Friday, May 14, 2010

Round-Up: Friday, May 14, 2010

News: Kagan, New York, and "the Heartland"

Read: "This leads to a tendency to under-acknowledge when politicians are doing a reasonably good job. To be clearer: I think at the moment I and other bloggers are failing to credit politicians for paying a fair amount of attention to the issues that are, in fact, the most pressing ones of our times. If you look back to the 1990s or the 1980s, you'll find the nation's agenda was clogged up with a lot of rather ridiculous fluff. We had constitutional amendments to ban flag-burning. We had lawyers parsing the gender-harassment implications of jokes about pubic hairs on Cokes. (Yes, in retrospect I'm afraid that all seems a bit silly now. Sorry, Anita.) In legislative terms, the second presidential terms of both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were essentially dead-in-the-water partisan standoffs, with public discourse channeled into scandals and distractions.

In contrast, take a look at what's on the congressional agenda this term. Universal health-care coverage. Systemic financial reform to prevent the recurrence of a global meltdown. Climate-change legislation. You may not like the solutions Congress is coming up with on any of these issues, but you have to concede that these are the great issues of our time. They were the great issues of our time five years ago, too, but we weren't doing anything about them. Now we are. To a large extent, that's because looming disaster has forced them onto the agenda; America could afford to dither in the 1990s because things were going pretty well. But I think it's worth acknowledging that our political system is not entirely screwed up at the moment. Congress may or may not be doing a good job of solving the great problems facing our nation, but at least it's paying attention." (Economist)

Watch: "The charming short film "Pixels," in which various classic arcade game characters destroy New York City, has been picked up by Adam Sandler's company for a full-length version—a "'Ghostbusters'-style action comedy." (Awl)

Watch: "Gorgeous timelapse video of Eyjafjallajökull set to the music of Sigur Rós vocalist jónsi. By Sean Stiegemeier." (Via)

Watch: Spiderman Reboot

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