30.6.04

More of This...

Okay, seriously? This is what I'm talking about.

Oh, and I got a job.

Fight terror! Raargh!!

Okay, now here's a t-shirt I really might buy. Now it would look like I'm supporting W (i.e., the much sought-after irony), but without all the aforementioned badness of actually giving his campaign any money. However, this t-shirt is a little out of my price range.

Also, I shouldn't part without revealing the best part about this stupid, propagandistic webpage:
If you listen to the nutty-left: People like Al Gore, Michael Moore, John Kerry, Howard Dean, Mad Donna, James Soros and others, they expect Americans to roll over and cave in to terrorism. Fortunately, none of these screwballs run the country.
Who the fuck is "James Soros"? God some of these people are stupid. (N.B.: Sadly, some progressives are mighty stupid and blinded by their righteousness. I consider myself one of the many who considers the merits of right and rejects them.)

29.6.04

Weingarten

In this week's chat, Weingarten posts all the responses from last week's discussion of neuroses that couldn't be fit. The best:
Arlington VA: Whenever I open a bag of M&M's or Skittles, I organize them by color in straight lines. Then I eat one of each color, one at a time, so that the number of candies of each color remains the same in each row. Don't tell anyone.
Wow.

SPORTS!

Yes, sports. Wonderful, wonderful sports. however much they hurt your hipster credentials, you know you love sports.

In what must be considered a pretty major coup, the WaPo seems to have scooped ESPN on the Stevie Franchise/T-Mac trade. Big news. The trade will be:
Under the terms of the trade, the Magic will send guard McGrady, forward Juwan Howard and guard Tyronn Lue to the Rockets for Francis, guard Cuttino Mobley and center Kelvin Cato, said the source.
With all the peripheral players involved, this is a trade that ends up making a lot of sense for both teams. The Rockets must've realized that Francis - though a very good and highlight-reel-producing player, wasn't a good fit with Yao. He shoots and misses too much, and likes driving the basket to put up ridiculous shots that fall not often enough, instead of handing it off to Yao for dunks. T-Mac gives them a more reliable scorer from 15-20 feet, allowing Yao to continue to develop/dominate on the low post. Oh, and T-Mac also gives them another 12 ppg; it's like having another player out there.

Plus, I never much liked Cuttino Mobley. Lue gives the Rockets a good second point guard; they would be well advised to go and get another solid point.

For the Magic, the deal also makes all sorts of sense - T-Mac wasn't happy, and getting Juwan Howard off the books is pretty much always a good thing (despite the fact that he's a pretty good player). The combination of Francis, Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson (a freakin' STEAL at No. 22) and Drew Gooden gives them an explosive young team that will be dunking all over the chumpy Eastern Conference. Yes, the Pistons won, but the East are still chumps. Sorry.

The Orioles have a one-game winning streak. So shaddup.

In today's WaPo, there is the last in a long three-part series on what friggin' assholes MLB (and, specifically, Bud Selig) are RE: DC Baseball. Parts one and two.

If you like tennis, then this is good news: Serena Williams and Jennifer Capriati get to play each other again. Granted, it's only the quarterfinals (Capriati's been playing poorly lately, and so was the 7th seed coming in), but this is one of the better matchups out there. Capriati is, and has been for a while, my favorite player - when she's on, there's really nobody that can beat her, not the Williams sisters at their best, not the Belgians. Maybe Navritalova at her best; prolly Steffi Graf. But really, almost nobody, ever.

But she's so rarely really at her best; she's kind of a head case, which I like more than the passionless automaton dominace of Pete Sampras. In a similar vein, Andre Agassi was always better than Sampras (the best ever, by far) when he brought his A-game - he just didn't do it that often.

This is why I've never like Tiger but love Phil Mickelson, and Greg Norman - they're so good but show the most human characteristics (e.g., nervousness, hubris) at the worst times.

SPORTS!

28.6.04

Misc.

Among other things...

Josh Marshall has a great summation/analysis of the whole Cheney cockshitmotherfuckerassholegate:
Consider for a moment. Who is Dick Cheney? What do we know of him? None of us like being questioned or critized. But in him the disinclination runs particularly deep. He prefers to act in secrecy and is a man to whom government transparency has all the allure that a shaft of sunlight has to a vampire. When challenged, violence seems always to be his preferred method of response, that of first resort...
Indeed.

Moving right along; Atrios has two great posts on the lying, lying media RE: Fahrenheit 9/11.

It's really amazing the way this movie is making the fake-reasonable members of the media (e.g., Gwen Ifil, Ron Brownstein, etc.) climb out of their respectable faces and blatantly carry water for the Freeper fringe.

Also: another non-shocking development in the case that has become the touchstone of the fucked-as-hell-psycho-sexual-racial whilrygig that is the American media in its coverage of the Kobe Bryant case:
Associated Press

DENVER -- Media organizations that were accidentally sent transcripts of a closed-door hearing in the Kobe Bryant case asked the Colorado Supreme Court on Monday to overturn a judge's order threatening them with contempt of court if they publish or even retain the information.
Seriously kids, Chomsky has it right. These assholes are trying to reach in and direct-hack your brainstem.

