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Making Poultry Producers Pay Up

[ 36 ] February 9, 2014 |

Maryland legislators have introduced a bill to make the state’s poultry producers pay a whole 5 cents a bird to protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed from runoff from these incredibly polluting facilities. Governor Carcetti O’Malley has backed away from such legislation in the past, afraid of angering big business in his desperation to become president. Of course, the poultry plutocrats are claiming this will drive all production out of Maryland. But this is obviously sensible legislation given the enormous environmental impact of meat production on the waterways of the mid-Atlantic.


[ 5 ] February 9, 2014 |

Alyssa Rosenberg and Matt Lewis talk about the legacy of Philip Seymour Hoffman:

Looking Back at Conservative Reviews of Popular Culture

[ 196 ] February 9, 2014 |

Have you ever wondered what that inveterate old racist crank William F. Buckley thought about The Beatles? Luckily, now you can find out. From September 13, 1964:

The Beatles are not merely awful; I would consider it sacrilegious to say anything less than that they are god awful. They are so unbelievably horribly, so appallingly unmusical, so dogmatically insensitive to the magic of the art that they qualify as crowned heads of anti-music, even as the imposter popes went down in history as “anti-popes.”

I love the Avignon papacy more every day.

Dead Horses in American History (IV)

[ 61 ] February 8, 2014 |

Man sitting on dead horse, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, 1880

Josh McDaniels, Everybody!

[ 67 ] February 8, 2014 |

As everyone now knows, the formidable Seattle secondary was built largely from late-round draft picks: Chancellor and Sherman were 5th round picks, Maxwell a 6th rounder. It’s a tribute to both Seattle’s ability to spot talent and their coaching. Still, it’s hard to put together an elite defense just with late round picks, and Seattle’s best defensive player year-in-year out was a widely recognized top prospect who went 14th overall. Nonetheless, this is still a story of one organization that knows what it’s doing and another that didn’t:

Seattle came on the clock with the No. 37 pick, but a trade was announced. Denver jumped up into the slot to take 5’9 cornerback Alphonso Smith. The Broncos reportedly had a first-round grade on Smith and made the move to go get him before he dropped any further. But Denver didn’t use one of its two other second-round picks for trade ammo, instead opting to trade its 2010 first-round pick to Seattle.

The deal proved to be a colossal failure. Smith hardly played as a rookie and Denver finished 8-8, meaning the Broncos sent the No. 14 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft to Seattle for compensation. Smith was such a non-factor that the Broncos dealt him to Detroit the following year for backup tight end Dan Gronkowski, a seventh-round pick in 2009.

If the story stopped there, it would be just another regrettable draft tale of a team that got essentially nothing from a premium asset. But, it gets worse. Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider took over in Seattle and wasted little time putting that pick to good use. Many thought Carroll would draft Taylor Mays with the No. 14 pick, his former protege at USC. Instead, the Seahawks used the pick from Denver to nab Texas safety Earl Thomas.

The rest of that draft wasn’t exactly a prize either — despite it being the 21st century McDaniels spent a 12th overall pick on a running back who’s been up-and-down, which has still worked out better than Robert Ayers, who…well, I assume anyone who cares watched the Super Bowl. Admittedly, the next year McDaniels did finally find a good player at a position important to contemporary football in the first round, but also traded up for the privilege of squandering a first round pick on a famous quarterback who while healthy was not able to even seriously compete for a starting job after 2 years and was no longer able to make a living playing professional football after three. The fact that the Browns apparently wanted him as their head coach but weren’t good enough for him is funny both ways.

One oddity is that while the Browns management apparently deserves very little credit for it, their interminable coaching search probably landed on the best candidate they considered. I have no idea if Mike Pettine will be a good head coach, and if the Browns can’t find an NFL QB it’s not going to matter if they hire Zombie Vince Lomardi. But he was trained by a brilliant defensive coach, and last year took over a team that was 27th in defensive DVOA and turned it into one of the best in football. Even granting that this says as much about old-boys-network poster boy Dave Wannstedt as Pettine, the latter certainly deserves a shot more than Josh McDaniels deserves a second one.

Bolton/Cain ’16!

[ 223 ] February 8, 2014 |

Unfortunately, the predictor is Bill Kristol, so I’d set the over/under on the number of these people who actually runs at 0.5:

Who’s going to survive training camp, endure pre-season and do well enough in scrimmages to be on stage for the first post-Labor Day 2015 GOP presidential debate, moderated by Megyn Kelly? John Bolton, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Mike Pence, Joe Scarborough and Scott Walker. That will be the regular season starting nine.

I assume that citing Palin is Kristol’s way of winking at the audience, Straussianism for dummies. Anyway, you remember the 2102 Republican primaries, in which a highly vulnerable, mediocre-at-best candidate cruised to the nomination because he effectively ran unopposed? This field would appear to be a logical conundrum in which all 9 candidates are running unopposed. (Well, I guess, I’d but Walker and Jeb above the other 7.) The real Republican field will look a little better than this — but probably not a lot.

My Seven Year Old Dreams Made Manifest…

[ 46 ] February 8, 2014 |

This is my today.

