I know it's a letdown, but I won't be able to live-blog the OBAMA V. CLINTON RUMBLE IN THE CALIFORNIA tonight - M.Bro and I have tickets to Cirque-Work's Birdhouse Factory at the Overture Center tonight. We're taking advantage of Restaurant Week to eat a very expensive meal at the Capitol Chophouse for a moderate price beforehand, so I'll get to watch the acrobats in a beef-stupor. One of the disadvantages of taking a job after my second interview was not getting taken out for dozens of expensive meals on someone else's dime.
7:12 - I hate the audio in this giant (it seems almost....plane-sized) room. "Bananas" - heh. McCain's hitting Romney directly and sharply on endorsements and his record - that's what he's got to do, and he's doing it...OK-ly. I think the acoustics are sucking all the energy out of the room.
7:19 - The guy from Politico is wearing an ill-ill-fitting suit. It's two inches too big across the shoulders and fits like a sack through the chest. Shameful for someone who knew he was going to be on national TV. I was going to comment on solid black being a poor suit choice as well, but Huckabee's wearing a black suit too. For his funeral.
7:22 - Good for McCain for supporting California's stricter environmental standards, and doing so in a well-argued, eloquent way. Payback for Arnold's endorsement?
7:31 - Did Huckabee just suggest that building more highways is a good way to reduce emissions? I think he was arguing that more highways means fewer cars sitting in traffic, emitting without purpose. What a short-sighted solution. I hope I misunderstood him, but I don't think I did.
7:33 - I don't think it's the room that's draining energy from McCain. I think it's that he's 87 years old. How is this guy inspiring?
7:39 - God, this is lifeless and boring. I wish I hadn't told my students to watch it so I could see if something else is on.
7:48 - What currently holds the most-boring-thing-of-all-time record? I hope a ton of people are watching this.
7:50 - Hey! Commercials! "Clean" coal! That commercial I don't understand! Juno and No Country For Old Men are the only Best Picture nominees I'm interested in seeing! And I've already seen them! Not Atonement! CNN teaser - are they schmoozing during the break?! I think Huckabee was sitting on the table! I wonder if Ron Paul found anyone to chat with!
8:01 - Oh, they seem to have either brought in a new audience, sternly warned the pre-commercial audience to start cheering (threatened them with Zombie-Reagan?), or just showed them Ann Coulter nude on a big screen that we can't see.
8:06 - By 8:15, Ron Paul is going to flip over the table and stab Anderson Cooper in the neck with a pen just to get some airtime. You watch and see.
8:08 - McCain is smirking so much because he's the only one that knows Mitt Romney isn't wearing any pants.
8:10 - Ron Paul's too academic to be on stage with the rest of them. Just flip the table and storm out, Ron - you'll be an internet legend. I mean, a bigger internet legend - that video would live forever. It would be Ron Paul's Daisy Girl ad.
8:14 - Oh, HAA! McCain just used "unequivocally" twice in the same sentence! Romney butchered it ten minutes ago - "unequivocab...unequivocably, if I can get that out".
8:18 - I can stay awake for twelve more minutes! No, I can do more than stay awake - I can finish another Rolling Rock!
8:24 - Someone should teach Mitt Romney to smile non-condescendingly. Or re-program his motherboard.
8:26 - Ron Paul seems to think there's an alternative to "the government creating money out of thin air." Oh, wait - he supports a return to the gold standard, doesn't he? Nevermind.
8:28 - I just got the low-battery message, so let me see if I can predict some closing statements before I quit. Romney: "Washington? Broken." McCain: "Me? Not a terrorist." Paul: "This table? Upside-fucking-down, bitches." Romney: "I'm a governor? Lots of conservatives are secretly gay."
8:29 - I'm out.
Oh my goodness gracious golly-gee, I want to raise Bean in this house! We have 1/8th of the furniture it would take to fill it, but I don't need to be inside - I'll just sit on the porch.
It's so close to campus (1.16 blocks) that I could probably yell lectures to my students while I'm out there.
Sigh. I'm sure it'll be off the market too soon for us though.
Discussion Question #2) There are 1,688 delegates at stake next week, and they're assigned proportionally - any predictions on the breakdown?
Discussion Question #3) John Edwards - NC Senator, Attorney General, or Supreme Court justice?
Discussion Question #4) Under what circumstances, if any, should the principle of pacta sunt servanda give way to national self-interest?
I loathe you, Charlie Shortino! Why do you make winter so awful?!
