Saturday, April 19, 2008

Democratic Debate In One Minute

I'm sorry, these folks are into the eyeballs and the advertising (who can blame them) so there's no embed for this. You'll have to follow the link, but it's worth it.

Erm, so I got to wondering because that's what you DON'T PAY me to do, and I decided to click on 23/6's About Us because although I saw it on Huffpo all the time, I've never really explored it.

ABOUT US is a co-production between the gigantic, vaguely Death Star-like IAC, and The Huffington Post, a progressive news hub where outraged people go in order to get more outraged before going to have dinner at Nobu.

Corporate Overlords
Publisher: Arianna Huffington
President: Sarah Bernard
IAC Head of Interactive Programming: Michael Jackson

Creative Types/Narcissists/Enablers
Editor: Jason Reich
Executive Consultant: Roy Sekoff

Apparently it's another Arianna baby, and all satire all the time. (What's the IAC again?) I probably wouldn't have been curious at all except NPR did an interview about their McCain Girls viral video today. Never once was the Huffington name mentioned.
Okay, got to add this to my RSS feed. In the early days of my RSS feed, I thought it was so cool I was gonna write about it and recommend it. But frankly, it's just another internet time waster that I only use about once a week and every time I do, I'm sorry.

Anyway, the Daily Show, Colbert and 23/6.
Can satire save democracy?
I can do Carrie Bradshaw when I have to, but it wouldn't be a pretty picture. Too inside baseball? Sorry.

Besame Mucho

was the most popular song on the day I was born. How do I know? Yep, there's a Web site for it. There's a Web site for everything. Mine is for women of a certain age and a certain attitude who don't have time to waste finding shiny objects out there in the ether.
If I had the patience, I might do some sort of analysis about the frequency of South American influence in American pop culture during the 30s, 40s and 50s. It seems to me I've seen a documentary, maybe about the movies, that mentioned it. Why were Americans in love with South America? Bob and Bing went to Rio, they had Hedy Lamar. Peggy Lee had a hit called Manana. Who was that star who always wore fruit on her head? Oh yeah, Carmen Miranda.
Why weren't we in love with France, for instance? Or Sweden?
I think it played sexy.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Foodie Lore

We'll never get to eat there, but it's fun to read about Talula's.
Yet diners have included chefs, writers, tycoons, musicians, mushroom farmers, plastic surgeons, and actors. John Turturro traveled down from Brooklyn with his wife, Kathie Borowitz, on Valentine's Day; a friend had praised Talula's food so lavishly that Turturro had to see for himself.

"I was a little dubious at first, but the dinner surpassed my highest expectations," Turturro said after a banquet of egg custard with Jonah crab, exotic mushroom risotto, snails in rigatoni farci, roast pompano, osso buco and house-smoked bacon, lamb and wildflower honey, and an array of winter blue cheeses.

"Each dish was a separate love affair," Turturro said. "It was the kind of a meal you'd request before your execution."

Home Cooking Is Cheaper

than eating out. You knew that, but I've always liked Joel Stein's humor.
He concludes:
But sometimes we got to watch TV and not wear pants. If someone opens a restaurant like that, I'll rerun the experiment and drop fistfuls of saffron in everything.

Guys Need A Target

One memorable example of the power of choice architecture comes from the men's rooms at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. There the authorities have etched the image of a black housefly into each urinal. It seems that men usually do not pay much attention to where they aim, which can create a bit of a mess, but if they see a target, their attention and accuracy improve. Spillage at the airport decreased by 80%!

Bumped into this on Andrew Sullivan's blog today and just had to pass it along. But the above paragraph is really all you need to know.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Debate Debate

I meant to watch last night's debate. I was looking forward to it, as a matter of fact.
I had to watch the last two online, and it was aggravating.
But as reports trickled in from the blogs picking it up on East Coast time, I decided not to bother.
Apparently, the ABC televised debate to a bigger audience than any of the previous 20-plus Democratic debates, was horrible. Full of gotcha questions that sounded designed to cater to right wing sensibilities.
The flag lapel pin Obama doesn't wear, the old Pastor Wright thing, etc.
I've read a lot about it today, and am not sure that the whole thing wasn't designed to give the apparent nominee — Obama — a taste of what Republicans will throw at him in the fall.
However, if you're pissed off about last night, there's now a petition.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Barack Hussein Obama

What's in a name? The great thing about the internet is that there is so much I can learn. The terrible thing about the internet is that there is so much crap.

