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Was there a fox in the house of also-foxes? Not only did Fox News Executive Vice President and “communications chief” Brian Lewis get fired, but apparently he was fired “for cause”. From Fox News media chief Brian Lewis fired after internal investigation on the LA Times:

“After an extensive internal investigation of Brian Lewis’ conduct by Fox News, it was determined that he should be terminated for cause, specifically for issues relating to financial irregularities, as well as for multiple, material and significant breaches of his employment contract,” a spokesman for Fox News parent company 21st Century Fox said.

Per Gabriel Sherman over to the Daily Intelligencer, at one point Lewis and Roger Ailes were tight:

Lewis was one of the most powerful executives at Fox News — and a moderating influence on Ailes. Lewis was one of the few senior executives who would vocally challenge Ailes (although he was smart enough to do it privately). A frequent joke around Fox was that while everyone is scared of Roger Ailes, the only person Roger Ailes is scared of is Brian Lewis.

but their relationship had deteriorated over the last decade.

[...] signs of tension have been evident in recent months. Ailes, for whatever reason, had begun to rely less on Lewis’s strategic advice, instead consulting others such as his personal lawyer Peter Johnson Jr. and Fox contributor Jim Pinkerton, both of whom, sources said, were more likely to indulge Ailes rather than challenge him.

The article paints Lewis as a guy that knows where, like, 90% of the bodies are buried. To fire somebody like that…

Jim DeMint’s outfit is now going to work to primary Mitch McConnell.

Look, I appreciate them doing what they can to make a Democratic victory more likely here. But all you right-wingers out there: what’s wrong with you? You know this is insane, right? McConnell is ultra-conservative and a seriously talented legislative leader. With say a Jon Kyl or a Bill Frist someone in there instead, do you really think the Obama record would be actually any thinner? More likely, he would have gotten more done, possibly much more. McConnell has always struck me as in the mold of LBJ and Nixon, personally toxic but politically brilliant. Blaming him for not stopping That Man In The White House from doing anything would be akin to what lefty fools like Drew Westen and Aaron Sorkin say about Obama, which is basically that if he just says the right words conservatism will crumble. Obama is an easy focal point and he has made many mistakes, some utterly inexcusable. But the causes of the political situation are a little more complicated than that glib diagnosis. Obama is probably the best public speaker to hold the presidency since FDR, after all. If it were a matter of words, everything would be okay.

But, then again, if you’re inclined to get rid of the guy, don’t let me stop you. Cornyn would be a great Senate Minority Leader from my perspective. He was the mastermind behind the 2012 Senate campaign for Republicans, where they had half as many seats to defend as Democrats and still somehow lost two. Sounds like an able man to me!

My local independent bookstore is having a sale on random paper product doodads, which got me in the mood for something completely different.

So here y’are.

  1. The Best Books on Writing, NYC, Animals, and More: A Collaboration with the New York Public Library on Brain Pickings:

    Kelli [Anderson], with her own brand of idealistic maximalism, decided to turn the [New York Public Library] reading lists into a magnificent papercraft wonderland featuring oversized three-dimensional sculptures of each of the books amidst an intricate paper cityscape of the Manhattan skyline.

  2. Conic hiragana series made from paper by Makoto Sasao on Spoon and Tamago:

    Each year since 1990 Takeo Paper, a major Japanese paper manufacturer, has hosted a paper art exhibition to select awesomeness in paper. The most recent winner was paper craft artist Makoto Sasao, who wowed the judges with his prize winning entry titled “Togari Hiragana.” Meaning pointed hiragana, Sasao used a single piece of paper to create a 3D representation of each hiragana character that stands up in the shape of a pyramid or cone.

    When viewed from the side the objects merely look like paper cut-outs. But when the vantage point is shifted to a birds-eye view, the characters are revealed.

  3. I have Running With Scissors (based on the memoir of the same name by Augusten Burroughs) queued up to watch, but, alas, it’s not rated high with Mssr. Roeper on RottenTomatoes:

    In the real world, mental illness is a serious problem. In this film, it gives everyone a license to run around like characters in a Lewis Carroll story — all of it set to predictable pop hits from the 1970s.

And there you go. Who says I can’t rock a tightly themed set of bullet points? Up yours, Book of Lists! Vaffanculo…uh…this guy.

What, between concrete action to reduce discriminatory drug sentencing, the end of “stop and frisk”, and the Whitey Bulger verdict, I’ve seen worse.

Speaking of which, I still maintain that making The Departed the way they did was a big mistake. I liked the Hong Kong movie it was based on, Infernal Affairs. Same basic plot (though with much better-developed characters despite being about 50 minutes shorter), but where The Departed was sloppy and discursive, Infernal Affairs was lean, tight, and rolled like a freight train. A great movie of its genre, though it’s not going to change your life or anything. In any event, there are no parts where the protagonist yells at people at that aren’t ever going to reappear in the movie at a funeral that has no ramifications going forward, you know, that type of stuff. But apart from that, by deciding to pattern the Jack Nicholson character so closely after Bulger, the movie introduced elements that could have made for a much better, more special movie. After all, while Whitey Bulger was up to tricks, his brother was running the Massachusetts State Senate. A movie that paralleled the paths up of those two men, even if somewhat fictionalized, sounds like the premise of a great film (or a great cable television program, as well). Certainly, the possibilities of that film would have been much greater than the material that was used. And while I would trust Scorsese to handle the political stuff, given that Casino and The Age of Innocence are both classic films that deal with that sort of material, I very much would not want Jack Nicholson to appear in it, unless time travel is invented and we could shanghai him away from 1974 for a couple months.

