Thursday, November 16, 2006

Good news, hungry-types: you're not hungry anymore. You now suffer from "very low food security." You can thank the USDA.

Obvious caption: "Senate Republican leadership celebrates the successful return of Trent Lott by trying to look as much as possible like the cast of an upcoming primetime mid-season replacement comedy-drama about the zany personal lives of the principals at a big DC law firm."

Hoyer won. (Murtha's sick of this crap, anyway.)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Incoming RNC "general chairman" (or, as President Bush put it, "honorary chairman") Mel Martinez got a shout-out in Bob Ney's guilty plea. I'm not sure how much of a shock this is, coming from a party that's just elected Trent Lott second fiddle in the Senate, but still, of all the people to have picked to chair the party... they pick the one with Abramoff ties?

Susan Collins weighs in on Lieberman's precariousness in a New York Times article amusingly headlined "Enter, Pariah."

"It’s clear that the Democrats need him at this point more than he needs them," said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, whom Mr. Lieberman genuinely does consider a close friend. "How sweet is this?"
On a scale of one to ten? Like a two and a half. Maybe a three.

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), technology-lover that he undeniably is, would appear to be running for Conference Chairman by posting a video on YouTube. I guess I don't see anything wrong with that, aside from its inherent silliness (which I have to imagine is not lost on Kingston, who has an excellent sense of humor for a Republican member of Congress), but I hope he doesn't expect it to have much actual effect: how many of his colleagues are going to be willing to sit down and watch a video on "the YouTubes"?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

So, clearly, John Edwards does not understand how odds work. Despite my bold 2:1 prediction of a few hours ago, Edwards chose not to use his Daily Show appearance to announce his candidacy for '08. Instead, he took the "thinly-veiled acknowledgment" approach:

Stewart: "Do you feel like going back into politics would diminish your effectiveness, or enhance it?"
Edwards: "Depends on what the job is."
Also, in response to a question about announcements, he "announced" that people should keep an eye on his website in the coming weeks. So I guess that's something. But come on, John: did you hear the silence that fell over that crowd when you said you had something to announce? Those people were ready for some serious supportive cheering. You should have taken the plunge.

At the tail-end of an article about how Mel Martinez will be taking over as RNC chair (or at least, RNC half-chair) comes this mention of the junior senator from Mississippi:

Also on Monday, a spokeswoman for Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, the former Senate Republican leader, announced that he would seek to rejoin the leadership ranks this week after leaving the top job four years ago in an uproar over a racially charged comment.

Mr. Lott will oppose Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee for the No. 2 slot of whip in an election on Wednesday. Mr. Lott had been quietly testing his support. Should Mr. Lott win, it would be a remarkable comeback for the conservative legislative tactician. He was forced out in late 2002 after joking at the 100th birthday party for Senator Strom Thurmond that the nation would have been better off had Mr. Thurmond won the presidency in 1948, when he ran on a segregationist ticket. The remark drew strong criticism as being racially insensitive.
First Newt, now Trent Lott? What's with all the relegitimization, Republicans? (Note: Kos likes the idea.)

Paul Krugman on Republican faux populism:

Ever since movement conservatives took over, the Republican Party has pushed for policies that benefit a small minority of wealthy Americans at the expense of the great majority of voters. To hide this reality, conservatives have relied on wagging the dog and wedge issues, but they’ve also relied on a brilliant marketing campaign that portrays Democrats as elitists and Republicans as representatives of the average American.

This sleight of hand depends on shifting the focus from policy to personal style: John Kerry speaks French and windsurfs, so pay no attention to his plan to roll back tax cuts for the wealthy and use the proceeds to make health care affordable.

The Washington Post endorsed Steny Hoyer for Majority Leader this morning, and did so convincingly. But Murtha's camp is confident that Murtha's ahead in the whip count.

Wake-Up Call points to this Washington Wire post, which notes that the cover of the current issue of Texas Monthly magazine features a picture of Robert Gates and the headline, "Can This Guy Save the Aggies?" To quote Wake-Up Call, "The answer is probably no, now."

John Edwards visits the Daily Show tonight, ostensibly to promote his new book about houses (really). Odds he announces the formation of an exploratory committee: 2:1.

Monday, November 13, 2006

For anyone who's recently said to themselves, "Gosh, I'd like to watch a nice lefty documentary, but I can't decide which one," I'd recommend Why We Fight. I quite enjoyed it.

Wake-Up Call roundup:

  • Feingold's not running, making life a bit easier for the Obamas and Edwardseses of the world.
  • [Presumptive Speaker] Nancy Pelosi endorsed Murtha for Majority Leader, but Steny Hoyer still thinks he has the votes to win.
  • Newly unemployed ex-Rep. John Hostettler is jobless and broke. (Though somehow I like his chances.)
  • And finally, Lieberman, on the likelihood of his switching parties: "I'm not ruling it out, but I hope I don't get to that point." Despite my initial reaction ("Are you fucking kidding me?"), I'm not too worried, because I think he's just twisting the knife a bit. But come on, Joe: don't be such a jerk.
P.S. - For what it's worth, I know I've been over-using the bullets lately. I'm not sure what's to be done about it, but I've recognized the problem, and that's an important first step.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

This Sunday's New York Times Magazine ("The Movie Issue") is one of the better collections I've read recently. Highlights include:

  • How to Be Funny. Ten comedians address various situations. For instance, Teri Garr explains "How to Be Directed by a Comedy Nonlegend," and Paul Rudd describes "How to Be Funny When You Are Incredibly Good-Looking."
  • On a Desert Island.... Twenty-two comedians pick the five comedy DVDs they'd most like to have with them if they were stranded on a desert island. (It is unspecified whether or not there would also be a DVD player.)
    • Top vote-getters: This Is Spinal Tap (4); Dumb and Dumber (3); and Dr. Strangelove (3). Seven more were tied at 2. (No one voted for Robin Hood: Men in Tights.)
    • Mine would be, off the top of my head (which is to say, don't hold me to this): The Big Lebowski; Caddyshack; History of the World: Part I; Monty Python and the Holy Grail; and This Is Spinal Tap. (Honorable mentions to Airplane, Dumb and Dumber, Happy Gilmore, Snatch, and about half a dozen others.)
  • The Shape-Shifter. A 3,000-word profile of Christopher Guest.
  • A Wild and Uncrazy Guy. A 5,000-word profile of Will Ferrell. (Translation: the Magazine thinks that Will Ferrell is 1.66 times as good as Christopher Guest.)
  • Funny Money. Why there have been so many Hollywood comedies lately. (Short answer: because they cost so little that they're much more likely to be profitable. Though "little," clearly, is relative.)

The recently-defeated Lincoln Chafee (clearly a much better loser than this guy) writes an op-ed in the Times blaming his recent loss on Dick Cheney. Though I might be oversimplifying.