Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Vote or be gravely injured!

Don't forget to vote for Most Annoying Person in New York. Currently James Panero leads.

Vote in comments below or by emailing either left_behinds at yahoo dot com or antid_oto at hotmail dot com.

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Lady Sovereign and Jean Grae free NYC concert this Sunday

The brilliant Sov just posted this Myspace bulletin:
Yeah yeah, get down to Central Park in New York on Sunday 30th July.
i'm headlining the Summerstage festival, it's free..... i'm on at 5:30pm.
but get there early as Pete Rock and Jean Grae are supporting, day starts at 4:00pm. it will be fucking great! SOVxx
She's just such a funny lyricist. Like, from this feud with a fellow MC:
You was born in a caravan
That don't make you ghetto
I seen more ghetto in Posh Spice's stiletto!
or as she says about herself
I'm the best thing since sliced bread
Nah Eminem
Ms. Sovereign

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Crotch-grabbing post on immigration

Xsingh seems to think that simply because this blog features a man grabbing his genitals on its front page at the moment, we cannot possibly take seriously the issue of immigration. I take that as a challenge. Here, then, is the Independent Institute's Open Letter on Immigration, signed by a list of academic economists as long as your arm, adorned with photos of men grabbing their genitals.

PLEASE NOTE: I agree with the substance of this letter. Don't start flaming me for making fun of it--I'm not making fun of it.

Dear President George W. Bush and All Members of Congress:

People from around the world are drawn to America for its promise of freedom and opportunity. That promise has been fulfilled for the tens of millions of immigrants who came here in the twentieth century.

Throughout our history as an immigrant nation, those who were already here have worried about the impact of newcomers. Yet, over time, immigrants have become part of a richer America, richer both economically and culturally. The current debate over immigration is a healthy part of a democratic society, but as economists and other social scientists we are concerned that some of the fundamental economics of immigration are too often obscured by misguided commentary.

Overall, immigration has been a net gain for American citizens, though a modest one in proportion to the size of our 13 trillion-dollar economy.

Immigrants do not take American jobs. The American economy can create as many jobs as there are workers willing to work so long as labor markets remain free, flexible and open to all workers on an equal basis.


In recent decades, immigration of low-skilled workers may have lowered the wages of domestic low-skilled workers, but the effect is likely to have been small, with estimates of wage reductions for high-school dropouts ranging from eight percent to as little as zero percent.

While a small percentage of native-born Americans may be harmed by immigration, vastly more Americans benefit from the contributions that immigrants make to our economy, including lower consumer prices. As with trade in goods and services, the gains from immigration outweigh the losses. The effect of all immigration on low-skilled workers is very likely positive as many immigrants bring skills, capital and entrepreneurship to the American economy.


Legitimate concerns about the impact of immigration on the poorest Americans should not be addressed by penalizing even poorer immigrants. Instead, we should promote policies, such as improving our education system, that enable Americans to be more productive with high-wage skills.

We must not forget that the gains to immigrants coming to the United States are immense. Immigration is the greatest anti-poverty program ever devised. The American dream is a reality for many immigrants who not only increase their own living standards but who also send billions of dollars of their money back to their families in their home countries—a form of truly effective foreign aid.

America is a generous and open country and these qualities make America a beacon to the world. We should not let exaggerated fears dim that beacon.


That ought to prove exactly what kind of an idiot I am.

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

NYC Street Furniture: Water Testing Stations

Brit in Brooklyn is starting a new series about street furniture, and the first post investigates, Colbert Report style, water testing stations. One of the reasons I would be a bad father is that if my child were ever to ask "daddy, what are those funny metal box things I see on the street?" I would make up a story about damaged parking meters and nuclear holocaust preparation. There are huge bodies of knowledge I just don't know anything about. Not in a normal way, but in a defy-common-sense way. Like, if a kid were to ask me how televisions worked, my only point of reference would be Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. "Why is the sky blue, daddy?" "Because God decided to let you live for one more day, son. Silly question."

But now, at least, if my kid asks about street furniture, I can just send him to BiB.

Who am I kidding, any kid of mine would be in boarding school by age 6.

