Wednesday, September 30, 2009

According to Vanity Fair and CBS/60 Minutes' utterly random poll: Americans think Wal-Mart = America and Twitter is a fad.

Vanity Fair and Sunday night CBS staple 60 Minutes have inaugurated a new series of polls they're calling “a monthly survey of the American consciousness.” Lord knows how long they're planning on doing this or where they're going with it, but the questions seem to have been hand-picked by monkeys on meth, which might also describe the first survey's 1000+ respondents. 

Either way, be aware that 48% chose Wal-Mart as the symbol that “best symbolizes America today." 51% think Twitter is a fad that will fade. And men want to be George Clooney and women want to be Michelle Obama. Here's a video of "analysis" of this meme casserole.

Posted via email from OriginalSpin

GOP rep calls Obama "enemy of humanity," "unfit for government"—no outrage? Lesson from Joe Wilson: Treasonous douchebaggery pays.

Arizona Republican Congressman Trent Franks announced yesterday to attendees of the conservative How to Take Back America conference in St. Louis, Missouri that the president is an "enemy of humanity, unfit for government office at any level." A spokesperson tried to walk the statement back, saying that Franks was referring only to "unborn humanity" -- which doesn't wash. Even in those terms, this is an outright call to action to the most scabrous elements of the violent right. (It was part of a larger theme: Kitty Werthmann led a terrifiying workshop at the event, "How to recognize living under Nazis & Communists," in which she literally told people to buy guns and ammunition and "take back America, and not to let 'them' take the country into socialism."

The right hemisphere of our collective national brain has completely lost it. There are no longer any filters of reason or civility in place, and there seems to be a real desire, conscious or unconscious, to ramp up the hate and vitriol until something truly terrible occurs. Part of the reason? The GOP, watching Joe Wilson, knows that fundraising as a marginalized, rump regional party is possible solely through the ability to shock, enrage and horrify its base -- not through bipartisan collaboration or constructive, country-building behavior.  

Given that former presidential candidate John McCain, who could be said to have been the prime enabler for the surge in toxic speech and action occurring on the right today (given his endorsement of said themes in his campaign and his selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate, whose only qualification was her ability to rouse the rabble), and given that McCain is Arizona's senior Senator, it is his responsibility to condemn the words of the congressman from his own state. 

But he won't.

Posted via email from OriginalSpin

Techwrecks, Part III: Apple says 30% dropped call rate is "normal" for AT&T service in NYC, muthafuthas

This explains a helluva lot. I’ve recently moved over to iPhone, at first begrudgingly (love Apple but like to type on keyboards) and now delightedly. But my call stability has plummeted since switching from Sprint’s “now network” to AT&T’s “more bars” nightmare. The fact is, you get your bars, but the bars have no relationship to actual coverage--and even if you can connect, you have a nearly 1 in 3 chance of losing your call somewhere in mid-chatter.  

Is there any other major consumer service where a 30% failure rate is considered acceptable? Seriously! And AT&T's solution ask us all to buy $150 femtocells to enhance the coverage they claim is the best and fastest in the nation. Cue the class action lawsuit

I’m not alone here: people love the ass off the iPhone but think AT&T is very nearly a dealbreaker. It’s the weirdest dysfunctional partnership in business right now. At some point, the balance between Apple buffing AT&T’s brand and AT&T tanking Apple’s brand has to shift, doesn’t it?

image credit: Joy of Tech (

Posted via email from OriginalSpin

HE WINS! John Liu (all but officially) is New York's next City Comptroller!

Here's NY1's writeup...the New York Times...the Daily News...the New York Post!

Bottom line:
Come this November (there's the formality of a general election still), we'll have the first Asian American citywide official to be elected in the city of New York! Congratulations to everyone who showed their support in this historic race!

Liu's statement to NY1: "We were taught that the inherent promise of this great city and country, that if you work hard, meet your obligations, recognize the social responsibility that belongs to each of us that you will have every opportunity to do better for yourself and your family and this certainly is the lesson that I've learned tonight."

The unofficial tally has it as 55.68% Liu, 44.32% Yassky--a substantial victory, and significantly higher than the Quinnipiac polls showed (running at 49% to 43% as of Sunday), showing how the Asian American vote made a tremendous difference in a low-turnout runoff. We can make a difference. We did. And this is just the beginning.

(photo album: Scenes from the victory celebration at United Teachers Federation headquarters at 52 Broadway)

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Yorkers: GET OUT AND VOTE IN TODAY'S RUNOFF! We're poised on the edge of history; make John Liu the first-ever APA citywide official in NYC!

Recent polls have shown that John, who had a huge lead over his runoff opponent David Yassky after the primaries, holding that lead up, to the tune of around 49% to 43%—results which like most polls probably undercount the Asian American vote. But let's not take that for granted. This is our first, best opportunity to break through centuries of history in this city, where more than one in 10 residents are Asian American but no member of our community has ever been elected to a citywide elected office. John was New York City's first Asian American elected representative, and paved the way for others to follow—like the staggering three city councilmembers who are poised to win victories this November. 

But don't vote for him because he's Asian American. Vote for him because he's qualified, hard-working, committed to equality and fairness, and capable of making a real difference—and so are you. Despite John's lead, anything can happen in a runoff, so every vote counts. Take the time to vote today

Polls are open now, until 9:00 PM tonight. Find your poll site at and exercise your right and duty as an American. (NOTE: In case you're wondering, if you're an eligible voter in the city of New York, you can vote in today's runoff even if you didn't vote in the primaries. VOTE.)

Posted via email from OriginalSpin

Monday, September 28, 2009

Orly Taitz interviews HERSELF. Hilarious and classic.

It's a parody, and it's cowritten and performed by Sue Galloway, who improvs with the troupe The Law Firm at New York's Upright Citizens Brigade. I have to say this because Ms. Taitz's real-world antics are approximately as insane as those shown in this humorous clip, so people who aren't paying attention might think this is for real. Because she's just that nutty. However, the real Orly has seven-inch, heavily mascara'd false eyelashes, which is your basic dead giveaway that this is, in fact, fake. Enjoy.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

I'm sure I'm not the first to wonder what part of the chicken White Castle "chicken sphings"—er, rings—come from

You can almost feel them pucker right before you bite 'em. Yecchh.

(Ate at White Castle for lunch today and my gorge is about to spill.)

