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DannyBot

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 08.07.04

Here. Just go. I'd type more, but it's hard to see for all my tears.

Via Apostropher and cup of chica.


 

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The Village

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 08.07.04

Farber links to some chilling pans of The Village from Ebert ("Here is a village that desperately needs an East Village") and Scott ("The film's ridiculousness would not be so irksome if Mr. Shyamalan did not take his sleight of hand so seriously, if he did not insist on dressing this scary, silly, moderately clever fairy tale in a somber cloak of allegory").

So I've read the reviews and I've got my guess as to the lame hook at the end, the one that's evidently too flimsy to bear the weight of William Hurt. But I want to know, and I don't want to part with $8, so someone please tell me what's the story. Also don't bitch at me if your trip to the movies is spoiled by clicking on the comments.

Or, if you're feeling clever, say what the hook should be.


 

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Bigger than Plame?

Posted by Bob
on 08.07.04

Did the Bushies out an Al Qaeda double agent to save Bush's reelection bid? The other credible option is monumental incompetence. I wonder which one the admin would prefer we conclude.


 

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Clueless

Posted by Bob
on 08.06.04

At the UNITY: Journalists of Color Convention:

Q Most school kids learn about the government in the

context of city, county, state and federal. And, of course, tribal governments

are not part of that at all. ... What do you think tribal sovereignty means in the 21st century, and how do we

resolve conflicts between tribes and the federal and the state governments?

THE PRESIDENT: Tribal sovereignty means that, it's sovereign. You're a -- you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity. And,

therefore, the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one

between sovereign entities.

Now, the federal government has got a responsibility on matters like education and security to help, and health care. And it's a solemn duty. And from this perspective, we must continue to uphold that duty. I think that one of the most promising areas of all is to help with economic development. And that means helping people understand what it means to start a business. That's why the Small Business Administration has increased loans. It means, obviously, encouraging capital flows. But none of that will happen unless the education systems flourish and are strong, and that's why I told you we've spent $1.1 billion in the reconstruction of Native American schools. (Applause.)

What impresses me about this is how much Bush's answer sounds exactly like the answers you read on the short-essay exams of students who are so unprepared that the question itself makes no sense to them. Classic strategy: scratch around with a few jargony tautologies, and then change the subject to something unrelated but on which the student feels solid. End with something the professor has obviously been pushing.

Q Describe the role that osmotic potential plays in carbohydrate transport in the phloem.

STUDENT: Carbohydrate transport is very important so that carbohydrates in the phloem can be moved to different parts of the plant. Osmotic potential is important because it is what causes osmosis, which is how water moves from hypertonic to hypotonic.

Carbohydrates are composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in the proportions 1 C, 2 H, 1 O. Sugars and starches are carbohydrates, and they are high in energy. Glucose is a carbohydrate which is converted by glycolysis into ATP. That is why carbohydrates must be transported in plants. Carbohydrate transport, like other plant characteristics, is a remarkably complex product of natural selection. (Applause.)

But it seems reporters are easier graders than I am.


 

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A little bit of heaven

Posted by Unf
on 08.06.04

I say let Brad Delong wax rhapsodic about life in the People's Republic of Berkeley. We here in Chicago have so much more to enjoy than he does.


 

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I guess I'm a conservative

Posted by Bob
on 08.06.04

I'm furious.

I left work early today to stop by Rocco's Hoagies for the best veggie hoagie in Philadelphia. Eggplant, roasted peppers, shaved reggiano, thin-sliced onions, oil & vinegar, pepper, oregano, broccoli rabe, tomatoes, and maybe other stuff. Guess what! They don't make them anymore. "For some reason we can't move 'em. We had to throw out a bunch at the end of every day. You want turkey?" What the hell??

1. They did not ever throw out a bunch of hoagies. Their hoagies are made to order.

2. It doesn't cost them anything extra to keep them on the menu. All the ingredients are used for other hoagies.

3. You don't keep vegetarian items on the menu just because they sell. You keep them on to accomodate groups that include a vegetarian.

