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Archive for March, 2008

Clowning Around (the world).

If you’ll remember, I posted last week that viral promotion for The Dark Knight would bring back the Clown Prince of Crime for April Fool’s Day. Well, whatever happens tomorrow — and word is it might be the final trailer, although, again, it’s April Fool’s, so who knows — it seems the Joker has set up shop here, at the “Clown Travel Agency.” Tune in tomorrow, folks. Same bat-time, same bat-channel.

Update: Apparently, DA candidate Harvey Dent has been swiftboated by the “Concerned Citizens for a Better Gotham” (a.k.a. some disgruntled cops), and he’ll be holding a press conference tomorrow at 3pm to address the charges made in the ad. This sounds like a prime moment for Joker/trailer-related shenanigans.

Update 2: Never mind tomorrow: The trailer seems to have leaked, and it’s a beaut. (Ok, sorry. I couldn’t help myself…just getting in the April Fool’s mood a day early.) At any rate, more Dark Knight info as it comes.

Update 3: And they’re off: Looks like Step 1 is a worldwide scavenger hunt…apparently to acquire Joker bowling balls and cellphones. The bowling balls have phone numbers and code words attached — presumably that’s Phase 2. Update 4: With all the balls doled out around the globe, the next stop is this Acme Security Systems site…where everyone’s getting “server is too busy” screens of death. April Fool’s! Update 5: For those who did manage to get through, they got a call from Commissioner Gordon, but no obvious link to a trailer or anything. (You can hear it here.) No more updates here unless something big happens (but, if you wanted to play along, this wiki overview of the growing Dark Knight ARG is a good place to start, and most of the spinoff sites have been found via The Gotham Times or the Jokerfied version.)

Update 6: Some spoilerish stills of the Joker appear at a French site. Check ’em out before they disappear.

Ok, ok, we need oversight.

“‘Our current regulatory structure was not built to address the modern financial system with its diversity of market participants, innovation, complexity of financial instruments, convergence of financial intermediaries and trading platforms, global integration and interconnectedness among financial institutions, investors and markets,’ Paulson said this morning.” Stick a fork in free market fundamentalism: In light of recent economic events, Dubya Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson proposes a massive overhaul of the nation’s regulatory apparatus. The plan, which among other things bolsters the powers of the Fed and phases out the SEC, isn’t getting the most favorable reception from Dems thus far. Said Chris Dodd: “Regrettably, the Administration’s blueprint, while deserving of careful consideration, would do little if anything to alleviate the current crisis — which was brought on by a failure of will.” Still, with even Team Dubya and its allies signing off on the need for it, regulatory reform of Wall Street and financial markets looks to be on the table to stay, one way or another.

Affordability matters.

“Among the debts reported this month by Hillary Clinton’s struggling presidential campaign, the $292,000 in unpaid health insurance premiums for her campaign staff stands out.” This was buried in a story over a month ago, but now it gets its own lede: While endlessly touting her insurance mandate as the be-all, end-all of health care reform, Sen. Clinton’s campaign hasn’t been paying the insurance bills. (This is in addition to screwing over local businesses and charities whenever possible, because apparently struggling mom-and-pop operations don’t need to be paid as quickly as corporate behemoths.)

The Kingdom.

The guy is sculpting the toddler id while also designing a domed metropolis with a monorail. How did this happen? A man who got famous drawing a cartoon mouse was now going to solve all America’s urban problems?” Old friend Seth Stevenson spends a week in the realm of Disney, and lives to tell the tale. “After spending the past five days here, I’ve come to the conclusion that Disney World teaches kids three things: 1) a meaningless, bubble-headed utopianism, 2) a grasping, whining consumerism, and 3) a preference for soulless facsimiles of culture and architecture instead of for the real thing. I suppose it also teaches them that monorails are cool. So there’s that.

The Constitution Made Whole.

“Not one lawyer in 100 can identify Ohio congressman John Bingham as the main drafter of the 14th Amendment. Yet Bingham is a fascinating historical figure: he served in Congress in the 1850s as the country was torn apart and in the 1860s as it was stitched back together. He was a federal judge and the nation’s minister to Japan. As a prosecutor, he convicted John Wilkes Booth’s co-conspirators, and as a member of Congress he gave closing arguments in President Andrew Johnson impeachment trial. All that, plus he drafted Section 1 of the 14th Amendment, which is perhaps the single most important paragraph of our Constitution.” Over at TNR, Doug Kendall pleas with Obama and others to remember the Reconstruction amendments.

