10/31/2005 07:35:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Posting part of a conversation with a flack, Rich Lowry showcases some of the smarts that are keeping the White House on a roll.
The president has usually been at around 47-53% He's at 39-40% now. Two big things brought him down, Katrina and the government response to it and the Harriet Miers nomination.
Uh-huh. Well. Hurricane Katrina touched down in Louisiana on August 29, and obviously Miers came a month+ after that. I would be prudent to check the last polls before August 29. All polls from August or July. Gallup - 40% approve, 56% disapprove. ABC News/Washington Post - 45% approve, 53% disapprove NBC News/Wall Street Journal - 46% approve, 49% disapprove CBS News - 45% approve, 46% disapprove Associated Press-Ipsos - 42% approve, 55% disapprove Fox News - 47% approve, 44% disapprove Pew - 44% approve, 48% disapprove Newsweek - 42% approve, 51% disapprove Zogby - 45% approve, 55% disapprove Harris - 48% approve, 51% disapprove Quinnipiac - 41% approve, 53% disapprove What do we have here? For starters, Bush was not at 47-53% before Katrina, and hadn't been for months. Averaging these most trusted, regular pollsters, Bush was clocking in around 45% approval, 51% disapproval before Katrina. This may sound like splitting hairs, but it's important whether or not the White House gets this. Their problems started months and months ago. What was the cause? Probably some combination of backlash over the Social Security campaign, the war, and the cost of living (mainly gas). Possibly this flack is pounding his chest for NRO because, well, NRO readers will see it and like it. But if the White House's brilliant new strategy is "wait for the Katrina and Miers backlashes to fade, then we're back to plus territory," they're doomed.|W|P|113080653543902800|W|P|Hackattack|W|P|11/01/2005 02:06:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Jeremy|W|P|Dave,

I really really really don't want to be in the position of defending Rich Lowry. But go back Bush's polling for the past five years or so. He ALWAYS does lousy during the summer.

Whether this is the result of some natural boredom cycle or planned by Mr. Rove I leave to the experts (and I count you among them).

The difference was that, this time, when he came out of his normal summer slump, everything went to hell in a way that played to Bush's weaknesses.

I am not saying that the administration does not have major problems. It does, and it needs to deal with them, and, if recent reports are accurate, Bush knows that.

But what are you going to say if Bush inches back up in the polls? Hey, problem solved!?

Jeremy11/01/2005 02:22:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Dave|W|P|I agree with you about the previous Bush summers, but that wasn't true this year. I've posted the link to all the polls - you can see that Bush's slide started after the State of the Union, in February. He had a pretty good plus rating coming out of the election, it spiked after the Iraqi election, and then ... mid-40s with an occasional 50. This was when Rove was running full steam. I surmise that early fall was due to the blowback from the Social Security campaign, from voters disagreeing with it conceptually and disagreeing with it as the agenda item (ie, "Why is he talking about this instead of ...").

The White House flacks should consider whether they have a popular agenda to go back to once they get the SCOTUS stuff under control.11/01/2005 12:40:00 PM|W|P|Anonymous David (M.) Weigel|W|P|It's hard to think of what will happen to boost his poll numbers. A successful Supreme Court nomination will help a little, but Chief Roberts didn't boost him much. Coming next: high winter heating prices, Scooter trial, Rove deathwatch ("I'm not dead yet!"), continuing war stalemate, housing bubble instability. Unless the economy has a banner year, or we get attacked again, or Michael Moore makes another film, I dunno where Bush's boost would come from.10/31/2005 01:16:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I've heard a couple people say what Captain Ed says here, and thought I'd take a moment to debate it.
I expect that the Democrats will get 30-35 votes in favor of a filibuster once Alito gets out of committee. ... They also won't want to fight over obstructionism again during the next cycle, or the Democrats might well lose more Senate seats in the midterms.
Commentators like Hugh Hewitt have long maintained that Republicans won their Senate majority on the issue of Democrats obstructing Bush judicial nominees. They forget that those races were winnable because they took place in states Bush 1)carried and 2)was popular. In fact, with the fluke exception of Minnesota (Republican Norm Coleman trailed in polls until incumbent Dem Paul Wellstone was killed in a plane crash), since 2000 Republicans have not won any seats in "blue" states. They've actually lost five of them (obviously made up for with gains elsewhere) - Washington, Minnesota, Delaware, Michigan, and Illinois. Now, add to this the battleground for the 2006 elections. As leading journalists have written, the GOP has bungled its recruitment in red states. By most analyses, their best pick-up opportunities are now in three open seats. They are Minnesota (Kerry by 3.5%), New Jersey (Kerry by 7%), and Maryland (Kerry by 13%). In other words, for the GOP to make gains in 2006, they need to win in blue states, where campaigns on the "my opponent won't vote for George Bush's judges" theme would probably backfire badly.|W|P|113078353009547018|W|P|Stakes|W|P|10/31/2005 10:32:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P| To win the war, President Bush must launch surgical strikes against the real enemies - Democrats, novelists, and Air America radio hosts.|W|P|113077281624739009|W|P|Shorter Victor Davis Hanson|W|P|10/31/2005 10:21:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|In fairness, I should couple that last post with an expression of bug-eyed wonder at this slice o' feminist self-parody.
The only question left now is should they try to overturn Roe v. Wade or even possibly Griswold v. Connecticut now or should they wait until they have the Platonic conservative ideal of an all-male court in order to get a symbolic as well as actual victory against women's equality?
I'm sure that's on their minds.|W|P|113077222974044628|W|P|Turnabout|W|P|10/31/2005 10:16:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|This week's installment of "demographic analysis that unfortunately sounds like a white nationalist talking point" comes from, who else, Steve Sailer.
So it's not good news for Republicans that the number of babies born to white women dropped by 18,000 last year to 2.303 million.
That was this week's "demographic analysis that unfortunately sounds like a white nationalist talking point."|W|P|113077194962149657|W|P|No good way to say this|W|P|11/04/2005 08:02:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous kchiker|W|P|It just proves what a success the Gay War on Marriage (GWOM) has been.10/31/2005 12:22:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I'm fairly dyscalculic and may be reading this wrong, but I think this Tax Prof post is (deliberately?) misleading.
[F]ederal and state taxes on gasoline production and imports have been climbing steadily since the late 1970s and now total roughly $58.4 billion. Due in part to substantial hikes in the federal gasoline excise tax in 1983, 1990, and 1993, annual tax revenues have continued to grow. Since 1977, governments collected more than $1.34 trillion, after adjusting for inflation, in gasoline tax revenues—more than twice the amount of domestic profits earned by major U.S. oil companies during the same period.
OK ... they total more than twice the amount during that period. But I believe Democratic politicians are proposing a "windfall profits" tax on companies in the year 2005, not the last 28 years. As many have noticed, oil costs more in the year 2005 than it did before. Also in the year 2005, oil company profits are soaring to the tune of 65-75% over last year's. Profits for just the third quarter at Exxon totaled $8.3 billion. Again, maybe I'm wrong, since Glenn Reynolds seemed convinced by this. But Hindrocket is convinced too, which means I'm probably right.|W|P|113073680185846479|W|P|Oil|W|P|10/31/2005 04:28:00 AM|W|P|Blogger John Tabin|W|P|The Dems are selling their proposals as punishing oil companies for gauging consumers. The point of the Tax Foundation release is that government takes more from consumers than the supposedly rapacious oil companies. There are a number of reasons why the "windfall profits tax" idea is economically stupid (worse than a straight gas tax), even if it's limited to 2005, which it isn't; proposals vary from a 3-year to a permanent pseudo-price-control.10/31/2005 09:55:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Dave|W|P|OK, whether it's a 3-year tax or price-control is quite important. But the fact that government took more from gas buyers than oil co's on average between a set number of years still fails to prove that oil co's are taking more from consumers now, right?10/31/2005 03:00:00 PM|W|P|Blogger John Tabin|W|P|Well, look at the the graph. The difference between oil industry profits and gas tax revenues is smaller than it's been in some years, bigger than it's been in others, and still smaller the government's take. I don't think citing the average is intended to mislead.10/30/2005 11:55:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Two new additions to the 'roll - Comedy/shrillness depot The Poor Man, and friend/mentor/newly boring person Michael Hoes.|W|P|113073465230151787|W|P|Blogs-a-rollin'|W|P|10/30/2005 11:45:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The camera's flash makes the headgear way too bright and noticable. Nonetheless, here is a picture of Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney (me) hobnobbing with KISS. Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us And somewhat more appropriately, with Tom DeLay. Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us|W|P|113073399675600001|W|P|Hallowe'en|W|P|10/29/2005 05:40:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Grover Norquist isn't letting go of his blue Nikes.
There were still some glimmers of optimism. Grover Norquist, a conservative with close ties to the White House, said that while "we've had some bumps," he predicted that Mr. Bush's grandest plans, including Social Security, would eventually be successful, albeit not necessarily while Mr. Bush was still in office. "They will be called W accounts," he predicted. "Fifty years from now, children will learn that Ronald Reagan ended the cold war and George Bush privatized Social Security."
|W|P|113062210965335403|W|P|Glimmers of what?|W|P|10/28/2005 01:05:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|My epic (in size if not too in quality) article on the politics of the Patriot Act is up at Reason's website.|W|P|113047602859195126|W|P|Weigel omnimedia|W|P|10/27/2005 10:40:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Good thing Hugh Hewitt didn't know George Bush when he was drinking.|W|P|113042450621359872|W|P|Enable Danger|W|P|10/27/2005 02:53:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Pat "Souljacker" King|W|P|Actually, I like the item below, talking about how the right has fought for decency and moderation in all things judicial, mostly for this quote: "A third part of the effort to depoliticize the law is the rejection of policital attacks on non-partisan prosecutors, and thus the treatment of Peter Fitzgerald by the right has been the opposite of the grotesque slandering of Dean Starr by the left."

