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Archive for May, 2010

Open Thread: Obama’s National Security Strategy

[ 60 ] May 28, 2010 |

The first of the two tag clouds you see to the left is Obama’s
2010 National Security Strategy according to Wordle.

The second of the two tag clouds you see to the left is Bush’s 2002 National Security Strategy according to Wordle.

What do you see to the left?


The Former AG As Fourth-Rate Wingnut Blogger

[ 5 ] May 28, 2010 |

Even by GOP standards, this Sestak thing is a ridiculous non-scandal.

I’m so old I remember when Mukasey was supposed to be the Sober Republican Grownup would would restore the rule of law. The ability of white Republican guys in suits who occasionally sound reasonable to sucker centrist pundits never ceases to amaze.

Animated Soviet Propaganda

[ 0 ] May 28, 2010 |

Erik has been doing a fascinating series on animated Soviet propaganda. Check it out.

Having your wealth and health and wife and kids restored by God is for closers

[ 13 ] May 28, 2010 |

Rarely has there ever been a greater need to emphasize, in this confusing cyberworld of ours, that this is not a joke.

Be sure not to miss the FAQ page.

Stephen’s wiki page is also full of inspiring tales of a man’s ability to overcome adversity.

Baldwin has a tattoo on his left shoulder of the initials “HM” for Hannah Montana. He got the tattoo after making a pact with Miley Cyrus that he would be allowed to cameo on the show if he had the initials tattooed on him. He revealed the tattoo to Cyrus at a book signing in Nashville, on November 10, 2008.[18] To date he has never appeared on the show. He has since gone on record as saying that he regrets getting the tattoo[19]

Michael Bay Disease

[ 18 ] May 27, 2010 |

While I’m not perverse enough to actually pay to watch the thing or anything, like Paul’s friend I’m happy to see the release of Sex and the City II — I am, after all, a connoisseur of the well-turned and well-earned hatchet job. One reason I can’t imagine watching it even for the camp value, however, is a problem that afflicts an increasing amount of Hollywood product:

Adding more weight to that side of things is the fact that the damn movie’s almost two-and-a-half hours long, which means a nearly four-hour hell multiplex experience is required for me to see the damn thing.

Although it’s not strictly relevant to me — I found the SATC unwatchable even at 30 minutes — if it’s your thing a tight running time in a genre picture can overcome a lot of aesthetic problems. But if a movie is going to go on for 150 minutes you need…content, multi-dimensional characters, writing, direction, something like that there.

Lima Time!

[ 2 ] May 27, 2010 |

It was easy to make fun of his hot-dog bravado in the face of historic incompetence, but ultimately you had to admire the irrepressible joy he took in the game. He made plenty of money but was still willing to go to Edmonton to pitch in the low minors, getting one more year in the game, without any bitterness. R.I.P.

The Worst Movie of All Time?

[ 119 ] May 27, 2010 |

My friend JJ is an aficionado of bad films, or rather bad films of a certain type. He’s not interested in uber-low-budget absurdities of the Plan 9 From Outer Space sort — for him, a bad film can only be amusing when

(1) It’s a major studio product with a production budget in at least the eight figures; and

(2) It’s supposed to appeal to actual adults.

The second stipulation is obviously fuzzier than the first, but it would seem to clearly rule out Adam Sandler fart comedies and other material aimed at 12-year-olds, while leaving room for things like Sex and the City 2.


Consider the film’s painful climax, in which Samantha, now wearing shorts and a low-cut top, spills dozens of condoms from her purse in the middle of a crowded market. Right before the condom explosion, the Islamic call to prayer, the Adhan, is conveniently heard for no discernible reason. The angry, hairy men, overwhelmed by anger and shock, decide to abandon their daily activities and busy life to encircle Samantha and condemn her as a harlot and slut, but not before Samantha proudly holds the condoms up high and dry humps the air telling the men she uses them to have sex. Because they cannot tolerate a sassy, back-talking, condom-using female baring her legs, they decide en masse to spontaneously chase all four women. Appearing like an oasis in the desert, two mysterious women in a burqa silently nod to the four girls, who subsequently follow the women into a secret room revealing the existence of a secret book club attended by a dozen niqabi women, who disrobe to reveal their hidden designer clothes, fashionable shoes and makeup.

