The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Speed

The Politics of Speed

Rusty Wallace gives his take on the philosophy of wrecks and aggressive driving during road races from the perspective of a fan, car owner, and NASCAR analyst. [ESPN]

Tony Stewart has thrown down the gauntlet once again after the incidents with Brain Vickers this weekend – if you block me, I will dump you. It doesn’t sound like he’s going to change his stance on it any time soon either – “If they want to block that’s what is going to happen to them every time for the rest of my career.” [ESPN]

How do you respond to those people who will claim NASCAR is full or rednecks and appeals to the lowest common denominator? Patrick Reynolds has an answer. [All Left Turns]

A 100-mpg Honda Insight has been banned from rally car racing for supposedly being too fast. What? [inhabitat]

I could easily cross-post this article to my Tech Web Gems. Click through to learn about the new, hidden tech that is changing the way we drive. [Wired]



The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Immigration

The Politics of Immigration

“The fight isn’t over . . .” Several weeks ago in the RP, we pointed out the difficulties of being gay, an immigrant and in love and wanting to stay with one’s partner through marriage. Hey, straight people do it all the time. The landmark New York same-sex marriage bill passed this week changes the game on many levels. No Deportation for Immigrant in Same-Sex Marriage.

Last week, the RP highlighted Pulitzer Prize winning and, as it turns out, undocumented immigrant journalist Jose Antonio Vargas’s “coming out” piece in the New York Times. The strongest backlash this week has come primarily from an unlikely source: his fellow journalists. The media deportation of Jose Antonio Vargas

But, lest we forget, Vargas is still at risk for deportation after telling his story and giving a “face” to undocumented immigrants. NPR, in partnership with the Nation, published an excellent piece yesterday on where things stand for Vargas and the impact his story has had on the public. The Other Face Of Illegal Immigration

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Fame

The Politics of Fame


BREAKING NEWS: Sarah Palin to run for President in 2012 according to “her man in Iowa.” READ MORE HERE. [LA Times]

Former Illinois Governor “Blago”: Yes, he was convicted, but was he really guilty? [Forbes]

Imagine he’s not liberal? Was former Beatle John Lennon a closet Reagan Republican? [Toronto Sun]

A generic republican candidate beats Obama by four percent in latest poll?? Read more here. [Rasmussen Reports]

Nine things you need to know about Facebook’s coming rival, “Google+” [Huff Post Tech]

Ronald J. Granieri: Greek Myths; Greek Lessons

The news of late has been full of images of growing chaos in the “cradle of democracy.” This week in Athens, crowds of angry stone-throwing citizens chanting, “Traitors, traitors!” have confronted police in riot gear, who have responded with tear gas, while public employee unions announced a 48-hour general strike in advance of a crucial parliamentary vote. The protesters directed their rage both at the government and at international financial agencies, especially the European Union [EU], which have demanded a series of austerity measures in response to Greece’s debt crisis.

Meanwhile, outside pressure on the Greeks has grown, with foreign observers declaring there is “no plan B” if this combination of austerity and bailout fails, markets swinging wildly on alternate waves of hope and fear, and many commentators concerned that even these programs will not be enough. As I write this article, the Greek parliament narrowly approved its austerity plan in the face of the public’s wrath, averting the possibility of national default, at least for now.

No one disputes that Greece has, after years of generous public spending and indifferent-to-incompetent tax collection, run up such enormous debts that investors no longer believe in the Greek state’s ability to pay them. This is nothing new in the history of the world economy, or even in the history of Greece.

What gives this Greek tragedy its greater significance is Greece’s participation in the European common currency, the Euro. As a Euro member, the Greeks are not completely masters of their own fate, unless they choose to leave the common currency, which could touch off an even bigger crisis of continental if not global proportions. Greece and its partners in the Eurozone are locked in a fateful embrace. The other Euro members, who last year already committed 110 billion Euros to prop up the Greek economy, are committed to bailing out the Greeks even more, while the Greek public faces a long period of austerity, which will force them to accept significant cuts in a generous welfare state. The Greeks have not taken this very well, to put it mildly. At the same time, the richer EU states, especially Germany, that will be expected to fund the Greek bailout (and potential bailouts for Portugal, Ireland, Spain, and someday perhaps Italy—collectively and colloquially the PIIGS) are facing a restive electorate that does not understand why they may have to pay higher taxes to fund bailouts for their profligate cousins.

