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Lance Mannion
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Haven’t we seen Robert Downey Jr doing this in the Iron Man movies, not to mention The Avengers? Why, yes we have, and that’s the joke: Tony Stark and the Avengers have nothing on Hiro Hamada and his team of scientists turned superheroes in the latest cartoon feature from Disney, Big Hero 6. As cartoons featuring innocent-as-a-child, self-sacrificing, highly-weaponized flying robots go, Big Hero 6 is no Iron Giant. As cartoons featuring a team of superheroes learning to work together go, Big Hero 6 is no The Incredibles. But as cartoons featuring innocent-as-a-child, self-sacrificing, highly-weaponized flying robots and a team... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Lance Mannion
If David Brooks didn’t exist, liberals would have invented him. In fact, we did. Maybe it’s more accurate to say he invented himself on our behalf. Brooks’ job is not to provide a conservative voice to sing counterpoint in the generally liberal chorus of the New York Times editorial pages. It’s to provide liberal readers the fun of hearing the sound of our own voices. He writes a column and we react, in derision, in scorn, in anger---although his usual stuff is so slight it’s hardly worth getting angry about---with laughter, with snark, with a self-congratulating recitation of facts, with... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Lance Mannion
Via mental_floss. Hat tip to Matthias Rascher. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Lance Mannion
According to Iowa’s new Senator-elect, Joni Ernst, Iowa has changed a lot since I was in grad school there. It’s become a state of godless, selfish, callous, and uncharitable assholes who don’t go to church, don’t care about anybody but themselves, are indifferent to others’ suffering, neglect their own families, and can’t be bothered to give to food pantries or contribute to clothing drives. She doesn’t mention it but they probably don’t put anything in the boxes for Toys for Tots and make the Marines cry. Things were different when she was a young Hawkeye, of course, and all this... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Lance Mannion
Some one of these years I’m going to finish my review of Listen Up Philip. I’m getting there. It’s going to need pruning though. It’s on its way to being another patented Mannion movie review that takes longer to read than to watch the movie. Right now it includes an extended riff on the life of a young writer that probably won’t survive the final edit and which includes this bit: If you’re lucky you’ll have some true believers among your family and friends. They’ll support you and encourage you and love what you do. They’ll cheer your success and... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Lance Mannion
The summer that Coleman took me into his confidence about Faunia Farley and their secret was the summer, fittingly enough, that Bill Clinton’s secret emerged in every last mortifying detail---in every last lifelike detail, the livingness, like the mortification, exuded by the pungency of the specific data. We hadn’t had a season like it since somebody stumbled upon the new Miss America nude in an old issue of Penthouse, pictures of her elegantly posed on her knees and on her back that forced the shamed young woman to relinquish her crown and go on to become a huge pop star.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2014 at Lance Mannion
Tuesday, November 18.Another Tuesday, another with the New York State Thruway Authority. 240 miles up to Syracuse. 240 back. If you can help with the gas and tolls, it' be much appreciated. I thank you, my car thanks you, the Thruway authority thanks you, ExxonMobil thanks you, and, believe it or not, my students thank you. Really. They're always glad to see me hobble in the door. They like class. They like SCHOOL! What can I tell you? They're honors students. They're a little odd. So, if you want to make my students happy, and if you like what goes... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2014 at Lance Mannion
My favorite curmudgeonly travel writer curmudgeons his way back to Africa: But I had yet other reasons [for making the trip], just as pressing. The main one was physically to get away from people wasting my time with trivia. “I believe the mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things,” Thoreau wrote in his essay “Life Without Principle,” “so that all our thoughts be tinged with triviality.” In going away I wanted to frustrate the stalkers and pesterers, to be unobtainable and not live at the beck and call of emailers and phoners and people... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2014 at Lance Mannion
The Hudson River, looking east from the Newburgh waterfront. Ten-thirty this morning. Friday, November 14, 2014. Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2014 at Lance Mannion
Nancy Pelosi agrees with me. That wasn’t a Republican wave washing through last Tuesday. I think she agrees with me. It depends. It depends on what she means by a wave. It depends on what I mean by a wave. I mean “Something the conventionally wise in the political press corps want to think happened but I think didn’t happen.” What happened was that in a low-turnout election in states with a lot of Republicans more Republicans didn’t not turn out than Democrats; as a result, Republican candidates got more votes.” The question is, what do the conventionally wise think... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2014 at Lance Mannion
“Strontium atoms floating in the center of this photo are the heart of the world's most precise clock. The clock is so exact that it can detect tiny shifts in the flow of time itself.” Photo via NPR, courtesy of the Ye group and Brad Baxley/JILA. From NPR: This new clock can keep perfect time for 5 billion years. "It's about the whole, entire age of the earth," says Jun Ye, the scientist here at JILA who built this clock. "Our aim is that we'll have a clock that, during the entire age of the universe, would not have lost... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2014 at Lance Mannion
The world doesn't really get stupider with each passing year, it's just as you age it gets harder to ignore the stupid. It's like walking up stairs. They don't add more steps. You just can't take them two at a time anymore. Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2014 at Lance Mannion
Tuesday. November 11. New posts below. But before you scroll down, please read this.O Dark Thirty and time to pack up the Manniomobile and get on the road to Syracuse. A little help with the gas and tolls would be much appreciated. As I've been saying, in a few weeks things are going to start looking up here in Mannionville and I'll have news about that Thursday. But until things get better, they're going to continue to be very difficult. If you like what goes on around here and you can swing it, please consider making a donation. It'd be... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2014 at Lance Mannion
Downpuppy, you think the Massachusetts legislature's going to go along with all that?
