Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The New Political Paradigms

Suddenly, it's in the air. Something new. "Sea changes." A cresting wave. Seismic shifts in the old ways of thinking about politics.

"I'm going through a huge Zeppelin renaissance. I hear they might be going back on the road. If we're gonna have peace in the Middle East, or the markets are going to get back in line, it's going to be because Zeppelin is on the road. . . . Here's how we catch Osama bin Laden: We give him two backstage passes to Zeppelin, and he'll show up. We got him. It's like a world-changing event."

Nada Surf drummer Ira Elliot, to the Onion's A.V. Club.
h/t Michael Crowley at The Plank (The New Republic).

Ontological origins: Paris, 1969 (Mais oui!)



[If you look closely, I think you can see Deleuze in the audience.]

[[It's turning into Rock and Roll week at Zone. Strange. I've been listening to Rodgers & Hart for the last several days. But this stuff is just coming at me out of nowhere. The Cosmos trying to tell me something?]]

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Grace Slick Meets Captain Kirk

Was looking for a birthday e-card for John Schertzer.

We had been discussing (e-mail-ically) Jefferson Airplane/Starship.

He apologized - is that the right word? - for liking Jefferson Starship.

Well, to be exact, he said:

You’ll laugh, but I have that Jeff Starship album on CD. My high school band played another song from that record, and I wanted to hear it again. I’m sort of a Jeff Airplane fan, and I’ll bend to Starship every once in a while.
He concluded by making an interesting leap of logic:
After all, I’m a Star Wars geek.
On the surface, it made a certain amount of sense: Jefferson Airplane = Jefferson Starship = Star Wars.

But I had never considered Luke Skywalker coming out of a 1960's band of San Francisco hippies. (What about Jim Morrison as Han Solo? Or then Governor Ronald Reagan as Darth Vader?)

One could continue on this metaphysical journey: Star Wars = War of the Worlds = World Party = Party till it's 1999 . . . and so on into infinity. . . .

Anyway, how to encapsulate Schertzer's birthday, a reference to Jefferson Airplane, and a leap to Star Wars - all in a single e-card?

I found this.

(Taking a slightly different path than above: Star Wars = Star Trek.)

(Which, btw, John, has the added echo-chamber of Jefferson Starship = Starship Enterprise.)

I don't know what it all means.



CAUTION: I want to make it perfectly clear that my posting this video should NOT be regarded - in any way, shape or form - as advocating the . . . uh . . . you know . . . watching of Star Trek.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscars Night

So . . . Did the right films win? Did the right actors win? More importantly, who was the most beautiful/handsome?

Here are the results of the evening.

Interesting that all four acting awards went to non-American actors. Wonder if that's a first?

IMDB picks its favorite moments from the ceremony. If you're registered there, you can vote in the poll.

Favorite moment from last night's Academy Awards?


Votes
Jon Stewart's classy move to bring out Once's Markéta Irglová to give her acceptance speech
2205
(26.3%)
Marion Cotillard named Best Actress!
789
(9.4%)
Jon Stewart's excellent opening monologue and solid performance throughout the entire show
785
(9.4%)
Hey! Jon Stewart gave a shout-out to the IMDb! Woohoo!
693
(8.3%)
Javier Bardem's elegant, bilingual acceptance speech
538
(6.4%)
Daniel Day-Lewis being "knighted" by Helen Mirren
474
(5.7%)
Judi Dench & Halle Berry = Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill
471
(5.6%)
The Coens, the Coens, the Coens....
455
(5.4%)
Tilda Swinton calling out George Clooney on his Batman costume
424
(5.1%)
Another Oscar moment entirely
282
(3.4%)
Amy Adams being sent out solo to perform "Happy Working Song"
154
(1.8%)
Owen Wilson as presenter - welcome back, Butterscotch Stallion!
150
(1.8%)
The official Oscar salutes to "Binoculars and Periscopes" and "Bad Dreams"
142
(1.7%)
How many people slipped on their way to the podium?!
142
(1.7%)
The Rock -- I mean, Dwayne Johnson -- as presenter?
132
(1.6%)
Michael Bay is a member of the Academy's Director branch?!
117
(1.4%)
Diablo Cody rocking her Betty Rubble dress -- and inadvertently brushing off Harrison Ford
113
(1.3%)
Hey - were most of those acceptance speeches really short?!
95
(1.1%)
Sexy Kristen Chenoweth taking over the Kodak Theater with "That's How You Know"
77
(0.9%)
Taxi to the Dark Side winning Best Documentary over Sicko and No End in Sight
42
(0.5%)
Jessica Alba channeling Drew Barrymore
39
(0.5%)
No Country for Old Men producer Scott Rudin not throwing his Oscar at his assistant
34
(0.4%)
Elizabeth: The Golden Age winning for Costume Design
22
(0.3%)

A few other great moments:

1) Jon Stewart: "Oscar is 80 this year, which makes him now automatically the frontrunner for the Republican nomination."
2) Helen Mirren's presentation of the Best Actor Award. "Ambition, amorality, greed, deviousness, usury, venality, remorse, nobility, generosity, decency and good old fashioned cojones. I know these sound like the description to be a successful studio head, but these are facets of the performances of our leading actor nominees."
3) Robert Boyle winning an honorary Oscar. The annual "Will the old guy/gal get through this without rambling on or getting confused?" moment was its usual edge-of-your-seat-thriller. But Boyle handled it very gracefully.
4) Clips of past presenters and winning moments.

Not-so-great Moments:

1) Those awful songs from Enchanted. THREE?!?!?!?
2) Tom Hank's bad haircut.
3) Colin Farrell's bad non-haircut.
4) The dull opening sequence inspired by . . . Cars, a mediocre animated film from two years ago. I was hoping for a sequel to George Clooney appearing in bed with Jon Stewart.
5) The tribute to 80 years of Oscars. The entire history of cinema at your disposal, and all we got was that lame exercise? At least they showed Fred Astaire for .76 seconds.

As far as most beautiful, La Reina went on and on about Nicole Kidman's amazing necklace and dress, and how great she looked being slightly pregnant. I won't argue.

But I stuck with my more traditional choice: Penélope Cruz.

And we both thought Helen Mirren looked fantastic.

Considering the lack of time to prepare, I thought the show went fairly well. Not the most exciting, perhaps, but at least it was shorter than usual!

UPDATE: In 1964, at the 37th Academy Awards, all four acting awards went to non-American actors:

Best Actor: Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady
Best Actress: Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins
Best Supporting Actor: Peter Ustinov in Topkapi
Best Supporting Actress: Lila Kedrova in Zorba the Greek

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Andrew Sullivan Dissects the Clinton Campiagn

Frank Rich took his turn this morning. Now, Andrew Sullivan investigates the wreckage.

