Okay folks, it's the last day of November and a lot of football teams are done with their season, though there are of course a few important games this week. It seems to me it's a good time to consider everyone's favorite football popularity contest, the Heisman trophy. Knowing what we know of the season so far - to whom would you award it? As it's typically an award for quarterbacks and running backs I'd be inclined to vote for Kellen Moore or Toby Gerhart. How about you?
It strikes me as a bad idea to put issues tied to religious liberty to a popular vote. But of course some countries use national initiatives to settle a variety of questions, and this weekend Switzerland has voted to ban the construction of mosque minarets. The vote wasn't close.
It occurs to me that in the case of about half of my (newer) clothes, I cannot keep them together. The seams, and especially the hems, unravel with the greatest of ease. This occurs to me because I have been attacking a vintage Bobby Brooks corduroy skirt that I found in a friend's grandmother's attic, trying to rip out the seams and hems to facilitate the reuse of the fabric. Where most hems of today have one row of stitching this has three, not including a double row on the tape covering the raw edge. Waist gathers are fancy stitched (not just a running straight row that conserves thread) in two rows. Belt loops are practically bomb proof. Oh, and after nearly fifty years languishing in the attic? The fabric is still sturdy as hell.
So, Pajiba has started using a new ad format. Before you can even see the site, you get a full page ad. Currently it has something to do with underwear and game systems. Yeah, you, in the basement, Pajiba's primary audience. There is an opt-out link in the upper right hand corner, which functions OK (of course, takes longer to load than the ad itself) if you are on a computer. However if you use Safari on the iPhone as one's primary browser, you have to scroll up to see the teensy link in the upper right. Not bad right? Well the ad automatically scrolls you back down in the time it takes to scroll up and click on the link, which means instead you click on the ad not the "skip." And that is what makes it not worth the trouble. Sorry Pajiba, your new ads suck, and enough to deter my interest in reading the site.
The best everything of the decade from Paste magazine.
Domestic violence correlated with football. Or more likely, with drinking, feelings of inferiority and anger which surround it.
Qualifications versus confidence, spot the gender differential.
Interesting profile of Caster Semenya, and look at the manipulation happening around her. She just wants to run.
Leaving WV due to the legislature's position on autism and health care coverage.
And on the weekend theme, Gawker collects Thanksgiving horror stories. Read 'em and weep.
Everyone here at BloodlessCoup wishes you and yours a happy Thanksgiving. For those traveling, be careful. The ratio of idiots with cars (near me) to idiots with cars (not near me) seems very high.
Last night I watched Paolo Sorrentino's film about long-time Italian politician Giulio Andreotti. I recommend it. It's both entertaining and thoughtful. It's beautifully made, well-edited, creative, and has a great score. It addresses leadership. It addresses responsibility and accountability. It points out the terror and violence that marked Italian politics for years, as well as its dramatic and factional system (and for that matter, Church-influenced). And it's got an enjoyable light touch. Except for a few points you don't really get inside Andreotti - but you get a feel for him and his interesting world.
Congressman Rahall is the Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee in the US House. You'd think that the coal industry would be happy to have such a plum position held by the congressman from what's arguably the most coal-centric House district in the United States. But apparently not. "Coal industry figures" have approached a state legislator from Logan County who says he'll run against Mr. Rahall if he raises $400,000 by January.
Ras has that would-be primary race tied. I wouldn't miss McCain, but Hayworth is a buffoon. I suppose we can expect McCain to vote hard-right as long as this threat remains, and if the clownish ex-sportscaster beats him, that'll be interesting. The media will weep for months.
In terms of events that do not bode well, Judge David Hamilton, who is controversional for reasons I find hard to fathom (or who should seem downright dull to anyway to the left of Sen. Jim DeMint) was finally confirmed today. He'll join the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and will be the first Obama appointee on that bench. For those keeping score the Senate, which has only 40 Republicans in it, has now confirmed a mere 4 appealate court judges, and that's if one counts Justice Sotomayor in that number. And yes, we are now in late November (Judge Hamilton was nominated over 8 months ago). Why do I think this doesn't bode well? As I note, Hamilton is about as far from a leftist or a flame-thrower as one can imagine. And yet the vote was 59-39, with all Republicans except for Hamilton's home state supporter Dick Lugar voting against the nomination (Senators Baucus and Byrd didn't vote). Yes, even Senators Snowe and Collins voted no. If the Republican caucus continues to hold together like this it looks like vacancies on the federal courts might be open for a long, long time, no matter how hugely outnumbered Republican senators are.