From Juan Cole:
Americans may think of Saddam Hussein when they hear the name, but that is like thinking of Stalin when you hear the name Joseph.

Read the whole thing, it's not that long.

The Poll I'd Like To See

is the one that asks voters how many candidate YouTubes they watch and what they remember of them.
I remember the Wright preachings, and I'll remember this.

Dave Chapelle's Pixies

A commenter at TPM suggested that the 12 percent of African American voters in Pennsylvania who still support Hillary may have a pixy problem similar to this.
I don't know, but I do know I miss Dave.

Lexicon Of Liberal Invective

I don't know how I've survived this long without it. And if Paul Krugman hadn't called himself a DFH and linked to it, I may have spent the rest of my days without this important reference work.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pennsylvania, Tuesday

Andrew Sullivan finds it so I don't have to.
Having done an analysis of Pennsylvania's 19 congressional districts, CQ predicts Clinton will take 53 delegates and Obama will take 50. Yeah: that's it. No wonder we're parsing hard-to-hear off-the-record fundraisers.

Sex And The (Chinese) City

It's bad to keep promoting this. Well, not really. I'm addicted. Consider me the dealer. We give it away for free, and pretty soon you're paying for it. Yummm.

$3 Trillion To Spend

This site lets you decide how you would spend the money we've borrowed to fund the war if we didn't have the war.
Trouble is, it isn't our money. I told them that, but you can tell them anything you want.


That's what they're calling it out in pundit land, which includes the big bloggers I read obsessively.
And we Obama supporters were worried, our hearts in our throats, waiting to see what the Pennsylvania polls would show after a weekend of non-stop parsing among the talking heads and Clinton's wash, rinse, repeat of the theme that he offended small town America by saying they're bitter and turn to God, guns and whatever because of it.
Well, the polls are out and there's relatively little change among PA voters after all. And Gallup has him up nationally by 11 percent, the highest yet. (National polls mean little, but we all read them anyway.)
I don't get out at all. I have no idea what real people are hearing, absorbing, thinking about all this. Does anybody but the media and the blogosphere care?
Well, I did get out Friday night with a bunch of women friends, and we never talked politics, not once. I think we're all Obama supporters.
I'll just throw in this short Obama ad to illustrate what the people of PA are getting, he's putting up three or five times as many ads because he's got lots of money — some of it mine — and she still hasn't paid back the $5 million loan to her campaign.

P.S. He's up five points in Indiana.
P.S.S. Don't forget, tomorrow's debate on ABC. Perhaps the most interesting so far, given that Pennsylvania votes next Tuesday.

FISA: It's Ba-a-ack

As I've mentioned before, Harry Reid, Chris Dodd and Pat Leahy and I are tight.
So, Pat says it's okay if I share his letter to me:

Dear Julie,
Now that the House has passed a fair FISA bill, it's time to turn our attention back to the Senate.

Forward an email to your Senators now!

Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a strong and balanced FISA bill, legislation that protects America's national security while defending civil liberties -- without granting retroactive immunity to phone companies. Retroactive immunity would abet the Bush-Cheney Administration's efforts to avoid accountability for its actions.

This was a tremendous accomplishment -- and would not have been possible without the hard work and support from engaged citizens like you. The fight for a fair FISA bill has been waged all across the country: in the halls of Congress, on progressive political blogs, in newspaper editorial pages, on the public airwaves, and around dinner tables and water coolers from coast-to-coast.

But there's still much work to do. Now that the House has passed a fair FISA bill, it's time to turn our attention back to the Senate -- and we hope you'll join us in urging our Senate colleagues to sign on to the strong FISA legislation the House passed just last month.

Urge the Senate to support the House's strong and balanced FISA bill -- forward an email to your Senators now!

We've already seen the impact of grassroots activity on the FISA debate. Your emails, phone calls, blog posts, and letters-to-the-editor -- including more than 1,700 letters written in response to our call last month alone -- really do make a huge difference.

Now we need your help to make sure that our colleagues in the Senate know that the American people are watching -- and that they want a FISA bill that protects our national security, preserves our civil liberties, and refuses retroactive immunity to telecom companies.

