As a Netflix customer, I got something about a month ago about a forced settlement that was due to me - which meant I got one extra movie for a month, after which my account would revert back to its normal two out at any time. So they sent me the movie, which happens to be Persepolis.
I really want to watch the film (I loved the book) but it, like my other two films, is still in the envelope.
Why? Because my free month happened to coincide with the Summer Olympics and the Democratic National Convention (and, presumably, the RNC next week). That's a pretty good month to offer up some free movies to folks.
As a Netflix customer, I got something about a month ago about a forced settlement that was due to me - which meant I got one extra movie for a month, after which my account would revert back to its normal two out at any time. So they sent me the movie, which happens to be Persepolis.
As almost always, Ezra Klein makes a good point:
Sometimes I don't think it's fully appreciated how constrained the GOP is by its pro-life orthodoxy.
His point? VP candidates who not only would have been good political choices but would have actually been good possible Presidents (the whole purpose of that job) for a 72-year old Presidential candidate. He mentions some, I'm add a few others:
- Joe Lieberman: -- I hate the guy to pieces, but what a story it would make -- hey, McCain IS a maverick, and loyal to his best friends. Party politics Lieberman is a former VP candidate himself and 'fully vetted' as they say. He essentially has left the Democratic party and could easily tell (maybe not sell) a message of the party leaving him, blah blah blah. I'd hate it, but that's probably a good thing for Crusty McCain. His downside? Aside from being a former Democrat and being Jewish, Lieberman is pro-choice.
- Charlie Crist: The very popular governor of Florida is also one of McCain's best buddies, and McCain simply can't win the election without the Sunshine State. The problem? Crist is pro-choice.
- Tom Ridge: Hugely popular in Pennsylvania, another crucial swing state. Former Director of Homeland Security (he's the one who came up with the ridiculous color terror alerts) and probably great on the campaign trail. The problem? Ridge is pro-choice.
- Kay Bailey Hutchinson? Jodi Rell? Klein mentioned these and I know less about them, though they obviously have the benefit of being a woman VP pick, a political move clearly designed with Palin. Their problem? They are both pro-choice.
McCain gets some legs out of people mistakenly thinking he's pro-choice, or at least would respect the law of Roe v. Wade. That might have been true in 2000 as far as the law is concerned, but McCain has an amazingly solid record of being anti-choice. This selection of Palin is not only a grasp at a political gain at the expense of policy (he is running for Bush's third term!), but a solid reinforcement that he, and the current Republican party, can't live with a pro-choice candidate. This despite the fact that about 60% of the country wants Roe v. Wade upheld as federal law.
If McCain had nominated any of these folks, I'd probably be a little concerned about the political strategy and dreading the next few months of campaigning and listening to Lieberman, or Ridge, convince reporters that they are really the voice of reason.
I know Palin isn't a completely useless candidate - and I bet I'll be impressed by her at times during the season. But she's essentially a very unserious choice here, and that does indeed evoke memories of Harriet Miers. (Dan Quayle was an elder statesman compared to Palin. As is Obama.)
I'm sure that the press will be swayed by 'Maverick' McCain's choice here. It's almost exclusively designed for that, to woo woman voters, to ignore the reality that he's choosing her to be the leader of the free world if anything happened to him. Look, I don't LIKE pushing the age card (okay, I do a little) but it's pretty obnoxious to take someone this inexperienced and put her that close to the presidency. It goes against everything McCain has been saying about Obama, which shows how purely craven and political McCain is.
The Myth of the Maverick is dead and gone.
In general, interesting, though the VP question comes in about 2:00 minutes in.
Fantastic pick, Johnny.
I don't mean to rain on your birthday cake and all, but I thought I'd remember where you were three years ago, laughing it up with your best buddy (well, 90% of the time, at least) while Hurricane Katrina pounded the Gulf Coast.
(And even if McCain had no reason or cause to be there, wouldn't you think he'd have said, "Gee, Mr. President, it's nice that you want to eat some cake, but ... don't you have a national emergency on your hands?" Guess that conversation didn't happen.)