I guess it's not UNfair to mistake a prosecutor for a former Republican senator from Illinois, but it's a good chuckle for a hometown boy. Plus, we'll see how they treat him if he hands down indictments. See Senator Hutchinson's quote about how the indictments better not be just PERJURY indictments for a hint of how that might go.10/26/2005 01:28:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Journalist and psuedo-roommate Jeremy Lott* needs an assist with some research.
HELP A GUY OUT: This is one of my rare requests for advice. The fourth chapter of my book will wrestle with hypocrisy in Hollywood. I'm looking for two kinds of information: 1) Quotes by celebs condemning hypocrites or hypocrisy. If you send these in, please identify the source of the quotation. 2) Famous hypocrites in film. Obvious candidates include Captain Renault in Casablanca, Robert Duvall in The Apostle, and Steve Martin in Leap of Faith. Have at it folks. My e-mail address is JEREMYAL123 -- AT -- YAHOO -- DOT -- COM.
*he's actually somewhere near the Washington-British Columbia border right now, but he still pays for his room here.|W|P|113034809435426436|W|P|Whole Lott-a help|W|P|10/25/2005 11:15:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Sort of like "High Noon," if Gary Cooper was three feet tall and carried a water pistol.|W|P|113025335728455869|W|P|Hewitt vs. NRO: Day 2,023|W|P|10/25/2005 10:44:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|What the hell is it with right-wingers and Al Franken? Bill O'Reilly despises him so much he has eliminated his name from the Factor lexicon - he calls him "Stuart Smiley," out of spite. Yesterday, on the way to a haircut, I heard Michael Savage demand Franken's arrest and a Senate investigation of CBS because Franken had engaged in some black humor about the Plame scandal on Letterman. (Franken matter-of-factly said the conspirators would be executed, then deadpanned "I really don't support the execution of sitting presidents.") But Michelle Malkin ... oh, man. She's the worst offender by some distance. Today, on the release of Franken's new book, she's posted a Bible-sized screed about the menace Franken poses to America and our precious bodily fluids.
Watch this video ... It's a clip of the last few minutes of an exclusive promotional sales pitch for Al Franken's new book, "The Truth (with jokes)," featured at Amazon.com. (Thanks to my web guy, Mark Jaquith, for the technical assist.) The video skit blurs truth and fiction as a psychotic Al Franken kicks a man potraying a conservative reader in the groin, smashes a stool over his back, and grins as another man playing one of Franken's fans cracks a bottle over the conservative's head. ... The real joke is that Franken's staged assault inadvertently exposes and underscores the truth about the Bush-deranged Left. Over the past few years, we've seen frightfully Franken-esque intolerance, violence, and hatred spread from the moonbat fringes to the liberal mainstream to the top echelons of the Democrat party.
My goodness - she's right. We thought it was cute when Cindy Sheehan led her truncheon-wielding anarchists in a pitched battle with the Crawford police. We stifled giggles when Hillary Clinton tossed an abused baby at Janeane Pirro and then backed over them with her SUV. We laughed when Ted Kennedy threw Orrin Hatch to the floor and cracked open his skull to feast on the goo inside. How ... could we ... have been so wrong? You know. For someone occupied with pointing out "unhinged" liberals hiding under every pillow, Malkin may want to spend less time psychoanalyzing Amazon.com promotional videos. It's not the most "hinged" behavior. UPDATE: Hey, you know who else has a book out today? Michelle Malkin! And it's called "Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild". Coïncidence étonnante! Current Malkin Amazon ranking: #2,414 Current Franken Amazon ranking: #8 That'd unhinge anyone.|W|P|113025232561864366|W|P|Protesting too much|W|P|10/27/2005 10:14:00 PM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|The real problem is that Al isn't funny. I watched the clip yesterday when I first heard about it and didn't crack a smile. On the other hand, the thought of Ted Kennedy feasting on the brains of Orin Hatch made me laugh out loud.10/27/2005 10:23:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Dave|W|P|Cool. Can I have a book deal?10/28/2005 05:00:00 PM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|I'll see what I can do.10/24/2005 04:41:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The likelihood of awkwardly bumping into Eric Pfeiffer at a DC party has suddenly decreased.|W|P|113018675588420603|W|P|Stung|W|P|10/23/2005 07:13:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Oh, man. The-breaks.com is a database of sources for the beats and riffs in hip-hop songs. It's hardly authoritative yet, but what an idea whose time has come.|W|P|113010930669882024|W|P|If God is a website|W|P|10/23/2005 06:57:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|"Good Night, and Good Luck" (George Clooney, 2005) Oddly, this put me in mind of the "Star Wars" movies. When people lay into George Lucas, they often complain about how he hired a cast of talented actors and then wasted them by making them read lines in front of a green screen. For this docudrama about Ed Murrow and Joe McCarthy, George Clooney hires a pretty amazing cast and then spends around half the screentime on vintage footage of McCarthy and David Straithern reading Murrow monologues. This is such a compelling story that it largely works. And I don't think Clooney could have found anyone to play McCarthy and come off as oleagenous and hateful as the man himself. Thanks in large part to the change in politicians tone' these last fifty years (even Eisenhower, in contemporary footage, comes off as jumpy and shrill), McCarthy seems like a stone lunatic. Still, I could have used more storytelling. A quirky subplot involving Robert Downey, Jr and Patricia Clarkson as a secret husband and wife (CBS employees can't be married) falls completely flat, because there's no other comparable character drama in the script. I'd recommend this movie to anyone, because the story and morals are worth sharing, but expect to be informed, not entertained.|W|P|113010883781993996|W|P|Movie|W|P|10/22/2005 02:38:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Warum hassen die Quäker Amerika? (Translated from English into the more fitting Deutsch.) UPDATE: And he keeps digging!
Moonbats Frothing Over Quaker "Death Parties"
That's funny: Where'd this "death parties" phrase come from? The Quakers themselves call them events. Here's the first listing on their registry, from Fairbanks Alaska.
Candlelight vigil to begin at the Peace Center. Bring candles if you have them. Dress warmly. We'll plan to walk towards Cushman, up to Airport Way,towards the Richardson Hwy, form a circle and hold a brief vigil next to Ft Wainwright, and then return to the Peace Center. Should be warm drinks there if needed.
These aren't parties. They're memorials by pacifists who were against the war from the word "go." Johnson's just calling them "parties" way because he's getting desperate defending his fringe, bloodthirsty beliefs. To wit, in this same post:
Here are just a few that are currently calling me (and Michelle Malkin) all sorts of names: Crooks and Liars Salon.com - Daou Report AMERICAblog The Huffington Post They obviously don’t like it when their sick plans are exposed.