Granted, the race is by no means over. Anything is possible. As Sullivan says, "I suppose [the Clintons] could somehow still find a brutal, soul-grinding path to the nomination."

But, more and more, I get the sense that Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2008 will be historical, though not for the reasons she hoped it would be. People are going to study the campaign for some time to come. They're going to write books about what went wrong, about What Not To Do. Depending on who writes the books, they might even sell better than the ones on what Obama did right.

So, yes, anything is possible. But her main arguments are breaking down. "All that bullshit about Day One and experience? In retrospect: laughable."

Here's "The Clintons' Last Stand":

Watching senator Clinton attempt to regain some lift as she paraglides into history is almost enough to evoke pity. Almost. The Clintons come with their own boundless reserves of self-pity so further reinforcements seem unnecessary to me. And I suppose they could somehow still find a brutal, soul-grinding path to the nomination. But we've learned something important these past couple of weeks.

Clinton is a terrible manager of people. Coming into a campaign she had been planning for, what, two decades, she was so not ready on Day One, or even Day 300. Her White House, if we can glean anything from the campaign, would be a secretive nest of well-fed yes-people, an uncontrollable egomaniac spouse able and willing to bigfoot anyone if he wants to, a phalanx of flunkies who cannot tell the boss when things are wrong, and a drizzle of dreary hacks like Mark Penn. Her only genuine skill is pivoting off the Limbaugh machine (which is now as played out as its enemies). Her new weapon is apparently bursting into tears. I mean: really.

It's staggering to me that she blew through so much money for close to nothing (apart from the donuts). Without that media meltdown in New Hampshire, she would have been forced to bow out much earlier. She didn't plan for contests after Super Tuesday. She barely planned for any before that. She was out-organized in Iowa and South Carolina, and engaged in the pettiest form of politics in Florida and Michigan. Her fundraising operation was very pre-Internet. She has no message that isn't about her and the Republicans. Her trump card - Bill - managed to foment a 27 point loss in South Carolina. The Clintons, we can now safely say, got lazy. Or rather their old and now forgotten lackadaisical attitude toward governing returned like a persistent flu to campaigning. We tend to forget that their entire governing agenda after 1994 was essentially finessing Gingrich and battling impeachment. (Their entire agenda before 1994 was successful Eisenhower economics, and disastrous Hillarycare). It's been fifteen years since the Clintons actually stood for a coherent message, and it turns out they had forgotten that you kind of need that for a presidential run.

How did they come this close to losing this? They had all the money, all the contacts, all the machine levers, the entire establishment, the biggest Democratic name in decades, and they've been forced into a humiliating death-match by a first-term black liberal with a funny name. It seems obvious to me that the Clintons blew this because they never for a second imagined they could. So they never planned to fight it. Once put in a fair contest, they turned out to be terrible campaigners, terrible politicians, bad managers, useless executives, wooden public speakers. If you're a Democrat, that's good to know, isn't it? All that bullshit about Day One and experience? In retrospect: laughable.

Pink Floyd Versus Hillary Clinton

Pink Floyd elucidates some of the problems with Hillary Clinton's accusations against Barack Obama at her strange press conference yesterday.

h/t to Kevin C. Murphy at Ghost in the Machine. Kudos to jedreport for the video.



Obama himself responded to her attacks. This from MSNBC's FirstRead:

Saying that the mailers had been out for weeks, Obama suggested that Clinton’s fiery reply this morning may be a political stunt rather than a genuine reaction. “I am puzzled by the sudden change in tone. Unless these were just brought to her attention, it makes me think that there’s something tactical about her getting so exercised this morning."

He added: “And unlike some of the attacks that have been leveled about me that have been debunked by news organizations, these are accurate. Sen. Clinton, as part of the Clinton Administration, supported NAFTA. In her book, she called it one of the Administration’s successes. And we point that out in a state that has been devastated by trade and has been deeply concerned about the position of candidates on trade.”
UPDATE: Here's a clip of Obama responding yesterday during a speech in Akron, Ohio.

Just doing a little digging around on LexisNexis, I found a November 15, 1993 article from Business Wire entitled, "National Association of Women Business Owners endorses the North American Free Trade Agreement," which details Hillary Clinton's White House meeting with the organization to discuss NAFTA. Hard to imagine Clinton speaking out against it, considering NAWBO endorsed the plan a few days later.
On Nov. 10, 1993, Aldape and a large contingent of NAWBO members, met with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and other members of the Cabinet at the White House for a briefing on the NAFTA. The First Lady underscored the importance of the support of women leaders in an issue of such importance to the nation, and the importance of their being part of the debate. On behalf of NAWBO, Aldape presented the First Lady with an NAWBO pin.
We might know more about this meeting and other Hillary Clinton efforts on behalf of NAFTA during the critical push by the administration in the autumn of 1993, but her White House records from that time period, including her closed-door work on Health Care reform, are still being kept from the public. (See this Los Angles Times article from last August: "Hillary Clinton White House records still locked up. Achivists say former first lady's documents can't be released until after the '08 election despite promises of transparency.")

More interesting to me than the attacks, which are just more of Clinton's desperation tactics like the ridiculous plagiarism issue, was her demeanor during the press conference yesterday. The stark difference between her supposedly "warm" and conciliatory moment at the end of the debate on Thursday night and her raging countenance yesterday exemplifies some of the internal divisions within her campaign over how to deal with Brack Obama - play nice or go dirty. Personally, I think it makes her and her campaign staff all look schizophrenic and unstable.

Could yesterday's press conference be her Howard Dean moment?

And, really, Karl Rove? This coming from the Clintons? But I'll let others go into more detail on that regard.

Liam has had enough. The man is always much more rational and even-keeled than I am when it comes to politics, so I take his rage to be a sign of something. Not sure what, but I know it has to be important.

Kevin at Ghost in the Machine chronicles several of the ways in which the Clinton campaign has dipped into the Karl Rove playbook.

The Audacity of Hopelessness

In his Sunday column, Frank Rich provides a good portrait of how Obama has out-campaigned the Clintons. Like Bush's misadventure in Iraq, Hillary declared victory early (It would "be over by Feb. 5") and wasn't prepared for the aftermath: "[T]here was no contingency plan. She had neither the boots on the ground nor the money to recoup."