Update: It's still 38, but here's the Winter Weather Advisory -
A STRONG COLD FRONT WILL SWEEP THROUGH SOUTHERN WISCONSIN FROM WEST TO EAST TODAY. MUCH COLDER AIR WILL SURGE INTO WISCONSIN ON VERY STRONG NORTHWEST WINDS BEHIND THE FRONT. WIND GUSTS AROUND 50 MPH ARE LIKELY THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING. ALTHOUGH SNOW AMOUNTS WILL GENERALLY BE LIGHT...THE STRONG WINDS WILL PRODUCE REDUCED VISIBILITIES IN BLOWING SNOW. IN ADDITION...THE STRONG WINDS WILL COMBINE WITH FALLING TEMPERATURES TO PRODUCE DANGEROUS WIND CHILLS.
This administration reacts to anyone who questions this illegal program by saying that those of us who demand the truth and stand up for our rights and freedoms somehow has a pre-9/11 world view. In fact, the President has a pre-1776 world view. Our government has three branches, not one. And no one, not even the President, is above the law.
(This is related to today's vote on FISA, which played 875th fiddle to $600 checks)
Update: There are, however, drawbacks to being one of Russ Feingold's constituents. The "Feels Like" column on weather.com's hour-by-hour forecast, for one. There's a silver lining in the "Chance Precip" column, but it's a dull, dull silver.
This is such a pleasant way to spend a wintry afternoon (or a summer afternoon, even a spring and/or fall afternoon) - eating a big salad and writing lectures at our purty new dining room table. I'm immensely, immensely proud that I bought the entire six-piece set (the bench, table, and four chairs) by flipping thrift-store clothes. M.Bro doesn't look at my paypal account, so it was a massive (in more ways than one - I think the table alone weighs an heirloom-quality 200 lbs) pre-housewarming surprise.
Not that we bought a house yet or anything, but we've started down that road.
So why does he get off the phone so quickly? There's no line of desperate aid workers in front of the tent waiting to use Cisco's revolutionary whatever. "But J.Bro, maybe the relief org can only afford a couple minutes of airtime?" What am I, stupid? C'mon. You think they can afford $300 whatever-thousand of brand-new equipment, but not ten whole minutes of airtime on it?
What's going on here?
Debate transcript (emphasis mine):
CLINTON: Well, I couldn't agree more. But I do think that your record and what you say does matter. And when it comes to...
... a lot of the issues that are important in this race, it is sometimes difficult to understand what Senator Obama has said, because as soon as he is confronted on it, he says that's not what he meant.
The facts are that he has said in the last week that he really liked the ideas of the Republicans over the last 10 to 15 years, and we can give you the exact quote.
Now, I personally think they had ideas, but they were bad ideas. They were bad ideas for America.
That certainly would be a troubling thing for a Democratic candidate to say! It's a good thing Hill is lying to you (because she thinks you're stupid). Let's take a look at what Obama actually said - the not-lying version:
"I think it's fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10, 15 years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom. Now, you've heard it all before. You look at the economic policies when they're being debated among the presidential candidates and it's all tax cuts. Well, you know, we've done that, we tried it. That's not really going to solve our energy problems, for example. So, some of it's the times."Huh, it's almost like he's saying they had ideas, but they were bad ideas (but in a more nuanced, eloquent way).
Let's go back to the transcript for another bite:
CLINTON: Now, let me start with the claim about the bankruptcy
bill. I said very clearly I regretted voting for it and I was happy
that it didn't get into law.
By 2005, there was another run at a bankruptcy reform, motivated
by the credit card companies and the other big lenders. I opposed
that bill. I said very forcefully I opposed that bill.
There was a particular amendment that I think is very telling.
It was an amendment to prohibit credit card companies from charging more than 30 percent interest.
Senator Obama voted for it. I voted against it. It was one of
the biggest lobbyist victories on that very bad bill that the
bankruptcy bill represented.
Again, wow, I'd have a hard time voting for a candidate who snuggles up to predatory lenders! It's a good thing Hill's distorting the truth again! It's almost as if she doesn't trust you to understand votes or positions that aren't just black and white -
Obama did vote against the Dayton Amendment (no. 31) to limit interest rates to 30% (no surprise, he admitted as much in the debate). So did 17 other Democratic Senators (including John Kerry, Durbin, Leahy and Wyden) and all the Republicans. Even with Obama's support the amendment would have failed by nearly 3-1 (It had 74 votes against). Hunter notes that senators were concerned that the Amendment was poorly drafted and would probably preempt the more stringent usury laws in many states. In the diary Hunter singles out 10 more amendments that were also rejected, by much narrower margins. Obama voted for all of them.
