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Archives for March, 2007

March 30, 2007

Whew! No Affleck!

Daniel Radosh

Todd Seavey forwards this Star Trek XI casting scoop.

Matt Damon as Kirk, Adrien Brody as Spock, Gary Sinese as McCoy.

That sounds pretty right on to me. More importantly, if they can get these guys, it must mean they have a good script.

Well, Sinese would probably do any old crap, but not the other two.

Brody learned his lesson after King Kong, right?

Well, it's still good casting no matter what.

Unconfirmed: Daniel Dae Kim from Angel (and Lost, yeah) as Sulu. Japanese, Korean, whatever.

March 30, 2007

Bill Richardson for Secretary of State

Daniel Radosh

In a comment on this blog yesterday, Radosh.net chief political analyst Slutwench wrote that Bill Richardson's appearance on the Daily Show revealed his presidential qualities ("dimples"). Slutwench has been known to lust after various Hamas leaders, so her taste in men is suspect. But I do tend to respect her political judgments, and you know I've been curious about Richardson, so I fired up the DVR and watched him do his thing.

Ay-yi-yi! as his people say. Honestly, the guy has a great résumé, an appealing philosophy and, to my limited knowledge, decent policy proposals, but he is so uninspiring. He can't even handle the "why do you want to be president?" question. He repeats his meaningless phrases, runs through laundry lists, and seems to miss the point of his own stories. He's the definition of unelectable. Charisma isn't the most important thing for a president to have, but passion does count, and I don't see any here.

On the other hand, I'm glad I watched the episode anyway because this and this were fracking brilliant. I probably should have embedded them instead.

March 28, 2007

Dude, get an Xbox

Daniel Radosh

There's a front page article in the New York Times today about kids who asphyxiate themselves for kicks. At first glance it seemed ripe for a Jack Shafer takedown, but it's actually written fairly responsibly. However, Kevin did point out the unintentionally funny ending.

Levi, who has vowed to his parents never to play the game again, was fielding text messages on the couch as his father spoke. Mr. Draher said his son had moved on these days to other interests — girls and cars.

“He’s smelling perfume and gasoline,” Mr. Draher said with a smile.

Two days later, Levi died from huffing perfume and gasoline.

March 28, 2007

At least they rejected Unsightliness T. Infield's essay on V1@ggr@

Daniel Radosh

So last week there was a little scandal at the Los Angeles Times and the paper was forced to scrap its Sunday opinion section and start over scratch. (Backstory: Apparently Los Angeles has its own daily newspaper. Cute, right?)

In speculating how they managed to put together a section in two days that usually takes a week, HuffPo's Rachel Sklar joked "Hooray for unsolicited articles!" adding, "Kidding. Luckily they had some good stuff on hand. But it would have been sorta hilarious if the whole slush pile had floated to the top."

Ha ha... uh oh.

After the section came out, Gawker interviewed the new editor, who explained, "some of [the replacement material] was already in hand for next week, and some of it had been planned for the daily op-ed page."

So they did have some good stuff in hand, but what did they have to replace the pilfered daily op-eds? The slush pile!

Today, the paper ran an essay by Thomas Rooney, the president of a sewer repair company, on "The looming sinkhole crisis." I know this not because I faithfully read the LA Times opinion page, but because I got an e-mail from someone named "Kim" alerting me to it. "Is it just me, or is this sinkhole issue popping up more and more?" she asked.

Well, no, Kim, it's not just you. In fact, just two weeks ago I got a similarly unsolicited e-mail from "Jim" with the subject line, "This guy predicted that sinkhole in Guatemala." You tend to remember spam about sinkholes. I had no idea what "that sinkhole in Guatemala" was, but "this guy" turned out to be Thomas Rooney, and as near as I can tell, Jim wanted me to post an article he'd written about sinkholes. You guessed it: it's the article that ended up in today's Times. You can read Rooney's unedited version in the comments section of this science blog, where "Nancy" posted it on March 8. That's right, an op-ed in today's Los Angeles Times has been on the internets for three weeks. To be fair, the Times did a really good edit on it. ("It's the pipes, stupid!" in 2007? Please.)

Two more twists. That e-mail I got from Jim implied that Rooney's article had already appeared in something called Inside The Bay Area in January. It's not on that site now, whatever that site is, but Google cache says it once was, in December. (Note that Inside the Bay Area did a less great edit on it -- keeping "It's the pipes" but dropping "stupid! -- but Jim sent me the original version with the full Carville as though that's what had been printed. Writing lesson #1, Rooney: Kill your babies.)

