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Archive for November, 2003

Dust, Discrimination, and Domestic Containment.

Some thanksgiving orals reading, for you and yours…read with lavish amounts of stuffing and cranberry sauce.

Elaine Tyler May, Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era.
C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow.
Donald Worster, Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s.

Des Moines for Dean.

Terry McAuliffe take note: Up in Iowa, up in Massachusetts (!), imperturbable in debate, Howard Dean’s starting to look unstoppable. Barring a horrendous gaffe by the good doctor or a resurgent Southern swing by Clark or Edwards, it’s looking to be over sooner rather than later. In fact, isn’t it nigh time for some Dem candidates to follow Bob Graham to the exit…?

Ghost in the Machine.

Historian David Greenberg and the Washington Post examines Dubya’s stylistic debts to Richard Nixon.

Botched Prescription?

In a boon for President Bush’s reelection chances, the GOP succeed in remaking Medicare. (At least the Dems can content themselves with defeating the energy bill.) To be honest, I haven’t been following this bill as closely as I should…I always get a bit annoyed when both parties prostrate themselves before the AARP, far and away the richest (and most likely to vote) portion of the electorate. In fact, the US spends 12 times more on its oldest, wealthiest citizens than it does on its children, even though kids are three times more likely to live below the poverty line. Hence, budget and deficit-busting prescription drug giveaways in the midst of child poverty…great investment.)

All that being said, Medicare is one of the foundations of the American social safety net, just as AFDC was until 1996, and as such this act is a biggie. Mickey Kaus of Slate seems to think the bill is actually good for Dems, while Urban Institute experts believe the back door to privatization is in fact only “window dressing.” But still, most Senators I trust came down against it (including John McCain, who railed against the giveaways to drug-makers in the bill.) And, while I still find it absurd that we’re giving prescription drug benefits to a select portion of the electorate before finding a way to insure every citizen, even paying lip service to the idea of privatizing Medicare does not seem a step in the right direction towards universal health care.

Finally, if this bill is so innocuous, why are the GOP so gung-ho for it? I hope it’s because they believe they wrested the Medicare issue away from the Democrats rather than due to any real movement towards privatization in the bill. Still, I fret. I mean, would you trust a prescription filled out by a cat-slaughterer?

What’s it all about, Alfred?

Michael Caine joins the Christopher Nolan Batman as Alfred. That’s an interesting choice, and what with Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, Nolan’s two-for-two. But who will play the villains? Dark Horizons says Daniel Day-Lewis as Ras Al-Ghul, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Hell and Thunder.

In the trailer bin this morning, a quicktime version of Hellboy (still looks intriguing but possibly LXG-ish) and a first look at Thunderbirds. Farscape is my sci-fi puppet show of choice, so I can’t say this much appeals to me…but then again, the original is way before my time.

Succumb to Temptation…

Well, while I did pick up the soundtrack this morning. we’re getting to the point in the RotK release cycle where I’m starting to feel ambivalent about seeing this stuff before December 16th. Newsweek prints a very spoiler-filled first review and declares, “It’s an epic. It tells a passionate, elemental story. It takes the principal filmmaking currency of our times, special effects, and makes them matter. Is it a fantasy? It’s a lot of people’s fantasy, yes.” (The article also tells how the movie begins…I won’t put it here, but I’m somewhat proud of myself for having guessed it a year ago.) The Newsweek cover story also has a couple of all-new pictures, and a snippet from Andy Serkis’s forthcoming Gollum book reveals even more about the decisions made in RotK. All of this is very spoilerish stuff, even for those of us who’ve read the trilogy. You have been warned.


For in the final analysis, our most basic common link, is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children’s futures, and we are all mortal.”

Watercolor on Vinyl.

By way of Scrubbles, the Greatest Album Covers that never were, including Kurt Vonnegut’s Phish cover.

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The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
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