For more than a decade now, Twister has been at the top of JJ’s list. But he’s going to be in the theater this weekend with his wife (both are actually fans of the Sex and the City HBO series, as am I), and his expectations are high.

“I”m really getting excited about this movie,” he tells me. “This could be the one.”

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[ 20 ] May 27, 2010 |

I’ll confess, this is actually pretty amusing. Pathetic, yes, but amusing. Also, it appears that Kaus has found his constituency:

Mickey Kaus has taken out papers to run against California Senator Barbara Boxer. What is so interesting about Kaus is that he takes positions that traditional Democrats might have favored. He is against Amnesty and a strong opponent of illegal immigration. Kaus is also admittedly pretty skeptical of Unions, especially the Teachers Union. He is also uncomfortable with Congressional Gerrymandering.

Kaus became known as a powerful voice in the blogging world with his investigative reporting prior to the election of Arnold Swarzeneggar, where he uncovered Arnold’s claim in a magazine that he had participated in group sex. Later, he also discovered that the current Governor, then brick layer, was damaging chimneys to help his own business. Perhaps we should have listened at the time, and saved ourselves from “The RINOnator”.

Via Greenwald and Digby.

UPDATE [by SL]: That second link is a real find. I mean, “I censored the key word here–the Left never does” — are we sure this isn’t another parody? I especially like the claim that The Left finds Dane Cook funny. Uh…

UPDATE [by Rob]: I demand that the Left step forward and answer this charge of finding Dane Cook funny!

Unconvincing Endorsements of Kagan

[ 6 ] May 27, 2010 |

I guess she will be a judge in the same tradition as Louis Brandeis, in the same sense that Vincente Padilla is a “Dodgers Opening Day starter” in the tradition of  Sandy Koufax.

To elaborate a bit, while they were different men in a number of ways, one thing that united the three previous holders of the seat Kagan will occupy was tough-mindedness and idiosyncracy.   Many of their most notable opinions were dissents and concurrences: for example, Brandeis in the free speech cases and Olmstead, Douglas in Poe v. Ullman, Adderly, and Doe v. Bolton, and Stevens in Bush v. Gore and Citizens United.    In this respect, they couldn’t be much more different than Kagan, whose renown is based on being a world-class ass-kisser consensus-builder.

Of course, if you think that Supreme Court justices can be managed in the way that a dean can manage their faculty, this can be seen as a feature; I find the idea pretty silly.   Even if you lend more credence to this than I do, however, there’s a problem: the failure to remember that networking is a two-way process.   Why would we assume that Kagan will be influencing Kennedy and Roberts, rather than vice versa?    One thing you can definitely say about Brandeis, Douglas, and Stevens is that they’re weren’t susceptible to manipulation by conservatives seeking votes…

Of Course They Are!

[ 17 ] May 27, 2010 |

I can’t say this is surprising; filibustering the repeal of DADT would be entirely consistent with the history of this indefensible device.

Meanwhile, speaking of media incompetence about McCain, I offer the following juxtaposition. John McCain, in real life:

Armed Services ranking member John McCain said Thursday that he would “without a doubt” support a filibuster if the bill goes to the floor with repeal language.

“I’ll do everything in my power,” the Arizona Republican said, citing letters from the four service chiefs urging Congress not to act before a Pentagon review of the policy is complete. “I’m going to do everything I can to [ensure that bigotry continues to infect hiring decisions in America’s armed forces.]”

