Of course, every time I see one I'm reminded of my favorite elftor cartoon of all-time.
This TNR Piece is amazing. Lizza neatly deconstructs the race for DNC chair:
In hindsight, the boozy requiem wasn't just for Hindery, but for an era. The DNC chair race has exposed deep fissures within the Democratic Party. Some of these are ideological, but the real story of the race is the diffusion of power away from Washington and to new people and entities that have rushed to fill the power vacuum at the top of the party. When the Democrats control the White House, the president can simply pick the chair of the party. But, even when out of power, Democratic pooh-bahs traditionally rally around a consensus figure and present him to the DNC members as a fait accompli. An open process with all the trappings of a modern political campaign--including a seven-candidate field, fund-raising, regional debates, and smear campaigns in the press--is unprecedented in the party's history. To many Washington Democrats watching the circus-like contest from afar, it has been an embarrassment. "I think it's pathetic," says James Carville. "It's so indicative of the Democratic Party. Now we're just playing into every stereotype: We're weak, disorganized, flopping around. ... Somebody should have fixed this damn thing in November. I wish someone would have taken charge and three or four people would have gotten together in a smoke-filled room. ... They're not running for president! They are running for party chair. This is supposed to be a rigged deal. You think the Republicans would do it this way?"
But every attempt to rig the race failed, revealing that the levers of power in the Democratic Party have shifted out of Washington's hands. From the congressional leadership to the governors to the Clintons, top Democrats were all terrified of a Dean victory. They believe he will turn what is essentially a low-key fund-raising and management position into a lightning rod for GOP attacks, eclipsing other voices and emphasizing exactly the elements of the party that weeks of postelection soul-searching had determined the Democrats needed to play down (e.g., its liberal stance on cultural issues and its weakness on national security). And yet none of them could stop him.
I'd post the entire piece but since anyone can just click over, I recommend they do that themselves. Using my special link, of course.
My cable was out, so I watched a half-hour of Stealing Beauty and listened to Invader Zim commentary instead of watching the State of the Union. (I’d much rather the person trying to ravage my existence call me a “filthy Earth-monkey” to my face, rather than “my fellow Americans”…)
But my friend Melissa Tritter was on NPR this morning. Apparently those Tufts kids followed the speech quite closely.
The funniest thing I've read all day is this chat with Newsweek's Baghdad bureau chief, Rod Nordland. It's like the movie, Liar Liar, he just can't stop being honest.
Hopatcong, NJ: [yadda, yadda, yadda] Why don't you [reporters] have the gumption to call a spade a spade?
Rod Nordland: OK, you're an idiot. How's that?
All this and trenchant analysis of the Iraq situation, too.
Today I will be celebrating the 27th year of my existence by going skiing at Prospect. I know, there are other, uncharted territories where I should be out breaking ground, but I never lost the love for my old, familiar turf. To go to a place where the wooden deer still gaze out of upstairs windows, and where signs still warn to keep your gloves off the stove (it is HOT!) Today I will ski a trail between the old and the new - connecting the ghosts with visions of what is yet to come. Maybe you need to go back in time to see the future - or maybe, more than anywhere else in the world, this is where I want to be.
so i'm minding my own business, watching what is currently a rather lackluster season of 24, when on pops a new ad for the cherry vanilla diet dr. pepper.
i'd link to it, but can't seem to find it anywhere - but i will send you this way towards the inspiration for the spot - enjoy! and if anyone finds the actual ad, please let me know...
I'm avarice, melancholy, sloth and discord.
This happens to me in DC a lot. I find about some hip music-related event, let's take for this instance last night's monthly moving New Wave 80s dance party, Strange Love. I psychologically steel my ego in advance for all those immaculately yet shabbily donned and coiffed hipsters doing their best (but not their very best) tongue-in-cheek Human League impressions. I ready myself for the attitude at the door, at the bar, at the dj booth ... only to find that I am the chic hipster, and my friends are the somewhat awkwardly but well-dressedly bored crowd prone to enthusiastic bouts of dancing when they condescend that the music is cool enough.
I LOVE IT.
The "scene" in DC exists, but it's a friendly one. In New York, say, or at my alma mater, it was a competitive sport.
Strange Love is a perfect example. Someone forwards you an email. You visit the website, RSVP, and get in for free (this month it was at Zucchabar, a comfortably divey-chic train-car space on Columbia). In any other city you would expect either the tragically hip or gaggles of sorostitutes assuming the garb of their favorite John Hughes characters. In The District you somehow, luckily, get the best possible group for an evening of dancing to self-indulgent music from the me-generation - the unembarrassed.
