Moseying Through Monday

"here i am, i'll be dammed if this ain't some shit." - biggie.
Visually Stunting predicting today’s news headlines on 10/27/11.

As a random aside, my favorite read today outside of anything having to do with master debaters, came from the Townies section of the NYTimes.
In an article about making the choice to move from the quiet burbs of Providence to the hustle and bustle of NYC with an autistic son, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, gives a wonderfully direct and poignant outsiders take on the beauty of the insides of New York:

I’m in awe of the chutzpah of this metropolis that decides, every day, that it’s going to go ahead and actually do this, that it has room for everyone of every kind.

Visually Stunting predicting today’s news headlines on 10/27/11.

As a random aside, my favorite read today outside of anything having to do with master debaters, came from the Townies section of the NYTimes.

In an article about making the choice to move from the quiet burbs of Providence to the hustle and bustle of NYC with an autistic son, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, gives a wonderfully direct and poignant outsiders take on the beauty of the insides of New York:

I’m in awe of the chutzpah of this metropolis that decides, every day, that it’s going to go ahead and actually do this, that it has room for everyone of every kind.

(Source: mindtheedge, via visuallystunting)

GQ: Did you have any reservations about the part before you accepted it? 
Damian Lewis: I had a conversation with Howard and Alex just before accepting it, which was all done by telephone because I was filming in Manchester at the time. I just said, If this is a show about how a U.S. Marine is converted to Islam and then is radicalized and becomes a violent Muslim, I don’t want to do it. Because I think that’s dull and irresponsible. Then you’re just a Muslim baddie, and I think that’s unhelpful right now. I said, If his conversion to Islam is something that can be sustaining and nurturing to him, and actually is a force for good, and is actually something that is very peaceful and beautiful, then I’m interested. And I think that’s more subversive, actually. And I think they kept to their word, and very painstakingly tried to find motivation for Brody that’s, you know—it’s too easy to make it that he’s brainwashed. Brody’s not brainwashed, he’s broken, definitely, and he’s abused and a confused soul. But the reason in the end that he wants to blow up the Vice President is because he’s committed acts of terrorism, and it’s for more personal vigilante reasons that he wants to act and take revenge. Abu Nazir actually doesn’t successfully radicalize him. I don’t think that’s ever suggested in the first season. And that’s why when it was finally decided that he would strap on a suicide vest, that surprised me, and I fought it for a bit: Really? Are you sure that’s what you want to do, given all the work you’ve done about trying to promote the idea that Brody is not an Islamic or Muslim terrorist. But it was so powerful and symbolic, and such a political gesture to do that.The GQ+A: Damian Lewis

(**Sidenote: If Damian says “Sport,” I say “Sport.” Back to the Queen’s English we go.
GQ: But you play soccer really well, right? 
Damian Lewis: I love playing sport. I love going for a swim.
Sincerest apologies, Mittins.)

GQ: Did you have any reservations about the part before you accepted it? 


Damian Lewis: 
I had a conversation with Howard and Alex just before accepting it, which was all done by telephone because I was filming in Manchester at the time. I just said, If this is a show about how a U.S. Marine is converted to Islam and then is radicalized and becomes a violent Muslim, I don’t want to do it. Because I think that’s dull and irresponsible. Then you’re just a Muslim baddie, and I think that’s unhelpful right now. I said, If his conversion to Islam is something that can be sustaining and nurturing to him, and actually is a force for good, and is actually something that is very peaceful and beautiful, then I’m interested. And I think that’s more subversive, actually. And I think they kept to their word, and very painstakingly tried to find motivation for Brody that’s, you know—it’s too easy to make it that he’s brainwashed. Brody’s not brainwashed, he’s broken, definitely, and he’s abused and a confused soul. But the reason in the end that he wants to blow up the Vice President is because he’s committed acts of terrorism, and it’s for more personal vigilante reasons that he wants to act and take revenge. Abu Nazir actually doesn’t successfully radicalize him. I don’t think that’s ever suggested in the first season. And that’s why when it was finally decided that he would strap on a suicide vest, that surprised me, and I fought it for a bit: Really? Are you sure that’s what you want to do, given all the work you’ve done about trying to promote the idea that Brody is not an Islamic or Muslim terrorist. But it was so powerful and symbolic, and such a political gesture to do that.

The GQ+A: Damian Lewis


(**Sidenote: If Damian says “Sport,” I say “Sport.” Back to the Queen’s English we go.

GQ: But you play soccer really well, right? 

Damian Lewis: love playing sport. I love going for a swim.

Sincerest apologies, Mittins.)

What Hurts The Most

I found The Competitor in Chief article from the Sunday Times to be the most scathing assessment of the President I’ve read in a while.

