February 27, 2010

A Single Man

So I finally saw Tom Ford's first feature (will this be on a quiz in Bobbi Glass's class? well perhaps it should be), brought to us by the Weinsteins. Sadly, I wasn't blown away. Both the direction and the script, which both came from the former head of Gucci, didn't really work for me. That said, there were several pluses to it that made it watchable and sometimes far better than watchable. First, the score is definitely one of the year's best. Beautiful. Second, the art direction (c'mon, the environs of those with no money problems in 1962 - how could that not look good when brought to you by Mr. Ford?). Third, all the actresses costumes. Every single one. Fourth, Julianne Moore. Loved her. Loved her scene. She has the best lines in the movie (I too like the color of a Tanqueray bottle). Fifth, Nic Hoult. Loved him, loved his scenes. Honestly I'd say he was the highlight of the movie as without him it wouldn't have had a pulse whatsoever except for a couple minutes at Ms. Moore's. So there were definite pluses. So it's kind of a shame how a flawed script and heavy-handed direction left me kind of disinterested in the complete product.

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From the "Bitches is Crazy" File

Really? Planned Parenthood is the same kind of threat as the National Alliance? WTF?!

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February 25, 2010


This is the greatest comedy in the history of comedy. I can no longer attempt teh funny anymore; everything else pales in the face of this:

US Missile Defense Agency Changes Logo to Obama~Islamic Crescent Hybrid!

Not even the Onion has managed anything like this.

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February 24, 2010

Kagan Will Replace Stevens, Ginsburg Won't Retire

Those are the predictions from Tom Goldstein in this lengthy analysis. His track record on these things is strong. He correctly foresaw the Sotomayor, Roberts, and Alito appointments.

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February 22, 2010

Ron Paul Wins the Vote at CPAC 2010

So do I have this straight? The Right, Big Media, and Big Right Media all thought CPAC merited coverage as a meeting of leaders of a movement they see on the rise. But when Ron Paul decisively wins their presidential poll the vote is labeled a meaningless action, albeit one by the largest number of voters ever at a CPAC meeting, from everyone from the Cantor camp to The Hotline. Do we really think that's the story they'd be telling if a Fox or Beltway Boys darling had won that vote? Must suck to be Ron Paul. He's derided as unserious because he doesn't win contests. And then when he does win contests the votes are necessarily unserious because ... he doesn't fit into the moronically simple boxes and personality puff piece journalism that the Ailes, Todds, Limbaughs and Milbanks insist we view politics through?

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February 20, 2010


Alexander Haig died. Pretty crazy guy ("I'm in charge here."), but colorful. One of the first people I remember as a political figure, and in that sense, memorable to me.

Conor Friedersdorf put together a list of great journalism in 2009. It's a very varied list; well worth your time to select a few and read them. I just saw it, but there are a few on it I remember reading. Recommended.

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February 16, 2010

Just Frightening

I read the NYT's long report on the Tea Party Movement.

Pretty damn frightening. Those people are really crazy. In my worst Randian/Libertarian days, I never believed what these nutballs do.

Oh, and a brief note to Ms. Stout (first page):

The Tea Party movement has become a platform for conservative populist discontent, a force in Republican politics for revival, as it was in the Massachusetts Senate election, or for division. But it is also about the profound private transformation of people like Mrs. Stout, people who not long ago were not especially interested in politics, yet now say they are bracing for tyranny.

Lady, if you think that what you are seeing from DC these days is "tyranny," then you are either ignorant or stupid. Tyranny is a genuine dictator telling you what you can do, watch, speak, listen to, and who you can talk to. By no stretch of any rational imagination is what we are experiencing tyranny. Go read a book.

I'm significantly more frightened of the Tea Party Movement than I am of the government (and I'm not real happy with them these days).

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February 15, 2010

Manga Collector Gets 6 Months in Prison

What the Helen Lovejoys have done to the Bill of Rights is a disgrace. Ugh.

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February 14, 2010


I kind of loved it. I'm really not sure what to say about it without giving the film's plot away. But I now understand the critical praise it's received. It succeeds across the board. The score, photography, direction, effects, art design, acting, and script are all strong, and I can certainly see why it won Best British Independent Film of 2009. Quite the achievement for first-time director Duncan Jones (yes, the son of David Bowie).

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February 13, 2010

Stability and Instability in the 435 Seat US House

I just noticed something. It's often discussed that elections for Congress have gotten less competitive over the years. But it's rarely discussed just how competitive they actually were in days of yore. Since the US House went to 435 seats (with the elections of 1912) there have been 9 elections when one party gained or lost at least 50 seats. In the last 60 years that has only happened once (1994). But from the 1914-1948 elections that happened 8 times in those 18 cycles. So there were 50+ seat swings going on basically half the time in that era. The high point came when the Republicans lost 100 seats in 1932. Interestingly, they had already lost 50 seats one cycle earlier (1930). Actually there have been 3 times in this era when there were 50+ seat swings in back to back elections: 1920 & 1922 (Republican gains followed by bigger Democratic gains), 1930 & 1932 (Democratic gains followed by bigger Democratic gains) and 1946 & 1948 (Republican gains followed by bigger Democratic gains).

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February 12, 2010

Bob Costas and Matt Lauer - Who Is More Pompous?

It's Costas by a mile of course - tonight he's intimated he's bored by the long celebration of Native American cultures, and he arguably insulted Andorra - and they are only through the A's of the countries competing. In another matter of questionable taste Lauer keeps pointing out the countries which have never won a medal - and took time out to note no South American country has medalled at the Winter Olympics.