It’s not you, it’s your library.

“Pity the would-be Romeo who earnestly confesses middlebrow tastes: sometimes, it’s the Howard Roark problem as much as the Pushkin one. ‘I did have to break up with one guy because he was very keen on Ayn Rand,’ said Laura Miller, a book critic for Salon. ‘He was sweet and incredibly decent despite all the grandiosely heartless “philosophy” he espoused, but it wasn’t even the ideology that did it. I just thought Rand was a hilariously bad writer, and past a certain point I couldn’t hide my amusement.’” In the NYT, Rachel Donadio looks at relationships undone by differing book tastes (and, along the way, quotes a college friend of mine, Christian Lorentzen.)

Funnily enough, my last serious relationship, lo, 18 months ago now, didn’t end because of book taste, but — like Laura Miller above — I always considered the Ayn Rand citation on her Friendster profile an ominous red flag (and, in the clear light of retrospect, I was absolutely correct in this regard.) In the relationship before that, things started out ok, and then, eight or nine months in, we daringly ventured to trade lists of recommended books. At first, all was well: She seemed to dig All the King’s Men, and I finally got around to reading Moby Dick (I liked it, but also found most of it the longest…Atlantic piece…ever…) But we got on shakier ground when I didn’t cotton at all to her favorite tome, Thomas Wolfe’s Look, Homeward Angel. (If you’ve never read it, here’s the short version: I, the protagonist, am more brilliant and tortured than absolutely everybody here in fake-Asheville, NC, and thus noone will ever understand me. After 500 pages of complaining about it, I will leave, and seek my fortune elsewhere.) Meanwhile, she was so embarrassed to be seen with Dan Simmons’ Hyperion — a book I don’t love, but thought might make a good intro to decent sci-fi yarns for someone with highbrow sensibilities, what with all the Chaucer and Keats nods therein — that she’d hide it from people on the train. Whether all this brought about or hastened the end, I know not…but it surely didn’t help. The point being, be wary, young lovers: The book collection can be a minefield, as the Donadio essay attests.

It’s a league game, Smokey.

I have no intention of stopping until we finish what we started and until we see what happens in the next 10 contests and until we resolve Florida and Michigan. And if we don’t resolve it, we’ll resolve it at the convention — that’s what credentials committees are for.” As the press fully and finally catches up with the fact that it’s over — it only took a month, but, hey, math is hard! — Sen. Clinton digs in for the long haul (and liberally plays the gender card anew), announcing she’s staying in until a convention floor fight in August…which, by the way, she’ll assuredly lose.

Their hand thus forced, more supers emerge for Sen. Obama, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and, sometime soon, seven House members from North Carolina. And, with the Gallup tracking poll disparity as big as it’s ever been (thanks in part to Snipergate, one presumes), I’m guessing Sen. Clinton’s fundraising also might be taking a hit. As such, I’m still of the opinion that this will all end May 6 or soon thereafter. Or, at least, that’s my hope. This is not ‘Nam, Sen. Clinton, this is politics. There are rules.

By the way, if anyone is under the impression that I’m so in the bag for Sen. Obama that no discouraging word about him shall ever be posted here at GitM, I’ll say this: This man should never bowl in public ever again. 37? That’s really sad. (And how did Bob Casey become a Senator from Pennsylvania bowling only a 71? I’m no Walter Sobchak, but I can’t remember bowling under an 80 since the age of ten.) Please, Senator, at least until the election, stick with making baskets.

Update: The Obama campaign pushes back on the WSJ’s NC supers story. So apparently the joint endorsement of those seven Reps is not as imminent as reported.

A Survivor Finds Peace.

“‘There is no doctor who can heal me.But I know that a man like Pol Pot, he is even sicker than I am. He is crazy in the head, because he believed in killing people. He believed in starving children. We both have the horror in our heads.Dith Pran, 1942-2008.

Passing the Torch (and Whip).

Henry Jones, Jr. imparts a life lesson in a new TV spot for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. A lot of the overlap with the teaser here, but worth a look for the opening exchange.

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