Anyhow, congratulations on turning 72 years old today. You don't look a day above 69, 70 perhaps.
As far as the choice of VP goes, Sarah Palin is...a very good looking woman. Seriously, what a joke of a pick. McCain pretended to berate Obama for his lack of experience - and then chooses a VP with less than two years as the Governor of a remote state after being mayor of a small town. She's ardently pro-life, which is of course required for all GOP candidates these days - but it's so patently a reach for some disgruntled Hilary voters. But, if he watched Obama's speech last night, and indeed the entire convention which went swimmingly, the remaining HRC voters who will come around to vote for a ticket of two rabidly pro-lifers is not going to be a game changer.
As Kevin Drum writes:
It's hard to think of a more intensely cynical, focus-grouped, poll-driven, base-pandering VP choice in recent memory. Even Dan Quayle isn't in the running. This is ridiculous.
Adds Steve Benen:
But in trying to wrap my head around this, the same word keeps coming to mind: gimmick. Under the circumstances, this choice has literally nothing to do with governing and everything to do with a desperate search for an electoral edge. McCain used to bill himself as the credible, serious grown-up candidate. That's an exceedingly difficult pitch to make now. When looking for a running mate, Barack Obama looked to someone who could help make him a better president. When looking for a running mate, John McCain looked to someone who could help him look like a better candidate.
Indeed, today's announcement seems to be largely based on two considerations: 1) who might help peel off some disaffected Clinton supporters; and 2) what might help undercut coverage of Obama's big speech in Denver. These aren't the considerations of a national leader; they're the considerations of a political hack.
McCain had a vast group of Republicans to choose from, and he picked someone he barely knows, who's been a governor for a year and a half.
Do you smell it? That's the reeking rot of desperation.
My friends, we can do better.
Aside from the seemingly obvious fact that my baby girl Charlie is pretty darn cute (so boasts the proud father), Barack Obama delivered in a major way tonight. History by its nature happens every day, but tonight was meaningful and special, and Obama not only lived up to the lofty expectations, but generally speaking exceeded them.
He has been accused of being big on hype, short on details. Aside from the fact that he has more explicit policy stated out in virtually every important topic than John McCain - by a long shot - Obama laid out clear, concrete plans for his Presidency. People worried that he'd play nice, like John Kerry (who ripped it up on Wednesday) did against George Bush. And he managed to both keep it civil, and yet clearly take some pointed jabs back at McCain. He brought up the silly 'celebrity' ads, and the remarks that McCain has made about Obama's patriotism, and made McCain look silly and petty. But he did it with class.
I was actually a little worried that he'd miss the mark and not get the massive reaction that he has in some of his prior speeches. But the crowd seemed to eat it up, as have virtually all the pundits I've read. (Apparently, even PAT BUCHANAN has said it's the best convention speech he's ever seen. Yes, that Pat Buchanan.)
The fact that this took place on the 45th anniversary of the March on Washington was played at just the right measures, and Obama really only talked about it in one stretch that was simply fantastic. He acknowledged the history that helped him be where he was tonight, and where he hopefully will be come November.
All I know is, it continues to make me happy to support Obama for President. And that's a shockingly good feeling.
This only goes to mask the fact that he's a nasty campaigner who now subscribes to the Karl Rove school of politics, but there's also no denying that this - and perhaps this alone in John McCain's campaign thus far - is a nice tone and touch:
And tomorrow? He'll be back to being a douchebag. (Or, as Saintperle would say, something less useful than a douchebag.)
Those were a few excellent moments at the Democratic National Convention today. I heard one on the radio - the official nomination of Barack Obama as the nominee. (It was somewhat hokey, but hearing thousands of "AYE!"s erupt in the arena was cool.)
Then, the Big Dog gave a very, very strong speech. What's amazing about Bill Clinton is that he is SO completely confident in front of crowds like that. It's clearly something he relishes, something he truly enjoys. And he not only made very strong statements of support for Obama, but got in more than a few digs at his friend John McCain.
Next came the speeches of John Kerry and Joe Biden. More on those after the fold.
Kerry gave a better speech than I can remember him giving throughout the entire space of his own campaign. Certainly better than his "John Kerry, reporting for duty!" acceptance speech.
