Friday, June 27, 2008

"Call That Guy Larry Wilkerson"

Yglesias is right that the "notional shadow [Colin] Powell" will probably never actually emerge... anybody who thinks Powell is going to officially endorse Obama is one of those people (like anyone who thought Rudy was just going to coast to the nomination) whose political instincts are totally FUBAR and whose shoddy punditry you'd be well-served to completely ignore from here to eternity. Powell's about as likely to come out as gay.

Would Orthodox Back Livni For PM?

She's got the kind of issues that Barack and Hillary know all about:

“Whenever approached to push for progress in women’s rights or rape law, she declined to get involved — even when she was minister of justice,” said Orit Kamir, Hebrew University professor of law and gender studies.

Livni’s gender neutrality “extends as far as it can for a woman, and she is smart enough to disguise her femininity,” Kamir said. This means appearing calm and passionless on political matters, avoiding makeup and jewelry, and dressing in dark, ultra-conventional trouser suits “that would not be out of place in London or New York, but which no other woman wears here.”

Yet there is one symptom of her gender that she cannot hide: her lack of experience in dealing with matters of security. Times have changed since Golda Meir overcame this problem; she was elected when Israelis were on a high, believing themselves incapable of facing defeat after the triumph of the Six Day War. Today they feel deeply threatened by Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran. “Then people sensed Israel was strong enough not to need a military leader. The same feeling of strength is not present today,” Jerusalem Post analyst Calev Ben-David told the Forward.

I don't know if it helps or hurts to look like Gerard Depardieu, as she does in the accompanying photo.

Planes, Trains, Automobiles...

... and other things under which to throw your erstwhile friends, freshly reconstituted political enemies!

Question: how do you really throw someone under a bus anyway? Isn't it more sensible to say you pushed someone into oncoming traffic?

Help Wanted For Sam Harris Scripture Project


Is Hewitt Allowed to Win the Hewitt Award?


Prison Time for Asshole Burning Man "Performance Artist"

That is, the one who's a serial arsonist and who prematurely torched the Burning Man. Nice booking photo, eh?

Kaddish For Carlin


Hillary for HHS Secretary?

I recall some talk about Daschle for the HHS post as well...

Blogosphere Backlash Against Blogosphere Backlash Against Obama

The blogosphere is about nothing if not over-compensation.

"Dutch Jimmy Carter"


Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls

The Eliasson waterfalls are beautiful and one of Eliasson's stated purposes, to raise awareness about the preciousness of our water resources, is admirable. But the times being what they are, one cannot help but ask: what is the carbon footprint of these massive displays, with their gas-guzzling pumps and artificial lighting?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

If Imus Had Said That...

Is "fruitcake interpretation" a coded homophobic slur?

Rove-Reversal, Role-Reversal


Blogger Schools MSM in Muckraking, Journalistic Ethics


Africa's (Other) Worst Dictator


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Good Luck Trying to Pin Down Torture Mastermind David Addington

Froomkin: "There's not much point in asking Yoo anything — why waste time with Charlie McCarthy when Edgar Bergen is sitting right next to him?" Well, because Charlie may be the only one willing to talk! Anyway, read the whole thing.

The Manhattan of Darfur


Hitchens: Russert Canonization Demonstrates How Jesus Myth Began


Kos: Down With CFR!


Yoga Sans Frontieres


Giving Up On Muslim Smear? Hardly!

"This presumably means Rove is giving up on the whole radical-Muslim-foreigner-outsider frame." Hardly! Voters are perfectly capable of believing contradictory things, in particular contradictory negative images of a politician (or, as it has been said, Nazis were of Jews).


In this rather insipid and confused CSM editorial, it says: "Analysts estimate [Obama's] e-mail list to be vast – anywhere from 3 million to 8 million." Nobody knows how large his e-mail list is? The estimates are that imprecise?

From The "Where's Bill?" File...

Edmonton -- nerve center of the Alberta oil and gas boom, and one of the coldest cities on the planet -- is either one of the best or one of the worst places to talk about fighting global warming.

Vietnamese Communists For McCain

A possible riposte for Obama camp whenever it's hit with the now-retracted Hamas "endorsement."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Now That the UK Has Banned Martha Stewart, Who Else Should They Ban?


A Little More of the Good Stuff

Is Friedman referencing Bush's cocaine use in this column?


I just noticed a John McCain ad on the Jerusalem Post website... and guess what, it featured a picture of Ahmadinejad! Who could've guessed?

How Medicare Coddles and Indulges Scofflaw Health Care Providers

"Health-care providers are allowed to collect millions of dollars in federal Medicare payments each year despite owing the government more than $2 billion in back taxes, congressional investigators said yesterday."

This is the kind of story that makes you throw up your hands and say 'I'm moving to Canada.'

A Little Strickland Veep Vetting...

Strickland: "Aren't you really, really, really angry with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney?" Angry? Methinks this is just slightly off-message...

George Carlin Has Died

Who will be the first to show some cojones and call him what he was - the most over-rated comedian of the last forty years, with the possible exception of the execrable Lewis Black?