And the second twist: Jim also sent me a link to a YouTube Video about broken sewer pipes that turned out to be an ad for Insituform, which is, of course, Thomas Rooney's sewer repair company. And that ad contains language identical to language from Rooney's op ed -- language (the "do the math" section) that the LAT editors did not excise.

Wait, does the LAT have any editors anymore?

Update: Here's another variation

[Related: Remember when Richard Cohen assured us that he is a funny guy? Judge for yourself.]

March 27, 2007


Daniel Radosh

Best e-mail exchange ever, between an unhinged army recruiter and the snarky queer boy she had the misfortune to contact with a job offer. (Start at the bottom.)

Context here. And the kicker: the wingnuts blame the gay guy because a year ago he was quoted in Page Six sounding totally gay.

[Via Blog Report.]

March 26, 2007

Attention blogosphere: keep your xenophobia out of my neighborhood

Daniel Radosh

A story in my local newspaper about a mosque a few blocks away from me has gotten some attention from the Islamophobic wingnuts. Apparently some of my neighbors are "irked" (or, as the nutjobs have it, tormented) by the call to prayer that is broadcast five times a day.

Personally, I like hearing it. It's at least as aesthetically pleasing as (and less frequent than) the bells on the Catholic church, and a lot better than the air raid siren that goes off every Friday to remind Orthodox Jews that Shabbat is approaching (as if they didn't know). More importantly, that's the kind of neighborhood I want to live in: one in which a diversity of cultures make their presence known. Knowing that some of my neighbors are taking time out of their day to pray (or are preparing to light candles) helps me feel connected to them. That's part of what makes it a neighborhood. It's not at all surprising to me that the people complaining about this issue hail from North Dakota, Indonesia, Australia and, um, East Squatanpoo.

Some of the people up in arms about this are the same ones who complain about Nativity scenes on public property, which is at least somewhat consistent (though the call is broadcast from private property) but many others are the same ones who become outraged about the War on Christmas — although I guess that's consistent in its own way. That latter group also links this to the encroachment of Islamist values on Western democratic ones. During the Muhammad cartoon controversy I wrote extensively about how I think this is a real phenomenon and one that must be resisted, but in this case it simply doesn't apply. There's a fundamental difference between religious believers wanting to express themselves and religious believers wanting to limit the expression of others. For years my neighborhood church had a huge sign that said, "Abortion stops a human heart," and while I often fantasized about getting a can of spray paint and adding, "Or your money back," [hat tip: Beth Sherman] it never seriously occurred to me that the church should be forced to remove its message — which was far less central to its mission than Muslim call to prayer.

I find it hard to believe that anyone who is bothered by this is reacting simply to the volume of the recording, rather than its message. It's less loud than car alarms and not much louder than those 25-cent kiddie rides that they have in front of some stores. It also lasts for under a minute. [Update: New York City "defines offensive sounds as noises made between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. that are seven decibels above the surrounding sound of an area. Between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., the threshold would rise to 10 decibels above the ambient noise of an area — noise that is, say, louder than the din on an elevated subway platform or substantially louder than the sounds heard at any normal Manhattan intersection." There is no way the Adhan (which broadcasts only during the day) is that loud. If it repeated incessently, other regulations would cover it, which is why Bloomberg caused a mini scandal a few years back by attempting (unsuccessfully) to silence ice cream trucks. I was all for that, but most of the city -- Adhan opponents presumably among them -- lambasted the mayor for Hating Children].

But then, the mild complaints in the article of people who actually live here are nothing compared to the vitriol of those who have never been to Brooklyn, and probably never met a Muslim, in their lives. That's all anyone needs to know.

March 26, 2007

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #92

Daniel Radosh

Submit the worst possible caption for this New Yorker cartoon. Click here for details. Click here to see last week's results.


"Get a job, loser!" —Vance

"First they cancel SeaQuest and now this. [THIS JOKE TAKES PLACE IN 1996.]" —Mike Mariano

"Would you please stop complaining about your dislocated hip? I'm tired of hearing abou-- Hey! What the fuck do you think you're looking at, faggot?! (I'm not proud of it, but I would totally yell that at a dolphin.)" —Ogdred

Continue reading "The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #92" »

March 22, 2007

Ann Coulter was right

Daniel Radosh

Waaa waaa waaa! I can't run for president because my wife has breast cancer.

I guess I'm leaning Obama now, but I'm open to being talked into Bill Richardson if anyone wants to try.

