Friday, August 29, 2008

Never Been So Proud

From a correspondent in Denver:

Your dire predictions about Hillary supporters did not materialize....did you hear how the role call vote went? I was in the hall - it was amazing. Arkansas led the way with a gracious statement calling Hillary an "adopted daughter" and then calling for unity and casting all its votes for Obama. New Hampshire, New Jersey graciously and admirably followed suit. Then New Mexico ceded to Illinois, who presumably would put Obama over the top. THEN Illinois ceded to New York, Hillary marched up the aisle to surprise and delight of all, and moved to stop the voting and nominate Obama by acclaimation...(some parliamentary thing) - she could not have shown more leadership to support Obama and the hall erupted! It was a big surprise and wonderful.

And, in the stadium last night with 80,000+ people crying and cheering for an African-American Presidential nominee on the anniversary of the "I have a dream" speech...well, I have never been so proud to be an American.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Big Lie or Small Truths?

In this week's New Yorker, Hendrick Herzberg discusses what he calls the Big Lie, that Barack Obama " is a corrupt, enraged, anti-American, drug-dealing, anti-Israel, pseudo-Christian radical leftist, black militant, plagiarist, and liar, trained as a Muslim and mentored by a menagerie of Marxists, Communists, crypto-Communists, and terrorists. "

We deconstruct:

corrupt - he arranged for convicted Chicago fixer Tony Resko to purchase a plot of land next to his million dollar house.

enraged - have you been to his Fight the Smears web site? I'd say he's enraged.

anti-American - maybe a little bit, we've reported that here.

drug-dealing - Obama has fessed to doing drugs but not to dealing them but that's often a thin line (and a bad coke pun).

anti-Israel - he has said a couple of nice things about Palestine so he'll have to concede that.

pseudo-Christian - as are half to three-quarters of the people who sit in Church each Sunday.

radical leftist - that just goes with saying he is a community organizer.

black militant - perhaps that's only a half truth.

plagiarist - his speechwriters were plagiarists which is not quite the same thing.

liar - he's a politician, what do you expect?

trained as a Muslim - he did go to grade school in a muslim country, and read up on Malcolm X.

mentored by a menagerie of Marxists, Communists, crypto-Communists, and terrorists - he went to Harvard Law School in the late 1980s so he'll have to concede that one too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Deconstructing Nancy Pelosi

Speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Denver last night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi outlined how proud she is of her Congress. Apparently the Democratic Party is not so proud, because they put her on early when a lot of her consituents in California were probably not yet home from work. We did a little deconstruction of her list of accomplishments:

(1) Passed the 9/11 Commission recommendations to protect the American people. - I feel safer already.

(2) Helped rebuild the Gulf Coast for the survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. - Rebuilt the Gulf Coast? That will be news to New Orleans. Oh, right, New Orleans is inland and not on the coast.

(3) Put recovery rebates into the hands of more than 130 million families. - The tax rebate George W. Bush asked you to give? Way to take credit.

(4) Passed legislation to keep hard-working American families in their homes and to keep toxic toys out of the hands of our children. - What about the many Americans who are finding it hard to find work?

(5) Increased the minimum wage for the first time in ten years. - And how much per hour is that minimum wage?

(6) Improved fuel efficiency for the first time in 32 years. - I'm still driving the same car as two years ago. It's not very efficient but I don't drive it very much. You pass a long calling for improved fuel effeciency and you think you've improved it.

(7) Passed the largest college aid expansion since the G.I. Bill 64 years ago. - And yet there is a student loan lending crisis this fall.

(8) Passed the largest veterans’ health care funding in the 77 year history of the Veterans Administration. - Largest? I'd like to see that on an inflation-adjusted basis.

(9) Enacted a new G.I. Bill to thank our veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by sending them to college. - I'll be watching for returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in Harvard Square.

No number 10? Better get back to work.

Four Great Questions Defining the American Dream

Speaking last night at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, former Iowa Congressman Jim Leach outlined four great questions that define the American Dream:

(1) Whether a country could be established based on The Rights of Man - Thomas Jefferson

(2) Whether The Rights of Man applied to individuals who were neither pale nor male - Abraham Lincoln.

