Reagan And The 4th

Since all the conservative websites are posting their favorite Reagan speeches about freedom in honor of July 4th, some of us at The Plank thought we should post a few of our favorite words from the former president: Question: Are we going to put any kind of pressure on the Turkish government about giving a just solution to the Cyprus problem?President Reagan: To the which problem?Q: To the Cyprus problem.Reagan: Oh. I wish the Secretary of State were here. We're aware of that but I don't know that we have involved ourselves directly and deeply in that.

Glasgow's Jack Bauer

In the aftermath of the thwarted attack on Glasgow airport, one man has emerged as the hero of the hour. Step forward baggage handler John Smeaton who, while enjoying a sly cigarete break, witnessed the attack and rallied to help the police take down the terrorists. You may well have seen him on CNN or Fox. A tribute become a phenomenon, attracting more than 500,000 page views. More than 1,000 people have each pledged money to buy a pint for Mr. Smeaton at the Glasgow Airport Holiday Inn.

Growth Spurt
July 02, 2007

Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, doesn't come up in the news very often. And why would it? There's no war or ethnic strife. The city is poor, but not outlandishly so--in fact, thanks to a stable government and a lucrative mining industry, Botswana is one of Africa's rare economic success stories.

The Global Warming Hoax
June 25, 2007

by Cass Sunstein What follows is a short op-ed I recently received from a climate change skeptic at a well-known conservative institution. Because it captures some widespread views, I thought that I would reprint it here. (Or might it be a parody, produced right here at Open University? To see what it might be parodying, see the over-the-top op-ed by Vaclav Klaus--President of the Czech Republic!--in the Financial Times.

The New Star Wars

Turns out The Onion's absurd top story this week ("Bush Calls for Development of National Air Conditioner") might not be very far from the truth.

Richardson's Latest

Yesterday at the Take Back America conference Bill Richardson attacked his Democratic primary opponents for supporting recent legislation on Iraq. Said Richardson: With all due respect to my Democratic colleagues ... Senators Clinton, Obama, Dodd, and Biden all voted for timeline legislation that had deliberate loopholes.

It All Depends On How You Phrase It...

While Drudge and the rest of the blogosphere are obsessing over the fact that Hillary Clinton got booed this morning, the senator's campaign can take solace in how The New York Times is hyping this article on the front page of its website: Clinton Gets Better Reception on Iraq By PATRICK HEALY There were fewer boos for Senator Clinton at today's Take Back America meeting of liberal activists than last year. It's progress... --Isaac Chotiner

Gun Control, Please
June 19, 2007

"Guns are like cellphones here." "Here" means Gaza. It is no surprise. As Cam Simpson reports in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal , most of the civilian population is terrified. And therefore also buying guns. "If you can afford a mobile you can probably afford a Kalashnikov." This is priced roughly at $1,400. You buy guns before you buy milk. Anyway, this is a fascinatingly detailed story, like the WSJ really does well. Read it... and weep.

Who Cares Who's For Whom?
June 17, 2007

I CONFESS. I didn't know who Darryl McDaniels was until I read an article about his political opinions in this week's New York Observer. I am not exactly sure that I know now either. But, to put other rap illiterates in the neighborhood like me, he's the founder of Run-D.M.C., which the weekly paper for the rich Upper East Side characterizes as "the immortal, pioneering rap group [that] ... smashed Billboard records with songs like 'Walk This Way,' 'Raising Hell' and 'My Adidas'." Wow! As I said, I didn't know any of this.

Just Because You're Paranoid Doesn't Mean Michael Moore Isn't A Marketing Genius
June 15, 2007

Advertising Age is reporting that a pirated copy of Michael Moore's new movie Sicko has turned up on the Internet and is now easily viewable for free. The article goes on to say that Moore, and his distributor, The Weinstein Company, have every film maker's worst marketing nightmare on their hands--how to persuade people to go to the theater to see a show that's available free on the Internet. I don't know. Doesn't this sort of thing actually help Moore's marketing plan--by generating even more free press for his film?