Update: Scratch that. It's Politico's worst scoop since slow bleed! Instant analysis, cynical bastard division: A) It was a publicity stunt. B) Edwards doesn't care if his wife dies. He's power mad!

On a serious note, I am still intrigued by Richardson. But has the new primary schedule condemned him?

March 19, 2007

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #91

Daniel Radosh

Submit the worst possible caption for this New Yorker cartoon. Click here for details. Click here to see last week's results.


"So you never got a patent, huh? I had to learn that the hard way myself. Fucking pasta-straining pot. It cooks and drains pasta. Get it? Here, let me draw you a picture." —lil miss poland spring

"What an anachronism! Everybody knows the zero wasn't invented until well after the agricultural revolution, you clod!"—TG Gibbon

"This is how you roll?" —Amy

Continue reading "The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #91" »

March 17, 2007

The bad news is, your plane is still a deathtrap

Daniel Radosh

This is why YOU are Time's person of the year. Remember this post about the airplane inspector who got fired for talking to my friend at Mother Jones? Well thanks to an outcry from the blogonet — or possibly just by coincidence — he got his job back.

Now YOU can go back to surfing for porn.

March 16, 2007

Impeccable blogic

Daniel Radosh

We all know blogging is the art of typing before you think, but Mickey Kaus has outdone himself this time. MK is responding to this New York Times article about an attack on the mayor of Sadr City.

If "gunmen" ambush the mayor of Sadr City, wounding him and killing an Iraqi military officer, that doesn't seem like a good thing. But are we sure that it "Hinders Antimilitia Effort," as the NYT headline says. Couldn't it easily help the antimilitia effort if people in Sadr City resent the attack and turn on the gunmen?

Do I really have to spell this out? When a representative of a dormant militia is attacked, the "people" who resent that attack so much that they turn to violence in order to enforce extralegal justice in the absence of effective legitimate authority are what is known as "a militia." So yes, Mickey, an event that leads to renewed militia activity does indeed hinder antimilitia efforts.

Update: Yep

March 16, 2007

Better yet, the publicist's name is Carson from Freud Communications

Daniel Radosh

hot-ass-teacher.jpgDetails is trying to gin up some controversy over their ridiculous It's so awesome that hot female teachers are having sex with their underage students article. I just got an e-mail from a flack asking me to blog about it. "Looking forward to hearing your thoughts," he writes.

You got it, pal: Holy crap, is Details the gayest magazine in the world or what? Is this really your idea of how straight guys talk?

This month, Allena Ward, a 23-year-old South Carolina middle school teacher, was charged with banging five teen studs, and Marcia Amsterdam, a speech teacher at junior high in Brooklyn, was charged with spreading her thighs for a 13 year old... But, hey, at least it obviates the need for that awkward, sperm-curdling rite of passage known as the birds and the bees. After Junior's been properly serviced by his teacher's hungry mouth, Dad probably doesn't have to tell him where the ho-ho goes.

Seriously, you are not fooling anyone. It's just embarrassing.

March 15, 2007

Protest Babes: North vs. South

Daniel Radosh

There are two things the entire Western hemisphere can agree on: being a hot chick is the best way to get your picture taken at a political protest. And Bush is Hitler.

Photos via Yahoo & Wonkette. Previous entries in this series here.



Continue reading "Protest Babes: North vs. South" »

March 14, 2007

Welcome to the OC, biotech

Daniel Radosh

lizphairflag.jpg Back when I attended Oberlin College at the height of the PC era — when people still called themselves PC, and thought it was something to be proud of — some friends and I put out a little magazine satirizing liberal excess (among other things). I like to think that in my own small way I helped put an end to the PC era (without resorting to the paranoid screeds of a Horowitz or D'Souza).

Still, every now and then my alumni magazine brings a reminder that not every Obie moved on. In the latest issue there is a letter from one Remi Barber, '83 regarding a report that there are now, get this, Republicans at Oberlin. Well, yes, there were Republicans in my day too. Nearly half a dozen, I think. They were the only people on campus who were more demented and more hilarious than the professional liberals (I can prove that scientifically). But I guess today's OC GOP is more prominent and sophisticated, and Barber is not happy about this.

Here's his letter in its entirety. Frankly, it reads so much like one of our Below the Belt parodies of an Oberlin liberal that at first I thought it was a joke. I'm still not sure it isn't. And I'm not sure which would be more funny. Discussion follows.

