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Palin Reconsidered
July 02, 2009

Ed Kilgore is managing editor of The Democratic Strategist, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and a frequent contributor to a variety of political journals.     At virtually any given moment, the news-cycle-driven chattering classes of politics have in the background of their computer screens or the pockets of their briefcases a Big Thumbsucking Magazine Article on a political topic that they read during periods of calm.

MBA Frayed
April 01, 2009

Back in October, not long after Lehman Brothers collapsed and triggered a meltdown on Wall Street, one of the hottest e-mail forwards making the rounds among finance types was a letter by Andrew Lahde, a hedge-fund manager who had posted eye-popping 866 percent returns in 2008 by betting on increases in U.S. subprime mortgage defaults.

What's Trippi Think Of The Informercial?
October 29, 2008

As you probably know, Barack Obama is running a 30 minute spot on national television tonight. 30 minutes! What in the world could or should Obama talk about for 30 minutes, and is it even fair that he's doing it? We asked Joe Trippi, former advisor to Senator Edwards and campaign manager for Howard Dean, what he would do if he were running the show. Most presidential campaigns, back in the day, did long format ads. Gerald Ford did a long format from Air Force One. Carter did it.

The Post-Rove Guru
July 31, 2008

Sergeant Schmidt. The Artillery Shell.

Bigger, Badder
January 25, 2006

You hear a lot of complaining, and rightly so, about Hollywood's tendency to churn out safe, unimaginative pabulum--the remakes, the sequels, the blow-everything-up movies. Less remarked upon is the opposite problem: The studios' inability (or unwillingness) to make B+ movies, competent, mid-sized genre films that are formulaic in the good sense. There was a time when Hollywood excelled at producing such solid but unexceptional fare--Westerns are the classic example--but no longer.

Stage Manager
June 07, 2005

"Am I on?" asks the figure on camera, who identifies herself as "Laura Lou." "This is like a testimony, isn't it?" She wipes her face nervously, explaining, "Jimmy says when I wear too much makeup it makes me look like a whore." Her story is about the beatings she used to take from her drunken husband; she tells it between sobs, tugging at her bangs as if to hide behind them. At one point she breaks down altogether. "I can't talk," she weeps. "This is really hard for me." But she assembles herself again and goes back to her sad tale. "One night," she says, "he got out the gun.

Hotel Reservations
April 11, 2005

About midway through Hotel Rwanda there's a powerful, if somewhat heavy-handed, scene in which a good-hearted U.N. colonel (Nick Nolte) makes clear to hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle) why the West won't intervene to stop the ongoing Rwandan genocide. "We think you're dirt, Paul," he explains sadly. "You're black. You're not even a nigger. You're an African." One assumes that no one from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was ever quite so blunt with Hotel Rwanda director/producer/cowriter Terry George.

Crap, Actually
April 27, 2004

Anyone seeking evidence of the death of romantic comedy will find it in abundance in Love Actually, which arrives in video stores this week. Written and directed by Richard Curtis (best known for penning Bridget Jones's Diary, Notting Hill, and Four Weddings and a Funeral), Love Actually announces its ambitions early: Too bold to offer us a thin, unconvincing romance, it instead offers us half a dozen.

Lives Of The Saints
October 31, 1988

Understanding the Beatles and Beatlemania.

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