Monday, November 20, 2006


I understand that Kevin Garnett is a monster that emeges from a basketball shell covered in green gatoraide, but his career to this point compares unfavorably to Alex English's.

Ouch. Discuss.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I couldn't run forever - the powers that be have caught up to me. My assignment, whether I choose to accept it or not: Document Review.

It's everything I thought it would be and so much less...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Lutefisk, Lutefisk

Lefse, lefse, I'm from Minnesooooda, yeah sure you betcha:

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West

The Inland North

The South


North Central

The Northeast


What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes
(Via CharleyC)

Well, not actually from there, but I lived there for long enough that I can pass. Especially when I get drunk - then I sound like Jerry Lundegaard.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Few Notes From Too Much TV Time (Election Edition)

1. Does anyone have a copy or video of Harold Ford Jr.'s concession speech? It was stunning. I was flipping channels last night, especially when they had candidates giving speeches, but I couldn't click away from his. Chris Matthews on MSNBC was clearly smitten, and with good reason. Magnanimous after perhaps the nastiest race in the nation; poetic; and appropriately upbeat - the man is 36 and clearly knows he'll be back.

Update:Here it is, (H/T Feddie)

2. I like Pat Buchannan. Not his politics (at all), but out of all the talking heads, he is the most honest. He doesn't say what you want to hear or what he thinks advances his interests, he serves it up straight, no chaser. And the rest of the blabbermouths couldn't deal with this. He alone avoids the Pundit's Fallacy. Part of the problem our politics has is that the discussion of it is often too meta - the thinking taking on additional layers of complexity like a Russian nesting doll.

3. Bye Rummy. Good riddance. Not entirely sure if this, in itself, means much in the way of 'change of course,' but combined with the realigned congress and the fact that Gates seems to be at the very least, a reality-based grownup (and thank goodness, not a fleepin' neocon), this strikes me as good news.

4. How does a state dependent on oil and gas (aka fossil fuels) elect a governor who doesn't believe in dinosaurs? FWIW, mom, I called both the governor and house race right to within 1 percentage point of the final margin. Diane Benson did well to get 40% (a female, Native, democratic candidate who favors subsistence over game hunting running against a billion term incumbent anti-intellectual redneck who refused to debate her...)

5. George Allen's quest to be Mini-Bush is getting a little creepy. Recount yasay?

What struck you?

Morning In America?

Look, I'm massively cynical about our political system. Perhaps painfully and counter-productively so. So don't begrudge me my morning of jubilation, okay?

Before yesterday, in my darker moments (becoming more and more frequent, and a major reason I stopped talking about politics in this space) I was wondering whether the American Experiment hadn't irretrievably failed. The Torture for Commissions Act was the last in a long line of straws by which we seem to have sacrificed our essential Americaness at the altar of...hell I have no idea what the purpose was unless I'm going to be completely cynical and say at the altar of political gain. To steal a quote from the (fictional) Jay Landsman, we did not cast off our ideals lightly. We hurled them away with great force.

And it's not like these actions were the result of a popular mandate. The President is unpopular, and has been almost continuously since America more or less decided he didn't suck quite as badly as does John Kerry - and the fact that it's even a question is a rather sad commentary on whatever conventional wisdom got JK the nomination in the first place. Giving massive new powers to a guy no one even likes that we know or at least suspect that he has no idea how to actually use constructively = bad times.

The rest of the world was watching, and this felt like out last chance to convince them that the worst things said about us aren't accurate.

It was in this frame of mind that I started hearing about various shenanigans yesterday morning. Being both a Red Sox fan and having only really followed politics since 2000, I was already expecting the worst. And then, it happened. I really can't describe it any other way than that. I guess the turning point for me was the first batch of Senate exit polls followed quickly by the canaries falling like dominoes in Indian, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and upstate New York. After that I felt pretty ok - the early reports of voting problems were overblown, and I was perhaps a little bit paranoid.

And now, with the human gift for turning history into narrative, I can see the TfT act as being the nadir, and maybe we can bring it back. I'm actually feeling a bit optimistic today. But that doesn't mean it's time to rest on laurels. The Dems may or may not have "had a plan" before today, but now they need to get on it, toot suite.

To go back to "The Wire" well, "gettin' clean is the easy part. Now comes life." Last night was the easy part, the new Congress has a mandate for change. Not for "change," but to put the work in and do it right. When it comes down to it, I think that the public is going to demand competence above anything else at this point. I'm prepared to accept (some) policy outcomes I don't like as long as we the people get what we pay for.

I don't know exactly what this "competence" means substantively, because that's above my pay grade. But I know what it doesn't mean, and that's more politics for politics sake. I'm all for investigations, but not witch-hunts. It's no longer enough to talk about how the current administration and previous Congress got it wrong. Show me something better, don't just tell me about how great it would be if you did.

So, Speaker Pelosi, Senator Reid, and the presumptive '08 candidates, you're on the clock. Don't let us down.

Update: See also, Ogged:
For as long as there have been liberal blogs, there's been a dastardly Republican majority in both houses of Congress. The blogs are voices of anger, opposition, and witness. So now what? Those things aren't the things we need anymore. I can't be the only person who looked at Eschaton this morning, saw that the Wanker of the Day was Rahm Emanuel, and burst out laughing. But I won't be laughing for long if the blogs don't adapt, and we have the activist blogs turning their anger toward moderates, and the wonky blogs having good faith discussions about precisely how to calibrate the COLA.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mr. President...

Henry Waxman, line 2. Something about "subpoena for records."

In other news, popcorn futures are way up.

A Sign

Just had a pretty moderate-sized earthquake up here. The earth is moving, and so forth...