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FUNDRAISER/RALLY FOR JOHN LIU: 5-7 pm TODAY at Papoo's 55 Broadway & Exchange Alley--Come support New York's future first citywide Asian American official!

I know it's been a difficult economy for everyone, but it's also been a phenomenal year for Asian American candidates in politics. Here's your chance to join together with fellow members of the community in showing support for John Liu, our candidate for New York City Comptroller—a critical position in a critical time for city finances, which needs to be filled with someone committed, competent and willing to fight for issues that matter to us.

Suggested contribution is $25, but anything you can give is welcome. Bring friends, family and children—and even if you can't give much (or anything), come out to show solidarity and support.

We know it's short notice, but spontaneity is good—and with the election days away, getting together and doing what we can is essential.

I'll be there, with family in tow—hope to see you there too!

For more information, call Alex Lee (the primary organizer of this event) at 917-363-7283. Or check out John's website at:

A contribution form is attached here, in case you want to fill it out and bring it to the event. If you can't make it to the event, consider donating anyway by mail.

For those driving in, there is a parking lot about a block and a half from Papoo's—Battery Parking Garage on Greenwich St. (at Edgar St.).  Via subway, the nearest stations are Wall Street (4 & 5 trains), Rector Street (1, R & W lines) and Wall Street (2 & 3 trains).

See you there!

Note: The primary/general election contribution rules have a $4,950.00 maximum for individuals. City elections are not allowed to accept corporate contributions so all contributions must come via individuals (personal checks). The limits for the primary and the general election are one and the same, so if you've maxed out your contribution in the primary, you cannot contribute more towards the general election. However, the run-off election is considered separate (as it was unanticipated) and has its own limits—it's basically half that of the primary/general election: $2,475.00 (50% of $4,950.00) -- so if you maxed out in the primary/general election, you can still contribute up to $2,475. 

Download now or preview on posterous
contribform3.doc (39 KB)

Download now or preview on posterous
Invite_090927.pdf (19 KB)

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Smart. Umair Haque: What if we replaced "innovation" with "awesomeness"?

Toss out Joseph Schumpeter, bow down to Steve Jobs. Innovation "dries up our seedcorn"; it's about commercial novelty, not true creativity. Awesomeness puts inspiration and delight front and center. "Awesome stuff evokes an emotive reaction because it's fundamentally new, unexpected, and 1000x better. Just ask Steve Jobs."

Haque's idea seems to be that if companies focus on making great things--insanely great, in fact--consumers, society and businesses themselves will all benefit. 

Key to this process? Real passion for, and in, your product. If you're not in love with what you make, if you're not driven to make it better for yourself rather than for an abstract market, your success is limited to that market's needs; it's capped by existing demand.

The drive for awesomeness doesn't meet demand--it creates it. It seeds new markets in places that no one could have expected, often against the predictions of number-crunching, category tracking "experts":   

"The iPhone and iPod were pooh-poohed by analysts, who questioned how innovative they really were — but the Steve has turned multiple industries upside down through the power of awesomeness."

I'm not sure the Haqueian-Jobsian model works for every industry--there are businesses that won't engender emotion regardless of how awesome their products are (few people are emotionally moved by urinal cakes) and obsessive passion can blind charismatic founders to utility (the root of Jobs's remarkably few failures)--but anything that lifts the staggeringly low bar on what we expect from corporate America is, in my opinion, a net positive.

Posted via email from OriginalSpin

Friday, September 25, 2009

DAILY BEAST's fawning Michelle Malkin profile: How the MSM plays enabler to right-wing vitriol

On Tuesday, Tina Brown's DAILY BEAST ran a profile by editor at large Lloyd Grove of right-wing scream queen Michelle Malkin entitled "Michelle Malkin Has Feelings, Too." My own feelings toward Malkin are pretty well documented (they range from fascinated disgust to appalled horror, in case you're wondering). Well, the inimitable Sree Srinivasan shared the profile around seeking reactions, and I thought I'd post mine below.

Two words: I'm horrified. Grove's wet-kiss profile soft-pedals Malkin's hyperbolic excesses and arrant trade in outright, malignant falsehoods using cutesy terms like "bomb-thrower," "provocateur," and "controversialist" (rather than harder, truer ones, like xenophobe, hypocrite and cynical self-promoter). A typical quote from the profile:

The last thing you’d expect Michelle Malkin to be is charming, funny, or vulnerable.

So who is this softspoken, self-deprecating woman talking to me on the phone? “I’m a human being,” Malkin says from her home in tranquil Colorado Springs (tranquil, except for the shrieking of Air Force jets—“the sound of freedom,” Malkin says), far, far away from the media-political complex. “I mean, every once in a while it might get under my skin. But I can't stop ad hominem attacks against me.” 

(Note: The piece also makes a bizarre, context-free and off-putting reference to Malkin's complexion, calling her "pretty and dark-skinned"—which surely would never have gotten through editorial in a more respectable venue.)

But the gushing praise Grove heaps on is icing on the cake. The fundamental issue is that this kind of piece was assigned and published to begin with—one that validates her as a legitimate, if "provocative" and "controversial" authority, without offering a single syllable of counterpoint to legitimate critics of her and her work, speaking from either a journalistic or an ideological perspective.

The sad thing is, the mainstream media--I guess you can barely call Daily Beast that--does this all the time.

How often have the likes of Limbaugh, Coulter, and most recently Glenn Beck graced the cover of Time and Newsweek, despite the fact that they profit from the ejaculation of a steady stream of demonstrably false and societally corrosive statements? Can you think of a single pundit from the left that gets that kind of rockstar treatment? Michael Moore, you say? 

Well, it should be noted that Moore is a filmmaker, while Limbaugh, Coulter, Beck and Malkin have become famous solely for their venting of toxic gases. In fact, you could say the same for all of the high-profile public voices on the progressive front—they each have day jobs that in some way rationalize their presence in the media. Meanwhile, the only excuse for the media's celebratory treatment of the Limbacoubeckins of this world seems to be that much misused red herring of journalism, "critical balance." Which invariably translates into "offsetting" the media's perceived liberal slant by showcasing bottom-of-the-barrel commentistas like Malkin. 