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Right Rides and Holla Back

There's a benefit tonight in Williamsburg for Right Rides and Holla Back NYC.

Holla Back NYC is great. It's a simple, brilliant idea: when women get harrassed in the street, they snap pics of the harrassers with their camera phones and send the photos and stories to the site, where the sleazebags are full-frontal outed. Some of the anecdotes are plain creepy, but some are girlpowerlarious:

Walking down 8th avenue in Park Slope I hear him mutter, "Nice, very nice. Sexy lady" as he stares me up and down. I whipped around and holla'ed "What did you say?" He took a pregnant pause, "You're a good girl. A good girl."Then, I shit you not, he pulls this out of his pocket and hands it to me:

The candy was sugar-free.

- Emily

I also like this one because it's so London:

So I’m in London on business with some other girls from the office and I think it would be fun to dress up and go to a real pub and maybe meet a real Hugh Grant type (I know, not likely!).

On the way we pass these guys drinking in their front garden (which is full of flags for the soccer match) and they are giggling, belching and farting (yuck!!) cause they think that’s funny. One of them makes a noise like ‘Ooooo! Ooooo!’ as we go past but I rise above it.

After we have a few Breezers outside (and no Hugh Grants were in there!) and watch the silly soccer its time to go back to the hotel but I see this lanky guy in shades who was part of that group looking at us and making humping noises. Then I see he is actually grabbing his crotch quite violently and jumping up and down! He’s pretty drunk but I can just hear him shout stuff like ‘play with me mansack!’ and ‘Eat it!’.

That was it – time to Hollaback at this jerk!

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San Francisco: Salon this Friday

Reginald Lamar, a friend of Left Behinds, has been throwing a monthly salon in San Francisco that sounds very cool. The last salon in San Francisco is this Friday (after which he'll start doing them in New York).

on monday i am moving to new york city. we have lost our lease and i feel it is time to move on. the highlight of living at 3435 army for the last year has been the birth of my beauty salon series. this has been a place for artists and musicians to try things. to do things they may not do elsewhere, a chance to be intimate with an audience that is paying attention. for our work it has been a chance to roll out of bed and sing for a small group of our friends, to share in a vulnerable way the stuff i am working on in a very direct manner. the songs i work on for my band, mutilated mannequins, started with me and a keyboard, then we added beats and guitar. this series for me and for the friends i have invited to play has represented a stripping away, a kind of exposure. a nakedness.

please join us on friday for the last of what has for me been a beginning.

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DMI Scorecard Campaign

DMI (who have been very nice to us) are looking to fundraise to keep going a Google campaign promoting their very cool Legislative Scorecard (6 million people have viewed their Google campaign so far).

Here's the cross-post:

In Congress at the Midterm: Their 2005 Middle-Class Record, DMI gave each member of Congress a grade based on how they voted on legislation of importance to current middle-class and all Americans aspiring to join the middle-class. The scorecard included bills about raisingraising the minimum wage, the estate tax, the energy bill and more.
On June 20, we launched a one month Google AdWord campaign so that any person using Google to find information on their Member of Congress would instantly see an advertisement showing that member's grade on the scorecard and a link to their full report card.
We need your help to keep our Google campaignrunning.Please help DMI raise $16,693.15 and keep our Middle-Class Google Ads through November 7!!

You're a blog reader. You know the DMI Congressional Middle Class Scorecard. Maybe you are one of the many, many blogs that has used the scorecard as a resource. Now you can help us keep the google adwords campaign alive so it can continue to give countless web surfers vital information about their elected representatives. Look- it only takes 300 people to donate $50 today to make the goal. But we are happy with $10, $20, $5,000, whatever you like!!
Since June 20, 6,802,566 people have seen our ads and learned more about their members of Congress, the important legislation debated in DC in 2005, and today's obstacles to achieving the American Dream.
Donate Today:
To keep the campaign active, we need to raise $16,693.15. Please click here to donate today.
Blog It Today:If you are a blogger please help us by cross posting this on your blog so we can spread the word.
If 300 people donate $50 today, we can make it, and let Congress know that millions of Americans are watching.
We'll be tracking our fundraising progress here the DMIblog because we view this as a netroots campaign at its heart. This is a chance to show the power of the netroots in forcing more government transparency so help us spread the word and if you can donate, please do.