Jews For Jesus: Not Safe in Israel

These violent acts of religious persecution and this book-burning make Israel look no more free and no more tolerant than Saudi Arabia... of course, it is more free and more tolerant (these kinds of incidents would be too obvious or too commonplace in Iran or tribal Pakistan to be worth even mentioning) but sometimes you really begin to wonder if these irruptions are actually irruptions at all, i.e. what is the exception and what is the rule?

Dancing With Snakes In Yemen

An interesting profile of the Musharraf-like leader of Yemen, which is poised to be the site of the next proxy war between the US and Iran...

Apres Olmert Le Deluge?

Interesting dynamic developing: Israeli security hawks like Moshe Arens keen to embrace idea that one US presidential candidate is as good as the next (i.e., Obama is no better or worse than McCain) in order to defuse Olmert's argument that the time is ripe for negotiations on Palestinian track?


Earlier this evening I saw a performance by the band Grupo Fantasma, which apparently has just released its 4th album. They really know how to get people dancing in the aisles. If you like Latin music, check them out.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Gentlewomen Prefer Bonds


Ken Livingston - Il Faut Cultiver Notre Jardin

Watch your back, Boris!

Drill First, Ask Questions Later




Semi-Colon Cancer

I can just see the Republicans using "semicolon boy" (Laguardia's preferred term of derision) in an attempt to swiftboat Obama... as we speak, RNC oppo-researchers are combing lexis for semicolon-laden Obama op-eds, legal briefs...

"Bitch Ass Asians" and Other Anti-Semitic Slurs


Hold Those Wimbledon Bets


Daily Kos: Over One Billion Served


The Vaccine Narrative

"The author examines four cases that span the twentieth century-diphtheria, rubella, pertussis, and HIV/AIDS. Each case challenges the reader to examine how the values we attribute to vaccines influence their use. Diphtheria vaccination brought laboratory science into an existing narrative based on earlier vaccines. With rubella vaccine, researchers efficiently responded to an epidemic of birth defects while subtly changing the relationship between vaccination recipients and beneficiaries. Opposition to pertussis vaccine from average Americans created a narrative crisis, in which faith in vaccination as a whole seemed to be at risk. With more recent vaccines, including a hoped-for HIV/AIDS vaccine, the persistent cultural narrative continues to encourage vaccine development and use."

Just published. Sounds like an interesting read.

The Women On the Other End of the Line

Great idea for a photo-essay.

Johnny Miller's Pool-Cleaner "Slur" - Much Ado About Nothing

Accused of ethnic stereotyping for joking about a white guy who looks like he should be cleaning a black guy's pool? We've come a long way, America.

More Problems For the EU: Secession Fever!


A Little Contest

Arrange in order of worth.

* Suit worn by Elvis Presley in the film "Viva Las Vegas"
* Alfred Hitchcock's driver's license
* Original "King Kong" French film poster

Answers here, second graf from the bottom.

Also, check this out:

Anna Nicole Smith's former boyfriend Larry Birkhead attended the auction and spent nearly $3,000 on lingerie once worn by the late Playboy playmate. Birkhead said he was picking up mementos for the couple's 1-year-old daughter, Dannielynn.

Kos Diarist Gets Engaged


Burmese Civil Society Rising From the Ashes


More Problems For Horseracing Industry

Another animal euthanized on the track.

Taking Water For Granted No More


Designing For Dictators


Want to "Get Intimate" With Van Gogh?


Friday, June 20, 2008

"The Way To Save Tigers Is To Farm Them"

According to British libertarian magazine Spiked:

India should adopt the Chinese approach. Numbers of wild tigers in China have also declined but the numbers of tigers bred in captivity, in the 14 registered tiger farms, has increased (7). There are more than 5,000 tigers in captivity in China. Plans are underway to log the genetic profile of all the tigers held so that the numbers of pure subspecies can be documented and increased. This will aid the breeding of some of the rare subspecies such as the Bengal and Siberian tigers.

Soros Sees a Superbubble

Curious accompanying illustration... call me a cynic, but I think they're trying to suggest that he's crying wolf!

Obama's First Presidency

"There is one abiding mystery about Obama's legal career. Although (as his books attest) he is a fine writer, he never put his name to any article, anywhere. But it was a time when the very ambitious had become very cautious: Robert Bork had been denied Supreme Court confirmation on the strength (in fact, the weakness) of his earlier writings, and the mysterious David Souter passed muster only because he had written nothing that Democrats on the Senate's judiciary committee could sink their teeth into (to Republican fury, he turned out to be a closet liberal). Perhaps young Barack decided to leave no hostages to fortune in a career trajectory that could take him to the Supreme Court - or to the White House. Or perhaps he was too busy with his humble work in and for poor commu nities to bother about reshaping a legal system that he had come to believe would inevitably serve the powerful."

Having Nunn Of It

Via Ezra Klein.

Racial Identity's Gray Area

An interesting article, but this is flummoxing: "When Barack Obama, whose mother was white, identifies himself as black, and when Bill Richardson, whose father was white, identifies himself as Hispanic, who is white?" Race is wholly a matter of self-identification since when? This seems like Geraldine Ferraro territory here.

How Peggy Noonan Won the Democratic Primary


New 'Get Smart' - Less Jewish Than The Original?


"Shooting Back" Program Deters Settler Violence

Don't much care for the name, but whatever works.