Clinton fans don’t see their standard-bearer’s troubles this way. In their view, their highly substantive candidate was unfairly undone by a lightweight showboat who got a free ride from an often misogynist press and from naïve young people who lap up messianic language as if it were Jim Jones’s Kool-Aid. Or as Mrs. Clinton frames it, Senator Obama is all about empty words while she is all about action and hard work.

But it’s the Clinton strategists, not the Obama voters, who drank the Kool-Aid. The Obama campaign is not a vaporous cult; it’s a lean and mean political machine that gets the job done. The Clinton camp has been the slacker in this race, more words than action, and its candidate’s message, for all its purported high-mindedness, was and is self-immolating.

The gap in hard work between the two campaigns was clear well before Feb. 5. Mrs. Clinton threw as much as $25 million at the Iowa caucuses without ever matching Mr. Obama’s organizational strength. In South Carolina, where last fall she was up 20 percentage points in the polls, she relied on top-down endorsements and the patina of inevitability, while the Obama campaign built a landslide-winning organization from scratch at the grass roots. In Kansas, three paid Obama organizers had the field to themselves for three months; ultimately Obama staff members outnumbered Clinton staff members there 18 to 3.

In the last battleground, Wisconsin, the Clinton campaign was six days behind Mr. Obama in putting up ads and had only four campaign offices to his 11. Even as Mrs. Clinton clings to her latest firewall — the March 4 contests — she is still being outhustled. Last week she told reporters that she “had no idea” that the Texas primary system was “so bizarre” (it’s a primary-caucus hybrid), adding that she had “people trying to understand it as we speak.” Perhaps her people can borrow the road map from Obama’s people. In Vermont, another March 4 contest, The Burlington Free Press reported that there were four Obama offices and no Clinton offices as of five days ago. For what will no doubt be the next firewall after March 4, Pennsylvania on April 22, the Clinton campaign is sufficiently disorganized that it couldn’t file a complete slate of delegates by even an extended ballot deadline.

This is the candidate who keeps telling us she’s so competent that she’ll be ready to govern from Day 1. Mrs. Clinton may be right that Mr. Obama has a thin résumé, but her disheveled campaign keeps reminding us that the biggest item on her thicker résumé is the health care task force that was as botched as her presidential bid. . . .

As for countering what she sees as the empty Obama brand of hope, she offers only a chilly void: Abandon hope all ye who enter here. This must be the first presidential candidate in history to devote so much energy to preaching against optimism, against inspiring language and — talk about bizarre — against democracy itself. No sooner does Mrs. Clinton lose a state than her campaign belittles its voters as unrepresentative of the country.

Bill Clinton knocked states that hold caucuses instead of primaries because “they disproportionately favor upper-income voters” who “don’t really need a president but feel like they need a change.” After the Potomac primary wipeout, Mr. Penn declared that Mr. Obama hadn’t won in “any of the significant states” outside of his home state of Illinois. This might come as news to Virginia, Maryland, Washington and Iowa, among the other insignificant sites of Obama victories. The blogger Markos Moulitsas Zúniga has hilariously labeled this Penn spin the “insult 40 states” strategy.

The insults continued on Tuesday night when a surrogate preceding Mrs. Clinton onstage at an Ohio rally, Tom Buffenbarger of the machinists’ union, derided Obama supporters as “latte-drinking, Prius-driving, Birkenstock-wearing, trust-fund babies.” Even as he ranted, exit polls in Wisconsin were showing that Mr. Obama had in fact won that day among voters with the least education and the lowest incomes. Less than 24 hours later, Mr. Obama received the endorsement of the latte-drinking Teamsters.

If the press were as prejudiced against Mrs. Clinton as her campaign constantly whines, debate moderators would have pushed for the Clinton tax returns and the full list of Clinton foundation donors to be made public with the same vigor it devoted to Mr. Obama’s “plagiarism.” And it would have showered her with the same ridicule that Rudy Giuliani received in his endgame. With 11 straight losses in nominating contests, Mrs. Clinton has now nearly doubled the Giuliani losing streak (six) by the time he reached his Florida graveyard. But we gamely pay lip service to the illusion that she can erect one more firewall. . . .

The single biggest factor in Hillary Clinton’s collapse is less sexism in general than one man in particular — the man who began the campaign as her biggest political asset. The moment Bill Clinton started trash-talking about Mr. Obama and raising the specter of a co-presidency, even to the point of giving his own televised speech ahead of his wife’s on the night she lost South Carolina, her candidacy started spiraling downward.

What’s next? Despite Mrs. Clinton’s valedictory tone at Thursday’s debate, there remains the fear in some quarters that whether through sleights of hand involving superdelegates or bogus delegates from Michigan or Florida, the Clintons might yet game or even steal the nomination. I’m starting to wonder. An operation that has waged political war as incompetently as the Bush administration waged war in Iraq is unlikely to suddenly become smart enough to pull off that duplicitous a “victory.” Besides, after spending $1,200 on Dunkin’ Donuts in January alone, this campaign simply may not have the cash on hand to mount a surge.

The implosion of her campaign is taking its toll on those around her. From the New York Times lead article this morning, "Somber Clinton Soldiers On as the Horizon Darkens":

There is a widespread feeling among donors and some advisers, though, that a comeback this time may be improbable. Her advisers said internal polls showed a very tough race to win the Texas primary — a contest that no less than Mr. Clinton has said is a “must win.” And while advisers are drawing some hope from Mrs. Clinton’s indefatigable nature, some are burning out.

Morale is low. After 13 months of dawn-to-dark seven-day weeks, the staff is exhausted. Some have taken to going home early — 9 p.m. — turning off their BlackBerrys, and polishing off bottles of wine, several senior staff members said.

Some advisers have been heard yelling at close friends and colleagues. In a much-reported incident, Mr. Penn and the campaign advertising chief, Mandy Grunwald, had a screaming match over strategy recently that prompted another senior aide, Guy Cecil, to leave the room. “I have work to do — you’re acting like kids,” Mr. Cecil said, according to three people in the room.

Others have taken several days off, despite it being crunch time. Some have grown depressed, be it over Mr. Obama’s momentum, the attacks on the campaign’s management from outside critics or their view that the news media has been much rougher on Mrs. Clinton than on Mr. Obama.

And some of her major fund-raisers have begun playing down their roles, asking reporters to refer to them simply as “donors,” to try to rein in their image as unfailingly loyal to the Clintons.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Beatles: I Am the Walrus

Just in one of those moods . . . . goo, goo ga-joob.

A clip of the song as performed in the 1967 film, Magical Mystery Tour.



You know, I've never actually seen Magical Mystery Tour. Originally broadcast on BBC1 on Boxing Day, 1967, the film was considered an unqualified disaster when it came out. And, from watching this clip, I think I can see why.

