Jul 15, 2013

The consent of the governed

Or New Yorkers deserve the politicians they get:
“Yeah, why not Anthony Weiner?” said one transit worker. “Weiner’s a fighter. You see him go up against those Republican assholes back in 2009, 2010? Everyone else sitting there just taking it—Obama too—and Weiner’s the only one screaming back. That’s a hell of a lot more important to me than whether he showed off his cock.”

Apr 15, 2011

Fare Ye Well

I must bring my meager contributions to this blog to an end. I really appreciated the opportunity to contribute, Rachel. Please keep in touch. God bless you all.

Mar 1, 2011

What Holmes is Listening to



Just because it is an amazing song. All politics and no music makes Holmes a dull boy.

Nov 2, 2010

Yes!

Yes!

Sep 28, 2010

The starfish vs the spider

Jonathan Rauch on the Tea Party movement.
The Starfish and the Spider, a business book by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom, was published in 2006 to no attention at all in the political world. The subtitle, however, explains its relevance to the tea party model: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations.

Traditional thinking, the book contends, holds that hierarchies are most efficient at getting things done. Hierarchies, such as corporations, have leaders who can make decisions and set priorities; chains of command to hold everyone accountable; mechanisms to shift money and authority within the organization; rules and disciplinary procedures to prevent fracture and drift. This type of system has a central command, like a spider's brain. Like the spider, it dies if you thump it on the head.

The rise of the Internet and other forms of instantaneous, interpersonal interaction, however, has broken the spider monopoly, Brafman and Beckstrom argue. Radically decentralized networks -- everything from illicit music-sharing systems to Wikipedia -- can direct resources and adapt ("mutate") far faster than corporations can. "The absence of structure, leadership, and formal organization, once considered a weakness, has become a major asset," the authors write. "Seemingly chaotic groups have challenged and defeated established institutions. The rules of the game have changed."

Sep 9, 2010

I beg to differ

Megan McArdle:

FDR lived in a different era. His speeches come across so well today precisely because they were designed largely to be read; Obama is making speeches for an era when most people get their news from television, and so naturally, his speeches read flat and uninteresting. FDR's speech delivery, by contrast, was surprisingly poor for an audience used to taking in most of its news in audio or video.


FDR would do just fine on video:

Sep 2, 2010

What not to wear to court

T-shirts with slogans, flip flops and wrinkles.

Hell is other people

The existential crisis of Obama supporters:
According to Maureen Dowd, “Obama is the head of the dysfunctional family of America — a rational man running a most irrational nation, a high-minded man in a low-minded age. The country is having some weird mass nervous breakdown.” Jonathan Alter argues that the American people “aren’t rationally aligning belief and action; they’re tempted to lose their spleens in the polling place without fully grasping the consequences.” And Slate’s Jacob Weisberg has written that “the biggest culprit in our current predicament” is the “childishness, ignorance, and growing incoherence of the public at large.”

Aug 31, 2010

Miscellany

Break out the booze: Heavy Drinkers outlive teetotallers.

Animal, vegetable or mineral? South Sudan cities.

Beware the wrath of writers.

Now, that's a downward facing dog.

I prefer a wimple



To that godawful black taffeta poke bonnet worn by the nuns in "Doubt."

Meryl Streep is an overactor

There, I said it. I just saw "Doubt," and I found Ms. Streep's much-vaunted ability to do accents a huge distraction. I'm happy to see that I'm not alone.

I did like the movie, though. And I actually sympathized with Sister Aloysius, though I don't know if I'm supposed to. Apparently the author/writer/director, John Patrick Shanley has mommy issues. And the movie is dedicated to the Amy Adams character, a sweet and trusting nun who comes to believe in the innocence of the priest, played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Hoffman, who is excellent, plays Father Flynn, a likeable, progressive priest trying to breathe life into the Bronx parish whose school is run by the iron hand of Sister Aloysius Beauvier. But the devil always has the best lines. So who are we to believe: The earnest, compassionate priest or the dried up old termagant?

CIA guns




Virginia Postrel ponders the sartorial choices of Joan Campbell, a CIA chief played by Kari Matchett on "Covert Affairs."
Joan ... never covers her arms. Is this a new form of power dressing? Is it Michelle Obama's influence? Or is it yet another Hollywood fantasy? (They've been putting female detectives in tank tops for years. But at least they also have jackets.) You'd think that Langley's air conditioning alone would dictate more coverage.


Others have also noticed. And it's not just the lack of sleeves. Matchett's character also sports plunging necklines with a concomitant bralessness that's extremely distracting. And not in a good way--if you're looking to suspend your disbelief and enjoy the show, that is. If you're just there to see Matchett's assets, you're in luck.

Joan should take a cue from another TV woman with a high-powered job, Diane Lockhart from "The Good Wife."



Played by the terrific Christine Baranski, whom I adore, Diane always looks both elegant and professional. It helps that Christine Baranski can really wear clothes.



Baranski's older than Matchett and her character is likely richer, so maybe Joan would do better to use the title character as her inspiration. Julianna Margulies seldom shows as much as an elbow at work, yet she still manages to look gorgeous.

Aug 27, 2010

Channeling Rachel

Cool old photos of English schoolchildren.

via Lucianne.com

Another blonde overlooked




Farah Fawcett, the subject of the best-selling poster of all time. Really, this list has some serious omissions.

