Sunday, November 30, 2008

Playbill News: Daisey's If You See Something Say Something Ends Joe's Pub Engagement Nov. 30:

The Public Theater presentation of Mike Daisey's latest monologue, If You See Something Say Something, concludes its limited engagement at Joe's Pub Nov. 30.

Daisey's collaborator, Jean-Michele Gregory, directed the work. Performances began Oct. 15 and officially opened Oct. 27.

In his latest monologue, Daisey, known for his politically and socially charged works, "investigates the secret history of the Department of Homeland Security through the untold story of the father of the neutron bomb and a personal pilgrimage to the Trinity blast site," according to press notes. "If You See Something Say Something takes us on a journey in search of what it means to be secure and the price we are willing to pay for it."

Those who missed the Joe's Pub run will have the opportunity to catch If You See Something: The production was filmed by Peabody award-winning filmmaker Steve Anderson and is aiming for a future movie release.
this big cloud...
Laika - graphic novel tells the sweet and sad story of the first space-dog - Boing Boing:

The book walks a fine line between fancy and faithfulness to the historical facts of Laika's life, populated with exhaustively researched, fleshed-out characters who are charming, complex and frustrating. There's Sergei Pavlovich, the head of the program, whom we meet as he is walking out of one of Stalin's gulags, whence he had been banished in the great purges, and who becomes a driven monster, forever scarred by Siberia. There's Yelena Dubrovksy, the space medicine program's animal handler, who has a preternatural ability to connect with the space-dogs, but who is also a scientist and Party member who is clear-eyed in confronting their eventual fate. There's Oleg Gerogivitch, who runs space medicine, and who understands the realpolitik of working for a driven semi-madman like Pavlovich.

In addition, there's a host of fictionalized and fictional characters -- the families who interact with Laika as a puppy, the cruel dog-catchers, the spear-carriers and hangers on who conjure up a world of space madness, cruelty, noblesse and vision.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death -

Tension grew as the 5 a.m. opening neared. Someone taped up a crude poster: “Blitz Line Starts Here.”

By 4:55, with no police officers in sight, the crowd of more than 2,000 had become a rabble, and could be held back no longer. Fists banged and shoulders pressed on the sliding-glass double doors, which bowed in with the weight of the assault. Six to 10 workers inside tried to push back, but it was hopeless.

Suddenly, witnesses and the police said, the doors shattered, and the shrieking mob surged through in a blind rush for holiday bargains. One worker, Jdimytai Damour, 34, was thrown back onto the black linoleum tiles and trampled in the stampede that streamed over and around him. Others who had stood alongside Mr. Damour trying to hold the doors were also hurled back and run over, witnesses said.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Regional Theater Discussion | DENNIS BAKER LLC:

While I do agree with Daisey when he states this particular conversation seems like a side note conversation of a much bigger discussion that needs to happen. I am also curious in what the conversation would have been like if they were not interviewing artists/administrators at top theaters. Intiman, DTC and Long Warf are probably more exceptions to the rules than what the norm would be for new works in regional theaters. Daisey states, “DTC does develop a lot of new work, which makes their presence on this show clear, but it does unfortunately make all of American regional theater sound like it does a hell of a lot more new play development than it actually does, because DTC is an outlier, not the rule.” It is also interesting that the discussion of new works is done without input from an emerging playwright.

Vogel mentions that she changed jobs because she was offerred Artistic Associate at Long Warf, while teaching at Yale, and like Lucas at Intiman, it gives a playwright a space to be heard and incentive to write their plays. It is disappointing that the only emerging playwright that is mentioned is Jason Grote, who had his new play produced at DTC, yet as Daisy points out Grote lives in New York. I see this as a crux of the bigger discussion. The more we can establish artists within communities and part of the bigger picture within the theater, the more it is going to benefit both the artist, the community and the theater as a whole.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Stranger | Slog | Wallace Money:

I realize that the Wallace Foundation is not an impresario. But this is a lot of money we're talking about, and interpreted strictly, all of this money could go into the hands of arts administrators and not a cent into the hands of artists. There's no talk of new commissions at the museum, at the opera, at the cinema, or at the ballet. There's talk of "develop[ing] and market[ing] eight new three-play Social Subscription pilot programs" (to the tune of $750,000 at the Rep); of "technology infrastructure to increase accessibility to opera" ($750,000); of "develop[ing] a community outreach campaign" ($750,000 at SIFF Cinema); of "expand[ing] and enhanc[ing] youth-driven programming" ($585,000 at EMP/SciFiMuHaFa). That's all good stuff, but will these organizations really make it matter?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Notes on Leonard Lopate's WNYC Discussion on Regional Theater

On WNYC Leonard Lopate discusses regional theater today--you can listen to it here, and this is the extract about the conversation from the WNYC website:

"We look into the role of regional theater in America today, and its contribution to the development of new American plays and playwrights. Director Bartlett Sher is Artistic Director at the The Intiman Theatre Company in Seattle; Kent Thompson is Artistic Director of the Denver Center Theatre Company; and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel is a professor at Yale School of Drama."

At the opener, Lopate read some boilerplate about why regional theater matters:

"Most people, and certainly most New Yorkers think of our city as being the theatrical center of the universe. But in 2007 it was estimated that not for profit theaters across America presented the work of 61,000 professional artists to 31 million audience members."

It's disappointing that out of 61,000 professional artists in the regional theater (a number I would love to see the homework for) we couldn't speak to a single working actor...or, if the emphasis has to be expressly on new work, one wishes we could have had ONE "EMERGING" PLAYWRIGHT who is not Paula Vogel to talk about what the system is like from their perspective.

There's also, as usual, no one from the money side speaking--so at one point, for example, all the panelists lament that new plays don't get five to seven productions across the country, but there's no reckoning or connection between this kind of massive undertaking and the fact that the existing infrastructure is unable to support itself even now.

Granted, that's not the emphasis of this conversation...but it should have been.

Bart Sher talks about his relationship with Craig Lucas--apparently Bart believes that he is discharging any duty that Intiman might have to playwright development by supporting the NYC-based-and-produced Lucas, for over ten productions, over the years. The collaboration is laudable if it creates great work, but counting this as "regional" theater development is quite a stretch.

Sher also talks about the fact of the "one-slot-a-year-new-play-rule", where an institution only does one new play a year--any more is always "too risky". This is presented as laudable, though if you connect the dots it is clear that that slot will be always taken by Craig Lucas, at least at Intiman, and it gives a window into how little new play development there can actually be--all 61,000 of those theoretical artists aren't working at places that do boatloads of new work.

No mention is made of regional playwrights of any kind--the only emerging playwright mentioned is Jason Grote, due to his skill and the connection to Denver Theater Center with 1001. Grote is an excellent playwright, and I really enjoyed 1001, but he lives in NYC.

DTC does develop a lot of new work, which makes their presence on this show clear, but it does unfortunately make all of American regional theater sound like it does a hell of a lot more new play development than it actually does, because DTC is an outlier, not the rule.

We also learn that Denver Theater Center takes 5% of playwrights royalties. This is excused because everyone else does it, and a lot of people do it with much higher percentages. The issue of DTC being a nonprofit is not raised by anyone, nor is the fact that some prominent nonprofits take no percentage in future productions.

After the first commercial break, the hub and spoke system is on full display--Sher is grateful that the regional theater system exists so that plays can be performed outside of NYC and "get them ready for New York". A lot of time is spent discussing the real complexities of sharpening and preparing plays, but the model is clearly that the regional theaters are the minor leagues that make the plays ready for NYC. Lopate puts it this way, and everyone says it is not this way, and then in their answers it becomes clear they agree with him that it is fundamentally this way.

A chunk of time is spent talking about critics, which feels to me like a pointless misdirection--you would never know that it's very clear that critics have less and less power to bring in audiences every year. They are talked about as though the entire system should be about winning over critics and reaching consensus with them, but the truth is that theater needs to reach way beyond the hermetic world of theater and critic. It's a telegram from an alternate universe where if the right audiences and the right critics love the right work, you can be a STAR! Sigh.

