Wednesday, June 30, 2010

CERTAINLY ANOTHER DATA POINT RE: WHY PLAYBOY IS AMONG YOUR VERY WORST PUBLICLY-TRADED INVESTMENT CHOICES: Olivia Munn strongly encouraged to show naughty bits at Playboy shoot. Despite a signed contract which stated the naughty bits were off-limits. Yeah, this is probably their standard operating procedure for recalcitrant models, that they just forgot to turn off in Munn's presence. And--leaving aside the morality of the situation--isn't signing celebrities to non-nude contracts a form of brand destruction for a skin mag? I mean when you pick up a Playboy, you expect the lady on the cover to be in all her photoshopped (used to be airbrushed) glory on the inside. 

Note that you can understand Munn is a wronged party here, while still acknowledging her career thus far has been based on good looks and a gift for self-promotion, and not much more. Perhaps the Daily Show has recognized additional potential in her, or perhaps she's a great networker--we shall see.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

WE HARDLY NEW YI: Yi Jianlian to the Wizards. Yes, some days all one has is a bad pun.

Monday, June 28, 2010

AND NOW WE'RE LINKING TO BIG BREITBART AROUND HERE?!?: The confessions of Dave Weigel. By Dave Weigel. The comments are hilarious.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

DAVE ZIRIN'S TRYING TOO HARD: Here and here. Mixing your politics with your sports is fine, but don't pretend the continent of Africa needs a Ghana win, or there's going to be rallying around the concept of mythical African unity. It's good for Ghana! And African soccer clearly needs some respectability. But that's as far as it goes, really.

Also enjoyed this from Dan Drezner. Honestly, we're better off not tying national pride to soccer. We already do that with basketball--one sport is enough.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


To be an American soldier today is to serve a people who find nothing amiss in the prospect of armed conflict without end. Once begun, wars continue, persisting regardless of whether they receive public support. President Obama's insistence to the contrary notwithstanding, this nation is not even remotely "at" war. In explaining his decision to change commanders without changing course in Afghanistan, the president offered this rhetorical flourish: "Americans don't flinch in the face of difficult truths." In fact, when it comes to war, the American people avert their eyes from difficult truths. Largely unaffected by events in Afghanistan and Iraq and preoccupied with problems much closer to home, they have demonstrated a fine ability to tune out war. Soldiers (and their families) are left holding the bag.

Yes! Yes, we live in an America where war is just another federal project, to be debated like school vouchers or drilling in Alaska or what have you. Heard on the radio last night (the BBC, natch) that four Americans got killed in Afghanistan and their deaths make no impact on our daily lives. War is just another thing that we do. It's absurd and horrible, this situation.

Friday, June 25, 2010

IT APPEARS I OWE THE INTERNET A POST: Because I blog daily and I missed Thursday somehow. Please enjoy this animated gif of Fernando Torres' flop today. Dive of the World Cup thus far! (Hopefully it'll still be there when you watch it. Thought about hotlinking it but hotlinks from unknown sources have a tendency to become pornographic at some point. And this is a staid, buttoned-down Republic.)
THIS WEIGEL THING JUST FLOORS ME: Seriously--this rises to the level of fireable offenses? (Or resignable, the shitheads accepted his resignation so, you know, same difference.) The statistically insignificant chance that I would ever link approvingly to something Mark Ambinder wrote approvingly has just become true:

Weigel is best described as an anti-denialist. He hates stupid people and stupid human tricks and stupid political consultants. He's developed a natural rapport with conservatives because he says what he thinks.  I was a member of the now defunct Journolist group. I'm also a voracious consumer of Dave Weigel's tweets. And I can tell you that nothing he wrote on the list was more outre than what he Tweeted.

As a fellow Weigel twitter fan I concur. And did you catch this thing from the WaPo's ombudsman? "But the bigger loss is The Post’s standing among conservatives." Dude. The WaPo doesn't have any standing among conservatives--that's why this has become an issue.

And a big ol' insolvent eff you to the folks at Fishbowl DC for publishing this shit in the first place, knowing it was only publishable because Weigel worked at the Post and they could generate the sweet hits from movement conservatives flying their LIBRULMEDIABIAS freak flags. Even though Weigel is not at all a liberal. He's just insufficiently conservative, so for a certain class of AM radio cretin that makes him a liberal. And those are the cretins the WaPo management fears, not the actual liberals who might be their audience, but, you know, aren't anymore. Who are they left with? "Liberals" of the Tom Friedman type. That's no way to run a newspaper.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

THIS SEEMS LIKE MORE OF A FLORIDA NEWS ITEM: But no, it's Utah: Naked woman steals cars, leads officers on chase. "She did have blood on her body from the initial crash. She was hot and sweaty, dirty, and very slippery. She managed to escape the grasp of the two officers."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

THIS IMAGE WENT AROUND SOME TUMBLRS: (Not that I have any idea what Tumblr is--given my usual position on The Curve I will figure it out in March, 2014--) Notably (for me) Gail Simone's:

It's Dr Light! By Rodolfo Migliari. And then Gail says:

I love this character. LOVE her. Freaking adore her.  I also think she’s one of the most misused characters anywhere in the DCU. Her character changes from book to book, her badassery is constantly being neutered, and she’s been absolutely chumped so many times.  Asian female HEROES are very rare in the DCU, as well.

