LeBron James

Yesterday I asserted that you never see ads featuring Lebron James going to the park and dunking on a bunch of kids. But a reader points out that you do see ads like this with Kobe Bryant: I guess what makes this ad work is that you never see the other team, so you don't have to feel bad for a bunch of little kids who showed up hoping to win a kiddie league championship and wound up getting destroyed by a 6'7 NBA All-Star ringer.

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Matt Latimer reports: Just as their once-comatose party shows some color in its cheeks again, its old doctors are back in the ward. Former President George W. Bush and his corral of Texas-based surrogates are preparing to flood the airwaves in anticipation of his new memoir, another step in a carefully crafted rehabilitation strategy. The publication date of Bush's Decision Points is set for early November, one week after the congressional elections.

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Jesse Jackson has never interested me much. I’m a little late out of the gate in commenting about Jackson’s latest diversion, analogizing LeBron James to a runaway slave in light of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s sputtering about James’ departure to Miami. I’ve always been a little laggard in dogpiling on Jesse. When I first started writing about race, I quickly noted a certain cognitive dissonance: everybody expected the new cranky black “conservative” to have a Jesse obsession. I never did, and don’t now. He shouldn’t be news, really.

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[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] When Jon was away last week, his TNR colleagues rented out his office for various nefarious activities, one of which was the filming of a Bloggingheads.tv episode, where I debated Matt Yglesias. The clip below features our discussion of whether something is lost when people read fewer books and more blogs. And if you keep watching you will see a few minutes of soccer-bashing. The whole video, which includes discussions of LeBron James, Matt's trip to China, and Indian politics is here.

Passion Pit

Washington—If the midterm elections were held now, Republicans would likely take control of the House of the Representatives. It's as hard these days to find a Democrat who's not alarmed as it is to find a Cleveland Cavaliers fan who's cheering for LeBron James. Worse for Democrats: They face two very different challenges, and addressing one could make the other worse. The outcome of the 2010 elections thus depends in large part on whether they can find a solution to a set of simultaneous equations before November. On the one hand, independent voters are turning on them.

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Today we introduce a new regular feature:, the Citizen Awards. This blog is all about the quest for a better society. Every week, we'll recognize one person who helped advance that cause (the Good Citizen) and one who set it back (the Bad Citizen). We'll focus on public figures and try not to take it, or ourselves, too seriously. Good Citizen of the Week: Bob Bennett Senator Bob Bennett was not in the news this week. But he's in the news this summer, because the Utah Republican Party denied his bid to run for a fourth term. Bennett has an 83.6 rating from the American Conservative Union.

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We'll soon know where LeBron James will be playing basketball next year. Thank goodness. The lead-up to the decision has been miserable--baseless speculation heaped on top of baseless speculation, with hype and ego and a pervading sense of "who cares" thrown in, too. So for the one-hour press conference, we're handing the commentary off to Buzz Bissinger, who wrote a book with LeBron last year and who has had some very entertaining, very tart things to say about the superstar lately.

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Twidiot

I cannot pinpoint the precise moment in time when the transformation kicked in, the shift from the occasional one-night stand with someone I thought of as a vapid twit into a torrid love affair of passionate tweets. But I remember the circumstance. I was drunk, quite drunk. As is my habit when I am drunk, I assaulted the kitchen: whipped cream out of the can, smoked mussels packed in what appeared to be high-viscosity motor oil, several substantial fistfuls of Cheez-Its.

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[This is a guest post by Isaac Chotiner] The NBA season came to a particularly satisfying conclusion last night with the Lakers' 83-79 win over an aging Celtics squad. What could be better than seeing a Boston sports team lose, while simultaneously witnessing a completely pathetic effort from Kobe Bryant, the most unlikeable NBA star of the decade? For only the third time in 25 years, the series went seven games, and it was nice to be reminded of how exciting Game 7's are for viewers, even those who don't have a huge rooting interest in the contest.

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OK, a note on the Soccer Wars. The truth is this: soccer has won.  No-one expects soccer to supplant the NFL in American affections but any comparison of soccer in America in 1990 and 2010 reveals how much progress the game, and most especially the World Cup, has made. Indeed, I was struck last weekend by how much "bigger" the tournament was in Washington, DC than it was even in 2006. And it's not just international, immigrant-stuffed cities such as DC, NYC and LA in which soccer has taken root. Among the five TV markets in which the England-USA match did best? Cincinnati.

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