(3) Whether rights are fully meaningful if all citizens are not given a chance to succeed and provide for their families, the question of opportunity - Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan.

(4) Whether any rights are possible without peace and environmental security, which acquired grim relevance with the dawn of the nuclear age.

Leach suggests the fourth question is the question for our time, and put forth Barack Obama as the progressive leader who may answer it. But he also forcefully rejected his own Republican Party of today:

"The party that once emphasized individual rights has gravitated in recent years toward regulating values. The party of military responsibility has taken us to war with a country that did not attack us. The party that formerly led the world in arms control has moved to undercut treaties crucial to the defense of the earth. The party that prides itself on conservation has abdicated its responsibilities in the face of global warming. And the party historically anchored in fiscal restraint has nearly doubled the national debt, squandering our precious resources in an undisciplined and unprecedented effort to finance a war with tax cuts."

Monday, August 25, 2008

16 Things to Ponder in Denver

Reasons Joe Biden is a bad choice for Vice President:

(1) Almost anyone else on the rumored VP short list would have been a better choice: Senator and former Governor from Indiana Evan Bayh, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, and Texas Congressman Chet Edwards. We say that with confidence and don’t even know who that Edwards is.

(2) Hillary Clinton would have been a better choice. Barack does not need Hillary Clinton but he does need her voters. It is hard to see how Biden helps, particularly when in his first speech as presumptive VP nominee he describes his wife Jill as “drop dead gorgeous” and adds “she also has her doctorate degree, which is a problem.” Can you be any more patronizing to women voters? Word is that Hillary wasn’t even officially vetted for the VP slot. Yes, you can be more patronizing.

(3) It is going to take all of Hillary Clinton’s skill to prevent her delegates from revolting on the floor of the convention in Denver. They want to put her name in nomination for President. They may also want to put her name in nomination for Vice President. And Hillary isn’t going to get any credit for the hard work of tamping that down. Beware the puma, also known as a cougar, a large wild cat native to the mountains around Denver.

(4) Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner would have been a better choice and may have turned Barack down. Same for Virginia Senator Jim Webb, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, and Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. Warner will be giving the keynote address in Denver.

(5) Barack spent the summer going out on campaign dates with Hillary Clinton and flirting with his VP short list and others. The problem is he was also flirting with the voters in those states. Indiana has already gone back from the blue state to red state column in the polls. Ohio is also back in the red state column. Expect the “tie” in the Virginia polls to evaporate. Nobody likes a flirt.

(6) Name one state that Biden is going to help Obama win. His home state of Delaware? Obama was already going to win Delaware. Pennsylvania? Hillary Clinton would have helped him win Pennsylvania.

(7) They’ll call this the “never was really even a lawyer” ticket. Barack graduated from Law School in 1991, published his first book in 1995, and got elected to the Illinois legislature in 1996. He never really had a real job, which we admire very much except not in our candidates for President. Joe Biden graduated from law school in 1968, was admitted to the bar in 1969, and was elected to the United States Senate just shy of his 30th birthday in 1972 (barely 30 when sworn in accordance with the Constitution). He also never really had a real job.

(8) They’ll call this the “prep school ticket.” Joe Biden went to Archmere Academy where tuition for the 2008-2009 school year is $18,450. Barack Obama went to Punahou School where tuition is $16,675 for the 2008-2009 school year. Neither supports tuition vouchers to help middle and working class parents send their kids to private school too. Maybe they know their private schools would just raise their tuition to keep the riff-raff out.

(9) They’ll call this the “plagiarism ticket.” Barack Obama took some flak this past spring when passages in his speeches were discovered to be similar to speeches by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Joe Biden was forced to drop his own first presidential bid in September 1987 when his speechwriters were caught feeding him material from British Labour Party Leader Neil Kinnock.

(10) They’ll call this the Obama bin Biden ticket, which isn’t any less fair than "General Petraeus or General Betray Us."

