On Friday, Baron Sebastian Coe, the conservative politician, former athlete, and Nike board member who is chair of LOCOG (the London Organizing Committee) for the 2012 games, ignited a furor when he said anyone wearing a Pepsi T-shirt is likely to be "booted out" because it would upset Coca-Cola, who is an official sponsor. [more inside]
"We thought we were hosts like the queen is at a posh garden party, when actually we're hosts in the way that John Hurt is in Alien." As the Olympics approach, the scandals, inconveniences, mistakes and problems keep mounting, ranging from the frustrating through the comic to the tragic. For your appreciation, a picture of the London Olympics 2012. [more inside]
Could global warming become an election issue? After the extreme weather last year and the likelihood that 2012 will reach a record high global temperature (which it almost has), it's possible that hot weather could become politically noticeable. Most Americans say they believe temperatures around the world are going up and that weather patterns have become more unstable in the past few years, according to this poll (and this other poll and this other poll.) Obama has said that climate change and the money being thrown into the denial of science is one of the most important issues in the coming campaign discussion. but Romney doesn't know.
A new piece for the Awl, by writer Amy Sohn "The 40-Year-Old Reversion" satirizing the group of parents she parties with in Brooklyn, has sparked some pretty harsh criticism around the web, from scenester blogs, mainstream sources, and parenting sites alike. But others see it as a very useful lesson about contraception.
Letter from the Pulitzer Fiction Jury: What Really Happened This Year. Michael Cunningham on what it was like to serve on the fiction jury for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize, when no prize was awarded. Part 2. (Previously.)
The BBC's new Olympics 2012 ad (full 2m40s version; SLYT) is a CGI masterpiece for the video gamer era. (best viewed with YouTube HD resolution settings on) [more inside]
A few American students visited North Korea last month (SLYT) and took some amazing footage. While mostly within the confines of the official guided tour it still offers a fascinating glimpse of life in North Korea under Kim Jong Un. A "relentless stream of hyper-positive propaganda."
In less than an hour, the Supreme Court will hand down its final judgment in what has become one of the most crucial legal battles of our time: the constitutionality of President Obama's landmark health care reform law. The product of a strict party line vote following a
year century of debate, disinformation, and tense legislative wrangling, the Affordable Care Act would (among other popular reforms) require all Americans to buy insurance coverage by 2014, broadening the risk pool for the benefit of those with pre-existing conditions.
The fate of this "individual mandate," bitterly opposed by Republicans despite its similarity to past plans touted by conservatives (including presidential contender Mitt Romney) is the central question facing the justices today. If the conservative majority takes the dramatic step of striking down the mandate, the law will be toothless, and in danger of wholesale reversal, rendering millions uninsured, dealing a crippling blow to the president's re-election hopes, and possibly endangering the federal regulatory state.
But despite the pessimism of bettors, some believe the Court will demur, wary of damaging its already-fragile reputation with another partisan 5-4 decision. But those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know. Watch the SCOTUSblog liveblog for updates, Q&A, and analysis as the truth finally comes out shortly after 10 a.m. EST.
11 buses full of strangers have 72 hours to build and launch startups on the road to a meeting with investors at SXSW. StartupBus is a tech industry boot camp on wheels.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2012's first semi-final begins tomorrow at 3 PM EST (12 PM PST). Watch it online, and listen to the songs (below the jump). [more inside]
The story of Ron Paul’s presidential candidacy as told by his supporters in Time Magazine's comments section
The story of Ron Paul’s presidential candidacy as told by his supporters in Time Magazine's comments section. Extra-specially meta thanks to an update which posts comments from underneath the same post.
Not content with displacing the poor, menacing photographers and blocking ambulances the london olympics now wants ground-to-air missiles, presumably to shoot down rogue skywriters who might misuse it's brand.
2012 Vimeo Awards Nominations — There are 13 categories including four new ones. The Experimental category is lots of fun. [previously]
Opening Day is upon us once again. As always, there are a ton of predictions being made for the season. [more inside]
Just beating Bank of America, Consumerist readers have voted Electronic Arts the worst company in America
The GOP’s woman problem is that it has a serious problem with women. Frank Rich on George Stephanopoulos's unanswered question, how the Republicans have shifted to being the party of misogyny since the 70s, and why Mitt Romney would be just as bad as Rick Santorum.
Artist Bas Van Oerle presents a series of propaganda posters for the 2012 Republican presidential contenders. Ron Paul For The Youth Vote. Fields of Santorum. Love Me Romney. Join The Cosmonewts.
