The Oscars

As usual, the Academy Awards arrive with me having not seen many of the nominated films. Saw 'em: Crash; Good Night, and Good Luck; Junebug; Pride & Prejudice; Walk the Line Didn't see 'em: Brokeback Mountain; Capote; Cinderella Man; The Constant Gardener; A History of Violence; Hustle & Flow; Mrs. Henderson Presents; Munich; North Country; The Squid and the Whale; Syriana; Transamerica But even though I missed so many of these, I've read enough about them to disagree … [Read more...]


"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees," President Bush said after, as many had anticipated, the levees were breached. If you haven't seen it yet, Crooks & Liars has the video of Bush getting briefed before Hurricane Katrina by officials who were anticipating -- and urging him to anticipate -- that very thing. This is a weird pattern with this administration. They get warned. They ignore the warning. The thing about which they were warned happens and … [Read more...]

And then …

... without explanation, he resumed blogging as though nothing had happened. … [Read more...]

Map vs. Terrain vs. Mildew-resistant liner

10 observations about my new world map shower curtain1. The map includes states and provinces, but only for the U.S. and Canada -- which is to say only for the two countries in the world whose states and provinces I could already identify on a map. This diminishes the educational potential of my shower curtain. You'd think they'd at least have finished off North America and done Mexico too, but no. So I still don't know Durango from Jalisco. 2. The curtain was made in China. The … [Read more...]

Aaron Burr

Apparently Howard Dean, on CBS News' Face the Nation on Sunday, compared Vice President Dick Cheney to another famous vice president who was later tried for treason. The comparison is somewhat strained. First, Aaron Burr was acquitted. Second, Burr never shot anybody while in office. Although John Quincy Adams did say, when Burr died, "Burr's life, take it all together, was such as in any country of sound morals his friends would be desirous of burying in quiet … [Read more...]

What are newspapers for?

The paper ran a long piece yesterday called "Music attracts teens to hate groups." The local angle was a guy named Robert T. Huber, a hatecore musician who lives in Newark, Del., where he's a doctoral candidate at the University of Delaware. Like most doctoral candidates, he teaches and grades papers. That's a worrisome thought if you're an undergrad physics student at UD and you're black, Jewish, Catholic, gay, Asian, Hispanic or even white but not, you know, a … [Read more...]

“No exceptions”

Here's the cover to the latest issue of Christianity Today. Good for CT. The full title of that lead article is "Five Reasons Torture Is Always Wrong: And why there should be no exceptions." It's by Southern Baptist ethicist David P. Gushee, who was also an endorser of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. That campaign's initial statement reads, in part: Torture violates the basic dignity of the human person that all religions hold dear. It degrades everyone … [Read more...]

Deliberate mendacity

Andrew C. Revkin of The New York Times wrote last weekend about political pressure and threats directed against NASA scientists by political appointees. "NASA Chief Backs Agency Openness," Revkin reported, noting that NASA administrator Michael D. Griffin had been forced to take sides, writing in an e-mail to everyone in the agency, "It is not the job of public-affairs officers to alter, filter or adjust engineering or scientific material produced by NASA's technical … [Read more...]