Many of us feel Oberlin has a special place in a world gone nuts. So imagine my reaction reading about young Republicans on campus! I wasted no time reading the article. Their inviolate agenda is so clear as to be absurd: to concoct a cartoon of the traditional values that make Oberlin a bastion of tolerance, such as open discourse and an eagerness to accept new and different ideas. Simply put, ideological weapons of mass destruction have no place on campus. By introducing detritus into the pristine intellectual wilderness that is Oberlin, Republicans inflict early trauma on students who may fail to understand what’s at stake: the beauty of peace and respect for all humanoids. Like people who are the products of single-nanny households, young Republicans fail to embrace the wondrous diversity that distinguishes, say, an Arab Sunni from a jihadist Shiite. Nothing is worse than an elite that demands egalitarianism for others while ensuing privilege for itself. It’s not enough to just say no; we need to rise up and challenge them with all manner of retrograde forces. The disabled, the down-trodden, the ne’er-do-well, and other minority voices must all oppose willful adaptation to environmental changes. Just as young Republicans decry the legality of spontaneous genetic mutations, we must staunchly resist outside efforts to diversify the Oberlin community. Finally, a Google search reveals that the covert financier behind the Republicans’ lecture series is Steve Shapiro ’83, president of Intrepid Capital Management … a financial organization that funds the USS Intrepid and other military battleships? Is blood money funding a campus organization? We want answers. Meantime, let’s backlash against the campus Republicans’ exploitation of reality with a contrarian message: When it comes to values, Oberlin doesn’t cut and run.

Remi Barbier ’83
San Francisco, Calif.

So is it a joke?

Continue reading "Welcome to the OC, biotech" »

March 13, 2007

Also, there's the whole info-pimps thing

Daniel Radosh

Madigan: Why I'd make a terrible investigative reporter

March 12, 2007

Knight Rider? I hardly know her!

Daniel Radosh

Quote of the day: "There's more to car love than exhaust pipes."

March 11, 2007

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #90

Daniel Radosh

Submit the worst possible caption for this New Yorker cartoon. Click here for details. Click here to see last week's results.

Update. For some reason, some people's monitors are cutting off the all-important right hand side of this cartoon. If you're not seeing the third person in the picture, expand your browser window or view the original here.


"I've got a nursery rhyme for you: There was a whore who was stealing my business and I cut her throat. Catchy, huh?"—mobuck

"I used to have so many children, I didn't know what to do. Then I realized I could turn them out to whoring. Have you met my daughter?"—Tim C.

"Wow, the lady next door is a huge slut. Can I borrow a cup of sugar?" —maristeph

Continue reading "The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #90" »

March 7, 2007

The flip side of Christian pop culture

Daniel Radosh

I've been blogging about Rapture Ready! more than I intended to until (much) closer to the pub date, but since that's the case, maybe now is a good time to point out that one of the pleasures of researching this book (and eventually, I hope, of reading it) has been discovering flashes of genuine greatness in the C-pop universe. Case in point: mewithoutYou, one of the most interesting and thought-provoking rock bands of any kind that I've heard in years. Singer-songwriter Aaron Weiss is revered as a postmodern prophet by many young Christians. Their music may not be to everyone's taste (though it's sure to mine) but I think you'd have a hard time listening to them and dismissing all Christian rock as shallow, derivative crap. Here's their latest song, Nice and Blue (Part Two). Lyrics and amateur analysis here.

March 7, 2007

I thought you could use a little eye candy to chase away that unpleasant taste of Coulter

Daniel Radosh

NUP_104903_2097.jpg I never did get around to seeing Stick It, but after this week's Heroes, I just might bump it up the Netflix queue.

Ali Larter and Hayden Planetarium never really did it for me, so the addition of Missy Peregrym to the cast is quite welcome. I'd also have settled for better writing, but this will suffice. Of course, it would be even better if Missy's power was making everybody else look like her instead of the other way around.

By the way, the youngest members of my household have recently discovered the Pixar back catalog, and I was surprised and amused to find that Hayden provided the voice of Princess Dot in A Bug's Life.

March 6, 2007

Also, she's 45 years old

Daniel Radosh

I always thought the big problem with Ann Coulter's faggot joke was not that it was offensive (because we expect what from her?) but that it wasn't funny. As I saw it, her target was all wrong. There are plenty of jokes to be made at the expense of John Edwards, but he's not, and has no reputation for being, faggy. If she'd made a Hillary dyke joke, at least that would have landed. It's revealing that the audience didn't laugh at Coulter's joke. They gasped in surprise -- and then broke into applause. As Jon Stewart knows, that's a sure sign that you're not being funny, you're just pandering.

