Thursday, November 27, 2008

MP3 of the Week: "We'll Have Bizzare Celebrations" Edition

"It is curious that we Americans have a holiday -- Thanksgiving -- that's all about people who left their homes for a life of their own choosing, a life that was different from their parents' lives. And how to we celebrate it? By hanging out with our parents! It's as if on the Fourth of July we honored our independence from the British by barbecuing crumpets." - Sarah Vowell, from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


Of Montreal - "Wrath Pinned to the Mist and Other Games"


Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Browns Season is Officially the McCain Campaign

The only question we have left is if switching back to Derek Anderson in Sunday's embarrassing loss the to Texans is the Sarah Palin pick or the economic crisis.

Actually, the Sarah Palin pick already happened. A couple weeks ago, the Browns were in the midst of a season in which they could not get any traction. And while they did garner some press by beating the Giants (the "Celebrity" Ad), they did little to remain in the news. So they decided to throw a "hail mary pass" by turning to a young, attractive QB / Governor in order to fire up their base. Ideally, he/she was also supposed to appeal to independents/Braylon Edwards, but over time it didn't happen.

Initially the pick of the young go-getter looked like a great pick. Brady Quinn looked competent - even ... pit-bullesque? - in his first few games; Palin looked like a fierce attack "dawg" at the Republican National Convention. And just like McCain surged in the polls, Quinn led his team to a key road victory at Buffalo on Monday night in front of a national audience.

However, it should have been noted that the Browns didn't really ask Quinn to do anything improvisational or off-the-cuff. He was kept under pretty tight wraps since he didn't know much of the playbook, although he probably could see Canada from his house on Lake Erie. And once the Browns/McCain campaign loosened the strings a little, disaster ensued.

But, if Brady Quinn is playing the part of Sarah Palin, then we suppose that would make the Houston Texans Katie Couric: an unassuming, yet tactful opponent who simply allowed the Browns and Quinn to make mistake after mistake. In Sunday's game was the now infamous interview. The Texans and Sage Rosenfelds did his best by giving the ball back up, allowing the Browns to try to redeem themselves (this is the part where Couric said, "I'm going to ask one more time..."). But instead of doing so, the Browns rambled semi-coherently talking about the "umbrella of job creation" and "Syndric Steptoe" until the interview mercifully ended.

And then the Browns became erratic. Just like McCain decided to fly back to Washington and suspend his campaign soon after the economic meltdown, the Romeo Crennel decided to go back to Derek Anderson, lurching from one position to the other. It is at this point that the McCain campaign and the Browns season officially went off the rails.

Just like at McCain rallies, where people came to see Sarah Palin and then left soon after, the Browns stadium was nearly empty by the end of the game yesterday and we were all wondering to whom had we hitched our wagon.

Now, there are reports of infighting and finger pointing. Just like Bill Krystol advocated the firing of the entire campaign, so too are Browns fans clamoring for Crennel to be dismissed from this abomination. In fact, many are wistful of a former time when the McCain/Browns "brand" was more authentic (does that make Mike Murphy Bill Cowher, seen here, presumably not picking out a new kitten at the rescue shelter?).

Once the post-mortem for this season is done, we'll probably find out about how Brady Quinn is a "diva," the Browns spent $150,000 on Donte Stallworth (if only he came that cheap, and if only we too could donate him to charity), and that on balance, Brady Quinn energized the fans, but didn't really put up any extra points on the board.

So just as the Republicans are wondering who their leader in four years will be, we too are wondering if Brady Quinn is really the answer. Scripted and well-managed, he looks like he's got some potential, but left on his own accord it appears that he's not ready to be QB or president. He doesn't really grasp the broad realities of foreign policy or the zone blitz.

Let's just hope when the season is over, he chooses a little better location to conduct his post-season interview.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This Just In: People Are Fucking Stupid

We've been keeping an eye on this Norm Coleman-Al Franken race. Partially because it would help get the Democrats to 60, but more importantly, it could mean that this man would be a U.S. Senator.

Anyway, the vote is in the midst of a nasty recount right now. And there's a slew of challenged ballots. You can see the ballots here and vote on whether they should count or not or who gets the vote.

You know what, I think I'll leave it right there with a couple of these challenged ballots.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Quote of the Year

I know it's early and all, but I think you'll be hard pressed to find a better unintentionally awesome quote (maybe it was intentional now that I think about it) than the following line from Thomas Friedman's Sunday column in the New York Times:

If we don’t stimulate the global economy fast enough and big enough, some of Obama’s inaugural balls might be held in soup kitchens.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

All You Need to Know About the Republican Party Can Be Assessed in This Map

This is a map of the U.S and each district is colored red or blue depending on whether a greater percentage of voters in said district voted for McCain compared to Bush in 2004 and Obama compared to Kerry in 2004.

We can certainly cut Arizona and Alaska some slack. But let's take a look at just the increase in the Republican vote.

Obama surged over Kerry everywhere in the U.S. except the Deep South: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Appalachia Kentucky and West Virgina. That's where the Republican message has taken root apparently over the past four years: in the Deep South.

This is the sad culmination of almost 40 years of a strategy that locked in the Southern vote by appealing to the worst the South had to offer.

To be sure, the Republican party isn't a racist party; it simply houses and accepts them. Or at least, it did when it was electorally beneficial. Just now, after a stunning defeat in the modern equivalient of a landslide, will the Republicans begin to ask themselves the tough questions.

