Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Different Kind of Oscars Blog

This is the first year that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences will be using a system known as instant-runoff voting (IRV) for Best Picture balloting. The Center for Voting and Democracy, which helps to design voting systems, is blogging about it here. And you can practice your IRV chops by voting on a sample Oscars ballot here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sigh of Relief For SF Tourism Authorities

Sea lions return to Pier 39.

Conan Joins Twitter

"I had a show. Then I had a different show. Now I have a Twitter account." (And he's currently outpacing the Dalai Lama -- another recent entrant into the twittersphere -- in followers.)

Egyptian Cold Case Files

The miracle of DNA reveals that King Tut probably suffered from a club foot and died of malaria.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Orwellian Penis-Speak

I had been reading about the candidates in the Republican gubernatorial primary in Texas falling over themselves to be the most far-right fringe candidate when I came across this conceptually similar article about condom failure. In terms of marketing don't even bother with 75% of the spectrum: "vanity sizing is the answer."

Can The Jewish Deli Survive the Sustainable Food Movement?

A perfect debate for North Berkeley (gosh I miss California)... in food as in life "authenticity" is indeed a "moving target."

Merrick Alpert's Consolation Prize

He may be down 50 points in the polls, but his unconventional tweeting is like poetry!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sinister Yogis

"Since the 1960s, yoga has become a billion-dollar industry in the West, attracting housewives and hipsters, New Agers and the old aged. Marketed as a clear path to self-realization, mind expansion, and taut abs, yoga is also perceived as an ancient and unchanging Indian tradition based on the revelations of benign and limber sages. But this modern conception of yoga derives from nineteenth-century European spirituality, Sinister Yogis reveals, and the true story of yoga’s origins in South Asia is far richer, stranger, and much more entertaining." Book rec of the day. (Great title - should be a band name.)

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Binational State Right In Front Of Our Noses

Nathaniel Berman:

“One-state” is neither a “solution” nor a “dream” nor a “nightmare”: it is what we have now, have had for almost 43 years, and likely will have for the next several decades. What kind of state is this “one-state”? It’s a state in which some live under military occupation (Arabs in the West Bank and Golan), some live under blockade by the army of the “one-state” (Gazans), some are routinely discriminated against and told that their identity is not that of the state (Israeli Arabs), some have full democratic rights (Israeli Jews), and some have de facto extralegal power (Jewish settlers). Everyone who lives in, or is passionate about, Israel, must face that reality and consider its ethical implications. For example, should full civil and political rights be given to all inhabitants of the “one-state,” including all Palestinians? Or, on the contrary, should the granting of such rights be limited by the Green Line, whose erasure was the explicit goal not only of the settler movements but also of all previous Likud governments beginning in 1977? How can such a limitation on rights be morally justified given that the erasure of the Green Line has been at least partly achieved,and has been maintained in law in a manner designed precisely to limit such rights?

Camps: A Guide to 21st-Century Space

"What is a camp? In August 2005, television news showed viewers an estimated 20,000 Katrina evacuees camped out in the Superdome, Cindy Sheehan protesting the Iraq War on President Bush's doorstep in "Camp Casey," Texas, and Israeli and Palestinian young people at the Seeds of Peace Camp in Maine discussing the evacuation of settlement camps in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, off camera, summer campers all over America packed up their gear, preparing to depart Scout camps, computer camps, and sports camps, and millions of recreational vehicles owners were on the road, permanent itinerant campers. In Camps, Charlie Hailey examines the space and idea of camp as a defining dimension of 21st-century life." Book rec of the day.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Who'd You Rather Be - Greece or California?


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Truth Stranger Than Fiction

Could the Taliban be genetically linked to Jews?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Never Missing an Opportunity To Miss An Opportunity

Harry Reid fails to use Dems' Senate majority to political advantage by making Scott Brown filibuster on his first vote.

GOP Valentine's Day Cards


Sunday, February 07, 2010

Martha Stewart Meets Randall Terry

A Wisconsin pro-life group wants you to wear a cut-out Tim Tebow mask during the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl By The Numbers


Saturday, February 06, 2010

New Canard In The Echo Chamber

Is the issue of universal voter registration (over which Barney Frank and WSJ journalist John Fund have lately been sparring) the right's new "fairness doctrine" - a fake issue producing collective insanity?