Who the fuck is "they"? These events are organized by the Quakers. Johnson is so twisted, and so paranoid, that he thinks everyone who doesn't subscribe to his hateful ideas - the media, religious pacifists, 60% of the country - are somehow "in it together." I'm disappointed that so many smart people are clambering onto Johnson' "Pajama's Media" project. This is a sick, deranged little man who should be shunned. UPDATE II: Heh. If you get the chance, read some of the "moonbats" Johnson links to - the ones he advertises as "currently calling me (and Michelle Malkin) all sorts of names." Crooks and Liars:
Only Malkin and Little Green Footballs can be intimidated by the Quakers ... Sure sounds like some party. I think Charles might be having a little "Sixth Sense" moment.
Daou Report:
But in this post, Michelle Malkin sheds every last vestige of decency ... Her post links to a Little Green Footballs entry that makes the same odious argument, namely that this group is throwing "parties" on the day that we cross 2000 U.S. military deaths in Iraq. ... Prominent bloggers like Malkin should know better than to soil our public discourse with this kind of garbage..... Rant over.
The top right-wing blogs - with Little Green Footballs and Michelle Malkin leading the way - are libeling the Quakers by calling their candlelight vigils "parties," ostensibly, one infers, to celebrate the deaths of American soldiers. Are LGF and Malkin sloppy or just liars. You decide.
Huffington Post:
Why are such prominent right-of-center bloggers so eager to express outrage over a bunch of candles? Disagreement over a cause or methods can be honorable. Wilful distortion cannot.
THAT'S name-calling? Johnson is a bigger pussy than I thought.|W|P|113000645014213035|W|P|Shorter Charles Johnson|W|P|10/22/2005 02:49:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ellen|W|P|Wow, that's an impressive leap he takes from "event" (on the site he links to) to "party" (his classification). And everyone knows how big Quakers are on wild keggers...10/22/2005 03:28:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Dave|W|P|Well, the Quakers like to keep a lid on this secret, but ... if you sit silently and contemplate the divine for more than two hours, you can get a sweet buzz.10/23/2005 01:22:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Jeremy|W|P|Oh stop with the shunning. Mockery is more effective if it isn't excessively moralistic.10/23/2005 06:55:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Dave|W|P|Well, I think I showed my cards when I followed up "let's shun him" with "let's make fun of him some more."10/21/2005 05:30:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I've gone a few weeks without spelunking the ol' iTunes, but I'm going to come back to it this week as a way of announcing something cool. Starting later this month, I'm going to be reviewing CDs for PopMatters, the excellent pop culture/entertainment webzine. I'll post my reviews when they start showing up. And now ... 1) Game Theory, "Book of Millionaires" - Oh my, is this going to be an indie week? Shimmerly, languid jangle-pop from Scott Miller's whiny rock behemoth. From The Big Shot Chronicles. (7/10) 2) Marshall Crenshaw, "Starlit Summer Sky" - Dreamy power-pop with a fantastic, McCartney-esque middle-eight and guitar solo. Inexplicably left off Crenshaw's debut album, but re-recorded for 1996's Miracle of Science. From Marshall Crenshaw, remastered version. (8/10) 3) Philip Glass, "Caught!" - One of the lesser movements from Glass's second collaboration with Godfrey Reggio. Pretty much repeats the themes from the other movements, which are all pretty, but still ... a B for effort. From Powaqqatsi. (6/10) 4) King Crimson, "One More Red Nightmare" - YES YES OH MY GOD YES. The closing track on side one of Crimso's best, second-most-often underrated. (The most-underrated is Larks' Tongues in Aspic. Duh.) Everything works, from Bill Bruford's high-speed snare-tapping to the ghoulish handclaps and throttled saxophone. From Red. (10/10) 5) Roy Orbison, "Crawling Back" - Typically mediocre mid-period Orbison ballad. Pleasant and everything, and the "you know I would die for you, heaven knows I've cried for you" stuff is nice and Orbisony, but it's basically a less-catchy rewrite of "In Dreams." From The Classic Roy Orbison. (5/10) 6) The Police, "Contact" - Jittery Stewart Copeland song about screwed-up romance. What else? Excellent sci-fi keyboard hook and interesting vocal melody, and much less overplayed then, uh, all other Police songs. From Regatta De Blanc. (7/10) 7) The Smiths, "Never Had No-One Ever" - Yes, it's Morrissey's "I'M A VIRGIN" song. A middling tune saved by a gloriously decayed arrangement by Marr and the rhythm section, and the echoes on Morrissey's voice. And then there's a whistling solo. A surprisingly long 3 and a half minutes. From The Queen is Dead. (7/10) 8) The Shields, "You Cheated" - Vintage doo-wop of the "my girl is fucking around, or is that just a metaphor?" school. Some of the crappiest guitar work I've ever heard on a label release. From ... I'm not sure originally, but I got it from The Doo-Wop Box. (7/10) 9) New Order, "Waiting For The Sirens' Call" - Title track and possible third single from this year's stellar New Order comeback album. A bit more slow and rocky than the average N.O. song, but works well for it. From Waiting For The Sirens' Call. (8/10) 10) Jackie DeShannon, "Come And Get Me" - Bombastic torch song of the Burt Bacharach canon, like "What the World Needs Now is Love" but less overplayed. I'm not sure what album it came from, but available on the various artists The Look of Love Bacharach set. (7/10)|W|P|112993032289915024|W|P|Diez el Viernes|W|P|10/21/2005 04:19:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Eric Alterman stifles a giggle looking at the battle between Jonah Goldberg and Hugh Hewitt (among other things). Hewitt, if you haven't been following, is claiming that conservative pique about the apparently-illiterate SCOTUS nominee is motivated by elitism. To conservatives thinking of wresting with Hewitt: Beware. If you gaze for long into the Kool-Aid, the Kool-Aid gazes also into you.|W|P|112992632496475462|W|P|Hugh Hewitt vs the world|W|P|10/20/2005 05:39:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Two related items out today - Radar's Santorum-bashing gossip and the Hotline's campaign finance roundup - actually broadcast some good news for the GOP. Well, not good news. Bad news that has an upside. According to Radar, some Republican donors and bundlers are giving up on Santorum after months and months of bad polls showing him losing to Democrat Bob Casey. (Casey's lead has actually grown from a statistical tie in February to a 15-18 point landslide today.) Right now, some of them are trying to fund an (extremely unlikely) GOP upset in New Jersey, but when that's over, not many of them are going to be looking at Santorum. But this is part of a larger story. Hillary Clinton, whom conservatives tried to cut down to size all year (google "Hillcap," "Stop Her Now," or "Ed Klein"), has drawn the pathetic Janine Pirro as an opponent, and is leading her by 20-25 points in polls and millions of dollars in fundraising. Sen. Bill Nelson, the last statewide elected official in Florida, is being challenged by Katherine Harris, who trails him badly in polls and donations. California's Dianne Feinstein, who was challenged seriously in 1992, 1994 and 2000, is getting a free ride. When you consider that Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison isn't drawing a serious opponent, the trend is clear. The biggest, most expensive states to campaign in are off the 2006 Senate map. That means the GOP is going to save millions of dollars from expensive states that they can shower over smaller or less expensive states. The $50 million they blew running against Hillary in 2000 could have been spread out among a bunch of states where they narrowly lost seats - Michigan, Washington, Minnesota, Delaware. This year's best hopes for pickups are in Minnesota, New Jersey, and Maryland, which aren't cheap, but the money it takes to lose a race in California could win four elections in Minnesota. All this would be truer if the party had recruited candidates in dirt cheap North Dakota and West Virginia. And they've had this kind of luck before - the $6 million that John Thune spent last year in South Dakota was a record for that state, but enough to pay for ten minutes of the average Jon Corzine race in NJ. Still, it's an unspoken boon for them.|W|P|112984616468658129|W|P|Blessings and curses|W|P|10/20/2005 01:52:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Rasmussen poll:
In the race to be New Jersey's next Governor, Democrat Jon Corzine's now leads Republican Doug Forrester by nine percentage points. The latest Rasmussen Reports election poll finds that Senator Corzine attracting 49% of the Garden State vote while Forrester earns 40%. That's a slight improvement for Corzine. Two weeks ago, he was ahead by just 7 percentage points.
Quinnipiac poll:
Democratic U. S. Sen. Jon Corzine has opened a 50 - 43 percent likely voter lead over Republican Douglas Forrester in the race for Governor of New Jersey, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Seven percent are undecided. This compares to a 48 - 44 percent Corzine lead among likely voters in a September 28 poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.
Eric Pfeiffer:
Many thanks to the Republican Conference for hosting Blog Row today. I am now on the road to NYC. Will be back later this evening with more updates and traveling to NJ tomorrow to cover the Forrester campaign.
Perhaps "buzz" means different things to different people.|W|P|112983103515686736|W|P|Pretty buzzed|W|P|10/20/2005 11:58:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|You know what's a hideous word? "Fecund." It actually means "Capable of producing offspring or vegetation," but it sounds like "covered in shit."|W|P|112982398592841792|W|P|Something random|W|P|10/20/2005 04:16:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Hugh Hewitt is blessing us with a sequel, of sorts, to the probing philosophical treatise If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat: Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends on It.
Painting the Map Red, the insider's guide to the 2006 elections and the crucial messages GOP candidates and activists will be adopting to foster the spread of Red States, is a must-read from Hugh Hewitt, nationally syndicated talk show host and political strategist.
Chapter One: Stop Disagreeing With Bush! No, Really, Stop It! George Bush Is Always Right And If You Don't Like It You're Wrong! Especially Robert Bork (And What Does He Know?)!|W|P|112979640844061793|W|P|This'll be good|W|P|10/20/2005 03:12:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I'm going to try and review every episode of South Park this season. Let's see how long this lasts. Episode 908: Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow The folks who argue that South Park is a libertarian primer giving hope to swarms of "South Park Republicans" got a huge heap of evidence tonight, with an episode that attacked all the liberal shiboleths of Hurricane Katrina. SUMMARY: We open with Cartman and Stan tooling around on a speedboat in the pleasant waters near Beavertown. On a dare, Stan accidentally drives the speedboat into the town's dam, whereupon it explodes and starts a massive leak. When the boys get home, cable news channels have trained their cameras on the flooded Beavertown and sent correspondents to estimate the casualties ("hundreds of millions" in a town of 8,000) and ask locals for theories on the cause of the flood. Eventually they "realize" that it's global warming, and Stan's dad (a scientist) is called to Denver to explain how global warming is finally about to destroy civilization. Panicked South Park citizens try to flee the town, then hide out in a rec center. None of them put much thought into the fate of the Beavertown residents, who are still waiting for help on their rooftops. A guilty Stan finally recruits Kyle and Cartman to escape the rec center to save the Beavertonians, but after they get there and completely bungle the mission, the army arrives and saves everyone. Arriving home, Stan finally admits to the town that he broke the dam - but everyone interprets this as a philosophical statement about how society broke the dam, and no one learns any lessons. ANALYSIS: It's too early to tell, but this has all the makings of a classic episode. The animators rub many raw wounds, especially with the familiar-looking shots of shaky helicopter cameras filming rows of flooded houses. The subplot about Cartman trying to steal the "JewGold" that Kyle, like all Jews, keeps in a baggie around his neck, is predictable but perfectly resolved. And no one - no one - comes off well. The media comes off as craven and stupid, overestimating casualties without even checking for human or property casualties. The South Parkers are portrayed as stupid, easily led, and easily terrified. The Beavertonians are whiny idiots who complain about how long the rescue mission took. The scientists and lawmakers are fear-happy incompetents who can't tell that the storm exists even when one of them is trudging out in the temperate weather wearing a parka. Even the army gets mocked, as generals work off a map of the phony "storm" patterns that looks like an outline of a penis. And like many a classic South Park, it's synched up to a parody of a bombastic Hollywood movie. This time it's The Day After Tomorrow, which is mocked right down to the scene when Jake Gyllenhaal fled scary, fast-moving frost and blocked it by closing a door. RATING: I'm going to say 8/10 for starters ... not as good as the Terri Schiavo episode, but very funny, and let's see how it looks a year after Katrina.|W|P|112979400076255510|W|P|South Park: Week 1|W|P|10/19/2005 03:02:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I don't want to go out bashing Eric Pfeiffer, as he's probably a nice guy and I might awkwardly bump into him at a party some day. But, dude.
Another source that works closely with the White House tells The Buzz, “Karl Rove is irreplaceable. ... [If he left] It would be similar to the situation after Karen Hughes left the White House. Everyone said it would be a disaster. But people like Dan Bartlett stepped up and are getting the job done.”
Getting the job done! Here I sit, fiddling with my private Social Security account, celebrating the talented new SCOTUS nominee, IMing my new friends in the bustling, candy-and-flowers-packed democracy of Iraq, and celebrating the coming Republican victories in New Jersey and Virginia, and I had forgotten how incredibly smoothly and effectively the people in the White House were getting the job done.|W|P|112974899463767335|W|P|Who wants some Kool-Aid?|W|P|10/19/2005 02:30:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Barbara Boxer doesn't like Republicans very much. It's for this we have the Washington Times.|W|P|112974665275347326|W|P|This just in|W|P|10/19/2005 02:28:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Andrew Sullivan:
Arianna recalls hiking with Judy among the aspens of Colorado. The smack-down between these two sex-vixens is among the few redeeming features of the entire affair.
Uooghh, my stomach. Uoogh, my brain.|W|P|112974655340207882|W|P|Thanks for that|W|P|10/18/2005 12:06:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|This week's installment: The fastest man in Delaware.|W|P|112965164897502843|W|P|Moments in Weigel history|W|P|10/18/2005 12:35:00 PM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|Aww, yeah. That's the money shot.