(11) We liked that Barack Obama had been consistently against the Iraq war, and had the guts to say so from the very beginning. We know why George W. Bush and the Republican Party supported the Iraq war. We don’t know why Democrats like Joe Biden and John Kerry supported the war, and then were nowhere to be seen after they had helped get us into it. You sold us that it was bipartisan, and then for us it was “where did everybody go?” Joe Lieberman stayed with us, and you punished him for that. Hillary Clinton stayed with us, and you punished her. We punished John Kerry. What makes you think we won’t punish Joe Biden too?

(12) Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres and lebensraum. Biden’s one big contribution to resolving the threat of civil war in Iraq was a proposal splitting Iraq in three so that Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis could have "breathing room in their own regions” (this page seems to have been yanked from Biden’s web site while this was being edited, but we found the cached page). His plan would have undoubtedly forced minorities from the other groups in each of those regions to move to their assigned region, ethnic cleansing in other words. Should we wonder if Biden is plagiarizing “breathing room” from Mein Kampf? This is not 1938.

(13) I took note watching the Saddlebrook debate last weekend when Barack Obama singled out as unqualified Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, only the second African American to serve on the Supreme Court. I don’t think the public has entirely forgotten that Joe Biden was the guy who ran the circus called hearings designed to smear Clarence Thomas and embarrass him into withdrawing his nomination. And I remember Joe Biden’s “clean” remark in the 2008 primary campaign which seemed to insult not only Barack Obama, but also Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. What will Karl Rove do with that? Maybe he’ll take his cue from Tracy Morgan as Tracy Jordan on that spring episode of 30 Rock: “Black people, don't vote! Just don't do it!”

(14) The political pros say the VP choice is the first Presidential decision. I’m afraid with this choice that Barack has decided to abandon his progressive message of hope and change.

(15) The political pros also say people don’t vote for a VP choice. Barack has to hope they don’t vote against one either.

(16) Remember John Kerry, Al Gore, Mike Dukakis, Walter Mondale, George McGovern, Hubert Humphrey, and Adlai Stevenson? They made poor choices for VP too.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Joe Biden, You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Your boys look awfully muddy like they fell down in it. But I dont see any mud in their uncombed hair. We got this picture off your own web site, so don't accuse us of doctoring it.

Denver Convention Schedule

Highlights for the Democratic National Convention in Denver:

Monday 8/25:

Michelle Obama
Maya Soetero-Ng (Barack Obama’s sister)
Craig Robinson (Michelle Obama’s older brother)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Tribute to Senator Ted Kennedy

Tuesday 8/26:

New York Senator Hillary Clinton
Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner (keynote address)
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick
Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius
Ohio Governor Ted Strickland
Iowa Governor Chet Culver
DC Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton

Wednesday 8/27:

Delaware Senator Joe Biden (VP nominee)
Former President Bill Clinton
Governor Bill Richardson
Indiana Senator Evan Bayh
Massachusetts Senator John Kerry
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley
Tribute to veterans, active duty military and their families.

Thursday 8/28:

Colorado Governor Bill Ritter
Former Vice President Al Gore
Senator Barack Obama (acceptance speech)

Abolutely priceless

Some recent correspondence:

Correspondent: Don't care who you are backing this election but you have to admit this is funny!

I believe the democrats have suddenly developed a keen sense of morality. John Edwards has been banned from making a speech at the democratic convention for having an affair and lying about it. In his place Bill Clinton will be speaking.

LBOTC: I’m not liking the Biden choice, some are calling it the Obama bin Biden ticket. Edwards was the third place finisher, right?

Correspondent: I remember despising Biden during the shameful Clarence Thomas hearings, and have held him in low regard ever since. If Edwards was third, who was second?

LBOTC: Barack Obama finished second. Hillary Clinton got the most primary votes (she did really poorly in the caucus states and finished second in the delegate count). I see that Joe Biden finished seventh.

Primary votesCandidate
17,753,970Hillary Clinton
16,854,269Barack Obama
855,052John Edwards
39,736Dennis Kucinich
16,594Bill Richardson
5,374Joe Biden
4,673Chris Dodd
3,836Mike Gravel

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Market in the Square

I’ve been eagerly awaiting what would become of the Sage Building at the corner of Brattle Street and Church Street. I loved the old Sage grocery store and especially its lunch counter (Thursday was burrito day) which closed in 2000. The Sprint cell phone store that followed was not much use and that closed in 2005 (how often do you need a new cell phone?). So I noticed when the Market in the Square opened in June.

