Friday, May 20, 2011

Bits and Pieces - May 20, 2011

Two male evening grosbeaks. Body language is somewhat like the Obama-Netanyahu press conference.

Obama is playing a long game. No surprises, just steady (and often slow) movement toward the goal. That produced responses all over the map to his speech yesterday. The usual partisans were, as usual, disappointed that he didn't endorse their usual programs or provide their usual dogwhistles. I'll endorse Juan Cole's and Matt Duss's commentary on the speech and Jeffrey Goldberg's commentary on Bibi Netanyahu's reaction.

Jared Bernstein is now outside the administration and blogging. I usually don't like acronyms, but he suggests one that I'd like to see used more widely: the NASTIES (Never-A-Stinkin’-Tax-Increase-Ever!)

If Elaine Blair's review is correct, I think I understand the sentimentality of this documentary but can't sympathize with it. In 1999, I walked through Tallinn's Old Town, and it was my special place. But I also thought, on that walk, that if my Estonian friends did well, it would become something else, no longer my special place. Still special, but not in that way. I'll have to go see the move and Tallinn, too.

And here's a book about another Estonian city that's special to me. Have to pick that up, too. Should only take me a year or so to get through at my current level of fluency.

Finally, a strategy for choking off spam. If the credit-card companies would go for it.

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