Saturday, September 25, 2010

Elmo Defends Katy Perry on Good Morning America

This is actually adorable. And really like that it seems like the cast of the show is genuinely enjoying themselves (you can hear producer-type folks laughing in the background).

Two and Two

I forgot to mention the most fascinating part of my trip thus far. We checked into our room in Las Vegas, and the coffee table is all wobbly. It turns out that the pillar was not securely attached to the base, like it had been jarred loose.

Closer inspection revealed one more oddity nearby -- one half of a broken pair of handcuffs.

Hmmm .... delightful.

Friday, September 24, 2010

This Isn't a Parody?

I can't believe the West Virginia Republican Senate nominee, John Raese actually said this in an interview:
LEWIS: Tell us a little bit about you and your business experience and how you got here.

RAESE: I made my money the old-fashioned way, I inherited it. I think that’s a great thing to do. I hope more people in this country have that opportunity as soon as we abolish inheritance tax in this country, which is a key part of my program.

Are you kidding me?

Man of the people!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Quote of the Evening

The quote, excerpted here, is cited to Moshe Lilienblum, The Future of Our People (1883):
The opponents of nationalism see us as uncompromising nationalists, with a nationalist God and a nationalist Torah; the nationalists see us as cosmopolitans, whose homeland is wherever we happen to be well off. Religious Gentiles say that we are devoid of any faith, and the freethinkers among them say that we are Orthodox and believe in all kinds of nonsense; the liberals say that we are conservative and the conservatives call us liberal. Some bureaucrats and writers see us as the root of anarchy, insurrection and revolt; and the anarchists say we are capitalists, the bearers of the biblical civilization, which is, in their view, based on slavery and parasitism. Officialdom accuses us of circumventing the laws of the land – that is, of course, the laws directed specifically against us….Musicians like Richard Wagner charge us with destroying the beauty and purity of music. Even our merits are turned into shortcomings: “Few Jews are murderers,” they say, “because the Jews are cowards.” This, however, does not prevent them from accusing us of murdering Christian children.

Off to Las Vegas tomorrow (my brother is turning 21). Vacation blogging schedules are in effect.

You Can Say That

God, John McCain is such an enormous prick.

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Chambliss Staffer: "All Faggots Must Die"

They're not sure who the staffer is yet, but it looks like someone in the office of Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) left a comment on a gay blog declaring that "all faggots must die". The Chambliss office is investigating.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Reconsideration Roundup

The problem with going big or going home is that sometimes ....

* * *

Is Bibi thinking of selling the West Bank withdrawal to right-wing Rabbis by waving US security guarantees over their head?

Ahmadinejad blusters: "The United States doesn't understand what war looks like. When a war starts, it knows no limits."

Senate minority blocks the repeal of DADT. Relatedly: John McCain still a hack, Tony Perkins still a dick.

The stats of a "front-runner".

Like all other religions, Christianity has a broad array of different views on moral questions, and we shouldn't take the seemingly abhorrent perspectives advocated by some and paint the entire faith with a broad brush.

Nate Silver has a comperenehsive assessment of the likely impact of the Tea Party, on election day and beyond.

A neat map that tracks the racial divides in DC.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Setting the Boundaries

New York Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey's Republican opponent this fall is ... well, how to put this gently ... openly racist.
Longtime Democratic incumbent Rep. Nita Lowey's Republican challenger this fall is a Christian conservative author and activist whose writings have frowned on inter-racial marriage and movies like "Save the Last Dance," touted the benefits of studies linking race to IQ and said parents need to teach their kids "appropriate ethnic boundaries" for marriage and socializing.

Jim Russell, who's challenging Lowey in a repeat after trying to take her on in 2008, made the statements in an essay called "The Western Contribution to World History," which was published in a 2001 - 2002 edition of the Occidental Quarterly, and had also been featured on infamous former politician and Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke's website. It's since been taken down from there.

But it's still available in the back issues of the Occidental Quarterly, a far-right magazine that the civil rights-focused Southern Poverty Law Center dubbed a "racist" publication whose "editors and advisory board members have constituted a 'Who's Who' of the radical right, and its regular publication of extremists' articles has made it a favorite among academic racists in America."

In the essay, Russell also praised T.S. Eliot and psychology professor Kevin MacDonald for looking to limit the proliferation of Jews. MacDonald, who's served on the advisory board of the Occidental Quarterly, has been criticized as an anti-Semite who's pushed the theory that Jews are essentially practicing group-think to outperform non-Jews. He also praises a book, "Camp of the Saints," that the SPLC has said is "revered by American white supremacists."

Some of the block quotes provided in the piece are real doozies.

On the Cheapness of a Harvard Honor

James Fallows and Ta-Nehisi Coates both have great posts on the burgeoning controversy over Harvard honoring Marty Peretz, who has a history of saying some pretty nakedly bigoted things. Coates' point, that one can be a bigot and a great journalist is particularly well-taken (regardless of whether Peretz qualifies as a great journalist or not):
The notion that we must choose between the two, that one mitigates the other, that good people don't do deplorable things, that deplorable people don't do great things, emanates from our own inability to understand that bigotry is not strictly the preserve of orcs.

Not Harvard's finest hour, to be sure.

The Fruits of Their Labor

The Washington Post has an interesting profile of Louisville's continued efforts to keep their schools integrated after the Supreme Court's Parents Involved decision. The short story is that what was originally a rather popular and cost-effective plan is now more expensive, more convoluted, more difficult to administer, less effective and far less popular.

But hey -- at least Chief Justice Roberts got a pithy quote out of it.