"I have known and been friends with Senator John McCain for almost 22 years. But every day now I learn something new about candidate McCain. To those who still believe in the myth of the maverick instead of the reality of the politician, I say, let's compare Senator McCain to candidate McCain."
"Candidate McCain now supports the wartime tax cuts that Senator McCain once denounced as immoral. Candidate McCain criticizes Senator McCain's own climate change bill. Candidate McCain says he would not vote against the immigration bill John McCain wrote. Are you kidding? Talk about being for it before being against it! Before he ever debates Barack Obama, John McCain should finish the debate with himself."
That's pretty solid, and a good theme for others to continue upon. Like Gore, he seemed more at ease with himself after his own (failed) campaign. Though Ezra Klein does make a good point:
The Democratic Party has a tendency to write its losers off. For years after he failed to attain the presidency, Gore was discarded by the very party that nominated him. After Kerry lost to Bush, he was similarly derided: It became impossible, in retrospect, for anyone to explain why Democrats trusted in a wooden windsurfer.
Achieving the presidential nomination is not easy, though, and tonight Kerry reminded the convention center of how he did it. Kerry wasn't exactly courageous as a foreign policy voice in 2004, but he was nominated because he had the potential to be one. There was a gravity to him, and a somberness that came of experiencing both war and its manifold betrayals. Hemmed in by a sense of political caution that reacted poorly to an adverse political environment, he never quite rose to the occasion.
Tonight, however, he did.
I thought that Bill Richardson was due to speak next, but it wasn't on C-SPAN which, uh, shows everything. So I'm not sure what happened there.
And then Biden was officially nominated, and accepted that nomination with a very solid speech. I have less to say about that, except that I tihnk I'm really pretty comfortable with him as the VP candidate. He knows his stuff flat, and is very likable. His story is rock-solid, and by all appearances he gets along well with Obama, who made a nice, short surprise appearance after Biden was done. They seem to complement each other well as well as share some really important strengths.
So, that was a pretty effective, and enjoyable evening as far as such things go.
Prescription Lomotil is quite good and Immodium over-the counter will work in a pinch. But neither will help you out with warthog anus. That’s strictly a matter for Cipro.
Intrigued? Disgusted? A bit of both? Read the whole thing here.
Reporting in this country just SUCKS:
Stakes are high for the former First Lady to project that she is fully behind Obama, as the party attempts to heal from the bitter primary battle and focus on election day in November and what remains a close race with John McCain.
So, with those high stakes in mind, Clinton's representatives today considered four different colored pant suits, the patented Hillary Clinton look -- a dark blue, light blue, orange, and red. The officials were considering how the colors would appear on television and against the stage's electric blue backdrop.
Bold font mine. Seriously? That's worth pointing out? What she's going to wear with "those high stakes in mind"??
Because if there wasn't much, she'd just show up in a skort and a Magic Mountain t-shirt, I'm assuming.
Updated: Guess orange was the key. And yes, that was a very good speech. I wasn't quite as blown out of the water as others seem to have been, but it was all I could have expected. Wish I'd seen more of Brian Schweitzer's speech, it did seem quite good what I heard of it.
As someone who thinks it's sad that John McCain turned out to be just another phony politician, I have to love the hullabaloo about how many houses he owns - a fact he didn't know the answer to.
What I find even more funny is that during the day, there have been articles I've seen stating he has four, another stating he has seven (the Obama video linked in a prior posting), another that states the real number is eight, and another that says it's as high as TEN. Collectively, they're worth more than $13 million, which ain't chopped liver.
Wouldn't you think John McCain's staff could have gotten back to him on this by now?
I have to say, the fact that nobody can decide exactly how many he owns has more to do with presumably complex financial investments by McCain and his family, is going to just make this a story for longer. Which probably will hurt McCain as much or more (sadly) than the much more relevant news of the day, that the U.S. and Iraq have presumably agreed upon a timetable for withdrawal.
