Kevin Drum

Have You Gotten Your Invitation Yet?

| Sun Dec. 21, 2008 2:47 PM EST

HAVE YOU GOTTEN YOUR INVITATION YET?....According to the New York Times, the printing company that won the bid to produce a million inaugural invitations for Barack Obama is located in the unlikely sounding town of Dumbo. But no. It's not Dumbo. It's DUMBO, which trusty Mr. Google informs me is a Brooklyn acronym for "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass." Jeebus. Do New Yorkers have acronyms for everything? If we did this here in Irvine, my neighborhood would be called something like JAFEC — "Just Above the Freeway East of Culver" — which, come to think of it, might be an improvement. Probably wouldn't pass muster with the local association, though.

Elsewhere in the Times piece we learn why this particular company was chosen:

According to Mr. Donnelly, Precise Continental was selected over rival printers because it is a union company, it uses recycled paper and it is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which promotes responsible forest management.

Of course! But I wonder what the equivalent kind of thing would be for a Republican inauguration? A print shop whose health plan doesn't cover Plan B and encourages its employees to come to work packing? Or just a straight-up reward for whatever printing mogul bundled the largest number of maxed-out contributions to the campaign?

There's even a tangential personal connection in the story in this sentence: "The first order arrived by truck on Monday, from Neenah Paper, a Wisconsin company." An old high school friend of mine works for Neenah Paper, so I'm glad to hear they got the order. I haven't actually heard from this friend since, um, high school, but still — good work, guys.

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O Frabjous Day!

| Sun Dec. 21, 2008 11:53 AM EST

O FRABJOUS DAY!....Here in the northern hemisphere, today is the winter solstice. This means that tomorrow the days start getting longer again! Hooray!

Blago Update

| Sun Dec. 21, 2008 11:48 AM EST

BLAGO UPDATE....George Stephanopoulos reports that Barack Obama's internal review shows that Rahm Emanuel had only one direct phone call with Rod Blagojevich:

The contact, described as a "pro-forma" courtesy call, came as Emanuel was named Chief of Staff for Obama. Most of the discussion concerned Emanuel's Congressional seat (which had previously been held by Blagojevich), with only a "passing reference" to the Senate vacancy, according to these sources. No deal for the Senate vacancy was discussed.

....The sources add that the report will show Emanuel also had four phone calls with Blagojevich Chief of Staff John Harris....Sources [] confirm that Emanuel made the case for picking Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett during at least one of the conversations. In the course of that conversation, Harris asked if in return for picking Jarrett, "all we get is appreciation, right?" "Right," Emanuel responded.

Apparently Obama is ready to release his review just as soon as prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald lets him. Sad news for the press, which will then have to manufacture some other pseudo-scandal to fill up its air space.

Twitter

| Sat Dec. 20, 2008 7:56 PM EST

TWITTER....Today the New York Times christens "The Buzzwords of 2008," and one of them is:

This is designed to memorialize all forms of the word Twitter, whatever they may be. So as long as we're on the subject, can someone help me out with the whole twitter phenomenon? I'm pretty used to things that I'm not personally interested in but that I still get (like, say, texting), but twitter is something that I don't even really get. So if you're a twitterer, tell me in comments what you use it for, why you like it, how it makes your life more worth living, etc. I'm just curious.

Shoes Make the Man

| Sat Dec. 20, 2008 2:21 PM EST

SHOES MAKE THE MAN....Bloomberg is on the case with news you can use. The original shoes tossed at George Bush in Iraq last Sunday may have been destroyed, but there are plenty more where those came from:

The brown, thick-soled "Model 271" may soon be renamed "The Bush Shoe" or "Bye-Bye Bush," Ramazan Baydan, who owns the Istanbul-based producer Baydan Ayakkabicilik San. & Tic., said in a telephone interview today.

....Baydan has received orders for 300,000 pairs of the shoes since the attack, more than four times the number his company sold each year since the model was introduced in 1999. The company plans to employ 100 more staff to meet demand, he said.