And even though their profiles slap them with coy negatives, they also fawningly marvel at their power and influence, while glossing over how they obtained that power and influence--by degrading our political discourse, demonizing minorities, gays and lesbians, women and the poor, and practicing a kind of hack-and-slash attack commentary that is designed to provoke paranoia and violent reaction

The consequence of mainstream media's wholly unethical complicity? Right-wing pundits know that they don't have to be legitimate journalists, or even fair but partisan opinionators...they can grub around in the lowest common denominator, knowing that as long as they're successful in suckering enough of the publiccredible, mainstream journalists will always be around to tongue-clean their reputations and turn them into bankable celebrities.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sarcasm: It just works! Will Farrell and celebrity friends "Protect Insurance Companies" PSA

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sometimes a monkey is a monkey: Did Rep. Roy Blunt really make a racist Obama joke at "Values" Summit?

This is up as a recommended diary at Daily Kos, and has been bluntly (excuse the pun) cited as an act of GOP racism. Is it?

Watching the video above, my inclination is: Probably not. But he certainly used unadvisable imagery, and put himself in a situation where out-of-context quoting would lead people to believe that he was essentially calling Obama a monkey. (Seriously, GOP: Stay away from monkey jokes. Period.)

Here's the situation: Blunt uses an anecdote about how British colonialists (he actually uses the term "occupiers") built a golf course in the middle of a jungle in India, and encountered an unexpected hazard:

Almost from the day the first ball was hit on this golf course something happened they didn't anticipate: monkeys would come running out of the jungle and then grab the golf balls.
(pause for chuckles)

And if it was in the fairway, they might throw it in the rough. And if it was in the rough, they might throw it -- they might throw it back at you!
(pause for mild laughs)

And I can point to great and long detail about how many things they tried to eliminate the monkey problem, but they never got it done.

So finally for this golf course and this golf course only, they passed a rule and the rule was, you have to play the ball where the monkey throws it.
(pause for laughs)

And that is the rule in Washington all the time.
(pause for huge laughs)

However. Blunt then goes on to immediately cite Al Franken becoming senator and Tom DeLay performing on "Dancing with the Stars" as supporting examples -- making it clear, I think, that his target is the unpredictability of politics rather than the president. You can make the case that this was dog-whistle racism, but it's just not a strong enough charge to make stick for anyone not actively listening for such things.

Contrast this with the New York Post's execrable monkey cartoon, which used a tragic incident in which a chimp was shot to death by police officers after attacking its owner to invite comparison with the "author" of the stimulus bill. Of course, the bill had no single legislative author, and the person most identified with the stimulus (including and especially by the Right) is and was the president.

Of course, one doesn't need to go into the historical record to find examples of the toxic, racist usage of lower primates in calumny against Africans and African Americans. But I think the term racist (like so many other words) loses its power when invoked too freely, and Blunt, as horrible as he is in so many other ways -- for instance, coddling the crazies of the "Birther" movement, or lying about healthcare reform, or divorcing his wife of 35 years in favor of a younger tobacco lobbyist upon arriving in D.C. -- doesn't have a public record of offensive bigotry, unlike, for instance, Post cartoonist Sean Delonas.

Let's not be knee-jerks. There are enough examples of racism and radical hatred out there to not have to add questionable ones to the sh*tpile, and frankly, I'm wondering if there isn't a secret campaign by right-wingers to throw line-toeing stuff like this out there just to get progressives riled up -- so they can be accused of being thin-skinned conspiracy theorists.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Hilarious fisking of's Gene Wojwhatever's eye-roller "What If Jeter Took Steroids?" essay

The guys of "Fire Joe Morgan" were (and are) hilarious, terrific writers and smart. Sadly, they also rolled up their blog on November 13, 2008 for what appears to be the foreseeable future, based on their saying "FJM has gone dark for the foreseeable future." However. Deadspin, the Gawker Network's sportsblog, recently invited the FJM crew back for a series of reunion posts, all of which are hilarious, terrific and smart, but the hilarious-est, terrific-est and smart-est is one written by Ken Tremendous about my favorite Yankee and favorite player, Derek Jeter. Or rather, about's Gene Wojciechowski's ridiculous, knob-gobbling column about Jeter, entitled "Jeter the name that matters: If Yankees' captain ever ended up on positive test list, baseball's done."

Now, I love Derek's attitude, I love his game, I love what he brings to the field -- even when he's not the best player on his own team, much less in baseball. But as both a journalist and sports fan, reading Wojciewchowski's slobberingly effusive, poorly argued and even more poorly written hagiography of the Captain was simply put, embarrassing. And KT's line-by-line takedown of the column is brilliant. I laughed out loud, repeatedly, even when he's mocking No. 2 with lines like this: 

Oh – right. Derek Jeter exists on a higher spiritual, moral, and dare I even say yes I think I do dare say physical plane than the rest of humanity. Derek Jeter's face is carved into the side of Egyptian sarcophagi that predate him by thousands of years. Derek Jeter floats eleven inches off the ground. Derek Jeter's urine is legal tender currency in Asia.  

I believe it might be. But I digress. The point Ken makes is not that Jeter isn't a great player, because he is, or that Jeter is at all likely to have taken PEDs, which he isn't -- but rather that no single player is bigger than the game, and we love the game, so much that the litany of great players who've dumped a steaming cloud of chemically enhanced feces on it with their cheating hasn't stopped us from watching it. And one more, no matter how awesome, will not stop us from watching it either. Especially if, like Gene, we're watching it and then writing about it and then getting paid for our writing about it. Or, as Ken says:

I call bullshit on this, frankly, because: although I personally hate steroids, and all they have done to tarnish the game I love, a pretty fucking hefty amount of famous and popular players have done steroids, and Wojo, like the rest of us, is still watching baseball. Because it's baseball, and baseball is awesome, even if every single player worth a damn since 1992 has been jamming llama testicle suppositories up his butt to make himself run faster. It's baseball. It's fun. Baseball!!!!!!

Of course, Ken does have a bit of a chip on his shoulder about the Bombers:

Here's the thing, you guys. The Yankees are just better than other players. That's the deal. They're better. They're better. Just accept it. There should be two Halls of Fame, I think. One for human players who excel at baseball, and one for Yankees. And maybe a third for True Yankees Who Knew How To Win. Paul O'Neill, Tino, Brosius, Chad Curtis, Ramiro Mendoza, Jeter, Rivera, Girardi, Posada, Pettitte, Bernie, Wells, Cone, and that's fucking it. (And somehow Don Mattingly, even though he won exactly nothing, but fuck you, he was a winner.) They would be housed in a separate building, and admission would be $10,000. They would have gold-plated plaques, and visitors would have to take off their shoes out of respect for the True Yankees and would also have to view the plaques through special like astronomy glasses so as to avoid their retinas being burned out by the sheer beauty of the True Yankees' memorialized visages. 