Objectively Obama's vote on Dayton's amendment (the 30% limit) was completely meaningless. The amendment had no cosponsors (nearly all the others that came to a vote did), and lost by the largest margin of any of the Democratic amendments, failing to garner even a majority of Democratic votes. Hillary cosponsored several of the other amendments (as did Obama); if this one was so important why didn't she sponsor it as well? While I can't speak to the argument that it was poorly drafted and might have had unintended consequences, it is clear that a large number of Democratic Senators who voted consistently for all the other Democratic amendments and against the bill on cloture and final passage, chose to vote against this amendment.
But he was also less formal, more relaxed – he never taught the class as though he knew the answers to all the questions he was posing and was just hiding the ball from us until we could find them. Confident, sure, but never cocky.
Much in the Chicago tradition, he wanted all voices to be heard in the classroom, and when there a viewpoint that wasn’t being expressed or students were too complacent in their liberal views, he’d push the contrary view himself. These classes were conversations.
And most importantly:
For one thing, better dressed. Sleek sweaters and blazers as opposed to ill-fitting, coffee-stained suits with mismatched ties
-The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism
-Letter from an Occupant
From Electric Version (2003)
-The Laws Have Changed
-All For Swinging You Around
From Twin Cinema (2005)
-Sing Me Spanish Techno
From Challengers (2007)
-Furnace Room Gift, by Neko Case
-Maybe Sparrow, by Neko Case
-The Party Rages On, by Zumpano (A.C. Newman)
-I Dig You, by Zumpano (A.C. Newman)
-Behind the Beehive, by Zumpano (A.C. Newman)
-Jarhand, by Immaculate Machine (Kathryn Calder)
-Broken Ship, by Immaculate Machine (Kathryn Calder)
-So Cynical, by Immaculate Machine (Kathryn Calder)
Wave One: 11-15
Wave Two: 6-10
Wave Three: 1-5***
Modest Mouse - Missed the Boat
Missed the Boat has the dubious honor of including both my and M.Bro's favorite lyrics of the year - even though they're different lines. Mine is at 1:23 on the video ("our ideas held no water, but we used 'em like a dam") and hers is at 3:12 ("All our favorite were a'playin', so we could shake, shake, shake, shake-shake"). As the three-asterisk footnote says, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank was one of my favorite albums of the year - you should also buy it for Dashboard and Florida (featuring James Mercer of the Shins - see below).
The Shins - Australia
Wow, I picked this song without ever seeing the video - now I give it three extra points. The Shins did the right thing by those balloons. I still don't know what "the android's conundrum" is though. Also buy the CD for Phantom Limb and Turn On Me.****
Spoon - The Underdog
Why doesn't my pregnant wife ever set my pipe and slippers out for me? You know what - why don't I own a pipe or slippers? I'm glad this album was huge and all over the place, because Spoon deserves a huge amount of success. I don't think Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is as good as Gimme Fiction, but you should also buy it for You Got Yr Cherry Bomb and Eddie's Ragga.
New Pornographers - Mutiny, I Promise You
Oh, New Pornographers, is there anything you do that I wouldn't put at the top of some list or another? Buy the album for everything and listen to it obsessively.
Arcade Fire - Black Wave/Bad Vibrations
Listening to Arcade Fire is like hearing this great band playing across the street or in the next apartment building - they're not singing directly at you. Really, you're a pretty insignificant part of what's going on. Watch out about 1:40 into the video or you'll be crushed. Also buy it for Keep the Car Running and The Well and The Lighthouse.
*Although it turns out I accidentally published these last week. I put all fifteen in one post to save as a draft, but apparently hit the wrong button. Oh well, cessed lahh veeh as the Frenches say.
**It totally was.
***The five songs also happen to be on my five favorite albums of 2007 - I was consistent in my taste.
****Who am I kidding, you already have this CD.
Well, Senator Clinton, I'm confused. I've done the math. You're 60, which means that 35 years ago you were 25. And I Googled your name, looking for all the change you were making as a 25 year old and, frankly, I'm not finding much. You were going to Yale Law School at the time -- which I'm sure was a personally transformative experience, but it's hardly the kind of change that should count on one's Presidential Training Experience resume, is it? Is that when you started your personal Working-for-Change-O-Meter?
That summer, the summer of 1972, you campaigned in Texas for George McGovern's unsuccessful presidential bid. A worthy -- if ultimately futile -- endeavor to be sure, but a notch on your Years of Change belt? Kind of a stretch, don't you think?
But as liberal as you are with your Experience Arithmetic, you are awfully stingy when it comes to the experience and background of Barack Obama.
"He was a part-time state senator for a few years," you recently said of Obama, "and then he came to the Senate and immediately started running for president," she said. "And that's his prerogative. That's his right. But I think it is important to compare and contrast our records."
