——/Warner in ’08 ?

So, for one of the few times in my life, I actually have a reliable inside source– at least on Mark Warner.  Anyway said source has heard that Warner is definitely interested in being a VP candidate in '08, among other possibilities.  Not all that long ago, I wrote:

To me, then, the fact that Mark Warner is unwilling to face this [the gauntlet of a presidential campaign] in
order to pursue the presidency suggests that he's really the type of
person I'd like to see become president.

What I'm left to conclude is that Warner is definitely not interested in the incredibly labor intensive campaign to win the primaries, but would be open to being second on a national ticket for the general election campaign.  Interesting.  Maybe there's more at work at here, but it sure is a lot easier to spend a few months running as a VP candidate than to devote years of your life shaking hands all over New Hampshire and Iowa. 

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The Wire– The Best TV Show Ever

HBO's The Wire concluded last night, and I have to say, that, at least in my experience, this is the best television show ever.  The past few episodes I've found myself spending a lot of time the next day thinking about the previous night's show much in the way a great novel sticks with me.  I recently read an interview with series creator David Simon in which he likened the entire arc of the show to a 60 hour movie, and that struck me as quite interesting, as the show certainly far transcends what most every other television show tries to do.  At the beginning of the season, Slate's Jacob Weisberg wrote an essay on why the Wire is such a great show.  Having now seen the whole season, I am in complete agreement.  He can make the argument much better than I can, so here goes:

…no other program has ever done anything remotely like what this one
does, namely to portray the social, political, and economic life of an
American city with the scope, observational precision, and moral vision
of great literature…

Several critics have commented on The Wire's “literary” quality. In particular, The Wire
has echoes of the Victorian social panorama of Charles Dickens (who
gets a mention this season, as an obscene anatomical reference). The
drama repeatedly cuts from the top of Baltimore's social structure to
its bottom, from political fund-raisers in the white suburbs to the
subterranean squat of a homeless junkie. As with Dickens, the
excitement builds as the densely woven plot unfolds in addicting
installments. The deeper connection to Dickens' London is the program's
animating fury at the way a society robs children of their childhood.
In our civilized age, we do not send 12-year-olds to work in blacking
factories as the Victorians did. Today's David Copperfield is instead
warehoused at a dysfunctional school until he's ready to sling drugs on
the corner, where his odds of survival are even slimmer…

This year, The Wire's political science is as brilliant as its sociology. It leaves The West Wing, and everything else television has tried to do on this subject, in the dust…

The Wire does this by painting with brighter colors on a wider
canvas and by leavening its pain with humor. The brilliant writing and
bravura cast also make viewers root for dozens of rich characters,
including several completely despicable ones.

After initially posting this, I came across an article written today at Salon.com that I think does an even better job of summing up the Wire's greatness.  The following paragraph really gets at the heart of it:

This is the beauty of Simon's vision: He forces us to put ourselves in
the shoes of these often disappointing characters, to experience the
impossible challenges presented by their circumstances. While most TV
shows are populated by demonic criminals up against idealistic
hero-cops, or earnest, good-hearted teachers willing to sacrifice
anything and everything for every one of their young charges, “The
Wire” introduces us to a complex community of human beings, each
fallible in his or her own way. Or, as Simon told Salon in 2002, “Good and evil at this point bores the s— out of me.”

In short, this past season of the Wire must surely rank among the greatest television ever to air anywhere.  Do yourself a favor and start with the Season 1 DVD's to experience what great television can be. 

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