Posts Tagged ‘Washington D.C.’
Among the study’s other findings:
• While aging has a detrimental effect on reasoning and short-term memory, it leaves verbal abilities “completely unimpaired.”
• Smoking has a negative impact on verbal abilities and short-term memory but does not affect reasoning skills.
• People who play video games performed “significantly better” in terms of both reasoning and short-term memory.
• Products that are advertised to improve brain function aren’t effective. “People who ‘brain-train’ are no better at any of these three aspects of intelligence than people who don’t,” Owen said.
* We need DNA tests before you can vote: Iowa’s GOP Election Official Has Found Only 6 Examples Of Voter Fraud Out Of 1.6 Million Votes Cast.
* Somewhere in Portland, there’s a very old building, and that very old building has a very, very old basement. An incredible basement, a video-game-level basement, a set-decorator’s dream basement.
The headline reads, “Stink Bugs About to Overtake Washington, DC on ‘Biblical’ Level.”
* First, the big news: Casey Affleck has admitted I’m Still Here is a hoax. Shock! Terror!
* Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will hold “competing” rallies on the Mall in Washington, D.C., to restore sanity and keep fear alive respectively. I think this is a good idea and I’m glad they’re doing it, but it’s frustrating to once again see legitimate criticism of Bush equated with totally insane criticism of Obama in the name of “balance” and “moderation.”
* Our long national nightmare is finally over: Karl Rove has surrendered to Christine O’Donnell.
* Understanding the Tea Party, from Glenn Greenwald. A good pullquote: Given all that, I’d really like to hear what it is about Christine O’Donnell, or Sharron Angle, or any of these other candidates that sets them apart from decades of radical right-wing elected officials who came before them? They seem far more similar to me than different. When was this idealized era of GOP Adult Reasonableness?
* The first Earth-like planet orbiting another star will be announced in May next year, if the discovery of extrasolar planets continues at its present rate, say researchers Samuel Arbesman from Harvard Medical School in Boston and Gregory Laughlin at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Melissa Boteach, my colleague who focuses on poverty issues, points out that congress has the opportunity to act before things get even worse:
In just two weeks a job-creation engine known as the TANF Emergency Fund will expire, forcing states to begin shutting down successful partnerships with the private sector that have already created nearly a quarter-million jobs for low-income families. Congress must act before September 30 to extend the TANF Emergency Fund for another year and allow this innovative jobs program to continue.
Unfortunately, congress is typically more interested in the tax burden of millionaires than in the welfare of the poor and near-poor.
* Self-absorbed, self-indulged, and self-loathing, the Baby Boom generation at last has the chance to step out of the so-called Greatest Generation’s historical shadow. Boomers may not have the opportunity to save the world, as their predecessors did, but they can still redeem themselves by saving the American economy from the fiscal mess that they, and their fathers and mothers, are leaving behind. Via the latest MetaFilter post on the ongoing Third-Worldization of America.
* And All-Star Superman will be made into animated movie. I don’t know why it hasn’t been green-lit for the next live-action Superman yet. Jon Hamm could kill it.
* The Catholic Church cancels all spousal health benefits within Washington, D.C., in order to avoid giving gay married people benefits. This is the same organization that already threatened to stop all charity in the city if marriage equality became law and which really did shut down its orphanages rather than let gay people adopt. This is what loving your neighbor is all about. Via MeFi.
* I’ve said many times before that health care passes in a vote or dies in silence. If Democrats didn’t think they had the numbers, they wouldn’t bring the bill to the floor. Instead, they’d swear their fealty to the project but turn their attention to other priorities and schedule their speeches on other subjects. But that’s not happening. Democrats are setting up their process, giving speeches and interviews, adding Republican ideas, and setting new deadlines. They’re bringing this to a vote. And that means they’re confident that they’ll win the vote. My inclination is to say not even the Democrats can screw this up, but of course they’ll just take that as a challenge. Here’s more from Jonathan Chait.
* Mitt Romney is an all-time gold-medalist flip-flopper. Or, more directly, a liar.
