Friday, October 30, 2009

Lunkhead of the Week
Who else could it be?
It's Time to Pick a Side
Krugman is right. No need to excerpt; go read the whole thing.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

There's a Zero Percent Chance...
...that this was an accident. We know the Governor probably doesn't write these things himself... Classy staff, Arnold!
Conservative identification is at its highest point since (at least) 1992.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Formal Apology
I probably need a whole pad of these. Here's a blank one. Here's a list of the forms available from the Bureau of Communication. "Let that which is unsaid be said."
Reid Announcement [UPDATED]
Coming this afternoon, hopefully to tell us he's got 60 votes for a public option. Even if it's likely an opt-out program (in which individual states can vote not to participate), this is better than no government program. For a while, we may just have states that are public-insurance-eligible and some that aren't, just like we currently have gay marriage states, states with guns in bars, etc.

[UPDATE: Senate bill will have public option with opt-outs for states. Reid says he doesn't have 60 votes yet but close. This is the hard part.]

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lunkhead of the Week
Though he may not be the one to blame here (we'll see), Daniel Inouye.
The anti-rape amendment introduced by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) may be stripped from the defense appropriations bill by Appropriations chairman Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), the Huffington Post reports.

Multiple sources told reporter Sam Stein that the provision -- which would prohibit the Pentagon from hiring contractors whose employment contracts prevent employees from taking work-related allegations of rape and discrimination to court -- is being targeted by defense contractors. Their lobbyists have reportedly flooded Inouye's office, worried they may lose contracts or open themselves up to lawsuits.
This is crazy. If there are legitimate concerns about the language of the amendment, let's fix them and then pass it. It's outrageous to think a woman working for a defense contractor overseas has zero recourse against a company that allows her to be brutally raped by other employees.
Mark, Are You Writing Preds Marketing Now?
After the local hockey team defeated the Ottawa Senators 6-5 in a crazy overtime game last night, this billboard spotted...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Trying Not to Get My Hopes Up
but this is somewhat promising.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Is This What a Successful Presidency Looks Like?
So, Afghan leader and George Bush BFF Hamid Karzai has agreed to a run-off election, amid indications that hundreds of thousands of his votes were fraudulent. Meanwhile, Iran has apparently reached an agreement (with US, UK, France, Russia) about processing nuclear fuel. It's hard to imagine either of those things happening under a Bush-Cheney regime.

Just sayin.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Where All the Lonely Wild People-Things Are
Saw "Where the Wild Things Are" tonight. Need to know what you think. I'm tempted to warn that it's really probably too intense for young children, but the more I think of it, it may be too intense for 40-year-olds as well, perhaps even moreso than for children, I dunno.

It's a very beautiful film, visually (and musically), and maybe even heroic in its emotional ambitions, but also a tough, sad experience in many ways.

Between that and discussing "Eleanor Rigby" and "For No One" in class today, I'm spent.

Monday, October 19, 2009

But I guess not surprising. Too many nutjobs out there these days.
48 Minutes Later
Everybody knows Reuters has been fooled by a fake press release, except for Reuters.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lunkhead of the Week
Coming in a close second, for losing my iPhone at the hockey game last night and causing trouble for everyone from my brother to the security staff at the Arena all morning tracking it down. Thanks especially to my bro, and a good Samaritan who turned it in, phone is retrieved and all is well.

But the winner of the week for outstanding achievement in lunkhead behavior?
Richard "FA" Land. See how his ridiculous apology, for saying something truly offensive and wrong, would have you believe he used the word "precisely" as "hyperbole". I don't believe that's even remotely possible by any reasonable meaning of either word. He must be one of those who uses the word "literally" to mean the opposite of literally.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's Not Reid's Fault
...that Joe Lieberman exists.
"If Harry Reid does not have the leadership skills to get 60 votes for cloture and give a Democratic president an up-or-down vote on health care, progressives will help defeat him in 2010, even if that means Republicans take that seat," said the head of one progressive organization, who's still working out the detail of the campaign. "There is no use for Reid's vote if 60 Democratic votes means nothing on cloture, and no use for Reid's leadership if his leadership is so blatantly ineffective."
If this is all just liberal pressure, I guess..ok. But come on, why does nobody seem to remember that Joe Lieberman is one of our 60? We couldn't even get the guy to respect the Democratic primary voters in CT, or support the Democratic nominee for President! Yeah, pressure him with committee leadership and all of that I guess, but why would that work? What's Reid supposed to do?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Who Remembers Whom?
It must be weird enough playing on a high school football team with a quarterback that is the son of Joe Montana, but check this out: the backup QB? his name is Trevor Gretzky. A NYTimes piece profiles these children of star-athletes-trying-to-be-dads, asking which famous father is more recognizable and sought-after by crowds and today's high-schoolers, Joe or Wayne?
Trevor Gretzky insisted that people recognized Nick Montana’s father more often than his own at the games. “Especially my generation; no one really knows who he is,” Trevor said of his father. “People don’t notice him compared with Joe Montana.”

That was not necessarily true when the Lions played recently at Venice High School. After the game, while his mother, Janet Jones, fell into conversation with other parents on the field, a steady stream of people drifted over to his father to have photographs taken with him. As Wayne Gretzky walked toward the exit, fans continued to give chase. Between poses, he pleaded, “Janet, let’s go!”
I had to laugh though at the reference Times reporter Karen Crouse made in the piece, as if trying to outdo them both with a famous person nobody will likely remember.
Trevor was 6 in 1999 when his father wrapped up his 20-year N.H.L. career, with the Rangers. Because they cannot remember much of their fathers’ playing days, each has Rose Mary Woods-like gaps in his knowledge of his father’s career.
Rose Mary Woods? Really? A Nixon's secretary reference in a story about a high-school football team? A strange, funny thing to write there.

