phamos: (bamababy)
OK, I did all my liveblogging over on Facebook tonight, so I'll transcribe it over here.

5:55 pm -- All we need is the Kerry states plus IA, NM, and CO. The rest is gravy. Breathe.

6:12 pm -- There's a little vein popping out in Pat Buchanan's forehead.

6:38 pm -- The Mitch McConnell race is soooooo close!!

6:40 pm -- Obama's within 15K votes in Indiana with NO precincts in Lake County yet. This rules.

7:01 pm -- Pennsylvania to Obama with 0% returns. Those exit polls must have been a blowout! And NH, too! Start dancing, folks!

7:32 pm -- EAT IT LIDDY DOLE!!!!

8:24 pm -- Oooooooooohio!!!!!!!

8:44 pm -- Maggie is thinking McCain needs to pull an upset in Washington. Think it could happen? If so, I have a lovely bridge you might like to buy..

8:48 pm -- Obama's winning Tampa. He's gonna win Florida. I'm just gonna come out and say it. Florida=Obama country.

8:50 pm -- The baby is kicking up a storm. Excited about Obama, or strung out on all the Gobstoppers I've been chowing on for three hours? Too close to call.

9:04 pm -- He's gonna win VA, and FL, and NC, and IN, and NV, and CO...my god..

9:23 pm -- Maggie is super jealous of her friends in Grant Park.

9:57 pm -- Chris Matthews is totally creaming himself -- I guess that's why they took him off the air right after calling Ohio, they needed to calm him down a little.

10:01 pm -- They just called it! I think Olbermann is crying. They're showing people collapsed in tears in Atlanta and Harlem. This is insane.

10:03 pm -- HA HA HA HA MY NEWS FEED JUST WENT FUCKING BERZERKER! There are fireworks somewhere outside.

10:08 pm -- Slightly anticlimactic: "by the way, Virginia went to Obama." People are crying.

10:18 pm -- Jesse Jackson is crying in Grant Park. Guess you don't want to cut his balls off anymore, huh Jesse?

10:20 pm -- The McCain crowd is booing Obama. Classy to the end, guys.

10:45 pm -- Maggie is now panicking about Prop 8. Gah!

10:59 pm -- Awww, Malia took her twists out. I thought Barack thought she looked tight! Why do you lie to Sway, President-elect Obama??

11:04 pm -- Oprah is excited that Malia and Sasha get a puppy!!! You get a puppy! You get a puppy! EVERYONE GETS A PUPPY!!!!

11:21 pm -- Is that Michelle's brother that's basketball coach at Princeton? Good lord, he's tall.

11:48 pm -- Maggie is projecting that Obama will pull out Indiana and NC by a fraction of a percent, might yet pull out MO, and MT??

11:57 pm -- David Gregory just pointed out that we don't have any results yet from Alaska, and Rachel Maddow LAUGHED AT HIM. It was LULZtastic.

12:15 pm -- Chris Matthews is getting rowdy, shouting about Bill Richardson's facial hair. Has he been drinking?

12:29 pm -- Maggie is going to go crazy watching the Prop 8 numbers shrink by a tenth of a percent at each refresh.

12:30 pm -- Chris Matthews is now muttering under his breath about how much he loves Cory Booker. Seriously, I think he's drunk!
phamos: (superpower)
A vote for McCain is apparently a vote for a cold war with Spain now. Huzzah!

OK, a poll:

[Poll #1262427]

Vote now!
phamos: (whatonearth)
In honor of Sarah Palin, the least qualified VP pick of all time, I bring you a look at the WORST VP pick of all time.

phamos: (bamababy)
I'm honestly not surprised that McCain didn't know that the Anbar Awakening began before the surge even started. Because, really, the man has recently demonstrated that he doesn't know that Iraq and Pakistan don't share a border, that Al Qaida and the Revolutionary Guard aren't exactly best buds, that Czechoslovakia hasn't existed in 15 years, or that Somalia and Sudan are different countries (themselves separated by a country that's approximately twice the size of Texas).

