Bob Dylan's new album comes out on September 11th, 2012. But most of the first song has just come out as a soundtrack for a promo for Cinemax's Strike Back series. Check it out after the jump ...[...]
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Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency warns staffers to stop using the missile defense computer network to download so much porn. From Bloomberg ...The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency warned its employees and contractors last week to stop using their[...]
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What's particularly interesting is the study was done in the manner the republicans have been demanding. From the Washington Post:The problem is, even when you do take the economic stimulus of tax cuts into account, Romney?s tax reductions still don?t come close to making up for the lost revenue. The Tax Policy Center used a ?dynamic scoring? model that factors in the impact of economic...
Look, it's Swiper!
Swiper, no swiping!
America's favorite no-longer-a-deadbeat-dad, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-NoLongerADeadbeatDad), has taken time off from repeatedly telling his opponent, Tammy Duckworth, to stop talking about being a veteran in order to try to patch the damage done by repeatedly telling her she should stop talking about being a veteran. Specifically, he introduced a lovely new bill called the Renovate and Enhance Veterans' Meeting Halls and Posts Act, aimed at doing what it says on the tin.
There is, however, a problem. Aside from being rather obviously an act of big-spending government socialism (government is no longer allowed to build things, repair things, renovate things, or God help us all enhance things), it turns out that Walsh lifted the bill nearly verbatim from a 2010 bill written by Rep. Tim Bishop, a Democrat, without asking him or even mentioning it to him.
Even in the rough-and-tumble, bitterly partisan Congress, it?s probably safe to call that a faux pas ? or worse if you?re Bishop or one of the staffers on his payroll who worked to develop the legislation.This must be that self-made-man thing that the Republicans keep going on about. Nobody in government helped Walsh with his legislation, dammit, he wrote it himself! And if he didn't, he called dibsies, which is pretty much the same thing.
?The REVAMP Act has been a great idea ever since Congressman Bishop came up with the concept in 2009, long before Joe Walsh had been elected to Congress,? said Oliver Longwell, Bishop?s communications director. ?To pirate a legislative proposal without consideration of the original author is really unprecedented.?
Longwell wasn?t finished: ?Perhaps it?s just a rookie mistake, but it?s a reflection of the total collapse of collegiality that has characterized the House since it came under the influence of the tea party, even on what should be the most bipartisan of issues: assisting our veterans,? he said.
Less clear is why tea-partier Joe Walsh suddenly thinks it'd be a great idea to use the government to start renovating and prettying things up around VFW halls, since that is the direct opposite of what every goddamn tea partier says ought to be done with taxpayer money. What's that? Oh, right, he keeps getting caught on tape insulting a veteran about being a veteran. So he's got the best possible motivation for spending government money: self-preservation.
My first exposure to Gore Vidal came when I read the collection of essays he published in 2002 called Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace. He understood immediately after the September 11th attacks that the attacks would be used by the powerful to take[...]
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This is video from Occupy Oakland livestreamer and hella courageous citizen Jessica Hollie (aka Bella Eiko), who was apparently downtown for the "Justice for Alan Blueford" rally that had taken place earlier yesterday afternoon at Oscar Grant Plaza.[...]
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Our favorite nativist nutcase in an actual position of authority, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, has been coming down off the high notes of his dramatic investigation of President Obama's birth certificate the past couple of weeks. Because he's finally on trial for his racial-profiling policies targeting Latinos in his community.
And it hasn't been much fun for him, as Ray Stern at the Phoenix New Times reports:
Under pointed questioning by Young, Arpaio denied that he equated brown-skinned people with illegal immigrants, as a press release from 2007 demonstrates he did. Young took time to go over a letter received by Arpaio from an anti-immigrant group in which Arpaio had emphasized statements about how police shouldn't be afraid to check the status of day laborers. And Young played a video from another press conference in which Arpaio said he'd have a "pure" program that went after illegal immigrants first, and their suspected crimes second.
But the sheriff made his worst impressions while answering questions about his book, Joe's Law.
Basically, anytime Arpaio was shown some of the blatant bigotry in that book, he blamed it on co-author Len Sherman. And this was despite being read back his testimony from a previous deposition in which he'd said he didn't need to read his own book because he'd written it himself.
Arpaio was forced by Young to back off from a couple of statements in the book, including one in which he wrote that Mexicans don't come to the United States with the same hopes and dreams as people from other countries.. In another part of the book, Young pointed out, Arpaio wrote that second- and third-generation Mexican-Americans were not part of the American "mainstream."