For a closing blow, this, off the current washingtonpost.com front page, submitted without further comment:
'Players' Always Get the Girls
Females find the new "bad boys" attractive, but get treated badly.
– Laura Sessions Stepp
The story is here.

27.6.04

Fahrenheit 9/11

Goodness me:
June 27, 2004 | LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" took in a whopping $21.8 million in its first three days, becoming the first documentary ever to debut as Hollywood's top weekend film.

If Sunday's estimates hold when final numbers are released Monday, "Fahrenheit 9/11" would set a record in a single weekend as the top-grossing documentary ever outside of concert films and movies made for huge-screen IMAX theaters.
This is pretty amazing, especially since:
"Fahrenheit 9/11" opened in 868 theaters, a wide release for a documentary but narrow compared to big Hollywood flicks. The film averaged $25,115 a theater, compared to $7,190 in 2,726 cinemas for "White Chicks."
I twice tried to buy tickets, and failed. EVERY SHOW THIS WEEKEND SOLD OUT. Granted, it was Bethesda, but it was on two screens, and every show sold out very far ahead of time.

I'd said before that it's going to do $100 million; that sounds a little less insane now.

I mean...wow. dKos has more, mainly excerpts from an NYT piece.

25.6.04

Get Me a Job

Seriously guys, someone get on this.

Weingarten

This week's chat and column - both written by his son, Dan. Pretty funny. Also:

Cabin John, Md.:
Secret Guest Host:
Could you post a link to the Saturday, June 19 "B.C.", just to get everyone supremely angry at Hart once and for all, and get his butt booted off the WaPo's comics page? This is really, really disgraceful; he wasn't content to stop at racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic strips -- he really felt he needed to add homophobic to that list.
I know this isn't particularly funny, but neither is Hart, and we need to get him off the comics page.

Dan Weingarten: I will just put this out there. Beware, the one in question is Saturday's, not Sunday's. Click back one. My father and I are not sure whether the poster is right here or not.


In way of response - of COURSE I'm right. Hart's intention is to deride both sets of behaviors. This is neither funny nor acceptable.

Cheney and the Washington Post:
dropping the F-bomb

Check it out for yourself. Cheney was lashing out against Senator Leahy (D-Vt.). Coincidentally, as the article notes, this was the same day the Defense of Decency Act passed 99 to 1.

24.6.04

Courts and Such

So, as soon as I heard that Scalia had written the majority on this decision, I knew it was a weird line-up. I was right - Scalia, Ginsburg, Thomas, Stevens and Souter, with Rehnquist, Kennedy, Breyer and O'Connor dissenting. The really strange thing is, I agree with Scalia, and find the dissenting opinion - such as I can actually understand these things - to be remarkably without legal merit.

And in really, really REALLY AMAZING NEWS, Ted Olson is set to step down as Solicitor General. This is really amazing - Ted Olson was always amazingly unqualified for this position, and this comes as a real victory for, you know, people being qualified for really important jobs in the American government.

Should I??

Do I dare buy this hat?

23.6.04

WaPo Full of Poo (Surprise, Surprise)

In a remarkably poor assessment of what is going on in the world today and hence what their role should be as one of the leading manufacturers of consent in that world, the WaPo today decides they should use their lead editorial to attack Bill Clinton because...um...they don't like what he said. Most egregiously:

Most fundamentally, Mr. Clinton showed contempt for the law.
All together now: THEY...STILL...DON'T...GET...IT...

Not that we should be surprised. But...sigh...okay, I'll do it.

The WaPo's assessment that Clinton showed contempt for the law is, at best, their highly disputable opinion. What Clinton did was lie about sex. That is all. He lied about getting a blow job. That is all.

Now - there have been other administrations in recent times who HAVE shown open contempt for the law. The now-late leader of said administration has in recent weeks been getting the equivalent of a big sloppy one from the WaPo.

And - there is an administration currently lodged in power whose entire approach to governing can best be described as "contempt for the law."

What happens when the WaPo goes around throwing out very powerful terms like "contempt for the law" and slapping them on any which thing (e.g., lying about getting a blow job), is that in the cases where the term is actually applicable (e.g., a lengthy dialogue within the administration trying to figure out how torture is legal; an Attorney General testifying before Congress who flat-out refuses to either provide information or invoke privilege; I really could go on here, but I'll stop at a simple; etc.), even when it is then used, its meaning is diluted. Because you can't get a whole lot worse than "contempt for the law", the WaPo is therefore saying, essentially, that the leaders of this country can't really do much worse than lying about a blow job; that lying about the pretext for a war is, at the very worst, only as bad as lying about a blow job.

Progress is progress I guess

Well, dear readers, it appears as though Washington, D.C., may finally be getting some headway in Congress. Congressman Tom Davis (R-Va) has proposed a bill to grant one voting representative to D.C., effective in the next Congress, and give a fourth representative to Utah. This bill would boost the number of seats in the House to 437 until the 2010 Census, when the total would drop back to 435. (D.C. would retain its seat and the remaining 434 would be doled out as per usual.) While I don't like the idea of giving a somewhat undeserved seat to Utah, this seems like an okay compromise.

