erik lundegaard

Thursday July 28, 2016

It Can't Happen Here

From Jonathan Chait on New York magazine's website:

Amazingly, even as Democrats painted Trump as an authoritarian menace, he continued to confirm the point on the ground. Weeks earlier, Trump's campaign had banned the Washington Post, whose coverage it found objectionable, from campaign events. The ban had only symbolic meaning, though. ... But yesterday, the Trump campaign extended its ban from the symbolic to the real by preventing Post reporter Jose DelReal from entering a public speech by Trump's vice-presidential nominee, Mike Pence. Private security first told DelReal he could not enter the rally with his laptop and phone. DelReal asked if other attendees were allowed to bring phones and was told, “Not if they work for the Washington Post.” DelReal placed the items in his car, returned, was patted down by security, and then still told he could not enter. Later, Pence's staffers insisted it had all been a mistake, blaming overzealous local staffers. This sort of iterative, inconsistent, and even chaotic sequence of events fits a common pattern of how political authoritarians break down rules and norms.

Be afraid. Or better: Keep Calm and Fucking Vote. 

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Posted at 11:21 AM on Jul 28, 2016 in category Politics
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Andrew Sullivan, Speaking for Me

“10:54 p.m. I've never felt this way about a president, so I might as well admit it. Against hideously graceless opposition, in the face of extraordinary odds, facing immense crises, he stayed the course and changed this country. This election is, at its core, about not letting a bigot and a madman take that away from all of us.”

-- “Andrew Sullivan Liveblogs the DNC, Night 3”

Obama

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Posted at 04:28 AM on Jul 28, 2016 in category Quote of the Day
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Tuesday July 26, 2016

My Thoughts Exactly

Jeffrey Toobin on the email hack/scandal at the DNC, potentially orchestrated by the Russians to benefit Donald Trump, which led to the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schutlz:

What was so terrible about the e-mails? In one, a D.N.C. staffer raised the possibility of Sanders being asked about his religious views, though it appears nothing came of the suggestion. In another, D.W.S. referred to a Sanders campaign official who had criticized her as a “damn liar.” A third showed her explicitly criticizing Sanders himself, saying he had “no understanding” of the Democratic Party. (This might be because Sanders has never been elected as a Democrat but, rather, always as an independent who caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate.)

Do these e-mails strike anyone as appalling and outrageous? Not me. They strike me as . . . e-mails. The idea that people might speak casually or caustically via e-mail has been portrayed as a shocking breach of civilized discourse. Imagine! People bullshitting on e-mail!

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Posted at 08:26 PM on Jul 26, 2016 in category Politics
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Savaging the Green Party

“A vote for Jill Stein in 2016 is a vote for Donald Trump. Stein knows it, Andrea Mérida Cuéllar knows it, and the Green Party knows it and doesn't care.”

-- Dan Savage, “How Green Is Her Bullshit: An Uncharacteristically Brief Response to the Green Party Spokesperson's Dishonest Response to My Podcast Rant,” July 22. Gives a good background on the battle between Savage and the Greens. His main argument is the Greens don't do enough grassroots stuff. Instead, they trot out presidential candidates every four years to screw with the Dems. Stein touted their grassroots work but Savage runs the numbers and finds them lacking. 

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Posted at 11:41 AM on Jul 26, 2016 in category Quote of the Day
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10 Quick Thoughts on the Wonder Woman Trailer

  1. “You're a man.” Um, yeah. This is a little too close to the hot-but-innocent alien chick saying things like “What is love?” (See: TOS, “Gamesters of Triskelion”), but Gal Gadot saves it a little by stating it, and then Chris Pine helps with his comic response.
  2. But let's face it: The origin of Wonder Woman, the Amazon island thing, was always fairly idiotic/boring and the movie doesn't seem to make it any smarter/more interesting. 
  3. Chick with the cracked mask: “Boardwalk Empire” did it better. 
  4. “I was brought to life by... ” Juice? Jews? Oh, Zeus. Whew.
  5. So why WWI instead of WWII? The argument from io9 is that her character becomes disgusted with humanity and stays away for 100 years, and the Great War was a bad war (resolving nothing), while WWII had a clear villain and absolute atrocities. Me, I think the Holocaust is reason enough to steer clear of humanity, but whatever. Do what you need to do. 
  6. Her fighting scenes look good. 
  7. “I can't let you do this.”/“What I do is not up to you.” Good line. 
  8. Same with “I like her.” 
  9. The muted grays: Zack Snyder's sucky pallette. Can't we ever get away from this, DC?
  10. Fingers crossed.  
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Posted at 10:31 AM on Jul 26, 2016 in category Trailers
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Monday July 25, 2016

'Star Trek,' 'Ice Age' Continue Summer of Sequel Sag

Star Trek: Jaylah

For box office, you should probably be looking down, Montgomery Scotty.

