... For somehow convincing Microsoft to produce and release this commercial for Internet Explorer 8, which may not merely be the worst tech commercial ever, but the worst commercial of any sort for anything in the history of things. Perhaps the makers of the ad were out sick the day their Intro to Marketing prof covered the topic of "avoiding the use of projectile vomiting to sell your product." If so, that would indeed be a cruel irony. (Also from a tech angle the ad just makes no sense -- other browsers have private browsing, and the capability of blocking certain sites, like the YouTube of Michelle Malkin in a cheerleader outfit, which I presume is what the fellow was looking at to cause that reaction in his wife.)
Warning: even for this blog, this is a genuinely revolting ad. It's not exactly NSFW; more like, it's just not, you know, safe.
Mark Sanford: "I never crossed the sex line". Does this sound vaguely familiar to anyone else? I'm sure we'll be hearing from the wingnut chastity brigade on their plans for the impeachment any time now....
Lefty journalist Todd Purdum has a hit piece in the new Vanity Fair
on Sarah Palin. You don’t have to be a big Palin fan to recognize the
article is full of dubious claims, and is dependent on self-serving
stories provided on background by some of the people who ran the McCain
campaign into the ground.
Here’s a highlight of Purdum’s reporting: “More than once in my
travels in Alaska, people brought up, without prompting, the question
of Palin’s extravagant self-regard. Several told me, independently of
one another, that they had consulted the definition of ‘narcissistic
personality disorder’ in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders--’a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or
behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy’--and thought it
fit her perfectly.”
Kristol doubts this:
Is there any real chance that "several" Alaskans independently told
Purdum that they had consulted the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders? I don’t believe it for a moment. I’ve (for better or
worse) moved in pretty well-educated circles in my life, and I’ve gone
decades without “several” people telling me they had consulted the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Well, jeez, they'd hardly say it to your face, Bill, for fear that you'd snap.
A handful of these no votes came from representatives who considered
the bill too weak, but most rejected the bill because they rejected the
whole notion that we have to do something about greenhouse gases. And
as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn't help thinking
that I was watching a form of treason — treason against the planet.
I frankly thought "treason against the planet" was something the Captain Planet writers might have decided was just too corny, and therefore I wished he'd come up with a different term. Though towards the end of the column Krugman does explain himself somewhat:
Still, is it fair to call climate denial a form of treason? Isn't it politics as usual?
Yes, it is — and that's why it's unforgivable.
you remember the days when Bush administration officials claimed that
terrorism posed an "existential threat" to America, a threat in whose
face normal rules no longer applied? That was hyperbole — but the
existential threat from climate change is all too real.
deniers are choosing, willfully, to ignore that threat, placing future
generations of Americans in grave danger, simply because it's in their
political interest to pretend that there's nothing to worry about. If
that's not betrayal, I don't know what is.
That's about right; climate change really is such a threat, and the behavior of the GOP particularly in regards to this crisis is astonishingly horrible (or it would be if it weren't just them being their usual tedious selves). Hence, by any petard-hoisting standard if the wingnut notion of "treason" circa 2002-3 had any empirical valence whatsoever, James Inhofe makes Benedict Arnold look like he just wasn't nothing.
However, this argument does not totally answer the potential problems with the word "traitor." John Cole objects to Krugman on the grounds that "treason" is a "loaded term," which it is -- though, and this is not precisely to disagree with John, it seems to me that the trouble is that the term has become unloaded after its promiscuous usage on the part of radical Bushite extremists. "Treason" used to have a generally accepted meaning, and now it doesn't, having become just one more wildly devalued, thoroughly trashed national asset. Now "a traitor" is merely someone not worth paying attention to who should be at best laughed at, and at worst locked up. And that's it. Any other meaning has been wrung out like the juice from last month's lemons.
But then this line of reasoning, misfortunately, brings us back by a process of commodious recirculation to one of the central preoccupations of this blog, namely, analysis of the "conservative" effort to establish a monopoly over the dominant definition of legitimate discourse, and the central role played by notions of "civility" in this struggle. (This is why I wasn't eager to think about Krugman's column; I'm too busy right now for this shit.)
Climate change is the most perfect example of what I mean. When these people were in power, it was suppress by force; now, it's try to get in the back-door by claiming preposterous grievance, and they're seizing on Krugman's column like leeches who got turned into vampires. Take for instance the always silly Andrew Stuttaford, pretending that Krugman Has Gone Too Far and Now Can We Please Just Speak Civilly?
