Monday, May 31, 2004

Ahmad Chalabi is a member of the Iraqi Governing Council. Last week Iraqi police and U.S. troops raided Chalabi’s home in Baghdad. This New Yorker article discusses Chalabi's history and role in Iraq.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

This New York Magazine article tells the story of Ely Sakhai who ran "one of the most audacious forgery scams ever—a multi-million-dollar operation that has left art experts alternately amazed by his legerdemain and stunned by his shamelessness."

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

President Bush's approval rating has fallen to a new low of only 41%. Even conservative author Tom Clancy is criticizing Bush in Battle Ready, a new book he co-wrote with retired Marine General Anthony Zinni. Here's an interview with Clancy and Zinni, and a New Republic article on the book.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Have you ever wondered why an actor suddenly begins appearing in several different TV ads at about the same time? Seth Stevenson explains this phenomenon in this Slate article.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Sunday, May 23, 2004

McSweeney's presents its Daily Reason to Dispatch Bush. As of tonight, they are on Reason #39.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

According to E. J. Dionne, "In his first two years as president, George W. Bush set a trap. He pushed through tax cuts so big that they would inevitably force Democrats into a series of no-win arguments during this election year. Democrats could dedicate themselves to undoing the budget damage Bush had caused by favoring tax increases and spending restraint. Or they could ignore the issue of fiscal balance and propose popular programs.

Either way, Democrats risked getting trashed and tearing each other apart. The first option offers voters little to cheer (tax increases and fewer programs) while the second opens the party to charges that it's engaging in its own form of fiscal irresponsibility."

Dionne discusses whether the Democrats can escape this trap in this Washington Post column.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

The Daily Show's Jon Stewart gave this year's commencement address at his alma mater, the College of William and Mary. You can read the full transcript here.

Here are a few excerpts:

"So I know that the decisions that I made after college worked out. But at the time I didn’t know that they would. See college is not necessarily predictive of your future success. And it’s the kind of thing where the path that I chose obviously wouldn’t work for you. For one, you’re not very funny."

"I was not exceptional here, and am not now. I was mediocre here. And I’m not saying aim low. Not everybody can wander around in an alcoholic haze and then at 40 just, you know, decide to be president. You’ve got to really work hard to try to…I was actually referring to my father."

Monday, May 17, 2004

In this Slate article Fred Kaplan summarizes recent developments in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, explains why the White House can't do much to stop it, and speculates on what will happen next.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

The United Nations has released this list of "Ten Stories the World Should Hear More About."

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Chuck Todd explains why he thinks the next election could be a Kerry landslide in this article from Washington Monthly.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

According to this BBC News article, the Hubble Space Telescope may have taken the first image of a planet circling another star.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

A Republican administration must be in trouble when even George Will questions their competence. In this Washington Post column, Will writes:

"When there is no penalty for failure, failures proliferate. Leave aside the question of who or what failed before Sept. 11, 2001. But who lost his or her job because the president's 2003 State of the Union address gave currency to a fraud -- the story of Iraq's attempting to buy uranium in Niger? Or because the primary and only sufficient reason for waging preemptive war -- weapons of mass destruction -- was largely spurious? Or because postwar planning, from failure to anticipate the initial looting to today's insufficient force levels, has been botched? Failures are multiplying because of choices for which no one seems accountable."

Monday, May 10, 2004

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Forthright's Phrontistery is a website devoted to unusual words. It includes a 14,000-word dictionary of obscure and rare words, the Compendium of Lost Words, and topical word lists on subjects like manias and obsessions, names for names, and divination and fortune telling.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

The Origins of American Animation is a collection of the Library of Congress that documents the development of American animation between 1900 and 1921. The collection includes 21 animated films and 2 fragments that you can download here.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

This Salon article looks at the state of the Kerry campaign with 6 months to go until the presidential election.

Monday, May 03, 2004

"Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Conservative misinformation is defined as news or commentary presented in the media that is not accurate, reliable, or credible and that forwards the conservative agenda."

Sunday, May 02, 2004

In this New York Observer article Ron Rosenbaum asks, "Did Vladimir Nabokov lift the controversial plot, indeed the very name of Lolita, from a 1916 German short story called 'Lolita'?"