* Judge Confirmed 99-0 After 124 Day Delay. Ladies and gentlemen, your U.S. Senate.
* And Sarah Palin makes another run at making my brain explode. Keep at it, Madame Governor, you’re almost there…
D.C. law requires recycling at all city buildings, though the law appears to stop at the threshold of all alleys. There, behind businesses and apartment complexes all across the city, this sloppy ritual goes down with striking regularity: In a blur of asses and elbows, workers throw stuff from green containers, black containers, and blue containers in the same truck, creating a jumble of trash and recycling that can never be de-mingled.
* Alan, who looks much younger than his 72 years, speaks in a meandering monotone, while Sylvia makes tea. “Sylvia is going to put arsenic in our tea.” It’s an ongoing joke, and one that gets to the nub of their problem. The cryonicists are not dying quickly enough, so the opportunity to hone their skills is limited. (via)
* I’ve had to remove the Amazon ads from the sidebar due to Amazon Associates now being taxed in North Carolina. I don’t know yet if I’ll bother replacing them with anything—they weren’t bringing in that much money. Direct donations still of course accepted.
* After something of a slow start with too many hi-I’m-reading-because posts, Infinite Summer is finally starting to heat up with good posts today on IJ and the Kenyon Commencement at Infinite Summer and Infinite Zombies.
* Did the failed Watchmen adaptation hurt book sales? Occasional Fish has gathered some links suggesting it might have.
* Letterman couldn’t resist some jokes at Palin’s expense last night.
* New B-movie, coming this fall: They Saved Jackson’s Brain!
* Things you may not have known about the late Robert McNamara: he was the one who told the world about the hydrogen bomb buried in the swamp outside Goldsboro, NC. (Via Dave F.)
* The New Organizing Institute is having a mock election running superheroes for DC mayor. Of course I’ll be voting for Superman, but the Green Lantern‘s wholesale ripoff of the Obama aesthetic gives me pause.
* Also in superhero news: You’re a fun-loving, high-maintenance girl that grew up in a New Jersey suburb. You live close enough to New York City to want the clothes and the cosmopolitan lifestyle, but you’re not brave enough to move away from you over protective parents. What’s a girl to do? If you’re Zoe, you marry the first God of War that crash lands in town during a life or death struggle with his evil adversary! But, what happens when even an all-powerful God can’t exactly measure up to your elevated expectations? Jersey Gods.
Playing catchup with the day’s news.
* With Caroline Kennedy officially out of the Senate race in New York, WPIX is reporting that Kirsten Gillibrand will be Paterson’s pick. If that’s true, I’m shocked—I would have bet anything that Paterson would pick Andrew Cuomo to neutralize his chief potential rival.
* The Dark Knight: Snubbed!
* At this very moment, miles beneath the surface of the ocean, there is a British nuclear submarine carrying powerful ICBMs (nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles). In the control room of the sub, the Daily Mail reports, “there is a safe attached to a control room floor. Inside that, there is an inner safe. And inside that sits a letter. It is addressed to the submarine commander and it is from the Prime Minister. In that letter, Gordon Brown conveys the most awesome decision of his political career … and none of us is ever likely to know what he decided.”
The decision? Whether or not to fire the sub’s missiles, capable of causing genocidal devastation in retaliation for an attack that would—should the safe and the letter need to be opened—have already visited nuclear destruction on Great Britain. The letter containing the prime minister’s posthumous decision (assuming he would have been vaporized by the initial attack on the homeland) is known as the Last Resort Letter. Via MeFi.
* Having seen Frost/Nixon, I can confirm the film has serious factual problems.
* I can also confirm that the Phillips Collection is a great (and surprisingly large) collection near Dupont Circle.