phil10/19/2005 07:33:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Patrick|W|P|congratulations little weigel! (although he's like three feet taller than i think i remember him as.)10/14/2005 03:18:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Notorious left-wing nut Margaret Thatcher.
The former chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain, Lord Palumbo, who lunched with Mrs. T six months ago, told me recently what she said when he asked her if, given the intelligence at the time, she would have made the decision to invade Iraq. "I was a scientist before I was a politician, Peter," she told him carefully. "And as a scientist I know you need facts, evidence and proof -- and then you check, recheck and check again. The fact was that there were no facts, there was no evidence, and there was no proof. As a politician the most serious decision you can take is to commit your armed services to war from which they may not return."
Hey, Michelle Malkin, what are you waiting for? Here's another "moonbat" ripe for attacking!|W|P|112931766191059071|W|P|The latest Iraq skeptic|W|P|10/14/2005 03:59:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Barak|W|P|Sorry, I beat Michelle Malkin to it.

The claim that Thatcher is now anti-war has been thoroughly debunked here:

http://www.iris.org.il/blog/archives/444-Debunking-the-Thatcher-Revealed-Doubts-about-Iraq-War-Claim.html10/14/2005 04:59:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Dave|W|P|Of course, it sounds like she's saying "I could have done it better than Blair and Bush." But that's the kind of statement, if uttered by a liberal or Democrat, that starts people like Malkin screeching about "moonbats."10/14/2005 01:05:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|One big plus of living in my new apartment, at the end of the Orange line, is the extra 10-15 minutes I get to read when riding in or out of the city. I've chosen fluffy books for these trips thus far, though. Harry Knowles, Ain't It Cool? Hollywood's Redheaded Stepchild Speaks Out Wow, I'm not proud of this one. Harry Knowles is one of the more intriguing creations of the late-90s internet boom. A morbidly obese movie buff and collectibles dealer from Austin, TX, Knowles started posting on Usenet movie pages while recuperating from an accident in 1994. Shortly thereafter he started the website "Ain't It Cool News," now one of the most popular movie sites in the world and a source of undying amusement from its semi-retarded readers, who post their own comments at the end of articles. It's a kind of interesting story, but there's a problem: Knowles is a terrible, terrible writer. He's famous for packing 8-15 paragraphs of storytelling about how he got to the theatre or a book he read once into a simple review. Here's a snippet of one of his most notorious movie writeups, for "Blade II."
BLADE 2 is from Goya’s Black period. Look at the palette, the brutal primalness of the Reapers.. The sparing use of color… There is sadness amongst the orgasms in this film. There is a solemn pathetic nature to the emaciated monsters of the Reapers… A melancholy to the movie at its quiet moments.
You'd think Knowles' two (2) co-writers would whip his book into shape, but oh boy, they sure don't. After a few readable, meandering chapters of biography (which can be fascinating), 150 pages of this book mire in incoherent, self-aggrandizing bullshit about how important Harry Knowles is and how much he knows. IE -
That's why I'm so effusive about people like Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen and Harlan Ellison and Forry. Or for that matter, the unsung artists or designers or effects wizards I meet along my journeys. Because these people are still alive. It's probably all about fathers and sons. But I see history as a long, long fire brigade, and we're saving all the unsung riches of the past from the ravages of anonymity, which are always on the verge of overtaking them.
And so on. Eugh. Michael Tomasky, Hillary's Turn: Inside Her Improbable, Victorious Senate Campaign |W|P|112931751585472228|W|P|Some books|W|P|10/14/2005 12:36:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|So the creepy guy from Road to Perdition is the new James Bond? Well, alright.|W|P|112930780356330276|W|P|Adventures in "whuh"?|W|P|10/14/2005 01:44:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The best Nobel for Literature since ... well, since Coetzee, which was only two years ago. But still, Harold Pinter's first dozen or so plays are gripping and occasionally very funny stuff. I'd recommend The Birthday Party as a starter. It's a little depressing to watch the shrill, unhinged pro-war minority go after him, though.|W|P|112926896971546383|W|P|Pinter|W|P|10/14/2005 03:07:00 AM|W|P|Blogger John Tabin|W|P|Dude, the guy is squarely in the Bush=bin Laden camp. Stop pretending that rejecting that view is a minority opinion. It isn't, at least not in this country. And even if it were, it would still be right.10/14/2005 11:01:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Pat "Souljacker" King|W|P|Of course, there's always a parade of commentary that likes to sidestep an entire body of work (which, not to be an overly pretentious theatre major, did sort of change the art form, massively and permanently) and pretend that an award only honors their least favorite works or sentiments. Actually, it's the body of work that's honored with a Nobel, and Pinter could spend the next twenty years writing Berenstain Bears books and he'd still deserve this prize.10/14/2005 11:57:00 AM|W|P|Blogger John Tabin|W|P|P.S. I'm not saying that Pinter necessarily doesn't deserve the prize. I'm just saying that, to the extent that he won specifically for his politics rather than his prose, it isn't crazy to be offended.10/14/2005 12:54:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Dave|W|P|I agree with Pat's comment - I was thrilled about this award because I've loved Pinter since high school, and about ten seconds after I heard the news I thought "wait ... don't wingnuts hate him for opposing the war?" And then I sighed and braced for the Malkin-type comments.