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losing moneyI’ve come to believe that one of the bigger problems unleashed by the ever-unfolding series of NSA data-hoovering scandals is the dramatic impact it’s likely going to have on America’s dominant presence at the helm of the global Internet.

Now that everyone knows that the NSA can secretly compel any U.S. company to hand over whatever data it wants, you know that thousands of smart companies all over the world are now trying to figure out how to completely divert their Internet use and traffic away from the United States.  Moreover, think about all the thousands of nascent European entrepreneurs who are hatching plans to basically duplicate U.S. web services, base them in Europe and offer them up as an appealing alternative to similar services based in the U.S. that are, at all times, subject to secret NSA data-hoovering.

Here’s Greenwald via BJ on the topic:

The growing (and accurate) perception that most US-based companies are not to be trusted with the privacy of electronic communications poses a real threat to those companies’ financial interests. A report issued this week by the Technology and Innovation Foundation estimated that the US cloud computing industry, by itself, could lose between $21 billion to $35 billion due to reporting about the industry’s ties to the NSA. It also notes that other nations’ officials have been issuing the same kind of warnings to their citizens about US-based companies as the one issued by Lavabit yesterday:

And after the recent PRISM leaks, German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich declared publicly, ‘whoever fears their communication is being intercepted in any way should use services that don’t go through American servers.’ Similarly, Jörg-Uwe Hahn, a German Justice Minister, called for a boycott of US companies.”

100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and DisappearedHas the GOP screwed its penultimate pooch?

From The Democratic Strategist’s Why Seniors Are Turning Against The GOP via Old Folks Turning Away From GOP For Real? on the Political Animal:

There’s something going on with seniors: It is now strikingly clear that they have turned sharply against the GOP. This is apparent in seniors’ party affiliation and vote intention, in their views on the Republican Party and its leaders, and in their surprising positions on jobs, health care, retirement security, investment economics, and the other big issues that will likely define the 2014 midterm elections.

Further on, makin’ with the facts:

–In 2010, seniors voted for Republicans by a 21 point margin (38 percent to 59 percent). Among seniors likely to vote in 2014, the Republican candidate leads by just 5 points (41 percent to 46 percent.)
–When Republicans took control of the House of Representatives at the beginning of 2011, 43 percent of seniors gave the Republican Party a favorable rating. Last month, just 28 percent of seniors rated the GOP favorably. This is not an equal-opportunity rejection of parties or government — over the same period, the Democratic Party’s favorable rating among seniors has increased 3 points, from 37 percent favorable to 40 percent favorable.

–When the Republican congress took office in early 2011, 45 percent of seniors approved of their job performance. That number has dropped to just 22 percent — with 71 percent disapproving.

–Seniors are now much less likely to identify with the Republican Party. On Election Day in 2010, the Republican Party enjoyed a net 10 point party identification advantage among seniors (29 percent identified as Democrats, 39 percent as Republicans). As of last month, Democrats now had a net 6 point advantage in party identification among seniors (39 percent to 33 percent).

–More than half (55 percent) of seniors say the Republican Party is too extreme, half (52 percent) say it is out of touch, and half (52 percent) say the GOP is dividing the country. Just 10 percent of seniors believe that the Republican Party does not put special interests ahead of ordinary voters.

–On almost every issue we tested — including gay rights, aid to the poor, immigration, and gun control — more than half of seniors believe that the Republican Party is too extreme.

The survivalist demographic’s still in the bag, no doubt, but how will the GOP keep the olds down on the farm once they’ve seen gay (commiemuslimatheist) Paree?

the-bonds-of-marriage-angela-conwaySome people thought that my earlier comments on what I thought of marriage were a bit too strident:

For much of its history, marriage was all about transferring ownership of a woman from her father to her husband, which included, for some lucky husbands, that sweet, sweet dowry.  But even in our more modern times the same principle obtains: lock two people up in the “bonds” of holy matrimony and then position governmental and ecclesiastical guards at the door to forcefully dissuade them from getting  out.

Well, I’m not alone in how I characterize the purpose of marriage.  Here’s Kyle Cupp inadvertently helping to make my point:

One of the purposes of marriage is to direct and compel behavior.  People make vows, publicly, and henceforth there is a public expectation that the couple will keep their vows.  The legal structure of marriage reenforces this expectation.  Marriage sets ideals the couple has to work towards.  Hard work? Always.  Chance for failure?  You bet.

So I’m supposed to voluntarily lock up myself and someone else in a (lovely, well-appointed) jail, and the only way to get out is to tunnel through the walls or bribe and sweet-talk the guards?  No thanks.