Phil Wallace: What the Lakers Need to Do

Lots of tough calls to make in the off-season, for sure... but I'm not as pessimistic as Wallace about the Lakers's chances next year. I'd be much more pessimistic about the Celtics. They have all the markings of a one-hit wonder.

Swift Boat Revenge

A little late for this, no?

Can Cops & Critical Mass Co-Exist?



Taguba gets the silent treatment.

The Daily Mash


Biking on the Freeway in the City of Angels


Zell Retools Orlando Sentinel, Harbinger of New Look For LA Times?


Death Notices You Probably Won't See Anytime Soon...

Mark Morford:

After all, rarely does the headline read "noted misogynist, homophobe, right-wing hate radio personality and neighborhood defenestrator of baby livestock found dead in his Hummer after eating one too many deep fried jumbo prawns at the Red Lobster buffet" — you know, the kind of stories that really test the limits of your compassion, because while you know you should offer sympathy, you can't help but feel a bit like cheering.

The Dress


Donna Edwards's First House Floor Speech


Virtual Speed Bumps


Rezko-Iraq Conspiracy Theory

This is so laughably tortured that it's a miracle Larry Johnson and Kaus haven't picked it up... or (if one delusional conspiracy theory is as good as the next) how about anti-Larouche crusader Kirchick? (And if you have the stomach for TNR in-house bantering about everyone's long and winding "political journey" from extremism to sanity -- suffice it to say that TNR staff writers are "unique just like everyone else" -- read the whole Judis-Kirchick exchange.) And here's another magisterial whopper.

Question: will Larry Johnson et al. sheepishly "disappear" their Larry Sinclair hyperlinks after Sinclair's National Press Club performance the other day?

Balkin On Boumediene in US News


A New Legal Challenge To Israeli Settlements


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tiger Woods Out For the Season

Question: doesn't Tiger Woods heroically winning golf tournaments left and right (slightly) help Barack Obama, in that for most white Americans it is a perfectly comforting image of The Other?

And if so, doesn't Tiger's season-ending knee injuries (slightly) hurt Obama?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Kiss the Baby, Don't Feed It Beer

Illinois congressional candidate makes it into Caption of the Week Contest. Via Shenanigans.

Shulman For Congress

If I were in NJ-05, he'd have my vote.

Thank You, Jack Shafer, For Breaking Up the Lovefest

Update: Russert still overrated, had unprofessional (or perhaps all-too-professional) relationship with Bob Novak? (Shafer thinks it's just a generic Washington "protection racket" - but could it be a Plamegate-specific protection racket?)

Yglesias Disses (The Other) Bush


McCain Continues to Push Obama = Carter Analogy, Gets Paper(-Trail)-Cut


350 Is The Most Important Number on the Planet

Bill McKibben's new (or at least improved) climate change website is up and running...

"Fuck It - We'll Do It Live!" ...

... and other alternative O'Reilly memoir titles (see comments section).

New Life For Paper Ballots

Keeping it nice and simple so that McCain's more senior supporters don't get confused at the polls.

Arnold's Not Going to Like This

McCain touches third rail of California politics, comes out in in favor of offshore drilling. Ever-opportunistic Charlie Crist immediately jumped on board, but according to the SF Chronicle Arnold's not so keen on the idea. He's not up for re-election, but it still puts him in an awkward position.

Los Angeles: Still Trying to Control Nature

They never learn.

In Defense of Speeches


The Return of Jeff Gannon


Top 10 Ice Cream Parlors in Tel Aviv


Shorter Attention Spans, Longer Movies

Maybe this is why we feel so unduly bad. Via Sullivan.

Bait and Switch

McCain can't use a computer, but knows how to sucker-punch:

We are having trouble over here figuring out these newfangled internets. We have, however, posted a letter via Pony Express to the Obama campaign asking if they might enlist the services of Father Pfleger on our behalf to help us in setting up our webcams.

Taylor Marsh: The Hef Of Politics?

An interesting profile - one that accomplishes something I'd thought impossible, i.e. making Taylor Marsh seem almost likeable (or at least human).

NYT Guide to McSame

FAIR thinks it goes too easy on McCain.

Kaus Monster-Post on Obama & Payroll Taxes

"Maybe Obama feels it's politically easier to tax the rich than to cut their benefits." Or maybe it's a surreptitious first step towards means-testing! Getting at this via a donut-hole in payroll tax liability is counterintuitive, even slightly contrarian... Kaus thinks he likes it! (Yet remains suspicious: why aren't "orthodox Democrats" more up in arms?)

Read the whole shebang. It's his best post since this clever disquisition on vulgar Marxism back in April.



Moneybags Versus Sandbags



An organization in my area is hosting this "Don't Walk for the Homeless" event. 5k -- no way!

Yugoslavia Still Exists?

Now we just have to work on Czechoslovakia.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Legacy of Ashes - Who Doesn't Hate the CIA?

The left hates it, the right hates it, the Zionists hate it, the anti-Zionists hate it. If you've got a political agenda of any kind, you probably hate the CIA.

Rosner chalks it up to the fact of repeatedly offering up bogus intelligence, but it's more than that. Institutions that operate under a veil of secrecy almost always lack accountability because real accountability is impossible without transparency, and thus these institutions tend to attract conspiracy theories and, over time, serious public malaise. I'm not sure there's a solution to this, since you can't really have an intelligence service that doesn't operate in secret... but anyway this is why it pays to be be skeptical of efforts to reform the US intelligence apparatus.