John McCain has staked his whole campaign on opposing Barack Obama's call for a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. His very support of the notion, to McCain, illustrates his naivete and unfitness for the job of commander-in-chief. And yet today, the US and Iraq have agreed on a "timetable", using that very word, for leaving Iraq. Reality, the Bush administration and the Iraqi government have jointly endorsed Obama's position and left McCain a relic.
Oh, you didn't hear about that? Yes, the thing that McCain and Bush mock people like Barack Obama for suggesting? The Bush administration just did that.
John Sidney McCain had his 72-year old wobbly knees kicked out from under him today.
By the way, did you know that he's already said that he'll announce his VP pick on his birthday, August 29 which is the weekend after the Democratic Convention. Presumably, this is to take some of the attention away from Obama's convention surge. Fine.
But it's worth remembering McCain's birthday three years ago. This was August 29, 2005 -- and if that date sounds at all familiar, it's because Hurricane Katrina had just touched down. And George Bush and John McCain were eating cake. Just saying, this image is not being hosted by the McCain for President website.
That was pretty heartbreaking, watching Lolo Jones (great name, by the way) hit that 9th hurdle and collapse screaming a curse word (that rhymes with Pluck) -- there is something about watching great athletes fail that is as tied with the Olympics as watching someone achieve their dreams - see Shawn Johnson on the balance beam or Michael Phelps in everything, for instance.
But the picture that really gripped us is thankfully not anywhere I can find it on the interwebs, because it felt inappropriate at the time. After Jones lost, she graciously - extremely graciously - talked to reporters, and didn't make any excuses for what happened. Truly classy in what had to be a crushing, crushing moment.
Then, theoretically out of the watchful eye of the media, she took a moment to herself under the stairs where she apparently had a long, good cry.
And NBC filmed it. Both Abby and I said about the same thing, which amounted to, "Geez, can't they just give her a moment?" Apparently not.
It's crushing, and while she does have another chance in 2012, that's a long time to postpone your dreams.
God, I hate Joe Lieberman.
WASHINGTON - Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic Party's vice presidential candidate in 2000 and now an independent who is one of John McCain's strongest supporters, will speak at the Republican National Convention, an official said.
Lieberman will deliver a speech when Republicans gather in St. Paul, Minn., to nominate McCain for president, a party official told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The official requested anonymity because a formal announcement had yet to be made.
Can't we just call him a Republican? They need at least one guy who is socially liberal on that side of the aisle anyway...
This post on ESPN about the best player overall for each franchise has very few surprises or controversial picks.
But the choice for the best New Orleans Saint ever struck a chord with me.
It's Bobby Hebert.
Sadly, there's no obvious better choice, but a few good ones would be: Sam Mills, Archie Manning, Pat Swilling, Morten Freaking Anderson...I mean, Hebert wasn't ever actually good. That's sort of a problem if he's the face of your franchise.
But I just have a really hard time believing that J.T. O'Sullivan is going to be the starting QB for the San Francisco Forty Niners. In all honesty, I haven't seen a down of Niners pre-season football, which shocks me, but I've been a bit busy.
And I know that he's the only QB that Mike Martz feels comfortable with, but this is symptomatic of why I cringed a bit when Martz - clearly a positive addition to the woeful offense - got hired. It's because the only thing I can say about Martz specifically is that he's not only sure he's the smartest guy in the stadium, he feels compelled to demonstrate it at all times. Sure, Frank Gore should have a great year running in the offense designed for uber-stud Marshall Faulk. But what I remember is in more recent years, Martz went out of his way to try to win without Faulk.
But it's not so much about Sullivan - Martz's guy - in that I still feel like Alex Smith still hasn't truly been given a fair chance to succeed.
Don't get me wrong, Smith absolutely sucked last year after a very promising 2006. At this point, his selection as the first pick overall in the 2005 draft is looking like a historically bad move.
But there's the thing -- this is a guy the Niners - and many others - agreed was the consensus #1 pick, and whose career has gone like this:
Year One: Not good. Came in halfway through the year and threw his first and only TD of the year in the last game of the season, against the equally woeful Titans. Had 1 TD, 11 INT
Year Two: Pretty solid - promising, even. Under a new Offensive Coordinator (Norv Turner). Tossed 16 TD, matched by 16 INT. Had three games with 2 or more TD, and generally played like a guy learning how to play an NFL game.