It remains to be seen who will get the nod (the most discussed possibilities are the heads of government of the Benelux countries), but I did like this description of the job:
a Wizard of Oz without even the giant, illuminated mask or the booming, amplified voice.
So former Gov. Palin of Alaska sat down with The Oprah last week, and today the gauzy canoodling (I mean interview) was aired. And it's got me wondering - do you honestly think she could win the Republican nomination? And for that matter, who do you think could/couldn't out of the people who are thrown around as possibilities? Who are the real runners, and who might run, but doesn't have a chance to win the nomination? In addition to Palin possibilities would seem to include Mitt Romney, Gov. Pawlenty, Gov. Barbour, Sen. Thune, Newt Gingrich, Rep. Cantor, Gov. Jindal, Gov. Perry, Mike Huckabee, Dirk Kempthorne, and because she'd seem crazy enough to run, Rep. Bachmann.
In the no chance pile I'd be inclined to put Gingrich, Cantor, Jindal, and Huckabee, along with Bachmann. Actual possibilities would seem to be Romney, Barbour, Thune, Perry, Kempthorne, and I guess possibly Pawlenty. And as to Palin ... I'm not sure what to think - so what do you think?
Yes, Crowley is throwing the dreaded g word into his analysis. Not all of the things he mentions are gaffes (surely not her response to that demeaning question in Africa - though a writer for The New Republic seeing that as a gaffe, color me unsurprised). But her comments in Pakistan and about Netanyahu, among others, have indeed attracted much criticism and caused problems for US diplomats. And Crowley's argument is that such behavior shouldn't be unexpected given her campaign.
Neguinho do Samba passes away. Not only was he behind the rise of samba-reggae in the 1990s, he helped turn the fame and popularity back into community action, including creating women-specific programs with samba music, bucking tradition. I spent some delirious nights in the Pelo... Alegria Geral courtesy of Olodum.
Remember the public good that was going to come from Kelo? Yeah.
Nice shots from Havana
I might have posted this before, but you can watch all of Cosmos on Hulu
How inclusive are most organizations? Shakesville has some guidelines for trans-inclusivity.
In regard to lying liars, Sigg changes its tune on the safety of its bottles
Something to keep you busy. You will surely lose the first time you try, but that's how you figure out how the game works. Drench.
So the Mormon Church has come out in favor of legislation banning discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgendered (yes, even the Ts) Americans when it comes to housing and employment, yet our Democratic-led national and state governments have declined to approve such laws. Ooookay.
So it seems like every sportscaster and their mother thinks that the national championship game will be between Texas and the winner of the SEC, even though a few people are saying that the SEC seems to be having a relatively poor year. Of course as long as that hold up, what 'Bama and Florida do prior to the SEC championship game is arguably irrelevant. But maybe it isn't, so I'm throwing out the question - does anyone think Alabama or Florida will lose a regular season game, and if so, to whom will they lose? Alabama still has to play Mississippi State, Chattanooga and Auburn, while Florida still has to play South Carolina, FIU and Florida State.
50 minutes in, damn this is bad. Some interesting effects, but the stupidity of its screenplay, well, it's a giant pile of stupid. And while you'd be hard pressed to think it possible, somehow Sienna Miller is even worse than the movie. And Marlon Wayans and Said Taghmaoui are terribly miscast - though I suppose the characters are so bad it'd be hard to save them. Storm Shadow is cool though, so I suppose the movie's not 100% bad. It's still such a shame though that Tomax and Xamot aren't in the film.
Here's the list. With 2 exceptions all came from Republican-leaning or marginal seats. The two exceptions are Dennis the Menace and Artur Davis of Alabama. Both represent hugely Democratic districts, but Dennis is Dennis and Mr. Davis is running for governor of Alabama (and his voting record on this, the Stupak amendment, hate crimes, and other matters I hope he's ignominiously defeated). I find Mr. Kissell's vote rather odd given the blogosphere's enthusiasm for him the last few years, I would have thought that perhaps more of a whip would have been put on Mr. Altmire of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and it's interesting to see so many New Yorker in opposition. But on the whole this isn't too surprising a list. No wonder Nate Silver's prediction was so close.
Two of the Republican party's most highly touted Senate candidates are Mike Castle and Mark Kirk. Both are often described as moderates and get a lot of positive press for that. This morning I'm wondering how their support for the silly Republican health care bill and their opposition to the bill that just passed will affect their standing in November 2010.
