Blogs

Confirmation Battle Brewing Over Nominee's Country Club Membership

| Thu Mar. 13, 2008 3:49 PM EDT

Most ambitious lawyers know that if they want to become a federal judge, they have to fulfill several key requirements. First, they must schmooze the right people, sit on the right bar committees, and make the requisite political contributions. Then, above all, they must 1) pay nanny taxes, and 2) wait until after securing a lifetime appointment to join an exclusive, discriminatory country club.

Gustavus Adolphus Puryear IV, Bush's choice for a trial court seat in the middle district of Tennessee, had ticked off most of the items on the list by the time he was nominated last summer. He'd given money, befriended Dick Cheney's son-in-law, and even prepped Cheney for the vice-presidential debates in 2000 and 2004. But he forgot about rule number 2, an oversight that might be his undoing.

As a prison company lawyer with virtually no litigation experience, Puryear's resume offers any number of reasons why he shouldn't be confirmed. But inexperience has never stopped the politically connected from ascending to the bench. Country club memberships, however, are a different matter. And Puryear happens to be a member of the exclusive Belle Meade Country Club in Nashville, a club whose racist history is so well known that even former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist had the good sense to quit the club before running for office.

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The SXSW Slog Begins

| Thu Mar. 13, 2008 3:40 PM EDT

sxsw.jpgAfter listening to our flight attendant—a former auctioneer from Dallas—rattle off emergency escape instructions in double time and then tell jokes about her co-workers for the entire flight (one was a former Miss Dallas, the other Southwest's steward of the year), I arrived in Austin, Texas, in high spirits.

I'm here to cover SXSW, Austin's ginormous film-music-interactive festival that draws (last I heard) about 10,000 folks from around the country (and abroad) to the Texas capitol.

Times Calls Out Spitzer's Boo on Use of "Boo"

| Thu Mar. 13, 2008 3:02 PM EDT

Buried in the New York Times' outing of "Kristen"—a.k.a Ashley Alexandra Dupré—a.k.a. Eliot Spitzer's boo—comes this strange line:

On [Dupré's MySpace] Web page was a recording of what she described as her latest track, "What We Want," an amateurish, hip-hop inflected rhythm and blues tune that asks, "Can you handle me, boy?" and used some dated slang, calling someone her "boo."

Now, to pick apart this less than charitable and, frankly, catty article would take quite a while. But for now, let's address the linguistic issue here. Opinion at MoJo tends toward "boo" being not only current, but timeless. Urban Dictionary traces the origins of "boo" all the way back to the adoption of the French "beau" at the time of Caribbean colonization. Fast forward a couple of centuries and Tupac deployed "boo" in "It Ain't Easy" off his 1995 Me Against the World album. A full decade later, the term was still in use, as Usher's "My Boo" (feat. Alicia Keys) won a Grammy for best R&B performance in 2005 (see below). The next year, Brooke Valentine sang "He can call me his boo / But he call me dope girl, cuz I got that oooh." So it's pretty clear "boo" is here to stay. But did anyone really trust the Times as an arbiter of slang?

—Justin Elliott

Interesting Numbers From New Poll: Lookin' Good for Dems

| Thu Mar. 13, 2008 1:54 PM EDT

There's a new NBC/WSJ poll out today that has lots of interesting numbers. A stunning 76% of respondents say they want a president who brings a different approach than Bush. Democrats lead by double digits in a generic presidential contests. Confusingly, McCain only trails Obama by 3 points and Clinton by two, but that's likely because, according to the poll, many independents and Democrats have bought the spoon-fed Maverick myth. A little reeducating by the Democrats in the fall should drive McCain closer to the results of a "generic Republican."

Half of respondents think leadership style and trustworthiness are the most important attributes in a candidate, while just one-third prioritize ideas and policies. That's good news for Obama, because on almost every issue polled, Clinton is seen as the better candidate.

Bill Clinton's favorability/unfavorability ratings have plummeted to a net negative: 42%/45%. It's pretty undeniable that this election has tarnished his legacy.

And finally, there is evidence Obama is not making progress in his fight to clear up confusion about his faith. Here's MSNBC:

The percentage of respondents who correctly identified Obama as a Christian increased from 18% to 37%. But those identifying him as a Muslim also increased five points (from 8% to 13%).