Dolphins Committing Mass Suicide?

Do they know something we don't know?

Something To Do In New York Tomorrow

PEACE WALK: Jews, Christians, Muslims walking in Brooklyn for peace
Thursday, June 12, 2008, starts at 6:00 pm

Flatbush Dutch
Reformed Church
890 Flatbush Avenue
(at Church Avenue)

to Temple Beth Emeth and ending at Albanian American Islamic Center (1325 Albemarle Road at Rugby Road). Walk includes tours of each house of worship, music and song, and ends with food at the mosque. All ages welcome.

For further information, contact: Rabbi Ellen Lippmann at (718) 633-6377.

Sponsored by: All Souls Bethlehem Church • Brit Tzedek vShalom–New York City chapter • Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture • Brooklyn Congregations United • Brooklyn For Peace • Church of Gethsemane • Council of People Organization (COPO) • The Dialogue Project • The Episcopal Church of the Holy Apostles (Manhattan) • Faith House • Fellowship of Reconciliation • First Unitarian Society (Brooklyn) • Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church • Islamic Mission of America • Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives • Muslim American Society • Muslim Consultative Network • Park Slope Jewish Center • Pax Christi Metro New York • St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church • St.Vincent Ferrer R.C. Church • Temple Beth Emeth • Women in Islam

Bush's Iran Policy Contingent on Obama/McCain Election Result?

Daniel Pipes:

If George W. Bush's term ends with a McCain victory, Bush will likely punt, allowing McCain to decide on the next steps. But Obama's intention to continue with current failed policies suggests that, if he wins, and despite the tradition of outgoing presidents not undertaking major initiatives in their final weeks, Bush might initiate military action against Iran.

I can't think of many reasons to support McCain but I guess this (if it were true) would be one of them.

Breaking Out of the Zimbabwe Impasse

Mugabe deserves demonization, but it's time to move beyond Mugabe-directed moral outrage (see Kirchick and Hitchens) and see that Zimbabwe is now controlled by a junta led by the heads of the security services. There's a great deal of sentimental attachment to Mugabe in Africa. Correctly understanding and characterizing the Zimbabwe regime as a military dictatorship which is using Mugabe, not the other way around, gives an opening for South Africa to intervene. Of course, correctly understanding is also a good thing in itself.

WTF?! Gaddafi's Ur-Conspiracy Theory

This is like several conspiracy theories rolled into one. Well played, Muammar!

Celebrate Sodomy!


Yankees Want More Public Financing?


Vehicle Idling Laws

They reduce pollution, noise, fuel consumption... all cities should have one!

Politics, Not History

Kos points out that Carter is actually very popular. Not that this means his presidency was any good, but we're talking politics here, not history.

O'Hehir on the Clint vs. Spike Grudge Match


Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (But Do They Prefer Dots or Bubble Gum?)

Webb, Bitterness, Hillary's Cohorts

Scheiber (with help from Artur Davis) parses Hillary's women supporters, and explains why there wouldn't be terrible fallout from putting Webb on the ticket, and Eve Fairbanks muses on Webb's Scots-Irish boosterism and the politics of resentment, and hears the eerie upside-down echoes of Obama's Bittergate that are hard to miss... (and of course, these eerie echoes are precisely the rationale for Webb as VP - the "completing the circle" argument...)

Against an Iraq Litmus Test - Think Big Tent, People!

Drum is against litmus testing-out-of-contention folks like Biden from the Veepstakes. I concur. It's a bad road for Democrats to go down. And what does such a litmus test say about anti-war superstars like Jack Murtha and Chuck Hagel? They're not sincere in their anti-war commitment? They're not pure enough to rally beside 'true' Iraq dissidents like Kucinich and Cynthia McKinney? The Democrats don't need to establish a cult of false certainty (or a cult of true certainty, which will eventually become false certainty)... let the "always wrong, never in doubt" pundits in the media and theologically revisionist priests take care of that! Big tents win elections, and Democrats need to sound like a big tent in order to be a big tent.

Can a Tech-Illiterate President Really Understand the Modern World?


Obama Staffs Up On Urban Policy

Encouraging news. It's been a long time since we had a President who really possessed an intuitive sensitivity for, and understanding of, urban policy... in fact, have we ever had such a President?

How Israelis View Their Army

Haim Watzman:

In Israel, an embattled country where the army is omnipresent and most citizens (still) serve or at least know many who serve, the army is not only seen as the shield of its populace-it’s also the place where most people grow up. We have a tendency to be nostalgic about the institutions in which we make the intense friendships of youth, where we experience self-discovery, face challenges, and first fall in love. Just look at homecoming weekend at any American university and imagine it in uniform.

So Israelis’ admiration of their army is only weakly connected to the army’s success or failure. The fact that it failed to take out Hezbollah in Lebanon two summers ago is not what most people here think of when a pollster asks them if they trust the army. They think about their son or daughter’s swearing-in ceremony or their buddies in the reserves.

Read the whole thing.

Deborah Lipstadt On Monitoring Hate Sites Without Raising Their Google Ranking


Ezra Klein Addresses Furman Furor...


