Monthly Archives: July 2009

Sarah Palin and Women/Joe Lieberman and Jews

HOWARD MEGDAL: A part of the reason Joe Lieberman disgusts me so much isn’t even his fault. He doesn’t ask to represent all Democrats, nor all Jews.

But over the past decade, his identification with both groups has been a cause of significant frustration for me, as someone who is also a member of both groups.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: My original intention with this piece was to deride Sarah Palin for the calculated way she presses her surface advantages—her physical attractiveness, her freshly-scrubbed all-American family, her love of hunting and other hearty outdoor sports. When Palin appeared next to John McCain in her bright, stylish and feminine outfits, she was a cheerful beacon of hope on the old, grey, male landscape of the Republican Party. Her appeal was broad— mothers admired her ability to nurture both her political future and her large family; lascivious old senators called her a spitfire. Gun nuts appreciated her sharpshooter skills, others liked her hair. She seemed like the perfect package—pretty and shiny, motherly and smart—charming when the occasion demanded it, but aggressive and enormously ambitious at the same time. Palin had it all. What could go wrong? Continue reading

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Barack Obama, Baseball Fan/George W. Bush, Baseball Fan

JESSICA BADER: To anyone who knows me, my enjoyment of President Obama’s participation in the All-Star Game festivities last week shouldn’t exactly be a big surprise. After all, I’m not only a huge baseball fan, but a supporter of Obama and many of the policies he stands for. But it wasn’t just the general idea of a president I voted for throwing out the first pitch at my favorite sport’s mid-season showcase that made me so happy; it was how at-ease and in his element Obama seemed with everything – hosting Willie Mays on Air Force One, meeting the likes of Prince Fielder and Ichiro before the game, chatting with Bob Costas, the pitch itself, even making it through a half-inning in the booth with Tim McCarver and Joe Buck –and what that represented.

HOWARD MEGDAL: In contrast with the joy Jessica feels about the baseball love from Barack Obama (which I fully share), the feeling I experienced whenever George W. Bush, whose presidency I loathed, and baseball, my foremost intellectual passion, crossed paths was best described as “extreme cringing”. Continue reading

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Multipart Discourse on Harry Potter

AKIE BERMISS: There was a time when I thought that Harry Potter was a bane against cultivation. That is, I found the obsession with the book laughable, childish, and detrimental to our mass cultural ability to take it high art. Admittedly, these were my young and foolish days. The days when I thought, for sure, that I’d be making high art (I have since learned that musicians do all kinds of things… but making high art ain’t one of ‘em). Eventually, I was seduce and it was oh-so-sweet to find myself in the captivating embrace of Harry Potter and the [insert magical object/concept here].

JILLIAN LOVEJOY LOWERY: Adaptation is a tricky thing, especially when you’re boiling down a 652 page book into a film that’s a watchable length. But somehow, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince hits all of the right notes — it’s well-acted, maintains the integrity of the book’s plot, has some pretty decent special effects and manages to inject a good deal of humor into what’s essentially a very dark tale. Continue reading

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Supreme Court Hearings: Not Umpires/I Miss the Good Old Days

JEFF MORROW: The umpire metaphor is the symbol of everything that makes Supreme Court confirmation hearings toxic. If we’re ever going to take the Supreme Court seriously, it’s time for the ump to retire.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I miss the crazy. Continue reading

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Roy Halladay: Worth the Farm?

CHRIS PUMMER: Unless that prospects bound for the Hall of Fame are going to help win games you very soon, you have to be willing to pull the trigger on a Halladay trade.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I don’t disagree with Chris’s point in the abstract whatsoever. Indeed, I was wholeheartedly in favor of both the Sabathia and Santana deals- particularly Santana, who fell to the Mets for secondary prospects at best.

But there are a pair of factors that have me thinking twice about Roy Halladay. Continue reading

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Harry Reid: Marshalling votes on health care or more of the same

CHRIS PUMMER: If Harry Reid had to twist arms alone, it wouldn’t done. That he’s got someone holding down the twistees means he won’t have to risk failure to make it happen.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I’ll believe it when I see it. Continue reading

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The Future of Sarah Palin

CHRIS PUMMER: I’d say the odds of Sarah Palin mounting a more successful presidential candidacy than Pat Buchannan did in 1996 are slim to none, with slim taking a break to pump iron with Dick Nixon.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Chris’s invoking of Richard Nixon is entirely appropriate, since observers dismiss Sarah Palin, as they did Richard Nixon again and again, at their peril. Continue reading

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Hitler Got Things Done: Yea or Nay?

HOWARD MEGDAL: I understand the desire to go after anybody who seems to be praising Hitler. But I think, as Jewish groups aim to stop anti-Semitism wherever it may spring up, we need to make up our minds: do we go after the Holocaust deniers, or Bernie Ecclestone, who clearly believes the exact opposite.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Here’s someone who knows how to look on the bright side of mass-murder!

Continue reading

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MLB All Star Slight: Cliff Lee Over Tim Wakefield

JESSICA BADER: For the opinionated baseball fan, the day the All-Star rosters are announced is Christmas in July, an event almost certain to provoke debate over some of the more eyebrow-raising decisions. Just as with the end-of-season awards, there are a few dominant schools of thought on what criteria should play a role in the decisions made by fans, players, and managers.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I certainly wouldn’t argue with Jessica’s carefully thought-out and argued reasoning. Cliff Lee, I am convinced, deserves an All Star slot on the numbers, rather than Tim Wakefield.

But I wholeheartedly support the inclusion of Tim Wakefield on the All Star roster. I think this is a special case. Continue reading

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Further Reflections on Michael Jackson

STEPHON JOHNSON: An exceptionally talented man-boy gets the send off he deserves. Whether or not you liked him or not, Michael Jackson represents what’s good and bad about America.

DAVE TOMAR: To consider the arc of a life that began in a state of abusive violence, careened into premature adulation and devolved into a bleak miasma of unspeakable allegations and crushing financial disarray is to realize that there is no limitation to how bad things can get. Continue reading

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