Paula Vogel has a few great moments, when Lopate quotes from her comments in the past about all of our theater being a theater of the ruling class and the rich. It's a sad moment however that when she responds today she feels the need to verbally state that she is speaking not for Yale or for Long Wharf when she expresses her opinion, and that the opinion is simply that Obama has an arts plank and might do something, perhaps, in the future. We've fallen pretty far, that we feel this much beneath our organizations and corporations that our artists reflexively clear their language.

Bless her for trying--she does have a nice moment when she talks about the changes in the NEA, and I also like this moment when she talked about the need for artists to be in theaters, speaking with marketing--that felt real.

It's a disappointing conversation--not terrible, or intentionally deceitful. It's just misguided about the nature of the journey we're on in the American theater. It's like listening to the activity director on the aft deck of the Titanic discuss what we'll be working on during this first exciting translatlantic journey. We'll be polishing the brass, working on the fittings and getting everything is, after all, going to be a long voyage.
Why CNN Struggles to Cover The Economic Panic - Boing Boing:

Where are the winning and losing teams? We have learned more about Al Queda cells and Saddam Hussein's Elite Guards than about the people in power behind CITI, Goldman Sachs, Lehmann Brothers, AIG, etc. We know more about the New York Jets than we do about CITI Bank. Are the slow-moving Detroit Manufacturers competing head-to-head against the fast-talking Wall Street Financiers? Please tell us more about these teams as we're entrusting them with such large amounts of public money. Maybe we need to start thinking that, as with football, we care because we're betting on teams to win. We have our money at stake.
Exceptional news: John Brennan won't be CIA Director or DNI - Glenn Greenwald -

I think Obama is entitled to a lot of leeway on appointments and is entitled not to be condemned -- or praised -- other than for things he actually does.  And while I have found some of his appointments questionable, Brennan was the only prospective appointment that, speaking only for myself, was completely unacceptable.  Advocacy of Bush's interrogation and rendition programs should exclude anyone from consideration for any important position, let alone CIA Director or Director of National Intelligence.

Reports had repeatedly indicated that Brennan -- who served all year as Obama's top adviser for intelligence matters -- was the leading candidate for either of those positions, especially CIA Director.  It's unclear if it was Obama or Brennan who was the catalyst for this decision, but either way, it's to be celebrated.  And as Big Tent Democrat wrote today:  "In case people were wondering, THIS is why you do not wait to express your 'concern' about issues and personnel."

This is an important victory.  It's absolutely vital that these bright lines be re-established.  Brennan's being denied a top intelligence positions due to his past advocacy of these abuses is a big step towards achieving that, particularly since it was due to pressure from those who insist that these political values not be de-prioritized or ignored.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bailout costs more than Marshall Plan, Louisiana Purchase, moonshot, S&L bailout, Korean War, New Deal, Iraq war, Vietnam war, and NASA's lifetime budget -- *combined*! - Boing Boing:

In doing the research for the "Bailout Nation" book, I needed a way to put the dollar amounts into proper historical perspective.

If we add in the Citi bailout, the total cost now exceeds $4.6165 trillion dollars.

People have a hard time conceptualizing very large numbers, so let’s give this some context. The current Credit Crisis bailout is now the largest outlay In American history.

Crunching the inflation adjusted numbers, we find the bailout has cost more than all of these big budget government expenditures – combined:

• Marshall Plan: Cost: $12.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $115.3 billion
• Louisiana Purchase: Cost: $15 million, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $217 billion
• Race to the Moon: Cost: $36.4 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $237 billion
• S&L Crisis: Cost: $153 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $256 billion
• Korean War: Cost: $54 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $454 billion
• The New Deal: Cost: $32 billion (Est), Inflation Adjusted Cost: $500 billion (Est)
• Invasion of Iraq: Cost: $551b, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $597 billion
• Vietnam War: Cost: $111 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $698 billion
• NASA: Cost: $416.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $851.2 billion

TOTAL: $3.92 trillion
More Lemon ; )

Monday, November 24, 2008

All of your toxic assets are belong to us - Megan McArdle:

I don't want to be a self-panicker; these things take time.  But I'm becoming increasingly convinced that the original theory of the bailout--that it would step in and provide a firewall to prevent future failures--has been proven wrong.  I still think it was worth trying, prospectively; there seemed to be at the time, a reasonable prospect that it would save money in the long run by forestalling the need for future bailouts.  But in hindsight, it hasn't worked.