John McCain, in the dreamlife of a certain kind of center-left pundit:

A similar pattern describes his views on gay rights. I remember McCain telling me during an interview in the mid-1990s about how a gay member of his staff sensitized him to the issue. When he ran for president in 2000, he won the endorsement of the Log Cabin Republicans. The Advocate calls him “notoriously pro-gay.” In 2004, McCain was one of only six Republican senators to vote against the Federal Marriage Amendment, and after a Massachusetts court affirmed gay unions, he took the position that states could decide their own marriage laws without federal help. McCain has lately fallen back into formation, saluting an obnoxious Arizona bill that would deny benefits to unmarried couples. Gay leaders in his state, who know better than to take such maneuvering seriously, have already let him off the hook. The rest of us should be sophisticated enough to recognize that politics is the art of the possible, and that what’s in McCain’s heart on this subject (as President Bush might say) is not a viable stance for any presidential candidate just yet, especially a Republican one.

But don’t kid yourself, one of these days politics will end, and What’s In McCain’s Heart will finally emerge!

But No One Doubts that the Execution of Dennis Miller was Just…

[ 2 ] May 27, 2010 |

Absolute monarchy is an institution that humanity never should have given up:

After serving 12 years in the position, Motley, the official White House Jester, was beheaded Tuesday after delivering a poorly received jape about the spiraling national debt before President and Mrs. Obama…

Witnesses said Obama’s mood immediately darkened and, pounding on the arm of the Presidential Throne, he demanded new jesting. After nervously clearing his throat, Motley was heard to ask, “Wherefore is the National Debt like a sprouting leaf of spinach?” When a glowering Obama demanded the answer, Motley stated, “For it shall rapidly grow into something our children cannot bear.”

At this, Obama reportedly dropped the large turkey leg in his hand and signaled to nearby Secret Service agents, who seized Motley and dragged him, pleading, to the Executive Dungeon. The President exited the Hall in a fury, and within minutes had drafted an order of execution by beheading.

“The First Executioner completed his task in one true swing,” said White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who presided over the assembled crowd of some 20,000 onlookers. “His head has been spitted on a pike and displayed facing E Street as a warning to they who would mock our most precipitously extended federal debt.”

In his career, Motley entertained three presidents, capered at five White House Correspondents’ Dinners, and hosted a season of Comedy Central’s Premium Blend. He is the first sitting White House Jester to be executed since the 1998 drawing and quartering of his predecessor, Dennis Miller, on the National Mall.

Measles is the Jew of public health fascism

[ 18 ] May 27, 2010 |

Via David Gorski, it appears that The Refusers are not, in fact, a parody of the eclectic anti-vaccination rock and/or roll you grew up with:

Inspired by his previous career as a LA session player and recording artist, Michael [Belkin] has brought infectious elements of funk, gospel, rock, and even a touch of punk to this project. Combining this with his pointed lyrics discussing vaccine issues and government-mandated intrusion into our personal lives, The Refusers embodies, in the great American tradition of protest music, a sound that will be heard around the world. With lyrics like “they can keep their flu vaccine” and “a vaccine needle stole my baby away,” this record will have you on your feet shouting “keep your mandates out of my body”!

It will also try to persuade you that World Health Organization is pushing the influenza vaccine as part of some sort of coordinated response to the 1999 WTO protests. I wish I were kidding about that. Elsewhere, Belkin devotes an entire song to comparing the Centers for Disease Control (a federal agency that spends almost 90 percent of its budget on grants) to the Nazi secret police (a federal agency that administered the concentration camps). Belkin and the Refusers appeared at today’s Autism quackstock in Grant Park; they were joined at the rally by Andrew Wakefield, whose odious (and retracted) “research” into MMR and autism will certainly rank him among the greatest frauds in the history of medicine. I’m not sure whether to feel more pity for Wakefield or Belkin, though I suppose they deserve each other.

…and apparently it gets worse! The Refusers are evidently led by the “impeccable beat of drummer Brendan Hill,” one of the founding members of Blues Traveler — a band for whom an effective vaccine has not yet emerged from Phase I trials.

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