Friday, May 12, 2006

The best American fiction of the last 25 years, courtesy of the New York Times and a veritable who's-who of contemporary novelists.

How Dan Brown didn't win is beyond me.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

In honor of Mother's Day, The Hill asked a dozen Representatives to describe the best advice their mothers ever gave them. To summarize: Al Wynn's mom is crazy; John Boehner's mom is boring; Darrell Issa's mom is strict; Steve Chabot's mom is prescient; Jim Moran's mom is nurturing; and Thaddeus McCotter's mom is sad.

Why Mike Hayden's right for the CIA: because he can smell a rat.

A few years ago, when Steven Vardy began receiving cryptic e-mails from the descendants of exiled African leaders who wanted to transfer millions of dollars into an American bank account and offered a big cut of the proceeds, he turned to a former student for counsel.

"I asked him 'what do you think of this?'" said Mr. Vardy, a distinguished professor of history at Duquesne University. "At first I thought they were terrorists, trying to transfer money."

Mr. Vardy's former student, who happened to head the largest electronic spying agency in the world, not only smelled a rat, but knew the breed.

Don't worry, Gen. Michael Hayden told his old professor. "He told me he knew about it and they weren't dangerous. They were just people trying to make a little money out of me," Mr. Vardy said.
You don't say.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

To anyone looking for something to read, I'd very highly recommend Maid for a Month, a five-part series by the [Toronto] Globe and Mail's Jan Wong. Ms. Wong and her two teenage sons spent a month undercover as members of the working poor, so to speak, and put together an admirable read-in-one-sitting version of Nickel and Dimed. If nothing else, it'll make you feel guilty about how dirty your bathroom is.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The fine folks at Agence France-Presse are owed a great debt for this, the best headline I've seen in days:

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Mike Huckabee was on the Colbert Report this past Tuesday, but I didn't get around to watching it until about half an hour ago, so I'd like to quickly mention it now: every time I see the man, he makes me laugh, and then he makes me cry.

Laugh, of course, because he's such a witty, likable guy; and then almost immediately cry, because his likability makes it altogether too easy to forget how far to the political right he really is (gay marriage, abortion, evolution... these are all things that Mike Huckabee doesn't believe in1).

As I mentioned to my distinguished former co-editor this evening, I honestly think that Huckabee's rather unique2 combination of tremendous likability and tremendous conservatism has the potential to make him as dangerous to the left as the early-90s Bill Clinton was to the right. And that makes me nervous.

1 - That last one is actually not even an exaggeration.
2 - Name another likable conservative, I dare you. (No offense, distinguished former co-editor.)