Archive

  • THE GENIUS.

    THE GENIUS. Sometimes, what with General Nuisance back in the saddle again, and Richard Cohen 's apparently mistaking the 101st Airborne for a heating pad. (Note: I'm thinking that the word "therapeutic" is just going to lay there like rotting roadkill on the ol' career path for quite some time), I despair of the world. And then something like this happens , and all is right with the world again. As nice as it was to see Alma Mater take Trust Fund U out for a walk last night, I was somewhat alarmed by the report from ESPN's Doris Burke that, in his effort to broaden his horizons, Marquette coach Tom Crean visited with "the genius, Karl Rove ." I think the Jesuit fathers ought to be awfully concerned that their highest profile employee is consorting with godless pirate scum and I think Burke's standards for "genius" are at least two weeks out of date. --Charles P. Pierce
  • CONCESSIONS.

    CONCESSIONS. Two Democratic House challengers that had been holding out with razor-thin electoral deficits finally conceded defeat after further ballot counting yesterday. Patricia Madrid lost to incumbent Heather Wilson in New Mexico, Victoria Wulsin to Mean Jean Schmidt in Ohio. The open-seat race in Katherine Harris 's district (FL-13), meanwhile, has the Republican up by 369 but is headed to the courts. As subscription-only CQ reports: That candidate is Republican Vern Buchanan: The Florida secretary of state�s office yesterday certified the wealthy car dealer as the victor, by a margin of 369 votes, over Democrat Christine Jennings, a former bank president. Jennings immediately filed a lawsuit in Leon County, which is well north of the 13th District but includes the state capital of Tallahassee. The crux of Jennings� complaint � which demands that a new election be called � is that there were more than 18,000 �undervotes� in Sarasota County, the district�s largest jurisdiction...
  • Post Editorializes Against Social Security on the News Pages

    Serious newspapers try to separate their editorial pages and their news reporting, but not the Washington Post. As regular Post readers know, the editors desperately want to cut and/or privatize Social Security. The program's overwhleming popularity, coupled with the fact that the Congresssional Budget Office's projections show Social Security to be fully solvent for the next 40 years, with no changes whatsoever, makes the Post's position difficult to sell. So, the Post never misses an opporttunity to try to impugn the financial health of the porgram. A short article on the front page of the business section refers to both "the rising costs of Social Security and government health-care programs" and "the escalating costs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid" which are projected to double in the next fifty years. Of course, the problem here it is with Medicare and Medicaid, whose costs are driven by projections of rapidly rising private sector health care costs. But, the Post isn'...
  • Mr. Globalization Leaves the Planet

    I know that I shouldn't waste time beating up on Thomas Friedman, but hey, it's fun. Today he is back in classic Thomas Friedman form, drafting the memo (Times select) that Nancy Pelosi should send to China's President Hu Jintao. Speaker Pelosi's memo begins with some incoherent commitments on energy efficiency: "First, China has committed to a 20 percent reduction in energy consumption for every 1 percent of G.D.P. growth by 2010." This one requires a very big "huh?" But the really good part is the economic bargain. Ms. Pelosi goes on to propose that Mr. Hu invest his trillion dollars of foreign exchange reserves in U.S. factories devoted to green power technologies. She then tells Mr. Hu that the United States has some great engineers who can design cleaner motorcycle engines for China. Now, let's all draft Mr. Hu's memo responding to Ms. Pelosi's note. Dear Speaker Pelosi: First, my congratulations on your victory in the November elections. While I share your desire to increase...
  • NOT THAT THERE'S...

    NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT. You go, Garance . That "maidenly vapors" line surely got my back up. Brother Pierce apparently fails to see a connection between expressions of hatred toward women and violence against women. Perhaps an intervention is in order. I do, however, second the sentiments of Brother Pierce on the Seinfeld phenomenon and the fallout from the Michael Richards racist rant. Call me a delicate flower, but I never got into Seinfeld because it was just too mean. (Pierce put his finger on the undercurrent of prejudices flowing through the show, though he neglected to mention the fear of queers that also ran through it.) I just watched the bit posted on TMZ from Richards' satellite appearance last night on Letterman, which, speaking of undercurrents, proves one more time the old adage about de Nile not just being a river in Egypt. Here's Richards: I push the envelope I do a lot of free association on stage� I don't know. In view of the situation and the act...
  • WHAT HE SAID....

