Such a relief that Moody's didn't downgrade its credit rating for the United States in the wake of the debt-ceiling debate. Why does anyone care what these credit rating agencies think at this point? They had all Lehman and all the other investment banks and institutions that were poised for collapse in 2008 rated at the highest levels. They're either corrupt or incompetent. The notion that they can wag their finger at the U.S. government is a joke.
UPDATE: As if on cue, Standard & Poor's downgraded the U.S. government. Ezra Klein has a persuasive take: S&P is a flawed institution, but its decision here makes sense.
This happened a month ago, but better late than never. I finally got around to writing about "Transformers 2," which transfixed me with its badness when I saw it in 2009. In advance of the third "Transformers" movie, which came out last month, I delved into the worst aspects of the second one:
What's the worst thing about 2009's "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"?
Tough question. That's like asking, "What's your favorite Rolling Stones album?" Or, "Who's more likely to wind up leading police on an O.J.-style car chase, Charlie Sheen or Spencer Pratt from 'The Hills'?"
I had a new experience last weekend in the security line at SFO. The woman checking my ID looked up from my driver's license and asked, "Aaron, what's your last name?" After I provided the correct reply and proceeded, I heard her ask the same question of the people behind me, so I guess this is Homeland Security's new thing. Look out, terrorists! You think you can fool the TSA? Well, you better make sure you memorize the first name and the last name on your fraudulent travel documents. You'd think they'd at least ask for your address. The TSA: Not quite as clever as the bouncer checking a 17-year-old's fake ID at a dive bar.
I try not to write about politics these days but David Brooks' obtuseness is irresistible. In his May 26 column, Brooks argues that the Republicans should seek a grand bargain on raising the debt ceiling, under which Democrats would agree to Medicare cuts. "In exchange, Republicans should offer to raise tax revenues on the rich."
Have ya been, uh, payin' attention to the, uh, politics in the nation's capital there, David? BECAUSE THAT'S NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. There's a better chance of Maria Shriver taking Arnold back than Republicans raising taxes on the rich. It's kind of their animating purpose.
The whole thing is premised on the notion that what Republicans really care about is cutting the debt, when what they really care about is cutting taxes on the wealthy and dismantling entitlement programs. The debt just provides an excuse to do it. It's debatable whether Brooks actually believes this false notion or not.
That. Was. Awesome. It's especially satisfying to see the preening, chest-thumping, front-running Heat* get an overhand right to the face. There's something about this Mavericks team that, when they start when of their late-game runs, causes their opponents to panic. The Mavs couldn't have won this game if the Heat hadn't handed it to them with horrible shot selection -- one contested three with the shot clock expiring after another -- but their collective will to win seems to induce psychological meltdowns.
*One of the strangest things about the 2010-11 Heat is that Dwyane Wade has become unlikable. Maybe the relentless media and fan criticism of his team has twisted him a bit, made him bitter or defensive, but on the court these days he comes off as kind of a punk.
In the May 30 issue of Sports Illustrated, there's a story on retired New York Giants running back Tiki Barber's attempt to return to football. Besides rehashing Barber's fall from grace, the article ponders the reignition of Barber's passion for the game.
The only mention in the roughly 3,000-word article that money, not a love of football, might be the prime motivator behind this 36-year-old man's attempt to return to play arguably the most punishing position in all of professional sports is this sentence: "Barber insists that regardless of how costly four children and a contentious divorce might be, he's neither broke nor motivated by money."
Uh, huh. Anyone who's even glanced at the New York Post's coverage of Barber's affair and divorce calls BS on this. According to the Post, his ex-wife, on whom he cheated while she was pregnant with twins, is asking for a ton of money in the divorce, and he has claimed in court that he's broke and can't pay it. Maybe he's just posturing with that claim, but regardless the portrait that emerges is one of a guy who lives a flashy, expensive life in Manhattan, the kind that can lead one to blow through hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, at minimum. And now he's flamed out of TV, and his best chance for the kind of payday that'll support both the lifestyle to which he's accustomed as well as expensive child and spousal support is football.
Either the magazine bought Barber's spin or agreed to downplay the money angle as a condition for access. Either way, bad job by SI.
The centerpiece of Thursday's Wall Street Journal was a photo of Obama and the British prime minister serving food at a barbecue in London. The headline read: "Leaders Serve Up Burgers -- With a Side of Diplomacy." Wow that's bad.
I'm not a regular Journal reader, and obviously the visual approach of the paper has changed since Murdoch introduced photos, but it seems safe to say that centerpiece, teasing to a news story on page A12, is much more like the USA Today than the Journal of five years ago. There must be people at that newspaper who are tearing their hair out.