• Now That's Citizen-Journalism

    Atlas Shrugged's Pamela, heart skipping like a schoolgirl's, opened her John Bolton interview with possibly the greatest first sentence ever: What I most admire about John Bolton is his steely demeanor and moral clarity. Discussion question: What qualities do you most admire about John Bolton? And believe me, you really need to read the whole thing . A sampling: Atlas: As a tangential aside, does that stuff get to you? JB: The criticism, you mean? Atlas: Yeah, the intense unfair vilification ......... You don't want to know what they call me on the left side of the sphere I am your whatever because I am such a staunch supporter. After awhile, does it sting less? Were you born with a thick skin? The derision is incredible[...] Atlas: Did you grow up in a Jewish neighborhood? JB: No Atlas: Did you know many Jews growing up? JB: Nope Atlas: It it seems to me you like Jews. JB: Hysterical laughter Atlas: Seriously folks I'm just asking you because I find it's refreshing, and it's unique,...
  • Health of Nations Redux

    Kevin Drum writes : The reason that universal healthcare has failed in the past has been fear: fear of rationing, fear of lines, fear of bureaucracy. To win, we have to overcome that fear, and that's a public opinion campaign that will take years. The blogosphere can help by writing about what national healthcare systems in other countries are really like, and we can also help by insisting that candidates who want our support get on board the bandwagon. How about it? Man, if only someone had done exactly that , and in a Koufax-nominated series as well...
  • The MA Plan

    I've been getting some e-mails asking my opinion on MA's health reform bill. The short answer (that leads to a long answer) is check Tapped , where I've got a full write-up on the legislation. The medium answer is that it's a bad bill that does two bad, though contradictory, things: reinforces the link between health care and employment, and charges employers too little for their employees. In MA, if a business of 10+ people doesn't provide health benefits, they'll have to pay a surcharge of $295 per year, per worker. I think the last time you could get an insurance plan for $295 annually, its main function was to cover leeches. So the incentives are rather obviously perverse: like before, it's much cheaper not to offer health insurance to your employees. But, unlike before, it's not quite as socially irresponsible, because you're contributing a per-employee pittance to the state pool, thus obviating your responsibility. So yeah, I'm unimpressed. Some argue that they'll raise the...
  • Quote of the Day

    Tommy , taking on one of my pet-peeves, the insultingly illogical placement of punctuation within quotation marks: File it under "ways computers have destroyed my brain", I guess (along with the rest of this blog). But when I'm writing I look at clauses as logical units, and punctuation as the modifiers, operators and delimiters that one applies to those units. In the first sentence of this paragraph I intended for ways computers have destroyed my brain to remain an atomic, whole unit that operates as a plural noun. A trailing comma isn't part of that unit — so why should it go inside the quotation marks, which function as the unit's delimiters?
  • Clooney's Speech

    I dunno, I didn't think it was that bad. It wasn't safe, or electorally helpful to the Democratic Party, but unlike Michael Moore's "fictitious president" blast from a few years back, it made perfect sense, and was right on the merits. Clooney's speech recalled Hollywood moments that really did fit the best traditions of liberalism, and it's not really clear to me why he shouldn't have given it. Hollywood is constantly under attack for its liberalism and elitism, it's hard for me to begrudge them a response.
  • Forget Driving

    Now that's some poor cell phone etiquette .
  • Oscars

    I wuz robbed, my many multifaceted, magnificent performances from the past year totally ignored by the Academy. That anyone could forget "Ezra Gets a Sandwich" or "Ezra Boards a Bus" is too mind-boggling to seriously contemplate, so I'll instead chalk the rejection up to envy. Sometimes I'm simply too luminescent for my own good. But talent such as mine can brook no hard feelings -- to do so would be churlish. So I watched the Oscars; enjoyed them, too. But a few thoughts: • What the hell happened to Rachel McAdams? Doesn't she know the Go Fug Yourself girls were watching? • I just pray Rachel Weisz's acceptance speech was scripted. Scripted by the best in the business. I don't think I've ever heard a more soaring, elegant collection of adjectives emerge in such close succession to each other. As I remember, it started with the word "luminous" and ended on "unflinching," with a score of GRE-word detours in between. I have such a crush on her. • Jon Stewart did well whenever he was...
  • Koufax Voting Thread

    By Neil the Ethical Werewolf Koufax voting is open! I'm sort of surprised that we still do our voting through a comment-based interface, but if the Wampum people are happy with running it that way, I guess that's cool. Endorsements? Well, I've got Josh Marshall for Best Professional Blog -- his heroics back during the Social Security Privatization debate must not be forgotten. As I suggested earlier, Best Post goes to John Rogers for Learn to Say Ain't , and Fafblog for funniest blog. I should also mention that Ezra's up for Best Series, due to his health care work, and for Best Writing. I hear that there's some other awards going on tonight, but I don't know much about them.
  • Wrecking All Things Virtuous and True

    By Neil the Ethical Werewolf Instapundit : The press had better hope we win this war, because if we don't, a lot of people will blame the media. And he's right. It's the media that got us into this war, swallowing down every WMD story that was handed on a presidential spoon. Judith Miller of the New York Times was full of made-up horror stories about nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, and smallpox. In their haste to carry the White House's message of fear, the media ignored the views of the people who actually knew what was going on -- weapons inspectors like Hans Blix and Scott Ritter. Actually, it's worse than that -- they actively ridiculed these people until nobody in America would listen to them. The media spent the year after September 11, and more, being the Bush Administration's lapdog. It gave Bush his war. And for that, it deserves a whole lot more criticism than it gets.
  • Put on Your Party Pants, It's Oscar Time!

    By Pepper of the Daily Pepper What's with the folks who run the Oscars saying that this year's Oscars "won't be political" ? In a year that saw guys making out and a cinematic savaging of Joseph McCarthy, now the Oscar bosses are saying they won't be political. Are they afraid of the live-blogging at Pajamas Media or something? Yeah, the Pajama kiddies are ready to pounce, and they're not just after the Brokeback boys. Southern rappers Three 6 Mafia, who will be performing "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from Hustle & Flow , are also a conservative target. The NY Post and Fox have the vapors because the rappers will use the word "bitches" for the first time in an Oscar telecast - as if Hollywood were a town that was dedicated to women's rights. American Digest lists several Three 6 Mafia tracks that the rappers might perform at the afterparties. Roger L. Simon, who is grumping that Oscar parties are keeping him up at night, will probably lose his mind should he see a member of the...