Saturday, November 15, 2008

Nice column from Nick Kristof.

We can’t solve our educational challenges when, according to polls, Americans are approximately as likely to believe in flying saucers as in evolution, and when one-fifth of Americans believe that the sun orbits the Earth.


Perhaps John Kennedy was the last president who was unapologetic about his intellect and about luring the best minds to his cabinet. More recently, we’ve had some smart and well-educated presidents who scrambled to hide it. Richard Nixon was a self-loathing intellectual, and Bill Clinton camouflaged a fulgent brain behind folksy Arkansas aphorisms about hogs.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I watched Boogie Man the other night, and I'd highly recommend it, but I think my favorite part was this delightfully insane -- and 100% serious -- quote from Mary Matalin, explaining the unholy alliance friendship that sprang up between Lee Atwater and George W. Bush during the 1988 presidential campaign:

Both [Atwater and Bush] were deeply intellectual, and incredibly well-read.
Lee Atwater. George W. Bush. "Deeply intellectual." "Incredibly well-read." True, true.

Now that's some fine editing.

(Via Wonkette.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Man, and I thought the VBBE's Character and Fitness Questionnaire was tough.

Update: 23/6 has discovered an eighth page, with eight new questions that the New York Times apparently missed. For example:

If you maintain a "blog," please provide hard copies of all entries ever posted, along with personal recommendations from at least three commenters who are not relatives of yours. If your blog title contains the phrase "daily musings," thank you for your interest, but the Obama administration will not require your services.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Paul Reiser, on Obama's first press conference.

So, when someone in the room snickered at "You know, I mean, the living ones," President Elect Obama, the comic-who-was-doing-fine-but-thought-he-was-losing-them had to now explain that one too. "You know, I didn't want to get all Nancy Reagan-y séance on you." ("Oh, no - now they're going to jump on that! 'Wet-Behind-The Ears Democrat Ridicules Republican Icon! Pictures at Eleven!')

Then it just keeps snowballing. Like the comic who accidentally swears on stage and then can't stop. ("Oh fuck, I just said shit.")

Somewhere in his brilliant performer mind, Obama must've known it was time to go to a new bit. ("C'mon, someone give me another question. Something easy. Oh good... something about the dog.")

Of course, two seconds later, the mind was back in red alert. ("Oh, shit... I just called myself a 'mutt.' Oh, fuck, I just said shit again!")

He was trying to put out a fire that wasn't really there, and in the process, made a silly joke. Clearly, there's some sort of transition time needed between campaigning (" I really want to convince you why I'd be good at this job.") and having won. ("Wow - I actually have the job?") I'm not sure how long it takes to make that adjustment, but knowing what we know of Barack Obama, I'm pretty sure he's already made it. Let's cut the guy some slack. And don't forget folks: please - tip your waitress.

So you know the whole "Sarah Palin didn't know Africa was a continent" thing? Turns out that was just completely made up. By this guy (albeit in one of his other characters):

And reported as news. Too awesome.

(So sayeth the New York Times.)

Update: I missed this somewhat crucial paragraph:

The pranksters behind Eisenstadt acknowledge that he was not, through them, the anonymous source of the Palin leak. He just claimed falsely that he was the leaker--and they say they have no reason to cast doubt on the original story. For its part, Fox News Channel continues to stand behind its story.
So Carl Cameron's original source is still out there. But as much as I continue to think it would be hilarious if this were actually true, Josh Marshall makes a valid point:
I quite agree from a partisan perspective. The more Palin the better. But I think we also need to think about this from the broader perspective of national dignity. And simple human decency. You're at a party and someone's drinking too much and starting to do embarrassing things. Even if you don't like them, and even if the unlovely part of you thinks it's kind of funny, still someone should step in. On the other hand, if Rush and Sean, are up for it, maybe we just tap another keg?

A great nugget from Al Gore:

In an earlier transformative era in American history, President John F. Kennedy challenged our nation to land a man on the moon within 10 years. Eight years and two months later, Neil Armstrong set foot on the lunar surface. The average age of the systems engineers cheering on Apollo 11 from the Houston control room that day was 26, which means that their average age when President Kennedy announced the challenge was 18.
Their average age was 26. How depressing is that?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

From the Onion: Dom DeLillo (or "Dom DeLillo") on the election. Uncanny.