The Market has the late 2000s look: high ceilings, big windows, bright lights at night, and 24/7 schedule. They have a hot food and salad bar that goes at $6.99 per pound. I haven’t yet gotten out for less than $10. They also have sushi (not my style), a deli counter, and $6.50 tortilla wrap sandwiches (roasted turkey, peppers, spinach, horseradish - yummy). I’m told the new owners are Korean and are trying to replicate a style that has become very common in NYC. I haven’t been to NYC recently so can’t vouch for that

In early July one of our new coworkers was giving directions and said, “walk up Story Street go left at the Market.” “Wait a minute,” I said, “that place has been open only a couple of weeks, you can’t use it as a landmark for giving directions yet.” But that’s the way Harvard Square works. New people come for school or jobs, and for them whatever is there then is Harvard Square. So the Market is the new landmark. I hope it’s a keeper.

Verizon Wireless Takes Old Tower Records Space

Verizon Wireless has opened a cell phone store in the old Towers Records store space in Harvard Square. Harvard Square needs another cell phone store? At least it isn’t a bank. And you can still buy music there, if you count the Verizon Rhapsody service.

For the past three years, we’ve had quite a few empty store fronts in Harvard Square. This is one of the last big spaces to get a new tenant. Now we just need to find permanent tenants for the old HMV space and the old Wordsworth space.

Improv Central

Improv Boston, a long-standing institution in Inman Square, has moved to a new location in Central Square. They are on Prospect Street a couple of doors down from The Field, in the space that I believe used to be the cooperative food store.

We saw our friends Perfect Monster there and they performed their famous fish bit. The other side of the double bill was one of the resident comedy sketch troups, The Latchkey Kids. The show was in the smaller Cabaret space with a full audience. A Bachelorette party took one wing of seats on the left (stage left), while the Batchelor party took the seats in the right wing. We remember when the idea was to ditch your finance for the evening.

Improv Boston now has a beer and wine bar and also sells snacks and soda. Outside alcohol is prohibited, of course, unless it's a prop in your act. The new location is highly accessible by the Red Line subway. If you drive, now you will be able to find a place to park.

Obama bin Biden

All hail Obama bin Biden is the new meme spreading out over the internet. OK, this is silly and completely unfair. Or is it? I remember put a full page ad into the New York Times styled "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?"

Mission Earth to Cambridge

It looks like Battlefield Earth may have come to Harvard Square. We've been watching the old Wordsworth Bookstore space on Brattle Street. So we were intrigued when something billed as an "Eye-Opening Exhibit" opened there. We found a diatribe on the evils of psychiatry. It turns out that psychiatry is behind the evils of Nazism, Stalinism, as well as racism in this country. The exhibit is a multipedia presentation using wide screen video displays in high concept visual displays, so clearly some money is behind this. Our sources say Church of Scientology. It runs through September 7.

Anonymous is girding for battle or maybe not.

Now even the cops have their own web site, which they have plastered across the rear bumbers of their police cruisers.

Mission statement: The Cambridge Police Department is committed to the enforcement of laws and preservation of order that protect the rights and property of every person within the City of Cambridge. Our mission is to provide the highest quality of police service and to impact crime, and its associated elements, through the utilization of new and proven crime prevention strategies and problem-solving partnerships with our community.

At Least He'll Get the Boy Scout Vote

We are still trying to figure out what Joe Biden brings to the Obama ticket, and are reminded of this gaffe, which Joe Biden made back on January 31, 2007 in describing his then fellow candidate Barack Obama:

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, I mean, that's a storybook, man."

At the time, all the Obama could say was that the comment was "historically inaccurate," pointing to presidential contenders Jesse Jackson (1984, 1988) and Al Sharpton (2004). The better response was from Al Sharpton, who said "I take a bath every day."

