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I try to avoid piling onto female-targeted entertainment unless I find it actively offensive (e.g. Twilight). Of course most of it is terrible, but so is most male-oriented entertainment. There’s just far more of the latter being made, so it’s more a sample size issue than anything. I will however state that the movie sounds like the worst Harlequin book ever written.

The death of the screenwriter of Rebel Without A Cause is a good occasion to highly recommend the movie he wrote, and not only is the whole thing on YouTube for free, I even went ahead and embedded it right here. Time to stop putting it off. I get the sense that it’s more something people are aware of than have actually seen, but if you want to understand the Beatniks, or the Hippies, or really any sort of youth movement with a political bent, this is some essential viewing. Beyond James Dean method acting in a white tee, it’s really a movie about being old enough to recognize just how goddamn corrupt the world is (and how deep the hypocrisies run), but still young enough to not have surrendered to that stuff. Dean, due to his life story, will always be able to embody that on screen, and the movie as a whole holds up incredibly well. He’s a rebel without a cause simply because he has to rebel from the prevailing morality in order to live some semblance of a decent life. And, ultimately, this is how most of these kinds of movements think of themselves–only in retrospect are they packaged with the easily digestible politics that they have ascribed to them by the media, so that Tom Brokaw can make a special of them, and don’t forget that Time/Life collection, etc. This explains incidentally why Occupy Wall Street provoked such bafflement by commentators, who seemed to think that a spontaneous movement ought to already have a fully-defined manifesto of actionable legislation behind them, which is crazy. That the Tea Party essentially did have all that just goes to prove how inorganic and unspontaneous that movement was.

Via the redoubtable @dick_nixon comes this several year old story of Brian Williams’ volunteer firefighting career certainly feels a lot like his other “exaggerations” and I wonder just how many other things will pop up as he becomes increasingly scrutinized.
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Local news confirms it:
That action comes as a Los Angeles Times article is shedding light on low vaccination rates at childcare centers across the state. The article says research found 1,500 facilities have vaccination rates under 92 percent. The vast majority of those, which is about 1,100, are private. More than 300 that are public and in question are right here in the Bay Area. They’re concentrated in Marin County, Berkeley and the 101 corridor in Silicon Valley.
Just to be completely scrupulous, there are actually some poor people in Berkeley too. Not so much the others.
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Now that it looks almost certain that Barack Obama will make the mistake of escalating our involvement in Ukraine (here’s the latest tell), further shredding any sort of plausible commitment to peace and throwing in his lot with delusional neocons and “centrist” D.C. pundits, I figured I’d make a prediction. Maybe it won’t come to pass, but I think it would make a lot of sense if it does. And that is that, within one year of his leaving office, the very hawkish pundits decrying Obama’s every (perceived) failure of will and credibility will be praising his name. And they’ll be right to do it: after all, you could make a very compelling argument that Obama has been as hawkish as a president could be, operating under these constraints. After all, had Obama said no to the Libya campaign, it would not have ever happened. And I continue to believe that, if he’d wanted to, he could have avoided direct involvement with ISIS by citing his own unlikely election win as evidence that Americans have no desire to have any more involvement in Iraq. That argument would, I think, have been very difficult for opponents to rebuke. Instead, we got a war speech that was heavy on moral outrage but light on any kind of substance.

But while Obama has hardly satisfied all the hawks’ desires, he’s absolutely gone as far as he could without seriously damaging his presidency. If you wanted to be cynical, you argue that Obama was always more hawkish than Clinton, just more sophisticated about how to sell it to the left. Clinton sucks at that, still reads from right-wing hymnals full of nationalistic patriotic drivel, as though a Latina from South San Francisco is going to do anything but roll her eyes at that. The Obama method of Public Agony Over This Difficult Choice, with the unspoken corollary that he’s the president and he knows more than you do and it’s a hard decision so if you disagree with this, politely get lost, has worked so much better. It’s not all that much a stretch to read all this stuff cynically. I don’t entirely believe this conspiracy theory–I think it has much more to do with legacy, advisors and his questionable political strategy of placating those “centrist” pundits–but it does offer a more robust explanation of the facts than anything I can come up with.

In any event, the hawks will ultimately realize all this, I think. Given that Obama’s win was largely due to Clinton’s unapologetic Iraq War vote, it would have been plausible indeed to see Obama avoid these sorts of things as a matter of course. Certainly the public would have backed him on this. Instead, he’s gotten the U.S. involved in virtually every news-making foreign crisis of his presidency, with the exception of the Iran revolts. I actually can’t wait for the Obama era to end, if only to read all the memoirs to understand exactly why it wound up this way. I have no doubt that Obama’s interventions will be used to try to tie up a prospective Clinton Administration, with the possible ironic result that Democrats will be much more skeptical of someone many know primarily from her hawkish record (and there’s her relative lack of talent at selling her base on these interventions) rather than someone introduced as an Iraq opponent. Who knows? All I know is that Rich Lowry is an idiot:

We believe in the power of 21st-century international norms. Russian President Vladimir Putin believes in the power of lies and brute force, and implicitly asks, in the spirit of Josef Stalin, “How many divisions do international norms have?”

Breaking international norms, lies, the use of brute force to affect political change. These are serious breaches of etiquette to be opposed. Guess he opposed the Iraq War then, right?

George Lucas denounces substance-free CGI effects-fests. This is the true death of irony, though I still maintain that Episodes II and III were at least attempts at telling stories with real people, but as it turns out, he sucks at that. He’s a master of synthesis but a disaster when it comes to creativity. Pilfering tropes and archetypes is his real talent.
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A rather extreme example.
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