CheezWhiz, I don't know that much about Scientology but I like your engram metaphor. Chris, I wouldn't have voted for Coakley! But let me ask you, what are the odds MA, IL, MI, and MD will go red in 2016? The MA governor's race was a local election. So was IL's and MI's. If the voters in those states were thinking nationally, why did they elect Democratic senators? And liberal Democrats at that?
S McCoy, :) Yes, I meant Obama. Chris seems to be holding up pretty well. FTR, I'm not a big fan of Matthews either. He's too much of a sentimentalist and he blows hot and cold. Too hot and too cold. And of course I'm disappointed. I wouldn't be a good liberal if I wasn't permanently disappointed. But if you're asking if I'm disappointed that the Republican controlled House hasn't done anything but vote to repeal the ACA, name post offices, shut down the government, cut the budgets of vital services like the CDC, and find meaner ways to screw the poor and unfortunate and that Republican senators have been filibustering everything that crosses their desks including birthday cards from their kids, then you bet I'm disappointed. And I think Obama has been doing all three all along. I just wish he'd been a bit better at emphasizing his party.
Oh boy! More fun with maps! This is the map of Massachusetts showing the results of the gubernatorial election in which the Republican wave carried away the Democratic nominee, Martha Coakley, drowning her hopes forty-one thousand votes deep. That’s about as close to the bottom of the sea as a Democrat in Massachusetts can get. And people have been pointing to her loss as evidence that this year’s election was a Republican wave. Look! A Republican governor in the bluest of blue states! That must mean the tide’s turned everywhere! Mitt who? Massachusetts has a tradition of electing Republican governors... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2014 at Lance Mannion
S McCoy, that post is already in the works, but... I wouldn't have voted for Martha Coakley. But Ed Markey was re-elected Senator and in Illinois Dick Durbin was too. In Colorado, Hickenlooper was re-elected governor, by 11k more votes than Gardner was elected Senator. Maryland I don't really understand, but, my post is actually going to be a lead in to an article that tries to explain it. You can ask me what Michigan and Wisconsin are doing with Republican governors, and I'll ask back what are West Virginia and Kentucky doing with Democratic ones? Until Tuesday, we could ask what was Pennsylvania doing with a Republican governor and Arkansas with a Democratic one? What it adds up to is I agree with you, no over over-arching themes and not much should be read into the results. As for the President's becoming more unlikable: to whom? I like him better than I did during his first term. Chuck Todd of NBC doesn't like him. But I don't know anybody who likes Chuck Todd. Eye of the beholder, and all that. By the way, that was my friend Chris the Cop whose arguing with me about people becoming sick of the President in the comments on the previous post. You know what he has grown? Tired and older, a lot older.