Now, about his politics - there are two sides to my cheap shot. First, anyone who simply thinks Pinter is anti-war or a "Bush = bin Laden"-ite doesn't know his history. He's always hated America, more specifically the "Americanization" that he blames for every change he doesn't like in British culture. In this he's hardly unique as a British artist or a Nobel winner. And ... so what? Are we supposed to kick him off the artistic roll call because he has some nutty beliefs about America? Should the Nobel go to one of the Powerline guys instead? I'm willing to cut artists a lot of slack on this stuff.

Secondly, Michelle Malkin is unhinged and Charles Johnson is shrill. These are people whose views of the Iraq war are fringey and self-deluding (how many times has Johnson claimed to find WMD in Iraq?), and they have a lot of nerve calling other people "moonbats."10/14/2005 01:37:00 PM|W|P|Blogger John Tabin|W|P|well, I knew all that re Pinter's politics. I could have just as easily said he was a pro-Milosevic, pro-Sandinista type. But Bush=bin Laden is a pretty fair assessment of his comments of late, and the context makes it worse, not better.

And no, we shouldn't punish him as an artist because of his politics. But we shouldn't reward him specifically for his politics, either, and there's a perception, and not an unfounded one, that the Nobel people are in the habit of doing that. Look at a list of the laureates-- lots of no-names, and lots of missing heavyweights. Something besides pure merit is at work there.10/14/2005 03:17:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Dave|W|P|I don't know - I can see the arguments about the Peace Prize being bullshit, but all the Literature laureates I've heard of seem worthy. Four years ago, a little while after 9/11, they gave it to VS Naipul. That choice was praised by National Review, which noted:

Long before others, he began to report on the irrationality loosed by religion in the Islamic world from Iran to Indonesia to Pakistan. This phenomenon was another retreat from history into self-pity which would damage everyone, but Muslims themselves above all.

Also, in 2003, after the Iraq war began and they'd given the Peace Prize to Jimmy Carter and Kofi Annan (back to back), the Nobel went to J.M. Coetzee, who not only had been quiet about the war but had been attacked from the Left on the implied racism of his latest novel Disgrace.

I admit a lot of the winners past are unfamiliar to me, but the winners I know include Henryk Sienkiewicz, Kipling, Rabindranath Tagore, Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Thomas Mann, Sinclair Lewis, Eugene O'Neill, Herman Hesse, T.S. Eliot, William Faulkner, Bertrand Russell, and oh yeah, Winston Churchill. And that's just from the first 50 years.10/14/2005 04:22:00 PM|W|P|Blogger John Tabin|W|P|Tolstoy, Proust, Chekhov, Ibsen, Joyce, Kafka, and Joseph Conrad are just a few of the obvious giants who never got the Nobel. And last year the prize went to Elfriede Jelinek. Who's that? Why, it's a woman who "has, for more than twenty years, constantly challenged her contemporaries with texts which are feminist and deeply critical of society and, moreover, which are perceived to be obscene, irritating and full of biting derision... Jelinek perceives herself as a combatant feminist with clear left-wing sympathies." That's not a critic of Jelinek's -- that's an essay about her on the Nobel Prize website.10/15/2005 12:05:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Pat "Souljacker" King|W|P|Heh. That's a fair call, although the main reason many of your listed writers aren't laureates is that they died shortly after the prize was established... Conrad, Proust and Kafka made it to the twenties, but apart from them, we really only have the first decade of Nobel committee members to blame, since posthumous Nobels are not awarded. Well, okay, not since 1974. Prior to that, you had to have been previously nominated, and both of the posthumous Nobels appear to have gone to gentlemen who had just passed on that year. Which, perhaps, felt too much like the Grammys.

Anyways, the point you raise is interesting, because it does seem outrageous when giants like those you list are excluded from prestigious honors (it's why I keep griping about Altman not getting an Oscar), but whenever the obvious choices win, at least personally, I feel a little cheated. To some extent, awards present a remarkable oportunity for a committee (or academy, or whatever) to elevate previously unknown work that they deem deserving. And sure, it's elitist as hell, but you figure, any awards given by anybody are elitist in the sense that they pass judgment on who is Deserving Of Praise and who is Not. All of which is to say, if I complained (as I did) about Arrested Development losing the Emmy to Everybody Loves Raymond, I shouldn't complain when some lunatic Czech I've never heard of wins the Nobel for literature.10/15/2005 12:36:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Pat "Souljacker" King|W|P|As a side note, I should probably say that I didn't know 90% of what I say above until I'd already started typing. That's what the magic of blog commenting is all about, friends. And just think, now I have something to talk about at parties...10/13/2005 12:28:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P| What the White House did to Joe Wilson and his wife was really no different than what Joe McCarthy used to do. Thus, they should get off scot free.|W|P|112922109966420982|W|P|Shorter Richard Cohen|W|P|10/11/2005 10:36:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Instead of posting 10 random songs from my iTunes list, I reckoned I'd list the last 5 CDs I burned tracks from. 1) Lou Reed, Legendary Hearts (1982) The less-respected middle member of Reed's "comeback trilogy" - the other albums were The Blue Mask and New Sensations. I definitely enjoy this one less than any Lou album of the 80s apart from Mistrial. The great, spidery guitar and bass lines are still there, but the songwriting is mostly dull or experimental (read: stupid). Recommended song: "Rooftop Garden" 2) Adam Schmitt, Illiterature (1994) One of the lost masterpieces of 1990s power-pop - suck on it, Jellyfish. Guitar-driven, catchy songs with generous daubs of strings and synthesizers. The title track, for example, has a keyboard line that could have come from the Killers if they were any good. Recommended song: "Illiterature" 3) Morrissey, My Early Burglary Years (1998) Pretty stellar b-sides collection from the pre-comeback middle years of Morrissey's career. Recommended song: "Boxers" 4) Sloan, Action Pact (2004) Borderline-awful album by the Canadian pop kings. I agree with Rich Bunnell's assessment: "It sounds like they wrote it with their cocks." Great title, though. Recommended song: "False Alarm" 5) Ian & Sylvia Play One More (1966) My favorite LP by this twee Canadian folk duo, brilliantly parodied as "Mitch and Mickey" in A Mighty Wind. Includes "Hey, What About Me." Recommended song: "Friends Of Mine"|W|P|112908654994109499|W|P|A different kind of music post|W|P|10/10/2005 12:23:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Me, a few days ago:
In these crucial few months when candidates are entering races, raising funds, and recruiting staffs, Republican hopefuls are quietly keeping their hats out of the ring. While GOP leaders have located some strong candidates in open seats like Minnesota and Maryland, they can’t find strong candidates to challenge Democratic incumbents in red or swing states.
The Washington Post, today:
Republican politicians in multiple states have recently decided not to run for Senate next year, stirring anxiety among Washington operatives about the effectiveness of the party's recruiting efforts and whether this signals a broader decline in GOP congressional prospects. Prominent Republicans have passed up races in North Dakota and West Virginia, both GOP-leaning states with potentially vulnerable Democratic incumbents. Earlier, Republican recruiters on Capitol Hill and at the White House failed to lure their first choices to run in Florida, Michigan and Vermont.
I am available for speaking appearences and/or sexy parties.|W|P|112891843636593834|W|P|The Weigel Effect|W|P|10/09/2005 03:44:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I do so enjoy watching semi-pro Democrat-hater High Hewitt spend all of his free time arguing with conservatives about Bush's Supreme Court pick. Andrew Sullivan is being particularly harsh. (Little Hughie?)|W|P|112888726798556790|W|P|Squirm baby squirm|W|P|10/06/2005 08:17:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|With the help of some find chain store sales and used CD outlets, I'm getting a large selection of fresh 2005 albums. I'll try and rank them all at year's end. Here are some initial thoughts. Great The Go-Betweens - Oceans Apart Kanye West - Late Registration The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema Good The Decemberists - Picaresque Richard Thompson - Front Parlour Ballads Low - The Great Destroyer Jimmy Webb - Twighlight of the Renegades Nanci Griffith - Hearts In Mind Super Furry Animals - Love Kraft Meh They Might Be Giants - Here Come the ABCs Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake It's Morning Beck - Guero Aimee Mann - The Forgotten Arm Still digesting Blackalicious - The Craft Michael Penn - Mr. Hollywood 1947 Sigur Ros - Takk The Posies - Every Kind of Light Ween - Shinola Vol. 1|W|P|112864843493435428|W|P|2005 Albums - the preliminaries|W|P|10/06/2005 10:01:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Ellen|W|P|I'll agree with you on the "meh" for Aimee Mann, I was pretty disappointed with that. But I must respectfully disagree with the "meh" for Beck. Guero is quickly becoming my favorite Beck album. Although my previous fave was Midnite Vultures, which was pretty roundly hated, so take my preferences with a grain of salt.10/06/2005 11:22:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Pat "Souljacker" King|W|P|Man, I LOVED Midnite Vultures. I also dig Guero, tho I haven't given it as much attention as I have his other stuff. I did like it more than meh, but then I'm one of the crowd that likes Vultures Beck more than Sea Change Beck.10/06/2005 11:55:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Dave|W|P|As luck would have it I'm seeing Beck on Saturday, and it's the first time I'll have seen him since ... the Midnite Vultures tour. Maybe this'll alter my opinion of the album, but I doubt it. I've been cool on him since 2002 or so.