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Firsthand Account From Beirut

Here is a firsthand account of life in Beirut right now, forwarded to me from my friend's former professor Laila Farah. It's pretty gripping reading (for more from Beirut, check out this set of observations from novelist Nada Awar Jarrar).

here is the latest post i sent to the folks in the US and elsewhere yest. no end in sight i am afraid. latest is that they allowed a convoy of wounded to be evacuated from the south to Beirut hospitals tonight but no humanitarian corridor in sight yet...will keep you posted...be well

sorry my writing has been so sporadic. can't seem to get myself to write what is going around me...don't seem to have words...and now it is all sound bytes...bombing, destruction, deaths, counts, types of explosions, what they have destroyed next, how many children, how many children, how many children...was at a vigil yesterday to say they should stop killing children...lots of press, no people--exhausted and fearful already....and they haven't even started on us randomly...the southern suburbs are getting flatter and flatter by the day as the death toll rises...hospitals to capacity with shortages on everything already...more refugees flooding in every day and no way to accommodate them in the schools anymore...they are being painfully relocated yet again to schools in outlying cities and towns...and now Sidon...terrorizing with leaflets and flyovers all day as mass graves are dug out and filled in...84 yesterday in Tyr...the Bekaa valley is being raised, all these places still unreachable via the "humanitarian corridor" that is supposed to up and running by today...no food water, medicine, supplies to all outlying villages in the south and the southern mountain range...at least a 200 more dead that cannot be reached since they bombed vans leaving towns they forced to evacuate and even hit a red cross team and one of the poor fellows died... so they are not willing to risk their lives to go dig out corpses. can't blame them really--and Bekaa is unreachable--roads are bombed out...

Meanwhile we get news clips of tearful folks leaving as families are ripped apart again...and still the US says [as it RUSHES new patriot "protective missiles" to Israel] it feels for the people and will do everything they can to move the humanitarian aid along...which cannot be distributed duty to Israeli bombs...so bloody convoluted...and now Condi has come and made more mess...the only good news we have is that Hezbollah is willing to give the two soldier hostages to the Lebanese govt. it seems that much behind closed door diplomacy is underway, but not fast enough to stop the murder and destruction...too little too late as ever...

last night was quiet...except for a few huge ones in the south suburbs to last us the night...but no electricity--thus the sporadic writing--and thus no water and now half the phones are out due to a tower being hit in the mountains. I slept well.

we need a ceasefire desperately...we need the US to listen carefully to the chief humanitarian officer sent by the UN...to the voices of the screaming relatives who are now avowing to avenge their dead...the US and Israel have just succeeded in 12 days to create more hatred than they did in 3 years in Iraq...and there are those internally who are trying to separate the factions again and drive wedges further between Sunni and Shiite and between Moslems and Christians in general...and then saner voices who are calling for the Lebanese to stay united...

I saw refugees on almost every street corner of Beirut today...they are looking for food housing shelter...the crisis will continue as floods more are arriving daily from the south in any way they can. they are being offered places in schools in outlying towns but feel they want to stay in Beirut...800,000 displaced and counting...

I saw jasmine in bloom on the wall of my building. I played with my roommate, a gorgeous 3 1/2month old kitten named fistouk, which means nuts which he is, the sea is sparkling and blue, the breezes are delicious and warm, I ate knefe bi jibn with friends, I did laundry...and I am glued to the TV like everyone else...

dad fell yesterday and broke his shoulder and is in a sling for 6 weeks and is in bad pain. am in the village for the day and night with him...thus the electricity to write this post...we expect that after the evacuations are done, the shit will really fly...inshallah that is not true.

