Archive for November, 2007

In Defense of Jessica Simpson

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

I’ve seen this Macy’s ad a few times now:

It’s a bunch of celebrities, including Martha Stewart, Donald Trump, Emeril, and P. Diddy, decorating a Macy’s store for the holidays. Near the end, Jessica Simpson trips over an electric cord and pulls the plug from the outlet. This act cuts the power and the store goes dark until Jessica, chided by Martha Stewart, realizes her “mistake” and plugs the cord back in.

The first couple of times I saw the commercial, I had the expected reaction that Jessica Simpson is such a ditzy clutz, ha-ha-ha. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how stupid it would be to route an entire department store’s power needs — ramped up for the tree and other holiday extras — through a single cord plugged into a standard outlet, without so much as a surge protector. And then, to compound the idiocy, they run the cord across a walking path, essentially inviting exactly the mishap that occurred! It wasn’t Jessica’s fault! I think that bitch Martha set her up.

Political Predictions

Monday, November 19th, 2007

I asked Sebastian to keep us updated on his political thoughts as the 2008 presidential race progressed. He posted an early assessment of the GOP bunch back in May, and I was very interested in whether those first impressions have changed, or how different things look. We’re a year away from the election, but only a couple of months away from the first primaries, and maybe only three or four months until we know who the nominees are. So I appreciate his new post with his updated thoughts.

I had asked him to predict the eventual tickets from the major parties, and also who, in his eyes, would be the “least bad” Democrat, if one had to get elected, and I look forward to his eventual post on that. This was inspired by a thread at TAPPED a few weeks ago, asking the same question of the GOP candidates. I agree with the consensus (although it wasn’t unanimous) there that Mitt Romney would be the candidate I would be least upset about. Not that I think he’s really some closet liberal or anything, but (a) he doesn’t strike me as the worst kind of demagogue, and (b) he actually has some experience managing a (successful) business and a state government. I just can’t imagine a (shudder) Romney administration would be run like “The Three Stooges Go To Washington.”

Maybe it’s that impression, or maybe it’s wishful thinking (because I don’t think he can win the general election), but to cast my prediction this far in advance, my guess is that the GOP ticket will be Romney-Huckabee. I think Romney will win Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada, and South Carolina (maybe), and will look like he has all the momentum in the world. Giuliani’s strategy of waiting until the big state primaries will backfire, and this Kerik indictment business won’t help him, either. Plus, we’re about due for another classic Giuliani moment where he says something crazy. Romney has the money and organization and laser-focus and effort to pull it out, I think. A Huckabee veep pick helps him make some inroads with Protestants and southerners. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is another possibility, especially with the convention in the Twin Cities, but Huckabee’s going to be the 2008 version of John Edwards in 2004.

Speaking of, I think the Democratic ticket will be Clinton-Edwards. Hillary will be under some pressure to pick Obama, but I don’t think they’ll be able to stand each other long enough even to be sworn in together. Clinton and Edwards get along well. I recall one of the early debates where the microphones picked them up whispering about how to get rid of the no-shot candidates. Edwards is still young enough to run in 2016 if he gets elected veep, but this is probably his last shot at the White House if he doesn’t. There’s been some buzz around Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, but I can’t imagine him playing second fiddle to Hillary, especially when it still might not win them Virginia. Not that Edwards necessarily picks up his home state, but he can connect with all voters, including Southerners, in a way Hillary can’t. Plus, he shores her up a little with the far(ther) left. And, wouldn’t it be awesome to see Edwards and Huckabee in a vice-presidential debate?

Anyway, we’ll see how right I turn out to be. I’m never good at predictions, so don’t go gambling based on these.

The wisdom of age?

Monday, November 12th, 2007

At what age are you expected to know who you are? I don’t mean this in the existential form. At what age should you have assessed your personality as it pertains to other people? I’ve wondered this off and on for a while now, but it was recently brought back up by one of my wife’s co-workers.

Disclaimer: I have never met this guy.

My wife has talked for a while now about a co-worker of hers, let’s call him Jack. Jack is constantly demeaning of anyone with kids, and makes a big show about how much he doesn’t like kids in front of co-workers that have them. He also talks in a very degrading way about his wife, consistently and to the point it makes other people uncomfortable. Well, Jack and his wife had been arguing about something (or everything, I’m a little unclear on that point). According to Mrs. Haff, Jack went home at lunch because in his words, “I’ve decided to give in.” (very big of him) When Jack got home, he found an empty house and the first draft of the divorce papers. Not to get into how impressed I am with the wife’s planning to have an entire house emptied in 4 hours, but those are some serious organizational skills. Anyway, Jack is completely broken up about losing his wife, but he is completely clueless as to why she left or what he could have possible done wrong.

Jack is in his early 40’s. Now I am of the opinion that if you reach your early 40’s and are an asshole, then you should at the very least be aware of that fact. I’m not saying he has to change who he is, but you have to have some idea. To reach what is essentially middle age and not have a clue as to how your behavior affects the people around you (especially your wife) seems inexcusable.

I’ve often wondered at what age you stop getting a free pass for being socially ignorant. My completely unscientific and gut level feeling is that it’s somewhere in the pretty late 20’s. For ease of theory I’ve rounded it up to 30 even. Once you are thirty, you are required to have a certain fundamental understanding of yourself.

If you are a bad driver, you need to know that and be prepared for the consequences. Extra car insurance might be a good idea. If you are a push-over who gets taken advantage of at every turn, you need to know that and adjust accordingly. Bring along a better negotiator when buying a used car, for instance. If you are a complete dick who is condescending to the woman he married, you need to know that. Not being surprised when she finally gets fed up and leaves you ass, to give a random example.

Anyway, I’m open to be swayed on this. Not on the actual theory, but on the age at when it fully kicks in.

A final thought (for now) on Bashman and the withdrawn opinion

Monday, November 5th, 2007

I previously discussed this issue here and here, so start there to get caught up. PG and I also had a little back-and-forth in the comments.

The latest is that Howard Bashman has provided a lengthy and detailed account of the incident in his latest column. Basically, he had two reasons for his position that he should leave the withdrawn Second Circuit opinion his post. First, essentially, the genie was out of the bottle, and that’s true. As I argued, though, this didn’t mean that Howard had to be the one rubbing the lamp.

Second, to quote Howard, “I decided to read closely through the Higazy decision to see whether anything in the decision seemed so inflammatory that I should join the 2nd Circuit in taking the decision off-line. However, I did not find anything that resembled an important government secret or information that would prove harmful to anyone.”

Again, I’m willing to concede that may be true as well. And I really do believe that Bashman the Journalist probably has every right to post the opinion, regardless of the Second Circuit’s order sealing portions of the record that ended up in the opinion. I’m just still not convinced that Bashman the Lawyer is free to second-guess the court’s order and post the opinion if he disagrees with its redactions.

So I guess we’ll agree to disagree. And even that may be too strong, as I’m not completely sure Bashman is in the wrong here. I just think it’s a closer call than Howard’s many supporters do, is all.