At least the song was weird enough to keep the visuals interesting. (I'm not sure what animal George Harrison is supposed to be in some of those sequences, but I find him terrifying.)

The song itself, however, has always been one of my favorite Beatles' tunes, even as a kid. Which probably explains why my mind's not quite right.

It was also one of John Lennon's own favorites. From The Beatles Anthology:

"I Am the Walrus" is also one of my favourite tracks - because I did it, of course, but also because it's one of those that has enough little bitties going to keep you interested even a hundred years later.

It's from "The Walrus and the Carpenter"; Alice in Wonderland. To me, it was a beautiful poem. It never dawned on me that Lewis Carroll was commenting on the capitalist system. I never went into that bit about what he really meant, like people are doing with the Beatles' work. Later, I went back and looked at it and realized that the Walrus was the bad guy in the story, and the Carpenter was the good guy. I thought, "Oh, shit, I picked the wrong guy." But that wouldn't have been the same, would it? "I am the carpenter..."
That's what happens, I guess, when you're taking LSD on a constant basis, as Lennon was at the time.

John goes on to talk about Bob Dylan's influence on the song:
In those days, I was writing obscurely, a la Dylan, never saying what you mean but giving the impression of something, where more or less can be read into it. It's a good game. I thought, "They get away with this artsy-fartsy crap." There has been more said about Dylan's wonderful lyrics than was ever in the lyrics at all. Mine, too. But it was intellectuals who read all this into Dylan or The Beatles. Dylan got away with murder. I thought, "I can write this crap, too."
I don't know, do people really over-analyze Dylan and The Beatles?

(Cough.)

From Wikipedia's entry on "I Am the Walrus":
The song also contains the unusual exclamation goo goo g'joob. Various unsatisfactory hypotheses exist regarding the origin and meaning of these syllables. One popular, yet impossible, claim is that the phrase was derived from the very similar "koo koo ka choo" in Paul Simon's song Mrs. Robinson, written in 1967. However, the film The Graduate, where "Mrs. Robinson" debuted, was not released until December 1967, a month after the release of "I Am the Walrus", and The Graduate Original Soundtrack (which contained only fragments of the final version of "Mrs. Robinson") was not released until January 1968.

Perhaps due to the close chronological timing of the release of the two songs, the "Walrus" chorus is often misquoted as "Mrs. Robinson"'s "koo koo ka choo", although the lyrics to "Walrus" were published as part of the Magical Mystery Tour EP packaging, so there is no debate to the actual lyric.

It has also been noted that James Joyce's Finnegans Wake contains the words googoo goosth at the top of page *557, where it appears:

...like milk-juggles as if it was the wrake of the hapspurus or old Kong Gander O'Toole of the Mountains or his googoo goosth she seein, sliving off over the sawdust lobby out of the backroom, wan ter, that was everywans in turruns, in his honeymoon trim, holding up his fingerhals...

It is not clear that Joyce is the source, or what it would mean if he were, but it has been a hypothesis put forward by fans of both artists alike.

Well, long live the absurdity and meaninglessness of "I Am the Walrus" anyway!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Online Poetry Reading

More shameless self-promotion. . . .

I'm featured this week at poetryvlog.com, an online journal with videos of poets reading their work.

I read three poems: two from my recent chapbook, A Brief Guide to American Poetry, and a short, newer piece. It's about six minutes in all. You'll need an updated version of QuickTime or Windows Media Player.

poetryvlog.com has a nice archive of all the poets who've been featured, including La Reina, Alexandra van de Kamp. Look for her work as well.

Peace!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oscars Quiz - The Great Directors

This coming Sunday, February 24, marks the 80th Annual Academy Awards. Time, then, to celebrate some of Oscar's glorious history.

1. Between them, Ernst Lubitsch, Alfred Hitchcock, Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, Akira Kurosawa, Stanley Kubrick, and Robert Altman were nominated 24 times for Best Direction. Which one of them won the most statues in this category?

2. Between them, Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini and Stanley Kubrick were nominated 17 times for Best Screenplay (Original or Adapted). Which one of them won the most statues in this category?

3. Not including honorary awards, Ernst Lubitsch, Alfred Hitchcock, Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, Akira Kurosawa, Robert Altman and Stanley Kubrick were nominated 49 times for various Oscars. How many statues did they take home?

4. How many Academy Award nominations has Jean-Luc Godard received?
(A) 0 (B) 1 (C) 2 (D) 5

Jean-Luc Godard


5. How many has Godard won?
(A) 0 (B) 1 (C) 2 (D) 5

6. How many Academy Award nominations has Jim Jarmusch received?
(A) 0 (B) 1 (C) 2 (D) 5

7. How many has Jarmusch won?
(A) 0 (B) 1 (C) 2 (D) 5

8. Between Michelangelo Antonioni, John Cassavetes, Charles Chaplin, Mel Gibson, Howard Hawks, Akira Kurosawa, and Orson Welles, who has won the most Academy Awards for Best Direction?

9. Who has been nominated the most times for an Academy Award for Best Direction?
(A) Billy Wilder (B) John Ford (C) William Wyler (D) Robert Altman (E) Martin Scorsese

10. Who has won the most Academy Awards for Best Direction?
(A) Billy Wilder (B) John Ford (C) William Wyler (D) Robert Altman (E) Martin Scorsese

Federico Fellini



Ingmar Bergman on the cover of Time.







Ernst Lubitsch





William Wyler









ANSWERS:

1. None of them ever won an Oscar for Best Direction. Hitchcock and Altman were nominated five times each for the award; Fellini four times; Bergman, Lubitsch and Kubrick three times; and Kurosawa once.

2. None of them ever won an Oscar for Best Screenplay. Fellini was nominated seven times; Bergman and Kubrick five times each.

3. One. Stanley Kubrick won for "Best Effects, Special Visual Effects" for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). His other 12 nominations didn't lead to any awards.

Fellini received 12 personal nominations without winning anything. Bergman received nine, Altman seven, Hitchcock five, Lubitsch three, and Kurosawa one.

Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940) won Best Picture, but the Oscar is given to the producer. Four Fellini films won Best Foreign Language Film (La Strada 1956; The Nights of Cabiria 1957; 1963; Amarcord 1974), as did three by Bergman (The Virgin Spring 1960; Through a Glass Darkly 1961; Fanny & Alexander 1983) and two by Kurosawa (Rashomon 1951; Dersu Uzala 1975), but, again, the statues are given to the producers.