I miss you so....my regression is complete, but I am well over all. this is madness. it will also be survived...as ever before...I had an interview with NBC which will air on nightly news tonight your time...I miss normalcy which is what I told them. but then, so does everyone else here...

please pass my posts on. don't have the energy or the wherewithall to repeat myself over and over...the bombs doing that enough...and now with Condi arriving all smiles and pledging aid 12 DAYS LATER WHILE THEY RUSH A SHIPMENT OF LASER AND BUNKER BUSTER MISSILES TO ISRAEL TOMORROW...MAKES ME SO ANGRY AND SICK TO MY STOMACH...LOVE THE USE OF MY 28 % TAX $$$$$

on a lighter note, glad you are well...and hopefully you will get good news on the new job! it sounds so interesting what you are doing...and women centred no less! you grads make us so proud with what you are all doing! keep me posted...

inshallah the next few crucial days will prove fruitful...despite the continuing murder and destruction...

love and salaam

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Ray of hope?

I said in the past that I think it's unlikely Democrats will retake either the House or the Senate, and that if they do the margin of control will likely be very small, which would be bad. I don't believe much in national generic polls (that is, polls that ask people nationally whether they plan to vote Republican or Democrat this fall), so I've had zero faith in Democrats' generic poll leads. People are much more likely than not to reelect an incumbent even if they dislike his/her party. They don't vote for parties, they vote for candidates.

This NPR-commissioned poll (PDF; via MyDD) is the first thing that really makes me think Democrats might have a shot.

The poll covers the 50 "most competitive" districts this election, which happens to work out to 40 seats now held by Republicans. By way of background, the composition of the House is now 231 Republican, 201 Democrat, 1 Independent (who caucuses D), and 2 vacant (Menendez and DeLay, I think). So Democrats have to win about 15 seats to flip the chamber.

That's why this is so interesting.

So Democrats don't have to worry about holding any of their current seats. They're crushing in those districts. And they have a slight generic lead in the 40 Republican-held seats, of which they need to carry only 15. More impressive yet, Democrats have an edge outside the margin of error when candidates are named.

Let's say this makes me nudge my mental odds of Democrats retaking the House from 3:1 against to something like 5:2.

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He wasn't out?

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

As Solomon said, Christine Quinn really does know better

The direct giveaway to the Yankees (discussed here) was bad enough. But this blew my fucking mind.

The Yankees are apparently taking advantage of a clause in their lease with the city that allows "planning costs" of their new $1.3 billion stadium—groundbreaking for which could take place as soon as next week—to be deducted from the team's rent.
As a result, according to the city parks department, which oversees the teams' leases, from 2001 to 2005 the Yankees charged the city $15.97 million under the "planning cost" clause; the Mets, $20.2 million.
For starters, Yankees president Randy Levine (a former deputy mayor under Giuliani) and the team's chief operating officer, Lonn Trost—the two top Yankee officials working for passage of the stadium deal—received a combined $312,500 in city money in 2004. The Yankees' justification, according to the documents: The amount totaled 30 percent of Levine's annual salary and 20 percent of Trost's, representing the time each spent working on the stadium project.

Even more audaciously, the Yankees in 2004 charged the city $203,055.87 for the services of Powers and Company, the Albany-based lobbying firm headed by former Republican state chair Bill Powers. ... According to filings with the New York Temporary State Commission on Lobbying, Powers was hired by the Yankees to lobby the state senate and assembly and the governor's office for permission to use 25 acres of Bronx parkland and $70 million in state money for the stadium...

The city even apparently paid the Yankees to lobby the city itself. Another recipient of city money, via the Yankees, was the law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, which, according to the New York City clerk's lobbyist database, has served as a registered lobbyist for both Tishman Speyer, the Yankees' project managers for the stadium, and the Yankees themselves.

Fuck Rudy Giuliani and his Yankee-humping. Fuck Mike Bloomberg for turning his head when he came into office, and fuck the Council for rubberstamping all of it.

And these people think we should trust them to get rid of term limits.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Short Short Stories

I just noticed this short short story, which was sort of cute, but really a bit too short short (though much better than this one, an ode to childhood racism).

In the Guardian last year, Dave Eggers judged a contest for slightly longer (400 word) short short stories, and this was the winner.

After the jump, I'll print it in full, since it's so short. Funny how 250 words feels like an anecdote, while 150 more words gives it the feel of a story.

Or perhaps it's just that the Guardian story features a pig.

To the point of breaking, the rope was stretched.

