Friday, July 31, 2009

Errr, Errr

Ed Kilgore unloads on Southerners who give the South a bad name. ("Errr errr" is apparently a transcription of George Voinovich doing a Southern accent. You know, in case that's not obvious.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

No Dogs Need Apply


Nice MoDo Phrase

The arc of race relations in America: "From Jim Crow to Jim Crowley." (I can't wait for her column on the birthers.)

Cuba's Craigslist


An Irreverent Curiousity

"In Search of the Church's Strangest Relic [Jesus's foreskin] in Italy's Oddest Town." Book rec of the day.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Zebra is Really a Painted Donkey

Sharon Weinberger visits a zoo in Gaza.

Pictures from a Drawer

"Prison and the Art of Portraiture." Book rec of the day.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mexico Reading the United States

"In a time of ever-increasing migration of capital and human beings, this book turns on its head the usual perspective of U.S. economic and cultural dominance in order to deepen understanding of the bi-national relationship." Book rec of the day.

Birther Queen Bee

OC Weekly profile of Orly Taitz - dentist, lawyer, Tae Kwon Do black belt, and birther extraordinaire.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Final Solution Black Forest Cake

Bit of (tasty-sounding!) tastelessness from Heeb's German issue.

Monday, July 20, 2009

First Tom Watson, Now Hershel McGriff


Skip Gates Arrested Trying to "Break Into" His Own Home, Claims Racism

Call me a classic classless classist, but is it too much to ask that police officers should recognize famous scholars who live in their towns? (And why doesn't the AP report say which town?)

UPDATE: We now know that the town in question is Cambridge, Mass.

Enough With the Michael Jackson Tributes!

From Bill Maher's facebook feed: "Enough with these Michael Jackson tributes. Last night, I turned on the baseball game; all the players on the field were wearing one glove."

Annals of Democracy in Peril

If you were a Congressman, would you stick your head in an oven if a lobbyist paid you? That might be pushing it, but you'd certainly jump out of a plane! (As any strict constructionist will tell you, skydiving for coal industry lucre is a First Amendment right.)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Middle East Cyber-War

"In recent years, cyber-attacks by Iran and its allies have become a major risk to Israeli computer systems. One notable example: the sophisticated cyber-operation during Israel’s military incursion into Gaza earlier this year. At the peak of the attack, Israeli government sites received 15 million junk-mail deliveries per second from at least half a million computers. The Web site for the Home Front Command, which instructs citizens how to protect themselves from rocket attacks, temporarily went dark, as did dozens of other government sites, including one for Israel’s secret service... In fact, the Technolytics Institute, a U.S.-based think tank specializing in cybersecurity, ranks Iran as one of the top five cyber-threats in the world, with capabilities comparable to those of China and Russia. That’s not to say that Israel, home to some of the world’s leading high-tech companies, is defenseless. But the digital battlefield looks a lot more even than the real one."


Don't expect to see this effort from Hamas's production studio at the Oscars...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lagging, Nipping, and Tucking Indicators

Spending on cosmetic surgery appears to be on the upswing...

Is Zell Miller Racist? Gorilla Glue Doesn't Care!

Gorilla Glue is content simply to bask in publicity... (I personally had never heard of it before)

Days Undefiled by Luxury or Sloth


The Most Controversial Dictionary in the English Language


A User's Guide to Man Boobs


Master Race of Gnomes

Does an artist's gold-colored gnome giving a stiff-armed Hitler salute violates Germany's strict laws against the use of Nazi symbols? Money quote:

"I'd have been executed by the Nazis if I had portrayed the 'super race' as gnomes in 1942," the 59-year-old German artist was quoted telling Stern magazine's online edition.

Why wasn't Sotomayor asked about her position on gnomes?

Victim of Judicial Tyranny, or the Most Hardheaded Man in America?


California Just Can't Catch a Break


Happy Mandela Day


What's A Nice Jewish Studies Prof Doing In A Place Like This?

The Forward's Jacob Bender profiles Mohamed Hawary, Egypt's pre-eminent scholar of Jewish studies.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I'll Stick With "Mind the Gap," Thank You Very Much

Snippets of Gandhi and Shakespeare make random intrusions on London's public transport.

It's Okay When Republicans Do It

Tom Coburn suddenly takes an interest in foreign law...

New Bio of General William DePuy


The Decline of the Israeli Peace Movement

In an interesting article for Boston Review, Helena Cobban points out that there was a time not so long ago when Israeli Jewish voices for Arab-Israeli reconciliation far outweighed the American Jewish voices -- but now the situation is reversed. This is partly due to the marginalization of the peace movement within Israel, but also to the increasing self-assurance of the peace movement among American Jews... and the inverse relationship is not entirely coincidental.

