Bits n' bobs

News & Politics

Here's some things I've read and noted, and thought everyone else should too:

  • Didya know that the films "North Country," "Syriana" and "Good Night, Good Luck" were all financially backed by eBay billionaire Jeffrey Skoll? All of these films had some redeeming and fairly positive messages. Granted, all three were excessively maudlin and had poor plot construction (especially North Country!), but it's good that there's a billionaire willing to fund quasi-ideological major motion pictures other than Christ-inspired dreck like the "Chronicles of Narnia." The Washington Postprofiled Skoll over the weekend.

  • LiP Magazine's weekly Media Picks -- sent by e-mail -- consistently links to really, really excellent alternative stories (including, sometimes, AlterNet's pieces). You should sign up.

  • The conservative American Spectator has, in my mind, one of the best political gossip sheets around. The Prowler. The Prowler does not always tell the truth, and often exaggerates. But check out the bloody juices pouring out of this piece of red meat: "Ongoing attempts by Democrat Party Chairman Howard Dean to destroy Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ...According to knowledgeable DNC sources, [Howard] Dean about ten days ago was shown opposition research documents generated by the Republican National Committee more than three years ago, which laid out facts regarding Reid and his family's lobbying and ethical conflicts.Dean, according to the sources, was fascinated by the details, and asked that his staff research and independently confirm everything on the documents. 'Basically he oppo'd a member of his own party,' says a DNC source loyal to Dean."

  • John Dolan has a hilarious followup to the piece he wrote for AlterNet about James Frey.

  • Mozillafs' comment on one of my blog entries was: "People are stupid when polled. But when they're sat down, given all available information, and can deliberate with each other, they're just as smart -- if not smarter -- than the average politician." Yeah.
  • Lastly, my friend Joe Costello was kind enough to filter out some of the best stand alone points from Lawrence Goodwyn's masterwork, "The Populist Moment." Here are two. 1. "Insurgent movements are not the product of 'hard times'; they are the product of insurgent cultures. 'Hard times' demoralize people, making coherent politics even more difficult than normal." 2. "...[T]he third party, to be authentically democratic, had to be organized as a mass party with mass membership. It was organized instead, like all large American parties before and since, as a representative party, with elite cadres of party regulars dominating the organizational machinery from precinct to national convention."

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