For starters, the state senate in Illinois is not a full-time job, but you make it sound like he was some kind of political temp worker, just filling in when someone called in sick. But leaving that aside, why is it that you get to count your time canvassing for McGovern as working for change, but Obama's time as a community organizer and public housing advocate aren't worthy of mention? And what about his time at Harvard Law (where he was the first black president in the history of the Harvard Law Review)? Doesn't count? But your time at Yale Law does? In the now immortal words of your husband: Give me a break.
Scary, right? Yes, for two reasons:
1) Apparently this sort of confrontation is a regular occurrence in the Gulf, and now that the US is moving more ships there, they'll be even more regular. I certainly wouldn't want to accuse the Bush administration of blowing a regular incident out of proportion for political gain, but the fact that it's being reported as the opening salvo in World War III is more than a little scary.
2) In something straight out of Cold War-era apocalyptic fiction, the US Navy apparently has no formal communication link with the Iranian Navy.
Admiral Roughead said he worried such behavior could have escalated unintentionally into a military confrontation before either side could call for a halt. "I do not have a direct link with my counterpart in the Iranian Navy," he said. "I don't have a way to communicate directly with the Iranian Navy or Guard."Dangerous Freedom-haters or not, this is a dangerous, irresponsible, scary way to operate in such a high-tension environment.
These are my next-to-top-5 favorite songs of 2007, again in no particular order (other than the meta-order). I will take your non-comments as solemn nods about my musical taste. Dudes, look how good these 5 + the last five have been - can you even imagine how utterly mindblowing my favorite 5 songs of 2007 are? Can you guess them?
Eddie Vedder - Hard Sun
-I haven't actually seen Into the Wild, but if it's as optimistically plaintive as Eddie Vedder's soundtrack, I'm sure it's better than Atonement and No Place for Old People to Live.
Radiohead - Bodysnatchers
-I put this next to Eddie Vedder for a reason, because I hope he's reading this. Eddie, buddy, listen - Bodysnatchers is what you were going for on the last album. Radiohead (a band I feel like I should like but don't) wrote a better Pearl Jam song than you. Get to work. (I would put a link to this song somewhere, but I hear Radiohead are really sue-happy about people downloading free copies of In Rainbows.)
Rilo Kiley - Breakin' Up
Rilo Kiley has the freakiest opening page on their website - it's like something for an underground horror movie. They're leagues better than any other band with two former child stars in it, and this is a fantastic song off their best album so far. Of all the bands on this list I haven't seen live, Rilo Kiley is at the pointiest end of the list.
The National - Mistaken for Strangers
-I've read this song described as being about urban, white-collar tedium, and I supposed it can be about that too. But I think it's about growing up, growing older, maybe before your friends do, maybe before you feel ready.
Feist - 1 2 3 4
-I feel like I've heard this song a bunch this year, but I don't think I listened to The Reminder more than a couple dozen times. Weird. And now I have the urge to shop.
As far as what happened, I'm of the opinion that nothing really happened. One week, two weeks, ten weeks, three months before the NH primary, this is exactly the result everyone expected. The news is all a-tizzy with Wilder-effect this and Diebold-machines that, but I think this is my favorite conspiracy theory.
Edit: I love Elizabeth Edwards.
Edit: And I'm so relieved that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are back on the air to tell me what to laugh at.
The health care system in this country is irrevocably broken, in part because it is only a "health care" system, not a "health" system.
These numbers are almost ten years old now, but look how massive the impact of obesity-related health care costs are, according to the CDC. I don't look to the government to solve every problem, but there's a role to play here that's much more serious than a new food pyramid. Instead, I'd like to see Washington play a more proactive, assertive role in cost-prevention - beginning with more funding for healthy school lunch options, better priorities for transportation, and tax incentives for bikes in addition to the breaks for hybrid cars.
Instead of a multi-stage countdown like I did last year, I'm posting my fifteen favorite songs in three waves over the next few days. The waves themselves will be numbered (i.e. this post is the bottom five of my top fifteen), but the songs themselves aren't in any particular order within the waves. Look for songs I like even more tomorrow, then on Wednesday, whoah just watch out.
Instead, you do the work - arrange them how you see fit in the comments. I've helpfully included some comments and links to either downloads, streaming audio, or youtube videos, in case you're not familiar with a song. With a few exceptions, though, I think you'll know most of these. I've lost my hipster cred by picking a bunch of songs that get airtime on the XM station I listen to.
