Posts Tagged ‘Media’

Today’s good, bad, and insightful:

The Good

The Evangelical vs. Liberal sex issue is quite hilarious, as reported by the New Yorker.

James Fallows of the Atlantic Monthly talks about China shooting itself in the foot during the Olympics.

The Bad

Matt Yglesias notes the pitiful emails being sent out by the Obama campaign to raise more money today. Do they really need more money?

The Insightful

From an article in today’s Independent on the thin line between love and hate:

One major difference between love and hate appears to be in the fact that large parts of the cerebral cortex – associated with judgement and reasoning – become de-activated during love, whereas only a small area is deactivated in hate.

“This may seem surprising since hate can also be an all-consuming passion like love. But whereas in romantic love, the lover is often less critical and judgemental regarding the loved person, it is more likely that in the context of hate the hater may want to exercise judgement in calculating moves to harm, injure or otherwise exact revenge,” Professor Zeki said.

The Good

Anatole Kaletsky has a piece in the Times about the need to act in order to rescue the country from the economic meltdown.

Johann Hari of the Independent has a chilling story about the Congolese genocide – and how we’re supporting it.

Keith Thomson has a piece in the Huffington Post detailing how McCain could win with 22% of the popular vote, never mind the projected 47%.

Cass Sunstein of the Daily Beast reminds us all that redistribution of wealth has been a core component of this country for quite some time now. After all, taxation is merely redistribution of wealth with a different name.

Tom McNichol has a hilarious parody on the Nigerian E-mail scammers.

The Bad

The BBC reports that the Fed’s cut interest rates again, which will probably drive us deeper into a long-term recession. Seems like the Fed is only interested in the shoot first, ask questions later mentality.

The Insightful

From Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish:

It’s very encouraging to see thugs like Chavez and Putin get the wind knocked out of their sails a little; and obviously many Americans are relieved to have some relief in their budgets. But the sad truth is: only high gas prices will ever wean us off Middle Eastern oil and provide the real market incentives to pioneer non-carbon energy. Falling oil prices could derail a serious move toward energy independence, which will be achieved in the end by the private sector, not the government. My own view is that the one thing the government can do right now is keep gas prices high, by raising gas taxes.

Today’s good, bad, and insightful:

The Good

The first two aren’t so much great as they are hilarious:

Martin Varsavsky lets us all know, that, as of today, Volkswagen is the wealthiest corporation in the world.

An Israeli child dressed up as a Palestinian gunman and took to the streets hoping to provoke a reaction from the police, the BBC reports. For a school project. Hey, he wanted to get an A!

Raymond Whitaker from The Independent’s blog Open House correctly surmises that, in America, it doesn’t even matter if you’re with us or against us: we’ll attack you no matter whose side you’re on.

The Daily Beast’s Christopher Brownfield explains exactly why the Syrian attack was bad, bad news.

The Bad

Nothing today.

The Insightful

Money quote from a post today in the Edge of the American West:

So, as I understand it, Obama’s plan to tax the really wealthy consists largely (or entirely) of letting the Bush tax cuts expire instead of extending them. * This is derided as a socialism; but aside from the ridiculousness of the difference between Real American Taxes and Evil Islamic Arugula Socialism being 3% and roughly half a billion bucks…. does this mean we were already socialist during the Bush administration before the tax cuts and didn’t know it?

I thought the socialist barricades would come with a little flag to wave.

Today’s good, bad, and insightful:

The Good

I realize that it was published two weeks ago, but the Economist’s article Capitalism at Bay is way too good not to mention.

Roberto Lovato has a plan for when (if?) the election gets stolen. There will be riots in the streets, people!

Christopher Hitchens has yet another seething attack on the GOP’s anti-intellectualism up at Slate.

The New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg attacks Joe… the Senator (Lieberman, that is).

The Bad

We’ve launched a helicopter raid in Syria, and the BBC reports that the Syrian foreign minister has called the U.S. out on terrorist aggression. He’s absolutely right. (More on this to come, I feel it)

In quite possibly the most hilarious blog post I’ve ever seen (okay, maybe it’s just sad), Elaine Lafferty says that Sarah Palin’s a Brainiac. And no, it’s not a satire.

Oh, and Ted Stevens is guilty!

The Insightful

‘Twas a good day for the Guardian…

Michael Tomasky says this on Rev. Wright’s revival:

I see that Reverend Wright is resurfacing, just a bit, and I see that Obama said something on the radio seven years ago that pisses conservatives off. Boy. I don’t know, I’ve been wrong before, but it seems to me like they’ll need more than this.

The American people have sized up Obama for the better part of two years now. Polls indicate very clearly that swing voters have decided that he’s not nearly as dangerous and risky as four more years of conservative governance. Late reminders can influence some votes, and depending on how sleazy things get, states like Missouri and Indiana can be tipped back to McCain. But he needs a lot more help than that, and I don’t think Reverend Wright takes him where he needs to be.

