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Sunday, December 21, 2008


* Uncool: A U.N. resolution on the right to food passed 180-1. Via Lenin's Tomb.

* Lots of links floating around to this revisionist interpretation of It's a Wonderful Life:

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a terrifying, asphyxiating story about growing up and relinquishing your dreams, of seeing your father driven to the grave before his time, of living among bitter, small-minded people. It is a story of being trapped, of compromising, of watching others move ahead and away, of becoming so filled with rage that you verbally abuse your children, their teacher and your oppressively perfect wife. It is also a nightmare account of an endless home renovation.

... Take the extended sequence in which George Bailey (James Stewart), having repeatedly tried and failed to escape Bedford Falls, N.Y., sees what it would be like had he never been born. The bucolic small town is replaced by a smoky, nightclub-filled, boogie-woogie-driven haven for showgirls and gamblers, who spill raucously out into the crowded sidewalks on Christmas Eve. It’s been renamed Pottersville, after the villainous Mr. Potter, Lionel Barrymore’s scheming financier.

Here’s the thing about Pottersville that struck me when I was 15: It looks like much more fun than stultifying Bedford Falls — the women are hot, the music swings, and the fun times go on all night. If anything, Pottersville captures just the type of excitement George had long been seeking.
* Will Obama gut NASA? Nice followup to last week's discussion on Poli-Sci-Fi Radio.

* On the plus side, Obama pledges allegiance to science.

* Ultimately, these disputes can't really be resolved until Obama is in office. Only then will we know whether Obama's embrace of every establishment and even right-wing figure he can find is a reflection of what the substance of his governing will be, or whether -- as many of his supporters claim -- it's a master strategy designed to diffuse tension and hostility in order to enable easier enactment of his progressive agenda. If Obama devotes genuine efforts to repealing DOMA and don't-ask-don't-tell, I doubt anyone will care how many times he hugs Rick Warren -- just as if Obama really closes Guantanamo, withdraws from Iraq and forges a diplomatic peace with Iran, few people will care how much he embraces Joe Lieberman -- though obviously those are very, very large "ifs." Only time will tell. Via Open Left.

* Arctic melt 20 years ahead of climate models. Response to global warming 20 years behind rational policy-making.

* Hadley Center study warns of “catastrophic” 5°C warming by 2100 on current emissions path. Did I mention we're screwed?