The blue door
Let's solve the subprime mess by going after lawbreaking lenders.:

The problem with this wasn't the mortgage brokers per se. It was that many prospective borrowers wrongly assumed that the brokers were working in the borrower's best interest. But in most states, mortgage brokers do not owe any duty to the borrower to find the best possible deal. Many brokers relied on borrowers' ignorance of the mortgage market to pursue higher commissions and other financial perks for themselves. In much of the country, there's no legal remedy for this. But a few states require that brokers avoid conflicts of interest and pursue the best deal for the borrower. These states include California, home to about one-quarter of the mortgages in the United States that are in some stage of foreclosure. The Department of Justice, the state attorney general, legal-services attorneys, volunteer lawyers, and law students should all be poring over California loan documents to smoke out the brokers who violated their legally mandated duties to their clients. If a significant number of loans in California alone could be altered, consistent with the borrowers' abilities to pay, either through litigation or its threat, the federal government wouldn't have to pay as much for a national bailout.

To date, none of the proposed homeowner-rescue plans acknowledges that a significant number of the homeowners who are in distress were the victims of predatory and illegal practices. Opponents of the plans currently on the table raise three serious objections: First, any massive loan rescue would be costly; second, borrowers in good standing might intentionally default on their mortgages to benefit from a bailout; and third, investors holding securities backed by subprime loans will balk at loan modifications that diminish their already depreciated investments and will sue to stop such efforts.

Going after the lawbreakers helps to address these concerns. It would not only lower the cost of the rescue plan by reducing the number of borrowers needing help, it would also direct assistance only to those people who were victims of illegal conduct and insulate the loan modifications from litigation by investors looking to preserve their investments. Investors won't challenge loan restructuring when the underlying loans were made on illegal terms. You don't lend your horse to Jesse James and then sue the stagecoach he robbed to get it back. Investors will have to redirect their fire from the borrowers to the brokers and lenders who did the fancy loan footwork—and perhaps the ratings agencies that blessed it.
Fed Pledges Top $7.4 Trillion to Ease Frozen Credit:

The U.S. government is prepared to lend more than $7.4 trillion on behalf of American taxpayers, or half the value of everything produced in the nation last year, to rescue the financial system since the credit markets seized up 15 months ago.

Janet Napolitano's embarrassing history with Sheriff Joe Arpaio:

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, President-elect Barack Obama's apparent pick for Secretary of Homeland Security, has been praised as "smart, tough and funny" and "exceptionally talented." She has a record as a pragmatist on immigration and solid legal credentials as a former U.S. attorney and state attorney general. But Napolitano has also looked the other way on police excess when political calculation demanded it, as well as tolerated the questionable use of local sheriff's deputies to serve as a roving immigration patrol.

All of this can be traced to her friendship with the media-obsessed Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., who would consider it his own personal failing if you haven't yet heard of him. He is "America's toughest sheriff," a man who rose to prominence in the 1990s with such newsmaking stunts as feeding his inmates green bologna, clothing them in pink underwear, housing them in surplus Army tents behind barbed wire in the desert, and putting them to work on chain gangs. This punishment is inflicted equally on convicted criminals and those who have been convicted of no crime at all but are awaiting trial and unable to afford bail. Inmates who assault guards are put on rations of water and fortified bread.

The public devours it, and Arpaio has consistently enjoyed some of the highest approval ratings of any elected official in Arizona (Maricopa County includes Phoenix). That inmates have a way of getting killed in Sheriff Joe's jails, costing Maricopa County millions of dollars in lawsuits, has not dimmed his star. Nor has a federal judge's order that he provide a constitutionally mandated minimum level of food and health care, an order that said Arpaio had inflicted "needless suffering and deterioration" on the mentally ill.

