting. It seems reasonable to me to include attacks on facility personnel as well as attacks on the buildings.
I guess this makes it official. The Republicans reliance on "Arabs are dangerous!" will be shelved in 2010 in favor of "you're gonna lose your doctor - and die!"
Lyle Denniston discusses Citizens United here. The re-arguing will be held at One First Street tomorrow. The case has huge implications for campaign finance regulations, and will be the first heard since Justice Sotomayor joined the court.
I realize that naming conventions in horse racing often result in names that might not seem the best of ideas. Still, I've got to say I shake my head a little more than usual when I am reminded that one of the best 2 year olds in the country is named Hot Dixie Chick. She won another notable race this weekend, the Spinaway Stakes.
Joe Kennedy II will not run to fill his late uncle's seat in the US Senate. Attorney General Martha Coakley is in the race, and Rep. Lynch looks set to run as well. With Kennedy choosing not to throw his hat into the ring I'd think that one or more of the other members of Congress from Massachusetts will jump into the contest too.
Tony Gilroy has directed two movies. He was Oscar-nominated for his first, Michael Clayton, a film I loved. As to his second, well, even though it was positively reviewed it didn't receive the same sort of praise when it was released this spring. I finally watched it this weekend, and I've got to say something seems off. I love the structure of the film, I liked Clive Owen and a lot of the side characters, Julia Roberts was fine, the writing and the score both worked, and I loved the wordless opening credits - but something didn't work for me. I can't put my finger on it. Maybe it's that it's a little predictable. Maybe it's that it's a little too long and repetitive. It's certainly not a bad movie. It's interesting and I like several aspects of it. But it didn't seem to quite work either.
Go Middies. Go Zips. Make Uga happy (is there a cuter mascot?). And of course, let's go Mountaineers. Demolish Liberty.
And Syracuse is playing down to its reputation. Less than 20 seconds into the game Syracuse is already losing to Minnesota by a touchdown.
With a bit more than 3 minutes played it's Minnesota 14, Syracuse 3. Over in Columbus Navy opened solidly with a long opening drive to tie Ohio State 7-7.
Oh those Middies. It's near the end of the third quarter, but a beautiful 99-yard drive ends in a nice touchdown pass. Ohio State 20, Navy 14. And why am I commenting on these games and not WVU's? Because the coverage of that includes seemingly 20 minutes of ads for every minute of game. And that's about 2 minutes of lame local non-coal ads (one featuring a former student) and 18 minutes of ads for Big Coal.
It's over, Ohio State 31, Navy 27. If there's a better game this afternoon that'll be a feat. WVU continues to win in not especially exciting fashion. Syracuse has been leading Minnesota by 3 with no new scoring for what's felt like about 2 hours.
9:15 Update: Virginia is about to lose to William and Mary. Interesting. And in tennis news, not long after a 17 year old American bounces Maria Sharapova out of the US Open, Andy Roddick has lost to a guy from Greensboro. And in horse racing Rachel Alexandra has done it again. She's still undefeated this year, and much as she beat the boys in the Preakness, today she beat the boys in the Woodward Stakes - becoming the first female to win the famous race.
While noting that it was entirely predictable, Gabriel Arana has some problems with it. Arana doesn't delve deeply into one of the things I think is most problematic about the embrace of Shepard. Again, while I know it is understandable, I'm deeply uncomfortable with the fact that the best known "heroes" of a lot of people associated with the fight for the rights of gay Americans are men who are mostly known for having been murdered. To me that seems to frame the movement in favor of supporting equal rights as starting from a place of great weakness, and to embrace martyrdom as natural. But I get it. I know people will keep pushing for Harvey Milk Day, even if I think something like Sheila Kuehl Day might be a better idea.
Seriously, what the hell was that last night? One thing seems clear:
We hate to say it, but here it is, folks. Here's the episode that proved that producer manipulation is alive and well under the new regime.
In my neighborhood there is someone who drives a car that features a vanity license plate bearing the place name of a very Republican location. Recently I noticed this vehicle in the same parking lot I use at work, sporting some new political bling on the back: a bumper sticker that asks (you know what's coming, don't you?) "who is John Galt?" Because my inner voice responds nearly every time I see this "a fictional character invented by a lunatic" I am starting to bore myself. Help me out here friends... Can you come up with something new and pithy?
I know everyone else has been lamenting the lack of summer all summer long, but I still have to say Damn! It's cold this morning for not even being Labor Day yet! I'm sitting on my porch drinking coffee in a jacket.
This film is yet more evidence that Tilda Swinton can seemingly do no wrong. The movie is unpleasant or at least off-putting, but it's also well made and quite watchable in its way. And as Ebert notes, Tilda is amazing and gives a performance you haven't seen from her. I'd add that the film looks right and the kid is good too, and even if the plot isn't really plausible, as Ebert also notes, it's nonetheless inevitable.
Several of these picks are predictable, but I like how he breaks down different categories of greatness. He also picks out a set of least impressive justices. Some of those stories, well, they remind one of just how out of the public eye the Supreme Court often was in the 19th century.
I'd be running for the Senate, against Harry Reid, too. Well, maybe not me, but it's not shocking that a prominent Republican would choose to take on Reid, who looks to be one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country. So Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Lowden looks set to make the race.