Even though this is kind of sacrilegious, it's still funny as hell. Go read the rest of it. 

Also, don't miss the followup fisking Kenny does of a similarly saliva-drenched piece by's Hal Bodley, pimping DJ for the AL MVP. Which he does not deserve. But he's had a great season and I think he'll get another ring this year, and the man is a handsome multimillionaire who can make the clothing of supermodels drop off by staring hard in their direction. So, I think he'll be OK.

(hat-tip, my man Derek Stubbs, who knows his funny, but is a Red Sox fan so he sucks by association, eternally, forever)

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Lawyer files for sanctions vs BirtherQueen Orly Taitz; effort doomed to fail since Taitz is not lawyer, but DENTIST-BROKER-lawyer

...and thus, like Dick Cheney's legislexecutive status as UberVeep, beyond the punitive reach of all three professions. 

Seriously, though, it's long past the time when Taitz should have faced the consequences of her frivolous lawsuits and corrosive media statements. I'm a fundamental supporter of free speech—but it ain't free if people are paying for it, court time is not cheap, and Taitz's nonsense is throwing garbage into the gears of jurisprudence in a state that cannot afford it.

Meanwhile, it's worth noting that the lawyer who's leading the charge is Indian American progressive Subodh Chandra. He's a great guy, and he ran, sadly unsuccessfully, a few years back for Attorney General of Ohio, despite being by far the more qualified candidate and a gifted writer and speaker—but has remained active in Asian Pacfiic American politics since. Let's hope he makes another bid soon; we can use more guys like him in elected office (especially ones willing to bring truth to the tyrannical minority that's dominating--and devolving--our political dialogue). 

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NY's Asian American poltiical landscape comes of age: Congrats to Kevin Kim, Yen Chou, Margaret Chin (and soon enough, John Liu)

Electoral politics in New York is often a frustrating experience -- especially if you happen to be an Asian American voter who wants to see more (and better) Asian American candidates elected. More often than not, we've seen our candidates fight it out amongst themselves in majority APA districts, dividing the vote and guaranteeing our community an absurd lack of proportionate representation in electoral politics. 

That's why this past week was such a huge historic milestone: Not only did three (count 'em -- THREE -- and I myself miscounted when I first looked at the results, forgetting to congratulate Kevin Kim on his resounding victory in Bayside, Queens) Democratic Asian Americans win primaries in solidly Democratic districts, with veteran candidate Margaret Chin pulling out a win in Chinatown over incumbent Alan Gerson and Yen Chou winning the other Asian American-majority district, Flushing's District 20...but former Flushing Councilman John Liu pulled nearly double the vote of his closest competitor, fellow councilmember David Yassky, and is headed for a runoff that will almost certainly make him the first Asian American elected to citywide higher office. And let's not forget that the current Democratic contender for mayor, Bill Thompson, is making his bid from the platform of the comptroller's seat expect more and bigger things from Liu in the future. 

But the most important thing about this year's primaries is that they were evidence of the power of the APA community to make fundamental change -- when we come out and vote. And in what some have called the lowest primary turnout in modern New York City history...we did. And our candidates won. Keep that in mind as we look to build on these electoral gains!

See and download the full gallery on posterous

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Next stop, the Olympics: "Pole Superstar" dance competition hits New York

I don't have an issue with pole dancing itself. It's obviously an athletically rigorous discipline that requires a lot of, uh, upper body strength. And thighs of carbon-finished steel. But if you want to validate it as a sport, as opposed to just another form of exploitation, you probably should make it co-ed, no? 

(Note: The event is a benefit for SPIN -- Single Parents In Need. Which I must begrudgingly admit is a clever-ish touch.)

Here's the link to the event, which takes place at New York's Highline Ballroom on October 1, and is being judged by, among others, Cris Judd (the former Mr. Jennifer Lopez) and Jason Patric (Lost Boys and Speed 2. Fun fact--did you know he's Jackie Gleason's grandson? I totally did not.)

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It's blizzarding in hell, swine flutter across the sky: BILL O'REILLY comes out for the public option!

Transcript, from The O'Reilly Factor:     

O’REILLY: But you say that this little marketplace that they’re going to set up, whereby the federal government would subsidize insurance for some Americans, that is, in your opinion, a public option?

OWCHARENKO: Well, it has massive new federal regulation. So you don’t necessarily need a public option if the federal government is going to control and regulate the type of health insurance that Americans can buy.

O’REILLY: But you know, I want that, Ms. Owcharenko. I want that. I want, not for personally for me, but for working Americans, to have a option, that if they don’t like their health insurance, if it’s too expensive, they can’t afford it, if the government can cobble together a cheaper insurance policy that gives the same benefits, I see that as a plus for the folks.

O'Reilly sounds sane and reasonable. Someone check gravity. Is water still wet?

That said, this underscores even more clearly how much of a douchebag Max Baucus (D-Republican) and the Conservadems are. Not to mention Dianne Feinstein. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with Dianne Feinstein?

The GOP was never going to support anything that would give the President a checkmark in the win column; we knew that already. But when so-called liberals aren't in line, something is desperately, desperately wrong.

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Some thoughts on Steve Monforto, a.k.a. the "Philly Foul Ball" superdad

I’m sure you’ve all seen this clip--heck, it’s been the single biggest discussion topic for days among the daddy set I belong to, anyway.

If you're not a vidclicker type, here's the play-by-play:

  1. Dad catches foul ball
  2. Dad gives ball to toddler daughter to see
  3. Daughter throws ball back onto the field
  4. Daughter looks back at shocked dad expecting praise for her nice throw
  5. Dad does not go ballistic, gives daughter big comforting hug

There've been tons of news reports on this, mostly featuring MotS correspondents showing the clip to men and women to get reactions (and as you'd guess, women absolutely swoon, while guys tend to look rueful and shake their heads). They're calling Steve Monforto, 32, "Dad of the Year," and praising his amazing self-discipline in how he reacted to his three-year-old daughter Emily's faux pas.

My initial take was, “Man, they’re really layering on the ‘superdad’ stuff thick—wouldn’t any dad have done the same?” (I was subsequently informed by a fellow dad that I’m just not sufficiently sportsnutty, and that he knew some dads who, at least momentarily, would have considered throwing the kid after the ball.)