4. Every other hoagie shop I know of has something vegetarian. It's not often good, but there's something. Rocco's now has nothing Ghandi would've eaten. (Or was he vegan?)

5. I blame George Bush.


 

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Don't hate America

Posted by Bob
on 08.06.04

Wonkette does an interesting close reading:

Yet, as usual, Bush did have moments of true lyricism:

We actually misnamed the War on Terror. It ought to be the Struggle Against Ideological Extremists Who Do Not Believe in Free Societies Who Happen to Use Terror as a Weapon To Try To Shape The Conscience Of The Free World.

We're sure that focus grouped well. In fact, we hear that the only reason they didn't go with it was that Toby Keith was having trouble making it scan. No, really: It's one thing to "misspeak," which everyone does, it's another thing to be so drenched in flop sweat that you start channeling David Foster Wallace, which usually only Dave Eggers does.

And this lengthy sound bite also reveals a real rift between Bush and some of his supporters. Apparently, 9/11 is sort of incidental to his foreign policy -- the hijackers just "happen to use terror as a weapon." Like they picked up some airplane tickets at the checkout stand or something. Whether or not they use terror, it's the "ideological extremists who hate free societies" that Bush has a problem with, and in that case, we look forward to his upcoming invasion of the Justice Department.

1. Heh.

2. Yeah: I'd guess that most Americans have more of a problem with the terrorism itself than with the fact that people hate us. President With-Us-Or-Against-Us, of course, is all about relationships. He helps his supporters and snubs or outs the spy-wives of his critics. The guy's a petulant but powerful jerk.

3. No wonder so many people say that dissent aids the enemy. Turns out "shaping conscience" is what the war is meant to stop.


 

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New strategy: ignorance of the law

Posted by Bob
on 08.06.04

It's dangerous when the public knows what the laws say. Good thing John Ashcroft is on top of keeping prying eyes from actually reading the statutes.

From the American Library Association:

July 30, 2004

Last week, the American Library Association learned that the Department of Justice asked the Government Printing Office Superintendent of Documents to instruct depository libraries to destroy five publications the Department has deemed not "appropriate for external use." The Department of Justice has called for these five these public documents, two of which are texts of federal statutes, to be removed from depository libraries and destroyed, making their content available only to those with access to a law office or law library.

The topics addressed in the named documents include information on how citizens can retrieve items that may have been confiscated by the government during an investigation.

The documents to be removed and destroyed include: Civil and Criminal Forfeiture Procedure; Select Criminal Forfeiture Forms; Select Federal Asset Forfeiture Statutes; Asset forfeiture and money laundering resource directory; and Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA).

...

Fortunately, later:

August 2, 2004

The American Library Association (ALA) today welcomed the Department of Justice's decision to rescind its request that the Government Printing Office Superintendent of Documents instruct depository libraries to destroy all copies of five Department of Justice publications addressing forfeiture. The Justice Department claimed that the documents are "training materials and other materials that the Department of Justice staff did not feel were appropriate for external use." ALA disagreed with this categorization of the public documents, two of which are texts of federal statutes, and with the instruction to destroy them. ALA trusts that there will be no repetition of such unjustified instructions to destroy government information.

Hooray, librarians!

(Via Dkos diarist mattman.)


 

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No wonder Springsteen likes him

Posted by Bob
on 08.05.04

Kerry may not have been regular enough to play baseball in high school, but neither was he on the math team (like me).

John Kerry's high-school rock band, The Electras. From their album's liner notes:

John Kerry, electric bass, is a resident of Oslo, Norway, and the producer of a pulsating rhythm that lends tremendous force to all the members.

At least they didn't call themselves The Oresteses.


