I think I like movies too much to be worried about which ones win Oscars. Let me say, however, that Reno: 911 is pretty damn funny.
More spin and dissembling from Brendan Nyhan:
This year’s Hollywood is out of touch moment from the Oscars — Gwyneth Paltrow’s (pre-written) award introduction began with “Thanks to cell phones, almost everyone in the world is now a cinematographer.” Um, “almost everyone”? There are approximately 2.2 million cell phone subscribers worldwide, but how many of their phones can take video? More importantly, World Bank estimates show that approximately 1.3 billion people make less than $1 a day and another 1.6 billion make $1-$2 per day. Call me crazy, but I don’t think many of those people are taking video with their cell phones.
2.2 million cellular subscribers? As in somewhat less than one percent of the total population of the United States. Follow the link and they seem to be talking about billions of subscribers, but what’s a few orders of magnitude between friends.
I was trying two think of an amusing joke based on a deliberate typo too end this post with but I couldn’t come up with anything.
Tonight, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. Gore accepted the award, saying, “My fellow Americans, people all over the world — we need to solve the climate crisis. It’s not a political issue. It’s a moral issue. We have everything we need to get started with the possible exception of the will to act. That’s a renewable resource. Let’s renew it.”
Just as they blasted the Grammy-winning Dixie Chicks, conservatives are already claiming that An Inconvenient Truth won tonight simply because Hollywood agrees with Gore’s views.
The truth is, two years ago, global warming was still considered a fringe issue to many. Today, the debate is over — Americans overwhelmingly agree that the climate crisis exists and that we must act now to reverse it. An Inconvenient Truth had a profound impact on how Americans view the issue of global warming. Al Gore deserved this award.
UPDATE: A medley of the other Gore moments at tonight’s Oscars, including his “big announcement”:
the unpredictability of the Oscar nomination process. Sometimes, the vote count doesn’t always tell the whole story. Watch it:
Transcript: Read more
Transcript: Read more
New Yorker columnist Sy Hersh says the “single most explosive” element of his latest article involves an effort by the Bush administration to stem the growth of Shiite influence in the Middle East (specifically the Iranian government and Hezbollah in Lebanon) by funding violent Sunni groups.
Hersh says the U.S. has been “pumping money, a great deal of money, without congressional authority, without any congressional oversight” for covert operations in the Middle East where it wants to “stop the Shiite spread or the Shiite influence.” Hersh says these funds have ended up in the hands of “three Sunni jihadist groups” who are “connected to al Qaeda” but “want to take on Hezbollah.”
Hersh summed up his scoop in stark terms: “We are simply in a situation where this president is really taking his notion of executive privilege to the absolute limit here, running covert operations, using money that was not authorized by Congress, supporting groups indirectly that are involved with the same people that did 9/11.” Watch it:
Hersh added, “All of this should be investigated by Congress, by the way, and I trust it will be. In my talking to membership — members there, they are very upset that they know nothing about this. And they have great many suspicions.”
Transcript: Read more
The other Times says:
“There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran,” a source with close ties to British intelligence said. “There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible.”
This is probably even kinda sorta true. There’s an interesting political theory question about how officers should behave in these situations. Clearly, there’s some range of orders such that an officer thinks the order is unwise and nevertheless he has a duty to follow it. At the same time, an officer’s oath is to the country and its constitution, and there are also going to be circumstances under which it’s better for the country to resign and call attention to poor choices being made rather than to go along. Where to draw the line seems . . . very hard to say.
“A suicide bomber struck Sunday outside a college campus in Baghdad, killing at least 41 people and injuring dozens as a string of other blasts and rocket attacks left bloodshed around the city. Most of the victims were students at the college, a business studies annex of Mustansiriyah University that was hit by a series of deadly explosions last month.”
For the climate problem above our heads, part of the answer is below our feet. Increasing attention has been aimed at geothermal energy as an abundant and clean energy source, but the federal budget is deaf to all the commotion.
And we really do mean commotion. On March 1 there will be a briefing on Capitol Hill to review geothermal energy and its potential. One featured speaker will be the chair of a recent MIT report on geothermal energy, which concluded “that mining the huge amounts of heat that reside as stored thermal energy in the Earth’s hard rock crust could supply a substantial portion of the electricity the United States will need in the future, probably at competitive prices and with minimal environmental impact.” Other speakers includethe head of the Geothermal Energy Association (which also released a recent study), the owner of a geothermal project in Alaska, and the former DOE Geothermal Program Director.
In spite of the enormous potential of geothermal energy, the Bush administration has proposed zeroing out the geothermal energy program for two years running.
Outside the White House, geothermal energy is enjoying a popularity surge (evident everywhere from Capitol Hill, demonstrated above, to the New York Times and even the blogosphere). A piece of Grist commentary underscores that with what it costs to build one clean coal-fired plant, you could invest in 15 years of geothermal energy.
Although plumper budgets would pay off, we mostly need something like an Extreme Home Makeover to rearrange the use of our money and our world’s heat.
Bill Simmons is outraged at many teams, but especially the Bulls:
When the media guide for the No Balls Association is released, I demand that John Paxson appears on the cover. At some point, you have to roll the dice, right? Not landing Gasol was inexcusable; the Bulls could have made the Finals with him (and if it meant sacrificing Luol Deng, Ty Thomas and the Knicks’ pick, so be it).
I don’t think this makes any sense at all. Simmons is asking Chicago to make a big sacrifice of its future — the very good and very young Deng, a young project in Thomas, a high draft pick, and they’d need to throw in PJ Brown’s expiring contract — in order to improve rather marginally this season. What’s more, they’d be eliminating their shot at landing Kevin Garnett if the Timberwolves decide they want to blow things up in the offseason. Swapping Gasol for Deng would improve Chicago somewhat, but it’s not as if swapping Deng’s 18.8 ppg for Gasol’s 20.3 ppg suddenly transforms the Bulls into an offensive powerhouse. Yes, Chicago could use low post scoring, but it’s not as if points scored from the post count double or something (and, no, Gasol’s not a wildly more efficient scorer either).