That said, you gotta think Steve should have realized handing the ball to his three-year-old daughter was a bad idea before he did it. I mean...hand the Hope Diamond to a todd and they’re GOING TO THROW IT IN THE TOILET. Srsly, folks: Know better!

But hey: Given how saturated the news is with hatred and vitriol these days, it's nice to just see someone acting from the genuine warmth of his heart. And you have to give the guy credit for the impressive speed with which this guy moves from shock to hug. It shows that there’s not even a question of priorities. And that makes him a role model in my book.

As one YouTube commenter said: "Notice that after she threw the ball back, he NEVER once looked where it went. His focus was completely on his daughter and making her feel better. Awesome." Thumbs up / fist bump, Steve Monforto. (H/T Nelson Wong)

More Monforto links:
Philadelphia Inquirer: Father's foul-ball grab gets tossed away by tot
Clarion-Ledger: N.J. girl's foul toss makes dad a celebrity
ESPN: Dad catches foul at Philadelphia Phillies game; toddler tosses it Phillies dad a hit with parents all over
NPR: 'Wanted To Let Her Know It Was OK,' Says Dad About Baseball-Tossing Daughter

My very cool colleague Becky Sun notes that the incident has been picked up by Evangelical Christian forums and Facebook groups as a metaphor for God's infinite love and forgiveness of mankind. Here're my quibbles with the parable:

  • As I noted above, Steve Monforto made a mistake in handing the ball to his daughter, and he knew it--it was written all over his face in the instant she tossed the ball (kudos to him, though, for blaming himself and not her). As a result, the metaphor implies that God is fallible, which I’m sure isn’t the intent of the people posting it.
  • Even more of a concern: Sin requires knowledge of error in the act of commission. Little Emily had no idea she was doing something wrong -- she was just playing the same ball-toss game she's always played with her papa. So, by definition, she did not commit a "sin." (That’s why the consumption of the forbidden fruit was so damning, right? It gave Adam and Eve the ability to know the difference between good and evil, and thus, the ability to sin.) (Note: I'm aware that the Catholic church has multiple tiers of sin, and the unknowing comission of wrong might by its definition constitute venial sin, which damages but does not sever the relationship with God. However, that really doesn't cut the mustard for the purposes of making the point these groups are trying to make -- that "God is able to forgive anything, no matter how heinous.")

Sorry for the minor theological detour, folks. Now back to your regularly scheduled snark and geekery...

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Conservative columnist Dreher slams Limbaugh's racist fearmongering

I like conservatives I can respectfully disagree with; Rod Dreher is one. I like ones I can respectfully agree with even more, and Dreher's column today is exactly that, slamming the disgusting behavior of GOP party head Rush Limbaugh in trying to drum up race fear over black-on- white violence in "Obama's America." "How low can you go" indeed, Rush?

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My latest San Francisco Chronicle ASIAN POP column: The surprising importance of "White on Rice"

Yes, We Have Bananas: Jimmy (Hiroshi Watanabe) and Mary (Joy Osmanski) meet weird in White on Rice (courtesy Tiger Industry Films)

From the column: "One of the most authentically Asian American films of the year was directed by a white, former Mormon missionary from Tuscon, Ariz. Here's why that's good news -- for cinema and the Asian American community alike."

The column this week is about Dave Boyle's terrific new comedy White on Rice -- which, ahem, has nothing to do with interracial relationships (or starchy foods, for that matter).

Hiroshi Watanabe does a memorably hilarious turn as Jimmy, a lovable/slightly creepy divorced, 40-year-old Japanese expat who comes to the U.S. to live with his sister, cranky brother-in-law, and 10-year-old nephew (played brilliantly by Japanese performers Nae and Mio Takada, and newcomer Justin Kwong, respectively).

The twist: He promptly falls hopelessly in love with his brother-in-law's lovely niece Ramona (the always terrific Lynn Chen). Props also to James Kyson Lee of TV's "Heroes," who offers up an assured and sexy performance as Ramona's ex, and Joy Osmanski, in a small but entertaining part as "Banana Girl."

But the real milestone here is the path this film took to the silver screen. Read the article for details.

If you're in L.A. or the Bay Area, check it out now--the film is at Laemmle's Sunset 5 now (8000 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA - 323-848-3500) and opens this Friday at the Metreon (101 Fourth St., San Francisco, CA - 888-262-4386) and San Jose's Camera 3 (288 South Second Street, San Jose, CA - (408-998-3300). Also of note: Boyle's first film, Big Dreams, Little Tokyo, now out on DVD; it's the winning performance of Watanabe in a small role here that led Boyle to rewrite White on Rice to cast him as the lead.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Surprised it took this long for the veneer to peel off: Tea Party leader goes "full racist" on A360

Here's the amazing thing: right-wing radio host Mark Williams, head of Tea Party Express, begins by distancing himself from the "fringe" of his movement that's using racist, inflammatory language in signs and chants, calling them no more the core of the Tea Party phenomenon than "nipple-clamp wearing, feather boa draped hippies in San Francisco" (uh, mixed metaphor maybe?).

Then Anderson Cooper drops a brick on the guy, noting that on his blog, Williams refers to Obama as an "Indonesian Muslim Welfare Thug." (The blog has plenty of other very ripe phrases for the president, not to mention Asians, Muslims and immigrants in general. You can find it standing at the intersection of Vile and Stupid. Or click here, if you really have to.)

And that's when the mask cracks in full. Williams not only proudly embraces his words, but reaffirms them on air, to the amusement of James Carville and the shock of David Gergen, who was clearly expecting Williams to keep walking his hate back behind a safe white sheet.

Really, it's time to stop pretending that Obama's race isn't fundamental to the outrageous behavior of the Tea Party crowd, which includes both the small mobs making up the movement and its enablers in the media (Beck, Hannity, et al.) and in politics (Bachmann, De Mint, Chambliss, Armey, et. many al.s)

Watch for yourself:

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

OMG BRAD PITT! Augmented-reality smartphones: Perfect tool for paparazzi, stalkers, serial killers and hitmen everywhere?