32 all new episodes of: Trapped. In. The. Closet. (The Alien is back and It has brought friends along.)
Will the Real Mitt Romney Please Stand Up? (SLYT, but incredible)
A much anticipated birth is expected by many Chinese families after the New Moon on Monday, 23rd January ushers in the auspicious Year of the Dragon. The only mythological beast in the Chinese Zodiac, the Dragon as a symbol in China dates back to 3000 BC and stands for happiness, immortality, procreation, fertility and activity. This year's babies will be Black Water Dragons, considered to be calmer, more flexible and even more charismatic than other elements. In previous dragon years, countries such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore have all experienced baby booms, and preparations are in place for this year's influx of baby dragons.
Skyrim 2012. A thousand years after the Dragonborn's adventures, Skyrim endures. (SLYT)
We rifled through a bevy of 2012 predictions to bring you the mother of all roundups, every line gleaned from somewhere else.
After interminable months of campaigning, debates, and roller-coaster polling, the first official vote of the 2012 presidential race is in -- and boy, is it a doozy. Ames straw poll winner Michele Bachmann placed second-to-last, while former juggernaut Rick Perry performed so badly he's canceled upcoming events and is said to be on the verge of dropping out. Meanwhile, perennial laughingstock Rick Santorum, consolidating the support hemorrhaging from Perry, Bachmann, and an ad-blitzed Newt Gingrich, rocketed past the youth- and independent-backed Ron Paul and, with 99% of the vote counted, is separated from Mitt Romney by four votes out of ~120,000 -- by far the closest result in caucus history. As the shaken field contemplates the path ahead through Romney firewall New Hampshire, conservative South Carolina, Florida, Super Tuesday, and beyond, President Obama staged a quiet redux of his own dramatic caucus win four years ago, a dry run for the looming general election. And as for powerhouse Buddy Roemer? Don't worry -- his team is ready to do battle with evil.
google.com/elections [via] "Maybe the most interesting aspect of the site is the real-time dashboard, which displays recent search trends, Google News mentions and YouTube video views for all the candidates."
We've all seen variations on the personal time-lapse video -- a snapshot every day for six years, or a look at a young girl's first decade. But nobody's done it quite like Sam Klemke. For thirty-five years the itinerant freelance cartoonist has documented his life in short year-end reviews, a funny, weary, eccentric, and hopeful record dating all the way back to 1977. Recently optioned for documentary treatment by the government of Australia, you can skim Sam's opus in reverse in the striking video "35 Years Backwards Thru Time with Sam Klemke," an ever-evolving home movie montage that grows grainier and grainier as it tracks Sam "from a paunchy middle aged white bearded self deprecating schluby old fart, to a svelt, full haired, clean shaven, self-important but clueless 20 year old."
It's New Years Eve (or already the first day of the new year, depending on where you are), and you may be looking for something other than the radio to play for a countdown. Head backwards, then, to cruise into the 80s with the Grateful Dead for the closing of Winterland. Or join the Janglers to say goodby to 1993 and hello to 1994 at Peabody's Downunder. You can check out twelve hours of Essential Mixing and relive the transition from 2000 to 2001. Get closer to the present day with some big band and swing into 2010 in style. Say hello to 2011 with B.A.G.S. (Bullman, Ashworth, Guggino, Sipe), spend an hour and a half with Blu Mar Ten or six and a half hours with Mr Scruff. And if you're looking for something new for tonight, try some mixes from Redondo, Montreal Funk Monkeys, and a countdown minimix from DJ Raymix.
Robert Reich writes today: My political prediction for 2012 (based on absolutely no inside information): Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden swap places. Biden becomes Secretary of State -- a position he's apparently coveted for years. And Hillary Clinton, Vice President [more inside]
Americans Elect is an organization creating a ready-made slot on the 2012 presidential ballot for an unnamed independent ticket, thus removing the biggest barrier to a 3rd party challenge. (Donald Trump suggests himself.) The NYT thinks they'll qualify in all 50 states. They say they want a non-partisan, mixed-party ticket. Some on the left see a cabal of shadowy millionaires with ties to the FBI, CIA and military behind it. Team Obama is concerned.
Red money, blue money: The making of the 2012 campaign. "More than 80 percent of giving to Super PACs so far has come from just 58 donors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics analysis of the latest data, which covers the first half of 2011." This Salon piece details who the (surprisingly small) number of large donors are, and the SuperPACs they donate to.
Penn Jillette: An Atheist's Guide to the 2012 Election. [SLYT] Via BigThink, "A knowledge forum featuring the ideas, lessons, stories and advice of leading experts from around the world."