22.6.04

I love thunderstorms

I am currently experiencing one. Also, this is fucking crazy.

Reagan Lovefest Smackdown

via Wonkette, via Undernews comes this letter from William Greider, the WaPo's former assistant managing editor:

My condolences to the staff and management of The Post. I had no idea you felt so deeply about Ronald Reagan. I was a reporter and editor at The Post during the launch of Reagan's "revolution," and we had a somewhat different take on his presidency then.

Reagan nurtured the strong and punished the weak. He fostered the great regressive shift in economic rewards that continues to this day, while ignoring a visible deterioration in the middle class and manufacturing.

His economic theory was cockeyed and did not add up (both parties spent 20 years cleaning up Reagan's deficit mess). But Reaganomics did deliver the boodle to the appropriate interests, the same ones who financed his rise in politics.

A disturbing meanness lurked at the core of Reagan's political agenda and was quite tangible at the time, though evidently forgotten now. We wrote tough stories about that and other contentious questions; I remain proud of the coverage. I would rank Reagan's place in history right up there with Warren G. Harding's. You want to put him in the company of FDR, maybe even Lincoln. Future historians will decide who's right. Meanwhile, I read your funeral coverage as a lengthy, lugubrious correction.
ZING! Seriously though, when you consider the WaPo's origins - at least as a paper of merit and consequence - and then see what it's become, you just have to do one of those Jon Stewart eye-rubs/bugs.

21.6.04

Boy do I LOVE Jon Stewart

"The Daily Show" is the only show on television that actually has important guests from both sides of an issue, and a host that asks them tough questions. Not only does Stewart ask tough questions, he asks real follow-ups - and doesn't tolerate lies as answers.

All that said - he is RIPPING STEPHEN HAYES A NEW ONE. Holy jeez...Stewart was also uniquely talented in bringing out Ann Coulter's true insanity, but he is really taking it to Hayes.

Hayes is on the show to promote his new book, The Connection, a several-hundred page lie sourced mainly from known liar and evil man Douglas Feith. In another of those, you-really-can't-make-this-shit-up jaw-droppers, the book's own web site proclaims:

Stephen Hayes's bombshell Weekly Standard piece on this topic was cited by Vice President Cheney as the "best source of information" about the Saddam-al Qaeda connections.
Um...

Um...

Wouldn't we want the best source of information on one of our primary rationales for going to war to be, you know, a government report or something, rather than an article in a partisan rag after we already invaded?

In any event, if you didn't see "The Daily Show" tonight, make sure to watch it at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Oh, and there's also a piece that makes you want to cry/laugh/laugh/cry, wherein Dick Cheney flat-out lies to a reporter, and then the directly contradicting evidence is shown. It's very funny, and Alterman also has it here.

Now THIS is Flippin' Cool

First private manned spaceflight. Yes, yes, yes. More of this, please.

The private space plane was designed by aviation pioneer Burt Rutan and paid for by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, who has said he spent more than $20 million on the project.


More than $20 million?!? That seems like a lot less than, say, $1 billion. Or $100 million. Or, say, $30 million. $20 million is still sort of a lot of money (i.e., more money in current value than I will make in my life), but really it's not that much money. People spend more than that on luxury yachts. And houses. Myself, I think designing and making your own freakin' space ship is a pretty good use of $20 million. And if you're Paul Allen, and $20 million is a fraction of a day's interest gained by your ridonkulous fortune, then it's a DAMN good way to use pissing money.

Paul Allen is probably the best new billionaire around. He was the first to figure out, Hey, I can buy a sports team. From there he went and realized, Wow, it'd be cool if there were a super-awesome high-tech Jimi-Hendrix-inspired music museum...oh wait, why don't I just build one. And now, a space ship. No, we're not getting to Raijul 7 anytime soon, but it's a start.


For once, I disagree

I am usually among the first to side with privacy rights advocates. However, this recent case is a counterexample. I am glad that we do not have a constitutional right to not tell police officers our names. Imagine how difficult an officer's job would be if you didn't have to tell her your name. Yeah.

Privacy rights advocates have also got to ease up on Google over the Gmail thing. (Note: if Mingle Until Departure curiously appears in Blogger's "Blogs of Note" sidebar ... something's up.)

Interesting caveat - the dissenters in this case were Ginsburg, Souter, Stevens and Breyer. Liberals defending personal freedom - conservatives confirming the expansive powers of the state. Weird.
-jkd

20.6.04

My mom needs your help!

So, my mom is having a problem at work, and she needs YOUR help.

She's putting together an exhibit on the Burr-Hamilton duel, and one piece of it is showing "modern day" examples of comments that would inspire a duel among prominent political figures. Right now, she only has examples of mean things Dems have said about Republicans.

"He's a goddamned shift-eyed liar." Truman, on Nixon
"They're the most crooked, lying group I've ever seen." Kerry, on the Bush administration

She wants to be even handed...so here's where YOU come in. She's looking for statements made by conservatives or Republicans, that "impugn the honor" of a liberal or a Democrat.

