The Phony Campaign

2007-09-04 Update

Ah, I knew it was only a matter of time before America came to its senses and started crying "phony!" once again.

Query StringHit CountChange
Since 9/1
"Hillary Clinton" phony312,000+39,000
"John Edwards" phony261,000+60,000
"John McCain" phony240,000+35,000
"Barack Obama" phony209,000+24,000
"Ron Paul" phony206,000+28,000
"Mitt Romney" phony168,000+24,000
"Fred Thompson" phony153,000+25,000
"Rudy Giuliani" phony144,000+18,000
"Dennis Kucinich" phony93,500+10,200
"Dave Burge" phony53+4


  • Edwards has regained second place. At which no sane person should be surprised.

  • Thompson has moved past Giuliani; sorry, Fred, but I think that's what happens when you decide to go on Jay Leno's show, instead of keepin' it real with the rest of us in Durham, NH.

Last Modified 2014-12-01 10:44 AM EST

URLs du Jour


  • I took a jaunt onto campus this afternoon. In preparation for tomorrow night's debate, Fox News has parked their satellite truck in front of the Dairy Bar, and their banners now embellish the front of the Whittemore Center Arena.

    Not that it matters. Just wanted to use the word "embellish."

    In preparation, I have studied Jennifer Rubin's Ten Things You WON'T Hear at the GOP Debate. Favorite:

    2. I'd rather be on Jay Leno too.

  • I enjoy (for a sufficiently elastic definition of "enjoy") looking at Congressional voting record report cards. Shorn of all political rhetoric, votes are (literally) what count.

    But you might not want to bother with The Top Ten Worst Tax Votes over at the Club for Growth, which ranks your state's Senators and mine. It doesn't show much other than straight party-line (and, I suspect, largely symbolic) votes; only three senators (Maine's Snowe and Collins, Nebraska's Nelson) fell in the broad range between 21% and 88%. One anomalous Republican (Voinovich of Ohio) scored 10%. But unless you live in Ohio, Nebraska, or Maine, it doesn't say much besides: Republicans pretty much vote like Republicans, Democrats like Democrats.

  • John Tierney announces the results of his Talk-to-the-Prime-Designer Contest.

  • I was recently reminded of one of my favorite poems …
    Space is deep
    Space is dark
    It's hard to find
    A place to park
    Burma Shave
    (Via BBSpot.)

  • By the way, if you'd like some humbling perspective on the above link: Voyager 1 is coming up on its 30-year anniversary tomorrow, launched on September 5, 1977. It has been winding its way out of our solar system since then. It's currently (as far as we know) the most distant artificial object from Earth, about 9.6 billion miles away, or 103.77 Astronomical Units. That sounds like a long way, but works out to be merely 0.00164 light years, extremely negligible in comparison to interstellar distances.

    Something to remember when those candidates promise "universal" health care: the universe is a real big place.

Last Modified 2017-12-05 12:19 PM EST

The Lives of Others

[Amazon Link] [5.0
stars] [IMDb Link]

Back in 1984, we Americans were patting ourselves on the back for avoiding the bleak fate predicted in George Orwell's 1984. Apple even made a famous Super Bowl ad about it; the biggest threat to our liberties was overuse of IBM PCs and compatibles.

But in East Germany, they were living 1984. A corrupt and bankrupt state spent enormous resources seeking out and punishing disloyalty in all imaginable forms. This movie revolves around three main characters caught up in that: Georg Dreyman, a regime-favored playwright; his girlfriend/actress Christa; and Wiesler, the Stasi functionary assigned to dig up dirt on Dreyman.

I watch a lot of by-the-numbers movies; given the premise and the genre, you can pretty much guess the broad outlines of how the movie will proceed. I don't mind that much, because even predictable movies can be enjoyable. But The Lives of Others is completely detached from formula; there are multiple unpredictable twists in plot and character. It's impeccably acted and intelligently shot. It's a tad long at 137 minutes, but it doesn't feel padded; everything's in place for a reason.

I won't go into further details; I recommend you see this movie knowing as little as possible about what happens. As I type, it's number 70 on IMDB's top-250 movies of all time; usually when a recent movie shows up on that list, I scoff. In this case, however, I'm saying: "Yeah, maybe." It received the Oscar for last year's best foreign movie.

I note that Ulrich Mühe, the actor who played Wiesler, passed away last month. That's a shame.

Last Modified 2012-10-17 3:11 PM EDT