If you've been watching mobile trends recently, you know that "augmented reality" is the buzzword of the moment -- and for good reason. The idea of using smartphones as intelligent world-browsers, allowing you to see an enhanced view of your surroundings on your camera-enabled, location aware smartphone screen -- well, it's a game changer. But the fact is, combining web-based information with real-world, real-time interaction has its scary side -- as this video, which demonstrates the incredible Dutch augmented reality browser Layar's "Famous People Finder" tool, readily shows:


(via Engadget

The video is in Dutch, but as you can see towards the end of the video, the reaction of Mr. Jolie needs no translation. The hysterically laughing Dutch lad might not find things so funny if the wooden clog were on the other foot -- just sayin'.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Comedienne Jen Kwok sez: "Date an Asian [Man]"

Well, I'll bite on this. Here's a music video, via my peeps at Channel APA, from comic Jen Kwok extolling the wonders of romancing Asian folk called, quite naturally, "Date an Asian." The twist is, it's urging listeners to date an Asian man. You read that right. Yeah. I didn't find it drop-dead hilarious, to be honest, and the middle-of-the-road slow-jam melody didn't wow me either. But I guess it's refreshing nevertheless, sort of. I've never really believed that gender equality translates into the ability to be sexually exploited at an equal rate, so don't sign me up as rooting for the next trend to be "Asian trophy husbands," and gay rapper Soce the Elemental Wizard's rap break wincingly reinforces a few rice queen stereotypes. But that said -- ups to Jen for making the song orientation neutral. And bigger ups for including some pretty rockin' and hilarious Asian guys in the vid, with my fave being the total surprise inclusion of graphic novelist Fred Chao (Johnny Hiro) in a spit-take OH SO SMEXY scene -- look for him about a minute in. :)

Date an Asian  
Verse 1: Hey there, my name is Jen Kwok And I'm here to tell you that dating Asians rocks They have smooth skin and silky hair So damn exotic, got that ethnic flair So sweet and gentle, smell so good So freaky, nasty, do what you always wanted to So obedient, they'll please you like no one can That's right, I'm talkin bout an Asian man Chorus: Everyone should date an Asian man Don't gotta be serious, just f*** an Asian man At least f*** one, at least, least f*** one At least f*** one, at least, least f*** one (Hey, eh) Verse 2: Asian men don't whistle when you walk down the street They're honest dudes, honey they won't cheat Not sayin if he sees a hot chick, he won't bone her Hey, that's why we got concubines in our culture Some people say that I am full of bull**** Yeah I'm dating a white guy, but I ain't no hypocrite I've dated Chinese, Korean and Sri Lankan Yeah, I'm down with the brown Don't even get me started Bridge: Where my Punjabis at? Where my Philippinos at? Where my bubble tea drinkers at? Everyone should be raising their hands for that one - it's delicious! Chorus: Everyone should date an Asian man Don't gotta be serious, just f*** an Asian man At least f*** one, at least, least f*** one At least f*** one, at least, least f*** one Rap (Soce): What's happening? Are you Japanese? Can I have a piece Of miso, maybe a frappochino And speaking of Chinese, meet me at Silk Road Place please For the open mic, plus some bubble tea And Thai, I met a cute guy when I ordered Tom Yum I could go there every day, feelin on his hot bum Cultural exchange, I could teach you the Torah Light the Menora, can I have samosa? Rotating your medicine balls In the palm of my hand, never lettin em fall I hope that I look as good as Andy Lau When I advance in age, still standing proud And what about my Persian peeps? Certainly! Help me to absorb the heat. You're sure to please. To my Patels, Kims and Wongs, my love's quite strong Like a Bollywood movie, we dance all night long Chorus: Everyone should date an Asian man Don't gotta be serious, just f*** an Asian man At least f*** one, at least, least f*** one At least f*** one, at least, least f*** one Breakdown: Asian men have been such an important force in my life Like my dad Don't date my dad He's married to my mom And, theoretically, I'm old enough to handle it if they got a divorce But, you know, it would kinda mess with me It would kinda mess with me, I'm not gonna lie So just...don't date my dad (Don't f*** the same one, find a different one) I'd cut you (That would be a gang bang) Yeah, that's not cool - don't date my dad (Unless that's what you're into, I'm not here to judge, Make it consensual) I'm not even gonna tell you his name So you're not gonna be able to find him now And therefore, you won't be able to date him

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Roundup of notable reactions to the Healthcare Speech -- and stop defending the indefensible!

General consensus? Big win for the Big O. The quick-pulse CNN poll agreed: Before the speech, viewers were 53% in favor of Obama's healthcare plans (whatever they happened to be!) and 36% opposed; post-speech, 67% were in favor and 29% opposed. Most importantly, 72% said the president "clearly stated" his healthcare goals (even if he was a bit fuzzy on how to get there!). This speech was never going to be a fine-line blueprint anyway, or even a way of convincing Republicans, whom I'm convinced will vote against ANY bill across the board. It was all about rebuilding confidence in Obama's willingness to act swiftly and decisively and his ability to move the dialogue forward, and on that front, it succeeded as well as he could have hoped. Of course, the ugly Right (I feel like I have to insert the negative qualifier in there, but sadly it's getting less and less necessary as the fringe of the GOP becomes its core) thinks differently, but as people seem to have forgotten in this process...they are very much in the minority. The vast bulk of America across all political persuasions is demanding real change, even if they differ on how; but the ones who voted for Obama are, I think, more willing to let him define the "how" after this speech.

Oh, one more thing: There are some things that are indefensible, and Rep. Joe Wilson's ridiculous and entirely disrespectful outburst was one of them. So right-wing bloggers: STOP DEFENDING HIM. Even he has apologized already. Of course, a lot of you also were defending the rights of protesters to bring assault rifles to healthcare rallies where the president was speaking, so clearly your cap for what's "defensible" is lying in the road somewhere, in the dust of your gas-guzzling Confederate flag-emblazoned pickups.