4. Zero

5. Bigger zero.

6. Yeah, right.

7. He'll probably win an Oscar about the same time the Jets win the Super Bowl.

8. Mel Gibson. He won for Braveheart. The other directors in the list were each nominated once but did not win.

9. William Wyler. He was nominated 12 times for: Dodsworth (1936); Wuthering Heights (1939); The Letter (1940); The Little Foxes (1941); Mrs. Miniver (1942); The Best Years of Our Lives (1946); The Heiress (1949); Detective Story (1951); Roman Holiday (1953); Friendly Persuasion (1956); Ben-Hur (1959); and The Collector (1965).

He won for Mrs. Miniver (1942); The Best Years of Our Lives (1946); and Ben-Hur (1959).

Billy Wilder was nominated eight times, winning twice for and The Lost Weekend (1945) and The Apartment (1960).

David Lean and Fred Zinneman were each nominated seven times, both winning twice.

10. John Ford. He won four times for: The Informer (1935); The Grapes of Wrath (1940); How Green Was My Valley (1941) and The Quiet Man (1952). He was also nominated but did not win for Stagecoach (1939).




Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mexican American Democrats in Texas Endorse Obama

This from AP, via the Wichita Falls Times Record News:

Sen. Barack Obama has won the coveted endorsement of the Mexican American Democrats, the oldest Hispanic group among Texas Democrats.

In announcing its weekend decision, the Democratic group cited Obama's long-standing relationship with Hispanic community and commitment to improving the lives of Hispanics.

“The Mexican American community needs more that just Spanish-speaking candidates trying to get the Hispanic vote. We need candidates who are committed to improve the lives of Latino men, women and children whether citizens, legal residents or undocumented by writing polices that work for us,” said John Lopez, chairman of the group's endorsing committee.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has been counting on the Hispanic vote in Texas, campaigning in predominantly Hispanic regions and playing up her work 36 years ago registering Hispanic voters in Texas.

And Ted Kennedy journeys to South Texas tomorrow to garner support from Latinos, as the Houston chronicle reports:
Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., Obama's most prominent congressional supporter, will be in the Lone Star State for Wednesday events in Corpus Christi, McAllen and Laredo. Kennedy will remain in Texas on Thursday, the day of the pivotal Clinton-Obama debate in Austin, but his schedule has not been announced.
To make things in the Texas prima-caucus a little more interesting, here are two recent polls:

CNN: Clinton 50% - Obama 48%
SurveyUSA: Clinton 50% - Obama 45%

Texas might not be the firewall Clinton hoped for. Especially when combined with yesterday's news about the Clinton campaign's questionable planning for the Lone Star State.

According to a Washington Post article yesterday, the Clinton crew was surprised this month to discover the complex nature of the Texas Prima-caucus and how it might adversely affect Hillary.

Part of the Daily Dish response:
Good lord, let’s see if I have this right. The Clinton campaign decides to cede every post-Super Tuesday state to Obama under the theory that Texas and Ohio will be strong firewalls. After – after – implementing this Rudy-esque strategy, they “discovered” that the archaic Texas rules will almost certainly result in a split delegate count (at best).

While they were busy “discovering” the rules, however, the Obama campaign had people on the ground in Texas explaining the system, organizing precincts, and making Powerpoints. I know because I went to one of these meetings a week ago. I should have invited Mark Penn I suppose.
The New Republic chimes in one the same story:
You know, for a candidate who says she'll be ready on day one as president, her campaign is remarkably ill-prepared. . . .

So let me get this straight: The Clinton campaign basically decided to bank almost everything on Texas (along with Ohio), without bothering to do due diligence on the delegate apportionment procedures there? If she does wind up winning the White House, who's the lucky aide who gets to troop into the Oval Office and deliver the shocking news to her that we've got troops in Iraq.
Flaco Jimenez, from San Antonio, Texas
(Don't know who he's endorsed - just like his music.)
Y'all Come Back Now!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Obama the Campaigner

I had a sudden revelation this week: Barack Obama has out-campaigned the Clintons.

Think about that for a moment.

Whatever negative feelings some people have about Bill and Hillary Clinton, few would deny that they've been the best political animals the Democratic Party has produced since at least John F. Kennedy. You may not like their economic policies, Bill's bimbos, or Hillary's vote for the war, but they have been great at what they do.

And, up to this point in the 2008 election process, Barack Obama has outplayed them at the game in which they were considered champions.

1. He has raised more money.
2. He has out-organized them on the ground, winning almost all of the caucus states, most by huge margins.
3. He has used new technologies more effectively.
4. He has overcome a seemingly unbeatable political brand name.
5. He has done better at understanding the mood of the nation: "A Change You Can Believe In" tapping into what people want now more than "Ready from Day One."
6. He has generated more enthusiasm among his supporters and the media, despite going up against one of the most charismatic figures in Democratic poliitics in Bill Clinton.
7. He has out-gained them in elected delegates, number of states won, and the overall popular vote.

There's still a long way to go in the primaries, but what Obama has managed to do up to this point is impressive on several levels.

Like other people, I've been concerned about Obama's lack of experience, and harbored some doubt about how competent he might be as president. There's still a lot of The Unknown involved in imagining an Obama presidency, but I will say that I feel better today than I did a few months ago, or even at the start of the week. In particular, I'm impressed by his ability to organize and manage a complex campaign - and to do so successfully against highly skilled adversaries.

Mark Halperin touched upon the topic this week at his Time magazine blog, The Page. What made Halperin's observations even more interesting to me was knowing how much he respects Bill and Hillary Clinton as brilliant political players.

A few months ago, I read his book (with John Harris, of the Washington Post), The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008. He and Harris analyze the mistakes of the Gore and Kerry campaigns (and there were many). Then they show how Karl Rove and the Clintons have been so successful running political campaigns in the midst of "The Freak Show," the treacherous minefield of mainstream media, cable TV, talk radio, blogs, etc.

The entire last section of the book is dedicated to Hillary Clinton alone, not including the chapters on Bill and her together. Halperin says of Hillary, "No other figure in public life knows more of the Trade Secrets required to tame the Freak Show and limit its ability to destroy reputations." One of the chapters is entitled, "Mastering the Senate, and the Freak Show." He raves about her campaign for the Senate in 2000. After building her up over six chapters, Halperin concludes by saying, "[S]he will be a formidable candidate, with significant advantages over every other plausible Democratic candidate, and over every plausible Republican candidate, with the exception of John McCain."

