Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday miscellaneous (8/31)

This week was the Republican convention. The goal was to show Romney’s personal side--not something he is particularly good at doing himself. So the convention called in others to do it: Ann Romney, political associates, business leaders, olympians, and others he has helped over the years. PowerLine reviews:
On the whole, the Republican convention was spectacular. To the extent that voters watched, it achieved multiple objectives: great speeches by Republicans from Paul Ryan on down fired up party members; women and minorities were showcased effectively, not as tokens but as conservative Republican leaders; and at key moments, most notably Romney’s acceptance speech, the convention took on a softer tone that implicitly refuted the Democrats’ shrill claims to the effect that Romney is some kind of extremist. So I consider the convention an unqualified success, with one caveat: the networks’ ratings were low, significantly lower even than 2008.
What did you think of the convention?

And of course, stories like Romney’s decision to turn down a $30 million job don’t hurt this effort. In fact, I would not be surprised if more conservatives follow Andrew Ferguson’s path:

Almost every personal detail about Romney I found endearing. But my slowly softening opinion went instantly to goo when The Real Romney unfolded an account of his endless kindnesses—unbidden, unsung, and utterly gratuitous.
And now the campaign season is beginning in earnest. And we’re still learning what is in the healthcare reforms: a 15 member Independent Payment Advisory Board that is accountable to no one. And of course, everyone will be closely following the market ramifications of the election.

Turning to culture, the Atlantic examines the appeal of the left and right revisionist histories of Zinn and Barton:

Adapting this gripping storytelling approach, Barton and Zinn offer audiences the illusion that they have been hoodwinked by undisclosed authorities -- Ivy League academics, textbook authors, theNew York Times, eighth-grade social studies teachers, parents. They give readers the intellectual self-assurance that accompanies expertise without the slog of unglamorous study required to attain it.  
The message is that you, dear reader, know something that the vast majority of unenlightened chumps do not. For devotees of Barton and Zinn, it's as though a switch has been flicked and everything in a darkened room illuminated. (Barton compares his labors to those of a soldier who discovers an IED and then alerts others.)
It also explores some favorite books of politicians.

With the passing of Neil Armstrong, Slate reexamines what his first words on the moon actually were.

Public service announcement: Pyrex baking dishes do explode. (My wife and I discovered this last week. Fortunately nothing was damaged--except, of course, the dish.)

And finally, a lesson in budgeting from Bill Cosby.

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