We can only think they are going for the Boy Scout vote. Here is an excerpt from the Boy Scout Law: "A Scout is Clean. A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean. He chooses the company of those who live by high standards. He helps keep his home and community clean."

Joe Biden Endorses John McCain

Obama, We've Seen this Show Before

Haven't we seen this show before? It was called the Dukakis campaign. Questions about your experience? Pick an older Senator from your own party. You think that will answer the questions. No, it will only highlight them.

Take 2 Aspirns and Call Me in the Morning

... is how many democrats must have felt to be awakened at 3:00 am with the long awaited text message from Barack Obama announcing his VP choice. Joe Biden? How am I going to get back to sleep now?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Re: Eight If You Count His Ex-Wife's House

Red Tide Rising

For the first time Barack Obama has dipped below the 270 electoral votes needed for election in both of the projection tracking polls we follow. One has Barack Obama and John McCain tied at 269 electoral votes apiece. The other has Obama at 269 electoral votes with 256 for McCain and Virginia’s 13 electoral votes in a tie.

Are we going to have to break out the rule book on tiebreakers? If this trend continues, Obama looks vulnerable in several other states where he is currently leading: New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nevada, and New Mexico. We’re not counting Obama out yet, but look for a McCain blowout.

Who knows? John McCain may even win Massachusetts. He is opening an office next week on Boston Common, at 145 Tremont St. Ronald Reagan carried Massachusetts in both 1980 and 1984.

What's happening to Obama? It may be the VP choice. Obama got voters in Indiana, Ohio, and Virginia excited that he might pick someone from their state. But at least 2 out of 3 have to be disappointed, and the Hillary supporters are also likely to be disappointed.

Tuesday is the New Thursday at the Middlesex Lounge

I was called out by my friends at Mash Ave, dj BC and Lenlow, for Bootie Night on Tuesday, August 12 at the Middlesex Lounge in Central Square. Their bootleg mashup hip-hop scene has been going for 3 or 4 years now, and has found a new monthly home in Central for the last six months.

It's been a while since I had ventured into Central Square and the Middlesex Lounge is on the far side, on Mass. Ave. a couple of blocks past Main Street towards MIT. The name Middlesex has always put me in mind of something you might have walked in on your parents doing when you were a kid - if you had regular parents, not mine. So it's the perfect name for a hip night spot.

Central Square has undergone another transition this summer. The angle intersection of Main Street and Mass. Ave. has been changed to impose a new plaza complete with outdoor tables and benches, flower boxes, and trees. Instead Main Street hooks left just before Mass. Ave. to intersect at a right angle. It's getting so you can't drive around Cambridge without swerving left and right to dodge all the street improvements.

The Middlesex Lounge sits discreetly across the street from the Asgard, with gauze covered windows to keep out the street. The walls are lined by comfortable benches, mounted on what look like hospital gurney wheels. The unisex bathrooms have progressed to the next logical step and are not even marked “bathroom” on the door. There is a bar and a kitchen and a big open space for dancing, which the Mash Ave. boys and their guest DJ got everyone doing.

We did slow down a bit to watch the women’s gymnastics at the Olympics in Beijing on the wide screen TVs. Someone asked, “Where are the Russians?” My remark, “recalled to the front in Georgia” seemed quite funny to me but not so much to the one woman present whose grandparents lived in Tbilisi. I believe the Russian women gymnasts actually finished fourth, but didn’t make the cut for much TV coverage. The Chinese women got the better of the American women on screen. On the dance floor, the gold went to the Indian women. I myself was awarded a 3 for technical difficulty and a 2 for artistic interpretation, but at least I completed the floor exercise without getting the red card for going out of bounds.

The next Bootie Night is Tuesday, September 9. Maybe I'll see you there.

Another Half Truth

Is F-Minus channeling the Barack Obama and John McCain discussion of what makes a man rich?

Click on image for larger size.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Eight If You Count His Ex-Wife's House

Asked in an interview how many houses he owns, John McCain replied, "I think -- I'll have my staff get to you." Apparently this question is below his pay grade.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Boost in the Ass for Obama

Country music icon Toby Keith has defined red state culture in the 2000s, with songs like "How Do You Like Me Now?," "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" ("we'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American Way"), "I Love This Bar," "American Soldier," and "As Good as I Once Was."