Chris, I know there are millions of people who voted for Obama who are sick of him. There are millions of people who voted against him who aren't. They like him. You can find millions of people who think or do most anything. Because there are million and millions and millions of people in America. The questions are how many millions are you talking about, where are they, what did they actually do (e.g. vote Republican, stay home, hold thier noses and vote Democratic?), why did they do what they did, and what effect did they really have on the outcome? In all but 2 of the states where they won Senate seats they didn't need those millions of people to win. In Iowa and Colorado all they really needed was for Democrats, however they felt about Obama, to stay home. And they did. The question is did they stay home because they were sick of Obama or did they stay home because that's what Democrats tend to do in the midterms. Meanwhile, in all the states they won except Virginia, the Democratic senatorial candidates won handily despite any former Obama voters who might have grown sick of him. And in Virginia it was the case that Warner didn't get the turn out among African Americans he had in 2008 and I don't think there are many African Americans among those millions of people you're talking about. It's more likely tthey stayed home because they just never much cared that much for Mark Warner. We had pretty much this same discussion after the 2010 election. I said what that one mainly showed was the Democrats needed to come out to vote in midterm elections. You argued that it showed that millions of people were sick of the President and the Democrats. Then 2012 happened. The Moreland Commission sleaziness was just one more item on a long list. I never liked him. Only reason I voted for him 2010 was I really didn't like Paladino and I wanted to help make sure he got skunked good and proper and knew it. But as far as it goes an argument that you shouldn't vote for a New York politician because he's sleazy and corrupt is an argument you shouldn't vote at all. And, FTR, your wife is a very smart person.
Sometimes I have to write a post just to hear myself think so that I know what I think. This is one of those posts. I’m sorting some things out for future posts. First off, to repeat what I said Thursday. What happened Tuesday was that states that voted Republican in the 2012 Presidential election voted Republican again and states that voted Democratic in 2012 voted Democratic again, with two exceptions, Iowa and Colorado. There was almost a third, Virginia, which is going to be the point of this post. It’s just going to take me some time to get... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2014 at Lance Mannion
I don’t know about other New Yorker Democrats, but I didn’t vote against Andrew Cuomo because I was mad at President Obama. I voted against Andrew Cuomo because I was mad at Andrew Cuomo. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday blamed frustration with President Obama for the poor performance of Democratic candidates in New York, saying his victory fell short of a landslide because of discontent unrelated to the state. “This was a real Republican wave that went across the country,” Mr. Cuomo said in a radio interview, offering his first public comments on the election since his victory speech... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2014 at Lance Mannion
Oh, and Chris, a question for you: do you think Dan Maffei lost because people in Syracuse had had enough of President Obama, or because they'd had enough of Maffei, or because they thought Katko would make a better Congressman for them, or because most voters stayed home, or because they'd had enough of Andrew Cuomo and while they were voting on Line B for Astorino they said to themselves, What the hell, and just moved their pens over to the right and filled in the oval there?
Chris, not simply most Republicans. 80 percent of them. But they'd had enough of him by January 21, 2009. And "some" Democrats is about 17 percent, close to the 20 percent of Republicans who apparently haven't had enough of him. I'd say all of this works out to a canceling of itself out. As for the independents, you have to figure out which independents make up that plurality: the ones who usually vote Republican, the ones who usually vote Democratic, or the ones who can't make up their minds and bounce back and forth. If it's the closet Republicans plus the fickle types, then it hardly amounts to proof this was a referendum on the President, unless the opinions of the fickle types count more than everybody else's. The most important number is 36 percent. That's the percentage of eligible voters who bothered Tuesday. If the election was about the President, almost two-thirds of the electorate didn't care one way or another.
S McCoy, I sure hope that's what I meant, otherwise I've got a lot to answer for to the ghost of Shirley Chisholm. In my defense, as I mentioned at the top, I wrote the post before I had my coffee. Thanks for the catch. I revised the paragraph to reflect your and Audrey's corrections. Audrey, I think the Media wanted people to forget about Booker because his re-election is a bright spot for Democrats and the narrative was that there were no bright spots for Democrats. But it's worth remembering that back in the spring the Republicans were talking confidently about running the table and taking New Jersey as well as New Hampshire and Michigan and possibly even Minnesota and Oregon. It was still a bad night, but Booker, Jeanne Shahean, Gary Peters, Al Franken, and Jeff Merkley all winning, along with Brian Schatz out in Hawaii, Dick Durbin in Illinois, Ed Markey in Massachusetts, Jack Reed in Rhode Island, Chris Coons in Delaware and---the day wasn't even a total disaster for Democrats named Udall---Tom Udall in New Mexico is worth taking some satisfaction in, with the added benefit that it disrupts the narrative that America rejected the Democrats. Of course, it's the case that a bunch of blue states voted to keep their blue senators, but still we weren't meant to notice even that because only red states count as real America.
Audrey, AAAAAGGH! Thank you! An inexcusable moment of airheadedness on my part. I made a quick correction. I have to go out right now but when I get back I'll fix it properly giving you credit for the catch.