insertpaperI know people who like New Jersey but I can’t say I’ve ever heard any of them hold the state up as a sparkling land of modesty and temperance.  But there’s always Gov. Chris Krispy:

For the people who are enamored with the idea with the income, the tax revenue from [legalized marijuana], go to Colorado and see if you want to live there. See if you want to live in a major city in Colorado where there’s head shops popping up on every corner and people flying into your airport just to come and get high. To me, it’s just not the quality of life we want to have here in the state of New Jersey and there’s no tax revenue that’s worth that.

Somehow this reminds me of a joke from Miss Congeniality:

Vic: Why is New Jersey called “The Garden State”?

Gracie: Because “Oil and Petrochemical Refinery State” wouldn’t fit on a license plate?


I agree entirely with DougJ. I just think that Gregory is the wrong kind of boring, whereas Bob Schieffer is the right kind of boring. Schieffer is a decent newsman who simply lacks much in the way of dynamism (i.e. the right kind of boring for that audience), while Gregory lacks dynamism and journalistic skill. It’s impossible to even pretend you’ve been informed after watching him talk about politics, so why would you bother? Also, the Times article notes that under Gregory the show has “modernized” by shortening segments and making them discrete, while it fails to mention is basically how all cable news is structured, so this “modernization” managed to eliminate the show’s major distinguishing feature: long-form interviews. Hell, all of cable news has handsome hosts and panel discussions. Groupthink is not a strategy.

Doug also brings in the late Tim Russert, and while I never cared one way or the other for the guy when he was alive, I do kind of realize why people made a thing about him back then. Losing him meant losing one of the only famous MSM personalities who actually enjoyed confronting powerful people and was reasonably good at it. And he was willing to stay with a single person for a while. I could really go for a smarter version of Russert’s show with more diverse guests, but there I go again, dreaming.

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You never know with these things, but I do think that Michael Bloomberg’s plans to spend $50 million to build an NRA-killer gun control organization could only but have a positive impact. What we saw last year was that there are plenty of people who passionately want gun control, but absent an effective political organization the NRA was able to defeat their push. That kind of money can build an effective organization, and there is certainly a demand for it. The Times article oddly quotes a bunch of people who are skeptical about the idea, but I really don’t see a downside here. At this point the fight is like the U.S. Army versus Grenada. There are open questions as to whether Bloomberg is the person to build a grassroots organization that can go toe-to-toe with one of the most evil organizations in America and whether his political strategy is perfectly sound, but at this point fighting back against the NRA requires serious resources and organization and this pushes it in the right direction.

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What are the hardest languages to learn?

hardest language

Source here.



The bullshit’s only this high right now.

Since it’s Jeb Bush season, it’s worth restating that, while wrong on the merits, conservatives who oppose comprehensive reform tend to have the politics of the issue right. There is an assumption that simply will not die that a Republican president who passes a humane round of immigration reform will be in a position to stop or even reverse the GOP’s slide with the Hispanic electorate, but this did not happen after George W. Bush’s sincere (if doomed) attempt to pass such a bill nor after Reagan’s actual, full-on amnesty bill: such attempts to give dignity to large numbers of people are more than balanced out by stuff like Prop. 187 and self-deportation. One step forward and one back, as the problem here is not one of mere willpower so much as a systemic one to do with the makeup of the GOP base. And needless to say, a grudging effort with one eye on the political advantages of passing the bill and the other on providing cheap labor to corporations with a guest program is hardly going to impress anyone. In any event, the GOP will not be able to outflank Democrats on the issue. The issue here is systemic, and while Bush seems to support immigration reform as a matter of principle it would take a mammoth amount of political capital to enact and wouldn’t ultimately help his party much. Also worth noting, Bush wouldn’t fix the GOP’s ideological problems (he seems to buy into neoconservative and laissez-faire assumptions as much as his brother), nor will he fix the problems posed by the conservative media-industrial complex (he will, in fact, have to appear on FOX News many times, as well as radio programs like Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, etc. but not Rush, because that typically means you’ve done something bad and need to apologize). The only real solution to all of these issues is coalition collapse due to attrition, and given how disastrously Bush’s brother’s rule turned out–due in part to his own personal failings but largely to the ideology he (and Jeb) subscribe to–a Jeb Bush presidency would undoubtedly hasten this along.