So, in the comments, please post your favorite, most mudslingest, nastiest comment by Trent, Newt, O'Reilly, the Bushies, Limbaugh, etc., as well as the date it was said, and if possible, a verifying source.

If your submission gets picked, not only will it be part of the exhibit, but ALSO, I will bake you a batch of your favorite cookies and ship them to you, anywhere in the United States.



19.6.04

Dept. Head Rawlings

I hadn't even noticed earlier this week that the Onion had a new piece by Dept. Head Rawlings. One of their best current recurring features, I think, surpassing even Herbert Kornfeld (though, of course, much respect to the H-Dog).

18.6.04

AYFKM?

via Matthew Yglesias comes this little gem outta the LA Times circa yesterday. I'm feeling kinda punchy, so we're gonna go blow-for-blow with this asshole:

In secularist doctrine, a fat person isn't merely unhealthy; he is a sinner in need of salvation. To address his situation, one secular gospel preaches the good news of the South Beach Diet, another that of the apostle Atkins.


And what, Dr. Phil Christ? Where does this guy get this stuff? Oh, right. He makes it up.
I'm no demographer, but I do know that in contemporary American society there are general links between income and religiosity (the more, the less) and income and weight (the more, the less) - but, if there's any causal relationship there at all, it would seem to be one that cleaves more along lines of class than anything else. The research that I've skimmed seems to back that up - and that the divide in America is an urban-rural one, with these other things coming as consequences of that, and not having a causal relationship between them.

There is a secular creation account — evolution through random mutation and natural selection, a just-so story increasingly challenged by scientists. A few years ago the Discovery Institute, a Seattle think tank, took out advertisements in the New York Review of Books and the New Republic listing a hundred distinguished Darwin-doubting scholars, at institutions from Berkeley to MIT.


"Increasingly challenged by scientists"? Jeez, this is too easy. Let's take a look at the Discovery Institute's Board and Fellows. Yes, that's the same Edwin Meese. And a cursory look at the credentials of those fellows - again, I'm no evolutionary biologist ("secular priest", I suppose) - doesn't reveal much that would give them any credibility in, say, debunking a universally accepted scientific theory (e.g., gravity, evolution, etc.).

Also - so freakin' what if they took out an ad? Does being able to buy advertising space now equate to being able to buy truth?

Continuing...

There is even a flood story, told in the new movie "The Day After Tomorrow," wherein a modern-day Noah (played by Dennis Quaid) warns of an impending inundation brought on by global warming. As in biblical tradition, his neighbors pay no attention and subsequently perish. At the film's end, a few survivors are picked up by helicopter from the tops of Manhattan skyscrapers, just as Noah and his family survive when their ark is cast up on the peak of Mt. Ararat.


Jesus. Okay, do we have to go over this again? I thought not.

It emerges that, in the controversies surrounding the Pledge of Allegiance and the L.A. County seal, what we're seeing is an unacknowledged interreligious civil war. Centuries ago in Europe and the Middle East, intolerant faiths sought to suppress one another, erasing symbols of their rivals wherever possible. Churches were converted to mosques, their crosses removed. Synagogues were converted into churches, their Jewish symbols effaced. Today the church of secularism agitates against its rival, the Judeo-Christian tradition.


Look, "Centuries ago in Europe and the Middle East..." these religions KILLED EACH OTHER and then converted the temples from those of the conquered to their religion of choice. Oh, and forced conversion of the survivors. Or they would kill them.

THIS IS NOT THE SAME THING. Nobody is going around the United States slaughtering Christians and installing televisions playing MTV in the place of crosses in churches. This is a false analogy.

It is also all the more insulting given that, unless things have changed since I last checked, there are several dozens of bloody religious wars going on in the world RIGHT NOW killing thousands upon thousands of people every day. In America's culture war, the only casualties - ever - have been self-appointed avenging angels of the loony Christian right killing doctors who provided abortions.

I'm not even going to bother starting into how stupid it is for this guy to be using the Abrahamic tradition as his standard and not including Islam - you know, that little religion with a billion or so followers, that also follows the teachings of the Bible, the Prophets, Jesus, and all that?

In the interest of honest debate, at the very least it would be of benefit to recognize secularism for what it is: an aggressive religion competing for converts, a faith lacking the candor to speak openly of its aims.


Doesn't a religion generally have, you know, an organizing set of beliefs and principles? Maybe some texts? Maybe some hierarchy, some leaders?

Oh yeah - and a religion generally decides these things for itself. Even the Scientologists acknowledge L. Ron Hubbard as their, um, whatever he is.

The minute the secular menace gets organized and gets tax-exempt status, I'll let ya know.

17.6.04

Misc.

-The rather underwhelming conclusion to Salon's two-parter on social networking software. Disappointing, especially considering Salon's general excellence in technology reporting, and Andrew Leonard's specifically. Still, read it, because it's much better than the pap that Newsweek or Time has been peddling (duh).

-C-Dog's interview with Dan Rather on this Sunday's "60 Minutes" is apparently a can't-miss event.