Reaction roundup:

  • Andrew Sullivan: "A masterful speech, somehow a blend of governance and also campaigning. He has Clinton's mastery of policy detail with Bush's under-rated ability to give a great speech. But above all, it is a reprise of the core reason for his candidacy and presidency: to get past the abstractions of ideology and the easy scorn of the cable circus and the cynicism that has thereby infected this country's ability to tackle pressing problems. This was why he was elected, and we should not be swayed by the old Washington and the old ideologies and the old politics. He stands at the center urging a small shift to more government because the times demand it."
  • Ezra Klein: "In this speech, in fact, Obama needed to do the precise opposite of what he's best at. He needed to bring health-care reform down to earth rather than launch it into orbit. He needed to make it seem less dramatic and unknown. He needed to cast it not as change, but as improvement. All of which he did."
  • Jonathan Cohn: "On the policy front, President Obama tonight endorses, clearly and unambiguously, a requirement that everybody obtain insurance -- that is, an individual mandate. He has not done that before, not this explicitly... The tone is pretty striking, too. Obama reaches out to Republicans in several places. But he also comes down hard--very hard--on opponents who are merely out to defeat reform."
  • Chris Cilliza: "For those -- particularly on the liberal left -- who criticized the president for not being aggressive enough in responding to the misinformation being peddled about the plan, this speech was for you... The simple fact is for health care reform to pass, the White House needs a fired up liberal base to pressure lawmakers to vote for it. The confrontational elements of this speech -- and there were many -- were designed to get the base excited again and ready them for the final fight to come."
  • Nate Silver: "This was not a home-run kind of speech; he was trying to leg this one out, and say a lot of different things to satisfy a lot of different constituencies. But I think it was a stand-up triple."
And I found this touching:
  • APAs for Progress: "The President spoke to me when he talked about our shared values. These define us and should define our public policy, whether it be health care, immigration, or any other issue. And at the same time that the President talked about reflecting the American spirit in our health reform, he invited all of us to help him shape the future of our country. Sure, our families came here seeking what America already was, but it's our turn to shape what America will be in the future."

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

My Livetweet of the President's Address on Healthcare Reform to the Joint Session of Congress

All in all--I think this was as close as a grand slam as the President could have pulled off, politically. He articulated the need for action with clarity, put the onus for the current massive deficit, the lies and delay, and the corrosive nature of the "healthcare debate" on the Republicans, and established that he ain't playin' anymore.

That said, he remained disappointingly determined to be "bipartisan"; to give him the benefit of the doubt, let's just say he was trying to thread the needle of expectations. The net result was a weak and somewhat confusing positioning on the public option -- he made the case for why it was critical and then essentially said that he'd ditch it if something else came along that didn't suck too much. But then again, it's all about optics and scoring points these days, and the GOP seemed determined to screw themselves -- from Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC, headland of the Appalachia-to-Argentina Trail) shouting "You LIE!" in a revoltingly uncouth outburst that earned scorn, even from more lucid members of the Right, part of a slew of ridiculous antics by Republicans, to the official GOP response, delivered by obscure Louisiana Rep. Charles Boustany, M.D.

Dr. Boustany touted his physician creds throughout his brief, flat, stumbling speech, but failed to mention that he'd been sued for malpractice three times -- likely why his tirade against "tort reform" was the only time he seemed to wake up during the address. Chunky, blinking, frighteningly pale Boustany was hardly a poster-child for health himself, and his words did little to negate the image of Obama -- fit, confident, articulate -- in people's minds, much less offering substance of its own; he ended with a plea for people to go to the GOP website to find out more. Hardly a call to action, compared to the president's stirring "I believe" choral and "shape...not fear the future" summation.

This was, as some tweeted, a game changer. Count it.


Beginning livetweet of the Presidential address to!
about 3 hours ago from TweetDeck

Watching on NBC. "Gonna get detailed," says Chuck Todd. "Going to debunk some things." We've been *waiting* for you to get debunkered, O.
about 3 hours ago from TweetDeck

Michelle looking particularly Jackie O. tonight...
about 3 hours ago from TweetDeck

"Other names that are important: Grassley and Enzi"--because they're staying at the table? They're only there to stack the deck!
about 3 hours ago from TweetDeck

Hrm...standing ovation for "pulled the economy back from the brink"--both R and L sides of the aisle. No thanks to the guys on the right
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

"Determined to be the last" prez to take up healthcare. Again standing O all around. Of course, GOP and Dems interp that in opposite ways...
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

Acne is a preexisting condition? Damn. #healthcare
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

I like how O is papering this. Healthcare reform removes global competitive disadv for our companies. And *eliminates* burden on taxpayers.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

there's agreement in 80% of what needs to be done. i guess that's why the GOP wants 80 votes in Senate for any reform to pass? #healthcare
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

"Blizzard of charges and countercharges! Time for bickering is over. Time for games has past." Like it. Angry Daddy!
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

here are the deets: 1. if you are among 100MMs who have insur, nothing will req you to change it
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

2. Eliminate denial for preexisting conditions. Well, duh. (ACNE???)
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

3. No more arbitrary caps in a year or a lifetime.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

5. Insurance companies required to cover prev care and routine checkups. A colonscopy in every pot!
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

And now...what about the uninsured? Lose or change job, get coverage. Create a new exchange. Shop at competitive prices.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck this co-ops?
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

"Time to give every American the same opportunity that we give ourselves"--fair enough.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

For those who can't afford--tax credits. All insur cos have to abide by consumer protections. Four years from now.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

In meantime, offer low cost coverage now (invokes McCain). Who's offering it?
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

And now, the stick? Irresponsible behavior costs rest of us money. Emergency room visits. "I fell on a zucchini"
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

--->ain't kidding about that. My sister is an emergency room doc and they have a box of Things Removed from Recta
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

So, mandate. Small biz is exempt. Wal-Mart isn't. "Significant details" to be ironed out gets a big laugh.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

Such a charge would be laughable if not so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie plain and simple. (Or is that "Palin and Simple"?)
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

Illegal immigrants insured? THIS TOO IS FALSE! Reforms don't apply to illegals. Eh.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

So, plan has public option after all. IT'S AN OPTION. OPTION. MEANS CHOICE. Look it up.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

I just want to hold them accountable. (Love the tone on that statement. "Look guys, let's get real." PUBLIC OPTION AVAILABLE.!
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

He says it straight up. Less than 5% will sign up. Private companies can't compete! If public option is subsidized. But no subsidy
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

Just eliminate the overhead. Hmm. Just like college! Or maybe my kids' school nurse. Free tongue depressors for everyone.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

And colonscopies.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

Means to the end. Open to other ideas. Like...fairies? People should remember that public option, esp as O states it, already a compromise.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

Co-ops worth exploring? UGH.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

Copies of their long-form birth certificates? RE: What are those pamphlets they're waving? @KANGisMAN
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck in reply to KANGisMAN

Won't sign a plan that adds one dime to deficit. Now or in the future. Period. Provision: PayGo if savings don't materialize.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

Turn that sucker around! Iraq War, Tax Breaks for wealthy, that's where the deficit's from, you betcha
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