No, what I'm shocked by, and PISSED about, is that CBS actually edited this huge mistake right the fuck on out of the interview. They show Katie Couric asking a question about the surge, and then air McCain's response to an ENTIRELY different question. That is an egregious lack of journalistic integrity. Can we officially stop talking about the damn liberal media now? Or are we just going to keep piling on the New York Times for not letting McCain publish an op-ed with no actual content other than taking potshots at Obama?

I'm angry about the state of our political system these days, obviously. But I'm ashamed by the state of our media. Especially when Bob Novak's going around slamming into people with his Corvette. Douchebag of Liberty, hit-and-run perpetrator, indictment avoider, and gainfully employed Fox News commentator. God bless America. (Don't even get me started on Michael Savage and Jack Cafferty right now. Sheesh.)
phamos: (bamababy)
I would really like it if people would just stop talking about the damn New Yorker cover. Yes, it may be tasteless and/or destructive, but there are SO MANY MORE important things that we need to be focusing on. As in, every single one of John McCain's policy positions is either objectionable or nonsensical. When liberals fuel the fire of a non-issue like the New Yorker idiocy, it's just goading on cable news morons who would much rather talk about salacious stuff like cartoon Obama flag burning than substantive things like McCain's theory of "magic economics" where we can balance the budget by slashing taxes, spending more on defense, and getting rid of like $2 in earmarks. TA-DAH! But, you know, that would be vaguely complicated to talk about and might require multisyllabic words, so pundits would obviously rather grunt about terrorist fist jabs. DO NOT ENCOURAGE THEM. WE DO NOT NEED 10 SEPARATE BLOG ENTRIES ON HUFFINGTON POST WITHIN 2 HOURS ON THE NEW YORKER COVER.

That is my public service announcement for the day. Now back to iPhones.
phamos: (bamababy)
Wes Clark is being lambasted for his comment on Face the Nation about McCain's military service. Let's do an instant replay, shall we?

CLARK: He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee. And he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn't held executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded — that wasn't a wartime squadron. He hasn't been there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn't seen what it's like when diplomats come in and say, "I don't know whether we're going to be able to get this point through or not, do you want to take the risk, what about your reputation, how do we handle this publicly? He hasn't made those calls, Bob.
SCHIEFFER: Can I just interrupt you? I have to say, Barack Obama hasn't had any of these experiences either, nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down.
CLARK: I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president.


Wes Clark has shown himself to be awfully shitty at playing politics. This was obvious during his halfhearted presidential run in 2004. (Full disclosure: I voted for him in the New York primary.) But regardless of whether I agree with his sentiment here (which I basically do) or whether it was a dumb thing to say in our soundbyte-centric society (which it was), what I was struck by was the structure of this conversation. Bob Schieffer was the one who actually said the offending phrase first: "ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down." People are treating this like Clark was the one who came up with this phrase, because it's the PHRASING, not the sentiment, that is causing the trouble here. As others have pointed out, John McCain himself has said in the past that his hostage experience alone does not qualify him for the presidency. That's fair game. What people are pissed about is that the phrase is casual and almost dismissive, even making it seem like becoming a hostage was HIS FAULT for just riding along and getting his dumb ass shot down. That's the problem. So it's ironic that Clark was just parroting what Schieffer said first. I don't think Wes Clark on his own would have classified John McCain's experience in Vietnam as just riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down -- that particular linguistic turn wouldn't have even occurred to him, as a lifelong military man. I mean, honestly, do people REALLY THINK that Wes Clark, of all people, would piss all over a fellow soldier like that? What he's pissing on is the idea that military heroism itself is a good enough qualification to lead the free world. He doesn't think it is, and I don't either.

Funnily enough, this whole thing reminded me of my dad's episode of NYPD Blue. The scene that episode is most remembered for, a scene my dad actually didn't write but ended up being the crux of the whole plot, involved the following dialogue, between Sipowicz and an angry black community activist:

Kwasi: You're dealing with the one n***** in a thousand who knows what you can and cannot do.
Sipowicz: I'm dealing with the n***** whose big mouth is responsible for this massacre.


