Archive for June, 2008

I somehow missed this neat little nugget of Wimbledon information from a few days ago:

June 27 (Bloomberg) — Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia took delight in dumping former champion Maria Sharapova and her outfit out of Wimbledon yesterday.

“It’s very pleasant to beat Maria,” said Kudryavtseva. “Why? Well, I don’t like her outfit.”

Sharapova’s outfit, a white tuxedo-styled jacket and shorts by her sponsor Nike Inc., attracted as many questions at her first-round post-match press conference as her on-court performance. Kudryavtseva, who wore a white skirt and tank top, said her Federation Cup teammate’s attire “was one of the motivations to beat her.”

“It’s a little too much of everything,” she said.

I completely agree. This is sport we’re talking about. Not a fashion show! And that goes for Roger Federer too with those ridiculous tuxedo shorts.

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Hmmm, Obama is supposedly the elitist but John and Cindy McCain have hundreds of thousands of dollars in credit card debt. One of their children has $10-50k in credit card debt. These people truly have nothing in common with everyday Americans and are clearly not financially responsible.

In an interesting peek into John McCain’s personal finances, it turns out that John and Cindy McCain — in spite of their personal wealth — are carrying well over $100,000 in credit card debt.

The Hill took a look at the latest Senate financial disclosure forms and found that a joint card held by the two has between $10,000 and $15,000 in charges, while a card that is solely in Cindy’s name has between $100,000 and $250,000 in debt. Another card for a dependent child has between $15,000 and $50,000 in charges.

Via Talking Points Memo.

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Police on Sunday were investigating vandals’ spray-painting of dozens of city vehicles here, some with disparaging messages about the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Authorities think the vandalism to about 60 vehicles, estimated at $10,000 in damage, was done Saturday afternoon, police spokeswoman Sgt. Barbara Jones said.

The vehicles were parked across from City Hall and investigators said culprits tagged messages including “Obama smokes crack” and a racial epithet.

They even left business cards on the vehicles that disparage both the Illinois senator and his rival, Republican John McCain. The cards voice support for Sen. Hillary Clinton, Obama’s former opponent.

Well that’s completely brilliant. I’m sure all of those people who got their cars damaged are now going to vote for McCain because that’s completely logical. That’s about as smart as taking your jihad training VHS tape to Circuit City to get transfered to DVD. I suspect the Hillary cards were put there to throw the scent off Republicans. I have a hard time believing that Hillary supporters would go out and tag cars.

Update: Then again, where was Bill Clinton on June 28th?

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When watching a Pixar movie like WALL E, you can’t help but think how grateful you are that it is Pixar at the wheel and not Disney. I realize Pixar is owned by Disney, but as a completely uninformed outside observer I distinguish the two.

WALL E starts surprisingly bleak and its commentary can be brutal. Humans no longer inhabit Earth and it is just one large garbage pile. The big box store and the idea of big is what has doomed the Earth, and humans have fled. When we do see humans in space, they are fat and completely distant from one another, attached to their computers without ever looking up to see what is around them. You would think with such depictions that the film would be a depressing lecture on society, but WALL E is much more optimistic than that. It’s beautiful, heartbreaking and hopeful all at the same time. Humanity is not as bad as it appears.

How can a social message exist among entertainment? It’s something that I don’t think Disney could accomplish. The commentary would be less critical. There would be the desire not to offend big box stores. The cockroach friend of WALL E would probably sing and dance instead of just being a silent companion. We wouldn’t have heard the line “stay the course” as an indicator of bad leadership. Even the voices would be performed by famous Hollywood actors. WALL E doesn’t do that.

And that brings me to my last pleasant surprise about the movie. I stayed for the ending credits and noticed that the actor who played EVE was a theatre friend from college, Elissa Knight. I’m so happy to see that she has carved out a career for herself. As EVE, she’s brilliant. I loved this film.

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This building built in 1971 would seem to have a very out-of-date style. Who knows though, it may come back into fashion. It’s surprisingly good office space. Those diamond shaped windows make for some very good light.

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From The Huffingtonpost:

As a rule, Republicans appreciate the value in defining the Democratic presidential nominee, and the GOP is usually pretty good at it. In 2000, Al Gore, they said, was an “exaggerator.” This was not only effective, thanks to a quick embrace by the media, it was also part of a narrative — when Gore takes credit for some of the successes of the ’90s, don’t believe him because he exaggerates

In 2004, John Kerry, they said was a “flip-flopper.” This, too, was relatively effective, and was once again parroted by the media. The narrative here was equally clear — in the first post-9/11 election, in a time of war, we don’t want someone who’s inconsistent.

Four years later, the effort to define Barack Obama is proving to be more difficult for Republican attack dogs. The GOP keeps experimenting with new memes, but not only are they not sticking, some even contradict each other.

It’s true the GOP are great at branding. If the GOP is the Bud of marketing, then the Democrats are the Coors (the Coors founder famously didn’t believe in marketing.) I marvel at the fact that I’ve heard repeated the nonsense that somehow Barack Obama is an elitist but George Bush, John McCain and even Hillary Clinton are everyday ordinary folks. It’s powerful stuff.

What’s really interesting is that John Kerry and John McCain are virtually the same person. They are both war heroes from rich and established families and both of their second wives are rich heiresses. But you rarely hear the jabs about John McCain’s wealth that we heard about Kerry. And certainly John McCain is the biggest flip-flopper of them all.

Marketing is key to the Bush Administration. Time and time again we have heard them describe their failures as being image problems only. Rumsfeld regretted calling the war the War on Terror as if it was called anything else it would have been a success. George Bush recently said:

Bush “admitted to the Times that his gun-slinging rhetoric made the world believe that he was a ‘guy really anxious for war’ in Iraq. He said that his aim now was to leave his successor a legacy of international diplomacy for tackling Iran. Phrases such as ‘bring them on’ or ‘dead or alive’ [in reference to Osama bin Laden,] he said, ‘indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace.’

So why is the GOP having a hard time branding Obama? I have two suggestions to add to the mix. Americans are weary of the Republicans right now and almost everything they say lacks credibility. It’s a case of the boy crying wolf too much. People are suspicious of their attacks knowing that the alternative they offer is bleaker. Fear was a decider in the 2004 election. People may feel duped that they voted out of fear and got something far worse in return. We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Second, the Republicans are sounding increasingly like whiners. What America desperately wants right now is a positive message to put forth and the Republicans are coming up short.

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This came up at trivia last night. Still as great a song as ever.

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