Late Night Open Thread: Girl Power

The perks of having a parent in the Oval Office… via NYMag, TheWrap reports:

Malia Obama, who turns 16 on July 4, was spotted this past week working as a production assistant for a day in Los Angeles on the set of Halle Berry‘s upcoming sci-fi series “Extant,” an individual with knowledge of the production told TheWrap.

“She helped with computer shop alignments and the director also let her slate a take,” the insider said…

Malia attends the exclusive Sidwell Friends private school in Washington, DC, but classes let out earlier this month. She joined her parents on Friday in Rancho Mirage, where President Obama took in a round of golf, according to the Press Enterprise newspaper.

The President was in Southern California to deliver the commencement address at the University of California Irvine on Saturday.

If you are into 90s kiddie nostalgia, Variety has news that might be relevant to your interests:

The Powerpuff Girls” will return to Cartoon Network in 2016, the cabler announced Monday. The reboot will include a new television series and a full licensing program that will roll out across all regions. The show premiered in 1998 and was created by Craig McCracken…

And NYMag‘s Vulture blog tweaks the specifics of dragon-chaining, per Game of Thrones:

These days, chaining animals is generally regarded as inhumane treatment, and it’s tough to find an expert on that subject, so we found the next best thing: an expert on anchoring and mooring. Dave Bryant, a self-professed “diehard Games of Thrones fan” who works for online retailer, was kind enough to attack this hypothetical problem.

Before the chain discussion, we needed to come up with some hypothetical dragon measurements, since for all of George R.R. Martin’s verbosity, Vulture was unable to track down any concrete numbers on dragon size and force. We focused on Drogon, the most troublesome of the dragons, and comparing Drogon’s size to Dany‘s, we estimated that he is 15 feet long and three feet wide, not counting full wingspan. (Reminder: We are measuring Drogon at his current size, not his full-grown size.) Meanwhile, a panel of Game of Thrones experts (translation: a bunch of people who have read the books) independently estimated that a teenage Drogon weighs about 200 pounds; this number was based on his size and on the fact that a dragon would need to be relatively light in order to be capable of flight…

dragon chaining nymag 16 jun 14

Open Thread

This exists:

You may now go about your evening.

The Wrongy McWrongersons Weigh In

On a sane planet, someone who was so massively, tragically, irredeemably, irretrievably and self-evidently W-R-O-N-G about the clusterfuck that is Iraq would self-censor further utterances on the topic. By cramming a pair of sweaty gym socks down his own gullet, if necessary. Alas, we do not live on that planet; William Kristol and Fred Kagan on Iraq:

what to do

It’s widely agreed that the collapse of Iraq would be a disaster for American interests and security in the Middle East and around the world. It also seems to be widely assumed either that there’s nothing we can now do to avert that disaster, or that our best bet is supporting Iran against al Qaeda. Both assumptions are wrong. It would be irresponsible to embrace a premature fatalism with respect to Iraq. And it would be damaging and counterproductive to accept a transformation of our alliances and relationships in the Middle East to the benefit of the regime in Tehran. There is a third alternative.

That alternative is to act boldly and decisively to help stop the advance of the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—without empowering Iran. This would mean pursuing a strategy in Iraq (and in Syria) that works to empower moderate Sunni and Shi’a without taking sectarian sides. This would mean aiming at the expulsion of foreign fighters, both al Qaeda terrorists and Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah regular and special forces, from Iraq.

This would require a willingness to send American forces back to Iraq. It would mean not merely conducting U.S. air strikes, but also accompanying those strikes with special operators, and perhaps regular U.S. military units, on the ground.


Now is not the time to re-litigate either the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 or the decision to withdraw from it in 2011. The crisis is urgent, and it would be useful to focus on a path ahead rather than indulge in recriminations. All paths are now fraught with difficulties, including the path we recommend. But the alternatives of permitting a victory for al Qaeda and/or strengthening Iran would be disastrous.

