Sunday, June 27, 2010

Join Team America

The media is not going to like this one bit:

On Saturday, the group known as America Speaks (funded by Wall Street mogul Peter G. Peterson and two other foundations) brought together several thousand people in meetings in 60 cities. They gave participants misleading background information about the federal deficit and economic options to achieve fiscal "balance" and future prosperity.

Peterson cannot be pleased with the participants' mainly progressive policy choices, which will be presented on June 30 to the Deficit Commission that Peterson encouraged President Obama to create.

According to America Speaks' own press release, when a scientifically selected group of participants picked up their electronic voting devices, they overwhelmingly supported proposals to

  • Raise tax rates on corporate income and those earning more than $1 million.
  • Reduce military spending by 10 to 15 percent,
  • Create a carbon tax and a securities-transaction tax.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Adult Supervision

"For $25,000 to $250,000, The Washington Post is offering lobbyists and association executives off the record, non-confrontational access to 'those powerful few' -- Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and the paper's own reporters and editors.

The astonishing offer is detailed in a flier circulated Wednesday to a health-care lobbyist, who provided it to a reporter because the lobbyist said he feels it's a conflict for the paper to charge for access to, as the flier says, its 'health care reporting and editorial staff.'

The offer--which essentially turns a news organization into a facilitator for private lobbyist-official encounters--is a new sign of the lengths to which news organizations will go to find revenue at a time when most newspapers are struggling for survival." [Via. More.]

Adult Supervision

"A Nov. 26 article in the District edition of Local Living incorrectly said a Public Enemy song declared 9/11 a joke. The song refers to 911, the emergency phone number." [Via.]

Adult Supervision

"People often ask me how to make conversation at dinner parties. I always tell them to ask about their dinner partner's family -- once they get started, they won't stop. Everyone has a dysfunctional family. Ours is no exception.

I'm going to discuss a drama unfolding in our family, and I'm discussing it only because others have made it public and messy. It's a conflict that I hope readers can understand -- and avoid in their own lives." [Via.]

Adult Supervision

" of the things that ties together my work over here and my work at Baseball Prospectus is that I want the media to be smarter and more accountable when they cite statistical information, be it mortgage rates or polling numbers or batting averages. This article was neither smart nor accountable. It's the equivalent of noting that Alex Rodriguez has a batting average 40 points better than the league average, and using that to infer that the umpires were biased in his favor." [Via.]

Adult Supervision

"Peter Perl, WaPo's editor in charge of personnel and training, spoke to ombudsman Andrew Alexander about the problems of keeping reporters aware of their sourcing policies: 'We don't have a systematic way of addressing this... We tend to be reactive. We need to be proactive.' about today -- THIS VERY MINUTE -- you get 'proactive' with Shear and Connolly, Pete?" [Via.]

Adult Supervision

Adult Supervision

You have an ongoing series, "Faces Of The Recession?" Oh, well, a profile of Neel Kashkari will fit in great!

"The moon hits his stubble, which is six days old. And the sweater he hasn't changed in three or four days. His BlackBerry -- he can't kick it -- rang once today. A year ago in D.C., it buzzed every few seconds. All night, he'd roll over to its bluish glow. His Treasury Department assistant slept with hers, powered up, on her pillow.

'It's like a dream,' Kashkari says, his work boots crunching pine cones. 'Sometimes I think: Was it real?'"

Gag. Same day:

In addition to hiring a top equity team, we have also recognized the need for an experienced person to work closely with PIMCO's Executive Committee to lead our entry into this and other new businesses over time. Accordingly, Neel Kashkari is joining us on December 14 to lead new investment initiatives. Neel will be based in our Newport Beach office.

Adult Supervision

"Allen, according to sources, said: 'This is total crap. It’s the second worst story I have seen in Style in 43 years.'

Roig-Franzia then wandered into the newsroom. A veteran foreign correspondent, he has been turning out political features for Style. He heard Allen’s rant and stopped by his desk.

'Oh, Henry,' he supposedly said, 'don’t be such a cocks-----.'

Allen lunged at Roig-Franzia, threw him to the newsroom floor, and started throwing punches. Roig-Franzia tried to fend him off. Brauchli and others pulled the two apart." [Via.]

