The Call Up

The best of the internet as curated by me. Put me in coach.

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May 6, 2014 10:40 pm
"Tomorrow, President Obama is going to do interviews with meteorologists all across the country about a new climate change report," she said. "I hope they ask him about Benghazi." "Like, the weatherman from Montana should ask him about Benghazi," she quipped. "That would be great. I dare you."
April 27, 2014 1:31 pm March 18, 2014 10:33 pm
"The Homicide Report addresses two questions every newspaper covering a major metropolis should answer: who was killed last night, and why? But most newspapers don’t do this because the logic of most newsrooms is that not all murders are sexy, grisly, or surprising enough to be written about. The Homicide Report operates on the inverse principal: Every murder gets a story because murder is inherently worthy of our attention."

From “Murder in Los Angeles.”  A fine piece of journalism.

(Source: The Awl)

February 18, 2014 8:07 am

But some are given more days than others, and I think of dying at 17, in my loudness, in my vanity, which is to say in my human youth, and I tremble. I was barely anything. I understood barely anything. When Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis, he obliterated a time-stream, devastated an open range of changes. And somewhere on that American jury, someone thought this was justice, someone believed in the voodoo of shotguns and teleportation. Michael Dunn killed a boy, and too robbed a man of his chance to be.

And this will happen again, must happen again, because our policy is color-blind, but our heritage isn’t. An American courtroom claiming it can be colorblind denies its rightful inheritance. An American courtroom claiming it can be colorblind is a drug addict claiming he can walk away after just one more hit. Law and legacy are at war. Legacy is winning. Legacy will always win. And our legacy is to die in this land where time is unequal, and deeded days are unequal, and blessed is the black man who lives to learn other ways, who lives to see other worlds, who lives to bear witness before the changes.


Ta-Nehisi Coates, on the killing of Jordan Davis. (via theatlantic)

Jesus. TNC consistently brings it into perspective. The whole long narrative of race, experience in America, and why this keeps happening. And that’s helpful, and for a moment it makes it seem better — we can’t help ourselves, it’s nurture. But after a moment’s consideration, it really just makes me more upset that we are so stupidly pathological. And I sometimes wish TNC would just get pissed.

(via theatlantic)

February 17, 2014 11:33 pm
"The most interesting news about Fox News is that for some years now it has been damaging the right far more than the left. As a pair of political analysts wrote at Reuters last year, “When the mainstream media reigned supreme, between 1952 and 1988, Republicans won seven out of the ten presidential elections,” but since 1992, when “conservative media began to flourish” (first with Rush Limbaugh’s ascendancy, then with Fox), Democrats have won the popular vote five out of six times. You’d think they’d be well advised to leave Fox News to its own devices so that it can continue to shoot its own party in the foot."

Interesting piece on the decline of the GOP and increasing irrelevancy of Fox News.  Rich thinks the Fox bubble has worked against the party, as the echo chamber just gets louder and more extreme.  He also argues that the left should just let them go ahead and shoot their party in the foot, since they’ve been doing it rather effectively for the last decade.  Hard to say whether it’s correlation or causation though.  

However, the notes about how blind Roger Ailes is to new media, the internet, and the importance of younger markets, is incredible.  Remarkable that someone who successfully overturned the media market now looks so crusty and old fashioned.
January 30, 2014 9:39 am
"In a state with a booming economy but simmering problems with its public schools and water infrastructure and with high rates of poverty and people without health insurance, one of the central questions hanging over the race is how long, exactly, Ms. Davis lived in a trailer in Fort Worth as a single mother."

I have a lot feelings about this issue. And I was trying to figure out why exactly (other than obvious targeting of a female politician). She’s not being crucified for being a single mother, she’s being targeted for getting help as a single mother and not being fully transparent about it. And she’s being targeted for wanting a better life for her family and working towards that goal, potentially at the expense of a fuller family life.

So I started thinking about all the missteps and falsities around Bill Clinton’s past, George W.’s past and even Obama’s . Stories of drugs, women, ambition…these men were able to get past those storylines. The issue is that simultaneous to all of those character flaws, none of those men were accused of being bad parents. Indeed, no man would ever face the same accusations as Wendy Davis, because no man would ever be in the same predicament as Wendy Davis. Raising kids alone at a young age, having to lean on a spouse for support while trying to be a parent and a student…men don’t have these problems. And if they do have these problems, it’s not the least bit controversial and happens quietly and out of sight.