Amusement on the Teevee

Did anyone else notice Jim Cramer dressed in a SpongeBob suit the other night? I can't seem to find the video anywhere.

Career-Ending - Oh, Really?

Glenn Thrush challenges Lindsey Graham's statement that Sotomayor's "Wise Latina" remark would have ended the career of a self-professed "every-day white guy" like Graham.

Another Ill-Advised Michael Jackson Tribute


Israel's Palin?


Guitar Hero Is Dead - Long Live Guitar Hero!

From the inbox:

Come Watch Yale School of Music Alumni play video games with real guitars!

WHAT: "Guitar Hero is Dead" -- a public video game battle/concert hybrid
WHEN: Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 10:30 p.m. Modal Kombat begins around 11pm.
WHERE: Monkeytown
58 N 3rd St. (btw.Kent & Wythe) Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY 11211
ph: 718-384-1369
For Reservations (recommended), visit:
TICKETS: Free with $10 food/drink minimum
MORE INFO: or call 347-525-5744

The Eternal Billy Mays

Pitchman in death as in life.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Ultimate Fantasy Baseball


Sunday, July 12, 2009


"The Chewing Gum of the Americas, From the Ancient Maya to William Wrigley." Book rec of the day.

How To Build a Self-Watering Mini-Garden


Honduras Punditry Based On Views of Constitutionalism, Or Views of Hugo Chavez?

Interesting guest essay in TNR on constitutionalism and the Honduran "coup," even though the author's contention that "so where you come down on Honduras really depends on which view of constitutions you favor" is a bit silly. There are actually quite a few other factors in where people "come down on" Honduras, and I'd bet the banana plantation that most commentators (from Mary Anastasia O'Grady to Noam Chomsky) are not really basing their views on any firm precepts of constitutionalism.

Ongoing Family Dispute Expands Into Full-On War...

... between Jan Lundberg, writer and enviro-activist, and his sister, Trilby Lundberg, over the family business, petroleum industry research firm Lundberg Survey. In his latest 'Culture Change' missive Jan rips into a recent report by Lundberg Survey, headed by Trilby, about climate change legislation circulating on Capitol Hill.


NYT has an interesting story on Howard Wolfson's about-face on Michael Bloomberg:

As a master strategist for the New York Democratic Party, Mr. Wolfson worked with a handful of other elite party operatives to lay out a grand plan to defeat Mr. Bloomberg in the 2005 mayoral race, writing in an internal memo, “Michael Bloomberg is an out-of-touch billionaire who can’t relate to the problems of ordinary New Yorkers.” When the mayor tried to impose nonpartisan elections in the city, Mr. Wolfson called it a “cynical power grab.” When he spent tens of millions of dollars of his own money to bankroll his re-election, Mr. Wolfson said such spending “distorts the terms of the debate.” He impugned Mr. Bloomberg’s attempt to build a West Side stadium (an “out-of whack-priority”) and even criticized his beloved “Gates,” the saffron cloth panels arrayed through Central Park by the artist Christo (“shmattes on sticks”).

Now Wolfson is part of Bloomberg's campaign team.

Kazakhstan = Borat, and Lance Armstrong!

I hadn't realized that a bevy of state-owned companies from Kazakhstan are funding the powerhouse Astana cycling team that includes Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong. (And apparently the Kazakhs plan to lavish money on proven stars for a few years to build up Astana's credibility, after which they can pack the team with home-grown Kazakh talent. Uh-huh. Good luck with that!)

Friday, July 10, 2009



Axis of Evil and Beyond

The New York Philharmonic continues to break down boundaries...

Did Gavin Newsom Really Not Know About the Panic Button?


Book Club for the Homeless


Thursday, July 09, 2009

Leaving No Stone Unturned

In the inbox today, from New York City Councilman and City Comptroller candidate David Yassky: "Join New York's most exciting campaign on Tuesday, July 14th as we work the Midnight Harry Potter lines... you'll see my staff in costume, and you may even see me in full Harry Potter attire!"


An extremely damning look inside the Netanyahu government.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Strategic Ambiguity

Mickey Kaus sees Joe Biden as the perfect diplomatic weapon.

Aruba, Cancun, Florence, Venice, Whistler...

Mother Jones obtains the travel records of Federal Trade Commissioners.

Bamboo Bicycles

If you got an offer for a share in the profits of an African bamboo-bicycle manufacturer, your first thought would probably be "this is a pretty weird 419 scam." Au contraire....