His duet "Beer For my Horses" with Willie Nelson got a little uncomfortable around the collar with lyrics "take all the rope in Texas, find a tall oak tree, round up all of them bad boys, hang them high in the street, for all the people to see." And a 2003 feud with the Dixie Chicks, who were ostracized from country music after making anti-Bush remarks in Europe, led to lead chick Natalie Maines wearing a t-shirt saying "FUTK."

Toby has self-identified as a "conservative Democrat who is sometimes embarrassed for his party." He endorsed George W. Bush over John Kerry in 2004. But he has also endorsed Democratic Congressman Dan Boren from Oklahoma and is friends with Democratic Governor and former presidential candidate Bill Richardson from New Mexico.

Now Toby Keith has made some remarks praising Barack Obama:

"There's a big part of America that really believes that there is a war on terrorism, and that we need to finish up. So I thought it was beautiful the other day when Obama went to Afghanistan and got educated about Afghanistan and Iraq. He came back and said some really nice things. So as far as leadership and patriotism goes, I think it's really important that those things have to take place. And I think he's the best Democratic candidate we've had since Bill Clinton. And that's coming from a Democrat."

That's got to light up Barack Obama's world like the Fourth of July.

Let No One Question My Love of this Country

Speaking today at a VFW convention in Orlanda, Florida, Barack Obama challenged John McCain on the issue of patriotism:

"One of the things that we have to change in this country is the idea that people can't disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism. I have never suggested that Senator McCain picks his positions on national security based on politics or personal ambition. I have not suggested it because I believe that he genuinely wants to serve America's national interest. Now, it's time for him to acknowledge that I want to do the same.

Campaigning later in the day in Raleigh, North Carolin, Barack Obama said:

"Our job in this election is not just 'win,' although I'm a big believer in winning. I don't intend to lose this election. John McCain doesn't know what he's up against. He can talk all he wants about Britney and Paris, but I don't have time for that mess."

Our poll tracking sources show Obama's lead ebbing, down to 275 electoral votes versus 250 for McCain in one, and 298 versus 240 in another. But the goal is to peak in November, not in August.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Is It All About Michael Moore?

Leftist filmmaker Michael Moore has published an article in Rolling Stone outlining “How The Democrats Can Blow It ...In Six Easy Steps.” Michael Moore had previously if somewhat tepidly endorsed Barack Obama. Now he has outlined the six ways he thinks Barack can lose the election in November:

1. Keep saying nice things about McCain.
2. Pick a running mate who is a conservative white guy or a general or a Republican.
3. Keep writing speeches for Obama that make him sound like a hawk.
4. Forget that this was a historic year for women.
5. Show up to a gunfight with a peashooter.
6. Denounce me!

It’s that last one that has got us thinking. Why would Barack need to denounce Michael Moore? Says Moore:

“Obama, at some point, might be asked this question: ‘Michael Moore has endorsed you. But he recently said (fill in the blank with some outrageously offensive line taken out of context). Will you still accept his endorsement, or do you denounce him?’”

Apparently Michael Moore plans to say some outrageously offensive things that will be taken out of context. This could of course be entirely avoided if Michael Moore would just keep his mouth shut. Or at least not say anything outrageously offensive between now and election day. But here’s the real rub, according to Michael Moore:

“So Barack, by denouncing me, you can help McCain get elected. Because when you denounce me, it's not really me you're distancing yourself from — it's the millions upon millions of people who feel the same way about things as I do. And many of them are the kind of crazy voters who have no problem voting for a Nader just to prove a point.”

Michael Moore did endorse Ralph Nader over Al Gore in 2000, so this is not an idle threat. But I could not help but notice that Michael Moore called the people who think like him “crazy voters.” Maybe these people have come to realize they’d have to be crazy to think like Michael Moore.

I’ve talked to several documentary filmmakers who have grown to dislike Michael Moore. His tactics make it very easy for officials at companies they want to interview to say no. They just point to Michael Moore’s films and say that they don’t want to be used and have their views distorted.