-Pat O'Brien is leaving "Access Hollywood." But wait - this is not the good news it would seem, sportsfans. No, the almost singularly talented and unpretentious former big-event-sports-deskman is NOT returning to the glorious and respectable side of the entertainment industry (i.e., sports), but rather:

O'Brien won't be off the air for long.

The former CBS sportscaster and co-host of the Paramount Television program "Entertainment Tonight" is in final negotiations to host "The Insider," a new Paramount entertainment show, according to several trade publications.


AGGGHHH....this means that I'm going to be stuck with Jim Nantz' sentimental, pretentious ass for every NCAA tourney until I'm forty, doesn't it? I mean, I can tolerate Costas at the Olympics, as the event by its nature lends itself to touching human-interest stories. But seriously, nobody's ever done the Olympics or NCAAs better than O'Brien, and I just wish he'd realize that (and also what an embarrassment "entertainment journalism" is...and you'd think he probably dates much cuter women than a short guy with a mustache, glasses and slicked-back hair would date otherwise, but he's actually been married for 31 years, so...wel, that's no guarantee, but that's a long time) and get back to actually being really, really good at something. Is all.

Teleportation

I know this is very important and amazing.

The feat of teleportation is transferring information from atom A to atom C without the two meeting. The third atom, B, is an intermediary.

The three atoms can be thought of as boxes that can contain a 1 or a zero, a bit of information like that used by a conventional computer chip. The promise of quantum computers is that both a zero and a 1 can exist at once, just like the perplexing premise described by the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in which a cat in a box can be simultaneously alive and dead until someone looks inside.

First, atoms B and C were brought together, making them "entangled" and creating an invisible link between the two atoms no matter how far apart they were. Atom C was moved away. Next, A and B were similarly entangled.

Then the scientists measured the energy states of A and B, essentially opening the boxes to see whether each contained a 1 or a zero. Because B had been entangled with C, opening A and B created an instant change in atom C, what Albert Einstein called "spooky action at a distance," and this, in essence, set a combination lock on atom C, with the data in A and B serving as the combination.

For the final step, the combination was sent and a pulse of laser light was applied to atom C, almost magically turning it into a replica of the original A. Atom A was teleported to atom C.


Dead cats in boxes? I had no idea quantum mechanics was so twisted...

I think I get the general idea of this, and it's even a little coloquially reported for my taste ("almost magically"?). I do remember something about entanglement from a couple years back when they proved it in Switzerland, I think.

But if there are any physics-minded MuD readers out there who could shed a little light onto this for me, it'd be appreciated. All's I know is that this is damn cool.

Oh yeah, Jeopardy!

So I tried out for Jeopardy! on Tuesday at the Omni Shoreham. I didn't pass the test (Part I of the audition) so I was not invited to hang around and play their mock game (Part II of the audition). I mean ... don't you think this post would've been up on Tuesday if I had passed?

Anyway, I arrived around 2:10, in plenty of time to fill out the biographical information sheet. You have to include five anecdotes or unusual pieces of information about yourself for the chit-chat with Alex Trebek. Mine weren't very good as I don't lead a very unusual or embarrassing life, nor do I have that many funny stories that are, say, kosher for Grandma's ears.

There must have been about 70 people there when they shut the doors. Having already taken the test once (Cleveland 2002) I knew most of everything they went over before giving the actual test. On the one hand, I didn't feel like answering their stupid questions or raising my hand during the sample question rounds, but I knew these people were looking out for enthusiastic characters—people who really, desperately want to be on the show. (I want to be on, don't get me wrong, but I wouldn't ... you know ... take care of the contestant guy's cat or anything.) So I put on my Excited Face and used my High School Arms to the best of my ability.

Test time. It was really pretty hard. You have to get 35 out of 50 correct (see my related post), I believe, and the categories are many and varied. You have eight seconds to respond to each question and your answer need not be phrased as a question.

I shan't reveal any specific questions since discussion of specifics over an uncontrolled, widely accessible medium (e.g., the Internet) is probably grounds for not getting my name pulled out of the audition hat in the future. (Hey, I mean it's possible that more than seven people will read this.) But let's just say I blanked on things like name brand jets, Grammy-winning R&B bands which have splintered, and Shakespearean characters. Among the categories I nailed were alphabetical geography of South America (bling!), British films about girls' soccer, and British monarchy. They don't tell you your score, but I estimate I got about 25 right, having left at least 12 blank and getting the rest wrong.

Sweet, Delicious Flesh

Does this not look at least a little like Dubya is about to have a little snack?

15.6.04

LAKERS LOSE.

And big: 100-87.
Which means that this will also be a great offseason, with a lot of fascinating questions - will Phil stay? Where will Kobe be next year - Memphis, or prison? Will Shaq make good and retire to become a cop - or get angry and dominate the league as never before? Was Gary Payton's Finals performance the most disastrous and tragic end to a career ever suffered by a great player?
The only person I really feel sorry for, though, is Luke Walton, who is destined to go down in history as having one great quarter in his entire NBA career.