He lists six assets at her disposal:

1. Fund-raising ability
2. Name recognition
3. Being the Only Woman in the Race
4. Having the Best Political Strategist in the Democratic Party (Bill)
5. Knowing the Trade Secrets of Bill and Karl Rove.
6. Being a Freak Show Veteran

That's why Halperin's column this week, Sixteen Underappreciated Obama Advantages, made such an impression:

Obama’s February momentum, favorable press coverage, surging delegate totals, immunity from “Obama Fatigue” (particularly when compared with the unexpected, intense levels of Clinton Fatigue and Clinton animus within the Democratic Party), and still-viable donors are getting a lot of attention, but what else does he have going for him (that campaign watchers are not appreciating to the fullest)?

1. A clear, consistent, constant message frame — change — that is patently inspirational and plays most favorably in the current media and electoral environments.

2. A strategic vision of how to win that hasn’t changed since day one – almost exactly a year ago.

3. The ability to arouse unqualified pride, excitement, and righteousness in his supporters (new voters, old voters, and superdelegates alike), who enjoy feeling fashionably forward-looking and passionate about politics.

4. A coalition no one has ever put together before in a Democratic nomination fight – the most loyal Democrats (blacks) and the least loyal ones (Volvo suburbanites).

5. A candidate with the skill to both write and deliver moving, eloquent, historic-feeling and momentum-inducing speeches at pivotal moments (victory speeches, major rallies, crucial battlegrounds).

6. A tight-knit staff that never fights with each other publicly and rarely in private – who respect and like each other.

7. No single, dominant strategic thinker who sets the campaign agenda, inspires eye-rolling and resentment among colleagues, and whose decisions are second-guessed.

8. A candidate who trusts his staff — and never wonders if they are working hard enough on his behalf, or questions their devotion.

9. A candidate with an uncanny natural sense — rare in someone so new to national politics — of timing, pacing, rhythm, and tone.

10. A candidate who generally has fun on the campaign trail — and shows it (even when he is tired).

11. Less bureaucracy.

12. The ability to control most leaks, and roll out endorsements and other announcements on the campaign’s own terms.

13. The ability to raise millions without requiring precious time from the candidate.

14. True grassroots organizing, often without direction from headquarters — both on the Internet and in real life (including canvassing and “visibility” activities).

15. A home base in Illinois–there are far fewer political distractions in Chicago than in Washington.

16. An electorate that seems oddly indifferent to conventional norms of preparedness for the job of commander-in-chief — and which appears even more indifferent to the existence (or absence) of detailed policy prescriptions despite the grave problems confronting the nation.

I don't know what's going to happen in Democratic primaries. Tuesday's vote in Wisconsin seems pivotal to me. If Obama Wins, I think he will be our next president. (Yeah, I know, a big prediction.) But if Hillary manges to win, and it's a very close race, Obama will lose most of his momentum, with two weeks of press coverage to remind everyone of that fact, before heading into Texas and Ohio, two states where he could not do that well. If Clinton wins Wisconsin, this could easily turn into a bloody battle all the way to the convention. And I fear the worst for the party should that be the case.

But whatever happens from here on out, I think Barack Obama has done something incredible. Anyone who can out-duel the Clintons has some pretty serious political chops. He's going to be a force for some time to come.

P.S. A Texan's style endorsement: The guy actually looks good in a cowboy hat. No small matter.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The ZONE Primary

Forget Wisconsin and all that talk about Texas and Ohio. The only Primary that matters is the ZONE Primary. Vote NOW. (Look over on the right.)

THE CANDIDATES:

Tom Waits (Rain Dog Party)

Has consistently done well with returning vets and Salvation Army Band girls.

Tom discusses his economic policy
with some . . . emus?



Thelonious Monk (Epistrophy Party)

Has garnered early support from younger voters, older voters, minimalists, and hep cats.

What is Epistrophy? Monk lays out his platform.



Yma Súmac (Inca Princess Party)

Has a devoted base that consists of fans of obscure music, lovers of kitsch, and young men who haven't realized yet that they're homosexual. Can she attract soccer moms?

In this town hall meeting, Yma shows her ability to communicate with both the educated upper class and poor indigenous people with funny hats.

Harpo Marx (Harpo Party)

Does surprisingly well with women. Also has strong support among older New York Jews nostalgic for their childhood. Completely dominates the amateur harpist vote.

Harpo speaks! Surprising views on gun control.

T.S. Eliot (J. Alfred Prufrock Party)

A sexy, charismatic "rock star" who delivers impassioned speeches that critics claim are vague and filled with fluff. It's still unclear how voters will respond to his friendship with an American-born Fascist who made treasonous radio broadcasts against the United States during World War II.

Eliot delivers one of his fiery stump speeches.
(Warning: Do not watch this while drunk or on drugs. Something's not quite right.)

UPDATE: Results of the ZONE Primary . . .

A higher turnout than expected, with 17 votes cast. This was due mainly to superior organizing on the part of the Tom Waits campaign, specifically a link from a Tom Waits blog.

One crucial advantage Waits had over the other 4 challengers: he was the only living candidate. Though I'd argue that a dead Yma Sumac still would've done less damage to the planet than a living George W. Bush.

Tom Waits for President. Doesn't sound bad at all.

Tom Waits: 7 (41%)
Harpo Marx: 4 (23%)
Thelonious Monk: 3 (17%)
Yma Sumac: 2 (11%)
T.S. Eliot: 1 (5%)

No Votes for Obama in Harlem

New York Times: Unofficial Tallies in City Understated Obama Vote

Black voters are heavily represented in the 94th Election District in Harlem’s 70th Assembly District. Yet according to the unofficial results from the New York Democratic primary last week, not a single vote in the district was cast for Senator Barack Obama.

That anomaly was not unique. In fact, a review by The New York Times of the unofficial results reported on primary night found about 80 election districts among the city’s 6,106 where Mr. Obama supposedly did not receive even one vote, including cases where he ran a respectable race in a nearby district.

City election officials this week said that their formal review of the results, which will not be completed for weeks, had confirmed some major discrepancies between the vote totals reported publicly — and unofficially — on primary night and the actual tally on hundreds of voting machines across the city.

In the Harlem district, for instance, where the primary night returns suggested a 141 to 0 sweep by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the vote now stands at 261 to 136. In an even more heavily black district in Brooklyn — where the vote on primary night was recorded as 118 to 0 for Mrs. Clinton — she now barely leads, 118 to 116.

The history of New York elections has been punctuated by episodes of confusion, incompetence and even occasional corruption. And election officials and lawyers for both Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton agree that it is not uncommon for mistakes to be made by weary inspectors rushing on election night to transcribe columns of numbers that are delivered first to the police and then to the news media.

That said, in a presidential campaign in which every vote at the Democratic National Convention may count, a swing of even a couple of hundred votes in New York might help Mr. Obama gain a few additional delegates. . . .