Certainly Michael Moore has made a lot of money off the misery of others. With the big money he made off Fahrenheit 9/11, you might even call him a war profiteer.

YearMovieU.S. GrossForeign GrossTotal Gross
1989Roger and Me6,706,368-6,706,368
1998The Big One720,074-720,074
2002Bowling for Columbine21,576,01837,000,00058,576,018
2004Fahrenheit 9/11119,114,517103,300,000222,414,517

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Upper Crust

I must admit that when the Museum of Useful Things in Harvard Square closed I didn't really notice. I had been in the place once or twice, enough to know that it was some sort of shop and not a museum. And then one day it was gone.

So I was curious when there was suddenly a crowd of people outside, and even more curious when I discovered that the new establishment was a pizzeria called The Upper Crust. As the 49 Brattle Street location at the corner of Brattle and Story Street is just a block from my office, The Upper Crust required immediate investigation.

Unfortunately, the new place aspires to be one of those high-end pizza joints, with offerings like White Clam, White Shrimp, and the Hingham (scallops and bacon). The Lexington (lobster fra diavlo) tops out the menu at $25 for a large pie (most of the large pizzas are $17 to $21). Still I tried the “slice of the day,” which that day was spinach and broccoli with feta cheese. I will admit it was a nice thin crust pizza. Can’t beat the proximity.

The Upper Crust is now open for delivery and takeout only, but will open for in house dining August 12th. Love the delivery bikes with mounted pizza box.

Note: I see that the prices at my old favorite Bertucci’s are now in essentially the same $18 to $20 range. Harvard Square already has its high-end pizza joint in Cambridge 1 on Church Street featuring an ultra-thin crust that is in a different experience entirely.

McCain marketing Obama Energy Plan


We don't quite get this. If you go to you can order a tire pressure guage that is inscribed "Obama Energy Plan" for $25. We understand that John McCain spent last week trying to mock the suggestion of checking your tire pressure that Barack Obama made to one of his supporters at a campaign event. So he's mocking Obama by asking all of his supporters to buy a tire pressure gauge. A tire pressure gauge with Obama's name on it. Touting Obama's Energy Plan.

You know, for $25 you can buy 6 gallons of gas.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Re: Obama Still Not Black Enough for Ralph Nader?

Ralph Nader went off on Barack Obama back in the June, and today he added the following:

"People who have fought the civil rights battle - politically, economically, legally - as we have since the 50's would often talk about, 'Look what would happen if we had an African-American president or chairpersons of major congressional committees. It doesn't look like it's going to be what we all thought it would be."

"I lost respect for him, when I saw him over a year ago on C-SPAN vigorously opposed to the impeachment of Bush and Cheney -- vigorously opposed. He said it would be 'divisive'. That is a cop out word. We have the most multiply impeachable presidency in American history."

As for me, I don't remember when I lost respect for Ralph Nader, and suspect I never had any. I will only point out that Ralph wasn't using the word "African-American" back in the '50s.

Ralph Nader made his bones taking on General Motors by pillorying its Chevrolet Corvair with his 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed. The Corvair was a beautiful automobile with a minor engineering flaw that was fixed in the production runs for later model years. I once met one of the production engineers who set up the Corvair assembly line at a party in the Detroit suburbs, and he was still proud of it 35 years later. I prefer the Ford Mustang.

Re: Barack Obama is no Britney Spears or Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton has now thrown her hat in the Presidential race with the taunt, "I'll see you at the debates, bitches":

You probably saw excerpts on TV, but what you probably didn't see was Paris Hilton’s energy policy, which reads pretty centrist to us:

"Barack wants to focus on new technologies to cut foreign oil dependency and McCain wants offshore drilling. Well, why don't we do a hybrid of both candidates’ ideas? We can do limited offshore drilling with strict environmental oversight while creating tax incentives to get Detroit making hybrid and electric cars. That way the offshore drilling carries us until the new technologies kick in which will then create new jobs and energy independence. Energy crisis solved."