In 2008, Barack Obama lit a fire among young activists. Next year, Occupy Wall Street could consume him.
Texas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry is booked on all the major morning shows tomorrow, and with good reason. After two months of gaffes, impolitic stands, and bizarre speeches that quickly waned his once-strong odds of winning the Republican nomination, Perry went into Wednesday's CNBC debate sorely needing a win... only to deliver a tortuous, cringingly forgetful attempt [video] to recall just which three cabinet departments he'd vowed to abolish, a stunning failure political scientist Larry Sabato deemed "the most devastating moment of any modern primary debate" in his memory. While Perry's slow-motion flameout has boosted the fortunes of dark horse candidate Herman Cain, the unlikely challenger is facing troubles of his own in a volley of sexual harassment claims -- an oddly ineffective scandal Cain is doing his best to (somewhat dubiously) disavow. If Cain collapses, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich may reap the benefits, but his moribund campaign has issues of its own. Pawlenty, Bachmann, Perry, Christie, Cain, Gingrich... the base is loathe to rally round him, but after so many failed, flawed, or forfeited challenges, can anyone topple Mitt Romney?
Dan Savage tells Herman Cain to prove that being gay is a choice. (Not really safe for work.) Dan Savage Previously on Metafilter.
The government of Mexico along with archeologists are releasing a film in 2012 that purports to prove alien contact with the Mayans
"Change Proposed for State's Electoral Vote Process." Gov. Tom Corbett and state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi are proposing that Pennsylvania divide up its Electoral College votes according to which candidates carried each Congressional district, plus two votes for the statewide winner. Talking Points Memo says that under the proposed plan Obama would have received only 11 of the state's 20 electors in 2008; Dave Weigel and Nick Baumann say gerrymandering could mean that in 2012 Obama could actually wind up with a minority of the state's electors even if he carries the state. GOP-led legislatures in other states, such as Wisconsin and Michigan, could make similar moves. But could this be a bridge too far for some members of the state's GOP caucus? [more inside]
"Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."
After weeks of fake primaries, fraudulent mailers, special interest moneybombs, and last-minute attempts at voter suppression, Wisconsinites went to the polls yesterday in an unprecedented round of six recall elections targeted mainly at Republican state senators for their support of Governor Scott Walker's controversial union-busting agenda. Five of the six races were called by Tuesday evening, with Democrats taking two of the three they'd need to regain control of the state senate. The lone holdout? A dead heat between incumbent Alberta Darling and challenger Sandy Pasch in District 8 -- the very same district that saw suspicious vote-counting by conservative Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus unexpectedly tip the balance towards Walker ally David Prosser late in the crucial state supreme court race this past April. The protracted count and late-night shift toward Darling coupled with Nickolaus's questionable history soon prompted Democratic officials to make accusations of fraud (later retracted). Control of the senate now lies in the defense of two Democratic seats up for recall next week and the possible wooing of GOP Senator Dale Schultz, the only Republican to vote against Walker's bill. Walker himself will be eligible for recall next spring. [more inside]
Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign is floundering despite his brag that "I have six times as many Twitter followers as all the other candidates combined." Maybe because 80% of them are fake. Or maybe they're not. [more inside]
Yesterday, Newt Gingrich announced that he's going to "explore the possibility" of running for president in 2012 with an exploratory site that uses an awkward stock photo. Then Web incompetence led to an inevitable consequence. (previously)
So, last year Target set off a mini bruhaha by donating a wad of cash to fund advertisments for MN Republican Govonor candidate Tom Emmer. The Tea Party favorite subsequently went on to lose the race (narrowly) in one of the few bright spots for Democrats this past election season. Coincidentally, Target now is the recipient of (former) MN Governor, Tim Pawlenty's (R) new book (Courage to Stand) and released it a week early, trumping all other sellers. Although Pawlenty hasn't yet officially announced his candidacy the book tour is running through the early nomination states, despite his being near the bottom of the pack in GOP contenders. Mind you, he is not the only Minnesotan looking to make a run at the top seat. [more inside]
The NASA list of "silliest" science fiction films outlines some complete horseshit offerings but is sci-fi meant to be realistic? Fans of hard sci-fi might argue it is the core of that place where dreaming and science combine, but shouldn't the dreaming part allow an amount of creative freedom in the hopes of getting at some larger truth? Some would say there is a point where you've gone too far. But what if our current impossible dream later becomes plausible, possible or reality?
The final data for the 2010 Census has just been released, showing the last decade's trends in population, growth and diversity. [more inside]