Open Thread

Just got back from my doctor for my check-up, and it appears I am going to make it. I need to lose some weight and apparently my allergies were so bad at some point my eardrum perforated so we may have to check on that at some point, but otherwise I am in good health for a fat man.

So I got that going for me.








Early Morning Open Thread: Luzers

To commemorate 4/20, Tim Murphy at Mother Jones put together a list of the Republican presidential candidates’ positions on marijuana. Mostly they’re pretty predictable: the cyborg candidate touts synthetics, the tobacco lobbyist brooks no competition, and Newt Gingrich is a shameless hypocrite and huge fekking blowhard. But the big reveal is that one of them actually got busted with two shoeboxes full of the stuff, back in his privileged white-boy college days… and, of course, got off with a fine and a stern talking-to.

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Dan Balz at the Washington Post duly stenographs the laments of the new RNC Chair, perhaps in an effort to explain why the Repubs are suddenly so very concerned about running up the national deficit:

When Priebus arrived at RNC headquarters after defeating Steele and others for the party’s top job, he found the following financial situation: cash on hand of little more than $350,000, with payroll of $400,000 due six days later. The overall debt stood at $24 million.
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By the end of March, the party had $3.2 million cash on hand and debt of $19.8 million. Although the debt is still substantial, it is only a couple of million dollars more than the Democratic National Committee is carrying. Priebus believes that to show progress, getting the debt under $20 million was critical. Now he feels he has breathing room to manage the party’s finances more intelligently.
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Steele’s neglect of major donors was well-known, but the problem was even more severe than advertised. According to a party source who declined to be identified in order to share internal accounting details, the RNC’s major donor program had generally brought in $40 million to $45 million during previous two-year cycles. During Steele’s tenure, the program raised just $7 million.
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One of Priebus’s early steps was to meet with a who’s who of major Republican donors to enlist their help in getting the committee back in financial shape. They have responded enthusiastically. But can Priebus help put the party’s 2012 nominee in a financial position to go up against an opponent who threatens to raise close to a billion dollars?

Shorter RNC: “We let one of them sit in the corner office, out of the goodness of our hearts, and just look at the mess he left for us to clean up!”

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Speaking of looters and parasites, Roy Edroso, having give Atlas Shrugged more serious attention than it deserves (“Unmitigated Galt“, Saturday April 16), uses his Village Voice column to summarize all the most earnest, heartfelt, tin-earred rightblogger paeans in its praise. “So may Galt go with them to the cineplexes and give them a good time. If other moviegoers prefer Rio, Rango, and Hop, why shouldn’t these guys enjoy cartoon characters of their own?”

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And Tbogg, continuing his quest to get shot at from a helicopter, has a cartoon ‘familysticker’ of a certain Alaskan clan (‘Tawd, MamaGrizzly, Branch‘) that is a thing of beauty. Evil beauty.
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Penguin Lust

This is too much:

I propose that whenever something is just over-the-top squee we refer to it as “tickling the penguin.”








Early Morning Open Thread: Missing

R.I.P, Sarah Jane Smith. (If only The Doctor’s TARDIS worked for us non-Time-Lords.)

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Because DC is very much a company town, the Washington Post must interpret even a Twihard convention through the lens of the local obsession:

…There were absolutely lessons for the political process in this, about “Team Edward, Team Jacob, and inability to compromise.” I was excited. Which was which? The Tea Party is “Team Edward – they’re very one-minded and determined.”
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What team is Obama? “Jacob.” “Jacob.” “The underdog,” Cara and Leti say. “Had to pull himself up by his bootstraps.”
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Cara explains that the series is about class struggle. “It’s like ‘Pretty in Pink’ — she ends up with the rich white guy.” Those are the vampires, the Volturi and the Cullen clan, all in buttoned-down white-collar households, from families literally centuries old. “And you have Jacob, wrong side of the tracks. It’s blue-collar vs. white-collar.” One has money and immortality—the other is scrappy and underdoggish.
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So what does this mean for the budget? Vampires don’t like taxes? “Vampires don’t like taxes is the lesson of today,” Cara confirmed.

(Tongue so firmly in cheek, to quote R.A. Lafferty, as to protrude from the vulgar bodily orifice.)