Read the rest of…
Ronald J. Granieri: Greek Myths; Greek Lessons

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Laughter

The Politics of Laughter

Not everyone is a fan of Obama. [picture]

Two motorcycle racers crash, then the scene turns into a Benny Hill sketch. [Youtube]

If you aren’t familiar with the concept of “first world problems” then this is a pretty good introduction. [Youtube]

Carrying things is one of the best methods. [comic]


Jeff Smith: Can Michele Bachmann survive her gaffes?

As part of his role as a member of Politico’s Arena, contributing RP Jeff Smith was asked whether or not Presidential contender Michele Bachmann could survive a series of gaffes over the past year, including stating that the Revolutionary War began in Concord, N.H. rather than Concord, Mass.

Here’s Jeff’s response:

I don’t think gaffes like this are a big problem for a candidate like Bachmann as she seeks the nomination.

The Republican Party has long appealed to the anti-intellectual strain of the electorate, starting with Nixon and his lambasting of academics (a concerted attempt to bring in the Wallace vote), continuing through Reagan and Bush 43, and culminating in Palin know-nothingism. If anything, these mistakes are often “owned” and used as a self-effacing badge of honor (see “misunderestimate,” “refudiate,” and “I can see Russia from my house”), against media and academic elites who actually care about electing leaders with a mastery of basic grammar and American history.

Of course, gaffes like this, and her out of the mainstream views, will ensure that she will never be president.

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Basketball

The Politics of Basketball

The New Orleans Hornets are still smarting because their second best player, forward David West, has opted  out of his contract and is moving teams.  Where will he wind up?  The Big Lead  says that if it is New Jersey, big things could  happen. [The Big Lead]

The NFL isn’t the only league facing  a lockout soon. The NBA is in severe danger of work stoppage.  This piece lays blame squarely on the shoulders of the owners–and I agree with him more  than just a little. [Hoops Hype]

When North Carolina State won the NCAA men’s basketball championship in 1983, basketball changed forever.  If you are a hoops fan, you have probably seen the video–a 30 foot heave falling short,  a magical  tip in, and Jim Valvano running onto the court looking for somebody to embrace.   When Jim Valvano died in the early 90s, the run became even more magical.  This week, the  man who made the tip, Lorenzo Charles,  also died.  This is the NYT obituary, and a  more personal piece from a man who writes  for Gawker. [New York Times] [Deadspin]

John Calipari has kept my Kentucky Wildcats in the news recently.  After receiving all kinds of press for getting a  raise, he has been asked several times about how a system could be devised in which college athletes get paid.  Deadspin calls his plan “shockingly logical.”  I call it “just.” [Deadspin]

The NBA  draft happened last week.  Here is the ESPN discussion of  winners and losers.  My winners: Detroit, Washington, Utah, Cleveland, and John Calipari.  My losers: Sacramento, Houston, and The Big East. [ESPN]

The RP’s Top 5 Guilty Pleasures: What Are Yours?

Ready or not, it’s time for my latest top five pop culture list.

(If you missed my earlier gems, check them out here: My Favorite Breakup Song, My Favorite Hoops Books, The Most Jew-ish Gentiles, My Favorite “Docs” who Weren’t Doctors, and Pretty Boys I Begrudgingly Admire).

In today’s Facebook culture, we all have an opportunity to share with the world our favorite pop culture: books, magazines, musicians, movies, etc.  Head to my page, and you get a candid look at the artists and writers whom I enjoy — from Springsteen to Twain to Tony Soprano.

But while I don’t mislead my “friends,” I must admit — particularly from my previous political perch — that I’ve never engaged in full pop culture disclosure.  Indeed, I have some unusual favorite acts and shows about which I’m a little embarrassed to admit.

Since part of my recovery as a recovering politician is complete candor, I will now finally admit some of my most guilty pop culture pleasures.  I hope you still respect me in the morning.