I wasn't going to comment on any of this because there's plenty of other folks already doing so, but I was struck today by the sheer gutlessness of Coulter's explanation of her joke, which, if you accept it, proves that she knew it was a lousy joke (or should have known). According to Coulter, "'Faggot' isn't offensive to gays; it has nothing to do with gays. It's a schoolyard taunt meaning 'wuss,' and unless you're telling me that John Edwards is gay, it was not applied to a gay person."

For the moment, let's take her at her word, that she was using "faggot" in its schoolyard, non-gay context. Like it or not, this is a common use of the word, and while that doesn't make it, as she argues, completely non-offensive, it would at least be possible to construct a joke that relied on that context and that would be significantly less offensive. The only problem is, Isaiah Washington didn't go into rehab for using "faggot" as a synonym for "wuss." His sin was that he called a gay man a faggot. Coulter's joke completely fails on its own terms because if she was trying to call Edwards a wuss (by which she means "pussy," but she's too much of one to say that), her reference was all wrong.

It's possible her problem stems from trying to jam together two unrelated "jokes" (complaints is a better word): one about Edwards, one about rehab as a form of damage control. She'd been field-testing the latter for a while before her speech, and it worked before because in that context, she was actually on to something.

But I don't think we should take Coulter at her word. First of all, she has a history of calling Democrats "fags" and meaning, quite explicitly, homosexuals. (Note that in this conversation, her Clinton theory is bizarre and offensive, but her Gore joke is actually pretty funny, because it defuses the bizarre and offensive Clinton set up with an intentionally ridiculous punchline about Gore.) More to the point Coulter's first defense of her joke totally obviates her later "it's not about the gays" defense: "Did any of these guys say anything after I made the same remark about Al Gore last summer? Why not? What were they trying to say about Al Gore with their silence?"

The same remark. The first Gore joke was explicitly about homosexuality. How can the Edwards joke be the same and yet about something else entirely? Besides, the new joke that she makes about Gore is also about homosexuality (Ha ha! I tricked the Democrats into calling Gore a homo!), which means she knows that the Edwards joke was — or at the very least could be read as being — about homosexuality.

I agree with Kaus that Coulter doesn't think Edwards is gay and that she may not bear any personal animosity toward gay people, but at a minimum, she's thinks it funny to call people gay as an insult, especially if you use the word "faggot." That's what makes the joke unacceptable (and not, as the anti-Coulter conservatives have it, because it hurts conservatives at the polls).

Update: Andrew Sullivan's take is worth reading.

March 5, 2007

Shouldn't that be HimTube?

Daniel Radosh

banana9bz.jpg It was bound to happen: GodTube, the Christian answer to YouTube. One of the featured videos today is the classic Banana: The Atheist's Nightmare, which has been succinctly destroyed over at SatanTubeYouTube. Apparently, even the GodTubers aren't impressed. Or else, just maybe, some heathens have snuck in. Comments include:

"This reminds me of a scene in The DaVinci Load!" —ChoofMonster

"GOD MADE THE BANANA THERE IS NO OTHER EXPLANATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" —jeebusluver

"Pineapples anyone?" —BluePizza

"WOW! this guy has just disproved all of evolution with a banana! i wish i was as clever as him. maybe i should read my bible more." —religiousfreak

"Boy, do I feel foolish." —RichardDawkins

I give the site six months.

[Hat tip: Craig S]

March 4, 2007

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #89

Daniel Radosh

Submit the worst possible caption for this New Yorker cartoon. Click here for details. Click here to see last week's results.


"Warrior TOC this is BlackJack 77. OP grid 74702819. One unfriendly with whip and chair marked with VS-17 panel. Make it hot, Warrior TOC, say again, make it hot." —TG Gibbon

"So then I pointed out to him that I can use a telephone, how much fucking tamer can I get? Anyway, he's concentrating most of his efforts on Ed now." —Tim C.

"Census Bureau? . . . OK, I've got a minute . . . No, I'm not Hispanic. Let's see, my mother was half camel and half puma, and my father was three-quarters ogre and a quarter beastie. . . Mm-hmm. Well, if those are the only choices, then I guess I'd have to say, 'Asian or Pacific Islander.' " —gary

Continue reading "The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #89" »

March 3, 2007

I have a great story about seeing her live, but you'll have to wait a year to hear it

Daniel Radosh

After my Avril post, many of you asked how I survived a year in the Christian entertainment scene with no teen-punk pop tarts to drool over. Ladies and gents, I give you Krystal Meyers, the Christian Avril Lavigne.

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