Archive

  • Sin City

    Like so many other bloggers ( August , Julie , Matt , Josh ) I put on non-pajama pants and emerged into the sunlight yesterday so I could see Sin City. Verdict? See it for the style. Aesthetically, the movie is like nothing I've ever watched before. And I'm shocked by how well it worked. Experiments that radical rarely run so smoothly on the first try, but Sin City's visual inventions made the film. The acting, too, was quite good, particularly from Clive Owen, who turned in a hell of a performance. So far as the dialogue goes, I disagree with August, the super-cliched 40's film noir was jarring at the outset, but settled into the movie perfectly. Unlike him, I found it so stilted as to be totally natural -- it was just part of this world, and in that context, I couldn't imagine the characters speaking differently. That said, Sin City is enormously violent. More violent, probably, than any movie you've ever seen before. There's more torture, both physical and psychological, than you'...
  • Goes to the Top

    Over at TAPPED, guest-poster Dave Meyer takes on Russ Feingold's rationale for dithering over Bolton and concludes : Without being too dismissive, Feingold's principled position comes off as a bit quaint. He wants the president to be able to pick his own team both so that he can trust his advisers and so that the people can hold the executive accountable. Fortunately, the first argument hardly applies to Undersecretary Bolton. He's up for UN ambassador, not a cabinet position; his duty is to represent the American people to the world rather than to advise the president. The second argument has been superceded by the reality of the administration's attitude. For five years, the administration has refused to hold anyone in its inner circle accountable for anything but disloyalty . I'm not sure I can buy this. First, the UN ambassador doesn't really represent America to the rest of the world, s/he represents President Bush's foreign policy prerogatives to an international organization. I...
  • Great moments in cable news

    I'm not Catholic, and I don't have any particular allegiance to the pope; but call me old-fashioned, I tend to think we should have a sense of propriety about a dying public figure. Here's from last night's Larry King . I'm not making it up: KING: Joining us now on the phone is former First Lady Nancy Reagan, who I know met with this pope on several meetings. What are your thoughts about him Nancy? NANCY REAGAN, FORMER FIRST LADY: It was more than several. I met with him seven times, and twice alone. Which was a really wonderful, wonderful experience. But, you know, he and Ronnie had so many things in common, they both were actors. KING: Yes. REAGAN: They both loved the outdoors, loved sports. They both adored young people. They both had great senses of humor. They shared the title of a great communicator. When Ronnie was shot in '81, the pope was shot in '81. When Ronnie died in June of this year, the pope looks like he's going to die in this year. It's amazing how their lives...
  • Weekend Stuff

    Posting relief this weekend will be Michael and Heather from Here's What's Left . I'll be saying stuff too, but you're used to that already. Onward.
  • Let Go of the Lakoff

    In presenting his case for why Howard Dean's determination to make George Lakoff the Democratic Frank Luntz is the wrong strategy, Brad Plumer forgets to mention why it's completely insane. Geroge Lakoff -- I'm sorry to say -- is absolutely horrible at framing things. No, I mean it, the guy is atrociously fucking bad at it . He's a perfectly good guru because he understands what framing is and why it's important and I'm glad that Democrats are realizing we need to put some thought into our language, but Jesus Christ, has anybody actually read his book? He's the worst goddamn framer I've ever read. Democrats should be the nurturing parent? Are you kidding me? After the election, I read Lakoff's book for a review I was doing. I was stunned. The guy's recommendations seemed completely ignorant of everything else he said. Frames, for instance, bring to mind a host of contexts and other information. So the strict father frame the Republicans use immediately paints Democrats as mommy. And...
  • Bad Rudy, No Cookie

    Via Paul Waldman , look what Saint Rudy's been up to : on Feb. 9 in Columbia, S.C. Mr. Giuliani had initially been booked by the South Carolina Hospital Association through the Washington Speakers Bureau to speak for his usual $100,000 fee. But then a massive tsunami devastated South Asia and "we just didn't feel that a big old party was the right thing," said Patti Smoake, the hospital association's spokeswoman. Instead, the South Carolinians held a fund-raiser called "From South Carolina to South Asia." Mr. Giuliani agreed to speak at the new event. He even wrote a $20,000 check to the Red Cross, the event's beneficiary, according to figures cited by a South Carolina hospital official and obtained by The Observer. He batted away the inevitable political speculation that accompanied his visit to the crucial Republican primary state, telling a local reporter he was visiting "because I enjoy coming to South Carolina and because this is a worthy cause." Mr. Giuliani didn't mention it at...
  • To Jesse and Amanda

    Heh. Indeed.
  • Burn!

    Chait to Goldberg : Jonah then uses his misunderstanding of welfare to perform a victory dance in my ideological end zone. "It's not that liberals have maturely adapted to new data, it's that they've been proven wrong so often — either empirically or at the polls — that they've had to change," he writes. Ah. So it's just a matter of time before liberals accept that the income tax, child labor laws, environmental regulations, the minimum wage, federal food inspectors, and so on will cripple American business. And that's why Ronald Reagan's prediction that if Medicare was enacted, "you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was like in America when men were free" is conventional wisdom today. Stick a fork in him, he's done. Update: The more of this debate I read, the more puzzled I get. Here's Jonah: I would add that many liberals would have the same reaction, depending on the economic policy in question. Surely, at some point...
  • Killing Us Softly With His Song

    One of the really funny tricks on Social Security privatization is how sweetly it destroys Medicare. Medicare, of course, is on red-alert territory financially. Come 2006, premiums will have jumped 34% in two years, a hell of an increase. And the future doesn't look a whole lot better. I'm sorry, I should rephrase: the future is apocalyptic, Medicare is in terrible shape and, with premiums supposed to cover 25% of the program's costs, any jump in spending will drag your grandmother's monthly payments up with it. The only alternative is cutting what the government spends on Medicare services, which means cutting what doctors make and encouraging them to turn away the elderly. Okay, so what does this have to do with privatization? Well, for 2/3rds of the elderly, Social Security is their main source of income. For about 20%, it's their only source of income. So how, exactly, do you think most seniors are paying their Medicare premiums? Currently, there's a pretty direct transfer from...
  • Roxanne

    She's not just funny , but a whiz with the html, too. That's one work-intensive April Fools joke she's got...

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