And I agree! With all this. 1. Love the character, who basically has a Von Doom-level intellect and powerset and personality but she's a good guy and a single mother. 2. Woefully inconsistent characterization, nobody's really gotten her "right" since her Crisis debut so everybody tries something different with her and it never quite sticks. James Robinson tried to do something by playing up her insecurities lately. Yeah, that's going to last as long as any of those random "here's the human side of Victor Von Doom" we've seen over the years. 3. She's the Asian female superhero Wedge Antilles in terms of managing to survive for years and years and still be in a prominent position most of the time. I mean who else is there? Grace? In comic book limbo. Katana? I have no idea. That new Judomaster? Cass Cain? Well, I just don't know. I do know that Kimiyo manages to keep on trucking without much of a scratch (that episode where evil Dr Light took her powers and left her in the ICU was forgotten almost as soon as it happened.)

She's obviously fared much better than the other Crisis characters--Lady Quark, Harbinger, Pariah, Alex Luthor. And I think her origin is what makes her so difficult to pin down--if you back to basics with her you go back to the granddaddy of all Crises, but it's also an event that has a strange status in DC continuity, where people seem to go back and forth about if they remembered it or what they remembered and so forth. But if you go "back to basics" with her (which is what happens when people try to rejuvenate a character) you get somebody who was given powers by a good god (the Monitor) to fight an evil god (the Anti-Monitor.) And that's pretty good as origins go! And if you were somebody who was already so damn sure of her own intellect and such, you'd feel pretty good about being picked for that task by a god-entity, right? So there's some fertile ground there. Of course, DC being DC they'll probably kill off her kids and have her go on a mission of VENGEANCE and be EVIL. Because that's always so very interesting...

Monday, June 21, 2010

THIS SHOULD FAIRLY BE CLASSIFIED AS ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE BUT: Reading this--which is quite sad--I do think the pendulum has swung too far to the anti-international adoption side of things in general. I know a lot of people have a lot invested in tearing down the whole "internationally adoptive parents as saviors" myth, but insisting that a child's birth culture is always the best place for a child strikes me as just as mythological. Especially when there's a real orphan and a real potential parent involves, as in the above tale.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY: My dad got his bullet-style cigar cutter confiscated in Puerto Rico recently (on the one hand, okay, fine, it's a bullet; on the other hand, what's he going to do--throw it at somebody? Put it in the barrel of his snap-together ceramic pistol he's smuggled aboard? Come on, TSA--use your noggins!) so a replacement was his gift today. And a couple of Cigar Aficionado-approved smokes.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

FINALLY, THE ARENA LEAGUE IS REALLY REALLY BACK: San Jose SaberCats return next season. The new AFL wasn't complete without them!

Haters will be pleased that the Soul's return (who will also resume play next season) will be mercifully Bon Jovi-free.

Friday, June 18, 2010

UTAH TO THE PAC-10 AS AN ATTEMPT TO HEAD OFF PLAYOFFS?: I mean the Pac-10 along with the Big Ten is one of the full-on anti-playoff conferences. Orrin Hatch says he's still going to be on the BCS' hinder but Orrin Hatch says a lot of things. And he was surely the most powerful senator of a State with no BCS representation--I mean off the top of my head I cannot remember either of Idaho's contingent. So...yeah. Must be a CONSPIRACY!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

JUST A COUPLE QUICK REALIGNMENT POINTS: 1. Utah to the Pac-10 means the Pac-16 is really and truly dead for the time being. I kept hoping hotter heads would prevail and the Aggies would sign with the SEC at the last second, but no. 2. The Big East might be up to something. UCF? Memphis? The inevitable basketball-football split is finally here? Who can say! Rumors be hot 'n' heavy. (No time for links today, but it's the Internet, rumors are easy to find.)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

YES, YOU CAN UNFOLLOW CHIP BROWN NOW: This is laughable. "Oh, it wasn't Texas that screwed up the Pac-10 deal at the last second--it was that darn Larry Scott!" Ridiculous, absurd, of use only to the most diehard burnt orange types with a reflexively need to see their institution always in the right, etc. He actually has A&M as the first "winner" of this debacle. A&M. Who lost more than anyone in all this. And Beebe is a winner too! Who looks more ineffectual and powerless than ever. One of his losers is Colorado, which only true if indentured servitude makes one a winner. Curiously he leaves out Nebraska from his winners and losers--perhaps because Austin's own Comical Ali could not figure out a way to make that move into a loser.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