For a long time now, the right’s argument against Obama has been that he’s “bad at his job” because even though you may like him as a guy, as a figure, as a role model, as a celebrity… He’s simply unqualified. He made promises he couldn’t keep - he tried to unite Washington and did nothing but divide it further. Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan “wish [just like YOU!] that he had succeeded,” but he simply hasn’t. He hasn’t because he wasn’t ready for the job. He doesn’t have the business acumen to get us out of this funk or to get you a job. Even liberals believe he has failed at times because he tried too hard to be nice - to be bipartisan - that he let things slide… He settled on a lower stimulus package; no public option; etc.

Those arguments are what we see, time and again. Barack Obama failed because he’s too much celebrity, not enough politician. And the strategists on the right have made a calculated decision that when it comes to directing messages at (especially) swing voters, it’s important to acknowledge the personal popularity of the president, and separate that completely from his “bad” policies. This article makes a true attempt at disproving that (in my eyes at least). Through giving a personal look into the President’s mind & “competitive” side, even without analyzing his policy choices directly, it shows Obama as a politician. A tried-and-true, cut-throat, competitive, self-indulgent, politician. And that, in my book, is a message that could hurt his image the most.

I rarely read things that make me question what I feel about Obama as a person. In poll after poll, regardless of his overall approval rating, he continues to do overwhelmingly well in that ever-so-telling question: “would you want to have a beer with this guy?” (a question that Mitt Romney simply cannot and will not ever make inroads with).  There is no argument in my book to be made that he has been lazy during this presidency, or not tried hard to do absolutely everything in his power to make this country a better place for his children and ALL children. But, if the swing voters in this election stopped seeing Obama as a likable enough guy who puts the good of the country before the good of his politics, and solely as yet another self-serving cocky politician who thinks he’s the best and is part of the much derided “Washington elite”… Well then, Chicago would start having some serious problems.

And so with all of this - this quote from the National Journal piece yesterday on Michelle Obama’s speech tonight becomes even more important. “[Michelle Obama] will help remind voters why they like Barack Obama as a person, and you can’t underestimate how valuable that is.”

I’ll pretend like this hasn’t taken me a week and a half to make. But I don’t even care, because from here on out I will use this gif for everything that happens in and around my life.

I’ll pretend like this hasn’t taken me a week and a half to make. But I don’t even care, because from here on out I will use this gif for everything that happens in and around my life.

But people get nervous about gender because so much seems to be riding on it. It’s fear that makes some of us treat marriage like an injured baby bird that needs to be coddled, and equate people who incorrectly prefer sequins or flannel with the end of the family as we know it, instead of seeing that loving families and happy children come in both traditional and varied forms.

From the NYTimes piece by Catherine Newman.

Amen - says this kid

You know, I wouldn’t be mad if, you know, news outlets just decided it was OK to leave these ticks out of their transcripts.
Here’s, you know, what ABC news has to offer you in the transcript department regardless.
And here’s NYMag's Dan Amira killin' it with the dissection of today's leaked-and-breaking news from B.O.:


Obviously, Obama’s announcement is a historic moment for the gay-rights movement and the country. And Obama’s endorsement will hardly end with today’s interview. For the duration of the presidential campaign,  in sit-down interviews and town hall Q&As, Obama will have to explain the thinking behind his supposed conversion. Whether he wants to or not, he’ll become the marriage equality movement’sde factospokesman.


But we also can’t shake the feeling that this milestone didn’t turn out to be as feel-good as it could have. Obama didn’t back gay marriage purely out of principle, to set an example for the nation and the world. Instead, he waited for years until it gained wider acceptance, then announced his support when, thanks to his filter-challenged vice-president, the contradictions of his phony stance became too glaring and distracting to ignore any longer.



Or, that call all be summed up pretty easily by Glo - who simply responded to my both informative and excited text by saying: “Can’t believe it but was his only move.”

You know, I wouldn’t be mad if, you know, news outlets just decided it was OK to leave these ticks out of their transcripts.

Here’s, you know, what ABC news has to offer you in the transcript department regardless.

And here’s NYMag's Dan Amira killin' it with the dissection of today's leaked-and-breaking news from B.O.:

Obviously, Obama’s announcement is a historic moment for the gay-rights movement and the country. And Obama’s endorsement will hardly end with today’s interview. For the duration of the presidential campaign,  in sit-down interviews and town hall Q&As, Obama will have to explain the thinking behind his supposed conversion. Whether he wants to or not, he’ll become the marriage equality movement’sde factospokesman.

But we also can’t shake the feeling that this milestone didn’t turn out to be as feel-good as it could have. Obama didn’t back gay marriage purely out of principle, to set an example for the nation and the world. Instead, he waited for years until it gained wider acceptance, then announced his support when, thanks to his filter-challenged vice-president, the contradictions of his phony stance became too glaring and distracting to ignore any longer.

