Today's GOP vs. Ronald Reagan. (via Sully). Great stuff as usual from Bruce Bartlett.

It may come as a surprise to some people that once upon a time in the not-too-distant past Republicans actually cared enough about budget deficits that they thought raising taxes was necessary to bring them down. Today, Republicans believe that deficits are nothing more than something to ignore when they are in power and to bludgeon Democrats with when they are out of power.
Slate uses Tiger's return to golf (and the zen practice that informed much of his early life) and the upcoming PBS serious about Buddhism to discuss the role that Zen has played in America.

After a broad and amazing recap of the changing perception of Buddhism Wen Stephonson laments the one missing element from the doc:

There is one aspect of Buddhism, however, that (PBS Documentary Producer) Grubin doesn't really touch—perhaps understandably. The question "What is Buddhism?" is finally, for many Buddhists, unanswerable—and the essence of the teaching inexpressible. Zen, in particular, is full of stories in which sharp-tongued masters cut off fruitless philosophical inquiry. Like the one about the ninth-century Chinese master Yun-men and his response to an inquisitive monk:
Monk: "Where is the place from which all buddhas come?"
Yun-men: "Next question, please!"


Thanks for the patience. it's looks like the computer trouble is over (for now)


Time makes martyrs of us all. Al Ross, founder of the iconic Doggie Dinner chain has died.
Looks like the effort to legalize tax weed is putting together a stronger cast than originally reported. Chris Good at the Atlantic has the details. The latest Pew report still has support trailing, but the gap is narrow.


Look like the iPad might meet the hype. Early reviews have it rocking boats.


You didn't get mad after 8 years of Bush Cheney, but NOW you're mad?


I'm jaded. I find the web is mostly a mess. A cacophony of poses. But every once in a while some small thing jumps out at me that reminds me of the good old days. When you'd hear a voice that so resonated with you, but you probably wouldn't have met/heard/read it unless these wires brought them to you some how. I felt that way when I first stumbled across DFW, and again reading this article today about video games, coke addiction, and what it all means to one writer. Has he wasted his life playing video games? He doesn't think so.

What have games given me? Experiences. Not surrogate experiences, but actual experiences, many of which are as important to me as any real memories. Once I wanted games to show me things I could not see in any other medium. Then I wanted games to tell me a story in a way no other medium can. Then I wanted games to redeem something absent in myself. Then I wanted a game experience that pointed not toward but at something. Playing GTA IV on coke for weeks and then months at a time, I learned that maybe all a game can do is point at the person who is playing it, and maybe this has to be enough.
I think it's a testament to how unhinged the "Right" has become that David Frum is considered a voice of reason in some parts. He's an ass. But his Waterloo article speaking to how the opposition to HCR is going to hamstring the GOP for sometime has been making the circles. I'd like to hear your thoughts.

For the record, I think he's right here, but it's an anomaly.
This is the sort of Beltway-insider/MSM gossip I tend to find boring (heh, "Beltway insider" I feel like a Tbagger) but Shales attack on Amanpour are unconscionable.

As per usual, Greenwald brings his laser vision to the sitch.
Krug on the contrast between Dems and Repubs as they pushed through the final moments of HCR.

The day before Sunday’s health care vote, President Obama gave an unscripted talk to House Democrats. Near the end, he spoke about why his party should pass reform: “Every once in a while a moment comes where you have a chance to vindicate all those best hopes that you had about yourself, about this country, where you have a chance to make good on those promises that you made ... And this is the time to make true on that promise. We are not bound to win, but we are bound to be true. We are not bound to succeed, but we are bound to let whatever light we have shine."

And on the other side, here’s what Newt Gingrich, the Republican former speaker of the House — a man celebrated by many in his party as an intellectual leader — had to say: If Democrats pass health reform, “They will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years” by passing civil rights legislation"

He goes on:
I want you to consider the contrast: on one side, the closing argument was an appeal to our better angels, urging politicians to do what is right, even if it hurts their careers; on the other side, callous cynicism. Think about what it means to condemn health reform by comparing it to the Civil Rights Act. Who in modern America would say that L.B.J. did the wrong thing by pushing for racial equality?

Small government may be a rallying cry, but it's not an answer. And it's certainly not governance. The Dems will lose seats in the mid-terms (more or less because of the bill is probably unknowable) but their legacy will be strengthened in the long term because of the passage.


Film Directors discuss their favourite movie scenes.

Amazing to note, Gene Hackman's famous driving scene from the French Connection basically just happened:
Phenomenal. Basically they just did it. There was no security blocking off other traffic, just Hackman in a car with a camera mounted on the front. They went crazy, lost their minds, and went for it. It was the kind of thing that you just would never get away with these days.
Chris Beam writes a surprisingly sympathetic profile of conservative media rabble-rouser Breitbart.


David Denby has a dead-eye profile of the career of Clint Eastwood. A must read for movie fans. A wide ranging essay that discusses America, the western, and his place in all tilts on this, "Being underestimated is, for some people, a misfortune. For Eastwood, it became a weapon."