Also, since you guys generally have sweet musical tastes, feel free to suggest some good stuff not on this list.10/07/2005 11:07:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Pat "Souljacker" King|W|P|Y'know, I was a pretty big fan of Blinking Lights, the new Eels album... But I think my album o' the year is probably still Sufjan Stevens' Illinois. He sort of expands and fills out his sound from Seven Swans and Michigan, and the album feels (to me, at least) tighter than those two. Plus he includes the undeniable couplet of the year, "Stephen A. Douglas was a great debator, but/Abraham Lincoln was the great emancipator!"

It's just fun to hear such sentiments on top of banjo-heavy tunery.10/07/2005 11:13:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|Since I'm currently playing host to a couple roving musicians, I feel the need to plug them here, since they'll be playing in your neck of the woods on Halloween: ilyAIMY (who recently introduced me to the Decembrists) will be playing at the Velvet Lounge at 9 p.m. on Oct. 31. If you can, go see them. If I weren't working that week, I'd come up for this show - I expect it to be THAT good.
~Jamie10/07/2005 11:38:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous kchiker|W|P|Ditto on Sufjan Stevens--he's certainly an original. How many artists can write truly great songs about John Wayne Gacy?

The Pernice Brothers had a great album this year too.10/07/2005 10:33:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Casey|W|P|Sufjan Stevens is the most overrated artist of the millennium so far, but I don't have the space to make that case here. Your instinct on Guero is right on, though -- Beck sounds bored out of his mind for the entire album. My indie kingdom for another "Debra."

I say reconsider Bright Eyes, if for nothing else than the fact that the record contains one of the best songs about falling in love that I've heard ("First Day of My Life.")

Great stuff you're missing -- Bloc Party's "Silent Alarm," which rides to greatness on the strength of the best rhythmn section I've heard in recent years, and the shockingly good new Franz Ferdinand album, which sprinkles in enough Beatles-grade melodies among the dance-rock to make it a strong contender for my favorite record of the year.

Agreed on New Pornographers, though. "Sing Me Spanish Techno," the title track, "Bleeding Heart Show," "Jackie Dressed in Cobras" ... OK, the whole thing, actually.10/08/2005 01:43:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Tim|W|P|I'd like to second Blinking Lights... the most charmingly depressing album since Elliot Smith died.

But I've got to go with Illinois as my album of the year...Not just for state pride either, "Predatory Wasp of the Palisades" is my favorite song in years.

Also, I want to give a shout-out to Chicagoan Andrew Bird, whose Mysterious Production of Eggs is my other favorite of the year.10/11/2005 08:13:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Patrick|W|P|I'd like to put another vote in the Sufjan as overrated category.

Please enter another vote for "cancer of the bone" as the most ridiculous phrasing of the year.10/13/2005 01:43:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Rich B.|W|P|Sufjan is adorable; fuck Bloc Party. Thus concludes my careful analysis.10/13/2005 10:50:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|How can you knock an album with such fine song titles as "Tastes Good on th' Bun" and "Big Fat Fuck"?

-ken10/14/2005 12:57:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Dave|W|P|Who knocked it? I'm still listening to see how much I like it.10/05/2005 04:16:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|"Thumbsucker" (Mike Mills, 2005) Imagine a Todd Solondz movie where characters are relatively well-adjusted and everything works out in the end. You've got this - a cute but meandering character study of a moody Oregon teenager and his dicey but loving family. Justin (Lou Pucci) is starting his senior year of high school, and lazily dreams of attending college in New York, getting with a busty classmate (Kelli Garner), succeeding at ... well, anything, including letting go of his stress habit of thumbsucking. His oddly devoted dentist (Keanu Reeves!) thinks he understands the root of his problems, and hypnotizes him so his thumb tastes like echnicea. When this doesn't solve anything, Justin's distracted parents (Tilda Swinton and Vincent D'Onofrio) get him a prescription for ritalin. Problem solved! Justin becomes a daring overachiever, and keeps up his good habits even after he drops the medication and starts getting high and feeling up the busty classmate. In the end he learns valuable lessons about himself and attends NYU. There's really not much to this movie - some very funny scenes (including Benjamin Bratt as a drug-addicted syndication TV star), but the rest of it is like water lapping gently against a beach. It's pretty awesome that drugs solve our hero's problems, though. "Serenity" (Joss Whedon, 2005) I loved "Buffy" and "Angel" but merely liked "Firefly," and didn't expect a lot from this movie - early trailers made it look cheap and geeky. Surprise surprise, it kicks all ass and outdoes most action or sci-fi movies of recent years. Highly recommended even to people who never saw the show. A full review risks spoiling the very cool story, so I direct you to the review of Timothy "Tim" Brayton. And if you are/were a philosophy major (or philosopher), here's Julian Sanchez.|W|P|112854439688933328|W|P|Movies|W|P|10/05/2005 05:05:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Tim|W|P|I mostly agree with your take on Thumbsucker: certainly nothing wrong with it, and its heart is in the right place, and the performances are all good, but it just kind of...sits there.