Here goes:

5.  ” I Want it That Way,” The Backstreet Boys

A boy band? Why are you looking at me like that?  First of all, two of BSB are Kentucky boys; one’s even from Lexington.  Sure they’re purty.  And frankly I can’t stand most of their music. But have you ever listened to this song?  The harmonies are exquisite, the lyrics are charming, and the performance is pitch-perfect.  I even get a little verklempt listening to it.  So what if I make sure my car windows are closed before I start belting the chorus along with them?  I am proud to finally admit it — I want it that way!

4. People Magazine

Finally, 20 years of blackmail by my barber are over.  No longer will I hide my People underneath a Sports Illustrated cover.  I will revel in the celebrity-friendly gossip, the true tales of ordinary bravery or tragedy, the truly significant debate over who is really the sexiest man alive! (My vote still goes to George Clooney.)  While I never touch the mean-spirited tabloids, and I’ve outgrown the uber-sophomoronic lad mags, I will now fully embrace my inner fanboy and simply accept that a haircut is not complete unless I have scoured two Peoples. And I dare you to try to resist its all-American charm.

3. MTV’s Real World/Road Rules Challenges

If Real World is the grandaddy of reality programming, than this “spinoff” is its seriously deranged cousin. I’ve recently grown tired of the standard Real World formula: take 7 great looking, stupid young people, give them lots of alcohol and watch them fight and “hook up.”  The Challenges take the prettiest, the stupidest, and the least alcohol-resistant, take them to an exotic location, ply them with booze, place them in ridiculous competitions, and offer the “winner” loads of money. Watch them scheme, backstab, betray, and otherwise destroy each other. What results is the week’s funniest 60 minutes of television.

Read the rest of…
The RP’s Top 5 Guilty Pleasures: What Are Yours?

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Recovery

If you read nothing else today, read this. Former Washington Post reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner Jose Antonio Vargas writes of his life in America as an undocumented immigrant. [NY Times]

A little humor to brighten your day: The New Yorker contemplates how Al Qaeda can rebrand itself for the twenty-first century. [New Yorker]

Girl power! Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor discusses overcoming sexism as a law student and her path to an amazing career. [The Atlantic]

Something that will need some major recovery after the presidential election: Jon Huntsman’s waistline. Apparently he’s a big fan of street food, namely taco trucks. [Esquire]

How did Greece’s economic situation blow up into a mess that is affecting all of Europe? [Newsweek]

The WP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Film

The Politics of Film

I went to see Cars 2 over the weekend.  It is terrible.  I don’t understand how Pixar, who up until this point had never  made a bad film, did such a shoddy job with this film.  The best part of Cars 2 was the preview for their next  film,  Brave, which will hit theaters next summer.  You  can watch the trailer at the link. [The Movie Blog]

The film world lost a key member last week  when Peter Falk died.  Falk was probably most  famous for playing Columbo on television, but he earned back to back Best Supporting Actor nominees, and was also  in two of my favorite films: The Princess Bride and It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. [Film Junk]

Clint Eastwood has been slated  to (re-)re-make A Star Is Born with Beyonce Knowles starring.  The original remake (OXYMORON ALERT) starred Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson.  Which may be an even more random pairing than Beyonce and DiCaprio. [Guardian]

As a kid, I loved the Lois Lowry book The Giver. A film adaptation is apparently in the works with Jeff Bridges playing the old guy who feels everybody’s pain.  I am excited about this.  [/Film]

One time I asked my room mate what his favorite movie was.  He thought for a second and replied “Quintin Tarantino.”  I echo that sentiment–all of his films are amazing and I love everything he has ever directed.  His next picture is entitled Django Unchained and is set  during slavery in Mississippi.  It’s the story of an escaped slave who meets with a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter  and tries to rescue his wife.  How Tarantino-esque!  Christoph Waltz, who shined bright as Hans Landa in Tarantino’s last picture Inglourious Basterds will play the bounty hunter, and news has been released saying Jamie Foxx  will play the escaped slave.   I am excited about this, too. [Deadline]

Joel Courtney has received rave reviews for his work as  the kid from Super 8. He has now been tapped to play Tom Sawyer in an upcoming adaptation of the Mark Twain classic.   Since our last viewing of these stories involved Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Brad Renfro, I am also excited about this.  [Movie Line]

The Recovering Politician Bookstore


The RP on The Daily Show