Monday, April 26, 2004

Bush-Kerry in 2004
What if Bush and Kerry's wives ran the country? I can't help thinking we'd be better off. (Plus I'm scoring a lot of points with my chick friends.)
-- Check out Newsweek's profile of Teresa Kerry

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Meet me at The Pottery Barn, and Bring a Two-by-Four!
Turns out that what's true for Iraq may not be true for The Pottery Barn after all. Lloyd Grove reports that the upscale home retailer -- unofficial motto: "We have taste so you don't have to" -- actually has no "you break it, you buy it policy." So, who's up for a little vase-smashing?
-- Powell's Potterygate slip (NY Daily News)

Monday, April 19, 2004

London Confidential
What was Kevin Spacey doing in a London park at 4:30 a.m.? Walking his dog, he says. Funny, I don't recall George Michael ever using that euphemism... But I digress. The point here is that Spacey, who recently put his white-hot Hollywood career on hold to serve as artistic director of London's Old Vic theater, first told British cops (no guns! how cute is that?) that he'd been attacked by muggers. Then, he evidently reconsidered and came cleanly, oops--came clean. Turns out Spacey wasn't hurt in an attack, but when he fell chasing the kid who'd conned him out of his cell phone.
-- Spacey 'comes clean' over 'attack' (CNN)

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Celebrity Sighting of the Week
I've got absolutely no idea what Malcolm Jamal Warner is doing with himself these days, but based on his appearance on the C train this afternoon, it seems that his sustenance needs are being amply met.
Ouch, Cognitive Dissonance!
Is it possible to agree with both David Brooks and Paul Krugman on Iraq? If you're me it is. Try it for yourself.
-- Brooks: 'The Uncertainty Factor' (NY Times)
-- Krugman: 'Snares and Delusions' (NY Times)
PLUS: Michael Chabon writes brilliantly on the indispensable pain of adolescence (NY Times)

Monday, April 12, 2004

Line of the Week
Today on 'The O'Franken Factor,' eponymous Al was talking about how, when flying in the months after the 9/11 attacks, he would pack a few baseballs in his carry-on. If his flight was highjacked, he said, his intention was to bean the highjackers with "more balls in the face than Elton John." Made me laugh.
-- Air America Radio

Saturday, April 10, 2004

History of the Iraq War, Draft Two
If journalism is the first draft of history, then, a year after the fall of Baghdad, a second draft of the Iraq War is just about ready for publication. And it goes something like this. . . While the 9/11 highjackers were living the U.S. or in friendly countries like Germany as they plotted their attack on our power, our weath and our perceived decadence, the Bush Administration was preoccupied with an outdated, state-centric view of threats against the West.

After the attacks that should've changed. It didn't, and we invaded Iraq, which was then Number 6 on any rational person's list of our top 5 threats and a country that and did far less to support terrorism than non-state networks like al Qaeda. Bush and his team of rigid Cold Warriors failed to recognize this sea change in 2001. With Iraq turning out so badly, let's hope they don't also pass up the latest opportunity to match the response to the threat. Robert Wright sums up this case nicely in an essay from Friday's Times Op-Ed page. His juxtaposition of Condoleeza Rice's testimony with the bad news from Iraq contained in CNN's "crawl" is especially powerful.
-- One Hearing, Two Worlds (NY Times)

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

It's Tuesday Morning, Where Is Richard Clarke?
It's been two days since I've seen or heard from the author of 'Against All Enemies'--and come to think of it, that was a replay of a previous interview. Has he gone underground?

Ever since his March 19 appearance on '60 Minutes' the author of 'Against All Enemies' has spent a lot of time in my living room, and I've grown accustomed to that indignant baritone of his. I think I'm starting to show symptoms of withdrawl. Richard, I know my country has failed me, but must you also fail me?!
Maybe Bill Kristol can help me kick this jones.
-- The Sorry Mr. Clarke (Weekly Standard)
What's Wrong With This Country?
Okay I promise to quit asking that largely superfluous question. After, that is, I publish this photo from the Netherlands:

According to Reuters, "The 'Jewel Eye' piece is latest trend in body fashion and is implanted underneath the cornea of the eye. "

Look on the bright side--at least it's a heart and not a swastika. I can really see this thing catching on in fundamentalist Muslim societies. The pitch: Attention Ladies: Buy two burqas and we'll throw in a free Jewel Eye!

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Rummy to Generals: Want More Troops? Just Ask
(Note: Those generals actually requesting additional troops will be marginalized, made fun of, and ultimately Shinseki-ed into early retirement.)
-- Rumsfeld Leaves Door Open to More U.S. Troops for Iraq (NY Times)
You Are So Freaking Lucky You Fat Losers
This from today's Times, in a story about colleges' desire to help their perfectionist students "lighten up." My how things change. Though it was only 10 years ago, when I was in school, "lighten up" was something you said to the schlub who spent his freshman fall packing on 40 pounds of beer and pizza fat.

Now, on the other hand (allow me to reiterate my desire, at 31, not to sound crotchety), "Private and public colleges alike have begun offering a wide range of services and activities intended to help students negotiate what used to be considered the ordinary rites of passage: homesickness, sophomore existential angst, romantic relationships. There are now free massages and dogs to cuddle in exam seasons, biofeedback workshops and therapists available to help students work through their first C." What the hell is wrong with this country?

-- New Lesson for College Students: Lighten Up (NY Times)

Monday, April 05, 2004

The Bee in Franken's Bonnet
Listeners of "The O'Franken Factor" have heard Al Franken mention James Fallows' story in the January Atlantic Monthly detailing the Bush Administration's planning (or lack thereof) for a postwar Iraq. The bottom line: there was plenty of evidence that the post-invasion situation would turn out just as it did. That information was explicitly ignored.
-- Blind Into Baghdad (The Atlantic Monthly)
-- ALSO: Is Air America Any Good? (Slate)

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Reality TV
What do corpse-mutilators in Falluja have in common with those wacky sports fans with afro wigs, placards and painted faces that you see every time they cut to commercial?

They both serve the same master--that intoxicating red light situated on top of a TV camera.

Welcome to the new age of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal. In case you forgot, that' the phenomenon whereby the light used to measure subatomic particles disrupts those very same particles. The act of observing changes the thing being observed.

It's a slim reward, but apparently a second or two on national TV is enough to motivate certain types to paint their torsos blue. I have to wonder if the same force is in effect with our insurgent friends in Iraq--would they really bother to interrupt their looting and foraging to mutilate a corpse if it weren't for the presence of TV cameras? I doubt it.
-- 'To Portray the Horror, News Media Agonize' (NY Times)

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