Surely you remember this:
Earlier this month, John B. Judis, Spencer Ackerman, and Massoud Ansari broke the story of how the Bush administration was pressuring Pakistani officials to apprehend high-value targets (HVTs) in time for the November elections--and in particular, to coincide with the Democratic National Convention. Although the capture took place in central Pakistan "a few days back," the announcement came just hours before John Kerry will give his acceptance speech in Boston.
I have to confess, I had forgotten. But there you have it. The White House wanted an Al-Qaida capture during the convention, and they got one announced a few hours before Kerry's speech.
Made-of-wood Kerry last night was surprisingly good, I think in part because the bar was set so low. I don't think he'll ever turn into a real boy, but he had a few great, surprisingly harsh lines, like "I want an America that relies on its own ingenuity and innovation—not the Saudi royal family" and "What if we have a president who believes in science..."(!). Sadly I missed this, found on Salon: "The post-speech analysis got off to a comical start on CNN, when the news channel inadvertently broadcast frantic comments from a Democratic producer in a rage that more balloons were not dropping from the ceiling of the Fleet Center: 'More balloons! We need all of them coming down! All balloons! Balloons? What's happening, balloons? There's not enough coming down. All balloons! Where the hell—there's nothing falling! What the fuck are you guys doing up there?'"
If you haven't been reading him, Andrew Sullivan has been great of late, thoughtful and funny, on Kerry and the FMA and which Simpsons character will come out in January. And with that, I'll stop talking about politics and balloons, etc., sorry, and instead post a picture of a weird and creepy product I found at the Rite Aid:
The creepy part that you can't tell from the picture is that the "angel" girl is a hologram on the packaging, so as you tilt it, she phases in and out, drifting through the crowd all ghostily. Which makes it seem more like "If your child dies, Angel Alert will let you know when she comes back from heaven to visit you!"
Public puts faith in nanotech despite little knowledge
Many people on both sides of the Atlantic have little idea what 'nanotechnology' means—but they still think it will benefit them in the long run.
A poll of more than 1,500 US adults, backed by the National Science Foundation, has found that 80% of people have heard little or nothing about nanotechnology. Nevertheless, 40% of respondents felt that it would bring more benefits than risks, and a further 38% felt the risks and benefits would be about equal.
A British survey released in March by the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering found similar levels of ignorance: 71% of UK respondents had never heard of nanotech. But of those who knew the term, 68% thought it would make things better in the future.
The surveys are likely to reassure scientists working in the field, who have become alarmed at activists' attempts to portray their work as a threat to human health and the environment (see Nature 424, 246—248; 2003). But the US poll has a sting in its tail: 60% of respondents said they do not trust business leaders to minimize the technology's risks.
This just reminded me, for some reason, of Blightner's comment the other night: "You just can't hate people and love democracy at the same time." Or as he remembers it more eloquently (and, likely, more accurately), "How can we reconcile our misanthropy with our faith in democracy?")
More news from the humiliating but lucrative world of copy-writing: Angelique wanted some help on a tagline for a short she's doing, and I came across this piece from the Boston Globe, "How movie taglines are born".
Indeed, strong copy can often distract an audience from less-appealing aspects of a film. "Often the impulse that made someone make the movie is the very thing that is going to make people put their hands over their eyes and scream 'no,'" says one veteran trailer writer. Sometimes, he says, copywriters get a film set entirely on a submarine only to be told by the producers, "Do whatever you want, but for God's sake leave out the [expletive] submarine."
All right, now I've got to go finish telling Scorpios what's going to happen to them in the first week of November.
According to USA Today:
Stewart, host of The Daily Show on cable's Comedy Central, invited reporters for coffee Monday at the start of the Democratic convention. It was billed as an early morning yuk-fest, but it wasn't all that funny. At least not for the reporters, who were the subject of his monologue.
In a poll this year by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 21 percent of viewers ages 18 to 29 named The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live as places where they get news about the presidential campaign. Does it bother Stewart that so many potential voters are relying on a joke show for information?
''I'm concerned about the incredible number of people who say they get the news from you guys,'' Stewart shot back.