Wilentz Looks At Critchlow, Frum and Douthat/Salam

I guess he mainly focuses on Critchlow, who's rather too sympathetic towards his subjects but does yeoman's work in recalling pre-1964 hard-right activism (Clarence Manion - does that ring any bells?) ...

Anyway, here's Wilentz on Critchlow on Reagan:

Once he reaches the Reagan years, Critchlow presents as rosy a picture as possible. He either ignores the damaging effects of Reaganomics, such as astronomical deficits and deepening economic inequality, or treats them as illusions ginned up by Democratic partisans and the liberal media. Critchlow either overlooks the cronyism and looting of the 1980s--most spectacularly at the Pentagon, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development--or ascribes them to "mismanagement" that gave the career civil servants of the so-called liberal administrative state a pretext to thwart Reagan's reforms. He describes the savings-and-loan crisis as an unintended consequence of Reagan's deregulation, without mentioning how the administration repeatedly ignored warnings about the looming disaster and obstructed oversight--the costliest government malfeasance of its kind in history. On foreign policy, Critchlow generally endorses the triumphalist Reagan-centered view advanced by Reagan's most fervent admirers about his greatest achievement as president, working with Mikhail Gorbachev and helping to end the Cold War. Critchlow mentions but glosses over the staunch conservative opposition that Reagan faced over arms reduction and his embrace of the new Soviet leader, along with other awkward details that call for a more complicated rendering.

That's all fine as far as it goes, but what of Iran-Contra?! I've always said that if Iran-Contra doesn't seriously tarnish your view of Reagan's presidency, you simply do not know enough about the scandal. And Wilentz makes no attempt to defend Jimmy Carter's far-from-perfect but far-from-terrible presidency (and I don't mean this or this, or "without him, Reagan never gets elected"). More than a bit disappointing.

When Liberals Strike Back


Al Sharpton Doing Some Serious Re-Branding


Escaping the Housing Bust

But is it really escaping - or just delaying? Read the last line: "The fastest-growing areas also often suffer from a lack of regional planning. These burgeoning, car-dependent sprawling urban areas will become increasingly unaffordable if energy prices remain high and infrastructure needs push up property taxes." In other words, the other shoe has yet to drop. Until we address the fundamental problem of subsidizing unsustainable suburban and exurban development, we're just playing housing bubble whack-a-mole.

'Iran Problem' Used As Political Ploy - I'm Shocked, Shocked!


Onkel Baracks Huette

Sullivan calls it racism, but it really is no such thing. The one thing Europeans can never quite get about America is the deep and complicated legacy of slavery, segregation and racism... a complicated poison that inflects or infects everything from our greatest literature (Huckleberry Finn) to our earnest, touching, at times almost 'quaint' political correctness about race that is such a far cry from the overarching irony that we find everywhere else in our mass culture.

In other words, I tack it up to a deeply emblematic cultural misunderstanding - plus of course the stupidity of waggish headline writers.

The E-Mails From Nader Get Weirder By The Day

Today's e-mail from the Nader campaign:

Want to support a Presidential candidate who calls it as he sees it, without fear or favor?

Then support Ralph Nader and the Nader/Gonzalez ticket.

Just look at today's headlines, and you'll see that Nader was the early warning system.

From food safety (bad tomatoes), to cracking down on corporate crime (sub-prime meltdown), to the oil industry ($4 a gallon), to health insurance (42 percent of adult Americans now underinsured or uninsured), to the corporate control of the two major political parties (corporate contributions to the Democratic Party convention in Denver), to the war in Iraq, to the NBA playoffs.

The NBA playoffs?

Yes, even when it comes to the NBA playoffs, Ralph was right.

And he was right early.

Back in 2002, Ralph was sitting at home watching game six of the NBA playoff game between the big TV market Los Angeles Lakers and the small TV market Sacramento Kings.

The Kings were up three games to two.

One win and the Kings would move on.

Shaq and Kobe and the Lakers would be out.

In that crucial game six in Los Angeles, the referees called foul after foul against the Kings.

But when the Kobe Bryant elbowed the Mike Bibby's nose, sending Bibby to the sideline bleeding, no foul was called.

It was that bad.

As the Washington Post's Michael Wilbon put it at the time "I have never seen officiating in a game of consequence as bad as that in Game 6."

The Lakers shot 40 free throws in that Game 6 - 27 in the fourth quarter - "won" the game 106-102, eliminated the Kings, and went on to beat the Nets for their third straight NBA Championship.

Ralph Nader saw injustice and on June 4, 2002, Ralph wrote to NBA Commissioner David Stern asking for an investigation.

Ralph personally spoke with Stern.

But Stern stiffed Ralph.

No action was taken.

Yesterday, former NBA referee Tom Donaghy, now convicted of conspiring with gamblers, was pointing fingers at his colleagues.

Donaghy's lawyer, John Lauro, says NBA executives directed referees "to manipulate games" in order to "boost ticket sales and television ratings."

According to Lauro, in the crucial 2002 Lakers/Kings game that Ralph complained to Stern about - "Tim learned from Referee A that Referees A and F wanted to extend the series to seven games. Tim knew Referees A and F to be 'company men,' always acting in the interest of the NBA, and that night, it was in the NBA's interest to add another game to the series."

