Tuesday, May 26, 2009

balance in the Washington Post

apparently means preparing a story on the Obama Administration and North Korea by interviewing three Bush officials and one guy from a nonprofit. I love the credulous way the first wanker's answer is nestled in there all alone like sage advice, as if it's inconceivable that somebody from the Bush Administration could have a partisan axe to grind.

"degree of badassery"

Ladies and gentlemen, The Villain Chart. Passed along without comment.

Friday, May 22, 2009

a strange pattern

A bad day today in South Bend for men near common household objects.

Liberty University bans Democratic Club

This is actually very interesting, I think. We often chide religious organizations and universities for their partisanship, but in truth they've often done a good job fostering branches of both parties on their campuses (or inhibiting both parties from getting much of a foothold). This really is an aberration, and a line that I never really thought any university would cross.

Monday, May 18, 2009

everything is large

I get interested sometimes in the tiny changes we see in the English language every couple of years, the way certain words or turns of phrase become chic or stale. Remember in 2007, for instance, when everything coming together was "jelling" (or worse, "gelling") and everything that was really big was "ginormous?"

Maybe it's just me, but I've noticed in the last 6 months or so that suddenly the adjective "large" has become the stock or semi-formal or more serious adjective of choice for describing any positive extreme. In the last week or so, I've seen it called to stand in not only for "big," but also for "high," "important," and "long." Admittedly, it can be used to describe length, for instance, but it certainly shouldn't be the go-to word for such occasions.

What the hell, people? There are other words!

That being said, none of these are as bad as the botched Shakespeareanism I saw on a blog today lamenting not having Howard Dean as DNC chair anymore to take on Michael Steele: "Where art thou, Howard Dean?" Ouch.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

simple questions

From the Wall St. Journal:
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is weighing plans to detain some terror suspects on U.S. soil -- indefinitely and without trial -- as part of a plan to retool military commission trials that were conducted for prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The proposal being floated with members of Congress is another indication of President Barack Obama's struggles to establish his counter-terrorism policies, balancing security concerns against attempts to alter Bush-administration practices he has harshly criticized.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), who met this week with White House Counsel Greg Craig to discuss the administration's plans, said among the proposals being studied is seeking authority for indefinite detentions, with the imprimatur of some type of national-security court.

Sen. Graham said he wants to work with the administration to pass legislation to increase judicial oversight of military commissions, but noted the legal difficulties that would arise.

"This is a difficult question. How do you hold someone in prison without a trial indefinitely?" Sen. Graham said.

Eh, was that a rhetorical question? Because that issue seems pretty easily resolved.

diversity in the GOP

An amazing clump of stats from Markos:
In both chambers of Congress, Republicans are down to a single Jewish member, four Cuban-Americans (no non-Cuban Latinos), no African Americans, one Asian (who is a guaranteed loss in 2010), and just 21 women out of 218 total seats, or less than 10 percent.

If one can at least partly trace the GOP's woes back to their utter lack of competitiveness among non-WASPy demographics (and I believe you can), this lack of diversity in the GOP delegate is particularly problematic because it is both cause and effect, part of a "feedback loop" that makes minorities feel less welcome and in turn makes the party itself less welcoming.

We're all just looking out for our own; the difference in our electoral success lies in the size of the group referred to by "our."

friends in high places

Good post from Jezebel on Hollywood vs. reality and women's bellies. Interesting fact: Karen Rayne was one of my closest friends in junior high and high school.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Star Trek

Saw it last weekend. It was the first movie I've seen in perhaps years that I finished and wanted to walk right back into the theater to watch again. It's a great movie, and the art direction and costuming are particularly inspired. It's amazing to watch the way the movie adopts the style and clothing and geometry of the original series, yet makes slight changes here and there that suddenly make those old uniforms and ships and hair styles different and cool.

Plus, Zachary Quinto eats up the camera every time he's in the shot. He manages to add subtle undercurrents of emotion under Spock's stoic exterior (and the occasional not-so-subtle boiling over) that make him especially fun to watch. Quinto's Spock is a very different animal from Nimoy's, one whose emotions are much closer to the surface and more actively held in check. There's a particular neck pinch, for instance, where Quinto's expression seems unchanged from everywhere else in the movie, but he seems somehow... unimpressed with his victim, which adds a nice element of humor to the scene and gives Spock a hint of what we might think of as "swagger." This Spock isn't just a badass; he knows he's a badass. And he can bring some serious pain if you manage to piss him off.

Abrams had a lot of fun making this movie, and it's a hoot to watch.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

"If I were Bionic Woman, what would I wear?"

Been watching Freaks and Geeks, a show that only aired while I was overseas (for once, I actually have a legitimate excuse for missing a great show). I'm maybe halfway through the series, and it's gotten really good. I'm not at all surprised it got canceled, though; it's way too realistic for network TV. It's an early example of dramedy, which from what I can tell has not typically performed well outside of cable (in fact, Sports Night was canceled from FOX 2 months later). The gags are just way too plausible for viewers used to the wildly contorted setups of '90's era sitcoms. And the casting! Dude, there aren't any chicks on the show as hot as Courtney Cox, and most of the cast look like they're in friggin' high school!

If I had to guess, I'd also wager that airing a show about high school kids on weekend nights was probably not the best idea.

I've been wondering since I started watching it, though: does everybody who watched the show identify primarily with Lindsay? I myself was an overachiever who pulled back in junior high/high school, stopped getting straight A's, and started hanging out with the burnouts, but is Lindsay also tapping into some more generalized feelings of disillusionment and rebellion, disappointing the grownups, and sudden sense of rudderlessness that everyone went through in high school? I know people who seem to me to have been spot-on matches for Nick and Bill and Ken and Harris, but I can also see how they might have identified with Lindsay. Is she a universal cipher for "being in high school?"

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

they're actually doing it

Reid is not letting the Republicans replace Specter on Judiciary and Appropriations unless they adopt a new organizing resolution... for 60 Democratic senators. In effect, he's holding their committee seats hostage until they make room for the new junior senator from Minnesota, Al Franken.