When my friend and I arrive around 10pm, we pass by the utterly attitudeless doorperson and bouncers and enjoy ludicrously expensive drinks out of plastic cups while awaiting the rest of our posse. Although the floor is a little sparse when we first show up, groups are already eagerly gettin' down to "I Wear My Sunglasses at Night." The music does not disappoint. The entire night. The floor packs and jams at a comfortable pace. The DJ is friendly and amenable to suggestion. I am probably the most eightiesed-out cat in the joint. In the cute unisex bathroom, gaggles of girls cramming into one stall to blow their noses are nowhere to be seen. This is, after all, DC.
Overall? I'd give it an A+ for awesome. Go with your dancingest friends. I'll see you there.
(We cap off an evening of spastic dancing with a little Amsterdam Falafel. If you haven't been, run don't walk. There's something strangely satisfying about self-serve falafel pockets. Mmmmm garlic sauce ...)
I have been trying to put the largely un(der)employed hours of my post-graduate life toward discovering how to take what I do naturally and turn it into some sort of lucrative career. Turns out some bastard's gone and done it already.
In an LA Times article highlighted by News of the Weird, editor Frank Kelly Rich has this to say:
Calling serious drinkers an "oppressed minority," Rich said he himself has about eight drinks a day, sometimes up to 30 (when he frequently blacks out). Said Rich's wife, of her husband's career, "When you find your calling, you have to go with it."
I'm glad to finally find my very own oppressed minority to belong to, but I'm not just a little upset that Rich has found MY calling. Modern Multiple Substance Abuser just doesn't have the same ring to it.
While checking out the latest TNR I came across one of the most amusing headlines to a story ever: "Character Education by Steve Hely" - How the Secretary of Education can fight a smarter, more effective war against lesbian cartoon characters.
Thinking such a story had to be at least half as amusing as the title, I decided to go ahead and peruse. I was wrong. The story was at least twice as amusing as the title. Go read it yourself. Here's a small highlight sans spoiler:
For too long we've allowed the Department of Education to go unequipped, while lesbians and children only grow stronger. The sooner the Secretary of Education has human intelligence and first-strike capability, the better.
Yes, indeed, the department with a red barn out in front might need some new humint.
If you're interested in reading other blogs opinions about Gonzales, be sure to checkout the No to Gonzales website. If you have a blog or a website you maintain and would like to add a link to the list, head over there as well. Some other guy named Ed had this to say.
And I don't want to hear any hair-splitting on what constitutes "torture." This is not cheerleading camp, Rush, it's a violation of basic human rights, countless treaties to which we are a party, a violation of international and U.S. law, and a morally reprehensible enterprise. It's beating prisoners. It's using attack dogs as terror tactics. It's raping and abusing women.
I will have NO MERCY for ANYONE who votes Yea on Gonzales, because he has helped destroy America. We are no longer the standard bearer of human rights and freedom across the globe. We're more like the man who beats his wife for the first time — no matter how you try to apologize or repudiate your actions or convince me that you're not like that, that you'll never do it again, the fact of the matter remains that you hit your wife
Edward that is the craziest answer I have ever heard. If you ask me we should do the opposite of all this crap and actually do something useful. How about we doing nothing. I am sorry but if you live in DC you know what we are facing. I am talking about all the stupid barriers that have been put up around all the government buildings. Has everyone gone mad. Ok so lets get into it, I will make the assumption that terrorist are low tech. How would I go about scaring a massive population, well lets see I think I guy and a son did that about three years ago with nothing more then a high powered rifle. What else well if you want to cause problems a good way is to disrupt traffic. I believe it was in '99 when one man on the Wilson Bridge cause one of the most ridiculous traffic jams in DC. That isn't hard to do and you don't even have to die for that. I mean Edward has it right about the train and fire it doesn't take a lot. Now lets assume these people are smart well I don't see how our government could prevent computer viruses from destroying our systems infrastructure. Anyway with all these regular easy possibilities whats the point. I am fine living in a state of fear. I mean look at people in Iraq they do it everyday. I am not voting with the "evil doers" I am just saying we are spending money on some stupid shit. Lets think about this, Bush cuts taxes but increases spending. Well now I don't know a lot about this but it seems that we are spending alot on Homeland Security and Defence. Well I bet if we cut Homeland Security and didn't go to war we wouldn't have such a bad budget and perhaps another tax cut could happen. Am I the only one in this country who would rather be free then safe. Perhaps the Pres would think twice about the way in which he deals with another country if he had to worry about the reaction from its people. Think about it, thats all I am asking.