Tuesday July 20, 2004

To the point of breaking, the rope was stretched. At the end of which hung a twitching, whey-faced Arthur, and his pig, Marmite.

Marmite struggled and squealed as the sky and sea tilted, roller coaster style, the cliff jabbing into his side. A two hundred metre drop. Arthur was having a hard time holding on.

Marmite had been the runt of the litter. Arthur raised him from a half dead scrap to a 250 pound monster. There had been one attempt to load Marmite into the slaughterer's van, but Arthur, fierce and steadfast, blocked the ramp. And on this one thing Arthur's father acquiesced. He had given his son so little, but he saw that Arthur truly loved Marmite. Marmite, however, did not love Arthur.

That morning, when Arthur had taken Marmite breakfast, he found Marmite pensive. Marmite didn't even attempt to charge Arthur, but remained in the corner and absently glanced over, before showing his fat, quivering rump, disappearing into the hut.

Arthur was worried. Marmite off his food? This had never happened before. Was he unwell? No, the vet had checked him over just yesterday. He was in good health. Arthur edged towards the hut, calling Marmite's name. Some fresh air. A walk. That might be just the ticket.

To the furthest field, at the top of the cliffs, Arthur dragged a reluctant Marmite. The view was marvellous, wraparound sky, steely grey sea. Arthur felt they should stay to enjoy it. He tied the rope, which was attached to Marmite's collar, to a nearby bench. They sat down by the edge.

Arthur tried to reason with Marmite. It was a lovely day. The sun was out. The world was a good place.

Marmite did not respond.

Arthur tried a different tack. He and Marmite might go further. They might stroll across to the woods, have a root through the undergrowth. Acorns and everything, Arthur said.

Marmite snorted.

Finally, Arthur reached across to stroke Marmite's wrinkled brow, and that was when Marmite lurched, screaming, at Arthur, knocking them both over the edge. The rope whipped tight, catching Marmite as he fell. Arthur, in his descent, threw out a hand and scrabbled for the rope, his feet bouncing off Marmite's head.

And thus, they hung from the rope. And there was no doubt about it - it was him or the pig. Arthur's fingers reached for Marmite's collar.

Miranda Stock

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Spectacular Returns

"It will provide for those of us who have invested in the BRICs dream, almost definitely, spectacular returns."
-Jim O'Neill, Goldman Sachs Head of Global Economics Research

The antecedent of "it" is the Goldman Sachs projection that in 45 years, the economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China (in ascending order) will collectively become the biggest in the world. Jim himself narrates the story in this must-see video (click on the report in the upper right).

From my time with a certain management consulting company I know that there's no disagreement about the trajectories of these emerging economies. Firms have been reorienting themselves East and South for years now. But in this video Jim really expresses (in his understated way) a certain kind of raw greed, an unadulterated glee at the projected profit margins just over the horizon.

In general, I didn't know Goldman Sachs put so many reports online. What a treasure trove.

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Serious Left Behindiacs (Behinders?) know my fondness for Chris Owens. I was excited to get to cast a meaningful vote for someone who represents a lot of what I believe. Unfortunately, in my recent move I seem to have edged over the border from CD-11 to CD-12, and as far as I know there isn't a single meaningful race over here. I can't even remember the last time I cast a vote for a candidate I really liked in a race where my vote could potentially make a difference. Is that the case for many of you? How often do you feel like your vote could actually matter?

Incidentally, is the 12th not the most ridiculously gerrymandered district you've ever seen (except for possibly Jerry Nadler's 8th)? Is there any conceivable justification for including two noncontiguous chunks of Manhattan along with two noncontiguous chunks of Brooklyn? Are there not court cases about this kind of thing?

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Pirro Weighs in on Lebanon

Last week, NY Attorney General candidate Jeanine Pirro weighed in on the turmoil in Lebanon, stating that "the root of this problem is Hezbollah. Hezbollah is as much an enemy of the Lebanese people as it is of the Israeli people." OK, but then she went on to say that "at the end of the day, [Israeli attacks on Lebanon] will benefit Lebanon."

Uh, really?

This would be yet more typical Republican claptrap, except it's made interesting by the fact that she herself is Lebanese-American (this, by the way, is the first time I've ever heard her allude to her ancestry publicly).