And this article by George Monbiot is awesome. Money quote:

Besides fundamentalist religion, perhaps the most potent reason intellectuals struggle in elections is that intellectualism has been equated with subversion. The brief flirtation of some thinkers with communism a long time ago has been used to create an impression in the public mind that all intellectuals are communists. Almost every day men such as Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly rage against the “liberal elites” destroying America.

The spectre of pointy-headed alien subversives was crucial to the election of Reagan and Bush. A genuine intellectual elite – like the neocons (some of them former communists) surrounding Bush – has managed to pitch the political conflict as a battle between ordinary Americans and an over-educated pinko establishment. Any attempt to challenge the ideas of the rightwing elite has been successfully branded as elitism.

Obama has a lot to offer the US, but none of this will stop if he wins. Until the great failures of the US education system are reversed or religious fundamentalism withers, there will be political opportunities for people, like Bush and Palin, who flaunt their ignorance.

One story, or two rather, get the honors in today’s GBI:

Good, Bad, and Insightful

Nicholas Sarkozy better watch out: he’s got voodoo dolls of him in France. FP Passport reports:

Nicholas Sarkozy has no trouble laying the smack down on Somali pirates, but it seems his coat of armor is a wee bit thin when he’s the brunt of a joke. A voodoo doll, bright blue and crafted in his image, has the French president throwing a tantrum.

The doll, put out by K&B publishing company earlier this month, comes complete with a set of pins and a voodoo manual that instructs users how to cast a spell. The doll’s body is decorated with quotes of Sarkozy’s most unpopular quips. Across the doll’s pelvic area is the word “scum”, the term which sparked much controversy when he used it to describe suburban youth shortly before riots broke out in 2005.

Sarkozy’s lawyer, Thierry Herzog, has threatened to sue K&B and insisted the 20,000 dolls be removed from the shelves. “Nicolas Sarkozy has charged me with reminding you that he commands an exclusive and absolute right over his image,” Thierry said. “Regardless of his status and fame.”

And the Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi has a post that links the exposure of Sarah Palin’s $150,000 wardrobe, and yes, that’s the correct figure. $150,000.

Today’s good, bad, and insightful is short… Very short.

The Good

Christopher Hitchens demands on Slate that the press ceases its coverage of Palin until she gives a press conference. The highlight:

Again, I have a question: Did Palin know that she was telling a lie? Or did her handlers simply assume that she would read anything that was put in front of her, however mendacious? And which would be worse? And when will she issue the needful retraction? There seems no way of putting her in a forum where these points could be raised. So, continued media coverage of her appearances is no better than lending a megaphone to a demagogue, the better to amplify her propaganda.

The Bad

Nothing bad today, it seems.

The Insightful

Paul Kedorsky’s post at the Daily Beast is the best blog post I’ve seen, bar none, in two weeks. The money quote:

That country has spent more than fifteen years stumbling in and out of recession after its own massive real estate bubble burst. Japan’s government has tried repeatedly, to use stimulus packages to bring the economy back to life, only to have it backslide each time almost as fast as the checks were cashed. There are many explanations for why the Japanese economy has been so unobliging. High among them is a view that the stimulus applied was poorly timed and in the wrong amount. Netted out for goofy subsequent tax increases and the like, most of the Japan stimulus packages was smallish, less than 1.5percent of GDP. And rather than doing it in big chunks, the Japanese did it in dribs and drabs. Done right, Japan would have spent more money and done it once, or twice at most—not smaller amounts spread out over a decade.

How much is the right amount now in the U.S.?

It’s been widely speculated (and assumed) that the Democrats will, with the election of Barack Obama, take a veto-proof majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. To some, this will be a welcome change from the Republicans’ hold on Congress during the peak Bush years.

Not so fast — we saw the destructive capabilities of a huge majority in Congress the first time around with Bush (if one wants to look back farther, look at the Johnson administration). What would the Dems do, if confronted with a filibuster-free majority? They would indulge in their wildest whims, possibly to the point of poisoning the country even more. It’s like letting a starving man loose onto an all-you-can-eat buffet: he’ll gorge himself until he gets sick, and by then it will be too late.

Despite those that hate most of the Republicans, we need them, so the Democrats can’t pass destructive bills, much like we thought we needed more Democrats during the height of Bush’s reign. There are two parties for a reason, and that is to prevent one from gaining too much power over the government (then again, the people are electing them). What’s lost in the fold, however, is that the Democratic Congress led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi currently has an approval rating of 9%. What makes anyone think that electing more Democrats is going to make the situation better?


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Today was excellent.

The Good

The New York Times’ The Caucus points out that Joe the Plumber isn’t even a licensed plumber.

The Edge of the American West has the election picture to end all election pictures. Check it out.

The Independent’s blog Open House has a nice post on the 10th anniversary of Augusto Pinochet’s arrest.