Krugman's one good point was that GOP Representative Broun (he's the strange fellow who tried to ban Playboy from the PX) had
slipped into conspiracism when he alleged that the notion of (I
presume) man-made climate change was a "hoax." Broun's claim is, of
course, nonsense. There are indeed reasonable grounds for believing
that man is having/could have a significant impact on the climate (just
as there are reasonable grounds to suspect that man's impact on the
climate may be reduced to insignificance by countervailing natural
factors). But for those inclined to believe in a hoax, shrill,
hysterical language such as Krugman's is only like to reinforce their
Which is pretty classic stuff. As it turns out, no, as a matter of fact, this is not a matter for calm, polite debate: if you "suspect that man's impact on the
climate may be reduced to insignificance by countervailing natural
factors," why, you're a clown, and if you're in the House of Representatives and you think this, or pretend to, you're a dangerous clown (more so than most ordinary clowns, even, who are, of course, already plenty frightening).
"Civility" is the last refuge of bullshit artists; it's the bunker they hole up in when they hear the guns of reality booming close.
So as to whether or not Krugman should have said "traitor," well, he seems to have pissed off precisely the people who I most enjoy seeing pissed off, and I have to confess, I never ask for much more. And Mac liked the column, and he's punk rock. So there!
But Jesse's claim that beyond this particular black tea-bagger (Darjeeling perhaps?) there are no further black people with whom conservatives might be "comfortable" is unfortunately compromised by his lamentable unfamiliarity with Mainstream African American Culture, as the following musical "video" quite clearly demonstrates.
Good editorial in the NYTimes. They hit the high points on what's needed to make sure healthcare reform actually reforms anything:
As health care reform moves forward, Congress must impose tighter regulation of companies that clearly are not doing enough to regulate themselves. Creating a public plan could also help restrain the worst practices, by providing competition and an alternative
My one quibble is in the first paragraph:
Congressional committees heard a lot this month about the devious schemes used by health insurance companies to drop or shortchange sick patients. It was a damning portrait — and one Americans know from painful personal experience — of an industry that all too often puts profits ahead of patients.
If by "all too often" you mean "always" then that's an accurate statement. The for-profit insurance industry -- and that's the majority of the healthcare insurance biz these days -- is pretty much by definition 'for-profit'. When you consider your patient payouts to be your 'medical losses', then your job is to be putting your profits ahead of your patients.
The Environmental Protection Agency may have suppressed an internal
report that was skeptical of claims about global warming, including
whether carbon dioxide must be strictly regulated by the federal
government, according to a series of newly disclosed e-mail messages....
Gadzooks how startling. Or not. Sifting through the horseshit for the undigested nuggets of something that might just mean something in this article, we discover the following, that the author of the shunted aside memo "has an undergraduate degree in physics from CalTech and a PhD in economics from MIT," which is entertaining, but not nearly as much fun as this:
Carlin's report listed a number of recent developments he said the EPA
did not consider, including that global temperatures have declined for
11 years; that new research predicts Atlantic hurricanes will be
unaffected; that there's "little evidence" that Greenland is shedding
ice at expected levels; and that solar radiation has the largest single
effect on the earth's temperature.
The problem though is that these claims are embarrassing crap. Here:
An official scientific body not allowing crazy non-science to be promulgated as science is an official scientific body acting responsibly and in the public interest.
I am having one of those weeks where I am sorry that I voted for Obama. I suspect that I am not the only one. Seriously, from a policy perspective how are we qualitatively different than when Bush and Cheney were in office? I mean on anything substantive? It's not like I had any choices really, I mean I couldn't vote for fucking McCain, but all the same I am having Bill Clinton dejavu all over again. Fuck whoever you want, but don't fuck single mothers on welfare en masse. Centrists are just Republicans who pretend to be Democrats long enough to be elected. Since when is welfare reform a Democratic issue, I mean really? It feels as though there are no Democrats left, there are just slightly less obnoxious Republicans. Molly saw this coming a long way off and took a metric assload of shit for suggesting that Obama might not be all he promised.
The economy is in shambles and people realize that we need safety net services like extended unemployment and maybe a government health insurance option. The time is ripe to strike while the iron is hot and Obama is shrugging his shoulders and saying " I don't know what do you guys think we should do?" Spineless, like a jellyfish. They call themselves Centrists, but to me they are conservative reactionaries, including Obama. He seems to be waffling on all the important issues that he received my vote and that of many other liberals to address.
On health care he is providing little leadership and seems to be waiting for the lowest common denominator, in this case both parties, to decide what it will allow so that it looks like something is changing while allowing the insurance company fuckers to continue raping us all wholesale. He has made no movement on repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and has completely left the gay community to hang out in the wind on the issue of marriage. Guantanamo is humming along with no real trials in site for the people detained there. Lest we forget, that 16 month withdrawal timetable in Iraq seems to have evaporated. Consensus is a great model for leadership when you are dealing with people willing to compromise, it doesn't work so well with zealots and idealogues.