From One Strong Woman to Another

Porn star and possible Louisiana Senate candidate Stormy Daniels reaches out to Sarah Palin, saying "I am looking forward to taking the opportunity to discuss with Governor Palin--as one strong woman to another-- how we can best restore responsibility to our families and to our nation.”

The Forgotten Holocaust in the East

Tim Snyder (whose magnificent Eastern European history lecture course I took in college) on the perils of letting Auschwitz dominate our consciousness of the Holocaust:

The very reasons that we know something about Auschwitz warp our understanding of the Holocaust: we know about Auschwitz because there were survivors, and there were survivors because Auschwitz was a labor camp as well as a death factory. These survivors were largely West European Jews, because Auschwitz is where West European Jews were usually sent. After World War II, West European Jewish survivors were free to write and publish as they liked, whereas East European Jewish survivors, if caught behind the iron curtain, could not. In the West, memoirs of the Holocaust could (although very slowly) enter into historical writing and public consciousness.

As horrible as it was, Auschwitz was only a small part of the Holocaust. Few Polish Jews and almost no Soviet Jews (the two largest groups of victims) died at Auschwitz. Several years ago while visiting an overgrown, out-of-the-way and almost completely anonymous mass grave outside Svencionys, Lithuania, it struck me, as it strikes Snyder, that here are victims who have no Primo Levi to represent them, but whose story needs to be told, too.


Shmuel Rosner: Don't blame George Mitchell for being a wee bit suspicious of Ehud Barak's claims about dismantling illegal outposts.

Michael Jackson's Political Influence From Beyond the Grave

Fans of MJ set up a fundraising page for whomever challenges Jackson-hating Rep. Peter King.

RIP John Orman

Without him there might not have been a Ned Lamont.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Eerie Hitler Parallels

Holocaust Museum shooter James Von Brunn's career as a young artist...

Paging Maxwell Smart


Settlements and the Peace Process

Gershom Gorenberg shows just how deeply the comically self-unaware Ehud Barak doesn't get it:

According to a piece by Ben Caspit and Merav David in yesterday’s print edition of Ma’ariv, when Barak met U.S. envoy George Mitchell in New York, he told him that in 2000 “I was the Israeli prime minister who took the most bold steps to make peace, and that year also saw the greatest extent of new construction.” For Barak this was proof that building like mad doesn’t get in the way of negotiations. Alas for a country with men like this as leaders... That’s precisely one of the things that foiled his negotiating efforts. The building shattered trust before Barak ever got to Camp David.

For the full story of the myth of Camp David myth that Barak has been egotistically nurturing for the last eight years, read Malley/Agha.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Fourth of July Quotation

"There are two visions of America. One precedes our founding fathers and finds its roots in the harshness of our puritan past. It is very suspicious of freedom, uncomfortable with diversity, hostile to science, unfriendly to reason, contemptuous of personal autonomy. It sees America as a religious nation. It views patriotism as allegiance to God. It secretly adores coercion and conformity. Despite our constitution, despite the legacy of the Enlightenment, it appeals to millions of Americans and threatens our freedom.

The other vision finds its roots in the spirit of our founding revolution and in the leaders of this nation who embraced the age of reason. It loves freedom, encourages diversity, embraces science and affirms the dignity and rights of every individual. It sees America as a moral nation, neither completely religious nor completely secular. It defines patriotism as love of country and of the people who make it strong. It defends all citizens against unjust coercion and irrational conformity.

This second vision is our vision. It is the vision of a free society. We must be bold enough to proclaim it and strong enough to defend it against all its enemies."

-- Rabbi Sherman Wine

The Perfect Climate Model


Friday, July 03, 2009

Beyond America's Grasp: A Century of Failed Diplomacy in the Middle East


Happy 4th of July

Troy Patterson on why fireworks suck.

Bullwinkle Assassinated!

The real reason for the Palin resignation...

Bob McDonnell's Misplaced Nostalgia

DKos's Steve Singiser points out that the best year of economic growth under Bush 43 would have been the third WORST year under Bill Clinton. What was McDonnell thinking?

Preacher Man

Picking up on a Michael Barone insight, Nate Silver looks at the question of whether Mike Huckabee is a legitimate GOP presidential prospect or "the new Jesse Jackson." As Silver points out, given the importance of evangelicals within the GOP, if Huckabee actually won a similar percentage of evangelical votes as Jackson won black votes, he could win the nomination - but he didn't do that in 2008. To win in 2012 or 2016, Huckabee would need to either substantially broaden his appeal to economic and national security conservatives, or to maneuver other Christian right candidates out of the race to monopolize the values vote.