We tell our kids that sports teaches lessons about life.

The lesson we learned from the 2002 NBA Playoffs - Ralph was right.

The Nader/Gonzalez platform of truth, justice and challenging the abuse of power deserves a hearing in this crucial election year.

From the NBA to the Congress to the White House to K Street.

Time to give America a choice for an independent voice.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Together, we will get Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot.

Together we will be heard.


The Nader Team

Kill The Witch Part Deux

In addition to giving first (?) MSM airtime to Whitey rumor, MoDo writes:

Hillary and Bill are busy updating their enemies lists. And Obama is racking his brain trying to figure out where to stash his erstwhile rival.

If a President Obama put her on the Supreme Court, of course, we would have the infinite fun of hearing Bill rant about how Scalia, Alito, Thomas and Roberts were dissing Hillary.

It’s good news for Obama that Hillary’s out of the race. But it’s also bad news. Now Republicans can turn their full attention to demonizing Michelle Obama. Mrs. Obama is the new, unwilling contestant in Round Two of the sulfurous national game of “Kill the witch.”

And more on the Hillary-ization of Michelle. I guess the $64,000 question is, will feminists circle the wagons around Michelle as they did for Hillary? (Or will they go for the Ex-Hillary Fans For McCain pledge?)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ignatius Lasers In on Iran's Role In Iraq

Money quote:

So imagine that you are Qassem Soleimani, commander of a covert Iranian army deployed across the Middle East: You doubt the Bush administration would run the risk of a military strike against Iran, but you can't be sure. You think America can't afford to play chicken in an election year, but you can't be certain of that, either. You think Iran is on a roll, but you know how quickly that advantage can be squandered by unwise choices. You know that Arabs, even in Iraq, have become peeved at what they see as meddling and overreaching by Tehran.

So you watch and wait. You give ground where necessary, but you prepare to strike back, as devastatingly as possible -- and on your own terms, not those of your adversary.

What is notable here is that Ignatius (correctly) treats Soleimani as essentially a rational actor. Ahmadinejad is a different species altogether (conspicuously less rational, if reports about his eschatological views on the 12th imam are to be believed), but he is only one of a constellation of important actors.

This Fall's Other Big Contest


Golf Gear Forever!


The Torah - Who Needs It and Why?

Haim Watzman rounds up both good and bad answers.

Bob Barr Contemplates Career in Wrestling...

... and sees the light about the War on Drugs.

He May Be a Useless Vegetable, But He's Our Useless Vegetable

Musharraf channels Churchill.

Progressive and Conservative Narratives Regarding the Jewish Vote

According to Lincoln Mitchell, they're both wrong:

The conservative hope that Jews will begin voting Republican in substantial numbers, thus demonstrating the increased diversity of the Republican Party, has led conservative pundits, journalists and others to overstate Jewish support for the GOP and to try to spin, or more accurately, create, the story that Jews will not vote for Obama. This, however, is not the only reason that this notion gets the support it does in the media more broadly. Progressive rhetoric also downplays Jewish support for the Democratic Party and for the left more generally.

The progressive narrative regarding the Jewish vote is as misleading as the conservative one. This narrative describes the Democratic Party as building its base on multi-racial support and lower income whites. This is an appealing and logical narrative, but less than empirically accurate. Latinos and Asians, while at times key parts of the Democratic coalition, do not consistently support the Democratic Party in proportions comparable to Jews. Lower income whites are more accurately described as swing voters who generally split their vote between the two parties, or evince a slight preference for the Republican Party. Saying that the Democratic Party base is a coalition of African Americans, Jews, gays and lesbians, and other liberal whites is more accurate, but is presents an image of the Democratic Party that may not be appealing to key swing voters. More notably, recognizing this means recognizing that the broad progressive coalition that many on the left would like to see, has not yet come to fruition.

Read the whole thing.

Election Trainwreck in Sacramento

A week after the election and they still don't have results. Counting seems to have been slowed at least partly because of this:

A new state law that went into effect for this election called for this micro-sorting. It allows political campaigns to see distilled results and more easily target mailers to particular voters in the future, LaVine said. An interesting byproduct is that information may be sorted in new ways. A report last week in The Bee, for instance, showed how each neighborhood voted for mayor.

I can see how this new law benefits political campaigns, and (perhaps even more so) the media, but how exactly does it benefit the public?

Not Funny As Usual, and Racist to Boot

Robin Williams has always been supremely overrated. Now it appears he's joined the Michael Richards Hall of Shame.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Trials and Tribulations of the Senate Cafeteria

Senate dining just hasn't been the same without Jack Abramoff... (though actually shouldn't this have helped business at the cafeteria?)

WaPo Looks at Post-Katrina NOLA Charter Schools

Apparently more than half of all public school students in NOLA attend charter schools (speaking of social laboratories!)...

Bradley Burston Calls Out Fox News, a.k.a. "They Said It, Not Us" News Network


A Solution to the World Food Crisis?


Losing the Plot With TUCC

Linkins picks up where Sullivan left off.

