Tuesday Afternoon News Roundup

Back in khaki, kids.

-A great - really must-read - article in the "Chronicle of Higher Education" on the Invisible Adjunct, who recently shut down her blog on how sucky it is to be an adjunct.

-Absolutely bizarre short-form music review in the WaPo this morning:
You have to wonder what makes six young men in their early twenties want to pick up banjos and mandolins and form a bluegrass band...
For some reason they prefer to play timeworn melodies in time-tested methods handed down from rural holler to holler.

The really bizarre thing is why the author of the piece - Buzz McClain - is reviewing a bluegrass show.

-An article in the latest Washington Monthly makes a very plausible case that, in spite of CW, this election will most likely be decided in a landslide, one way or another:

Elections that feature a sitting president tend to be referendums on the incumbent--and in recent elections, the incumbent has either won or lost by large electoral margins. If you look at key indicators beyond the neck-and-neck support for the two candidates in the polls--such as high turnout in the early Democratic primaries and the likelihood of a high turnout in November--it seems improbable that Bush will win big. More likely, it's going to be Kerry in a rout.

And, also:

Of course, the tight polling data does reflect a fundamental reality: For all the fallout from his policies, Bush still appeals to many Americans because of his seeming decisiveness, straight talk, and regular-guy charm--not qualities that John Kerry prominently displays. The historical pattern may strongly suggest that if Kerry wins, it will be by large margins--but that is hardly fated. It will only happen if Kerry successfully highlights Bush's failings while showing himself to be an appealing alternative. Otherwise, the senator could see himself losing an electoral rout, not winning in one. In fact, the second most likely outcome of this election is a Bush landslide. With just one exception, every president to win a second consecutive term has done so with a larger electoral margin than his initial victory. The least likely result this November is another close election.

-Roger Clemens is an asshole, but the man is 40 and still better at baseball than I'll ever be at anything.

-In response to Dick Cheney's assertion that Don Rumsfeld is "the best secretary of defense the United States has ever had," the Center for American Progress has a great poll.
Truly, these people know no bounds.

-Go see the Drive-By Truckers (or Patterson Hood, or Jason Isbell), if they're coming to your neck of the woods. Seriously, one of the best shows I've ever seen, and now they've got a fiddle player, who's a woman, which would pretty much make her come in at #1 in the "Should Marry JKD" contest except she's already hitched to one of the guys in the band. Rats.

-via Alterman; why is it again that anyone pays attention to what Rush Limbaugh says?

-Speaking of Alterman, a great column in the most recent The Nation.

-Have lately been completely mesmerized by this song from Andrew Bird. I know, I haven't heard of him, either, and he is on Righteous Babe Records, which would normally counterindicate my listening to his music, but...the song is really, really amazing.

-Saw demonlover last week. An interesting (this word actually is useful here, as opposed to normally, when it's pretty much the most-meaningless/worst/most-overused word in the English language) film - glad I saw it, glad it was made, and would recommend it to anyone. The reviews of the film tended to make it out as far more bizarre than it actually was - a notable exception is Salon's suberbly done review (this sort of writing is really one of the greatest things that's come from Salon over the years). Again - see it, you'll definitely enjoy it, and it's nothing if not compelling start to finish.

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