BACK TO SCHOOL. From the "cure worse than the disease" panel, the longstanding controversy over whether or not Pluto (not the dog) should be downgraded from planet to planetoid looks set to be resolved by redefining the word "planet" so as to make Pluto fit the bill. The only problem -- the asteroid Ceres, the far earth orbit object 2003 UB313, and Pluto's moon Charon would all count as planets, too under the new rules.
OF MOHAWKS AND MULLETS.Ed Kilgore makes an overlooked and amusing tonsorial point over atTPMCafe, something thus far missed in the whole George Allen macaca fracas:
The funniest aspect of this incident is the argument by some of Allen's flacks that their man was trying to say "mohawk," which is what the campaign called Sidarth because of his hair style. Sidarth replied that his hairstyle was actually a mullet.
OUCH, BOSSMAN, OUCH! Like Mike Tomasky, I'm no fan of knee-jerk political correctness. And while I'm in agreement with most of Tomasky's treatise on the racist name of D.C.'s beloved NFL team, the last sentence of his lead paragraph gave me a start: "And I can�t quite get behind the idea that people who choose to change their sex should be grouped, rights-securing wise, with people who were born gay." As TAPPED's resident queer girl, I feel compelled to respond.
SOME MARQUETTE HISTORY. Yesterday, the boss, Mountaineer Mike Tomasky, the long-lost Pittsnogle child, had some sport with my alma mater on the subject of Native American nicknames. It is true that Marquette University rather has tied itself in knots over the old "Warrior" name. Some explanation is necessary.
TIME TO LET GAYS SERVE OPENLY? Civil rights advances are often made during times of war -- when an oppressed group proves itself capable of fulfilling every obligation of citizenship. Women�s suffrage being buoyed by the increased presence of women in the workplace during World War I comes to mind, as does the 1948 desegregation of the military. So I wonder if gay rights advocates can make something out of this news, reported in The New York Times on Tuesday:
The Defense Department discharged 726 service members last year for being gay, up about 10 percent from 2004, figures released by a gay rights group show.
FROM THE PRINT ISSUE: JUST A GIGOLO. Everyone's talking about George Allen today. No doubt the man has some ethnic sensitivity issues. And as our own Garance Franke-Rutadetails in the Prospect's September issue, the Virginia senator has got some business issues too: In the 1990s, he served on the board of a Virginia tech firm called Xybernaut Corp. Xybernaut manufactured and marketed a product as sci-fi-like -- and dubious -- as the company�s name: a wearable hands-free computer headset, with a little screen that flips down in front of one eye.
LET'S GO TO THE VIDEOTAPE.This cannot be a good thing. The single most important televised moment in human history and they can't find the tape? The people who made Tom Hanks out of duct tape and got him home from out by the Moon somewhere, and nobody there can file something properly? Hell, TV Land can find every damn episode of Three's Company that ever aired, and NASA can't lay its hands on Neil Armstrong's big entrance? And I don't even want to think about what's going on right now in the various paranoid precincts of the Internets.
THE MESSAGE IS THE MESSAGE. I watched the DSCC adAdelementioned below, and what I'll say is that the great thing about the spot is that it doesn't really make any kind of argument or logical sense. Rather, it simply has a clear emotive message -- if you find yourself increasingly frightened by the world situation, blame the guys who've been running the country.
SO THAT'S THEIR SECRET.Matt likes to argue that large swaths of today's right are "motivated more by a distrust of leftwingers" than by anything else. I happen to think he's right, and so I took particular pleasure in seeing Bill Kristol prove this thesis in his latest editorial. There, he notes that "Lamont is pro-carrot," which is to say Lamont believes you can achieve more abroad through incentives than punishments.