I also just saw that the Daily Show is doing three days of convention coverage. My hope is that Sean will TiVo all of it, and then we can watch that and Kerry's stentorian intonations on Thursday.
And with that, people need to stop using Kerry and "stentorian" in the same sentence. And maybe Cheney will quit saying that he's "absolutely certain" about stuff, too. (After hearing Cheney say on the radio today "We're here to make absolutely certain that Dino Rossi is the next governor of Washington" and remembering him saying that before about so many things, I had to look it up.)
Then this here's the place:
I'm off to our blogger breakfast. It's at 10. Kind of late for a breakfast, but if we called it a blogger brunch, people would probably expect fancier food. We also figured that a lot of bloggers could use the extra sleep.
I like the idea of "credentialed bloggers."
It's now officially as hot here in Seattle today as it was in Charleston weekend before last (well, minus humidity), so what better time for another installment of pics? Below here, at the house at Folly Beach, I had been sitting outside for about 45 seconds before sweat was *exploding* out of my headwhich I think you can make out here in this lovely picture. Meredith, one of my cousins, was not serving me swee-et tea, as you might expect, but was instead pretending to cut off my "hay-ed" with a little plastic sand tool.
It's called "Southern charm," and I was so charmed that I didn't even realize I would soon be dead from heat exhaustion. One of my favorite Meredith moments was witnessing her "Yes, ma'am" training, in which she would say merely "yes" in response to some question from a female relative, only to then be prompted, "'Yes, ma'am'?", which she would then repeat dutifully. Cute! (Sadly, I was never called "Mist-uh Pawl" on this trip by wee relatives, like last time. Meredith referred to me in the third person, usually, and even then as "that bo-eh.")
In downtown Charleston, you'll find the beautifully restored old market, where now instead of people being sold, people now sell a variety of t-shirts and other palmetto-themed tourist gift things.
Black people sell reed baskets sitting next to white people selling meticulously painted, little metal Confederate soldiers, and inside the main building of the old market
you'll find a Confederate museum run by the Daughters of the Confederacy, full of flags and guns and documents and a big cannon and even a lock of Robert E. Lee's hair. (And yes, for all you old school racists, that's the *first* national flag of the Confederacy flying out front. Word.)
I still can't imagine being black and being near a building where slaves were once sold, now selling my own palmetto-embossed magnetic notepads, w/o saying, "What… the *fuck*?" Anyway, I'm just a Yankee, despite my pedigree. So for that matter, I don't understand these either, the Confederate memorials in every single Southern town, big and small:
This one's in my dad's hometown of Orangeburg (pop 12,765), in the now depressed and dilapidated (post-integration) downtown. Here's the inscription:
I'm sure the context was different when the downtown "belonged" to whites, but now… why is it still there? Whose rights? Whose homes? Whose "hon-uh"? You'd think I'd have a better handle on this, from having so many Southern relatives, but no.
Yeah. Well. But did I mention how beautiful SC is? It is:
And if you're looking for a place to pray while you're staying in Orangeburg, don't despair. Just check the hotel guide (and Four Holes Swamp Baptist? Yes, that's where my grandfather preached):
From today's "Downtown Seattle Elert":
A series of major events in Seattle this weekend will make downtown access a challenge due to the National Governor's Conference taking place at the Westin Hotel. In addition, events around town include The 2004 QFC Bite of Seattle, the Seattle to Portland bike race, the Mariners home stand against Cleveland and Boston, the Seafair Triathlon, the Indian Days Seafair Pow-Wow, and a one-day sockeye fishery on Lake Washington....
Just so you know.
I promise, after this, a break from politics. But this letter from the Kerry campaign manager to the Bush campaign manager yesterday is just starting to show some spine--in addition to closing hilariously:
...We also wanted to wish you a happy anniversary. As we are sure you and the attorneys representing the President, Vice-President and other White House officials are aware, today marks one year since Administration sources leaked the identity of a covert CIA agent to Bob Novak in an effort to retaliate against a critic of the Administration.
In light of the fact that the Administration began gutting the laws protecting the nation's forests yesterday, we hope you will accept the paper on which this letter is written as an anniversary gift. (The one year anniversary is known as the "paper anniversary.")