"My co-author wrote that," Arpaio blurted out.
The whole week has gone like that. If his officers were provably bigoted and indulged in nakedly racist policing, why, none of that was HIS doing. He had no knowledge of such things!
Apologists for Arpaio must come to terms with the person they so zealously defend. Either he is America's toughest sheriff, or America's most oblivious sheriff.
Arpaio's attorneys contend that Arpaio's hermetically sealed existence in his own office is intended to avoid micromanagement of professional police work.
"It serves as an insulation against desires and impulses that might not be in the best interest of the community," said attorney Tim Casey.
That runs exactly counter to Arpaio's assertions, repeated endlessly, that his notorious, wasteful "crime-suppression sweeps" through largely Hispanic neighborhoods were conducted precisely because he deemed them in the community's best interests. The very existence of the sweeps was a political statement.
Arpaio and his acolytes either lied to the public about the purpose of those sweeps, or they are lying to the judge now.
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Meanwhile, there have been some lively protests and counter-protests.
-- A group of young immigrants was arrested outside the trial after publicly revealing their undocumented status.
-- Some protesters have been outside Arpaio's church, urging the bishop to denounce Arpaio's malfeasance. That in turn has attracted counter-protesters, not to mention disgusted looks from parishioners.
-- The plaintiffs rested yesterday. Now we get to see Arpaio's defense. If it's anything like his birth-certificate investigation, this could get deeply amusing.
"Every now and then, when I really want to know what the joke of a particular cartoon is, I just ask someone in the magazine's art department. That is the perk of being a cartoonist myself."
-- New Yorker cartoonist and Seinfeld writer Bruce Eric Kaplan
Elinoff, the fictional New Yorker cartoon editor played by Paul Benedict in this Seinfeld episode written by writer-cartoonist Bruce Eric Kaplan, explains to Elaine why he can't explain the cartoon that's driving her crazy. Actual New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff notes in a postscript to his new blogpost: "Whenever Bruce asks us to explain a cartoon, we resist the temptation to say, 'It's like gossamer, Bruce, and one doesn't dissect gossamer.' "
No doubt many of you have been following New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff's recent series of newsletters-blogposts in which he has once again delved into the Seinfeld Season 9 episode, "The Cartoon," in which Elaine tries to get to the bottom of a New Yorker cartoon she can't understand -- and clearly suspects she's being hoodwinked by.
It all began with the July 11 post, "I Liked the Kitty" which Bob began:
The question I get asked most often as cartoon editor is: How much money does The New Yorker pay for a cartoon? All I can say about that is: sell us one and you?ll find out.And here's the first installment of that version:
The second most frequently asked question is: What did you think about that ?Seinfeld? episode making fun of New Yorker cartoons? Well, it was written by one of our best cartoonists, Bruce Eric Kaplan, and my initial reaction was ?Et tu, Bruce?,? but over time, the episode has grown on me. I?ve used it before to compare fiction to reality when it comes to what my desk looks like and how the cartoon department operates.
And I have decided to do so again, because the episode provides a fun way to comment on issues I?m interested in. For those of you who haven?t seen the episode, I?ve created a stripped-down comic-strip version of it that includes just the pertinent parts.
You would think that my idea for the cartoon episode of "Seinfeld" came from my own experience as a New Yorker cartoonist. But, like everything you would think, you are not exactly right.
About fifteen years ago, I was on an airplane, reading Time magazine, which had a small item in the front about how a New Yorker cartoon by Robert Weber had elicited an unusual number of queries as to what the caption meant. The image (an exquisitely drawn one, I want to say) is of a boy walking into the living room where his mother is vacuuming. He says to her, "I had the most incredible nap." Actually, it says, "That was an incredible nap!," but part of the fun of recounting a cartoon is slightly altering the caption to the way you hear it in your mind when you think of it.
The meaning of the cartoon was clear to me -- it is a hilarious comment on the fact that we live in a culture that feels comfortable saying that anything is incredible, or, more often these days, "Amazing!" We have incredible lattes, amazing socks, etc. But apparently some readers didn't get this.
I have a theory I just came up with in this moment -- perhaps people don't get the genre of ironic cartoons because they themselves are incapable of irony. But then again, I have only had this theory for a few moments, and it may be completely off base.