More than a decade ago, Napolitano was in a position to help curb Arpaio's excesses. As a U.S. attorney in 1995, she was put in charge of a Justice Department investigation into atrocious conditions in Arpaio's "tent city." Napolitano carried out her task with what can best be described as reluctance, going out of her way to protect Arpaio from flak almost before the probe had started. "We're doing this with the complete cooperation of the sheriff," she told the Associated Press. "We run a strict jail but a safe jail, and I haven't heard from anyone who thinks that this is a bad thing."

"Anyone"? Maybe Napolitano needed to get out of her office a little more.

The Justice Department's final report, issued about two years later, confirmed a list of disgraces, including excessive use of force, gratuitous use of pepper spray and "restraint chairs" (since blamed for at least three inmate deaths), and hog-tying and beating of inmates. It also said Arpaio's staffing was "below levels needed for safety and humane operations."

The Justice Department filed suit and settled with the sheriff the same day after Arpaio agreed to administrative changes, including limiting the use of pepper spray and improving inmate grievance procedures. Napolitano stood with Arpaio at a press conference in which she, according to the Arizona Republic, "pooh-poohed her own lawsuit as 'lawyerly paperwork.' " Arpaio called the result a vindication.

Letters - The Defense We Need, and Can Afford -

In “A Military for a Dangerous New World” (editorial, Nov. 16), you call attention to the fact that the Pentagon’s total budget in 2008, including spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is “nearly equal to all of the rest of the world’s defense budgets combined.”

Excessive defense budgets have been the case for many years, predating our entry into those two wars. Nearly five decades ago President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of the danger of an unchecked military-industrial complex, a warning that has been more honored in the breach than the observance.

During our current financial emergency, when the federal deficit is certain to reach unprecedented levels, we can no longer afford to spend many billions of dollars on new generations of weapons systems whose only real-world military match is our own currently deployed weapons systems.
Jobs: It’s MY house… - MAC.BLORGE:

This is the latest slap in the face for Jobs over the property. He lost a series of legal proceedings that ultimately barred him from tearing down the 17,250-square-foot mansion, a residence he occupied for nearly 10 years and rented to others for a shorter time. The home—Jackling House (Wikipedia)—was originally built and ultimately named for copper magnate Daniel C Jackling in 1925 on six acres.

The home has been vacant since 2000 and Jobs has argued, “Eventually the house would be beyond repair and rehabilitation and would lose its value as an historic resource.”

Further, according to the above linked Wikipedia page dedicated to the property, there have been at least three offers from private individuals who are willing accept the Jackling House and move it to another local site.

So, Jobs has been seeking to demolish the house and build a home of his own on the property since 2004. In 2006 a court blocked him from doing so and now he’s being forced to pay the do gooder’s legal fees.

It would seem pretty clear that Jobs isn’t interested in letting Jackling House go under any circumstances. It would seem that he wants the house wiped from the face of the earth, destroyed.

And, that says quite a bit Apple’s beloved dear leader—he won’t even let the do gooder, preservationist bastards cart the eyesore away. They can’t make him preserve Jackling House nor can they force him to sell it—Jobs would rather let it rot in place than let them have it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

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Is It Checkout Time at Bellevue Hospital? -- New York Magazine:

There are countless ways to go crazy in New York City—permanently or briefly, bloodily or peacefully, comically or horribly—but those among us who have ever wondered if our own names might one day be called in that unlucky lottery are generally aware of a key distinction: You can lose it privately or you can lose it publicly. Losing it privately can be resolved by a call to your shrink, or the intervention of family, friends, and colleagues, or medication, or a stay in a private mental-health facility. But if you’re in Manhattan and you happen to be unfortunate enough to decompensate in a manner that involves an imminent threat to yourself or those around you, your day is probably going to end the way it ended for all three of the aforementioned gentlemen: You are going to Bellevue. Bellevue will almost certainly not be the last stop on your personal journey, but it is the single word that, for more than a century, has told the rest of New York City that there is now one less person on the streets about whom it has to worry.

“It takes a lot to get into Bellevue,” says Frederick Covan, who arrived at the hospital in 1980 and served as its chief psychologist until 1994. More accurate, it takes the absence of any alternatives. Bellevue is not for “some Upper East Side suicidal neurotic or whatever—they’d go to NYU Medical Center next door. Our patients were the ones with no money, no resources, and multiple stressors.”