The fifth “Ice Age” movie, “Collision Course,” opened to shitty reviews (13% RT) and shitty box office ($21 mil, fifth place), which is the weakest opening for an “Ice Age” by far. The others opened between $41 and $68, and grossed between $161 and $196. “CC” will be lucky to top out at $100.

The third rebooted “Star Trek” movie, “Beyond,” opened to good reviews (84%) but so-so box office ($59 mil, first place), which is the weakest opening for a rebooted “Trek.” The others opened at $75 and $70. 

Oddly, this is probably worse news for “Trek.”

The “Ice Age”s make most of its money abroad. Chronologically: $206, $465, $690, and $715 million. So the bigger question for “Collision Course” is: How will it play in Bonn or Beijing? The answer, so far, is: not bad: $178 and counting.

I remember seeing the original “Star Trek” in reruns in Taiwan in the late 1980s (Spock's dubbed voice sounded like it was recorded in a big empty metal box), so it's obviously disseminated abroad. It's just not big abroad—grossing, internationally, $128 and $238 for “Star Trek” and “Into Darkness” respectively. It needs those U.S. dollars more. 

The poor opening of “IA” and “ST” continues a summer trend. Yes, the two top movies of the summer, “Finding Dory” and “Captain America: Civil War,” are both sequels, but after that it's originals or reboots. Most sequels are grossing only a fraction of what the previous film grossed:

Franchise 2016 B.O. Previous B.O. %
Alice/Wonderland $76 $334 22.8%
Indepedence Day $101 $306* 33.0%
Neighbors $55 $150 36.7%
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $81 $191 42.4%
Now You See Me $64 $117 54.7%
X-Men $155 $233 66.5%

* Believe it or not, that's unadjusted, so it's actually much, much worse.

I hope Hollywood execs are paying attention. Probably not.

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Posted at 06:58 AM on Jul 25, 2016 in category Movies - Box Office
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Black and Blue

“Here is the difference a color makes: 'blue lives matter' expresses a fact in our society; 'black lives matter' exists as a reminder, or an aspiration. The former is not a radical proposition; the latter, given the weight of history and habit, is a contested idea. The presence at the Dallas service of a mayor, a senator, a Vice-President, a former President, and a President sent a clear message about the importance of the men who died in that city and, by extension, of the profession to which they belonged. The movement that has sprung up to demand police accountability is voicing another principle that should be equally obvious: if the killing of an officer carries wider social implications, a killing at the hands of an officer does, too.”

-- Jelani Cobb, “Honoring the Police and Their Victims,” in The New Yorker, July 25, 2016. Read the whole thing, please.

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Posted at 05:54 AM on Jul 25, 2016 in category Quote of the Day
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Sunday July 24, 2016

Junior in the Hall

“Here's Junior to third! They're going to wave him in! The throw to the plate will be ... LATE, the Mariners are going to enshrine a player in the Baseball Hall of Fame! I don't believe it!”

Yes, it's finally happened. Today, in Cooperstown, NY, the Seattle Mariners joined 25 other teams/franchises with an actual player in the Baseball Hall of Fame. (Missing teams: Angels, Rockies, Marlins, Rays.) The M's will have a few more in a few more. Ichiro will go in as a Mariner. Maybe Felix, if he pulls out of this slump. Maybe Edgar—he hit a career high 43% of the HOF votes this year. But today was Junior's day. He went in with the highest vote total ever: 99.3%. He's the only 99-percenter.

Thoughts on the plaque?

Ken Griffey Jr. Hall of Fame plaque

  • They never get those face etchings right, do they? Junior was way more handsome than this. 
  • I almost want the cap on backwards. But I want to see that Mariners logo, too.
  • “Ken”? That's a nickname? What about “The Natural”?
  • I don't think you need “...particularly in the Pacific Northwest.” Junior was one of those players beloved in almost every city he played in. Mr. B can attest. He'll tell you his “visiting Wrigley Field in '94” story, if you want to hear it. Or even if you don't.  
  • “Easy-Going Nature”? Yeah, but he was also work.
  • Maybe add “5 HRs in a five-game playoff series”? That was a record once.
  • How about “Greatest player never to play in a World Series game”? That's the true sadness.

Extra credit:

  • Junior's full HOF speech. A lot of tears. A few laughs. My favorite are the Jay Buhner recollections.
  • Art Thiel talks up Junior and Senior. That's also one of the best quotes in Junior's speech: “He made a decision to play baseball to provide his family, because that's what men do.”
  • Junior on the dash home on Edgar's double. Pretty funny stuff. Piazza's his hallelujah chorus.  
  • David Schoenfield's Top 10 Junior memories. I'd put more catches in there. I'd put the Opening Day HRs. I'd put in this general memory of heading out for the night and then saying, “Wait, just this Griffey at-bat.” And invariably something beautiful would happen. 
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Posted at 05:26 PM on Jul 24, 2016 in category Seattle Mariners
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