I’ll have a short piece in the Indy tomorrow about my experience in the crowd at the Mall, so for now I’ll limit myself to a few comments and some photos. We left Arlington a little later than we’d hoped—around 8:30—and so there was really not much chance to get into the Huge Crowd by the reflecting pool. (You can see in one of the photos just about as close as we got—past the Washington Monument there was just no going.) We settled in instead on 17th St NW right at the edge of the road, which turned out to be the perfect spot: not only was it right in front of a screen, but the cops were trying to keep 17th St clear and so no one was able to crowd in front of us.
There was a lot of waiting involved, but it was an amazing experience, if only to see Aretha Franklin belt out the best version of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” ever (land where my father died—she, too, sings America); to hear the loose live mic going out over the Mall for nearly the entire event; to see hilarious closed-captioning typos like “[CHEESE AND APPLAUSE]” and “♫ Threat ring”; trying to get an “underrated!” chant started after Jimmy Carter’s first appearance; and to hear Rev. Lowry’s show-stopping benediction:
‘Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around… when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen. Say Amen’…
And, you know, Obama. And Obamaniacs. I say this in the article, but it felt like liberation.
Now, of course, the real work begins.
Some of my best photos are of some nearby protesters, which I’ll have a separate post about. But for now, here’s a picture of our basic view:
A few of the people we shared the moment with:
Canadians! Who let them in?
• Atenolol, a beta-blocker used to treat cardiovascular disease
• Atrazine, an organic herbicide banned in the European Union, but still used in the US, which has been implicated in the decline of fish stocks and in changes in animal behaviour
• Carbamazepine, a mood-stabilising drug used to treat bipolar disorder, amongst other things
• Estrone, an oestrogen hormone secreted by the ovaries and blamed for causing gender-bending changes in fish
• Gemfibrozil, an anti-cholesterol drug
• Meprobamate, a tranquiliser widely used in psychiatric treatment
• Naproxen, a painkiller and anti-inflammatory linked to increases in asthma incidence
• Phenytoin, an anticonvulsant that has been used to treat epilepsy
• Sulfamethoxazole, an antibiotic used against the Streptococcus bacteria, which is responsible for tonsillitis and other diseases
• TCEP, a reducing agent used in molecular biology
• Trimethoprim, another antibiotic
So gross. (Via Boing Boing.)
* Johann Hari in Slate considers environmentalism’s great divide: the romantics vs. the rationalists.
* Bruce Springsteen is playing a free concert in DC one day before I get there for the inauguration. There is no justice.
* And Hendrick Herztberg notes in The New Yorker that the Bush years offer, for the first time, a precise measurement of the number of people who can be fooled all of the time: 27%.
The President-elect’s performance can’t fully explain the public’s welcoming view of him. Part of it, surely, reflects an eagerness to be rid of the incumbent. A gangly Illinois politician whom “the base” would today label a RINo—a Republican in Name Only—once pointed out that you can fool some of the people all of the time. We now know how many “some” is: twenty-seven per cent. That’s the proportion of Americans who, according to CNN, cling to the belief that George W. Bush has done a good job. The wonder is that this number is still in the double digits, given his comprehensively disastrous record. During the eight years of the second President Bush, the unemployment rate went from 4.2 per cent to 7.2 per cent and climbing; consumer confidence dropped to an all-time low; a budget surplus of two hundred billion dollars became a deficit of that plus a trillion; more than a million families fell into poverty; the ranks of those without health insurance rose by six million; and the fruits of the nation’s economic growth went almost entirely to the rich, while family incomes in the middle and below declined. What role the Bush Administration’s downgrading of terrorism as a foreign-policy priority played in the success of the 9/11 attacks cannot be known, but there is no doubting its responsibility for the launching and mismanagement of the unprovoked war in Iraq, with all its attendant suffering; for allowing the justified war in Afghanistan to slide to the edge of defeat; and for the vertiginous worldwide decline of America’s influence, prestige, power, and moral standing.
(Via Matt Yglesias.)
The National Mall serves as a tragic metaphor for our nation, whose own infrastructure has been left to crumble. The irony is that the way that the National Mall has been allowed to crumble literally in front of the government is like how our nation has slowly crumbled while the government grows in size and power.