....Baydan has received a request for 4,000 pairs from a company called Davidson, based in Maryland. He declined to provide further details.

Maybe Barack Obama needs a pair or two?

*Friday Cat Blogging - 19 December 2008

| Fri Dec. 19, 2008 3:53 PM EST

FRIDAY CRITTER BLOGGING....Since we're now living in the post-partisan Obama era, it's time for cats and dogs to live together. So today you get both. On the right we have Kona, my friend M's German Shepherd. (Right? Looks like a German Shepherd to me, anyway. But I'm not all that handy with dog breeds.) I told M I'd introduce Kona to the blogosphere if she sent me a picture, and this popped into my inbox a couple of days later. An impressive critter indeed.

And you get cats too! Inkblot and Domino are taking the week off again because I was over visiting my mother a few days ago and took lots of pictures of her new kittens. On the left is Lily, the shy one, catching some rays on the window sill. On the right are Ditto and Tillamook, curled up together in a little sibling pile of fur. Ditto is the black-and-white one who looks just like Lily (duh), and he's busily grooming a blissed out Tillamook in this picture. A few minutes later I went upstairs to bring down the Christmas tree, and shortly after that both cats were entranced. No breakable ornaments on the tree this year!

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Quote of the Day - End of Year Edition

| Fri Dec. 19, 2008 3:32 PM EST

QUOTE OF THE DAY — END OF YEAR EDITION....Top 12 conservative insights of the year here, courtesy of Greg Anrig.

Chart of the Day - 12.19.2008

| Fri Dec. 19, 2008 2:49 PM EST

CHART OF THE DAY....Via The Pew Forum On Religion & Public Life, here's the makeup of the 111th Congress. Note that the number of Americans who lack affiliation with any church is about 48 million or so. The number of members of Congress who are willing to admit lack of same is: zero one*. Apparently Rick Warren speaks for great big chunks of America when he says, "I could not vote for an atheist."

*Pete Stark came out of the closet earlier this year. Thanks, Rich C!

Lowbrow Poetry Bashing

| Fri Dec. 19, 2008 2:21 PM EST

LOWBROW POETRY BASHING....Elizabeth Alexander has been selected to write a poem for Barack Obama's inauguration. In case you're wondering what we're all in for, here's an excerpt from "Autumn Passage":

On the miraculous dying body,
its greens and purples.
On the beauty of hair itself.

On the dazzling toddler:
"Like eggplant," he says,
when you say "Vegetable,"

"Chrysanthemum" to "Flower."
On his grandmother's suffering, larger
than vanished skyscrapers,

September zucchini,
other things too big.

Uh huh. Feel free to rip me several new holes in comments, but this reminds me of nothing so much as this. I sure hope Alexander keeps her inaugural poem short.

Franken Leads Minnesota Senate Race

| Fri Dec. 19, 2008 1:48 PM EST

FRANKEN LEADS MINNESOTA SENATE RACE....The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that, following a state Supreme Court ruling allowing the counting of contested ballots to go forward, Al Franken has opened up a large lead in Minnesota's senate race:

The intense scrutiny of "voter intent" resumed this morning by the five-member board charged with directing Minnesota's recount in the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and Democratic rival Al Franken, and the first 90 minutes of ballot rulings turned the challenger's slight deficit into a growing triple-digit lead.

....On Thursday, the board reviewed Coleman's challenges of hundreds of Election Day ballots, and the day's work saw the unofficial margin between the candidates dwindle to within a handful of votes. Then, as the board took up and rejected more Coleman challenges today, Franken pulled ahead in the opening minutes and steadily built his advantage beyond 150 within the first two hours.

Granted, a couple hundred votes isn't usually considered a "large lead" in a senate race. But in this contest, that's about as large as it gets. Nate Silver projects that Franken's lead will grow to 430 after all the challenged ballots are counted, then shrink to about 40 after withdrawn challenges are processed. Shall we just start calling him "Landslide Al" now?