SO IT REALLY WAS THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS OF COLLEGE CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT FIASCOS: All that noise and twittering and rumormongering and we up with basically the same set of conferences. Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth shattering kaboom! One slight change is that the Big XII is even more Texas-dominated, and those who got stuck in the Big XII with Texas are more aware than ever that Only Texas Matters. And they are Texas' slaves, or vassals, or bitches, or any number of terms where one party is the powerful and the other party is weak and in thrall. Colorado and Nebraska were the only ones who found freedom in this version of the Great Escape; everyone else is stuck in that prison camp.

To me the most interesting part of all this is A&M's decision to turn down an offer from the SEC. Yes--they turned down an offer from the nation's most prestigious football conference, and athletically A&M football is at the top of their interests. This is what I want more information on--I want to buy the hardcover that investigates why A&M, being presented with a once-in-a-generation chance to get out from under Texas domination, to finally give Texas (the state now, not the school) kids a reason to go there over UT--i.e., playing in the SEC! Playing Alabama and Auburn and Florida is far more attractive than even Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas. If the A&M muckety-mucks made this decision on their own--their lack of imagination is appalling. If their decision was made for them--somebody in Austin, for example, having a conniption over UT potentially losing their precious stranglehold on in-state recruiting--it's more understandable. If they did for a few extra bucks they are absolutely craven and their fanbase is right to hate them as much as they do right now. It's the most interestingly inexplicable decision on all this and I hope there's a journalist out there with a pile of notes already working on giving us the who and the what and about all the why why why?

Monday, June 14, 2010

REALIGNMENT COMEDY ON A MONDAY: More or less simultaneous reports that Texas was ready to stick with the Big XII and that Texas/Tech/OU/OSU were Pac-11 bound. The Big XII is Schrodinger's conference.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

NOTHING BUT THIS TODAY: Conference rumors change by the hour. Hey, howzabout that other football?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

IN A BIG EAST SENSE: Everything's hinging on A&M at the moment, I feel like. If they go to the Pac-Integer, all problems are solved, and it's a clear path for the Big 12 North orphans to the Big East--Kansas being the most desirable orphan since the resulting basketball league will be the ultimate power in the universe. If A&M finds a way into the SEC--and, speaking objectively, I really think they should if they can, it's a once-in-a-generation chance to get out from under Texas' shadow, even if they're going to a much tougher league--then the Pac-Integer only has 15 teams and they probably will want a 16th. Can they talk Kansas into coming? Then the Big 12 North orphans look less attractive. And a Big East without Kansas is a less stable conference. I hope Kansas and Kansas State (and Missouri, since they're the Kansas archrivals) are a package deal somehow, though I've heard the reverse.

Friday, June 11, 2010

USUALLY I CAN GET EXCITED ABOUT THE WORLD CUP: This time? I mean the entire American college sports landscape is in chaos. That's what's taking all my attention at the moment. Maybe I'll care more near the end. If the Pac-16 is official by then. And the MAC has invited Mexican high schools.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I'M SURE THIS IS ALL JUST FURTHER EVIDENCE OF HOW TERRIBLE THE MEDIA IS: And Obama really hasn't done anything wrong, and it was all Dubya's fault anyway (though that's probably the objection that has the largest amount of truth.) But--if you're not a Barry-right-or-wrong type, or if your hatred of the media has not overwhelmed your ability to determine when they're making legitimate criticisms--this Rolling Stone piece is pretty damning regarding the administration's response to the spill. Ken Salazar looks particularly awful.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS?: Well, they're desperate to the point of getting their Senators involved. Ultimately I feel like they're worried about nothing--the heart of Kansas athletics is the basketball program, and basketball programs can be competitive no matter what conference they're in. So their most important program cannot be "left out" of major athletics. But--you know--there are financial benefits to being in a BCS league, I suppose. Like say, The Big (The Sun Rises In The) East? If they get Memphis too...jeez. That's a basketball league.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

MESSAGE BOARDS I AM MONITORING FOR EXPANSION NEWS: Don't want to think--just want to hear chatter:

The national and Rutgers Rivals boards. Pretty high signal-to-noise ratio but some good nuggets.

For some reason the Big East expansion sub-board on NCAA BBS is very active (other parts of NCAA BBS seem to be dead.) Good discussion.

Found a Buffs board and a Mizzou board that I like.

Twitter people I am following: CFTalk, Pete Thamel, Chip Brown, Dan Wetzel.

One odd idea I am hearing is that a Notre Dame condition for going to the Big Ten is the Big Ten stopping with ND, or at least not taking any more Big East schools with them. Because ND doesn't want to break up the Big East. Because they care. Sounds incredibly unlikely, but if true it would force me to reevaluate an adulthood full of Domer loathing.