In any case, the reason for the Time item was that there has always been this widely held notion that some New Yorker cartoons are inscrutable. And even though this one wasn't inscrutable to me, others have been and continue to be. At least once a month, I turn to my wife and say, "What does this mean" about some cartoon. I could give you an example, but I don't want to because, I don't know . . . it seems wrong somehow. I will say that oftentimes they are cartoons by the same one or two (wildly popular and critically celebrated) artists. So obviously the vast majority of people understand and connect with what these cartoonists are commenting on.
Every now and then, when I really want to know what the joke of a particular cartoon is, I just ask someone in the magazine's art department. That is the perk of being a cartoonist myself.
When I saw the item in Time, I was writing for "Seinfeld," and of course always looking for things in my life that could be the basis of stories. And I thought, I would love to write an episode where a character is frustrated by not knowing what a New Yorker cartoon means and then goes about trying to find the answer by going to the New Yorker art department and asking what the joke was.
So this is all to say that this plotline came somewhat from my life as a New Yorker cartoonist but more so from being a lifelong reader of New Yorker cartoons and an occasional reader of Time.
I didn't get the point of this cartoon either, and I think the reason is revealed by Bruce Eric Kaplan's comment that the image is "an exquisitely drawn one". The cartoonist as visual artist has stolen the show from the cartoonist as verbal ironist. What jumps out immediately at the reader is that wonderfully vivid image of the mother vacuuming: She extends her arms at full length to thrust the vacuum wand deep under the chair; even her face is elongated to focus our attention on her target; her effort forces her body into provocative curves which are echoed by the snaking vacuum hose; mother and vacuum cleaner are centred in the image and sharply outlined in black. So the reader's eye declares that this is a cartoon about household chores; given this expectation, the caption makes no sense, and the rather subtle point about the boy's use of language doesn't have a chance. It would have worked better if the setting had been the kid's bedroom, with the visual focus on him.That's way more than I would say, but it gives me the confidence to own up that I didn't get the cartoon either. I have a feeling, however, that I may have less difficulty than Bruce with those "one or two (wildly popular and critically celebrated) artists" whose cartoons he has to have the New Yorker art department explain to him.
Success! I have convinced my staff to schedule some vacation time with my bus. It will only be four days, From Virginia to Florida, but it will be a welcome change of pace from this European trip, which was astonishingly successful and which we will never speak of again. I do note that London has so far followed my suggestion as to not botching their Olympics. Not botching these Olympics was originally my idea, so I am happy to take a bit of credit for that.
As for the new bus tour, it is still unclear whether I will be obligated to bring a vice presidential unit along. It will be the week before the convention, and thus the last possible week to make the decision, but I do not want any of these prospective candidates hanging around either me or the bus any longer than necessary. Most of them are as dull-eyed as a dead varmint, and all of them are alarmingly poor. I once hunted varmints, you know. During our recent meeting Dick Cheney and I regaled each other with uproarious tales of our hunting adventures, although I will confess his anecdote was far superior.
I am tired now, so that will be all. I am looking forward to another bus adventure, Mr. Diary! I will have to remember what foodstuffs are popular in Florida, so that I may compliment their local culture for having those things.
The Senate hearing on climate science this Wednesday, unsurprisingly enough, appears to have changed little with respect to the politics of climate change on Capitol Hill. Indeed, a significant portion of the discussion was dominated by debate over Dr. John Christy’s particular brand of denialism, a well-trod debate.
Nonetheless, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) was more than surprised when informed by Senator Barbara Boxer that roughly 98 percent of climate scientists, contra Christy, accepted that anthropogenic warming was real and serious — he was outraged:
Sessions: Madam Chairman, I am offended by that, I’m offended by that — I didn’t say anything about the scientists. I said the data shows [sic] it is not warming to the degree that a lot of people predicted, not close to that much…
Boxer: The conclusion that you’re coming to is shared by 1-2 percent of the scientists. You shouldn’t be offended by that. That’s the fact.
Sessions: I don’t believe that’s correct.
Senator Sessions may want to look over this study, which surveyed the publications of 1,372 climate scientists and vindicated Senator Boxer’s view of their conclusions. For that matter, so should Senator James Inhofe, the ranking Republican on the committee who had previously dismissed the study’s findings as irrelevant to the debate on climate change. Though Sessions and Inhofe were the most outspoken Republicans at the hearing, their views are mostly shared by their colleagues on the Environment and Public Works committee.
While these denialists debated the Committee’s Democrats on the role of climate change in fueling the current devastating drought, the best available science suggested that the current troubles are some of the earliest signs of a “dust-bowlification” of the United States as a consequence of global warming.