We are surprised that John McCain would go after Paris Hilton after his experience at the Hanoi Hilton. All that McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds could offer was a me too:

"It sounds like Paris Hilton supports John McCain’s 'all of the above' approach to America's energy crisis - -including both alternatives and drilling. In reality, Paris Hilton may have a more substantive energy policy than Barack Obama."We did note that Paris knocked not just John McCain but also Barack Obama:"I'm not from the olden days and I'm not promising change like that other guy."

That sounds a lot like Paris might support our mantra, "what was wrong with the status quo?" So we're ready to consider giving her the Left Bank of the Charles endorsement. But wait, Paris is only 27 years old, so she won't be eligible to run for President until 2016. As we have previously noted, that's the same year Chelsea Clinton and Barbara and Jenna Bush become eligible.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Wild Sea

We saw the Wild Sea at the Lizard Lounge on Friday, August 1. This six person band, formerly known as Ruth and formerly known as Amusia, really rocked the small basement space with its concrete floor and low ceilings. We thought they were great but can’t really recall the tunes (Amusia does that to you) so we’ll have to go back for more.

They will be playing Toad on Thursday, September 4. As I told my friends, "I can be a Toad on September 4." Better get there early, as we’re afraid the band and all its trappings will fill the place.

Aaron Lippert, formerly of Expanding Man and Godboxer, opened. Aaron's style just seemed to sing out “if there’s a rebound girl here tonight, you’re going home with me.” Maybe not our taste, but perfect for the Lizard Lounge. We didn’t stay to closing, so we can’t say how good he is.

Re: Barack Obama is no Britney Spears or Paris Hilton

Our old friend Ann Coulter is at it again. Earlier in the campaign she said she’d campaign for Hillary Clinton over John McCain. Now she’s accusing John McCain’s Celeb ad featuring Paris Hilton and Britney Spears as being insulting to blondes by playing on the stereotype that blondes are stupid. We didn’t notice that she put up a new anti-McCain web site a month ago, Get Drunk and Vote 4 McCain. At the same time, Ann claims credit on behalf of her new web site for Obama dipping in the polls. We noticed that Barack dipped below 300 expected electoral votes this week on our two tracking sites (see left column). Don’t panic or celebrate yet, only 270 are needed to win.

On that subject, I saw a senior McCain staffer on Fox saying, "If we have to give up humor, we may have to turn to hard alcohol."

Monday, August 4, 2008

Re: Barack Obama is no Britney Spears or Paris Hilton

Did John McCain forget that Britney and Pairs have mothers? Angry mother Kathy Hilton has responded as follows:

"I've been asked again and again for my response to the now infamous McCain celebrity ad. I actually have three responses. It is a complete waste of the money John McCain's contributors have donated to his campaign. It is a complete waste of the country's time and attention at the very moment when millions of people are losing their homes and their jobs. And it is a completely frivolous way to choose the next President of the United States."

Kathy and her husband had previously donated $4,600 to the McCain campaign. Oops. Apparently the Republican Party needs a new Twelfth Commandant,

"Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican's troubled daughter."

Ronald Reagan must be rolling over in his grave. By the way, Britney Spears said she was willing to give George W. Bush the benefit of the doubt in an exchange with Tucker Carlson on CNN on Wednesday, September 3, 2003:

Carlson: A lot of entertainers have come out against the war in Iraq. Have you?

Spears: Honestly, I think we should just trust our president in every decision that he makes and we should just support that, you know, and be faithful in what happens.

Carlson: Do you trust this president?

Spears: Yes, I do.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Re: Barack Obama is no Britney Spears or Paris Hilton

Barack Obama spoke to the recent McCain ad in Cedar Rapids, Iowa yesterday (July 31, 2008):

"Given the seriousness of the issues, you’d think we could have a serious debate. But so far, all we've been hearing about is Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. I mean, I do have to ask my opponent, is that the best you can come up with? Is that really what this election is about? Is that what is worthy of the American people?"

That sounds like a challenge to bring it on. I will note that the ad in question didn't actually say anything about Paris or Britney, it just displayed their images in a segment talking about Barack's celebrity. So we weren't "hearing about" just "seeing about" Paris and Britney.

Is it worthy of the American people? We are after all a nation of whiners.