Archive for January 2nd, 2009

Vibrators And Cary Grant For Everyone!!!

The NYT review of Carrie Fisher’s memoir, Wishful Drinking, is just chock full o’ fascinating tidbits – f’rinstance, did you know that you can’t wear underwear in space?

Drinking seems to have been the least of her problems. Pills were more her thing, and for a while hallucinogens. As a teenager, she dropped so much acid that her parents called in the greatest LSD expert they knew: Cary Grant.

(…)

When the author was 15, Ms. Reynolds gave her a vibrator for Christmas, and also gave one to her own mother, who declined to use it for fear it would short out her pacemaker. Some years later, perhaps taking the inbreeding principle to extreme, Ms. Reynolds suggested that her daughter ought to have children with Richard Hamlett, Ms. Reynold’s last husband.

(…)

“George Lucas ruined my life,” Ms. Fisher says, which doesn’t seem entirely fair. On the other hand, in a book full of weirdos, he emerges as possibly the strangest of all. He wouldn’t let Ms. Fisher wear a bra under her Princess Leia shift because, as he patiently explained to her, there is no underwear in space: according to Lucas-physics, if you were to wear a bra in a weightless environment, your bra would strangle you.

Wow.  The Star Wars universe must have seemed tame compared to real life.

January 2nd, 2009 at 05:47pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Books,Coolness,Movies,Weirdness

Paul Krugman Explains It All To You

I know, it’s not exactly news, but it’s a good summation:

Forty years ago the G.O.P. decided, in effect, to make itself the party of racial backlash. And everything that has happened in recent years, from the choice of Mr. Bush as the party’s champion, to the Bush administration’s pervasive incompetence, to the party’s shrinking base, is a consequence of that decision.

If the Bush administration became a byword for policy bungles, for government by the unqualified, well, it was just following the advice of leading conservative think tanks: after the 2000 election the Heritage Foundation specifically urged the new team to “make appointments based on loyalty first and expertise second.”

Contempt for expertise, in turn, rested on contempt for government in general. “Government is not the solution to our problem,” declared Ronald Reagan. “Government is the problem.” So why worry about governing well?

Where did this hostility to government come from? In 1981 Lee Atwater, the famed Republican political consultant, explained the evolution of the G.O.P.’s “Southern strategy,” which originally focused on opposition to the Voting Rights Act but eventually took a more coded form: “You’re getting so abstract now you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites.” In other words, government is the problem because it takes your money and gives it to Those People.

Oh, and the racial element isn’t all that abstract, even now: Chip Saltsman, currently a candidate for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, sent committee members a CD including a song titled “Barack the Magic Negro” — and according to some reports, the controversy over his action has actually helped his chances.

So the reign of George W. Bush, the first true Southern Republican president since Reconstruction, was the culmination of a long process. And despite the claims of some on the right that Mr. Bush betrayed conservatism, the truth is that he faithfully carried out both his party’s divisive tactics — long before Sarah Palin, Mr. Bush declared that he visited his ranch to “stay in touch with real Americans” — and its governing philosophy.

That’s why the soon-to-be-gone administration’s failure is bigger than Mr. Bush himself: it represents the end of the line for a political strategy that dominated the scene for more than a generation.

The reality of this strategy’s collapse has not, I believe, fully sunk in with some observers. Thus, some commentators warning President-elect Barack Obama against bold action have held up Bill Clinton’s political failures in his first two years as a cautionary tale.

But America in 1993 was a very different country — not just a country that had yet to see what happens when conservatives control all three branches of government, but also a country in which Democratic control of Congress depended on the votes of Southern conservatives. Today, Republicans have taken away almost all those Southern votes — and lost the rest of the country. It was a grand ride for a while, but in the end the Southern strategy led the G.O.P. into a cul-de-sac.

That highlighted sentence is pretty much it in a nutshell.  The Republicans focused so closely on winning the South that they’ve lost almost everywhere else.  And if the South catches on and catches up, the GOP could become extinct unless it starts relying on substance rather than fear and hate.  And that substance had better be more appealing than tax cuts, deregulation, war, torture, and warrantless wiretaps.

3 comments January 2nd, 2009 at 11:16am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Politics,Racism,Republicans

Two More Delusional And/Or Dishonest Bushies

Some pretty incredible quotes in this WaPo interview with Josh Bolten and Stephen Hadley:

“One of the mythologies,” Hadley said, “is that it was the vice president that somehow was pulling the strings on foreign policy in the first term and made it very ideologically driven and that somehow in the second term, the vice president’s influence is in decline and, therefore, somehow the real Bush has come forward, and we have a more pragmatic foreign policy.”

“That’s just hooey — it’s just hooey,” the ever-polite Hadley concluded….

(…)

[Bolten dismissed] dismissing the notion that Bush abandoned free-market principles and simply subcontracted decisions to Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke.

“He hasn’t changed his philosophy, but he was advised and accepts . . . that massive government intervention has been necessary in the financial markets in order to protect the viability of the financial markets,” Bolten said. “It’s been a dialogue,” he added. “It’s not that Paulson all of a sudden shows up once a week and says, ‘Here is what I am going to do,’ and the president rubber-stamps it. It is a regular conversation between Paulson and Bernanke and Paulson and the White House.”

I don’t know whether it’s worse for Dubya’s legacy for him to be remembered as a gullible puppet, or as an independent-minded idiot who made awful, disastrous decisions all by himself.

The last two paragraphs are where it just gets surreal:

Bolten said another of his goals when he took over was to try to get the country to see the likable boss he and other aides saw in private, convinced that would boost Bush’s popularity. “I failed miserably,” he conceded. “Maybe in the beginning of the sixth year of a presidency, that’s a quixotic task. . . . But everybody who has actual personal exposure to the president, almost everybody, appreciates what a good leader he is, how smart he is and, especially, how humane he is.

Hadley invoked Bush’s 2000 campaign theme in summing up the president’s personal qualities. “He has got this great compassion which was not just a slogan, ‘compassionate conservative.’ It is who he is. It is one of the great things he brought to this office,” Hadley concluded. “This is the one thing that just drives me crazy, that somehow this is an arrogant administration, an arrogant president running an arrogant policy. This guy — one thing he is not is arrogant.”

Wow.  Just… wow.  How could we all have been so wrong?  I guess that’s what happens when you judge someone solely by their words and actions.

2 comments January 2nd, 2009 at 07:13am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Politics,Republicans,Wankers


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