California Doing What It Does Best

Several recent articles in major news outlets point to what might be called a medical marijuana backlash in California. (Thought it was a skunk indeed!) In fact what is going on here is that California is doing what it does best: acting as a social and legislative laboratory. The "backlash" is really a "tweaking." In the short term, there will be bickering and recrimination. Some people may go to jail, but not for very long. And in the end compromises will be made, solutions will be devised, and Californians will arrive at a sensible modus vivendi on the issue of medical marijuana that the rest of the nation will probably find itself eventually adopting.

Bush Confronted Rove In Church

It's like an outtake from Godfather.

Don't Want No Stinkin' Consolation Prize


Throwing Good Money After Bad


Barack, You're Not Supposed to Be Riding on the Sidewalk

Hey, that rhymes...

Lieberman Helping McCain in CT?

If Rick Davis really believes that, he's an even bigger fool than I thought. Lieberman is generally NOT popular in Connecticut except among Republicans. If I were a Republican donor and thought that McCain were going to spend my mony in Connecticut, I would very quickly take my checkbook somewhere else.

Bill Kristol also has concerns about the McCain's camp strategery.

AAA for Cyclists?


Friday, June 06, 2008

Another Race Speech?

Juan Williams thinks Obama should make another race speech. I have a certain amount of respect for Juan Williams. I saw him wipe the floor with Lani Guinier at a debate at Yale Law School about reparations for slavery. I admire what he's done to popularize the story of the civil rights movement. And he's certainly entitled to his opinion about race relations in America.

But what Williams is doing here is projecting his own views about race onto someone else simply because the someone else happens to be the most prominent African-American in the world (except Kobe Bryant and Michael Jackson, but you know what I mean...) This has nothing remotely to do with Obama's political best interest, or Reverend Wright, or the election; it is a pathetic plea for Obama to intervene in the public debate over race relations and award 'victory' to Williams and Bill Cosby, as if it were a cabinet appointment or something. Williams is like a petty and manipulative child who is always asking adults to sort out his problems for him.

On the one hand, what's wrong with asking? On the other hand, this is truly pathetic.

"Even Rich Lowry Is Impressed"

You've probably seen that line somewhere in blogosphere over the past couple days. Obama's putting the final touches on his victory has led to a brief orgy of self-congratulation, including remarks like Lowry's: "This is an historic moment... an amazing thing... and heartening about this country's capacity for progress." But 'even' is the wrong word here. 'Especially' is more apt. Right-wing pundits want to claim credit for something they had nothing to do with (don't hold your breath waiting for the Republicans to nominate a black presidential candidate) and are more than happy to engage in a moment of sanctimonious and self-congratulatory misty-eyedness about Obama in order to better position themselves for next week's punditry about how Bill Cosby has A1 solutions to all the nation's racial ills. Good riddance.


Is it just me, or is the drawing that accompanies Anthony Lane's review of "Sex in the City" disturbingly reminiscent of one of those vaguely misogynistic de Koonings?

Trouble For Franken

Note that he's a 'satirist,' not a 'comedian.' (Is this another mac vs. PC or Dunkin' Donuts vs. Starbucks thing?)

McCain Campaign Strategy: Use Corrupt Surrogates...

... and have them ruefully confess "McCain is just so much more principled than me."

I finally understand why McCain surrounds himself with lobbyists - to show how principled he is by comparison!

Benjamin Netanyahu to Hire Karl Rove?


Intentional Communities Getting a Bad Rap?

That's "commune" to you...

Question From The Peanut Gallery


Does anyone else find it a bit absurd that we've reached a point where a major party presidential nominee needs to protest defensively that he hates war?

Alternate Universe?


Poll: Public Assents to Media Wet Dream

Why does anyone put any stock in these polls at all? Most people don't really give a shit about Hillary being on the ticket or not being on the ticket, but they say yes when asked... why? Because it seems superficially logical. Because they're really not familiar with the other possibilities. Because elements of the media have been pumping up the "dream ticket" for so long. It's the perfect example of an echo chamber generated by a pathetic media wet dream.

Is the average poll respondent going to say, "No, I want Janet Napolitano!" Pretty doubtful.

Missing Ted Koppel

Unlike some Obama supporters, I don't pretend that any media coverage of him that's not 100% positive is some sort of Murdoch/Conrad Black/Karl Rove/ghost of George Wallace conspiracy. But the other night, ABC's Nightline ran probably the stupidest piece of so-called journalism I've ever seen, a completely idiotic Jake Tapper hit piece, "Obama's Top 10 Worst VP choices" - basically an excuse to trot out the names of Ayers, Wright, Rezko, etc., without actually having to any real reporting or analysis on issues that matter. Get the joke? Ayers should be Obama's running mate! Or Tony Rezko! You can start laughing now. Or crying.

I really wonder what Ted Koppel would say about this sort of garbage running on Nightline.

Yes, No, Sometimes, Maybe

Do red light cameras actually improve traffic safety? Do they increase moving violation ticket revenue, or do they so effectively reduce red-light running that they actually decrease ticket revenue? LA Times says yes, no, sometimes, maybe.

Senior Moment Gaffe Thingys

Sorry, but there's no comparison between forgetting where you are on the campaign trail and "forgetting" the difference between Sunni and Shia.