Year Three: Terrible. With his third offensive coordinator in three years - this time the apparently completely overmatched Jim Hostler. He played competently in a dreadful offense, then injured his shoulder in the fourth game. That injury pretty much derailed his season, which was marred by his attempt to play later on.
So, now he has his FOURTH offensive coordinator in four years with Martz, and we're suddenly sure that he can't play? Maybe there's something here - maybe in some way Smith is not coachable, but I have a hard time buying it.
I'm not saying Smith is the solution at QB, but if he's healthy, he should get another chance to try and prove that he is that guy. They are paying the kid a crapload of duckets for, presumably, a reason.
Edited to add this commentary from Steve Benen, courtesy of Andrew Sullivan:
Watching the Hilton video, a few questions came to mind. First, why is that Paris Hilton’s fake ad includes more substantive talk about energy policy than John McCain’s real ad? Second, if writers helped Hilton with her script, and writers helped McCain with his script, why is it that Hilton seems to have a better grasp on policy details than McCain does? Shouldn’t that be, you know, the other way around? And third, why is it that a 27-year-old heiress/reality-show star can read a teleprompter better than the presumptive Republican presidential nominee?
This photo cracks me up every time I look at it. So...enjoy.
I've tried very hard to like The Mole this season, and I'll certainly tune in next week to find out who the winner is, and of course who the mole is. But it has been a desperately mediocre show, speaking generously.
Why is that? The premise of the show is pretty solid -- one of the many players is working against the group, the rest of who are trying to win challenges to put money in a pot that the winner will take home. At the end of each show, each player takes a quiz to see who they think The Mole is...the one with the worst score (e.g., the most 'clueless' person) goes home.
It's interesting because it's in each players interest not only to determine who the mole is -- but also to make other players think that they might themselves be the mole.
So why isn't it good? A few ideas:
The host, who seems like a nice guy, is really pretty dull. So dull that I had to check the website to find out his name is Jon Kelley. No Jeff Probst, he. Nor is he worthy of Anderson Cooper who, yes, was the original host of the show.
Worse yet, the players are even more boring than the host. And as we've winded down towards the end, it's become perfectly clear that there is simply no enjoyable result here.
The final three players are listed below, and why it's totally irrelevant if they are the Mole:
Nicole - The easiest reason she can't be The Mole is that she isn't trying to hide that at all. If she ISN'T The Mole, she's not only a complete moron and a terrible player at this game, she's probably legitimately clinically insane. She literally walked through the last challenge, made some random comments about being "a poet" - she's actually an OB/GYN which is frightening enough on its own - and it would be painfully unsuprising if she is actually The Mole. If that is in fact the case, I'm shocked the producers and editors have made it so obvious.
Craig. Craig shouldn't be The Mole mainly because he's been pretty obscure most of the season, aside from being seemingly a very nice guy and having a medical attack during one show (something I can't imagine could have been faked, even if he is the Mole.) If he turns out to be the guy, I guess that's sort of interesting -- but really, is it shocking? I can't remember anything he did particularly cleverly all season.
And then there's Mark. Mark is the best choice for being the Mole, because he seems to have played this VERY intensely, and has been the reason some challenges got won. But as Craig pointed out this show, Mark has also been responsible for keeping a good amount of cash out of the pot...if he is the Mole, it's at least somewhat interesting as he's been a notable player who seems to be working for the team, not against them. On an unrelated note, he not only looks sort of like Steve Carell but he sounds identical to him. So he's got that going for him, which is nice.
A few other questions about the show -- why is it taking place in foreign countries? That seems cool but also totally unexplained. Why can't we seen ANY of the answers some players make during their quiz? We see what players are left, but really not given any information to help play along.
The Mole is a decent show conceptually, but this season is pretty much of a flop.
I know that bitching about travelling, especially air travel is pretty tired ground...lord knows I've done it a few times already (see Meet The Douche Nozzle: McCarran Airport Security Supervisor and The Case of My Missing Golf Clubs, for example.)