I've had this conversation several times with co-workers over the past days, on the heels of a report I saw estimating the costs of arming every passenger plane with anti-missile defense systems. Let's roll the tape:
The report estimated that it would cost $11 billion to install laser jammers on the 6,800 planes in the U.S. commercial fleet and $2.1 billion a year to maintain the systems.
The report acknowledged that the loss of even one commercial jetliner to a shoulder-fired missile would be significant, estimating the cost of the aircraft and legal settlement of numerous deaths at $1 billion. The cost could grow to $15 billion over several months from a single attack, if travelers were then reluctant to fly, the report said. "Well-financed terrorists will likely always be able to devise a Manpads attack scenario that will defeat whatever countermeasures have been installed, although countermeasures can make such attacks considerably more difficult and less frequent," the report said. "Installing countermeasures to Manpads attacks may simply divert terrorist efforts to less protected opportunities for attack."
Now, my initial reaction, colored by recent events, was that the entire reason for the study seemed suspect. Let's recall the latest disruptions to the varied American transit systems. On September 11th, of course, hijackers used knives and mace to capture four aircraft. More recently, a homeless man started a fire to stay warm, permanently crippling NYC's MTA system and a handyman's aborted suicide attempt caused the deadliest rail accident in six years.
So, in order of weapons, we have:
- Knives and (possibly) mace.
- A trash fire.
- Parking a car in the wrong place.
More troubling, two of these three scenarios didn't involve terrorists, but just ordinary people...one of which was a complete accident, the other surely not intended to harm others. I just don't understand why any terrorist would seek to acquire Man-pad systems to shoot down aircraft when they could pay a bum to disable an entire transit system. Or park their car on some railroad tracks. These aren't sophisticated attacks. But they all should be easily preventable without spending billions of dollars. If my house can have a smoke alarm, why not an important computer switching center? If a Chrysler can have a deer avoidance system on it, why not a train? These aren't billion dollar solutions: they're simple common sense. Something we desperately need more of if we're going to be serious about terrorism.
If I install a fancy $10,000 alarm system on my house, but fail to have any $2 smoke detectors, I am to blame if a fire starts. We need to focus on fires before we try to prevent the master thieves...
...whose unceasing quest for stories yields a never-ending font of shocking revelations.
Update for the lazy:
I always attribute these sorts of mistakes to interns in Atlanta who are having fun...but maybe they really are that stupid.
So I’ve been mum about my misadventures, thinking no one cared. Apparently I stand corrected (or maybe not, since I don’t live in the DW house, or even in DC).
But lately I’ve had more than a few. Case in point, I punctured another tire last night.
Three things galled me about the experience. A) It’s my fourth flat in exactly two weeks, and on a brand-new tire (thankfully insured and under warranty). B) I’d had a night of exercise, Lean Cuisine, CSI, and a bath planned that was ruined. C) I pulled into the Baltimore Convention Center drop-off area, and the guards/reception people just watched as I changed it.
Two weeks ago in DC (see below), despite the rain, time, and location (or maybe because of those factors) I was twice asked if I needed help or a phone (once from a middle-aged white woman, the second time from a young African-American couple, for those doing theses on race relations in auto crises contexts). Yet at the Convention Center, whose job it is to make the city attractive, not one person, employee or otherwise, offered to help.
Of course, I was bundled in my winter clothes (read: camouflaged army jacket) so, frankly, I looked like a terrorist or militia nut. But if that was the case, you’d think they’d call the cops or something. (Then I really would have had a story to tell, assuming I survived—"This is the police! Drop the tire iron now, smart guy!"). But no, they just sat watching.
No, it’s not their job to help me (and they did let me in to watch the tire schmutz off my hands) and it was damn cold. But I would have liked to have engendered some reaction from them—positive or negative. All they had to do was come out and say, “Do you need a hand?” or “Can we call a tow?” and I would have said, “No, I got it; thank you, sir” and I would have had a totally different impression of the evening. Instead, I was gawked at like a zoo exhibit.
And what if I had been a convention-goer from another city? What impression would that have left? I’m always trying to convince people Baltimore’s pretty cool, and usually it is, but nights like last night make me feel somewhat dumb for being the apologist.
And of course, NTB was out of my replacement tire, so I’ve left my car in Columbia since the parents were nice enough to help me out. I’m left with the amusing task of trying to parallel park my ’rents’ minivan in the meantime. At least it has a CD player….