The Mask Slips

So we now know that Republican Senator Richard Shelby has been holding up confirmation of dozens of nominees for important positions in the federal government, including some positions related to homeland security and counter-terrorism. Shelby intends to forestall votes on the nominees until he gets approval for lucrative pork projects in his state. Thus in a single stroke Shelby has wiped away the Republican Party's phony claim to being the party of fiscal responsibility and the party of national security.

Teabaggers Vs. UNICEF

When teabaggers aren't worrying about the whereabouts of the President's birth certificate, apparently they're fretting about children having too many rights. Is there anything more pathetic than moderate politicians pandering to wingnuts in order to win a primary election?

Paying For Punctuation

Would you pay for the right to use a new punctuation mark?

The Final Insult

Heckuva Job Brownie picks the Colts in the Super Bowl.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Calling a Spade a Spade

Rep. Weiner agrees that Joe Lieberman is a dick.

Depressing Economic Indicator

People operating on their own pets because they can't afford a veterinarian.

Haiti As Campaign Issue

Blaming "blame America first" in Virginia's 8th CD. Berry seems pretty right-wing for a center-left district. If he wins the nomination he will surely get a nice check from pro-Israel groups which have been trying to get rid of Jim Moran for years. Berry should also get a nice check from manufacturers of erectile dysfunction drugs since Moran introduced a bill in 2009 that would have restricted broadcast advertisements for ED or male enhancement medication as being “indecent.” Interestingly, Berry was at the FCC at the time the bill was under consideration – he must have worked with Moran as the language was being drafted.

Tacking To The Center?

More evidence that Ned Lamont is going to take his left flank for granted and run as a pro-business centrist... which is fine so far as it goes... but alums of the Creigh Deeds campaign? In terms of moral hazard, failed political consultants sometimes look a lot like AIG executives.

Jihad and Genocide


Oh How The Mighty Have Fallen

Blogfather Glenn Reynolds is now linking to interviews with... Billy Baldwin?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Origins of Modern Politics

A fully illustrated inventory of the American Antiquarian Society's marvelous collection of European political prints is now online.

More Right-Wing Terrorism

Add this bizarre episode involving a tattoo with an offensive image of the President to the ever-lengthening annals of right-wing domestic terrorism.

Peter Morici Is A Media Whore

Is there anything University of Maryland economist Peter Morici will not say to get his name in the press? The notorious media hound's latest assault on truth is the claim that Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood is bullying Toyota because of the government's stake in Chrysler and GM. (Morici doesn't say this outright -- only that it's "bad optics"... which begs the question, why are journalists asking economists for their opinion of political optics?)

The Real Reason Not To Visit Vegas

My sentiments exactly. The predictable politics of violent over-reaction strikes again. Is there the slightest bit of evidence that the President's remarks have hurt Vegas tourism at all? Of course not. If Las Vegas's thin-skinned political class insists on attacking the President for a meaningless off-hand remark, then it can forgo the tourism dollars of those who think the President (the Office if not the man) should be treated with a modicum of respect.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Island Mentality

WaPo looks at Israel's diplomacy in Polynesia. It's an interesting piece and the idea of Israel forging a "moral majority" in the vast expanses of the Pacific Ocean tugs at one's heart-strings, but I think most people would say Micronesia and Nauru side with Israel at the UN not because of the persuasiveness of Israeli diplomacy but because those tiny nations are in the pocket of the US.

Surprise Bestseller

For reasons that are not at all clear, a new translation of 'Auntie Mame' has become a hit in Italy.

The Other Thing Ben Nelson Got For His Health Care Vote

The Nebraska Democratic Committee recently received a contribution of $459,760.00 from the DNC, according to its latest FEC report. The money has been used largely for TV ads supporting Nelson.

Art Museums Trash-Talk the Super Bowl

Indianapolis and New Orleans art museums agree to loan paintings based on the outcome of Saints vs. Colts.