Woody Allen responds

[ 343 ] February 8, 2014 |

Updated below


When I originally linked to Dylan Farrow’s NYT letter I did a little digging, and was surprised to discover that in all the back and forth regarding this matter there seemed to be no discussion of the potential significance of Dory Previn’s song “With My Daddy in the Attic.” The lyrics, written sometime between 1968, when Andre Previn’s and Mia Farrow’s affair broke up the Previns’ marriage, and 1970, when Dory Previn released an album featuring the song (along with the better-known “Beware of Young Girls,” which is about the Farrow-Previn affair), describe an incest fantasy. The protagonists are a young girl and her father — who, like Woody Allen, plays the clarinet. The scene of the trysts is an attic.

In his response, Allen addresses this issue:

Even the venue where the fabricated molestation was supposed to have taken place was poorly chosen but interesting. Mia chose the attic of her country house, a place she should have realized I’d never go to because it is a tiny, cramped, enclosed spot where one can hardly stand up and I’m a major claustrophobe. The one or two times she asked me to come in there to look at something, I did, but quickly had to run out. Undoubtedly the attic idea came to her from the Dory Previn song, “With My Daddy in the Attic.” It was on the same record as the song Dory Previn had written about Mia’s betraying their friendship by insidiously stealing her husband, André, “Beware of Young Girls.” One must ask, did Dylan even write the letter or was it at least guided by her mother? Does the letter really benefit Dylan or does it simply advance her mother’s shabby agenda? That is to hurt me with a smear. There is even a lame attempt to do professional damage by trying to involve movie stars, which smells a lot more like Mia than Dylan.

Now of course the song is not a completely unambiguous piece of evidence for the proposition that Mia Farrow coached her daughter to confabulate a false accusation against Allen. A zealous prosecutor could, one supposes, argue that Allen got the idea for his purported crime from the song. But it’s easy enough to see why no charges were brought against Allen.

What seems clear is that a terrible crime was committed against Dylan Farrow when she was seven years old. What will remain unclear is what that crime actually was.

Update: Dylan Farrow’s response to Allen’s op-ed is reproduced here.

Also, all this reminds me of what Newt Gingrich, family man, had to say at the time regarding a family tragedy:

“I call this the Woody Allen plank,“ said Gingrich, a fierce Republican conservative, of the Democratic Party platform. “Watch the Woody Allen case and measure:

“Woody Allen is not having incest with his non-daughter for whom he has been a non-father because they have a non-family,“ Gingrich said. “It`s a weird situation and it fits the Democrat Party platform perfectly.“

“It’s Quite a Bit More Boring”

[ 53 ] February 8, 2014 |

I knew–in an abstract way–that calling that one gigantic, long-necked, long-tailed, small-headed dinosaur “Brontosaurus” was wrong. I knew that there was a dinosaur out there who was Bronto-like, but was not called “Brontosaurus” anymore. What I didn’t know was that the “Brontosaurus” never really existed.

Someone needs to tell Animalz. (I recently bought my son some of their toys and cringed when I saw the misnamed Apatosaurus.)

Sochi in History

[ 29 ] February 8, 2014 |

I suppose there aren’t a whole lot of places in Russia where horrible things haven’t happened. But still:

History has largely been kind to Alexander II, the Russian czar who freed the serfs in 1861, just two years before Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 (the two world leaders even corresponded about their plans.)Modern historians refer to him as the “Czar-Liberator” and compare him to Mikhail Gorbachev for his willingness to engage with the West and reform Russia.

But on the occasion of the 2014 Winter Olympics being held in Sochi and the surrounding areas, it’s helpful to look back and remember that 600,000 locals died from starvation, exposure, drowning and massacres in a concerted campaign by the Russian Empire to expel the Circassian people, as they were called, from the region. The Circassians and the other inhabitants of the Caucasus region did not fit into the Czar’s reform program, because he viewed them as an inherent risk to the security of Russia’s southern frontier and the nation is still coming to terms with the consequences of the czar’s expulsion of the Circassian people today.

The czar’s approval of this rapid expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Circassians to the Ottoman Empire resulted in an ethnic cleansing through disease and drowning as overcrowded ferries crossed the Black Sea. The Ottomans were unprepared for the influx of refugees, and the absence of adequate shelter caused even more deaths from exposure. Those Circassians who attempted to remain in the Russian Empire and fight for their land were massacred. Sochi’s “Red Hill,” where the skiing and snowboarding events will take place during these Olympic Games, was the site of the Circassian last stand, where the Imperial Russian armies celebrated their “victory” over the local defenders.

Really, this is like holding the Olympics on the site of Wounded Knee.

Dead Horses in American History (III)

[ 37 ] February 7, 2014 |

“Horse-Meat ‘Worms’ Fool Frogs,” Popular Science, 1940

“Oakland of the North”

[ 145 ] February 7, 2014 |

Whenever events force the New York Times to acknowledge other American cities actually exist, you can bet it’s going to be larded up with some extremely condescending provincialism, so I shouldn’t really be surprised by this sort of thing, but no, NYT reporter, no one except you has ever called Seattle the “Oakland of the North.”

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