Tuesday, September 16, 2008

WTF: Ralph Nader Edition

(Updated, see below)

The surest way to get attention is to do something bat-shit crazy. But does pondering what it would mean to do such a crazy thing affect the outcome and make you crazy? The case of Ralph Nader seems to comply with the Copenhagen interpretation: he tries to measure his own insanity, and collapses the waveform to the state of "gibbering." He opened the box, and forced the cat to be dead...

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan.

Update: Jim in the comments suggests that I have perhaps failed to see the humor in this. Not so! This video is fucking hilarious (pardon my French), though to me perhaps not in the lighthearted manner in which Nader intended it. I put this in the same category as P. Diddy's recent treatise on Sarah Palin, which is not for those offended by swearing or by incredulity at Palin's selection.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Clive Clemons' Inappropriate Response Channel

I'm glad there's only a couple months left before the election, because this is getting old. To repurpose a line from Reagan, "there you go again," McCain.

McCain's new ad, supposedly running in blue-collar swing states, claims that Obama wanted "comprehensive sex ed" for kindergartners. "Learning about sex before learning how to read?" the narrator scoffs. The word "icky" has become an adjective of choice for me lately, and I think it's useful here. The claim of the ad is a lie. Not a distortion, but a lie.

The bill Obama supported, which did not pass, for what it's worth, called not for comprehensive but "age-appropriate" sex ed for kindergartners. What dos this mean for kindergartners? Teaching them about physical boundaries and what constitutes a "bad touch," and how to talk to a safe adult if they're touched inappropriately. Period. Keeping them safe. Not the birds and the bees. Not "when a mommy and a daddy love each other very much..." To suggest otherwise, as the McCain campaign has done, is a lie. Stay classy, San Diego.*

Some commentators have unfavorably compared this ad to the infamous Willie Horton ad, since at least it was true that Dukakis supported a forlough program that Horton was out on when he committed robbery and rape, even if that ad was (also icky) race-baiting. I certainly hope that this ad does not gain the traction that the Horton ad did, since it is truthfully-challenged, and the media, uncharacteristically, seems to have been calling the McCain campaign on their bs lately.

So if someone brings up this claim, it's not true. Spread the word.

Now, as for the photo above, it comes from an old Conan O'Brien bit Nels told me about years ago but I hadn't seen until recently. It's very funny.

* Speaking of accusations of classlessness, I do not buy for a second that Obama's comment yesterday about "lipstick on a pig" was (a) in any a reference, veiled or otherwise, to Sarah Palin or (b) otherwise inappropriate because of her presence in the race. Obama has used the phrase, along with a variety of other corny (probably Kansan) verbiage, many times in recent, including before Palin's selection, in reference to McCain's and Bush's policies. Hell, McCain used the phrase last year in reference to Hillary Clinton's policies. Nobody got vocally upset about the phrase then. The fauxtrage now is the same as ignorant liberals claiming racism when someone uses the phrase "call a spade a spade" or the word "niggardly." Grow the hell up, people. (Oh, also, as a fan of words and metaphor, I enjoyed Christopher Orr's take on this.)

Friday, September 5, 2008


If any post earns the shameless self-promotion tag, it will be this one:

1. So you've always wanted to see a Brave New Workshop election show, but you hate Joe Bozic? Well, you're in luck. He and Theresa are busy multiplying (Go Theresa Go!), so for this weekend and next, I will be stepping in for Joe in "The Lion, The Witch & The War Hero, or, Is McCain Able?" So, Fridays at 8, Saturdays at 7 & 10. 2605 Hennepin. 612-332-6620. And come to the BNW After Party tonight. I'm playing Martin Van Buren in it, I guess.

2. So you've always want to see me pretend to act, but you wish I was younger, thinner and combed my hair? Well, you're in luck as well. I finally put my bronze-winning film from the 2001 Grinnell College Titular Head* student film festival on YouTube. As of this writing, you could very well end up being the first person ever to view it in this fashion. How forward-thinking!

* Despite my being a rabid practicioner of Grinnellian chauvinism and having been the Titular Head of Titular Head, I somehow doubt that the festival passes the notabilty threshold for Wikipedia consideration. Also, despite what the article implies, there was a 5-minute time limit before 2003 as well. We instituted it in 1999 after having a long, horrible festival to sit through in 1998. Apparently some of my efforts at institutional memory have faded.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

If they could see me now

Working in downtown St. Paul during the RNC has been interesting, to be sure, but it hasn't quite been what I'd hoped. I was looking forward to shooting steely glances at Rick Davis from behind a Snoopy statue, examining climate model displays with James Inhofe at the Science Museum, or throwing dice with Rachel Maddow and Pat Buchanan behind the Dorothy Day Center. Sadly, none of these things have come to pass. I haven't even seen any political or journalistic celebrities. One of my coworkers saw the extremely jowly RFK-California-campaign-manager-turned-PBS-pundit Mark Shields (whoops, fixed link) in the food court downstairs, but I'm not even that lucky. No, the most nationally known individual I've come across, sadly, is this a-hole:
This is Larry Sinclair. He's the serial fabulist who claims he snorted coke and had sex with Barack Obama in a limo in 1999. The best overview about him that I've found is in (or linked from) this post. Apologies for the image quality: I don't have good resizing software at work.

Anyway, he was wandering with his sign (the back of it features Donald Young (no not that one), who Sinclair claims was Obama's lover before being murdered last winter) around Rice Park, where MSNBC has their outdoor stage. He got a call, and told his interlocuter of his intention to walk up and around the State Capital. I was curious to see what the DVD was under his right arm, but I didn't get the opportunity.

I took a long walk at lunch today and snapped pictures of the security, media, decorations, some scattered protesters, and so on. Thanks to Troy for the loan of his camera. I'll get some more pics up here sometime, including, if I can, some I took with my phone en route to my car last night. Yesterday I was thinking I wouldn't take any time off to avoid the RNC this week, but walking across downtown through a 700-person protest surrounded by riot cops, bike cops and horse cops waiting for The Shit to Go Down changed my mind. It was a weird, tense, creepy vibe, and I don't want to be anywhere near downtown St. Paul tomorrow at quitting time.

Update: Coworker Troy nabbed one of the DVDs they were handing out in the park, the one Sinclair was toting. It's this.