Electoral Reform

Colorado may have on its November ballot an initiative that would split the state's electors for presidential elections proportionally, rather than winner-take-all. It would take effect immediately. It would mean, in no uncertain terms, a guarantee of at least four (of nine) electoral votes for Kerry from Colorado - which he might win anyhow, but prolly wouldn't. The story here, via dKos, which also has this good commentary:

The move is brilliant. For one, every state should allocate EVs in this manner. Maine and Nebraska already have some variation of proportionate EV allocation, and it would force the parties and candidates to pay attention to swing regions unlucky enough to not reside in a swing state. There are more than 18 states in the union, but you wouldn't know it from the way this campaign will be waged.

But on a more immediate tactical level, this initiative will force Republicans to spend a great deal of money in Colorado when they hoped to completely ignore the state and take its nine EVs for granted. Despite all the talk of Colorado being in play this year, Kerry still has a ways to go before he pulls the state in play.

But with this initiative on the ballot, Republicans have to fight to defeat the initiative (millions will likely get spent on the effort), and also give the state some love (Bush's time and money) in case the initiative passed.


Any electoral reform is good. This is a start, and potentially a very politically useful one for the Good Guys. Now if we could only get people to start talking about changing the Senate over to a national-party-ballot proportional-representation system, then we'd REALLY be cooking...

Yahoo! Feeling the Heat

I logged into my Yahoo! account (which I'm phasing out in lieu of Gmail, as I did earlier with my Hotmail in lieu of Yahoo!) and I get this message:

Great news – Yahoo! Mail is new and improved!

Thanks for being a loyal Yahoo! Mail user. To ensure that Yahoo! Mail continues to be the easiest, most enjoyable way for you to stay in touch, we've made several great improvements to your service! In addition to all the features you currently enjoy, we've made these upgrades:

* Streamlined interface
Makes using your mail even easier
* 100MB of email storage
Keep more of the things that are important to you – without worrying about bumping up against your storage limit.
* Message size up to 10MB
Send monster-sized files – photos, presentations, whatever!

So thanks again for choosing Yahoo! Mail to keep in touch, and we hope you enjoy the additional services now at your fingertips. For more information, please visit our Help page.


Wow. A "loyal Yahoo! mail user"; they definitely see Gmail coming to kill them. And, well, they were right.

This would definitely bug the hell out of me if I were a loyal Yahoo! mail user who'd upgraded to a pay account - which I believe was somewhere on the order of $20 for 16MB. Luckily, I am not stupid, so I did not do that.

14.6.04

The "I've Been Gone for the Weekend" Monday Morning News Roundup

ITEM! Contrary to all those other liberal bloggers making the same joke, Reagan is NOT still dead, but in fact walks the earth as an undead, devouring the flesh of the living. [Insert Dick Cheney joke here]

-The Lakers are losing, and God do I love life. This is actually the best outcome I could've hoped for - the Spurs are good, but really don't excite me, the Kings were exciting only for the improbability of their ridiculous collapse, the T-Wolves...well, were jobbed, but aren't quite there yet. And really, the Pistons actually ARE fun to watch. At least when they're making the Lakers look like fools, and throwing down some sweet dunks on backdoor screens.

-Weingarten, as per usual, has a great WaPo magazine column. Seriously, you need to be reading this every week.

-In a third straight WaPo plug, note that Joel Achenbach seems to be back on active duty, which is a good thing as he's one of the best newspaper feature writers around, and I think definitely the best newspaper science writer, period. Long feature on George Washington here, an online discussion of it here . This is actually stuff I didn't know about Washington.

-"Get Fuzzy" has been REALLY on its game lately, including a laugh-out-loud funny entry today. Also, "Boondocks" seems to have arrested and reversed its slide (note how physical violence or the threat thereof is pretty much always funny)...though I still think McGruder needs Cindy and Jazmine more than he knows...and the current story line in "Pearls Before Swine" is just hilarious - really really weird, but hilarious. Story line starts here.

-I have a great idea for a wickedly satirical film to expose the media for the bunch of hucksters and frauds that they are...if any producers out there think they could scare up about $3 million on the strength of this blog's biting social commentary, I think we'd be good to go.

-The previous post on Mormons was not meant as a "Jeez, aren't Mormons swell?!?"-type-thing. Those same Mormon senators are also, (save Harry Reid, since he's a Democrat) in pretty much every other way, total nutso right-wing fanatics. But they support stem-cell research. That's why it's weird and interesting, because given everything else, you wouldn't think so.

-Great letter to Alterman in Friday's Altercation, the meat of which is:

...the news function of the television medium surrendered this week. It put its things in a box, locked up the office, and handed over the keys. There is no longer any compelling reason to believe that these clowns believe in anything beyond the performance pieces out of which they've fashioned their careers.


Yes.

-Air America is terrific. Or at least "The O'Franken Factor" (noon until 3 p.m.) and "The Randi Rhodes Show" (3 p.m. until 7 p.m.) are terrific. Franken is just hilarious, and Rhodes does righteous indignation very entertainingly. Also she calls Rush Limbaugh's show "The Three-Hour Hate." Garofalo's show is...okay. You can listen to Air America on the internet here, or on the radio at any one of this rapidly-expanding list of stations.