That, or their behavior is so extreme—criminal or otherwise—that no other option presents itself. Merely wandering into the middle of Broadway while muttering incoherently? Probably not enough. “You know, the brilliance of the schizophrenics when they’re directing traffic,” says Covan, “is that they always direct it in the direction it’s already going, so their grandiosity is reinforced. But if they start to direct it in the opposite direction, or if they’re assaulting other people, or if you came in and said you really wanted to kill yourself, not just that you were thinking about it … You know, Bellevue is not the place for you if you’re just not feeling good today and you’re really worried about the stock market.”
Disco Bokeh
The list of the governments that have persecuted journalists - Glenn Greenwald -

But John Brennan is a different matter.  To appoint someone as CIA Director or Director of National Intelligence who was one of George Tenet's closest aides when The Dark Side of the last eight years was conceived and implemented, and who, to this day, continues to defend and support policies such as "enhanced interrogation techniques" and rendition (to say nothing of telecom immunity and warrantless eavesdropping), is to cross multiple lines that no Obama supporter should sanction.  Truly turning a page on the grotesque abuses of the last eight years requires both symbolism (closing Guantanamo) and substantive policy changes (compelling adherence to the Army Field Manual, ensuring due process rights for all detainees, ending rendition, restoring safeguards on surveillance powers).  Appointing John Brennan to a position of high authority would be to affirm and embrace, not repudiate, the darkest aspects of the last eight years.
Drip Drop Bokeh
How Detroit Drove Into a Ditch -

In all this lies a tale of hubris, missed opportunities, disastrous decisions and flawed leadership of almost biblical proportions. In fact, for the last 30 years Detroit has gone astray, repented, gone astray and repented again in a cycle not unlike the Israelites in the Book of Exodus.

It wasn't that American auto executives were always malicious and stupid while the Japanese were always enlightened and smart. Japanese car companies have made plenty of mistakes, most recently Toyota's ill-timed move into full-sized pickup trucks and SUVs. But just as America didn't understand the depth of ethnic and religious divisions in Iraq, Detroit failed to grasp -- or at least to address -- the fundamental nature of its Japanese competition. Japan's car companies, and more recently the Germans and Koreans, gained a competitive advantage largely by forging an alliance with American workers.
Hut in sandy wind
Five detainees ordered released "forthwith" after seven years at Guantanamo - Glenn Greenwald -

A federal district judge, Richard Leon, today ordered the Bush administration "forthwith" to release five Algerian detainees who have been held in Guantanamo without charges since January, 2002 -- almost seven full years.  The decision was based on the court's finding that there was no credible evidence that the 5 detainees intended to take up arms against the U.S.  The court found sufficient evidence to justify the ongoing detention of a sixth Algerian detainee.

When they were detained in 2001 in Bosnia, the Bush administration claimed that they were plotting to bomb the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo.  But once they were shipped to Guantanamo, the U.S. backed off that accusation and instead claimed they intended to travel to Afghanistan to fight against the U.S.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Say Anything « countercritic:

Daisey also has a gift for connecting history to our present experience of the world. Through shear slight of word, he is able to posit that the American experience of terror predates 9/11 by about sixty years, and is of a more self-inflicted source: a single atomic detonation in the sands of the Trinity blast area, a place where, today, things like praying, or talking about Hiroshima and Nagasaki are prohibited by privately contracted security masking as military personnel; where everything is outsourced, leaving the center empty.

