Archive

  • 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...
  • ROBERT ALTMAN.

    ROBERT ALTMAN. I was lucky enough to see a beautiful 35mm restoration of La Regle Du Jeu last week. The most obvious modern inheritor of the "open" filmmaking style invented by Renoir , Robert Altman , has died. Altman was a risk-taker, and as is well-known this made him uneven. ( Pauline Kael , one of his biggest critical supporters, said about the disastrous Quintet that "Altman has reached the point of wearing his failures like medals. He's creating a mystique of heroism out of emptied theaters.") But the upside is that he made a number of pictures that will be seen as long as people watch American movies. For me, the canon starts with the hauntingly lovely McCabe & Mrs. Miller , Nashville --his most successful Renoir-style social panorama--and the superb late-career Raymond Carver adaptation Short Cuts . And since any fan needs one, my favorite of his less-lauded pictures is California Split , his loose, amiable picture about happily degenerate gamblers. He was a giant of...
  • ROBERT ALTMAN, R.I.P.

    ROBERT ALTMAN, R.I.P. Truly a giant. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • SUPERPOWER SELF-ESTEEM. ...

    SUPERPOWER SELF-ESTEEM. As Kevin Drum points out , the Iraqi people overwhelmingly want us to leave. They do not believe our presence stabilizes or protects and, as a result, they support attacks on our troops. All the better to get us the hell out. The question, of course, is why we don't. What's the compelling national interest in occupying a country that deplores our presence? That murders our soldiers? That depletes our treasury? That shows no sign, hint, or hope of molding itself to our desires? There is none. Instead, we remain in Iraq because the current Administration is afraid to put a loss on the board. We remain in Iraq to avoid a blow to our national self-esteem. So long as we've boots, guns, and grunts in their country, there's always the chance that a stretch of good weather and the tranquil vibes unleashed by the global orgasm for peace will calm the region down, and we'll be able to dart out in a moment of relative optimism and goodwill, reputation intact. To leave now...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: ARAB WINTER.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: ARAB WINTER. Remember the "Arab Spring"? Matt takes us on a trip down memory lane. --The Editors
  • EMINENT DOMAIN.

    EMINENT DOMAIN. The New York Times has an explosive story on its front page this morning: JERUSALEM, Nov. 20 � An Israeli advocacy group, using maps and figures leaked from inside the government, says that 39 percent of the land held by Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank is privately owned by Palestinians. Israel has long asserted that it fully respects Palestinian private property in the West Bank and only takes land there legally or, for security reasons, temporarily. If big sections of those settlements are indeed privately held Palestinian land, that is bound to create embarrassment for Israel and further complicate the already distant prospect of a negotiated peace. The data indicate that 40 percent of the land that Israel plans to keep in any future deal with the Palestinians is private. The new claims regarding Palestinian property are said to come from the 2004 database of the Civil Administration, which controls the civilian aspects of Israel�s presence in the West...
  • TAX EVASION.

    TAX EVASION. To add a bit to what Ezra argued , the dreadful effects of Republican fiscal irresponsibility extend beyond the question of universal health care. Assisted by the calculated indifference of the administration, the services are hiding an increasing percentage of their day-to-day costs in defense supplementals, allowing them to escape difficult political scrutiny. As J. at Armchair Generalist points out, the combination of corruption, sketchy, politically driven defense accounting practices, and an aversion to taxation of any sort makes it bloody difficult to conduct a war: The crime here is not just that the Republicans have fostered a disregard for responsible fiscal practices and have encouraged the runaway costs of this military operation. It's that they're actually going to enjoy using this situation for political gain - watching the Democrats try to be responsible by raising money through taxes to pay for the military's needs and then blaming the Dems for being...

Pages