11.6.04

Worst. Environmental. President. Ever.

I love the BBC. I mean, news conglomerates categorically suck, but the BBC is less offensive to me than most. This little G8 public interest bit made their front page. I especially like the last paragraph that sums up the standard ridiculous attempts of the Bush administration to put a photo-op friendly veneer over bad policy and stupid decisions. Like a band-aid on an open artery. Or a president on a fighter plane.

And I'm sick of the Reagan coverage. Sorry to be callous, but it isn't news anymore. I would really like an honest news briefing about Reagan's death. Or as a smart man quipped to me yesterday: "Former president Ronald Reagan is dead. If he gets up, we'll let you know."

10.6.04

Those Wacky Mormons

Truly, Mormons are wacky. Some of the nicest people I've ever met were Mormon. The Church of LDS has also produced the prodigiously talented, and bigoted, Orson Scott Card; as well as the prodigiously talented, and super-duper-weird, Neil LaBute. Seriously, that guy is a frickin' weirdo.
The Church of Mormon also, as is becoming apparent again, has a suprisingly progressive view on stem-cell research - they're for it, or if not for it, then neutral. But all the political arms of the Church of Mormon - and there are five Mormon senators (making for exactly five more Mormons than blacks in the Senate) - are advocating for stem-cell research. Just...interesting.

Good thing he's a Republican

Yesterday the Capitol and the Supreme Court were evacuated for about half an hour due to an incoming plane that violated restricted airspace. Turns out it was just newly elected Kentucky governor Ernie Fletcher, a Republican, arriving for the Reagan to-do. His plane's transponder was broken. ("Whoops, sorry boys. I know terrorists might do that to throw air traffic controllers off when they hijack a plane, but can't we let it slide?") Odds on him being charged (or somehow confronted by the Justice Department/FAA)? Slim. Odds of him being charged if he was a Democrat? Better.

More importantly, what if it was some parent/child pair, or a pilot/student training pair -- would they get off so easy? No.

9.6.04

Reagan on the $10 Bill Nonsense

Unfortunately, this might actually happen. In fact, it seems pretty likely. Damned if I won't start avoiding $10 bills. But anyways, there's something really hilarious in The Hill's coverage of the bill; I dunno if this is bad copy-editing on their part, or just Grover continuing to make shit up, but:

Former Democratic presidents Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy were put on the dollar and half-dollar coin within a year of their deaths, Norquist noted.


I mean, if Grover is so ashamed of Ike for winning the ground war in Europe and upholding actual conservative principles (e.g., limiting the growth of government, warning against the military-industrial complex, etc.) that he wants to posthumously kick him out of the Republican Party, I guess we'll take him. But jeez...remember, this is the same Grover Norquist who said:

"I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."


Later in the Hill article is a classic piece of Washington bureaucrospeak:

“Paper currency is never changed because of aesthetic consideration,” said Darlene Anderson, the spokeswoman for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. “Paper money is only changed to deter counterfeiting.”


Looks like someone in the Bush-Cheney transition team forgot to politicize the Bureau of Engraving and Printing....

Baghdad Freestyle

via This Modern World, comes an absolutely amazing site, Gunner Palace. From the site:

The purpose of my visit was to embed myself with a unit for as long as they would have me. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, owing to the fact that I was briefly in the military and come from a military family, I found a unit that embraced my presence. The unit, 2/3 Field Artillery aka the "Gunner" Battalion was based in Uday Hussein's Azimiya Palace-sitting in the middle of Adhamiya, the most volatile area in Baghdad.


See the site, but most importantly, watch the clip of the soldier freestyle rapping. Ah-mazing.

8.6.04

The American Spirit

Salon's Cary Tennis puts his finger on something that I've been feeling for a while:

Imagined violence is America's medium of moral music. It's how we stage our dramas of injury and retribution, how we portray right and wrong, how we assign the blame and the blood. It's a suitably martial language for a country enjoying its high imperial moment, drunk on unearned muscle and sentimental woundedness like an adolescent boy.


This is why that scene in "High Fidelity" where John Cusak imagines the three progressively more violent ways of kicking the shit out of Tim Robbins is so flippin' funny - because it gets to an essential truth of American life, one that is kind of disturbing when you think about it. Seriously though, that last scene, where Todd Louiso just picks up the telephone and smashes it in Tim Robbins' face...genius.

Genius

From Weingarten's chat:

Thank you Gene and NaiVe: I am living proof that a liberal arts degree, a law degree, and 20-plus years as a divorce lawyer are no match to growing up in New York. Do you think I could use paper-scissors-rock to resolve property settlement issues? Or only those involving the three articles mentioned?

Gene Weingarten:
It works for all disputes involving only men.


This is so amazingly true.

I'm sorry, is this a high school newspaper?

The Tampa Tribune ran an editorial today which stated the Tampa Bay Lightning lost game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. This is funny and sad. (Article on ESPN.com.)

Weingarten Returns!

After a two-week absence, Gene Weingarten returned today to his absolutely-must-read humour chat.