Father's Day Couldn't Save Them

From the WSJ's recent story on the impending demise of the Men's Dress Furnishings Association, a trade group for the tie/neckwear industry:

Some members of the neckwear association sensed the trend two years ago when, at the group's annual luncheon in New York, a number of people turned up tieless.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Rezko (Sans Skeezy Mustache!) Found Guilty

One RNC e-mail for each count?

Presidential Beards

Via Sullivan. I think we need Poblano (er, Nate Silver) to crunch some numbers on this stuff.

Personally, I think it's a bullish year for political facial hair.

Better Backdrops for McCain


Hillary's Ready For Her Close-Up!

Ben Smith, among others, is pointing out the hilarity of this headline. But how about the hilarity of the fifth commenter's screen-name, "Norma Desmond" - please tell me that's a joke.

Describing the Dap

While there's certainly a generation gap aspect to this, MTV seems at least as much at wit's end as the MSMers.

Pianist: Music Is Not Sound!

And whatever you do, don't buy my records!

21st Century Literacy Education

Sounds like something Bill Clinton might have benefited from.

Bait And Switch

Obvious, but still worth spelling out. Nobody takes the peace process very seriously right now, largely because of the weakness of the leaders involved. And from the standpoint of AIPAC, why bother discussing the peace process when you can raise so much more money off Ahmadinejad?

Poetic Justice


Emo Is No Suicide Cult!


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Jeffrey Goldberg on Clinton/Purdum

Money quote:

Perhaps the silliest bit of his memo concerns what Carson calls Vanity Fair's "penchant for libel, which has led to numerous lawsuits." Magazines do commit libel on occasion, of course, and I don't believe, like some in journalism, that suing for libel is immoral, but to suggest that a publication is unethical because it is frequently sued for libel is akin to suggesting that a person is pro-crime because he has been frequently mugged.

Yglesias: McCain Embracing Hamas Color Scheme?


Bashful Drudge?

Drudge's headline for yesterday's Politico story on him: "POLITICO: WHO IS MATT DRUDGE?" I'm not sure that really captures the point of the story, which was basically an allegation of Obamaphilia (albeit based more on commercial than political considerations).

Applebee's Phantom Salad Bar


More Power To You, Kenny Perry

I like Perry's ballsy decision to skip the US Open. Who knows his golf game better than he does? Who is some lousy golf columnist to second-guess a guy who's made a strategic long-term decision to skip a major because... well, no matter what the reason is! (And it's actually a pretty good reason: he wants to represent the US in the Ryder Cup at Valhalla in his home state of Kentucky.)

Juan Cole's Advice To Obama

If you must go to Iraq, meet with Sistani.

Speaking of Hummers...

... maybe the Governator won't be much help to McCain in turning California red this fall, if the latest Field poll is to be believed. (Arnold down to 41% approval rating.)

Case of the Missing "Hummer Discontinued" Clause


Stoller Wants Wes Clark For Veep

As a Clark supporter in '04, I can't say I'm against this choice, but I can't really say I'm for it either.

After seeing Ron Paul campaign over the last year, I have to say that the libertarian icon reminds me of a lot of Clark (and has thus clarified for me some of Clark's problems as a politician - the disarming ingenuousness that comes off on television as anti-charisma, the too-short-for-politics haircut, the deer-in-headlights look. And then there's Clark's ridiculous sweaters... (MoDo isn't gonna let you get away with argyle sweaters! Duh!)

This Pretty Much Rules Out Condi as McCain's Veep...


Speaking of No Quarter...

Check out the third comment on this post. Apparently now we're looking into Obama's wife's brother's Princeton senior thesis. These "Democrats" are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to elect John McCain.

And For What?

In retrospect the RBC protest was a huge mistake for the Clintons. "Unleashing" her hardcore supporters demonstrated not only the stupidity and venality of the No Quarter-types but also their complete disregard for the Democratic Party. The whole episode really made the Clintons look terrible - and utterly incompetent at PR management. And for what? An excuse to stay in the race for another week?

Travesty of A Mockery of a Sham

I think it's kind of an open secret that all of Sedaris's books are 'realish,' not just the latest one. It's an embarrassment that talented writers like Sedaris have to deal with these ridiculous questions of marketing and categorization just so that people like Jack Shafer and Oprah don't get their underwear in a bunch.

Screeching All The Way to the End

Insert your own Clinton joke.

A Whole Nation of Appeasers!

I suspect this is the sort of thing where the Obama position wins in the generic polling but McCain wins the specific question of who's better to deal with Iran.

Appeasers in Israel, too!

Nebraska Polling Shows Opening For Obama

New polling out of Nebraska, which allocates its electoral votes by CD, shows not one but two CDs potentially in play this fall.

Let's Hope His Wife Isn't Looking

Kos disses Puerto Rico (at least its oversized delegate share).

Wexler For Veep II

He's starting to get noticed...

When confronted with viral e-mails (of the Obama-Muslim or Obama-bad-for-Israel genre) forwarded to me by my West Palm Beach grandparents, I've taken to responding: "Don't take my word for it - listen to that nice Jewish boy Robert Wexler!"


Great NHL Finals game last night, eh? Detroit is clearly the superior team and will end up winning the series, but it's amazing how much of an equalizer a talented goalie like Fleury can be.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Teenagers Tax

Pandering and political myopia here, there, and everywhere!