It's an historic day in horse racing. Zenyatta just became the first female horse to win the Breeders' Cup Classic, the biggest thoroughbred race held in the United States. And the race didn't set-up easily for her either. She is still undefeated, now 14-0. It'll be interesting to see which of the female super-horses wins horse of the year, Zenyatta or Rachel Alexandra. Rachel Alexandra already beat the boys in the Preakness, the Haskell, and the Woodward, as well as the other three-year old fillies in the Kentucky Oaks and the Mother Goose (winning both by the largest margins in the history of those stakes). The probable Eclipse Award winner as this year's champion turf horse, Gio Ponti, came in second.
So should this pass the government will be blocking private companies who want to participate in the exchanges from offering coverage for legal medical procedures. Somehow, much like the vast sums spent on the "military-industrial complex", I don't think the Republicans are going to be bent out of shape over this government intervention in the US's "free" market.
UPDATE: Some Republicans, hoping to hurt the chances for passage of the overall bill, plan to vote present.
So the Senate voted on Tom Coburn's (R-OK) amendment meant to defund National Science Foundation grants for political science. It was a largely party line vote, 62-36 (Byrd and Landrieu didn't vote). However a few senators bucked their party. 9 Republicans voted for political science and against Coburn - Burr, Cornyn, Snowe, Collins, Cochran, Alexander, Bond, Johanns, and Gregg. 5 Democrats sided with Coburn and against the political scientists - McCaskill, Nelson of Nebraska, Baucus, Webb (what?) and Bayh, who really needs to run for president again because since he stopped doing that his performance in the Senate has been notably disappointing. Yes, that means that for some reason the votes coming from the state of Missouri and Nebraska were the opposite of what one would expect based on party.
As this is the US Circuit Court that covers West Virginia I've always got an interest in it. President Obama has nominated two men to join the court, both from North Carolina. One would be the first Latino to serve on the 4th Circuit. Both served as lawyers in the military. One went to law school at NYU, the other to Marquette. One is 55, fitting with President Obama's tendency so far to pick Circuit Court nominees who are older than those chosen by other recent presidents. The other is, like the preisdent, 48. Interestingly, one of these would fill a seat traditionally allotted to South Carolina. Giving North Carolina one of South Carolina's seats is probably long overdue as it has over twice South Carolina's population though South Carolina has traditionally claimed more seats on the 4th Circuit.
So now that the giant yawn that is professional baseball is finally over, it's time for more important things - like the biggest weekend of horse racing in the US. The Breeders Cup races begin tomorrow with the contests among the females. True the horses that have attracted the most attention this year, Rachael Alexandra and Zenyatta, won't be in action tomorrow (Zenyatta will be taking on the boys in Saturday's last race), but there are still some very fine horses running. Given that they'll be doing it at Santa Anita and not on dirt I'm not going to hazard guesses as to who will win. But be it Music Note, Rainbow View, Proviso, Careless Jewel, Cocoa Beach, or whoever, it should be an interesting competition among top-flight talent.
The Supremes were considering prosecutorial immunity yesterday - you know, for prosecutors who spend their time framing people. It's a complicated topic.
For you constitutional-law scholars out there with casebooks to update, you may soon have an addition to the growing chapter of cases called "It Sucks To Be You." The facts of Pottawattamie County v. McGhee, the case the Supreme Court hears today, are spectacularly awful. But they may also prove spectacularly immaterial. In the Roberts Court era, "It Sucks To Be You" is a booming industry: Instances of shocking constitutional wrongs that cannot be corrected by constitutional courts.
It's Republicans +2 among the nation's governors (New Jersey and Virginia). It's Democrats +1 in the US House seats that were contested (they gained NY-23 and held CA-10). Gay rights lost in Maine but won in Washington state. Democrats lost several judicial races in Pennsylvania. For the first time in a long time Charlotte has a Democratic mayor. Mike Bloomberg and Tom Suozzi were almost unseated in New York. If there's a theme in all that I see anti-incumbency, but of course in most cases these were local races. If you feel like commenting on any of these contests, or others, have at it.
My love for Betty White is well known. She's been consistently funny for decades and is always a welcome addition to any tv show or movie. She's one of my favorite celebrities. That said, I have to roll my eyes at Disney's push to get her nominated as Best Supporting Actress for The Proposal. She was cute and everything, but that wasn't a particularly interesting comedic performance.
While I suppose breaking Herschel Walker's record moved Tim Tebow closer to winning this year's Heisman, I continue to think Houston's Case Keenum should be the leading candidate for this year's prize. Yesterday saw another spectacular performance by the Houston quarterback.