Or, that call all be summed up pretty easily by Glo - who simply responded to my both informative and excited text by saying: “Can’t believe it but was his only move.”

chatandchow:

“I only paint things that I find attractive and appetizing,” he said. “I like to translate what I find the most seductive about my subject. And cheese, it turns out, is the absolute perfect match for the way I paint. I get hungry looking at cheese.”


Ditto Mike Geno, ditto.


Talk about investing in an indulgence.

Your New Morning Pick-Me-Up

Truth be told… Incorporate 2 drinking rules into your MoJo morning routine, and you will never make it to work - 1) Mika rolls her eyes. 2) Joe references his Congressional days. But in other news, Willie has gone ahead and done the legwork for us. Just as he should. And just as he would.

                    

GQ: I think we should create a Morning Joe drinking game.
Willie Geist: There’s one. Every time Joe mentions he was in Congress. We have a little ding that goes up. Every time he says, ‘You know in 1994, when I was in Congress…’ Ding! Drink. Now he preempts us and says, ‘Get’s your drinks ready!’ We have that one. That’s a good one. People have gotten shit faced off it.

GQ: Every time he talks about what a star Jeb Bush is.
Willie Geist: Yeah. Chris Christie.

GQ: How about every time Chris Christie comes on the show and filibusters?
Willie Geist: The Mika eye roll. Or every time Mika completely ignores every word we’re saying when we do sports. I’d say, every time Donnie says, ‘I’m an image guy!’

GQ: Or excessive praise from Donnie.
Willie Geist: Oh yeah. And I think we should hold him accountable for everything he says is going to be great. How about Barnicle? Every time you can see one of Barnicle’s old man chest hairs sticking through the mesh of his breathable Nike gear, you should drink. Every time Mike Allen has an awkward moment. Every time Heilemann interrupts Mika and goes on one of his speed ball rants.

GQ: Mark Halperin?
Willie Geist: Every time Halperin makes an obscure joke.

GQ: How about every time Halperin calls the president a dick?
Willie Geist: No, no, no, no stop.

…That last one… Low blow. Let’s go back to Mika jokes.

Why Did You Force Me To Eat BROCCOLI?

So after days and days of reading articles spanning from Slate to the National Review (I have a very bipartisan twitter feed thankyouverymuch), and pretending like I can zap into my law school friends’ heads and understand things like this, this, and this, I have finally begun to understand the unraveling of the ACA, the SCOTUS, and all that other hubub thanks to Jonathan Chait's consistent ability to explain without any legalese nonsense (even Ezra has been confusing me… see the latter “this”):

Having accepted a shaky series of premises, this has led the Court to settle on what it regards as the central issue of the case: If Congress can force you to purchase health insurance, why can’t it make you buy broccoli, or anything at all? 

…There are many possible ways to solve this objection, if a Justice were so inclined to look for them. Health insurance is inherently different from almost any other product, with inherent problems of cost-shifting and adverse selection. (The economics of this seem to be utterly eluding the conservative justices.) As former Reagan solicitor general Charles Fried argues, the absence of the mandate would have a major impact on already-existing interstate commerce, which cannot be said of broccoli consumption. Or, as Matt Steinglass offers, mandating the purchase of broccoli might be marginally helpful to the goal of containing health care costs — eating broccoli makes you slightly healthier — but it’s certainly not necessary, as an insurance mandate is.

But to even accept this as the central question at hand is to accept a very strange way of looking at the law. Certainly, the Court needs to be mindful of setting a dangerous precedent. But the Court does not habitually strike down any use of government power that could conceivably, when stretched to its maximal limit, have nasty results. As Akil Amar notes, if Congress can tax income it could tax income at 100% percent. If you can conscript 18-year-olds into the army, you can conscript them for 25-year terms like the Czars did. You could put them into the Army Corps of Engineers and turn them into a vast pool of government slave labor. But such hypothetical possibilities don’t normally dominate jurisprudence the way they have at the Court this week.

The Obama era has unleashed deep-rooted conservative fears of economic democracy. If you pay close attention to the commentary of the conservative justices this week, their incredulity at the health-care law itself is everywhere. They are concerned with the possibility that mob rule could produce tyrannically intrusive regulations with no rational basis because this is what they think is happening already.

I blame all the parents out there who forced their kids to eat broccoli. It’s not broccoli’s fault that it now conjures up such terrible images and memories in the minds of all these people who have grown up with an inexplicable hatred to the green veg that’s just trying to look like a tree and provide you with a little bit of fiber, vitamin C, calcium, and iron (thanks Lance).

Poor broccoli. But Happy Friday.