On Saturday night at 9 p.m., political reporters across the Beltway will gather round their flat-screens swelling with an odd mix of regret and expectation, like paunchy forty-somethings at a college reunion looking at an old video clip from that great blow-out party years past. Boy, did we have it good, then, and boy is life now dull by comparison. Instead of Obama and Hillary, it's Mitt and Rick. And instead of Sarah Palin, it'll be ... Rob Portman?
Opening in May and reaching out into the early summer, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris is an artful and shameless encouragement of going back to Paris. I suppose that’s better than artless and shameful, but, from a director who is aged 75 now, wouldn’t it be nice to feel some age and regret, to say nothing of this being the last time he’ll see Paris with the euro stronger than a two-day old croissant?
[Guest post by Michelle Cottle] God, what is it with the Palin women? Every time they do something stupid, their immediate response is to blame someone else. Forget Mama Grizzly’s obsession with the media haters. What is up with Bristol’s pity-me puling about her latest split with Levi? Boo hoo hoo, he lied to me about his trip to Hollywood. Boo hoo hoo, he admitted he might have knocked up another teenage girl. Boo hoo hoo, he tricked me into appearing on all those magazine covers with him.
[Guest post by Harold Pollack] On Tuesday, the Obama administration released its National HIV/AIDS Strategy. It's imperfect, but its authors should be proud. Whatever criticisms one may have of this administration, its policy analysts are allowed to discuss serious problems as mature adults, with a minimum of the embarrassing oversimplification, euphemism, or blatant political shading.
The big news today is that Obama's reportedly planning to open up a bunch of new offshore areas to oil and gas exploration for the first time: Under the plan, the coastline from New Jersey northward would remain closed to all oil and gas activity. So would the Pacific Coast, from Mexico to the Canadian border. The environmentally sensitive Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska would be protected and no drilling would be allowed under the plan, officials said.
You’ve got to hand it to Bristol Palin: The gal is working overtime to turn those lemons into lemonade. A week or so before graduating high school last May, America’s favorite unwed teen mother signed on as an abstinence ambassador for the Candie’s Foundation (a perplexing development for those who recalled Bristol’s earlier proclamation that abstinence is “not realistic at all”). Four months later, young Bristol incorporated herself and launched a political p.r. and consulting shop named BSMP (short for Bristol Sheeran Marie Palin).
Sarah Palin’s autobiography Going Rogue doesn’t have an index. Why? Well, I’m not exactly sure. But it sure makes finding gems in the text--such as the defense of that $150,000 clothing bill, the petty attacks on Katie Couric, and Palin-isms like “maverick” and “dang!”—a pretty tough slog. So, here’s an index. A really, really long and thorough one. Want to know where Palin celebrated one of her baby showers with her gal pals? It’s in here. Want to know how she feels about the ACLU, or Ashley Judd, or Steve Schmidt? In here, too.
Having spent a good deal of our time examining the path of the downturn and recovery within America’s own metropolitan areas, it’s great to see other organizations doing the same--and doing it with cool technology. In that vein, be sure to check out City Tracker, a new website from the U.K.’s Centre for Cities, which provides interactive maps, tables, and charts showing how that country’s major urban areas (more akin to our wider metropolitan areas than our central cities) have performed economically over the last 20 months. So who’s up, and who’s down?
Well, it wasn’t exactly must-see TV--which was probably good news for both of the women involved as they work to rebuild (a public image in one case, ratings in the other). There was no Tom Cruise-esque couch-jumping moment. No one wept or cursed or called anyone an ignorant slut. Both gals were unfailingly polite. Oprah was gentle with her poking and prodding. Palin neither embarrassed herself nor went after Oprah with a Bowie Knife, exceeding the extremely low expectations that only somewhat justifiably plague her. Overall, I thought the in-studio bits weren’t particularly compelling.