    WHAT HE SAID. Josh Marshall is quite right to worry about the Democrats' out-of-the-gate agenda. While the military questions Barney Frank and Charles Rangel want to raise (about gays in the military and whether there ought to be a draft, respectively) are important ones, it is difficult to imagine any two issues more guaranteed to shift the national focus away from Republican mismanagement of the reconstruction of Iraq and how to get America out of a civil war zone and onto what will be framed as Democratic culture war fights. If that is allowed to happen, I am quite certain those moderates and independents who just gave Democrats control of the Congress will start asking themselves what it is that they have done, for neither of these two issues were (I'm pretty certain) what led them to vote Democratic just a few weeks ago. Further, a decisive national consensus on getting rid of "don't ask, don't tell" may be easier to achieve once the war is clearly on its way to being over. It is...
  • A NOTABLE ELECTION.

    A NOTABLE ELECTION. Alec alerts us to this very interesting election trivia from subscription-only The Hotline. Some highlights include: This is presumably the first cycle since the modern party system began that no party (in this case the Dems) lost not a single House, SEN, or GOV seat. No House Democrat lost re-election for the first time since '22� NH is sending its first woman to Congress. Still never having done so are: DE, IA, MS, VT. First all-Dem NH U.S. House delegation elected since '12. First Dem control of state House since '22. First total Dem control of NH state gov't since 1870's. Dem gain of over 80 state House seats is presumably a record as well� First ever elected Senate class with only 1 GOP freshman. Lincoln Chafee is the first RI senator defeated since '36. PA elected its first Dem in a regular Senate election since '62� Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), the only senator elected to 9 full terms, lost his first county since '88. Already the longest-serving senator in...
  • UM, EW. I...

    UM, EW. I have to say, reading Charlie Pierce 's commentary below on a progressive web site is the kind of thing that really makes me wonder about the left today. So Michael Richards 's reprehensible and hate-filled rant was the expression of a condemnable authentic Seinfeld ian Id, which was hateful in any event because if was a milquetoast alternative to Sam Kinison ? I'm sorry, but Sam Kinison -- whom a recent reviewer called the embodiment of a "regressive politics which mainstream America finally got the sense to denounce" -- is the favorable point of comparison here? Seriously? Why is it that misogyny is the only hatred still defended by men of the left? Seinfeld soothed the "maidenly vapors" people had around Kinison? My recollection was that Kinison was a disgusting, hateful, hate-filled boor and those "maidenly vapors" he raised were genuine feminist objections to him, by women who were, for example, trying to create a situation so that girls like myself were not, in the...
  • WINNING BY LOSING.

    WINNING BY LOSING. Ezra 's fine article in the print edition reminds us that the Republican approach to policy was not just to pass what they thought were good ideas, but to use policy to disembowel their enemies. He does a fine job of identifying some strategies that are not only good policy, but would help break down the right-wing power structure. As is so often the case when one looks at the recent Republican racket, he could have gone one level deeper in cynicism. Ezra writes that the GOP priorities of "tort reform, unflinching support for Israel, and deunionization [are] policies that would either flip or impoverish lawyers, unions, and Jews, thus eliminating the three primary funding sources for the Democrats." Taken that way, the strategy would seem like a failure. Jews, unions, or trial lawyers are neither impoverished nor flipped. (Unions are impoverished relative to the past, but still, their financial clout in politics is larger than their membership, and probably is used...
  • MORE ALTMAN.

    MORE ALTMAN. Since I'm having such a good day with pop culture, I figure I'll keep at it. For those of us who went to a lot of movies in the 1970's, the arrival of a new Robert Altman was Christmas morning. Now that he's passed away, there are going to be a lot of justifiable tributes to Nashville and to M*A*S*H , a movie as thoroughly trivialized by its TV version as any movie ever was. But my heart still stays with McCabe and Mrs. Miller , a purely revisionist Western, and everything everyone thought Clint Eastwood had done with Unforgiven , but a lot funnier and a damn sight more quirky. The shootout in the snow with the building aflame is one of my favorite set-pieces ever, and then there's Julie Christie , smoking opium as she passed out of her Carnaby Street phase, and moved into that glorious torrent-of-curls period. Hell, I even liked some of the later, smaller stuff, like Cookie's Fortune , which starred a marvelously batshit Glenn Close . I think I'm going to have me some...

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