And it’s this emptiness that Daisey seems set against. Whether it is the hushing of personal expression at Trinity, or the lack of music during the part of a Bradbury documentary that shows the footage of the first mushroom cloud (a cliche that is also used, I believe, in John Adam’s Dr. Atomic), Daisey, through his performance, gives voice to the many experiences of life that we so often have no words to express. One monologue after another, Daisey fills those terrifying nodes with feelings, thought and reason, even for the most unreasonable realities.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The case for immunizing everyone against the flu:

There are several advantages to broadening the range of people to be given flu shots. Because influenza carries substantial risk of requiring hospitalization, giving more people shots will certainly decrease the annual U.S. hospitalization rate and death rate, even though the vaccine isn't perfect—about 25 percent of the time, it fails partly or completely. There is also a secondary benefit: People who have been immunized are much less likely to pass the disease on to others who are unprotected or incompletely protected, a phenomenon called "herd immunity." That's the main reason for the push to immunize all children through age 18—those hacking and spewing youngsters are influenza's version of Typhoid Mary.
The Pumpkin Patch
ABC News: Big Three CEOs Flew Private Jets to Plead for Public Funds:

The CEOs of the big three automakers flew to the nation's capital yesterday in private luxurious jets to make their case to Washington that the auto industry is running out of cash and needs $25 billion in taxpayer money to avoid bankruptcy.
I'll be on the radio with WNYC's Leonard Lopate today, with Malcolm Gladwell and Sharon Waxman. Details here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thomas Kinkade's 16 Guidelines for Making Stuff Suck: Culture and Celebrity:

Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light™, extends his purview to motion pictures with this week’s release of Thomas Kinkade’s Christmas Cottage, an inspirational holiday pastiche based on one of his paintings. Produced by Lionsgate, the film stars Peter O’Toole and Marcia Gay Harden. But not even a name cast could stop it from being unceremoniously dumped to home video a year after its planned release.

One reason might be that Kinkade, a postmodern Norman Rockwell for the evangelist set, instructed the crew to adhere to an aesthetic code that wouldn’t have flown in a first-year film class. The list of 16 “guidelines” on how to create “The Thomas Kinkade Look” on film, which was circulated to crew members in memo form, has been obtained exclusively by VF Daily. (The whole memo can be found at the end of this post.)
Double Splash
Julia Cheiffetz: What the Hell, Malcolm Gladwell:

The omission of women in Outliers says more about the nature of "big think" books than it does about Mr.Gladwell. Since the publication of The Tipping Point, we've seen a proliferation of books that present a single, shrink-wrapped idea as a means of understanding the world at large: books like The World is Flat, The Black Swan, The Wisdom of Crowds, The Long Tail. Now some of these books (the ones written by behavioral economists) tend toward the gee-whiz-isn't-that-interesting set like Predictably Irrational, Freakonomics, and The Undercover Economist. But the point is, all of them promise access to a club whose sole activity is the exchange of ideas; all of them promise, however covertly, to make us feel smarter. And all of them are written by men.
'kül: If You See Something, Say Something:

You go to see this sort of perfomer, a sit-down comic with considerably more gravitas (and sure enough, they're making a movie), because he has an ability to say what's on your mind, often in a way that is far cleverer and certainly funnier than you yourself would put it. But that's only half the picture, the cultural magnet part that describes a junk shop in New Mexico as Mad Max meets Brazil. The far more engaging half is the indignant Daisey, offended on your behalf, at the museum that announces, to a soundtrack that is Shaft meets electronica, that "Native Americans were happy to give us their land." The Daisey who is horrified by the way we unabashedly claim that saving one million hypothetical American lives in the Pacific was worth more than 200,000 Japanese women and children, and then go about erasing the actual deaths, turning our nation's nuclear history into a bloodless affair. As he puts it, smiling ever so slightly and then going back to a straightface that belies his depth, "We like to think of ourselves as the good guys."
Twilight dance
Show Showdown: If You See Something Say Something:

If You See Something Say Something is a political play in the first-person, a unique trait that allows it to be socially responsible on a collective scale. It is first-rate theater, too--a direct story, with no mixed messages, that reminds us all of the very power we have to say something. It's a power that Mike Daisey seems to grow more and more comfortable wielding with each new monologue, too: whereas How Theater Failed America stemmed from personal experience, this play was generated first by Daisey's research into the morality of the atomic bomb (Cohen and Kahn), with his own anecdotes created later, by his trip to the Trinity site. Despite the means of production, the tone of this piece--which is very heavy on Homeland Security--is much needed. We need someone to be angry about the things we see and don't say anything about, those deaths we sweep under the table in the quest to be "the good guys."
....against .......