In news more disgusting and less hilarious, the WaPo saw fit to have Grover Norquist host an online discussion of Reagan. Which he, being a slimebag hateful douche, turned into an hour-long harangue on Why Liberals Suck.

Yes.


7.6.04

Movie Trailers Are Fun

One of the greatest things about computers getting faster and the proliferation of broadband internet is that you can now spend basically forever online watching movie trailers. Which is awesome.
Clearly, the best is Apple's trailer page.
Right now, however, there's a big treat for all of us big nerds who are big nerds about movies AND politics - amazing trailers are available online for "The Hunting of the President" and "Fahrenheit 911."
Ray Bradbury also calls Michael Moore an asshole, which I agree with, and then says nobody will see "Fahrenheit 911," which is a pretty stupid thing to say, even if you are one of the greatest living writers in the English language. Nay, especially if you are one of the greatest living writers in the English language.

Consumer spending: I taunt you a second time

In a move that el Presidente would love, I bought an XBox yesterday. Is this bad?

Conversing with Dan Scott last night, he/we came with a brilliant idea for XBox [and other video] games. Essentially Netflix for Xbox, but naturally Microsoft would want a piece of the action. And "Netflix" is both taken and trademarked, so maybe something like nexflix.xbox.com.

4.6.04

A very good idea

I won't post too many links to Halfbakery on this here bloggy, but I thought I would share this one. It's a great idea for a dictation service. Outsourcing at its finest...

Clubbin

On a whim I checked out my apartment complex's "community website" a few weeks ago. I receive sporadic emails, generally uninteresting, but I got one today about clubs forming. Someone registers online as a leader of the group and people get in touch to participate. Check out this list of groups (leader names omitted):

Tyshawn Basketball Club- LEADER: ******
Self Defense Club- LEADER: ******
Scrapbooking - LEADER: ******
Golf - LEADER: ******
Poker - LEADER: ******
BASKETBALL- LEADER: ******
role-playing gamers - LEADER: ******
Hiking and Camping- LEADER: ******
Background Checks - LEADER: ******
events and outings - LEADER: ******
carpool club?- LEADER: ******

If you've read that correctly, you'll notice a Background Checks club. What the fuck is that shit about? I am moving ASAP, but largely for other reasons.

3.6.04

Well-Oiled Machine

Josh Marshall with some on-point analysis of the current state of the White House:

...beside the possibility that the White House's favored Iraqi exile was an Iranian agent, that the spy chief just got canned, that the OSD is wired to polygraphs, and that the president has had to retain outside counsel in the investigation into which members of his staff burned one of the country's own spies, I'd say the place is being run like a pretty well-oiled machine.


Yes.

2.6.04

Dead Dolphin

Dead dolphins aren't usually funny. This is a notable exception.

Fools

Why does anyone still listen to what Bill Safire has to say? "Abolish the penny!" AYFKM? Can the NYT really do no better than this shit?
Also, check out the contrast between the pretentious-ass photo that accompanies his column and what he actually looks like.

Coincidentally, George Orwell's 101st Birthday

Fahrenheit 9/11 will be released on June 25th.


1.6.04

COOL!

George W. Bush is so awesome! He's, like, got Saddam's gun! That'll show the terrorists!

President Bush keeps in his White House offices a trophy of one his high points in the Iraq war, the pistol that Saddam Hussein held when soldiers pulled him from his underground hideaway.


I can semi-understand soldiers collecting mementos of vanquished enemies (e.g., swords, ears, etc.), because war is really really fucked up. But Bush with Saddam's pistol as a trophy? This is the sort of thing kings and emperors did hundreds of years ago to cow potential opponents into submission. This is not the sort of behavior one would hope for from a PRESIDENT. Then again, how many times have I said that the last three and a half years...



What to do With This Administration

After we work the next five months to remove this administration of liars, cheats and thieves from office...well, I point your attention to the Federal False Statements Act:

[Defendant] is charged with making a false statement in a matter within the jurisdiction of a government agency. It is against federal law to make a false statement in a matter within the jurisdiction of a government agency. For you to find the defendant guilty of this crime you must be convinced that the government has proven each of these things beyond a reasonable doubt:

First, that [defendant] knowingly made a material false statement;

Second, that [defendant] made the statement voluntarily and intentionally; and

Third, that [defendant] made the statement in a [e.g., U.S. Customs declaration].

A false statement is made “knowingly” if the defendant knew that it was false or demonstrated a reckless disregard for the truth with a conscious purpose to avoid learning the truth.

A statement is “material” if it has a natural tendency to influence or to be capable of influencing the decision of the decisionmaker to which it was addressed, regardless of whether the agency actually relied upon it.

A statement is “false” if it was untrue when made.


The money part of that law, I should say, is the graf:

A false statement is made “knowingly” if the defendant knew that it was false or demonstrated a reckless disregard for the truth with a conscious purpose to avoid learning the truth.


I'm no lawyer, but...

It's almost too easy

JKD and I have both had letters to the editor published in the Washington Post of late. In response to this article about umbrellas, I wrote this letter.

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