Hate Your Boss? So Does This Reporter

| Thu Mar. 13, 2008 12:27 PM EDT

If you can stomach one minute and thirty seconds of a tenant/landlord dispute over an elevator in New York City, you're in for a treat. Because this video ends with a hilarious 15 second on-air argument between a reporter and an anchor that is very personal. Poor Ollie. He's not the boss of anyone anymore.


http://view.break.com/467869 - Watch more free videos

Why is this a news story anyway? And did the landlord's representative throw in a fist pump at the end of the interview? (H/T The Plank)

Obama Campaign Tries Sarcasm

| Thu Mar. 13, 2008 11:52 AM EDT

In all of its recent interactions with reporters, the Obama campaign has had a certain attitude: "We've won the most votes, the most delegates, and the most states! It's almost mathematically impossible for Clinton to come back. How can you continue to portray this as a close race??"

But the Clinton campaign isn't backing down an inch, and it's in the media's interest to keep reporting this thing like it's a dogfight, so the Obama staffers aren't getting the response they want. They're trying a new approach: making fun of the Clinton campaign. They took a recent Clinton campaign memo to reporters and added their own comments in bold, then shot it out to everyone on their media email list. See it, after the jump. Parts of it are funny, parts of it are just snarky and mean. I wonder if BHO himself signed off on this. Somehow I doubt it.

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The Brilliant, Doomed Down Syndrome Adoption Registry

| Thu Mar. 13, 2008 9:30 AM EDT

Just what the abortion doctor ordered.

We're finally edging toward the middle on abortion—an agreement that most people, pro- or anti-, want to see unwanted pregnancies decreased and abortions lessened. Weird political bedmates Sens. Ted Kennedy and Sam Brownback (yes, the creepy one) have co-sponsored a bill to create a national registry of those willing to adopt children identified as having severe genetics defects like Down syndrome.

Brilliant. Doomed, but brilliant.

Whenever I hear of zealots terrorizing women at abortion clinics, as they cynically implore these besieged women to let their children be adopted, my lip curls. I was equally offended watching women on TV, (and it was always women), vent their rage on Susan Smith for the murder of her children. Of course Smith shouldn't have killed her kids (duh), but I was so enraged by the spectacle of a nation claiming they'd have loved and raised them for her instead that I checked: Unsurprisingly, there's been no spike in adoptions, not even in Smith's home town. Nor has the general stigma against adoption abated, though many Planned Parenthood Clinics are newly under siege. Hell, this 'Christian' nation doesn't care enough to educate, feed, and offer medical care to our existing children, and we're supposed to be believe people are 'pro life'?

My prediction: This national registry will flop. Protesting outside of clinics is quite different from agreeing to raise a fundamentally disabled child, as birth parents are oh-so-blithely instructed to do on pain of hellfire.

Spitzer Gets Pimped Out on Nation's T-Shirts

| Wed Mar. 12, 2008 7:36 PM EDT

mojo-photo-spitzershirt.jpgFeeling like the Eliot Spitzer scandal isn't getting enough attention around the office or your local watering hole? Well, why not remind everyone of the eternal hypocrisy of our nation's elected officials in that most American of ways: with an amusing, topical t-shirt. Besides, your "Larry Craig Wide Stance" shirt is getting a little tattered.

First up, Busted Tees' "Client 9" shirt (pictured at left) is already on sale, but won't ship until March 21st, by which point one assumes there will already be another government sex scandal taking this one's place and you'll have to get a whole new t-shirt. It's so hard to keep up!

After the jump, fun with puns!

Our Long, National Geraldine Ferraro Nightmare Is Over

| Wed Mar. 12, 2008 6:19 PM EDT

We've covered this pretty extensively, so we might as well give you denouement. Geraldine Ferraro just wrote a letter to Hillary Clinton resigning from her campaign. "I am stepping down from your finance committee so I can speak for myself and you can continue to speak for yourself about what is at stake in this campaign," Ferraro says to Clinton. "The Obama campaign is attacking me to hurt you. I won't let that happen."

Neato Viddies: McLaughlin Groove, Hulu, CSS, Justice

| Wed Mar. 12, 2008 5:07 PM EDT

First up, the still-baffling and still-awesome "McLaughlin Groove," Andrew W.K.'s ode to the rollicking political screamfest, gets a video from Salon's Scott Bateman. Funny, Andrew looks a lot like Mimi did in his Low video–is Bateman the Cathy Guisewite of money-hemorrhaging web sites?
Andrew W.K. - "McLaughlin Groove"

Next, NME is reporting that a homemade music video to Sao Paulo's iPod-shilling "Music is My Hot Hot Sex" has become the most-watched clip on YouTube, racking up over 100 million views. Really? Is that more than Obama Girl?
CSS - "Music is My Hot Hot Sex"

After the jump: get fierce, and play name that logo!