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Wedding Liveblogging

[ 32 ] December 16, 2007 |

I am here live at the Hyatt Regency in D.C., in full view of the Capitol, and can confirm that Rob and Davida have, in fact, been successfully married. We have photographic evidence. Here is the official breaking of the wine glass:


And here’s the first dance:


This was followed by me — unprecedentedly — cutting the rug for the second time in a few months. Here’s me as the best man escorting the maid of honor:

Shockingly, of the dozens of pictures of me, that was the best one. The maid, however, was lovely.

Wish Rob and Davida luck!

News Flash: Bush Official Facilitates Torture

[ 29 ] December 15, 2007 |

How about that: new, Chuck Schumer-approved Attorney General Michael Mukasey stonewalls an inquiry into the destruction of CIA torture videos. I reiterate these remarks.

This seems like a good time to savor this bit of High Contrarianism from Ben Wittes:

I know what you’re thinking: If they confirm Mukasey without answers, the Democrats will once again be caving and letting the administration escape accountability. But the Democrats actually don’t have to cave here. They just have to wait a few weeks. While Mukasey cannot answer these questions before confirmation, that inability will not persist long once he takes the reins of the Justice Department. Senators can make clear that they will let him take office but will also expect him back before the Judiciary Committee within two months of his accession to address questions of coercive interrogation, that they will expect answers far more straightforward and candid than they got from his predecessor, and that they will demand these answers–to the maximum extent possible–in public session.

The Democrats have a big club to wield over Mukasey’s head to make sure they don’t get snookered: Without a strong working relationship with them, he won’t be able to get anything done. The lack of such a relationship gravely impaired both of his predecessors, albeit for different reasons. And, with only a year to serve in office, Mukasey’s clock will tick loudly from the start.

Yes, the Dems will actually if anything have more leverage over Mukasey once he’s confirmed! Because, er, he won’t be able to “do anything” –like, oh, just for a random example, obstructing a Congressional inquiry into the obstruction of justice surounding state-sanctioned torture — without them. And the Attorney General requires Congressional approval to fulfill most of the office’s functions because…look, it’s Halley’s Comet!

Juno

[ 0 ] December 14, 2007 |

I see in this excellent Meghan O’Rourke article [via MY] that Katherine Heigl had (correctly) called Knocked Up “a little sexist.” The film makes an interesting contrast with Juno. The more recent film may seem like a classic Overrated Quirky Indie on paper but in practice it’s very, very good. It’s not as funny as Knocked Up — a tough standard– but it’s very funny, and while in the beginning the witty-in-a-very-stylized-manner dialogue is indeed almost as forced as Gilmore Girls it loosens up a little. But another nice twist of the movie — and here’s the contrast with Knocked Up — is that the relationship between the adoptive parents looks like it will be a classic case of a humorless shrewish wife taking all the pleasure out of her husband’s life, but turns out to be a lot more complex and interesting. (In fairness, as O’Rourke points out there’s a little of this in Knocked Up too, but I agree with here that it seems pro forma.) And this is true of the rest of Juno — every time it gets too close to cliche it veers sharply leftward. Even the part of the script that seems the most didactic on paper — Alison Janney’s response to the assistant’s condescension towards her stepdaughter — is something the character would say; she can’t resist condescension either, but is also someone who will fiercely stand up for her loved ones. I suspect that we’re in for a major anti-Juno backlash, but it’s the work of people with real talent. I think Cody will deserve her screenwriting nomination in the end.

NJ To End Pointless Expensive Boondoggle

[ 12 ] December 14, 2007 |

The New Jersey legislature has voted to abolish the death penalty, and Corzine says that he will sign the bill. Good. Some death penalty supporters will undoubtedly mention that a majority of the state’s citizens still support the death penalty, but this is misleading. When residents are asked to choose between the viable alternatives, what the legislature did was in fact consistent with public opinion:

Where there is a discernable shift underway — and what has partly driven the repeal in New Jersey — is when residents are offered an alternative; the death penalty, or life in prison without parole. Given the choice, New Jersey residents backed life without parole over the death penalty, 52 percent to 39 percent.

This abolition is the formalization of existing practice; New Jersey hasn’t executed anybody since 1963. I think it’s worth noting that although the death penalty is often cited as a uniquely American phenomenon among current liberal democracies, it’s really a regional eccentricity; the vast majority of executions since 1976 have taken place in 5 states, and many states that keep it on the books rarely use it. Unusually harsh sentences for nonviolent offenses, conversely, are a truly national phenomenon.

