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Michael Ames

Entries by Michael Ames

There Will Be Turbulence: A Flight With My Troll

(4) Comments | Posted December 30, 2012 | 11:21 PM

I knew immediately that he was my Internet troll. What are the chances, I thought as I walked towards my seat. What kind of pattern in the Matrix leads to this, to sharing an airplane seat with the man who wrote that "everything [I] hold dear needs to be destroyed,...

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Sir Salman Rushdie on the So-Called-Mosque Debate: "This Stuff Is Stupid"

(15) Comments | Posted September 17, 2010 | 11:31 AM

In a lecture last Friday in Sun Valley, Idaho, the celebrated author Salman Rushdie took on some of the most vexing subjects of our time, like Paris Hilton.

"When did a second rate hotel become a third rate human being?" asked the serious man of literature and letters.


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The Supremacy of Law: Justice Stephen Breyer at Sun Valley Writers' Conference

(2) Comments | Posted September 10, 2010 | 11:03 AM

A lot of important and talented people touched down in Sun Valley, Idaho, this summer (see: Allen & Co.), but only one had the term "Supreme" on his business card.

In a sold out lecture at the Sun Valley Writer's Conference, Justice Stephen Breyer spent...

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Texas Tea - Toeing the Line in San Antonio

(26) Comments | Posted April 17, 2009 | 10:01 AM

San Antonio, Texas -- A lot of people showed up at the Alamo for the tax day protest. On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that roughly 1,000 people gathered here for the so-called tea party, but the crowd was much bigger than that. Really. Probably more like 5,000.


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The Dark Side of the Swoon

(2) Comments | Posted October 7, 2008 | 6:28 PM

Republicans have entered an ugly phase. Cynical jeering at the national convention, angry rally crowds, divisive populism. An optimist might call these the death throes of a hobbled conservative movement. But a realist can only be alarmed by John McCain's solicitation of his supporters' worst instincts. All of it,...

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Palin: the Perfect Proxy

(4) Comments | Posted September 9, 2008 | 5:08 PM

Meet Sarah Palin. Relatable and fun, cute but sassy. Her record makes Dan Quayle look like Kissinger, but never mind that, Fox News says. She is one of us. And in this tribal mindset, in a TV instant, the Grand Old Party, once the reliable patron of boring, accomplished white...

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Palin: the Perfect Proxy

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2008 | 3:58 PM

Meet Sarah Palin. Relatable and fun, cute but sassy. Her record makes Dan Quayle look like Kissinger, but never mind that, Fox News says. She is one of us. And in this tribal mindset, in a TV instant, the Grand Old Party, once the reliable patron of boring, accomplished white...

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Obama the Alchemist

(1) Comments | Posted September 3, 2008 | 3:08 PM

The most cutting condemnation of last week's proceedings in Denver might be, "So what?"

It was all very great and -- to use Peggy Noonan's precise wording -- interesting, but... so what? Record TV audiences and full football stadiums bear the mark of a movement, but in American politics,...

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No News Is Still News in Sun Valley

(0) Comments | Posted July 13, 2008 | 8:06 AM

Sun Valley, Idaho -- Walking to the Sun Valley Lodge this weekend, the cigar smoke hit you from 50 yards away. This town is pegged as a playground for the rich, but even here, the telling scent of Dominican tobacco was an anomaly, a flare signaling invasion. Stumbling upon a...

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The Right Unites Against Obama

(15) Comments | Posted March 3, 2008 | 8:59 AM

Against Obama, The Right Unites

It might be the surest sign yet that Barack Obama is going to win this thing: the Right is, at long last, coalescing in an argument against him. After months of somewhat embarrassing fawning from the likes of David Brooks and Peggy Noonan, conservatives...

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The Clintons, Bringing Anxiety To American Politics For Twenty Years

(3) Comments | Posted February 27, 2008 | 1:09 PM

After the gauntlet of inevitability had changed hands for the fourth time, people got a bit antsy. Super-Duper-Tuesday--the Tuesday to trump all those that came before--was spectacularly inconclusive. There was, it seemed on Wednesday, a very real threat of...well, no one was quite sure. But as the Clinton and Obama...

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Obama's Idaho Awakening

(15) Comments | Posted February 12, 2008 | 8:09 AM

Hailey, Idaho - Overflow voters fill the Blaine County Caucus site
Photo by Willy Cook, Courtesy Idaho Mountain Express

Ketchum, Idaho--Idaho isn't accustomed to this much positive attention. A week has passed since our very white, very conservative state went whole...

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Obama Prospects For Votes In The Red West

(5) Comments | Posted February 4, 2008 | 2:07 PM

BOISE, ID--There are 230 miles and a whole-lotta-nothin' separating Boise, Idaho from Elko, Nevada. Along those wind-swept desert roads, Barack Obama's campaign found its Western logic, an unconventional strategy responsible for this weekend's massive Boise rally. Before dawn on Saturday, 10 percent of the city's voting-age public was...

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Obama and the Generation Conversation

(15) Comments | Posted November 13, 2007 | 4:03 PM

The current Obama point is this: the national political conversation is stale. It's about time we started a new one.

Entertaining and profitable as it may for opposing limbs of the body public to endlessly demonize George Bush or liberals, wouldn't it be refreshing to just change the subject?

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Forgive Me Father: Priest Favors Forgiveness for Larry Craig

(7) Comments | Posted October 2, 2007 | 6:56 PM

Would you rather be a closeted gay Republican senator from Idaho or a closeted gay Catholic priest in a poor British city?

If the question vexes you, go watch Priest, the 1994 Miramax release about Father Greg Pilkington (Linus Roache), a young clergyman faced with a near impossible...

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Larry Craig's Dry Hot American Summer

(4) Comments | Posted August 30, 2007 | 6:04 PM

Most people don't know from Idaho. Potatoes, they think. Or "How is Utah?" they will ask, five years after you moved there.

So, on August 20, when Governor "Butch" Otter officially declared Idaho an inferno, the Gem State started making headlines. Five percent of the state's 83,574...

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Murder Most Mundane in Malick's Badlands

(5) Comments | Posted August 29, 2007 | 5:30 PM

Amid senseless violence, we can sometimes find simple truths where we least expect them, hovering at the margins of the chaos.

No, this is not the latest wave of pro-surge Pentagon propaganda. It's Terrence Malick's cinematic world, a landscape where tragedy and subtle poignancies are woven...

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Bug it All: Wiretapping Redux in The Conversation

(0) Comments | Posted August 9, 2007 | 5:28 PM

New York Times: WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 -- President Bush signed into law on Sunday legislation that broadly expanded the government's authority to eavesdrop on the international telephone calls and e-mail messages of American citizens without warrants.

It's good news for federally employed creeps and bad news for...

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Guns n' Moses: Bowling for Columbine Proves Timeless

(16) Comments | Posted April 23, 2007 | 5:10 PM

Is it macabre, in the wake of VaTech, to rent a documentary about American shooting rampages? Maybe. But it's hard to resist the depressing relevance of Bowling for Columbine (2002).

Say what you will about Michael Moore -- and this DVD has him at his compelling best and...

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Déjà vu in a Documentary: History's First Take in The Battle of Algiers

(2) Comments | Posted April 17, 2007 | 7:10 PM

If history repeats itself, can we at least find some decent DVD's to follow suit? While we wait for the answer, and a sequel to Gillo Pontecorvo's 1965 The Battle of Algiers, we can at least glean some serious hindsight from this déjà vu documentary.

It may be...

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