• Gas Prices Burn

    The LA Times has an interesting article on the hit fuel prices are handing small businesses. Makes sense, particularly if your work has a roving component (gardener, pizza delivery, etc). Nevertheless, this strikes me as quite a non-story. Gas prices are higher, but not that much higher. We're dealing with an increase of around 30 cents a gallon (at least here in the Southland), seems to me that small business has larger fish to fry, it's just the LA Times that didn't.

  • "Keep the Government Away From My Medicare!"

    Kevin does some digging and finds that the poor and the elderly -- the two groups that rely primarily on government-run program for their health care -- are way more satisfied than the rest of us. He finds this confusing, puzzling even. I think it's somewhat explained by an anecdote from The Choice. The authors are walking through an airport with John Breaux when an old woman runs up to him and says:

    Senator, don't you dare let the government get its hands on my Medicare!

    Without missing a beat, Breaux replies:

    Don't worry madam, I won't.

  • Clark 08

    Looks like Clark is readying himself for 2008. Good. Longtime readers know I was a big Clark-booster in 04 and I think all the same arguments will apply this time around, so I'm glad to see him taking it seriously. Looking back, there's little doubt in my mind that, had Clark entered the primaries when Dean did, he would've won them. I'm also convinced that Kerry/Clark rather than Kerry/Edwards would have taken home the presidential bacon. Kerry thought his resume enough to prove his national security cred; he was wrong. I remain certain that the reason John lost was because it was easier to imagine Bush traipsing through Vietnam than it was to see Kerry do the same -- appearances, unfortunately, matter.

  • Pop Culture Smartens Up

    Brooks' column today is, well, very good. Break out the party hats and noisemakers, it's a perfectly sound meditation on the paradoxical relationship between an increasingly sexual culture and a decreasingly sexual youth that doesn't pivot into insane ravings in the last paragraph. Huzzah! This culture stuff, by the way, is exactly the sort of column Brooks should stick to. He's quite entertaining and often profound when evaluating the contours of American life, it's when he tries to enter the political trenches that his pen loses its individuality and his fairness becomes a cynical ploy.

  • Downer Sunday

  • Thank You NetFlix

    So I spent a good chunk of my Saturday blowing through Season 1 of Coupling (the BBC version). That's a really, really, really funny show -- props to those who kept recommending it. But guffawing aside, three questions:

    • Did anyone else find the fifth episode, the one where Jeff hits on the absurdly attractive Israeli who can't speak a word of English, completely impossible to get into? It's a general problem for me. I'm willing to suspend my disbelief fairly often, but I somehow can't clear the mental hurdle erected when situational comedies beg me to believe that stunningly attractive girl X is madly attracted to schlumpy, borderline-retarded character Y. I try, but just can't.

  • Scarier

    Speaking of alarmism, this Marburg virus sure is scary. Big ups to Angola for doing nothing. Big ups to the tribal chiefs for inciting violence against epidemiologists who are risking their lives to help. Big ups to the radio speeches accusing hospital heads of creating the virus through witchcraft so they can get a promotion. Big ups to tribal superstition and customs which won't allow the sick to be quarantined nor the dead to be isolated. It's much more than tragic to watch such a ravaged country bring so much more pain on itself -- it's just unbelievably sad.

  • Alarmism of the Future!

  • "What's Google?"

    Regarding Daniel's point on child poverty and the promise the internet has for linking kids to a world that'd otherwise remain inaccessible, I want to tell a quick story. Grant, one of my closest friends, works with Amnesty International going into urban areas of Chicago and teaching the students about human rights. A recent lesson plan of his focused on Abu Ghraib and American attitudes towards torture. Towards the end of the lesson he noted that further pictures, documents and information could be found on Google. One student raised his hand and, not joking, said:

    "What's a google?"

  • House of Scandal

    Ever wanted to learn about your friendly neighborhood majority leader and all the congressional Republicans who're friendly with him? Sure you did.