And if you're curious, check out this list of famous Arab-Americans, which contains a lot of surprises (Nina Van Horn is half Egyptian? Fabulous).

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Peaceful demonstration in Paris tonight

Believe it or not, we have Parisian readers, and I ask them (on Neda Cole's behalf) to check out

Pour que le Liban vive

Peaceful demonstration against attacks in Lebanon organised for tonight in Paris – please pass along to friends in Paris who might like to attend or support by spreading the word.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

If a Middle Aged Rock Goddess Falls in the Forest

Because I know that we have some fans in our readership, gratuitous pics after the jump of Sonic Youth shooting a video in Greenpoint this afternoon.
(hat tip: Ben from Williamsboard, who actually took the photos)

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Werner Herzog Breaks It Down

Really this only makes sense if you've seen the brilliant Grizzly Man, which was on the Discovery Channel last night.
(hat tip: Alana Post)

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The 2006 First Annual Most Annoying Person in New York Sand-in-the-Sandwich Awards

Vote in comments or by emailing antid_oto at hotmail dot com. Additional nominees invited; entertaining reasons for votes will be incorporated (with attribution, of course) in the post body. Voting will be open for a week. To repeat a cardinal rule from the nominations: "Most Annoying" is not the same as "most evil" or "worst." We're looking for people who set your teeth on edge for no good reason, not Bruce Ratner.

Theodora Stikes

She invited us to “rock her network,” so Solomon did and found her picture on MySpace:

But which one is her?

The one on the right is clearly "look at me" annoying, but the one on the left is "these are my crazy years before I become boring in a different way" annoying.

I'm guessing Theodora is in the Cyndi Lauper dress and cowboy boots, but it really doesn't matter. Quod erat demonstrandum.

James Panero

Panero's the one on the right. I became aware of his magazine a few months back, when his buddy Stefan Beck "derided [Solomon's] polite critique of his N+1 takedown as a 'whimpering non-response.'"

For a while I'd planned on nominating Stefan Beck himself for this award, in part for coediting a collection of essays from his college conservative rag and at the same time blasting n+1 by saying "They live the dream of getting paid (however little it may be) for their glorified term papers." But Beck is a minor figure. Panero, his boss at the New Criterion, is the annoyance-in-chief. Here he is in an interview with FrontPage Magazine.

Stefan and I were editors of The Dartmouth Review in the early Oughts and late Nineties, respectively. [OUGHTS] We’d been kicking around the idea of a Review anthology since our student days [all of two years ago]—to get together those infamous articles that saw our Review forefathers “threatened, impugned, vandalized, sued, suspended, and bitten.”

More remote than it ever should be, Dartmouth is a combination of Parnassus and NBC’s Survivor, with a singular, isolated campus culture that has a particular resistance to left-liberal academic assumptions. While a point of pride for many, and I believe the school’s saving grace, for decades this situation has vexed Dartmouth’s progressive leadership. Its self-selecting trustees and administration have therefore been at loggerheads over the future of the institution with more moderate rank-and-file students and alumni.

Holy crap. First of all, Solomon and I both attended the real "combination of Parnassus and Survivor," and it ain't Dartmouth.

Second, don't write like that, please. You think you're being funny, but you're not funny. Too many rich, annoying white guys take it as a mark of pride that people can't stand listening to or even looking at them.

Look at that smug punum. I can't stand it. He probably gets laid all the time. He probably also has coke on him most of the time.


Iggy [last name redacted]

I've got nothing against the guy, but for Solomon's sake how could we forget this famous ex?

Not only did he once spit in my face at a party, but after we broke up he actually sank his fangs into my arm because I wouldn't let him steal back these cute jeans he gave me for Christmas! Almost nuff said, except that it should also be noted that he continues to email me.

Anderson Cooper

Solomon writes:

I for one don't buy the Katrina crocodile tears of this former host of The Mole and epigone of the Vanderbilt dynasty.


he has prevaricated and misled the public about certain elements of his personal life, despite widespread knowledge of his once-taboo-but-now-socially-acceptable lifestyle choice (yes, I'm talking about his membership in a Yale Secret Society)

He also came within an ace of stealing the Hottest Gay Journalist award from the far-more-deserving (and local favorite) Patrick Healy.