Jesus God, they must require a wheelbarrow apiece to haul their massive balls around. They should be clapped in irons, marinated in livestock offal and dropped into the nearest crocodile tank.

Monday Evening Open Thread: Another Progressive Heard From

Well, it’d get the MSM’s attention, and Megan McArgleBargle is safely ensconced in DC these days. Chris Smith, in NYMag:

De Blasio, after six months in office, has managed to shift the political polarity of the city and the state. So why stop there? The mayor has always aspired to lead not just a city but a progressive movement, and de Blasio’s bid to bring the 2016 Democratic National Convention to New York is a signal of his ambitions.

“The climate of the middle class, the destruction of people’s earning power, the inequality crisis, the crisis of income disparity, all of this is registered so deeply it’s like a radio signal that’s being sent out from all parts of the country that somehow doesn’t reach Washington, D.C.,” de Blasio said in a group interview with Salon, The Nation, and MSNBC. Liberal activists are cheering him on. “Bill de Blasio and Elizabeth Warren are the leading edge of this new wave that can transform the Democrats,” says executive director Ilya Sheyman. “Income inequality will be to the 2016 Democratic primary what the war in Iraq was to the 2008 primary.”…

Last June, the longtime head of the Working Family Party’s New York operation, Dan Cantor, became the party’s national director, and he is trying to replicate the local formula of uniting labor unions and liberal activists and expand beyond the WFP’s current seven chapters.

“That’s the idea,” says Bill Lipton, who was promoted to Cantor’s spot as director of WFP New York. “We believe there’s too much corporate influence in the Democratic Party, and that’s not good for the party or America. We see this as a really significant strategy to pressure the Democrats to either be more attentive to the grassroots and fight more for working families—or they can go the way of the Whig Party.”

And what better vehicle than to have one of the WFP’s founders, now the mayor of New York City, bring the 2016 Democratic National Convention to Brooklyn, the capital of urban-hipster progressivism? Especially when the Democrats’ expected nominee has her own issues with the left wing….

Apart from scrumming for attention, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

Monday Morning Open Thread: Rootless Ex-Cosmopolitans Eroding the Old Ways

I owe somebody a hat tip for this…

Strange days… Per the NYTimes, those snowbird retirees and cheap-housing refugees who’ve been blamed for turning areas in New Hampshire and Maryland from red to purple, or even blue, may also be responsible for screwing up Eric Cantor’s and Thad Cochran’s “solid (Confederate) South” from the reactionary end of the political spectrum:

… [T]he growth fueled by a migration of newcomers from other parts of the country and even abroad is bringing nationalized politics to races further down the ballot. It was these new arrivals, more than any other voters, who most crucially rejected two influential Republican incumbents — the House majority leader, Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, and Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi — in primaries this month, upending long-held assumptions about the appeal of traditional levers of power.

In the newly built communities of DeSoto County in Mississippi, and the fast-growing precincts in such metropolitan Richmond counties as Henrico, Hanover and Chesterfield — what could be called the Chick-fil-A belt — the conservative challengers to the two incumbents led by overwhelming margins…

For all the talk about how partisan polarization is overwhelming Washington, there is another powerful, overlapping force at play: Voters who are not deeply rooted increasingly view politics through a generic national lens.

Friends-&-neighbors elections were already a thing of the past in congressional campaigns. But the axiom that “all politics is local” is increasingly anachronistic when ever-larger numbers of voters have little awareness of what incumbents did for their community in years past and are becoming as informed by cable television, talk radio and the Internet as by local sources of news. In this year’s primaries, the trend is lifting hard-liners, but it has benefited more moderate candidates in general elections….

In a rich historical turnabout, two states once ruled by native-born elites notorious for keeping voter participation low among poor whites and blacks have seen their politics sharply altered this year, in part because of surprisingly high turnout by transplants…

“We have a mobile population and its movement to the Sun Belt is making that region both more conservative and more moderate,” said William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution.


Apart from not-lamenting the all-too-slow erosion of the authoritarian privilege of the Magnolia Belt barons, what’s on the agenda for the start of another week?