June 24, 2008
The truce is about a week old. I can’t tell anymore if that’s a long or short time for a truce in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, Gilad Shalit has now been missing for two years.
My sometimes guest-blogger Dorian Davis on gay marriage:
With legal options dwindling, some conservatives have resorted to the argument that marriage is a sacred institution that ought to be revered and protected. But in a world where straight couples sign up for Elvis-themed weddings at Viva Las Vegas, and divorce at a rate of more than 40 percent for first time marriages – remember Britney’s 55-hour marriage to a childhood friend? – according to the National Center on Health Statistics, it hardly seems like an undue burden to let Rosie O’Donnell marry the partner with whom she has four children. The flippant attitude that much of the public seems to have toward marriage in the first place leaves Republicans in the awkward position of claiming to protect a “pristine” institution from same-sex coupling, even as news of Elizabeth Taylor’s seventh marriage breaks apart on Entertainment Tonight.
It also puts Republicans who oppose same-sex marriage on the losing end of a civil rights issue – the last place that Republicans can afford to be considering their already damaged brand. Indeed, the collateral damage from their same-sex marriage exploitation now could be the loss of much of a new generation of Republicans later – a fate more catastrophic, one could argue, than seeing Ellen Degeneres and Portia De Rossi married. In California, for instance, almost 70 percent of respondents under 30 support same-sex marriage, compared with just 35 percent of those over 65, according to the Field Poll. National numbers bare out the same idea. In their May 2008 poll, USA Today/Washington Post reported that almost 80 percent of the under-30 crowd considered same-sex marriage a “private” matter, while just 45 percent of seniors agreed. Of all the lost causes to pursue, then, a same-sex marriage ban seems not just futile but dangerous if Republicans hope to be competitive with the next generation of voters.
Remember that recently found tribe in South America? Turns out, the “recently” is as long ago as 1910. But the lies are for a good cause so that, obvi, makes them alright:
The photographer and the agency that released the pictures wanted to make it seem like they were members of a lost tribe in order to call attention to the dangers the logging industry may have on the group.
June 23, 2008
Christie Brinkley is still ’spitting’ mad at her ex, architect Peter Cook. In 2006, the former supermodel filed for divorce after a decade of marriage, accusing him of having an affair with his then 18-year-old assistant. If made public, allegations that Cook surfs Internet porn sites are expected to surface.
The affair with the assistant is bad but really, if Christie’s counting on his surfing of porn to tarnish his image, she might be surprised at what she finds.
“Fall At Your Feet” by Crowded House.
I fell in love with this song when I saw Crowded House last summer and watched the whole audience sing along with it. It’s so much sweeter than the songs I’d normally like and I enjoy that about it.
A good live version:
The joke is that Manhattan has become so commercial (rich) and Disneyfied (safe) that it has lost its individuality and become homogenized like McDonald’s. Of course, the joke is ironic coming from an independent, leftwing newspaper that is now corporate owned by a company that owns a chain of such “independent” newspapers across the country. You’re trying too hard, VV, it’s sort of sad.
June 20, 2008
Unemployment is 5.5%, low by historical standards; income is rising slightly ahead of inflation; housing prices are down, but the typical house is still worth a third more than in 2000; 94% of Americans do not have threatened mortgages, and of those who do, most will keep their homes.
Inflation was up in 2007, but this stands out because the 16 previous years were close to inflation-free; living standards are the highest they have ever been, including living standards for the middle class and for the poor.
All forms of pollution other than greenhouse gases are in decline; cancer, heart disease and stroke incidence are declining; crime is in a long-term cycle of significant decline; education levels are at all-time highs.
Sure, gas prices are up, the dollar is weak and credit is tight – but these are complaints at the margin of a mainly healthy society.
So why do we think everything sucks?
Increasing pessimism from the news media is surely a factor – and the media grow ever-better at giving negative impressions. Now we don’t just hear about threats or natural disasters, we see immediate live footage, creating the impression that threats and disasters are everywhere.
Whatever goes wrong in the country or around the world is telecast 24/7, making us think the world is falling to pieces – even when most things are getting better for most people, even in developing nations. If a factory closes, that’s news. If a factory opens, that’s not a story. You’ve heard about the factories Ford and General Motors have closed in this decade. Have you heard about the factories Toyota, Honda and other automakers opened in the U.S. in the same period? The jobs there have solid, long-term prospects.
The relentlessly negative impressions of American life presented by the media, including the entertainment media, explain something otherwise puzzling that shows up in psychological data. When asked about the country’s economy, schools, health care or community spirit, Americans tell pollsters the situation is dreadful. But when asked about their own jobs, schools, doctors and communities, people tell pollsters the situation is good. Our impressions of ourselves and our neighbors come from personal experience. Our impressions of the nation as a whole come from the media and from political blather, which both exaggerate the negative.
The IC and I are going to Italy in the middle of July. Really. We are. I’ve added it to my Dopplr calendar and everything. Our friends are renting a house in Tuscany for the month of July and we’re planning to stay with them for a few days. Our current plan is to fly into Rome, spend two nights there. Then, rent a car, drive to Tuscany and spent three nights with our friends while visiting Florence and surrounding towns and coast. Two nights in Venice. Back to Tuscany for one more night. Then home.
I’m looking for suggestions, especially things to do that are off the beaten path. We have a lot of flexibility and can change around all of the above if we so decide. Know a great little town? A restaurant or bar that you recommend? A vineyard or shop that’s a must visit? Give it up in the comment section.
“Just Like Heaven” by the Cure.
I was going to do “Friday I’m in Love” but that seemed too obvious. Not to get all romantical on all y’all this morning but I always loved the story of Robert Smith and his wife, and not just that he didn’t dump her once he became famous:
Smith met Mary Poole in school when he was 14 years old, and they married in 1988. Smith wrote one of the Cure’s signature compositions, “Lovesong”, as a wedding present to his wife.
The Cure are performing tonight and tomorrow in NYC.
June 19, 2008
“Senator Obama would do well to stop apologizing to the rest of the world for America’s attempts to protect itself during the time of war,” Thompson said.
He also criticized Obama for citing the prosecutions of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers as a model for how he would fight terrorism.
“That was the best example of why we can’t treat these terrorist cases as ordinary criminal cases,” Thompson said
If only campaigning by phone, email or television were enough, this could’ve been our guy!
Barack Obama’s first general election ad is up. Allah says it’s generic because it has to be.
Meanwhile, Harry Siegel at Politico is saying Obama may win the popular vote and lose the election. That sounds about right to me, actually. My prediction is that McCain holds all the Bush states and the election comes down to Ohio which McCain then wins (c’mon, Ohio, don’t let us down just because you’ve had the worst Republicans of all time in charge of your fine state), but I can see Obama crushing McCain in all the states that are already “blue” producing a massive popular vote win but an electoral college loss.
That’s a whole lot. More than Kanye West and 50 Cent during their hugely publicized contest last September.
…is a week from today. If you haven’t gotten an invite yet, and want one, let me know. I haphazardly put together a list so may have some old email addresses, etc.
June 18, 2008
Hat-tip Frank White.
I have proudly never been with a jerk.