I think he’s smarmy.

Dominic Carter

Will from onNYTurf says “nuff said” about this NY1 political reporter. But I really don’t think so. I don’t have a TV, so I had to Google the guy even to find out who he was. Will, you’re going to have to elaborate.

Vincent Gallo

It's not just that he made up stories about being a ho. It's also, as the Buffalo Beast put it, that he "exists as a living caricature of the beatnik independent artist, except he’s a fucking Republican."

Mike and the Mad Dog

I like sports. When I was forced to live in DC for a couple of years, one of its few saving graces was that the sports-talk hosts were actually kind of funny. But for some reason New York radio has to suck across the board, and this is no exception. Boring, pointless commentary turned in by dumb, pompous guys with grating, clotted voices.

Ed Koch

He'd already hung around far too long, but he lost me for good when he announced during the 2004 election that "In my judgment, the Democratic Party just doesn't have the stomach to stand up to the terrorists. But Bush is a fighter."

I think we should swap him to D.C. straight up for Marion Barry.

Tricia Romano

Has anyone, anywhere ever read a Fly Life column start to finish? (Go ahead. Try.) No discernible connection from one paragraph to the next. Nothing reviewed for your benefit as a potential consumer, just a string of names in boldface, designed to let you know that Tricia Romano Is Having More Fun Than You.

I've overlooked it in the past, but some very good writers at the Voice have been expelled lately (or at least put on duty so limited it threatens their benefits), while Tricia Romano dithers on. How has she, of all people, survived the purges? It's not fair.

The guy who maybe tried to roofie my friend at a bar

I can't remember his name. If any of you do remember, remind me and I'll put it up. Apart from the possible roofying, he and his buddy were high as hell on cocaine, and kept bothering us even when we literally turned our backs on them. We had been ignoring him for half an hour or more and he'd finally left us alone when we ordered a plate of fries; he came over and started eating them without even asking.

Also, his family owns the Gramercy Hotel and he's publishing a book on its history, as if anyone wants to read that shit.

The guy on the subway the other night listening to loops on his stereo at ever-increasing volume

I wish I'd gotten a picture. He was wearing a horizontal-striped polo, a pencil-thin jawline beard that grew into an awful goatee in front, and mirrored aviator sunglasses (on the train at 12:30 am).

And finally...

I almost hesitated to enter him in this contest, for fear that his sheer awesomeness might overwhelm the other contestants. But I've been holding back for a couple of weeks now, and I have to use him somewhere. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the multitalented wonder that is Triple Edwards.

Model. Musician. Actor. And of course, gay journalist with a highlight reel. Pay special attention to the interview with Michelle Williams. Solomon had planned to nominate her for Most Annoying, but her brilliant handling of Triple's first question alone made him change his mind.

I think a little of both.

UPDATE: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.

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They never did believe in the civil service.

It's telling that at this point, when I read this sort of thing, my only reaction is, well, of course they did. We know they don't respect the integrity of the bureaucratic class. They want to return us to a system of patronage the rest of us thought we did away with in the federal government over 125 years ago.

Civil rights hiring shifted in Bush era
Conservative leanings stressed

By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff | July 23, 2006

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is quietly remaking the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, filling the permanent ranks with lawyers who have strong conservative credentials but little experience in civil rights, according to job application materials obtained by the Globe.

The documents show that only 42 percent of the lawyers hired since 2003, after the administration changed the rules to give political appointees more influence in the hiring process, have civil rights experience. In the two years before the change, 77 percent of those who were hired had civil rights backgrounds.

In an acknowledgment of the department's special need to be politically neutral, hiring for career jobs in the Civil Rights Division under all recent administrations, Democratic and Republican, had been handled by civil servants -- not political appointees.

But in the fall of 2002, then-attorney general John Ashcroft changed the procedures. The Civil Rights Division disbanded the hiring committees made up of veteran career lawyers.

For decades, such committees had screened thousands of resumes, interviewed candidates, and made recommendations that were only rarely rejected.