Sunset Rubdown - The Taming of the Hands That Came Back to Life
-There wasn't a new Wolf Parade album in 2007 like I thought there would be, but this is the Wolf Parade lead singer with different musicians. It's just as warbly and freaktastic as a new Wolf Parade single, so I'm satisfied.
The White Stripes - A Martyr For My Love For You
-Overall, I thought Icky Thump was their weakest album of the last three or four, but this is a solid, solid track. I hated Rag & Bone so much that I'm keeping this in the third wave as a personal insult to Jack White.
Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You
-Here's the one that (barely) lets me keep my indie cred. Wizard of Ahhhs, Black Kids' four-song EP is only available on their myspace page. How 'bout that. You can download this song right here too.
LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends
-Pitchfork's #1 song of the year, so there was some hipster pressure to put it higher.
Foo Fighters - Long Road to Ruin
-Who remembers the days of blogger OleNelson. He scoffed pretty hard (as hard as an e-mail scoff can be) when Foo Fighters were nominated for eighteen Emmy awards, but he's wrong.
Update: On a sorta-related note, this is an exciting post. As my wife noted last night, Mitt Romney feels like the character in a movie that you roll your eyes at - "Oh, who DOESN'T realize that he's obviously the villain? C'mon!"
Update: Graham Allison - yay! ANOTHER question on nuclear terror doomsday-pocalypse - wft, Charlie?!
Update: I just e-mailed Spice to say that her boy is kicking ass so graciously. This is quite an Edwards-Obama tag-team.
Update: Three topics?! This is it? Nuclear hellfire raining down on Denver, who-is-the-changiest, and Iraq? Maybe he means before the next break, because I was hoping maybe we could hear them talk about, I dunno, the economy, education, the environment, energy, or immigration?
Update: Charlie Gibson can't put his personal politics aside - "Isn't it true that the troop surge prevented a nuclear attack on San Francisco (not that we care)?"
Update: Bill Richardson's tie needs to be snugged up a little bit. But he's handling a tough question about his days as Sec. of Energy really well despite it.
Update: Awwww - I'm not glad Al Gore didn't run!
Update: Jesus, Charlie - are you running for something? Nitpicking Obama about standing up during meals? But not asking A SINGLE REPUBLICAN how they're planning to pay for dozens of years of military presence in Iraq?
Update: Hillary's exactly right - and it's only half the story. How can Charlie Gibson suggest with a straight face that neither Bill Clinton nor George W. Bush created change?!?
Update: John Edwards' tie knot, on the other hand, is maybe the best I've ever seen - perfect dimple, symmetrical, tight. A masterstroke.
Update: Charlie Gibson has no idea how much liberal arts college professors make. And good for Clinton for cutting off his biased question.
Update: I'm not the kind of sports-watcher that complains about the refs - they have a hard job, everyone makes mistakes, and they're an easier target than admitting your team needs better fundamentals. But it's nice to see that the moderator of this debate closed it on such a tremendously asinine note.
I'm a terrible person for what I assume about pageant people, though. Basically, this is all of them in my mind -
If I didn't disagree with Mike Huckabee's entire social and economic platform, I'd volunteer for his campaign. What a great speaker, and what a great weight-loser. He's truly an example to the millions of Americans struggling with their new year's resolutions.
M.Bro thinks Mitt Romney looks like a bad actor trying to play an evil character pretending to be good.
Barack Obama's daughters are adorable, all waving and wearing their nightgowns to their dad's big victory speech.
Obama-Biden - that makes a nice bumper sticker for my car.
I don't have anything to say about Hillary Clinton (but that's kind of the way I always feel about Hillary Clinton).
Other than to wonder whether her friends call her "Hill", like in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Update: M.Bro's response to TOWWAS' comment - "Oh, yeah - is she the one that's a professional writer?"
M.Bro and I spent a few hours looking through boxes of my childhood memories, from pictures of my Mom's baby shower (the summer of 1979) to dozens and dozens of copies of The Creighton News with my picture in them. It was a sentimental part of a sentimental trip - I may have teared up a little bit at the baby book my parents wrote for me, and Missy laughed herself sick at the stories I wrote when I was ten (especially the one about how the Grand Canyon started). Also, apparently I had a massive growth spurt in between the pictures below, from the most gosh-darn adorable seven year-old you've ever seen to a nine year-old who should have been happy his parents didn't lock him in the basement.
I think: Obama & "Chuck"abee
M.Bro thinks: Edwards & Huckabee (And I can see it - John Edwards isn't exciting enough to be lots of people's first choice, but is too nice not to be their second choice)
I also think: Hilary Clinton losing the election is a huge win for women in politics.
Edit: CNN is playing in the background, and god, do undecided voters annoy me.