Oh yeah, and Nick Montana's favorite receiving target? That would be Trey Smith, Will's son. Everybody knows his dad.

Monday, October 12, 2009

So, maybe you heard about the 2 Americans winning the Nobel prize in Economics? That's great news and all except that there's no such thing, according to Ezra Klein. Strange.

[UPDATE: Kevin Drum says this is stupid. He's probably right.]
Tough Weekend in Sports
Vanderbilt fumbled on the goal line in overtime, losing to Army. The Predators wasted one of the great goalie performances I've ever seen in person, when they finally let the Sabres score on their 42nd shot with 3 minutes to go to lose 1-0. The Red Sox blew a 4-run lead (and a 2-run lead in the 9th) - even one strike away from winning a couple of times - to lose yesterday 7-6 and end their season. And, to make matters worse, the Yankees won, moving on to the ALCS.

Did anything good happen?

Friday, October 09, 2009

Lunkhead of the Week
Andy McCarthy
Nobel Prize
Like President Obama, I woke up to the surprising news that he had won the Nobel Peace Prize. He got an actual wake-up call. I just got the radio alarm clock version. Still, I have to say I was shocked and my immediate reaction was annoyance: this just gives Republicans the excuse to: a) badmouth these very prestigious and important global awards, something they already started once Al Gore won, and b) complain that Obama hasn't accomplished anything of substance, a charge it's hard to disagree with in many respects.

I'm warming to the idea though (screw the Republicans), helped along by the interview I heard with Elie Wiesel on the way to school.

I think it's very easy from the perspective of America to forget just what the election of Barack Obama means to the world. He represents an affirmation of hope, yes, but hope for what? Hope for lots of things, surely, but this most of all: that our common humanity can overcome the very real conflicts of our cultural differences. It sounds corny, I know. It feels corny to type. But to a world beset by violence and crisis, which saw its most prominent leading country descend into madness over the last 8 years, it must be a very real moment of hope indeed, that America - flaws and all - is not going to merely turn our backs on diplomacy, justice and the environment.

That's no small accomplishment. Whether the President did that, or just represents it, is obviously debatable. But either way, its effects would seem to be significantly felt around the world, and shouldn't be underestimated.

But there's another element to this award: an air of desperation. The world needs you, Mr. President, the committee seems to be saying. This award is for what he - and really nobody else right now - can do, what he should do, and what he must do. It's a reminder of the weight he bears, and indeed an addition to it. The entire world is moved and inspired by his election; but is also depending on him to live up to the award he now owns. That's the message I get from this decision.

Read this reaction from Shimon Peres, and tell me it doesn't re-fill you with the sense of pride and hope you had on election night.
“Very few leaders if at all were able to change the mood of the entire world in such a short while with such a profound impact,” President Shimon Peres of Israel said in a congratulatory letter to Mr. Obama. “You provided the entire humanity with fresh hope, with intellectual determination, and a feeling that there is a lord in heaven and believers on earth.”

Mr. Peres, who won the peace prize with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat in 1994 following the Oslo Accords, added: “Under your leadership, peace became a real and original agenda. And from Jerusalem, I am sure all the bells of engagement and understanding will ring again. You gave us a license to dream and act in a noble direction.”

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Sounds Good to Me
A compromise is taking shape.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Grayson's got a new ad campaign. I haven't seen the movie it spoofs, but lots of people have, and I've seen enough commercials to get it.
Discussion of the Day
Beatles class today was mostly a discussion revolving around this one idea: what if for whatever reason, they stopped making music after Help! ? If their career spanned Please, Please Me - With the Beatles - Hard Day's Night - Beatles For Sale - Help! (KT you can have I Feel Fine released too) and then no more, how would their music be remembered and evaluated?

Thoughts? Opinions?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Assurances [UPDATED]
Ezra Klein says the Finance Committee will certainly vote yes for the health reform bill tomorrow, even though, of the 14 Senators we even have a chance of getting (13 Democrats plus Snowe), 6 of them have reason to vote no instead.
From what I hear, there are no real swing votes. There are senators who, for tactical or political reasons, might vote against the bill. But the people I talk to don't believe there is a single Democrat on the committee who would actually imperil the legislation's chances. Anyone whose vote is needed will vote for the bill. But if the bill is going to pass comfortably, you might see Snowe withhold her vote to strengthen her negotiating position on the floor of the Senate, or Lincoln hold back because she's worried about her political standing in Arkansas, or Wyden hold back because he's genuinely unimpressed with the legislation and infuriated at how he's been treated.
I dunno. Sounds like we may have a game of chicken among Democrats as to who most needs the freedom to vote no. Hopefully, they won't take it so far there's a train wreck. Say what you will about the Baucus bill - yeah, it's not very good. But if a bill doesn't get out of Finance, there won't be a bill. I have the most sympathy for Wyden. His ideas to unhinge insurance from employment and open the exchange (with public option) to all Americans are probably a better way to go than where we are headed.

The truth is, though, the process is simply not moving in that direction. We need him to suck it up, both in committee and on the final bill. When you've done as much as he has to develop a different, probably better, plan that is now on the scrap heap, that has to sting, but it's got to be done.

[UPDATE: Oh delayed for a week.]

Friday, October 02, 2009

Lunkhead of the Week
Robert Halderman

Seems like a pretty pathetic guy - clearly with troubles. But he gets lunkhead honors for this twist, a lesson for us all: in your execution of the plan to extort millions from a celebrity, when said celebrity arranges for you to meet with his lawyer, that should be a warning sign. Dude, if David Letterman wanted to pay you off to keep you quiet, he would have met you in a discreet location somewhere himself and not involved anyone else. Going to a lawyer's office and admitting your illegal scheme to take money from his client is a lunkhead move, if there ever was one.