On the positive side, I feel justified voting for Hilary in the primaries, that was certainly the right decision. Can any of us imagining Hilary rolling over for the Republicans the way Obama has on healthcare? I think not. She would have taken the fight to them and highlighted the insurance company abuses. I wish we had someone in the White House now with a set big enough to do that, but we are stuck with the milk toast that could be elected.
I was hoping for a man who would decide policy based on what is right and moral, rather than another politician who would make all his decisions on the basis of polling data. I was naive. It pains me to say this, but I think the last man to decide policy on the basis of his own moral compass may have been Bush 1 and before that Jimmy Carter, not coincidentally, both 1 term presidents. If this is really the best we can do to advance an agenda with the barest flavor of liberalism, well it is just sad. I knew he would disappoint me, I just had no idea how deeply.
Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) had a few choice words about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) landmark climate-change bill after its passage Friday.
When asked why he read portions of the cap-and-trade bill on the floor
Friday night, Boehner told The Hill, "Hey, people deserve to know
what's in this pile of s--t."
I don't think he said sasteriskasteriskt. I think he said "shit."
And holy fucking shit! This is some fucked-up shit.
Using his privilege as leader to speak for an unlimited time on the
House floor, Boehner spent an hour reading from the 1200-plus page bill
that was amended 20 hours before the lower chamber voted 219-212 to
Maybe every other word was "shit!"
I mean, like, if not, that was still a fucking clever thing to do, spending an hour reading out shit from a 1200 page bill. That is fucking dramatic political theater. That shit is going to be shown on C-Span X-Treme Classics forever. Shit!
Republican congressional leadership is fucking awesome. The Republicans are so fucking smart for not falling for any of that global climate change shit. I mean, decades from now, everyone is going to look back at this particular month in American history and say, HOLY SHIT IS JOHN FUCKING BOEHNER SO FUCKING SMART THAT MOTHERFUCKER IS AS BRIGHT AS A FUCKING DOORKNOB HOLY SHIT JOHN BOEHNER THANK YOU FOR NOT GIVING A SHIT ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING YOU FUCKING DOORKNOB.
I mean, like future schoolkids are going to be saying that shit, on like, the federal holiday Fuck You John Boehner You Dick Who Fucked Up The Earth Day.
I'm not sure why Notorious isn't my favorite Hitchcock movie, because it's pretty great. It's got two of my favorite things about movies: Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. I love the way Hitchcock makes his protagonists, played by the leadingest of leading men--Cary Grant, James Stewart, Sean Connery--freaks or bastards or both. And I'll bet they liked it too ... they certainly seem to be having fun.
Because I know you're dying to know, my favorite Hitchcock film is Shadow of a Doubt ... disease and decay under the thin veneer of healthy, small-town America ... great film-making.
But Notorious is what I'm talking about tonight, inspired in part by Alec Baldwin's discussion of it with Robert Osborne on Turner Classic Movies just now. I'm glad Baldwin isn't my dad, but he's quite engaging in small doses. And yes, I'm watching this week's film on basic cable ... I spare no expense!
So the party scene at the beginning of the film reminds me oddly of a party I attended in Miami many years ago, probably because I remember very little about it. It was definitely in black and white. If Ingrid Bergman was there, she left before I got there ... but it might have been the same house, and I feel a strange affinity with those guests who outstay their welcome, as well as with Mr. Grant, being driven around Miami by an intoxicated, intoxicating, femme fatale. It's a good story, and it gets better every time I tell it, but it's not germane.
Look at how long Cary Grant has his back to the camera in that party scene, though. Very interesting, very effective, but not quite gimmicky. The master's touch is more subtle here than it is in some of his other movies, but there are enough signature Hitchcock flourishes to satisfy, including of course the requisite cameo.
Watch Ingrid Bergman's eyes ... she gets so much done with her eyes. Her eyes and her face, unlike her hats, are timeless. Her expressions are so carefully controlled and choreographed, and you can see Grant avoiding eye contact with her. There's an intentionality and precision to this that you just don't see that often.
And there's a darkness to this film, a feeling of shame and self-loathing that hit Grant's and Bergman's characters differently (necessarily). He pimps her for God and country (well, country anyhow) and then treats her like a whore. She embraces the role to please him and hates him for it. There's a lot of hurt in this movie that you won't see in some of Hitchcock's other espionage films (North By Northwest comes to mind). It's an emotionally complex film, but with the leads and with Claude Rains, we're in very good hands. If you haven't seen this one, or haven't seen it recently, check it out.
PS: Awesome character actor of of the week: Louis Calhern. I'm trying to imagine what this guy would look like if he were alive and middle-aged today ... people just don't look like that anymore, do they?
PS: And check out the hairdo at about 1:50 in this clip. A little bit Leia, a little bit Lollipop Guild, and somehow, sexy as hell.