Is it over yet? Are we there? Wake me up in time for the Daily Show tonight...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Are the MFY's Neocons?

I'm with Drezner, Best. Op-Ed. Ever.:

TRADE A-Rod’s continued failure to deliver in the clutch is diverting critical resources and dividing our team. He must go. We need to move on, now!

KEEP Trading A-Rod would lead to a disaster in the American League East. It would embolden other teams and threaten future Yankee clubs. To cut and run is not an option.

TRADE Neither is “Stay the course.”

KEEP Not once has the Yankee brass said, “Stay the course.” That’s never been the plan!

. . .

TRADE We’re sending our kids to fight an endless war in Boston, when it’s Detroit that attacked us. After we swept the Red Sox in August, you hung out your Mission Accomplished banner, but nothing has been accomplished.

KEEP The Yankees never said it was over. The news media said it was over. And I acknowledge the challenges. We must adapt. We must heed the experts. Joe Torre and his coaches have said they believe A-Rod should come back. We must listen to them.

TRADE Those are the same “experts” that batted A-Rod eighth!

KEEP You would stoop so low as to attack Joe Torre? Have you no shame? Have you no shame!


In other news, Pasta Diving ("and another one pastadivingJeter") won his third straight gold glove. Dreams do come true.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Season-Appropriate Headwear

I've seen stories like this (hat tips to commenters all and sundry) pop up all over the place:
Debra A. Reed voted with her boss on Wednesday at African-American Research Library and Cultural Center near Fort Lauderdale. Her vote went smoothly, but boss Gary Rudolf called her over to look at what was happening on his machine. He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican, Charlie Crist.

That's exactly the kind of problem that sends conspiracy theorists into high gear -- especially in South Florida, where a history of problems at the polls have made voters particularly skittish.

A poll worker then helped Rudolf, but it took three tries to get it right, Reed said.

But hey, that's just Florida, we already know they can't figure out how to vote.

KFDM continues to get complaints from Jefferson County [Texas] voters who say the electronic voting machines are not registering their votes correctly.

Friday night, KFDM reported about people who had cast straight Democratic ticket ballots, but the touch-screen machines indicated they had voted a straight Republican ticket.
Some of those voters including Lamar University professor, Dr. Bruce Drury, believe the problem is a programming error.

Saturday, KFDM spoke to another voter who says it's not just happening with straight ticket voting, he says it's happening on individual races as well, Jerry Stopher told us when he voted for a Democrat, the Republican's name was highlighted.

Stopher said, "There's something in these machines, in this equipment, that's showing Republican votes when you vote for Democrats, and I know Ms. Guidry's a nice lady, and she's working hard, but her theory that my fingernail was somehow over the Republican button is just unrealistic, my fingernail was not. The equipment is not working properly as far as I can tell."
Jefferson county clerk Carolyn Guidry says her office has checked the calibration of the machines and found no problems.

She says the electronic system is very sensitive.

Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm voting Democratic...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Mas Bookblogging

Finished #40 over the weekend (and it was a doozy), but need to get caught up after the quickies from last week.

#32 "In the Shadow of the Law" by Kermit Roosevelt: Probably this year's winner of the "Wolf" memorial "all setup, no payoff award." Continuing my trend of doing unwise things before a big life change, (like viewing "The Paper Chase" the night before my first day of law school...and then my torts prof turns out to look just like Kingsfield. Of course, he turned out to be a real sweetheart, but I was yet to know that and was thoroughly terrified...) I read this legal thriller (use of term is advised) the weekend before starting the new job.

From what I can tell, Roosevelt gets BigLaw culture pretty right on. There's the superstar, the striver, the frat-boy, the burn-out, the old coot, etc.

And then, well, it gets silly. I won't spoil it for you because describing the various plot set ups would take too long, but suffice it to say that there is not one, but two ridiculous deus ex machina reversals that would have John Grisham himself shaking his head and saying "no f'in way." Not quite as cringe-worthy as Dan Brown's hand held parachute in Angels and Demons, but close.

#33 "Assassination Vacation" by Sarah Vowell. If only "Killing Yourself to Live" had been as witty, fun, and oh yeah about the advertised topic as this one. A meandering journey through the twists and turns of the Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley assassinations, and the motley cast of characters each seemed to throw up. Most intriguing and tragic was the story of Lincoln's son, who, Forrest Gump-like was more or less present for all three. Just the right dose of modern politics for my liking as well (Vowell, unsurprisingly considering her oeuvre, is decidedly, though not viciously, left-of-center.)

#34 "What's My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States" By Dave Zirin. Is it odd to be a Marxist sportswriter? It would have to be - I can't imagine a more perfect "opiate of the masses" than spectator sports. In some places *cough*NotreFreakinDame*cough*, football really is religion. But anyway, Zirin is in fact a Marxist sportswriter. Unfortunately for this reader, he spent a little too much time in the Rick Reilly School of Overwrought Simile. Combined with his decidedly Leftist politics, there are some profoundly silly passages. I'm all for more Dick Cheney jokes. But just not bad ones.

Anyway, some parts of the book are actually decent - the historical sections dealing with Jackie Robinson, Ali, and the Carlos/Smith black power salute. Easy enough where events have shown the protagonists to be on the Right Side of History, as they say. The more recent stuff, not so much. Too often, he confuses "wit" (advisedly used) with substance. Further, sports seen through a completely political lens is uh, lame. He can't decide whether the players are the avenging angels or class traitors. I get confused.

That said, there are some decent bits in the more recent stuff. He takes a nice healthy run at George Foreman, and actually had two very thought-provoking essays defending Barry Bonds. Overall, too much vinegar, not enough...(huh?)

More soon...