The New York Times’ blog Campaign Stops has an excellent discourse about the disconcerting lack of issue coverage during the election.

The Economist’s blog Democracy in America has found that McCain has a tell.

The Bad

After finding out that Joe the plumber isn’t licensed, Matt Yglesias says, “Who cares?”

It seems that Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, aka “Joe the Plumber,” may not be a licensed plumber. Which to me once again raises the issue of whether or not it really serves the public interest to have so many occupational licensing rules. Like most people, if I needed to hire a plumber, I’d probably look for a recommendation. I don’t have any real confidence that these licensing schemes are tracking quality in any meaningful way, just preventing a certain number of people from earning a living and raising the general cost of plumbing services for everyone else.

The Insightful

Stanley Crouch writes succinctly how Obama won the debate. The whole damn thing’s a money quote:

Had Barack Obama had MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow as trainers, he would have put up a more entertaining fight last night. Neither pretends to be objective; their criticism and satire of John McCain are so effective because they are backed by the cold steel of hard facts, so many of which perforate McCain’s claims and his campaign’s advertisements. Devastation born of actuality.

Initially, I thought Obama needed more snap in his jabs but he, perhaps in a slow and naturally easy way, left McCain the bloodier. Unlike his opponent, he didn’t go for a knockout or a knock down. There seemed confidence in letting the points build up.

So however dull Obama initially seemed, he slowly slowly wove an invisible web of authority and pulled into it some of McCain’s accusations as though they were equal in irritation to flies but no more important. By the end something truly unexpected happened: of the two men, Obama came to seem older.


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Think for a second, a minute, or more, on what your reaction would be if someone, be it a total stranger or a close friend, walked up to you, and called you intolerant. Nothing less, nothing more; merely intolerant.

Would you be offended?

I’m not so sure I would be. Yet, wearing the tag of being an intolerant human being is tantamount to having the words “sex offender” stamped on the back of your t-shirt everywhere you go (hyperbole, but close enough). How did the word “intolerance” and its derivatives gain such a powerful meaning and such a capacity to offend?

I understand that people, in this age of political correctness, are afraid of being labeled “closed-minded” and not open to outside opinions, declaring them wrong without giving them a hearing. Perhaps it derives from a fear of narcissism or even individualism, where, again, the individual tends to shut out other opinions and declare his to be right (after all, what is an opinion if you yourself can’t defend it?). The main thing that the word “intolerance” brings up, in my opinion, is racism. To be racist is to be intolerant of those of a certain skin color for no justifiably rational reason, and that’s where I think the word “intolerant” received such a powerfully and decisively evil connotation.

But, for all the politically correct folks who preach total and utter tolerance of all views, I ask this simple question: isn’t what you’re telling everyone to do simply intolerant of intolerance, and, thus, hypocritical?

Who is going to pretend that they are simply tolerant of anything — because, if they have, they have truly achieved nirvana. We are all intolerant of some things just like we have inadequacies; the chief difference being that, sometimes, our intolerance can be a very good thing. This is a very fine line to walk, because that sounds like I’m advocating racism and bigotry of the highest order — but the operative word there is sometimes.

Want to figure out what you’re intolerant to? It’s easy: just take your core, fundamental beliefs, and say the opposite of that belief. Example: I’m pretty damn close to being a rationalist, so I’m simply intolerant of those who take things that cannot be proved as the truth, hence my atheism (and before anyone says you can’t disprove that God X isn’t real, it’s a logical fallacy). I’m intolerant of those who are willing to take away my freedom to speak and act, unless I have threatened their rights as well: that is called justice. Those are just two examples; there are many more, I’m sure.

The final point is: intolerance isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, an intolerance of injustice, equality, authoritarianism and religious persecution is what this country is founded on. And I’m thankful for it.


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Today’s good, bad, and insightful:

The Good

The New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg has a great post up about the voter-fraud fraud surrounding ACORN.

The Economist’s blog Democracy in America has a thought provoking post on whether Ayers is the “right” kind of terrorist; maybe we want all of the radical Islamists to become washed up like him.

Though the story isn’t exactly positive, McClatchy reports that trouble is brewing in Pakistan.

The Bad

Donklephant linked Dick Morris’s atrocious electoral predictions.

The Insightful

Sidney Blumenthal had an excellent post on the Daily Beast today. Money quote:

Hardly anybody within the Republican Party trusts him—not the White House, not Bush’s close allies, not business, not evangelicals, not conservatives generally. As a presidential candidate, whenever McCain’s alienation from his party is threatened, he desperately runs to embrace the conservative wing by doing something, almost anything to satisfy it. Many of McCain’s shifts have been necessary to allay the right’s long-held and well-founded suspicions of his betrayals. Every time McCain moves to his right, it is because he’s not trusted within his own party. Every time he swivels away from the right, the mistrust between McCain and Republicans signals a larger collapse of ideology.

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