Monday, June 07, 2010


Sunday, June 06, 2010

CANNOT BELIEVE BAYLOR ACTUALLY HAS THIS KIND OF POWER WITHIN TEXAS: That they could bollux the whole Pac-16 deal, by insisting the Westerners take them over Colorado. How? Why? Why do they even think anybody would accept their inclusion--they're already swallowing Texas Tech, who they (the Pac-10) don't really want. Baylor too? Why do these Texas legislators care about tv money going to a private school? Ann Richards isn't in office anymore--but are the rest of the Texas Illuminati Baylor alums too? Many questions here. Slotman is flabbergasted if this turns out to be true.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

YOU CAN REALLY TELL IF SOMEONE IS A DICKBAG OR NOT BY WHETHER OR NOT THEY MAKE FUN OF RACHEL CORRIE'S DEATH: So the people behind the good ship Rachel Corrie: not dickbags. The people who boarded said ship? Well, we really don't know. But they didn't kill anybody! A point in their favor, certainly.

Friday, June 04, 2010

"A 'TECH' PROBLEM": Juicy juicy leaked e-mail regarding the latest round of NCAA conference armageddon. I thought the Texas to the Big Ten stuff was always impossible, but due to the package deal with A&M--I did not think Tech would be the sticking point. And if it is, there's no way any Texas school goes to the Big Ten--Tech just does not fit their academic profile. Unless they're lying about being an academic league (which they might be when push comes to shove.)

The New York Times sucks the life force out of every single person it touches. And now I have to watch someone I like and admire be destroyed, slowly and painfully (yes, nerds, think of it in language you can understand: it's the Sarlacc pit from Star Wars), where they will either digest him slowly over a thousand years after stuffing him behind a paywall or, worse, turn him into a prick just like every other Timesman.
In the end, everybody has the right to make our own mistakes, and that goes for Nate, too. I've cheered every other success he has had: the book contracts, the New York mag gig, and all. I mourn this move because I want Nate to succeed and go to the toppermost of the poppermost. But the Times is hurtling downward in the opposite direction.
Remember those crazy protesters outside the Royal Wedding with the placards that shouted “Don’t Do It, Di”? At the end of the tunnel car chase, it turned out that they were right.
Not even Nate Silver can make the passé New York Times cool again. But the Times, in its death throe years, can make even Nate Silver uncool.
I don't know what he's thinking. This is not the first time an artist or rock star I've known took a turn toward nihilism. But, Jebus, Nate: heroin would have been a safer move!

Awesome. Meanwhile (and relatedly) Chris Bowers announced the death of amateur liberal progressive blogging. Yup yup--if you haven't been hired by some foundation and/or a media company, you don't exist! So sorry you had to hear it like this, Digby. Or Talking Dog. Or most of the people at Kos. And so on.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

INTERESTING: Naoto Kan--probably the new Japanese PM--is not from a political family. Unlike the previous 5 PMs, including Koizumi.
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT: Mark Penn gets lots and lots of money to think things like this:

On the BP crisis, he needs to get away from the posturing politicians and the environmentalists and get together with scientists, generals and big-time business people who have experience solving big logistical problems. Now is the time to call in the big brains, lock them in a room, and deliver every possible resource to shut the oil flow down; think Manhattan Project meets Independence Day, with fewer aliens and more eggheads.

It's just that easy! Via LGM. (By the way, the oil spill has made me realize that if there was an asteroid on a collision course with Earth, we'd just go extinct. "Sure," I would tell myself, "Armageddon is a terrible film. But surely good ole American human ingenuity would find a way to save the day." But no. We'd be the new dinosaur juice for the sentient cockroaches.)
OMG AN AMERICAN COMMENTATOR PAYING ATTENTION TO JAPANESE POLITICS!: Larison on Hatoyama. (A general-purpose commentator, I'm sure there's plenty of specialists saying things.)

You should be reading Larison anyway, his stuff on Turkey has been excellent.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

HATOYAMA RESIGNS: Barely a blip on Memeorandum. Because why be concerned with the domestic politics of our most important Asian partner? There (was) utterly irrelevant British elections to write about! They were cute. And they speak a foreign language in Japan. And stuff.

This post (if you can get past the teeny tiny font) seems to clear up something I was wondering about: if the end of Hatoyama meant the end of the DPJ and backsliding into LDP one-party rule or somesuch. No, Hatoyama stepping down means better chances for the DPJ than they had.

For more on the Hatoyama resignation I recommend going through Our Man's sidebar (the section marked "FIELD AGENTS.")

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

NO TIME FOR BLOGGING: Let me just note the underreported story of an American who lost her eye in the flotilla attack.