The Afternoon Debates

[ 5 ] December 14, 2007 |

While waiting with djw for a train to D.C. in Wilmington this afternoon — alas, we weren’t able to tour a screen door factory — I noticed that a Democratic debate was on the teevee; I assumed that it was a replay, but close inspection revealed that, in fact, the debate was live. I was baffled as to why a debate — especially one so close to the primaries — would be on with the nation at work. Yglesias specultates : “I wonder if the scheduling is just a slight post-modern nod at the reality that the chattering class is, in fact, the real audience for these things.” I certainly can’t think of a better explanation…

Put Your Makeup On, Fix Your Hair Up Pretty…

[ 6 ] December 12, 2007 |

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

“We can play some blackjack, go to Morton’s, get a steak. That way the wedding won’t be a total loss!”

Off to beautiful, tasteful Atlantic City for some guy’s bachelor party, and then to D.C. for the Sacred Event. I’ll be around, but blogging will be a touch lights…

Women…Wearing Pants!

[ 10 ] December 12, 2007 |

More sexist trivia at the Washington Post. In fairness, the Givhan/Milbank clown show doesn’t just apply to Clinton. Somerby — who also correctly points out “the rule of this upper-class clan: Big Dem women are really men. And Big Dem men are just women,” sums up the Post’s coverage of several candidates:

1. An insipid attempt at psycho-biography, written by one of the world’s dumbest people.
2. A piece called “How He’s Running.” (According to Kornblut, who writes today’s piece, “Edwards is running as ‘the son of a millworker.’”)
3. A piece called “How He Looks” (Robin Givhan).
4. A piece called “How He Talks” (Dana Milbank).

If you love the competence of President Bush, you’ll like this method of evaluating candidates.

Uh, I Hate To Tell You This, But…

[ 0 ] December 12, 2007 |

I enjoyed this from the National Review‘s endorsement of Mitt Romney:

Uniting the conservative coalition is not enough to win a presidential election, but it is a prerequisite for building on that coalition. Rudolph Giuliani did extraordinary work as mayor of New York and was inspirational on 9/11. But he and Mike Huckabee would pull apart the coalition from opposite ends: Giuliani alienating the social conservatives, and Huckabee the economic (and foreign-policy) conservatives. A Republican party that abandoned either limited government or moral standards would be much diminished in the service it could give the country.

Yes, try to imagine a world in which a Republican administration substantially increased government spending, spent spectacular amounts of money to invade a country that posed no threat to the United States, packed the federal courts with statist reactionaries, and repeatedly supported arbitrary executive power. That kind of Republican Party sure would be useless!

Sexism Of The Day

[ 5 ] December 12, 2007 |

Apparently those crazy women actually spend money when they’re engaged in corruption, whereas men engaged in corruption mostly just, you know, give the money they skim to starving Albanian orhpans and stuff. No man whole stole taxpayer money would buy, say, a “Rolls-Royce, a yacht and a 19th-century Louis-Philippe commode.” It makes perfect sense! (Via MY.)

Who Cares?

[ 51 ] December 12, 2007 |

Writing about the “is sexual orientation genetic or is it a choice?” pointless dichotomy, M. Leblanc makes a point that isn’t made often enough:

Arguing that things are out of someone’s control, and thus beyond criticism or bigotry, is a seductive tactic because it mirrors the arguments that are used against race discrimination. But the problem is, it’s the wrong metric.

“Choice” or “environment” is the wrong way to determine what reasons are good reasons to hate others. Discriminating against or hating someone for being fat or gay makes you an asshole because there’s nothing wrong with being fat or gay. Not because it’s not a choice.

Right. From a liberal standpoint, the correct answer to the question of whether sexual orientation is voluntary or not is “who the hell cares?” To argue that gays and lesbians “have no choice” or whatever is to implicitly accept the frame of bigots; the underlying assumption seems to be that if people did choose to have sex people of the same gender then legal discrimination would be perfectly acceptable. But such discrimination should be opposed because it’s completely irrational. Whether someone has a strong genetic predisposition towards homosexuality or not shouldn’t affect whether the rights of gays and lesbians are protected.

Us-A-What?

[ 3 ] December 11, 2007 |

The good news is that I have accepted offer on a co-op that I fell in love with immediately upon seeing it. The bad news is the immense blizzard of paperwork that is required for the approval process. At any rate, one of the documents required is a brief letter from the bank certifying that I have accounts, for how long, etc. The cost of this service? 30 dollars. I mean, it’s a great racket; what are you going to do, walk away from the purchase? Take your money elsewhere (assuming you can find one that forgoes this level of extortion) and have to deal with changing your direct deposit, lose the advantage of having had stable accounts, etc. ?

See also: the fees required to send out standardized test scores.

Buh-Bye!

[ 1 ] December 11, 2007 |

SEIU tells union-bustin’ Chris Lehane that his services will no longer be necessary. Good. Now if only Democratic candidates will follow their lead…

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