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Open Thread: A Million Little Niches

James Frey has written is publishing a new novel! The Financial Times reviewer says it is “… both a work of art and a bombshell hurled at the religious right. It tackles the Second Coming of Jesus in modern America – with the promised Messiah enacting the deeds the religious right consider most wicked. He is, for example, an active bisexual who supports his prostitute girlfriend when she aborts her first child…. This book is very good indeed… weirdly believable, often extremely moving and sometimes funny.”

What the reviewer does not say, at least in the Slate excerpt, is that this artful tome will set you back fifty fekking dollars, unless you are among the gadget-enabled who settle for the $10 Kindle version. I could not understand the premium for a writer best known for being legally obligated to apologize to Oprah on-camera, until I read the interview on Amazon’s sale page:

Q: You’ve opted to go with the Gagosian Gallery in New York rather than a traditional publisher. Why did you choose a small art gallery over a traditional publishing house?
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A: Gagosian is the most prestigious gallery in the world. And they publish about 50 books a year–beautiful art books that transcend what a writer can do with a traditional publisher. I wanted to make a beautiful book, an object that people would be proud to own and display,something looked and felt like a real Bible, but more contemporary. I have always said that art influences me more than writing does so the idea of working with a gallery made sense to me.
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Q: What artists inspired you while writing The Final Testament?
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A: I looked at a ton of Renaissance religious art, like Michelangelo and Raphael, Carvaggio. Some of the sculpture Rodin made. Illuminated manuscripts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There is a much greater and more substantial body of religious art than there is religious literature.
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Q: Could you talk about the design of the book? How involved were you in the process?
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A: I was very involved in every step of it, in every decision related to it. I worked with a design firm in London called GTF. They make incredible books, and they were incredible to work with on this project. The goal was to make a beautiful, unique, collectible book.
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Q: The Final Testament will be released as a limited-edition $50 printed book and a $150 autographed version, but you’re self-publishing the ebook at $10. Do you see a future where the printed book is an expensive object intended for collectors while digital copies are for everyone else?
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A: Absolutely. I think the future of publishing, or one version of it, is in physical books for collectors and serious fans and ebooks for mass distribution. I believe in that future and want to be a part of it as early as possible.

SO PERFECT. A comely Art-Appreciation-101 version to be displayed on all the best coffee tables, and a tech-friendly (words-only?) version for minimum-wage-earning hipsters who might actually want to read the thing! And if the publicity gods are very very kind, maybe some godbothering yahoo in flyover country will be inspired to denounce it! I wonder if GTF was responsive to the marketing challenge of a high-flashpoint paper stock?

And is the particularly spank-worthy text printed in red ink, like the words of you-know-who in an old-fashioned “real Bible”?

Truly, if James Frey did not exist, Tom Wolfe — or David Mamet — would have to invent him.



Open Thread

Trying to lose weight but all I can think about is pizza. I feel like Homer Simpson.








Tuesday Morning Open Thread

Snarky title of the day: Tom Scocca at Slate tells us that “Fred Hiatt Is Not Sure Why Republicans Keep Telling the Untruths That He Keeps Printing in the Washington Post“.

Politico (you have been warned) is mildly alarmed as the Center for American Progress news team takes aim at GOP:

The liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund is ramping up an in-house full-fledged, ideologically driven news organization aimed in part at tripping up Republican candidates on the ground in the early presidential contests.
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The group, executives told POLITICO, now has 30 writers and researchers at ThinkProgress, its blog, which is being redesigned and relaunched in the coming weeks. The editorial staff, similar in size or larger than that of many political websites, marks the latest phase in the deliberate, decade-long construction of a liberal infrastructure for reporting, research, and hammering home a message that the right is scrambling to match…
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“The newsroom side is absolutely competing with all the leading news organizations,” said Faiz Shakir, the editor-in-chief of ThinkProgress. “We’re not out there to peddle research – we’re out there to make news.”
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“It undermines our case if we spin it too hard,” he said, making a practical case for a different strategy from guerrilla conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe, whose aggressive film editing has undermined his claims. “We don’t dress people up as pimps and prostitutes. We don’t misrepresent who we are. It’s not different from you guys holding a pen and pad or audio recorder.”

And I wish to express my thanks to whichever commentor linked to the video below, not least because I’m sure that song title has tripped up a few lost Tolkienologists…