Speak directly to seniors for a moment. Demagoguery and distortion on Medicare. (What about hypocrisy? GOP defense of program they despise)
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

Independent commission charged with identifying more waste. DEATH PANELS? BECAUSE SENIORS ARE WASTE????
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

Don't pay attention to...tall tales--YES! He hits the GOP on Medicare, HE will protect medicare from VOUCHER VULTURES! You go!
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

Where the hell was this speech six months ago?
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

Defensive medicine adds to costs. END MEDICAL JIU JITSU.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

Less than Iraq and Afghanistan, and Bush tax cuts. Perspective, that's nice. (Also less than the stimulus and bailouts.)
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

Slow healthcare cost growth by 1/10 of 1% will reduce deficit by $4 trillion over long term.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

"My door is always open...but I will not waste time with those who would kill rather than improve."
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

He's the baseball-bat carrying principal of our nation. And we need one, because we're a bunch of unruly punks.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

Whoops. Oblig Ted Kennedy ref. This will set off the concern troll attacks on "politicizing Kennedy's death."
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

RT @jaketapper: somewhere some cable TV bookers are going insane trying to figure out who yelled "lie" via @markos
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

McCain gets another hat-tip. Who has the drinking game going? All former POWs and Mavericks drink!
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

@suyinso Pelosi's jacket is flaring on my screen, stretching the limit of my flat-screen's color model
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck in reply to suyinso

As I noted earlier--Michelle is so TOTALLY channeling Jackie O tonight.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

Danger of too much government is matched by the peril of too little. Now that's a quotable.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

To @aboynamedart: Jinx! You owe me a Coke
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

RT @pwire Politico confirms earlier report that GOP congressman who yelled "lie" was Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)...
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

South Carolina's a real winner of a state recently, ain't it?
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

I STILL BELIEVE... here comes the choral. Nice.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

This was a winner of a speech. I don't see the GOP response as getting any traction--although I think Joe Wilson (R-SC) already gave it
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

LOL. Well, that's the first language of many teevee watchers, sadly RT @mat_johnson: Chuck Todd, translating the speech into stupid.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

"They did not want a star of the party," sez Brian Williams. Well, they got what they were looking for.
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

OH MY GOD, HE IS DRAINED OF ALL COLOR. GOP: "We wanted an albino congressman. To offset our cappucino president."
about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

This guy is breathing heavily between every word. Like, he needs a cardiovascular stress test. And he's a doctor?
about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

Boustany? So, this guy is the sacrificial lamb they threw in front of the 'Bama bus. Sad. I almost wish they'd rolled out Sarah.
about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

So, the GOP plan: Tort reform. Buy insurance across state lines. And a URL. That's it? GOP: "WANT HEALTHCARE REFORM? READ OUR TWEETS!"
about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

Hrm, Boustany didn't invoke God, or bless America at the end of his response! HE IZ A SOCIAL MUSLIN TERRORISM. Nice flag pin tho. :P
about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

That's why he's for tort reform... RT @owillis: olbermann: boustany sued 3 times for malpractice. lol, via @markos
about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

And now, AMERICA'S GOT TALENT. Which is fortunate, because tens of millions of us still don't have healthcare. BACK TO WORK CONGRESS
about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

On CNN, one of their standard panelz of idiotz. Gergen: "He endorsed the Baucus plan." NO HE DIDN'T. What the f*ck are you talking about?
about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

Significant details--that's still the rub, isn't it? Started out hard for the Public Option, then waffled down to co-ops and Health Fairies
about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

As some are pointing out: The biggest contrast here was Obama—grownup, confident, strong; GOP response—childish, flatly delivered, weak
about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

The optics all went the President's way tonight. That counts for a lot, sadly. Boustany = myopic Pillsbury Doughboy with a stammer
about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

McCain: "Speech more partisan than I expected..." Yeah, well, say something to the freaks on your side of the bench first, man...
about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

I wonder if Obama was "humble" enough tonight for Saxby Chambliss?
about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

Wow. RT @aboynamedart: If you think Repubs hated the Prez's speech, check out the Progressive reaction:
about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

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Skyler's first day at school! We need to work on sharing.

[fixed post] Also, the piteous howl he let out when I left him at the preschool was heartbreaking....I know he'll get used to it, and probably stopped crying five minutes after I left, but still...

Download now or watch on posterous
IMG_0503.MOV (11198 KB)

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Back to school! The NYT has a nice article today about the bento boom (brown bags are so, like, over); my bento blog roundup

The New York Times has a nice article today about bento chic hitting the U.S. If you're not familiar with bento, they're Japanese lunchboxes, segmented into compartments and usually wonderfully and whimsically designed.

The bento is really the Platonic ideal of the brown-bag lunch—delicious, elaborate, beautiful to look at and fun to consume, and still in the long run cheaper (and healthier) than fast-food junk. From the article:

In Japan, compact, compartmented bento boxes are traditionally filled with rice, pickled vegetables and fish or meat. Japanese mothers take pride in their obentos and hope they outshine those of other mothers, said the Japanese cookbook author Hiroko Shimbo.

“Obento making is a kind of cult,” she said.

It’s approaching cult status in the United States. On Saturday in Central Park, as part of its Crossing the Line festival, the French Institute Alliance Française will be handing out bento boxes with components made by some top French and American chefs — including Inaki Aizpitarte, Pascal Barbot, Alexandre Gauthier, Michel Bras, David Chang and Wylie Dufresne.

On a more plebian level, said sales of the boxes and accessories like egg molds, rice shapers, plastic skewers shaped like animals or flowers have been growing.

The recession has prompted a resurgence of the art of bento in Japan, with the biggest trend being men—traditionally divorced from domestic chores, at least until their wives divorce themembracing bento preparation and launching bento blogs that show off their creations, often to the swooning admiration of women. (So as you might guess, bento-ism has gotten hot among young single men, at least the ones who are into three-dimensional human females as opposed to cartoon characters or vinyl scale models.)

For those of you who want to dig deeper in to the amazing craftwork behind bento, check out the album below, as well as this list of bento bloglinks!


J-Bento (Japanese; must be seen to be believed! Use Google Translate to get the drift of the descriptions: (this one is incredible)

Bento boy blogs (Japanese) (bento blog PORTAL, run by a guy!) (bento boy blog -- this guy is a full-on obento otaku, check out his bento featuring Gin from BLEACH)

And a Flickr pool:

And now I’m hungry.


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