A number of political leaders also scoffed at the possibility that local politicians, even if they considered it vital that Mr. Obama or Mrs. Clinton prevail in the primary, were capable of even trying to hijack such a contest.

Still, for those inclined to consider conspiracy theories, the figures provided plenty of grist.

The 94th Election District in Harlem, for instance, sits within the Congressional district represented by Charles B. Rangel, an original supporter of Mrs. Clinton.

Assemblyman Keith L. T. Wright, a Clinton supporter who represents the same area, said he was confident that there was an innocent explanation for the original count giving Mr. Obama zero votes.

“I’m sure it’s a clerical error of some sort,” Mr. Wright said.
(Cough.)

But to be fair:
City election officials said they were convinced that there was nothing sinister to account for the inaccurate initial counts, and The Times’s review found a handful of election districts in the city where Mrs. Clinton received zero votes in the initial results.
If New York City election officials say it's okay, then I'm sure there's nothing to worry about.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Adieu, Henri Salvador

Feeling a little triste this evening, as the wonderful singer and musician Henri Salvador has passed away. I wrote a post on Salvador just a few months ago and included a video of his beautiful song, "Syracuse." Here's part of what I wrote:

Salvador is an international artist who's sadly unknown in the U.S. (Surprise!) He started performing in the 1930s and just released his new album, Révérence, a few months ago, which was given 4 stars in The Guardian, and includes performances with Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil.

The man is 90 years old. And his voice is still incredible!

His version of the French chanson style has included elements of jazz and Brazilian music, and his own career has been long, varied, and fascinating. He played with Django Reinhardt back in the 1930s; won the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque de l'Académie Charles Cros in 1949; wrote over 400 songs with Boris Vian in the 1950s, the two of them basically introducing the French to rock and roll; had several "novelty song" hits; performed on the Ed Sullivan show here and had his own popular television show in France; did a series of children's albums in in the 1970s; and recorded with Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, and most recently, with Rosa Passos, on her highly regarded - and sexy (lovers, take note) - album, Amorosa.
Here's the title song from his 2002 album, Chambre avec vue, which was released in a slightly different form in the U.S. as Room With a View (Blue Note.) It's a gorgeous, relaxed album, and I strongly recommended it. Perfect for a summer evening.



There's a good biography of Salvador at AllMusic. He was an interesting man; it's definitely worth reading his story.

And here's an Associated Press article from today, written by Jenny Barchfield: "French crooner Henri Salvador dies at 90."
PARIS - Henri Salvador, the velvet-voiced French musician credited with inspiring the bossa nova, bringing rock 'n' roll to France and helping create the music video, died Wednesday, his record label said. He was 90.

Salvador died at his Paris home of an aneurysm, said Carine Herve, of the Polydor label.

Salvador was known for his claps of booming laughter, raucous sense of humor, silken singing and incredible staying power. He worked past his 90th birthday last year and Polydor said he had planned to record a new album in 2008.

Innovation was a constant force in Salvador's long and varied life, which took him from France's South American enclave Guiana to Paris' most prestigious stages — and won the hearts of generations of French fans.

His honeyed voice appeared to defy the passage of time, remaining smooth and supple until the end. Salvador chalked it up to his technique.

"I don't sing, I whisper," he told The Associated Press in a 2006 interview. "When you whisper into the mike, you are able to transmit real feeling."

Whether he was singing jazz, blues, rock 'n' roll or chanson francaise — traditional French pop — feeling was the key ingredient in Salvador's prolific and varied music.

Salvador was born July 18, 1917, in French Guiana into a middle-class family. His father, a municipal tax collector of Spanish descent, and his mother, a Caribbean Indian, both came from the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.

The family moved to Paris when Salvador was 7.

He said a cousin played him records by Duke Ellington and Louis Armstong and, "I fell in love with their music." ... "At age 12, I found my calling."

Salvador persuaded his father to buy him his first guitar and he taught himself to play, practicing, he said, "17 or 18 hours a day, until my fingers bled."

The effort paid off when he auditioned for his first gig at 17.

"The head of the orchestra was blown away," Salvador said. "He asked me, 'Where did you come from?' and I told him, 'From my room.'"

Salvador would play in orchestras for more than a decade — he toured South America with famed French bandleader Ray Ventura — before striking out on his solo career in 1946, as France emerged from World War II.

A performer of mythic proportions in France, Salvador was also a star in Latin America — particularly in Brazil, where he was often credited with inventing bossa nova.

Salvador rejected that claim, insisting the late Brazilian jazzman Antonio Carlos Jobim invented the style. Still, he acknowledged Jobim struck on the concept behind bossa nova — slowing down samba's frenetic tempo — while listening to the classic Salvador number "Dans Mon Isle."

"When I recorded that little tune, holed up in my apartment in Paris, I could never have imagined it would change musical history," said Salvador. "For me, it was an extraordinary stroke of luck — and a great honor."

In the early 1950s, Salvador teamed up with two people who would mark his career, songwriter Boris Vian and Jacqueline Garabedian, who became his impresario and second wife.

With Vian, Salvador collaborated on more than 400 songs that ran the gamut of styles, from blues to French Caribbean beguines. The duo is also credited with importing rock 'n' roll to France, with the hit "Rock and roll mops."

Garabedian, who died in 1976, was a driving force behind Salvador's stardom. A savvy businesswoman, she understood the power of television and pushed her husband to embrace it. Salvador was among the first singers to set his songs to televised images, prompting some in France to call him the father of the music video.

In the 1970s, Salvador expanded his fan base with a series of children's albums that included the French-language soundtracks of Disney's "The Aristocats" and "Robin Hood."

Over the following decades, he continued to tour and churned out so many albums he said he had lost count of them.

Still, Salvador insisted he didn't worry about going down in musical history.

"I don't care a bit about that," he said. "When we disappear, the world still keeps turning. We are nothing."


Monday, February 11, 2008

Texas Two Step

It's not easy trying to figure out Texas' complicated primary/caucus/thing-a-majig that's going to be held on March 4. Or how it might affect the Democratic race.

Mary Mapes, sounding at times like Molly Ivins or Ann Richards, has an excellent and fun introduction in "Texas Time," at Huffington Post. It's worth reading the whole thing. Here's a Texas-size pecan chew of an excerpt.

[I]n a campaign where voters are already defying some of the old demographic breakdowns, Texas promises to give the pundits and campaign planners a run for their money, beginning with the most basic characterizations.

Texas is not the South. It is not the West. It is not the Southwest.