Yes she exaggerated some aspects of her storyline. I don’t think anyone would argue that there’s some serious issue with her mother having a 9th grade education vs. a 6th grade. Or that she moved from a trailer to a small apartment. I don’t care. It isn’t at all relevant. What stands out to me is that in order for her to make something of herself, she needed help because you can’t do it on your own in America today. And apparently that’s appalling. Nevermind the pedigrees and backgrounds of her opponents who invariably received help from spouses or parents or other sources. We have a problem with a husband supporting his wife through law school. And women aren’t allowed to leave the nest. This subtle undercurrent of chauvinism is gross and so very Southern.

(Source: The New York Times)

October 15, 2013 10:43 am


An exclusive Esquire-NBC News survey shows us that everything we are told about politics in America today… is wrong. The data, compiled by the Benenson Strategy Group (pollster for Obama for America ‘08 and ‘12) and Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies (lead pollster for Romney for President), show us there is a large group of American voters—even a majority—who make up a New American Center that is passionate, persuadable, and very real. They are merely waiting for Washington to find them.”

13 Things That Define the New American Center

An interesting look at American ideology. What’s clear from all this is that politics is a very poor reflection of modern American values. And that out traditional political labels no longer seem very relevant. The fact that you have to ask such direct and defined questions to help identify what people want and how they define their views just clarifies how much our traditional political categories are failing us.

September 11, 2013 10:58 am
aatombomb: Putin is angry. He thinks the United States doesn’t take him seriously...

Putin is angry. He thinks the United States doesn’t take him seriously or treat Russia as a major player. Okay, fine, that’s how he feels. If I were president, I’d get in a room with him and say, ‘Look at the slaughter going on in Syria. You can stop it. Do it, and I’ll see to it that you can…


August 26, 2013 5:19 pm
"So, as managing editor of, I want our readers to know this: All you are to us, and all you will ever be to us, are eyeballs. The more eyeballs on our content, the more cash we can ask for. Period. And if we’re able to get more eyeballs, that means I’ve done my job, which gets me congratulations from my bosses, which encourages me to put up even more stupid bullshit on the homepage."

The Onion eviscerates for putting Miley Cyrus in the top news spot this morning. Perfect.

(Source: The Onion)

July 16, 2013 10:32 pm

Let’s talk about it

I’ve been avoiding the news.  It’s a new habit — a TV news-free life.  It’s working pretty well.  I read the news.  And form my own opinions.  As such, Trayvon Martin has been in my periphery.  But today a friend called me up and asked, in all seriousness, “Do you think the case is about race?  Because I think you’re a sane white person and I’ve been talking to reasonable white people all week and they keep telling me it isn’t about race and now I’m really starting to wonder if black people are just crazy. Are we tripping?”

Here’s the thing…the act was racial, the case became racial because the media and political punditry couldn’t let that juicy piece of meat go by without turning it into a racial political football, and the verdict was racial in the most insidious of ways.  It was a case about an idiotic but genuine white guy who made all the wrong assumptions (based on racially motivated stereotypes), did all the wrong things, and ended up killing a kid.  And it was a case where every white person on that jury decided to acquit, not because they think black people are bad and white people should go free for shooting them.  They decided to acquit because they listened to George Zimmerman talk about seeing a black kid and being afraid, and they understood.  They decided to acquit because if they convicted George Zimmerman, it would mean that kind of thinking is wrong — criminally so.  It would mean he was a racist, and that they were racists.  They decided to acquit because they’ve been afraid of a black kid.  They decided not to punish someone who looked like them and thought like them because he did all the wrong things and made all the wrong assumptions.  But a kid died.  All that racially motivated fear and hate got a kid killed.