Urge the Senate to support the House's strong and balanced FISA bill -- forward an email to your Senators now!

First the Bush-Cheney Administration tried to bully the House into accepting its own deeply flawed FISA legislation. Then White House officials and Congressional Republicans refused to meet with us to hammer out a better bill. And then the President and his allies blocked our attempts to temporarily extend existing surveillance legislation -- incredibly blaming Democrats for their own efforts to let the legislation expire.

You can tell them, too. LINKY

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sex And The City

I waited a day to post this. I was afraid of what you'd think of me. But frankly, why the fuck should I care? I'm too old. And I miss the girls. If you don't, don't watch.

Meet Mr. Ikea

He's an alcoholic and ex-Nazi or something.
And he's really, really rich and doesn't seem to spend much of it.
Hard to get a handle, actually. Well, the world is a befuddling place, eh? I read an Ikea catalogue only yesterday, as a matter of fact.
It has been claimed that more people read the Ikea catalogue than the Bible - and that one in ten Europeans have been conceived on an Ikea bed.

Torture Anyone?

The ACLU (of course) has a new petition against torture and demanding an independent prosecutor to investigate. There's a little more work involved than the usual thing. They urge you to call, as well, and compose your own message. Do it! C'mon, if not you, who?

Good Morning!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Oh, Death

Green funeral advice here. is actually a great reference.

Mental Effects of Bypass Surgery

Correction below.
I once did a long story on bypass and can't remember anymore whether I knew about this or not.
But while the article I linked to relates it to Bill Clinton's public gaffes during this campaign, what came immediately to my mind was Dick Cheney. He's had more than one bypass, more than two, I think at least three, possibly four. Whoa!
Money quote:
Brain damage during bypass surgery is so common that hospital personnel refer to it as pump head. The primary cause is emboli produced during surgery from clamping the aorta and from the "heart-lung machine." This machine pumps blood to keep the patient alive while the heart is stopped during the operation. Unfortunately, this pump also introduces toxic gases, fat globules, and bits of plastic debris into the bloodstream of the patient under anesthesia. Once they are in the bloodstream, these particles migrate to the brain where they can clog capillaries and prevent adequate amounts of blood and oxygen from flowing to the brain. Essentially, all patients experience brain emboli during surgery and for many the damage is permanent.
Correction: I did a Google search and learned Cheney only had one bypass, in 1988, but he's had further procedures since then.

SNL Opener

for those of you who can't stay up that late anymore. It's a long one, nine minutes. But much better than not watching Tim Russert.
For other videos from last night's show, go here.

Re: Bitter in PA

Everybody's churning out there about Obama's remarks in San Francisco recorded by a Clinton supporter and jumped on by her campaign in the hope that it will be the dealbreaker moment for her. You've probably heard and read enough already, so I'm not going to link to any of it, just offer this:



I don't do many of these any more, probably because I'm on so many email lists that I tend to ignore them.
But the issue of media consolidation is near and dear to my heart, so I'm posting an online petition you can sign regarding a very important vote coming up in the Senate.
As one Daily Kos commenter said, fair elections and media consolidation may be the two most important progressive issues out there because if your vote doesn't count and the public isn't well informed, other change is just so much harder and unreliable.

Sunday Talkers

Once again, Jason Linkins at Huffington Post watches them all so we don't have to, then reports back and is always amusing.
Of course, so far (not over as I write this, Linkins does a running update) it's all about elitist orange juice drinkers and bitter people like you and me.
Best comment so far:
We have a President who just admitted to condoning torture , as well as, discussions of it in the White House and we're talking about whether or not a candidate statement about rural America being bitter are harmful or right or whatever. And we wonder why our problems never get solved???? The state of what passes for journalism in this country is unbelievable. Hardball discusses Obama asking for orange juice when offered coffee, whether he should or shouldn't wear ties, and CNN plays Bill Clinton's comment on his wife's Bosnia fiasco and her being 60 and tired on an endless loop every 30 mins. for 3 days now and everybody is running stories on whether or not there's a naked lady reflected in Cheney's sunglasses. When are we the people going to demand that news channels actually report news and not this MTV sensationalized news as entertainment.