 

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Behemoths banned

Posted by Bob
on 08.05.04

Fun piece at Slate on SUVs. Many residential streets in California and some other states ban vehicles weighing more than 6000 lbs. All the big SUVs -- including Cadillac Escalade, Chevy Suburban, Lincoln Navigator, Hummer -- weigh over 6000 lbs, and in fact many people buy these monsters because they get a tax break for buying trucks over 6000. That's right -- on top of the regular exemption from efficiency and pollution laws, the extra-large SUVs come (in California, at least) with a tax break.

The 6000-lb bans predate the SUV boom and were originally intended to protect pavement and children from large commecial vehicles. But a yuppie in a 6000-lb Cadillac can do at least as much damage as professional truck driver, and way more damage than someone in a Honda Civic. 6000 lbs is 6000 lbs, and the behemoth-driver gets to do the extra damage while paying less tax to pay for it.


 

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Irregular

Posted by Bob
on 08.04.04

Jack Dunphy is a cop in the LAPD. And though he's a columnist for NRO, he's also a Regular Guy. That's why he's going to vote for Bush. This passage was quoted on the Bush blog:

...cops and firefighters are, if the women in the ranks will forgive the expression, Regular Guys. They drink beer, not wine, and certainly not French wine. They played football and baseball in high school, not lacrosse... Regular Guys do not blame Secret Service agents (who are Regular Guys) for knocking them down on the ski slopes, especially when those agents are there to take bullets for them. And Regular Guys relate to and prefer the company of other Regular Guys; they do not invite people like Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck to their conventions.

Classic class warfare (even down to Dunphy's Irish-sounding pseudonym -- I bet he's really named Everett Forbes Windsor Montesquieu III) -- and it worries me.

Most of us Unfogged regulars are academics or similarly ostentatiously smart people -- not so Regular (and therefore not so American?). Either we don't think Kerry's smarter than we are (or don't think Kerry thinks he is), or we partly believe in a sort of intellectual meritocracy. But what does the guy working at my corner hoagie shop (not the one with the LSAT prep-book -- the guy with the Eagles cap) think about the prospect of electing Mr. Smartypants? I can just imagine one of Dunphy's beer-drinking, lacrosse-eschewing Guy guys saying, "A regular Joe like me could be president, right? Because if not -- if only rich, book-smart smartypantses get to run things -- then either I've squandered opportunities or I never even had a shot to be at the top of things. So: I'll vote for Bush as a vote for all us Regular Guys."

The Dems ought to keep reminding Regular America: Bush went to Andover, Yale, and Harvard. He's really, really rich -- and not from the sweat of his brow. He eats Bordeaux-poached escargot for afternoon tea, and afterwards he sips cream sherry.


 

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Sliders

Posted by Bob
on 08.03.04

I saw Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, and the reviews are right on: it's excellent. It has much of the horny, illogical fun of Dude, Where's My Car?, but toned down and much, much less stupid. The race-commentary is there -- refreshingly light-handed but honest.

Also saw Control Room, which was also good, but very different from Harold and Kumar. Fewer naked breasts, more Donald Rumsfeld.


 

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The big payback

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 08.01.04
It's important to talk about life chances - about the constricted set of opportunities that poverty brings. But to treat black people as if they're helpless rag dolls swept up and buffeted by vast social trends - as if they had no say in the shaping of their lives - is a supreme act of condescension. Only 50 percent of all black children graduate from high school; an estimated 64 percent of black teenage girls will become pregnant. (Black children raised by female "householders" are five times as likely to live in poverty as those raised by married couples.) Are white racists forcing black teenagers to drop out of school or to have babies?
Mr. Cosby got a lot of flak for complaining about children who couldn't speak standard English. Yet it isn't a derogation of the black vernacular - a marvelously rich and inventive tongue - to point out that there's a language of the marketplace, too, and learning to speak that language has generally been a precondition for economic success, whoever you are. When we let black youth become monolingual, we've limited their imaginative and economic possibilities.

Henry Louis Gates jr taking over from Ehrenreich in Thomas Friedman's space. Hilarious that it's an indirect response to her much-snarkier piece on Cosby from a few weeks ago.


 

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