Adult Supervision

"In the photographs of Kagan sitting and chatting in various Capitol Hill offices, she doesn't appear to ever cross her legs. Her posture stands out because for so many women, when they sit, they cross. People tend to mimic each other's body language during a conversation, especially if they're trying to connect with one another. But even when Kagan sits across from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who has her legs crossed at the knees, Kagan keeps both feet planted firmly on the ground. Her body language will not be bullied into conformity.

She does not cross her legs at the ankles either, the way so many older women do. Instead, Kagan sits, in her sensible skirts, with her legs slightly apart, hands draped in her lap. The woman and her attire seem utterly at odds. She is intent on being comfortable. No matter what the clothes demand. No matter the camera angle." --Robin Givhan, idiotic WaPo fashion reporter.

Adult Supervision

"Alexander finally mentions the 'missing man' from his last piece on the matter, by the way: David Hoffman, who won in the the General Nonfiction category for his book The Dead Hand, The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy. Alexander notes that Hoffman 'left the paper last year in the latest cost-cutting buyout,' and 'no longer works in the newsroom' despite his billing as a Post 'contributing editor.'

But we already knew that! I'd like to know more about the persistent rumor that Hoffman found his buyout papers left on his chair with a Post-It note ordering him to 'sign this.' And, hey! I'd also love to hear more about the way Hoffman's treatment contributed to Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Shadid's decision to ply his trade elsewhere." [Via.]

Adult Supervision

"What clinches the falsity of Thiessen's claim, however (and that of the memo he cites, and that of an unnamed Central Intelligence Agency spokesman who today seconded Thessen's argument), is chronology. In a White House press briefing, Bush's counterterrorism chief, Frances Fragos Townsend, told reporters that the cell leader was arrested in February 2002, and 'at that point, the other members of the cell' (later arrested) 'believed that the West Coast plot has been canceled, was not going forward' [italics mine]. A subsequent fact sheet released by the Bush White House states, 'In 2002, we broke up [italics mine] a plot by KSM to hijack an airplane and fly it into the tallest building on the West Coast.' These two statements make clear that however far the plot to attack the Library Tower ever got—an unnamed senior FBI official would later tell the Los Angeles Times that Bush's characterization of it as a 'disrupted plot' was 'ludicrous'—that plot was foiled in 2002. But Sheikh Mohammed wasn't captured until March 2003.

How could Sheikh Mohammed's water-boarded confession have prevented the Library Tower attack if the Bush administration 'broke up' that attack during the previous year? It couldn't, of course." [Via.]

Adult Supervision

"But nowhere in the interview does Hiatt appear to grapple with the actual argument of Will's numerous critics, which is that the column at issue contained outright misrepresentations of scientific data, on a level that goes far beyond honest differences of opinion." [Via.]

Adult Supervision

"And on October 10, the Post published an insane editorial on how the Nobel Prize should've been awarded to a murdered Iranian protester. This suggests that either the entire editorial board doesn't know that Nobel Peace Prizes are never awarded posthumously or they simply don't give a shit. The piece is still not corrected, because presumably any 'correction' would have to read "the entire premise of this editorial is bullshit, sorry.'" [Via.]

Adult Supervision

Adult Supervision

Blogger, Clean Thine Own Diaper

Jeffrey Goldberg, being the obstreperous tween that he is, says of 'affaire Weigel:

The sad truth is that the Washington Post, in its general desperation for page views, now hires people who came up in journalism without much adult supervision, and without the proper amount of toilet-training. This little episode today is proof of this. But it is also proof that some people at the Post (where I worked, briefly, 20 years ago) still know the difference between acceptable behavior and unacceptable behavior, and that maybe this episode will lead to the reimposition of some level of standards.
Heh. Weigel was, of course, supervised and trained by Laura McGann, among other people. I promise you, McGann is not going to lose a battle of wits or adulthood to Goldberg anytime soon.

Anyway! Adult supervision, you say?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its public transit facilities.

Via Balk, it seems that they've built a station on Moscow's metro that's named for Fyodor Doestoevsky. It's precisely what you expect it to be:

The station, called Dostoyevskaya, is decorated with brooding grey and black mosaics that depict violent scenes from the 19th-century writer's best-known novels. One mural re-enacts the moment when the main character in Crime and Punishment murders an elderly pawnbroker and her sister with an axe.

Another shows a suicide-obsessed character in The Demons holding a pistol to his temple. If that was not enough to darken the mood, shadowlike characters are shown flitting across the cavernous new station's walls and a giant mosaic of a depressed-looking Dostoevsky stares out at passengers.
So, it's a lot like Federal Triangle, only cheerier, I guess?