Now, hiring is closely overseen by Bush administration political appointees to Justice, effectively turning hundreds of career jobs into politically appointed positions.

The profile of the lawyers being hired has since changed dramatically, according to the resumes of successful applicants to the voting rights, employment litigation, and appellate sections. Under the Freedom of Information Act, the Globe obtained the resumes among hundreds of pages of hiring data from 2001 to 2006.

Hires with traditional civil rights backgrounds -- either civil rights litigators or members of civil rights groups -- have plunged. Only 19 of the 45 lawyers hired since 2003 in those three sections were experienced in civil rights law, and of those, nine gained their experience either by defending employers against discrimination lawsuits or by fighting against race-conscious policies.

Meanwhile, conservative credentials have risen sharply. Since 2003 the three sections have hired 11 lawyers who said they were members of the conservative Federalist Society. Seven hires in the three sections are listed as members of the Republican National Lawyers Association, including two who volunteered for Bush-Cheney campaigns.

Via MyDD.

UPDATE: It's worth mentioning that Charlie Savage is also the reporter who's most doggedly followed the signing-statements story too. Credit to the MSM where due.

We still plan to bury them.

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Friday, July 21, 2006

I was going to cooperate with Solomon in bringing the blog back to substantive issues, but...

Zidane Headbutt Game!

Awww, it messed up the page formatting. Ok, below the fold, then.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Time to make the donuts

Well, I don't know how regular Left Behinds readers have felt about the past week of Hot Gay shallowness (have we alienated our dear Gatemouth for good?). But I for one am ready to get back to our regular business of finding excuses to post funny Youtubes and debating the merits of giving babies blowjobs.

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You Have Voted, and He is the Hottest Gay Journalist in New York

After spending all day auditing the votes with my infallible friends at Arthur Andersen, I am ready to announce the winner of the second annual Left Behinds Hottest Gay Journalist in New York Contest.

Four hotties stood out from the pack, and in a freakish fluke redolent of Florida 2000, even with hundreds of votes cast, there was an exact tie for first place (believe me, I went through a week of email votes twice this morning to re-tabulate).

According to the bylaws of the Left Behinds Society, in the event of a tie, a secret tribunal of bloggers (i.e., me) gets to select the winner. Based on the fact that he has prevaricated and misled the public about certain elements of his personal life, despite widespread knowledge of his once-taboo-but-now-socially-acceptable lifestyle choice (yes, I'm talking about his membership in a Yale Secret Society), Anderson Cooper has been disqualified.

Which means we have a winner.

You daydreamed about his reportage from scenic Buffalo, you giggled when he dubbed Teresa Heinz Kerry"a bit kooky," and you plotzed the first time he matched wits with Dominic Carter on NY1.

Ladies and gentleman, you have voted, and your choice of the hottest gay journalist in New York is

Pat Healy

In a very close second, with 21% of the votes, is New York Daily News derring-doer

Chris Rovzar

and with 20% of the votes,

erudite Nation rabble-arouser Richard Kim is the third-hottest (but first in my heart) gay journalist in New York.

Winners will be notified of their prizes.


Just to prove that I was paying attention to your nominations, and because I like pics of cute gays as much as the next guy, here is a list of Honorable Mentions, as nominated by you.

(full list, with NSFW photos, after the jump)

3 Nominations:

Shepard Smith, Fox News

2 Nominations:

Jason Bellini, Logo

1 Nomination apiece:

Jesse Green, NYT Magazine

Itay Hod, Logo

Jason Bernstein, New York Magazine

Choire Sicha, erstwhile Gawker

Benoit Denizet-Lewis, NYT

Alan Bennett Ilagan, Q Northeast (btw, his site has more where this came from)

Chris Ciompi (far left), Genre Magazine

Bill Hemmer, CNN

Jay DeDapper, NBC

Sam Champion, ABC Weather God

Steve Bartelstein, ABC

Jeanne Moos, CNN

Dan Abrams, who once called me a "genius," though it's not clear if he was being sarcastic

Ben Widdicombe, NY Daily News

Chris Wragge, WCBS

Justin Conner, Interview Magazine

Jeremy Peters, NY Times, no photo available

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