But this morning was a particular delight, if you will. The travel was so bad ... that I never actually left. See below for the joys of United 854.
This morning, I began what was going to be a ridiculous travel day even if everything went according to plan. Which it very much decidedly didn't.
The plan was to leave on an early morning flight to Denver and drive to Colorado Springs with two of my co-workers. There, we'd host a table at a conference, then drive back to Denver for the evening (the late evening, since we wouldn't be due back until close to 11:00. Then, Tuesday morning we'd fly back to the Bay Area and be ready to work the afternoon at home.
The first wrinkle, which turns out to be fortuitous, is that my two coworkers left for Denver on Sunday in order to hear the keynote speech that night. This was good because my flight simply didn't leave.
I got to the airport more than an hour ahead of my departure time, which I barely made due to a security line that was bigger than Brett Favre's ego. (Sorry, I had to. But seriously, I know airlines aren't doing so great because of the gas prices, but ever time I fly there are loads of people all over the airport and the planes are fully booked.) After boarding, which happened on time, the following announcement (paraphrased, of course) came over the loudspeaker:
Ladies and gentlemen, we're now planning a [one hour late] departure time of about 9:30. That's when we expect our pilots to be here, as they're due in from Seattle at 9:10.
Yes, you read that correctly. We were fully boarded, where we sat on the plane for what turned out to be well over an hour before the pilots arrived. They then announced that they were going to run the usual diagnostics and we'd be off. Which was fine because I still had some time before I needed to be in Denver to catch my shuttle to Colorado Springs. I also checked to see if there were any other flights that I had a chance of switching to, and was told that there were approximately 40-plus people on standby on the only one I could find that worked.
That's about when I nodded off.
I woke up to realize a few things:
So, to recap, I spent about five hours trying desperately to take a trip that I never made. Given that it was going to be my first night away from the little girl, I wasn't crushed by that -- though I really do wish I'd been able to make the event. But man, I think I could have used those five hours for some more productive things, including sleep.
Remember The Jordan Rules, where it was alleged (but also acknowledged, quietly) that there were different rules on and off the court for basketball's best player(s)?
Clearly, the NFL has the Favre rules as well:
Though it’s unclear where this new was first reported (we think it was Sirius NFL Radio), Adam Schefter of NFL Network confirms that the “Minneapolis” (thanks, Greta) Vikings won’t be punished for allegedly tampering with Packers quarterback Brett Favre.
The Packers made the charge last month based on their belief that Favre had excessive communications with Vikings offensive coordinator Darell Bevell, who previously was Favre’s quarterbacks coach in Green Bay.
Favre recently admitted that he talked both to Bevell and to Vikings head coach Brad Childress, but Favre denied that they enticed him to play for the Vikings.
Now, remember...the 49ers got penalized a draft pick for 'tampering' with Bears LB Lance Briggs where the evidence was surely not nearly as public as this.
What's the difference? As far as I can tell, the 49ers didn't try to sign America's QB, Brett Favre.
RIF! Reading, It's Fundamental.
Recent Books I've Read
Stuff You Will Find Here
- ► 2012 (30)
- ► 2011 (62)
- ► 2010 (209)
- ► 2009 (165)
- Netflix Isn't Stupid
- The Myth Of The Maverick
- Sarah Palin: "What is it exactly that the VP does ...
- Happy Birthday, Senator McCain
- What's Your Reaction to Barack Obama's Speech?
- Occasionally he's not a douche
- Good Night
- Bourdain Speaks!
- Wow...just wow.
- I'm Not Barack Obama, But I Definitely Approve Thi...
- How Many Houses?
- Oh, Snap!
- Lolo Jones
- Kick The Douchebag OUT
- Geeky? Yes.
- That's Just Sort Of Sad
- Maybe I'm Just Stubborn
- Angry Old Man
- See You At The Debates, Bitches
- Couldn't Say It Better Myself
- I Shall Be Your Guide
- Why Does The Mole Suck So Much?
- Call The Whambulance: Air Travel Sucks.
- The Favre Rules
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- ► 2005 (78)