Some already have. Conservative columnist David Brooks wondered if Sarah Palin represented a "fatal cancer to the Republican party." The Palin pick is only a sympton of a much greater problem. Peggy Noonan, author of Patriotic Grace, called it, "political bullshit." Now, she had to apoligize, but she's 100% correct, and it seems like she was actually quite the soothsayer in that now conservatives are left wondering what happen when the answer is perfectly clear:

The Republican party became the party of anti-ideas. This is embodied in the Southern strategy that Republicans adopted that now lies in ruins at the feet of a Democratic majority. But it goes beyond simply racial coding and "family values" politicking.

In a conversation with Fresh Air's Terry Gross, Former Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards expressed as much. A great interview, Edwards suggests that in order to win elections the Republican party demonized people with education, the media, and tried to paint itself as the party of the everyman; I believe it was "Joe Sixpack" and then "Joe the Plumber" in 2008.

But really, that map is all you need to see to know what the Republican strategy has been over the past few decades and why that strategy has come crashing down as America moves forward.

Frankly, once again David Brooks once again expresses it best in a column outlining the class warfare that the Republican party has been playing for decades:

But over the past few decades, the Republican Party has driven away people who live in cities, in highly educated regions and on the coasts. This expulsion has had many causes. But the big one is this: Republican political tacticians decided to mobilize their coalition with a form of social class warfare. Democrats kept nominating coastal pointy-heads like Michael Dukakis so Republicans attacked coastal pointy-heads.

Over the past 15 years, the same argument has been heard from a thousand politicians and a hundred television and talk-radio jocks. The nation is divided between the wholesome Joe Sixpacks in the heartland and the oversophisticated, overeducated, oversecularized denizens of the coasts. ...

[Palin] is another step in the Republican change of personality. Once conservatives admired Churchill and Lincoln above all — men from wildly different backgrounds who prepared for leadership through constant reading, historical understanding and sophisticated thinking. Now those attributes bow down before the common touch.

And so, politically, the G.O.P. is squeezed at both ends. The party is losing the working class by sins of omission — because it has not developed policies to address economic anxiety. It has lost the educated class by sins of commission — by telling members of that class to go away.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

"Waiting in Line" Playlist

Haven't voted yet? Not looking forward to the hours and hours of waiting in line to vote (not, this doesn't apply if you're a Republican. They have a special faster moving line for you)?

Well, DMS is here to save the day. Download some songs. Sync up your iPod (or, if you're a part of Generation X you can burn a compact disc). And go to town.

Spoon - "The Underdog" (mp3)
Magic Bullets - "Heatstroke" (mp3)
School of 7 Bells - "Face to Face on High Plains" (mp3)
Caribou - "Kid, You'll Move Mountains" (mp3)
She and Him - "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?" (mp3)
Shout Out Louds - "Tonight I Have to Leave It" (mp3)
The Octopus Project - "The Adjustor" (mp3)
Wilco - "Impossible Germany" (mp3)
Arcade Fire - "Windowsill" (mp3)
Headlights - "On April 2" (mp3)
Lenka - "Gravity Rides Everything (Modest Mouse Cover)" - (mp3)
Andrew Bird - "Tables and Chairs" (mp3)

Hope this helps.

(Ed. Note: Yes, we realize that this is just a compilation of the not-so-popular MP3 of the Week feature. Think of it as a clip show for the MP3OTW.)

Monday, November 03, 2008

The One Thing Missing From this Election

As we approach the day of reckoning, it is pertinent that we remember the man who probably understood the historic nature of this election better than anyone else. Certainly he helped us understand this election better. He certainly helped us enjoy it and make it exciting. I think Russert's absence has made it easier for candidates to say things they otherwise knew they would get called on. He actually made the process enjoyable. As the election nears it's gotten less and less enjoyable. Tim's absence is probably the primary reason for that.

(Side note: imagine, for a moment, if Sarah Palin had ever been on MTP with Tim Russert. Wait, I'll give you an idea. It starts with, "On Thursday, April ..." and ends with the Republican party finding a new VP candidate.)

Russert had a way of periodically making us slow down and recognize the historic nature of this race. Not just the racial aspect, but simply the amazing upset of Obama beating the Clinton machine and creating a grassroots organization the likes of which certainly the Democrats had never seen. Even still, he certainly did not take it easy on Obama, as evidenced by the video below.

Tim was excited by this race like no one else and made us all get excited too. We've dearly missed him over the past few months and will continue to miss him even after November 4th.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

MP3 of the Week: "Kabluey" Edition

A couple years ago, the Supercomputer household woke up one morning, stepped outside took a deep breath and got real high and witnessed this.

We weren't sure what it was at the time. But word got around quickly in our South Austin neighborhood that they were filming a movie. Naturally we were curious as to what movie could generate such a costumed character. Eventually we found out that the movie was called Kabluey.

We never really heard much about it after that. We're not sure when it was released and we're not even sure what kind of reviews it got (though, Rotten Tomatoes has it at an 88% fresh).

Anyway, we finally got around to Netflixing it this weekend. It was fantastic. Granted, we're biased because we got to see clips of Austin and the awesome City Market that befriended our fair neighborhood.


Hadn't heard this song at the time. It's the Magic Bullets from 2007. It's in the closing credits of the movie. Great song.

Magic Bullets - "Heatstroke"