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February 11, 2010

Tim Woolridge - Hopefully Not Mr. Berry's Replacement in AR-1

Three of Arkansas's four US House seats will be open this fall (districts 1-3) as the incumbents have chosen not to run for reelection. Among the Democrats seeking to replace Marion Berry in AR-1 is state senator Tim Woolridge. What's wrong with Woolridge? Well for one thing he's on the board of directors of an organization that thinks "wise, informed discrimination" is "needful for the social good". And he's running for the Democratic nomination?

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In line

Waiting to get a boarding pass at the airport, chatting with the person next to me in line about weather, road conditions, where we drove in from, where we are heading to, the usual. He's checking in for an international flight, I'm heading home to Florida to visit family. We debate the merits of West Virgina as a place to live, and I offer that I love its empty spaces and that going home to Florida is a drag because there are just too many damn people and they are all driving at once. "And," he says, "who knows what language they are speaking!" Ah yes, nothing like a little casual racism in the morning. Just then I got called for my turn, but I left him with a big smile and "Well that's no problem for me since I grew up speaking Spanish." Oh the look on his face. I wonder if he will enjoy his international trip.

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February 08, 2010

From John Murtha to Norm Dicks

Pennsylvania's longest serving member of the US House has died. His death opens up the chairmanship of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, which will presumably fall to Norm Dicks of Washington. The make-up of his district is a reminder of the fact that members tend to gravitate to committees where they can ship money home. Given this, complaints about government spending and deficits seem a little odd, no?

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The Health Care Bill Is Already Filled With Republican Ideas

As Ezra Klein notes here. I don't know what this nonsense thing is that the president is going to hold on the 26th. It's as if the White House and the press are totally ignoring the existence of something called 2009 - months upon months of Republicans not showing the slightest interest in joining Democrats on this issue, no matter how often the Democrats caved to a position favored by Republicans.

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February 07, 2010

Sarah Palin's US/Israeli Flag Pin

Hmmm, wouldn't she consider another politician who was wearing the flag of a foreign country to be un-American?

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Gingerbread

So I've got this season 3 episode on and I'm thinking it wouldn't be a bad thing to screen in Politics and Film as a way to get into, say, the Global War on Terrorism.

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So Far I Haven't Shot the TV

But watching Meet the Press, it's tempting. First David Gregory was playing The Queen of Hearts - demanding to know the sentencing for an accused terrorist before he's actually been tried. Then who does he trot out to talk about the economy? Alan Greenspan and Hank Paulson! Yes, nothing like a fair and balanced panel of people who held top jobs during the Bush years which saw the economy crash to talk about how we should be saved ... from the mess they created. But of course Gregory would never question these Republican solons about what they did that got us here. No, he wants to ask them questions like - we need to cut taxes, right, right? The stock market has been down for two weeks - has Obama brought on a financial apocalypse? What if home prices collapse again (he gives no data that that will occur, but still) - will the world end? Mr. Paulson, I'm incredulous you had nice things to say about President Obama - do you still have a positive thought about him? Isn't the deficit just awful? Isn't it just awful that those Bush tax cuts for the wealthy are going to expire (it's hilarious he asks this right after his despondency over the deficit)?

And all three of these rich white guys are Peyton Manning fans. I'm shocked.

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February 06, 2010

Congratulations to the Next Mayor of New Orleans

Louisiana Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu.

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February 04, 2010

Illinois - Political and Judicial Follies

The highest court in Illinois just declared the state's med-mal caps unconstitutional - and the decision has led to some justice-on-justice snark and posturing (though not quite as delicious as the recent tidal wave of derision unleashed on PA's newest Supreme Court Justice by some of her colleagues).

In other news, Illinois Democrats may soon rethink their decision to nominate Scott Cohen for lt. gov., and no, the Republicans still don't know who their nominee for governor is.

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February 02, 2010

Winslow Homer Is Off the Derby Trail

A stress fracture has knocked my favorite for the Kentucky Derby out of racing for the next few months. He becomes the latest of a string of prominent Rick Porter-owned thoroughbreds to have injury problems.

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The Oscar Nominations 2010 - The Surprises

As usual most of the nominees were expected but ... The Blind Side for Best Picture? DIstrict 9 for screenplay? Peru's entry in Best Foreign Film? Maggie Gyllenhaal and Penelope Cruz for Best Supporting Actress? Those were some of the things I did not expect. Things that pleased me include Jeremy Renner's nomination for Best Actor and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince being nominated for cinematography. Things that sadden me include the lack of attention to (500) Days of Summer. As far as the overall numbers - with 9 nominations for Avatar and 9 nominations for The Hurt Locker it would seem that the race for Best Picture and Best Director is still coming down to a battle between those two films, with a split between them being perhaps the likeliest outcome.

Nominees are listed here.

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February 01, 2010

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act? Never Going to Happen

That's how we should read this story, right? We've had/got the largest Democratic majorities we are likely to have for many years to come. A couple of Republicans are actually co-sponsors. But still there aren't 60 Democratic votes in favor of it in the Senate. So how about the HRC (and reporters like this one for that matter) do something useful and expose which Democrats are opposing the bill? I'd guess that that set includes Ben Nelson and Robert Byrd - but it'd be nice if supposed activist organizations actually informed their communities so they could take action against whoever it happens to be.

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WV's US House Races - Challenges to the Democrats

What a difference a day makes. Big things are brewing as filing closes. State Sen. Mike Oliverio will challenge long-time incumbent Alan Mollohan in the Democratic primary in District 1. And former Supreme Court Justice (and Don Blankenship's Riviera buddy) Spike Maynard is switching parties to run against Mr. Rahall as a Republican down South in District 3. Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer will run for Oliverio's seat in the State Senate. I hope someone good filed to run for her Mon County seat.

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