Who's your favorite blonde?

Aug 26, 2010

Jean Harlow didn't even make the cut



Marilyn Monroe tops the list of greatest blondes. That's fine, I suppose, but who the hell are these other people? Denise Van Outen? Holly Willoughby?

But Jean was the original blonde bombshell. She also died tragically young.



What the young, hip political woman is wearing


Halle by Kate Spade

[T]he Kate Spade wedge heels are not just one candidate’s shoes. They seem to be the shoes of a circle of younger women aspiring to power or already in it, women directly and indirectly passing on to one another ways of navigating the particular challenges of being a woman in the public eye. A woman must look put-together, but not as if she is a slave to fashion; she must look groomed, but never be spotted grooming.


Not for nothing, but if the NYT is gonna devote an article to a shoe would it kill them to show a picture of said shoe? A better picture than this, that is.

Miscellany

Whither the medical revolution?

Where sheep may safely graze: Hobbiton.

Why are Palestinians still refugees?

The nutty dressers luncheon.

Aug 25, 2010

How not to give good customer service

When you're talking to a customer angry over an error made by your company and she says, obviously referring to the company, that "you erroneously deducted $100 from my account." Don't reply: "I didn't do anything."

Aug 24, 2010

Wrong and downright harmful



Government eating guidelines.

According to Scientific American, growing research into carbohydrate-based diets has demonstrated that the medical establishment may have harmed Americans by steering them toward carbs. Research by Meir Stampfer, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard, concludes that diets rich in carbohydrates that are quickly digestible—that is, with a high glycemic index, like potatoes, white rice, and white bread—give people an insulin boost that increases the risk of diabetes and makes them far more likely to contract cardiovascular disease than those who eat moderate amounts of meat and fewer carbs. Though federal guidelines now emphasize eating more fiber-rich carbohydrates, which take longer to digest, the incessant message over the last 30 years to substitute carbs for meat appears to have done significant damage. And it doesn’t appear that the government will change its approach this time around. The preliminary recommendations of a panel advising the FDA on the new guidelines urge people to shift to “plant-based” diets and to consume “only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry and eggs.”

First class creep

Jane Eyre's Mr. Rochester.
6. At the end of the book, Rochester is blind and maimed from the fire that ultimately destroyed Thornfield Hall and killed Bertha. (He does rescue the servants and tries to rescue his wife–I’ll give him that.) But once Jane has declared that her love for him still remains, he reveals that for the past year, he’s been wearing the pearl necklace (ahem) he had given her during their engagement. Some might call this romance, I call it a problem. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rochester likes to wear Jane’s underwear, too. Or, let’s be honest: Bertha’s.

Someone's gonna be late for work



Chinese traffic jam enters its 10th day.

Aug 23, 2010

Even a stopped clock

How Jimmy Carter saved beer.



ADDED: But even the pretentious Marin County microbrewers have their doubts about Jimmy Carter redux.

Miscellany

How to defeat the Death Star: Power Point.

The truth about Charlie Chan.

The recluse, thanks to Holmes.

Sibling rivalry: Hollywood's oldest feud.

Whatever happened to quicksand?

Daniel Engber:
If you're a 9- or 10-year-old at the P.S. 29 elementary school in Brooklyn, N.Y., you've got more pressing concerns: Dragons. Monsters. Big waves at the beach that might separate a girl from her mother. Thirty years ago, quicksand might have sprung up at recess, in pools of discolored asphalt or the dusty corners of the sandbox—step in the wrong place, and you'd die. But not anymore, a boy named Zayd tells me. "I think people used to be afraid of it," he says. His classmates nod. "It was before we were born," explains Owen. "Maybe it will come back one day."

Hmmm. I remember being afraid of quicksand. Also, improbably, tsetse flies, thanks to a neighbor kid's mother who assured us that there had been an influx of the creatures one summer. She warned us not to go to sleep if we got bitten, or we'd never wake up. I spent many a long night that summer trying to stay awake, afraid that one of the mosquito bites on my legs was really the work of a tsetse fly.

Aug 4, 2010

The Onion

Blurring the line between farce and reality.

Jul 30, 2010

Nice

Candidate takes "Jewish money."

Via

Where's the Palestinian Hadassah?

Evelyn Gordon wonders:
Clearly, the Palestinian Authority can’t fund its hospitals as Israel does ... : It’s a young, struggling state-in-the-making, while Israel is a 62-year-old, comparatively wealthy state. But Israel had relatively good hospitals even when it, too, was a young, struggling state-to-be, thanks to the generosity of overseas Jews, who built, equipped, and staffed them. Hadassah Hospital, for instance, was founded by the American Hadassah organization, which built six hospitals in Israel before the state’s establishment. Even today, donations from overseas Jews contribute greatly to Israel’s cutting-edge medicine.

Like the Jews, Palestinians have a large Diaspora. Also like the Jews, parts of that Diaspora are well-educated and well-off, with estimated assets of $40-80 billion.

But there the similarity ends — because overseas Palestinians evidently have no interest in doing for the PA what overseas Jews did for pre-state Israel. If they did, their hospitals wouldn’t look as Essa described.

Jul 29, 2010

Tokyo's oldest man is dead

And has been for 30 years.
His granddaughter told investigators Kato holed up in his room about 30 years ago after declaring he wanted to be a living Buddha, police and Tokyo officials said. They believe Kato died soon after that.