Certainly the most positive represenation of Ritalin in cinema history though; you're right about that.10/05/2005 11:27:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I have a new article up at the American Prospect's website, about how Republicans are preventing some embarrassing 2006 election defeats by deciding not to run.|W|P|112852618825890741|W|P|Liberal media bias|W|P|10/05/2005 03:22:00 PM|W|P|Anonymous kchiker|W|P|I think you absolutely nailed it.

And to think that when I started reading this blog I kept getting you and Glenn Reynolds confused....10/05/2005 03:38:00 PM|W|P|Blogger Dave|W|P|Well, we both have big hair. But I thought my five-times-a-week posting schedule would tip you off ...10/05/2005 03:59:00 PM|W|P|Anonymous kchiker|W|P|A more observant or brighter person, perhaps...but posting frequency isn't something that immediately registers when I hit a blog the first or second time.

It seems that the last few years have brought about a wee bit of change in your political perspective. Or maybe I'm hallucinating (again).10/03/2005 09:51:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I don't want to spend too much time on this topic, as I've written a (fantastic) column on it that I'm shopping around right now, but by all appearences Republicans are going to have a lousy 2006 election cycle. Time and again, Democrats have been able to cajole top-flight candidates into hot Senate races - just as often, Republicans have not found candidates to attack their target seats. A quick review: GOP TARGETS Florida - Popular Gov. Jeb Bush and TV host Joe Scarborough passed, and unpopular congresswoman Katherine Harris is running, despite the GOP's pleading with her to step aside for a candidate who can win. Likely Dem. Maryland - Semi-popular Lt. Gov Michael Steele is running. Leans Dem. Michigan - Popular Rep. Candice Miller passed, and the fallback is wingnutty black Rev. Keith Butler. Safe Dem. Minnesota - Conservative Rep. Mark Kennedy is running, although he polls behind the possible Democratic candidates. Leans Dem. Nebraska - Gov. Mike Johanns is in the Bush cabinet, Rep. Tom Osborne wants to be governor, failed 2000 candidate Don Stenberg is running again. Safe Dem. New Jersey - Family scion Tom Kean Jr. is running against a Democrat-to-be-named. Toss-up. New York - Hah. Safe Dem. North Dakota - Gov. John Hoeven decided not to enter. Safe Dem. Vermont - Gov. Jim Douglas won't run, and independent Bernie Sanders leads all other candidates. Safe Ind. Washington - Beloved almost-Gov. Dino Rossi passed, ceding the field to a first-time candidate and tycoon. Leans Dem. West Virginia - Rep. Shelley Moore Capito decided today not to run. Safe Dem. DEM TARGETS Arizona - Wealthy Democratic chair Jim Pederson is running. Leans GOP. Missouri - Popular almost-Gov. Claire McCaskill is running. Toss-up. Montana - Two powerful Democrats (a State Auditor and the Senate President) are battling it out in the primary. Toss-up. Nevada - Apparently Harry Reid cut a deal with John Ensign not to run someone against him. Safe GOP. Ohio - The white Obama, Paul Hackett, is running. Toss-up. Pennsylvania - Bob Casey. Leans Dem. Rhode Island - It all depends on whether conservative Stephen Laffey wins the GOP primary. If so, Likely Dem. If not, toss-up. Tennessee - Ubermoderate Harold Ford is running, but against a strong GOP bench. Leans GOP. Summation - Probably because Democrats are feeling their oats and the Republicans are feeling a bad, 1986-style course correction, the Dems are in good position to whittle down the GOP majority if not outright win the damn Senate. The GOP map just keep looking worse and worse - they can't find challengers for the four Red state Democrats, and their best pick-up opportunities are in solid (Maryland), steady (New Jersey) or marginally Blue states. Meanwhile, the Democrats have favorable conditions in two Blue state seats, their best possible candidates in the deep Red state seats, and first-class candidates in states (Arizona, Montana, Ohio) where the trends are favoring them.|W|P|112839210229079630|W|P|More politics and then I'll stop|W|P|10/02/2005 05:09:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|For reasons of balance, I guess, Newsweek decided to package a "holy shit the GOP is screwed" feature with a "hah hah, so are the Democrats" feature. But what was Howard Fineman breathing when he wrote this?
... it’s incontestably true that the Democrats simply aren’t blessed with much charisma in the leadership ranks—unless you consider Angelina Jolie a Democrat. The GOP has Rudy, Colin, Arnold, McCain and Condi—just to name a few: big, bold, controversial characters. Good copy if nothing else. The more or less official roster of titular Democratic leaders includes Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean and 2004 nominee John Kerry. ‘Nuff said.
I don't see how Fineman came up with this list besides he needed a graf bashing the Democrats' "charisma" and he hoped everyone would skip over it. The Republicans' "leadership ranks" include a senator, a governor, a secretary of state, and two retired (for now) officials. That's a funny list of creds to pluck from a party that controls the House, Senate, and presidency. But no, the fact that the party's actual leadership is either anonymous (Hastert) or reeling (DeLay, Frist) is irrelevant on planet Fineman. As is the fact that if you compare their opposites in the Democrats - Pelosi, Reid - the Democrats come off rather well. And as is the march of current events. Arnold Schwarznegger's best days are apparently behind him - his popularity in California is in the 30s, and in a month most (maybe all) of his ballot initiatives are going to be defeated for the first time in his career. Colin Powell left government in early 2005 with a lot less prestige than he came in with, recently grousing to Barbara Walters about how he blew it on Iraq. Rice, McCain and Giuliani are stars - Fineman has that much right. The latter two aren't running anything at the moment, but you can calculate their Q-ratings by how easily they can command media attention and how many calls they field for fundraising and campaign appearences by candidates in their party. Either of these criteria would have been guideposts for determining a real list of Democratic "leaders." The easiest pick would probably be Barack Obama, seen here: That was the cover of Newsweek in January - maybe Fineman was off that month. Whatever - the point is, Obama has gotten such a rapturous reception from the media and so many requests (already) from Democrats to come and stump for them that leaving him off this kind of list has got to be an intentional mistake. There's also Bill Clinton - he doesn't have the Rudy ability to show up in any state and be popular, but he's popular enough in liberal or swing states. And obviously he can turn on any camera, any time. The rest of Fineman's argument is so-so, but this little passage indicates, to me at least, that there's a hardened "the Democrats are sooo fucked" CW that the party will only start to dispel if it does really well in next month's VA, NJ, CA and NYC elections.|W|P|112828894933928720|W|P|It's my CW and I'm sticking to it|W|P|10/05/2005 05:27:00 PM|W|P|Anonymous t.a. barnhart|W|P|i think you have to include howard dean in any discussion of democratic leaders. he may be a lightning rod for the right (which is why he skipped the peace march, i think) but we here at the 'roots love him. he is the one dem leader with the guts to speak up for what we believe and make no apologies. and since becoming dnc chair, he's gone out and talked to people everywhere, red state & blue, and he's spreading money to the states in ways that matter. in a few weeks, oregon will have 4 paid dem organizers working the state -- in an off-off year! of course we love dean. he's the last real democrat standing as far as many of us can tell. and after reid's endorsement of meirs, even more so.