Fun fact: There was, for many years, a cruise liner named the MS Feodor Doestoevsky. I have no idea what one might have expected, vacationing on such a ship. In 1995 it was renamed the MS Astor, and naturally, attacked by pirates, who would have probably given a ship called the Doestoevsky a wide goddamn berth.

Wet Hot Loud

Of course everyone's talking about that Michael Hastings story on McChrystal. But don't sleep on Rolling Stone's four-day Bonnaroo embed. I'm sure they'll force somebody to resign.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Goodbye Girl.

"There's a lot more I could say, but it's getting late in the day, and I can already see the traffic starting to drop off as the evening commute begins. So I'm just going to hit publish, and send one last DCist post out into the wilderness. I'll be seeing you."
--Sommer Mathis peaces out from DCist. Time to get wistful.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

On The Grind

Here's a funny video from Chris Geidner and Yusef Najafi from Metro Weekly, spoofing an actual "like, take this seriously, y'all" report from the Washington Examiner, in which Tara Palmieri walked around Washington, DC using the iPhone's Grindr app to prove incontrovertibly that at all times, you might be within several thousand feet of a gay man, in Washington DC, who knows, it's a FUCKIN' MAGICAL GODDAMN MYSTERY, URBAN LIFE.

Here's the original Washington Examiner investigative report. I think you can see that the one thing Najafi doesn't quite pull off is the way Palmieri speaks words aloud as if she's just come from having several bricks collide with her skull.


"My name is Eddie Vale of the AFL-CIO and I'm proud to fight for working families and I don't hide behind anonymous quotes."

--Eddie Vale responds to someone in the White House who slagged organized labor after last night's Arkansas runoff election that was too big of a pussy to stand by their remarks. In the days before the primary, the White House did everything they could to put distance between themselves and Blanche Lincoln because they, like everyone else, thought she was a sure loser. So, someone in the White House has caught themselves a bad case of bitchassness.

"Go Where Airplanes Go," Imperial China

Forever Burned On The Mind's Eye

Well, never let it be said that the New Yorker is above working blue, right? Actually, look: I am not a monument to prudery, all right? This sort of thing normally sits well with me. Still, I'd like to thank Hendrik Hertzberg for managing to somehow get my imagination to combine Blanche Lincoln with pony play. Nice going, asshole.

Journals Of The Crisis Years

The Governess passes along this discovery from Amazon, a little-read and little-bought book entitled My Boss was the BTK Killer... I was the Next Victim. Yes, that's how everything is capitalized and whatnot. The book tells the story of Mary Capps, who was a coworker-underling of Dennis Rader, the infamous "Bind-Torture-Kill" serial killer, and in it she describes what it was like to work with Rader under some, I guess, rather tight deadlines?

At first blush, you get the impression that it's something like a Then We Came To The End...Of Our Lives, but as you read what appears to be the only honest review on it's Amazon page, it becomes clear that Capps basically took her proximity to the BTK Killer as a peg to drape an entire story-of-my-life memoir around:

This book was one of the most poorly written and edited books I have ever read. It told me very little about Dennis Rader and a whole lot about Mary Capps. What I read of the book (about half)told me all about Mary's life, her kids and her growing up, with an occasional diatribe about Dennis Rader and how he ruined her life with a sentence that followed similar to "but more about that later." She supposedly attempts to tell her life story along a time line which runs with what BTK was reported to be doing at that particular time in her life, but goes off on too many rabbit trails. It certainly is not worth $14.00; in fact, in my opinion it isn't worth 50 cents.
So, it's more like an And The Heart Says You Are Going To Brutally Killed, Maybe. Anyway: SUMMER BEACH READ OMGZZ!!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Aggressive Manoeuvres For Autonomous Quadrotor Death Machines In The Dark

Skynet lives.

Why They Gotta Do Me Like That?

Wow. Who knew that Google was capable of automatically generating a Jadakiss song? [Via.]

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

Ben Craw and I set about the task of humorously memorializing the sad demise of these crazy Alabama would-be elected officials, and ended up sort of breaking our own hearts.

The best part of making this was deciding on the underscoring. We tested it with Oasis' "Don't Look Back In Anger," Boyz II Men's "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday," and Poe's "Fly Away." Poe! Remember her? You should buy her records, or something!

For the location of Alabama's Valhalla, click here.