Inhuman Swill : Politics : Page 8

Cheatin' the jailer man

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Ding! dong! Ken Lay is dead!

This is one of those fleeting moments when one hopes the Devil is real.

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Roger Ebert throws up his

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Roger Ebert throws up his hands in response to readers who took issue with his review of An Inconvenient Truth:

I cannot get into a scientific discussion here. There will be no end to it. All I can say is, the Gore documentary made a deep impression on me. I urge you to see it. You will not be seeing a "campaign film," or "sour grapes," or "Gore still being bitter." George W. Bush has repeated for six years that global warming "requires more study." If Gore has spent six years studying it, aren't his findings worthy of attention? Yes, I'm "being political." But saying the issue "needs more study" is a political statement when energy groups are among your major supporters and your family is in the oil business.  [full response]
Good point.
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Mike Hunt is still Aiken

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Elect MIKE HUNT Aiken County Sheriff
Longtime readers may recall the hilarity that ensued when Laura and I visited Aiken, South Carolina during primary season three years ago. It seems that Mike Hunt was seeking the office of sheriff, and as we all know, what Mike Hunt wants, Mike Hunt gets.

Mike Hunt, snatched in the night.

Well, I'm happy to report that Mike Hunt has made the news again! Mike Hunt has been recognized as the best in South Carolina! Not only that, but Mike Hunt will be honored on Hilton Head. How appropriate!

I was quite delighted to see Mike Hunt getting more exposure than usual. Which is odd because at the same time Mike Hunt has greater coverage. Hmm.

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Oh, now the New York Times deigns to mention Stephen Colbert's skewering of the president. But only, it would seem, because people are talking about it online.

And you and I are not the only ones who noticed the earlier eerie silence.

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The Colbert non-report

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Tim Grieve in this morning's Salon War Room:

What Colbert did to the president and the press corps is news: He didn't shoot anybody Saturday night at the Hinckley Hilton, but he laid them out in just about every other way imaginable. It was as an "Emperor's New Clothes" moment played out with George W. Bush and his court forced to watch, and you ought to have seen it and talked about it and read reporting and analysis on it by now.

It's not your fault if you haven't. The Washington Post had a few not-quite-getting-the-point mentions of Colbert's act, but Colbert didn't get half the ink the paper spilled on appearances by George Clooney and Morgan Fairchild and other celebrities at Bloomberg's after-party. The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller wrote almost 1,000 words on the annual dinner this year, but not one of them was "Colbert."

The correspondents' dinner, Bumiller wrote, is "supposed" to be a time for the president "to make fun of himself in an effort to establish his regular-guy credentials and ingratiate himself with the press." That's apparently what Bumiller's reporting on the dinner was supposed to be, too: one more chance to show what a swell guest Bush would be at our next backyard barbecue. Colbert didn't play along—he didn't stick to the story line—so he didn't get the laughs in the room, and he didn't get the attention his message deserved in the press.  [full post—ad view may be required]

If you haven't watched the video yet, go back and do so. Then do a search on "Colbert" at the Times site and see what you come up with since April 29th. It should be a historic moment, being probably the first time in six years that anyone's told Bush to his face what an asshat he is.

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Stephen Colbert has balls of steel. He not only roasted the president to cinders at the White House Correspondents' Association banquet while the man sat stone-faced scant yards away, but he did it without losing much composure in front of an audience almost pathologically unwilling to laugh. Watching Colbert soldier on in the face of such hostility, for something like twenty minutes, is painful and almost unbearable. But he was brave and brilliant:

Colbert's monologue
At least Helen Thomas was willing to laugh, bless her soul. And willing to appear in Colbert's "audition tape" for the job of White House press secretary:
Colbert's audition tape
An ad view may be required to view these Quicktime clips.
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I began thinking about global warming again today, sparked by a posting by Christopher Bigelow—or rather, by a couple of the complacent jackasses who responded to the post. (Sorry if they're friends of yours, Chris.)

While I think it's nice that Time did finally get around to covering the story in a big way, I think the three-part New Yorker series by Elizabeth Kolbert that ran a year ago was much better and should be required reading. Before I lose them again, here are the links to the Kolbert stories:

These stories are remarkable not just for the way they build from a few telling anecdotes to inevitable conclusions of frightening scope, but for the fact that they address what realistic solutions to the problem would consist of. And those solutions are harder now than they were a year ago, and harder a year ago than they would have been a decade ago. These stories should be required reading blah blah blah, but how many people do you know who would be willing to read the equivalent of a small depresssing book about a problem that will change life on Earth in our short spans of time?

Me neither.

A "Talk of the Town" piece by Kolbert from the March 20th New Yorker continues the saga. She details the findings gleaned from two satellites nicknamed Tom and Jerry that measure changes in the earth's gravitational field, and these measurements tell us that Antarctica is losing water at an alarming rate—more than anyone suspected. She concludes:

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It makes me sick to my stomach to read the words of America's brilliant and articulate founding fathers and to contemplate the treatises our newest King George would write were he ever to take up quill and ink for more than declaring war on feckless dictatorships, signing away American civil liberties, and doodling on the Constitution during Cabinet meetings.

Still, it's important to understand how far we've fallen as a nation, so let me be the umpty-umpth patriot to link to...

What Would the Founders Say? by Hume's Ghost

...and ask aloud why these comparisons aren't being made on the front page of the New York Times and all the rest of the toothless Fourth Estate.

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Science vs. Norse mythology

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Staggering news from Utah (as reported in the New York Times):

In a defeat for critics of Darwin, the Utah House of Representatives on Monday voted down a bill intended to challenge the theory of evolution in high school science classes.  [full article]
Actually, not so staggering if you've been following Utah politics closely, but heartening nonetheless. The last time I checked in, the vote was looking close. Chalk a big one up for the Enlightenment.
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