Watched the Ashton Kutcher-led Steve Jobs film over the weekend. It was pretty much an all-around debacle. Clearly the film was rushed into production to capitalize on nostalgia for Steve Jobs and his work, as all too many aspects of the film clearly show. The lighting and makeup are so bad that Kutcher sometimes seems to be made of wax, and the visual look of the film is often shadowy and unprofessional. The script feels unavoidably like a first draft, it’s full of super on-the-nose dialog that would make even Aaron Sorkin blush. It’s pretty much what you might expect, you know, “You hate me because I dream too big and you can’t understand me!” “Goshdarnit Steve, do you have any clue what all this ‘innovation’ is costing this company? Stop thinking about these crazy dreams and come up with something that will help bring up our stock price!” Stuff like that. Like all bad biopics it bites off way more than it can chew, dutifully ticking off the laundry list of Jobs’s life events from the early ’70s until the just before the launch of the iPod chronologically, rather than a thematic approach. That’s just a hell of a lot of time to cover, about three times as much as the last movie on the man (which split its around 90 minutes between Jobs and Bill Gates), and yet somehow it reveals less about what he accomplished than a TNT TV movie. The film is so rushed it glosses over just about everything, using montages to gloss sometimes over multiple years’ worth of Jobs’s life, and yet the film never is short enough on time to give us a Jobs Speech (TM), all of which are equally poorly delivered by Kutcher (as there been a worse on-screen motivational speech-giver since the great Scott Bakula?). At least 70% of the film consists of montages and speeches! This is a movie made by someone who clearly does not understand how to make movies.

As for Kutcher’s performance, this gives you a taste:

little reserved, wouldn’t you say? I won’t be too hard on the guy as this was an obvious miscasting, he’s obviously trying his best, but he’s doomed from the start. The movie wants to present Jobs as a man of few words and considerable presence, but Kutcher is not really the kind of actor with the presence to pull such a thing off, so it mostly comes off as Keanu Reeves-style blankness. And he’s no more convincing during angry scenes, in which he seems to be channeling Tom Cruise and William Shatner alternately when he yells. Bizarre. Then again, the film doesn’t present us with new information or a fresh angle on Jobs, and doesn’t even give a casual viewer much context for his considerable accomplishments. Its only value seems to be in sticking a pin in the zeitgeisty view of Jobs rather than in portraying him as a human being. It is, in other words, the purest of exploitation. But as a bad movie it is not unenjoyable, especially in noting:

  1. Kutcher’s way of walking hunched over–just like the real Steve Jobs–simply makes him look utterly ridiculous. There’s one shot where he walks hunched over with his hands steepled and looks almost like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. It’s about 3/4 of the way through when he’s back at Apple.
  2. Dermot Mulroney’s ridiculous wig:
  3. Relatedly, while the other characters get new haircuts as the years pass by, Kutch’s remains unchanged from beginning to end. It made me wonder if either Kutcher had contractually demanded he have bangs throughout the movie, or if (more likely) they ran out of hair and makeup budget.
  4. Kutcher’s shifting affectations for portraying a silently angry Steve Jobs, which include angrily straightening his pants, moving his legs under the table like a restless leg syndrome sufferer given speed, the aforementioned Tom Cruise shouting, etc. Like I said, he’s clearly trying his best, but it all feels very actor-y.
  5. Jobs’s (probably more accurate than not) personnel management criteria, in which simply asserting you are talented gets you on the top team, while questioning the importance of fonts gets you kicked off the team. Also, his betrayal of Mulroney at the end rather shocked me. Mulroney stuck by him the whole time. I guess he was too ambivalent?
  6. How Pirates Of Silicon Valley went through the same dramatic beats with considerably more energy, fun, and genuine insight than this film, taking about a third the time and a tiny fraction of the money.

jOBS is available on Netflix. Watch it or don’t. I’m much more interested in how the Aaron Sorkin/David Fincher film looks at his life. At least there should be some kind of take there.

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Mike Huckabee is sometimes labeled as being a funny guy, so the next time someone mentions it, just recall this. Jokes about women bein’ different for going to the bathroom together are so 1986, if they weren’t already hackeneyed by then. Also, Community handled this subject matter much more intelligently:

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