Texas is all those things, a heady blend of magnolia blossoms and masa harina; a place big enough and complicated enough to treasure both the Alamo and the dreams of millions whose lives began in Mexico. It has memorials to Civil War heroes and civil rights legends, border towns without running water and the latest thing from Barney's.

Texas is home to both big oil and big hair; sometimes to big, oily hair.

It is a warm, fun-loving, forgiving state, the kind of place where the vice-president can shoot someone in the face and the victim apologizes.

Clearly, it isn't easy to embarrass Texas. But it appears George W. Bush has finally done it. In a stark change from the public's attitude here a few years ago, now there are bumper stickers on family cars in grocery store parking lots that proclaim "Bush wasn't born here" and "George W. Bush is a failure."

The rest of the country may figuratively turn disgraced politicians into piñatas, but in Texas, the transformation is literal. In fact, a party store in Austin will custom-make a George W. Bush piñata for you for only 23 dollars. Don't ask how I know this.

The Democratic race is going to be more complicated and more unpredictable because both candidates have huge built-in constituencies, good organizations and giddy support. Texas Democrats are almost hysterical at the heart-pounding possibility that the rest of the country will at long last pay attention to what they think. In addition to all that, no one knows how the hell the delegate count is actually going to work.

In typical Texas contrarian fashion, the primary rules read like a DNA chart. On the Democratic side, 228 delegates are up for grabs. But it's not that simple.

The state has both a primary and a caucus -- on the same day. And you can't caucus unless you voted in the primary. On primary night, 126 delegates will be determined based on voting results in each Senate district.

The number of delegates in each district is based on how many Democrats voted in the last two general elections in that district. Got that? Well, there's more.

The selection of another 67 delegates will begin at the caucuses that night and culminate at the state convention in June. The remaining 35 delegates are some kind of unique political life form that will evolve into actual delegates at the National Convention later that summer.

With rules like this, we may not know the division of Texas delegates until sometime after the new President is sworn in. Now that the state finally has its moment in the spotlight, it appears we will slowly drag our rear ends across the stage and reveal our delegate counts only when we are good and ready.

The candidates are already familiar faces. Barack Obama has been here raising money and making friends since long before he announced his candidacy. Hillary Clinton actually lived in Austin in 1972 while working for George McGovern. She knows the state and has racked up an impressive series of endorsements.

Hillary seems to be ahead in early polling. Texans, despite the state's conservative reputation, have never had any discomfort with women taking the reins. Texas women have been changing the world for a long time.

That creates a special challenge for Hillary Clinton.

Down here, she will have to live with the ghosts of Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Molly Ivins and Lady Bird Johnson. She will have to prove to voters that she has more in common with these iconic Texas political figures than with Ma Ferguson, the state's first female governor. Ferguson took over in 1925, several years after her husband was run out of office.

Actually, Hillary Clinton is nothing like Ma Ferguson. They have nothing but body parts in common. Still, by making that comparison, I get the chance to use a hilarious quote attributed to Ferguson during a debate on the use of Spanish in Texas public schools. She exhorted the state to require English, saying, "If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, then it is good enough for the children of Texas."

Which brings up another point. Texans expect candidates to be entertaining. They can be funny like Ann Richards, a charming rogue like Charlie Wilson, or personable like George W. Bush used to be.

Obama has that -- and something more. For Texans old enough to remember, he recalls Barbara Jordan -- not because of race, but because of the power of the spoken word. Decades ago in her campaigns for Congress, in small towns and large cities, in front of crowds who gathered at courthouses and on street corners, she became a political legend by reminding people of why they loved their country. She led old men in sweat-stained cowboy hats to weep openly at the beauty of the Constitution, the power of the American people, the depth of our belief in our own inherent decency.

Texans are still like that. They still like good speeches. They still like to cry in public. And they will always love politics.

To win in Texas, Democrat or Republican, there is really only one rule. Don't be dull. We certainly won't.

Marc Ambider has some interesting thoughts in "Texas's Unique Primaucus," from his blog on The Atlantic web site.
The delegate-rich districts are the most heavily liberal state senate districts. According to this calculation, they're in Austin and in two of the most concentrated African American parts of the state. Advantage: Obama.

Clinton will get plenty of support from Latino voters, but they tend to be more spread out and thus will see their votes somewhat diluted in the 31 separate primaries. In order to "win" -- both enough delegates and statewide, you need to organize what amounts to caucus-like campaigns in each of these districts.


The white vote in Texas will probably split, with Obama taking men and Clinton taking women. Though Latinos make up a slightly larger share of the electorate than African Americans, they tend to vote in lower proportions.


Suffice it to say: whatever you call Texas's system -- a hybrid, a primacaucus, whatever -- do not assume that, because it's a big state and the media calls it a primary, the math favors Hillary Clinton.
Y'all Come Back Now!

Like Hope, But Different

Oh man, I do love the internet. There are so many creative people out there.

If you haven't seen this yet, you really should.

If you haven't seen the original "Yes, We Can" video this is riffing on, journey here.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Shut Up and Eat Your Kinks



The Kinks: "20th Century Man"
from Muswell Hillbillies (1971)

This is the age of machinery,
A mechanical nightmare,
The wonderful world of technology,
Napalm, hydrogen bombs, biological warfare.

This is the twentieth century,
But too much aggravation.
It's the age of insanity.
What has become of the green, pleasant fields of Jerusalem?

Ain't got no ambition, I'm just disillusioned.
I'm a twentieth century man, but I don't wanna be here.

My mama said she can't understand me,
She can't see my motivation.
Just give me some security,
I'm a paranoid, schizoid product of the twentieth century.

You keep all your smart modern writers,
Give me William Shakespeare.
You keep all your smart modern painters,
I'll take Rembrandt, Titian, Da Vinci and Gainsborough.

Girl, we gotta get out of here,
We gotta find a solution.
I'm a twentieth century man, but I don't want to die here.

Girl, we gotta get out of here,
We gotta find a solution.
I'm a twentieth century man, but I don't want to be here.

I was born in a welfare state,
Ruled by bureaucracy,
Controlled by civil servants
And people dressed in grey.
Got no privacy, got no liberty,
Cause the twentieth century people
Took it all away from me.

Don't wanna get myself shot down
By some trigger happy policeman.
Gotta keep a hold of my sanity
I'm a twentieth century man, but I don't wanna die here.

My mama says she can't understand me,
She can't see my motivation.
Ain't got no security,
I'm a twentieth century man, but I don't wanna die here.

This is the twentieth century,
But too much aggravation.
This is the edge of insanity,
I'm a twentieth century man, but I don't wanna be here.