A few nights ago, I went with some classmates to see the remake of the 1987 dystopian action flick "Robocop." As most anyone who was a boy in the 80s and 90s can attest, the original was super cool. It is only with age, however, that one comes to appreciate cynical commentary on the dangers of coziness between contractors and government. The film depicts a Detroit in the far off future of the 1990s in which the civic fathers have privatized their police functions--perhaps the first and most important role of government--to an evil corporation called Omni Consumer Products. Their ultimate product is a robot police officer--a Robocop, if you will--who is part living flesh, part machine. The ethical exploration that arises takes a backseat to campy fun and the film is packed with explosions, but by the time I saw a VHS copy on the shelf of my Nietzsche-expert undergrad philosophy professor, it was clear why.
The Spectacle Blog
Last week, the Ohio House approved a bill that would reduce the period of early voting, currently set at 35 days before Election Day. The Ohio bill is part of the ongoing debate over extending or curbing early voting. Last month, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration released a report identifying key problems during the 2012 elections. Claiming that 10 million Americans waited at least 30 minutes to vote last cycle, the commission proposes, among other solutions, that states “expand” early voting efforts.
The rationale for early voting is simple: to shorten polling lines and increase the number of possible days a citizen can cast his or her ballot.
Three South Korean tourists and a bus driver were killed in an act of terrorism when a bomb destroyed a tourist bus in Egypt near the Israeli border. Fourteen other tourists were injured by the blast. It is not clear whether the explosion was caused by a car or roadside bomb.
Although no one has claimed responsibility, Egyptian authorities believe the al Qaeda-inspired Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis is responsible for the attack. Since the military ousted President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from power last July, Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis has regularly attacked Egyptian security forces. But now it appears they want the world to pay attention and have begun to attack tourists.
Last night, my Dad and I spoke on the phone and discussed New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s handling of the snowstorm. Dad has been very receptive to de Blasio, but his decision to keep the public schools open has given him pause. Indeed, Dad suggested that if de Blasio continued to conduct himself in this manner that his name would become synonymous with incompetence. If Lucas Duda dropped a fly ball, Mets fans might say, “Duda made another de Blasio,” or “The Mets are making a de Blasio of things this season.” Dad also predicted that de Blasio would be a one-term mayor. Of course, this sentiment has been echoed by longtime Today Show weatherman Al Roker, although he has since expressed regret for that Tweet.
I don’t why Roker should be regretful here. Consider something de Blasio said at yesterday morning’s press conference:
Former MLB player, manager, executive and scout Jim Fregosi died today of complications of a stroke he sustained last weekend during a MLB Alumni cruise in The Cayman Islands. Fregosi was 71. At the time of his death, Fregosi was the top advance scout for the Atlanta Braves.
Fregosi was originally signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1960, but later that year would be selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the MLB Expansion Draft. He would make his MLB debut with the Angels late in the 1961 season. By 1963, Fregosi was the Angels’ everyday shortstop and would win a Gold Glove for his defensive play in 1967. Between 1964 and 1970, Fregosi was named to the AL All-Star Team six times. Fregosi’s best season was in 1970 when hit .278 with 22 HR and 82 RBI.
Beer. The carbonated nectar of the gods. Older than wine, substitute for water, and social adhesive.
Yes, I do love a good brew. There is also an utter lack of alcohol-related posts on this blog, despite our “Great American Saloon Series” in the magazine.
I am hoping to change that.
Every now and then I will recommend different types of beer from around the nation. I will mostly point to craft beers, as I am a beer evangelist of sorts. There’s a beer for everybody, and I hope to find one for all.
I must tip my hat to Matt Naham (@Matt__Naham) of Rare for his great Super Bowl beer piece. He inspired me to do this.
Now, on to my three recommendations for the cold and snowy weekend.
1. Trumer Pils
Matthew Walther, Assistant Editor and Book Reviewer
Hugh Trevor-Roper, The Wartime Journals.
The Wartime Journals reveal the voice and experiences of Trevor-Roper, a war-time "backroom boy" who spent most of the war engaged in highly confidential intelligence work in England—including breaking the cipher code of the German secret service, the Abwehr. He became an expert in German resistance plots and after the war, interrogated many of Hitler's immediate circle, investigated Hitler's death in the Berlin bunker, and personally retrieved Hitler's will from its secret hiding place.
Feature of the Day: It’s Time for Netflix to stop acting like television
Identity thieves are now targeting taxpayers who file their tax returns online, and one Arizona woman who was victimized says she is frustrated by the response from both the Internal Revenue Service and the providers of TurboTax software.
"Their response is, 'There's nothing we can do about it,'" Kelli Branscomb said, describing her experience trying to get help from TurboTax, being put "on hold for 45 minutes" while trying to reach their customer service representatives. "I told TurboTax, 'The problem is you,' but they accept no responsibility."
If Reid wants to convince me of the merits of Paul’s lawsuit he will have to do better than to cite arguments by the ACLU and a liberal district court judge who had a conflict of interest in the case the ACLU brought before her during the Bush years (a point Reid doesn’t see fit to mention).