And that’s why it’s so frustrating.  Because you only blow those stereotypes up and move past them if you admit they exist.  We all know if George Zimmerman was black and Trayvon Martin was white, the outcome would have been very different.  Hell, if George Zimmerman was stalking a woman, the outcome would have been very different.  He shot a kid.  He killed a kid.  It shouldn’t matter what color Trayvon Martin’s skin was.  It was wrong.  Even if you think Zimmerman made a series of REALLY bad honest mistakes, it was wrong to stalk someone and pull a gun on them.  If you feel threatened because a kid is black, that is not a good enough reason to shoot.  And if you empathize with that, it’s not a good enough reason to acquit.  You erode that kind of thinking by punishing it when it leads to murder.  Period.

This case is racial.  And it shouldn’t be.  And that’s why it sucks.   

July 13, 2013 9:55 pm

So I guess it’s a crime to abort a child but not to shoot one.  Got it.

July 2, 2013 11:17 pm



Start watching at 4:30 to see this guy get his ass handed to him by Tammy Duckworth. He’s using his status as a “disabled veteran” (AKA he twisted his ankle playing soccer in military prep school - SERIOUSLY) to get lucrative government contracts. Rep. Duckworth, whose legs were blown off in a helicopter crash, has some thoughts about that.

The man here getting this well-deserved public shaming is Braulio Castillo, CEO of a company called Strong Castle and who, according to CBS News, is “an IRS contractor who used a military prep school injury from 27 years ago to qualify for disabled veteran status.”  Castillo is accused of “misrepresenting his injury to game the VA system and obtain preferential treatment for his company’s bidding on IRS contracts.”  Fuck this guy and his ilk right in the fucking ear.

Hot damn.

June 27, 2013 12:03 pm
"Katie Naranjo, a local women’s rights advocate who spent more than thirteen hours in the Senate chambers on Tuesday, told me on the phone that night, “As she was reading the testimony of all the women who weren’t allowed to testify before the committee, we all knew she was our voice. We were her and she was us.”"

A fantastic piece on Wendy Davis, minority representation in politics, the impact of this week’s Supreme Court decisions, and the power of shared experiences. 

(Source: New York Magazine)

June 9, 2013 10:47 pm
"I do not see how Obama can talk his way out of this one. Snowden is not Bradley Manning: he’s not a disturbed disco bunny but a highly articulate network security specialist who has left behind a $200,000 salary and girlfriend in Hawaii for a life on the run. He’s not a sleazy opportunist like Julian Assange, either. As he says: “I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”

It will be very difficult for the Obama administration to portray Snowden as a traitor. For a start, I don’t think US public opinion will allow it. …

Suddenly the worse-than-Watergate rhetoric doesn’t seem overblown. And I do wonder: can a president who’s presided over, and possibly encouraged, Chinese-style surveillance of The Land of the Free honestly expect to serve out his full term?"

The Telegraph - Edward Snowden has blown the whistle on this presidency. You have to wonder: Will Obama see out his full term? (via brooklynmutt)

I’m shocked, shocked! that illegal surveillance is being perpetrated by our government.

Look, I get that this is bad. But is anyone surprised? The patriot act isn’t new. The NSA isn’t new. We’ve known for years that they’ve been working with mobile companies to pull wireless data without warrants. That they would do the same with email is no revelation.

I’m not saying we should happy about this. But this is the world we signed up for when W was elected and Congress lost its collective mind. Let’s all stop pretending we’re shocked. Maybe we’re disappointed Obama is no better than that ego-maniacal redneck. But we’re not shocked.

April 21, 2013 11:00 am
"Spend about 10 minutes reading a couple of in-depth news stories about the events of the day. And that’s it: You’ve now caught up with all your friends who spent the past day and a half going out of their minds following cable and Twitter. In fact, you’re now better informed than they are, because during your self-imposed exile from the news, you didn’t stumble into the many cul-de-sacs and dark alleys of misinformation that consumed their lives. You’re less frazzled, better rested, and your rain gutters are clear."

This is all true…but there is an equally strong and valid case to be made that social media and cable news aided in the capture of the suspects.  Plastering images of the suspects everywhere, using every tipster and resource to help in the investigation…these things are not irrelevant.  How long did it take to find the 1996 Olympics bomber?  Months. 
Sure, we should probably stick to the age old method of news gathering — check sources, verify facts, print a story.  But I’m not ready to throw new media under the bus completely.

(Source: Slate)