Boom goes the goddamn dynamite. Doesn't matter if Kwasi said it first, Andy was in for some shit as soon as that word passed his lips. There is a slight complication here in that Sipowicz was actually a total racist, whereas Wes Clark is hardly anti-military. But seriously, in this country, there are some things you JUST. DON'T. SAY. You don't get to say the N-word if you're white. And you don't get to talk shit on a war hero, even by accident. There are probably others, but those two should be self evident at this point.
phamos: (bamababy)
FISA: Give me a friggin' break, Barack. If this is meant to be a political pander, it's a dumb one, like when liberals waffle on abortion rights even when the majority of Americans believe abortion should be safe and legal with few caveats. The independents you're trying to pick off in the general either don't know enough about the FISA situation to give a shit, or they're libertarians who are rightly horrified by expanded Executive branch power in the abstract and spying in particular. And then you manage to piss off your base. Trying to paint this bill as some kind of "compromise" is ludicrous, even beyond your token opposition to the retroactive immunity part. The few tiny impediments to rampant invasion of privacy stuck in there are so easily overcomes as to be practically made of, like, filo dough or balsa wood or fucking feathers. Basically, what your endorsement of the bill is basically saying is, "Well, if I'm president, you'll be able to trust me not to abuse this power." Which I PERSONALLY do trust you to stick to, but the principle you're running on here is deeply offensive to a country that's been watching our president run our liberty into the ground. Trust your judgment over the principles of the constitution? Pass. I expected much more from a damn Con Law professor. OK, I'm done yelling now. Let's move on to the Supreme Court.

2nd Amendment Decision: I actually don't see his stance here as much of a flip flop, because he hasn't subscribed to the originalist/"militia" stance in the past like many lefties (including myself, to a certain degree) do. And Scalia did end up having to grudgingly acknowledge that gun control programs are not themselves inherently unconstitutional, just that the DC ban in particular is. So, I'm OK with Obama's approval here, even if I personally come down more on the John Paul Stevens (god bless that man)/bobbies with night sticks side.

Child Rapist Death Penalty: Obama siding with the minority on this one doesn't surprise me, even from someone who has been so passionate in Illinois about protesting the inequities of our death penalty system. Again, like with gun control, Obama has consistently taken a more pragmatic stance, saying that the way the death penalty is currently implemented is egregiously unfair but not actually coming out against the act itself. And I understand where he, and others, are coming from. Dammit, if I were going to give the death penalty to any one group of people, it would certainly be child rapists above and beyond probably all others. (I mean, have you heard the particulars of this case? Oh my lord, it is so heinous. I may have been more horrified reading about that rape than reading the story of the Czech kid who was ritually cannibalized.) But I am 100% against the death penalty, legally and morally. The government has zero right and should have zero power to make decisions of life and death, even beyond the structural inequalities and inefficiencies of the policy itself as currently implemented. But Obama is consistent here, and I certainly emotionally get where he's coming from.

Oh, and Barack, stop stomping on all of Scarlett Johansson's hopes and dreams, or we may have to send you over to Jezebel's "Crap Email from a Dude" territory.
phamos: (bamababy)
I am seriously a little shocked at the results of the primaries tonight. I guess all those polls I was complaining about really did get into my head and make me start thinking that the Wright thing was going to have an effect on Barack's lead.

Nope.

I assumed that he would win North Carolina. But not by this much. The percentages look like they were looking all along there -- he's going to win by 15 points. So much for that Drudge leak to minimize expectations this morning, Camp Hillary. But I really had no idea it would be this close in Indiana. A few months ago, people were predicting an Obama win because the state was NEXT TO Illinois. I thought that was the silliest thing I had ever heard. Gary does not an entire state make. But, well, wow. In general, though, the demographics in Indiana are much closer to Ohio than Illinois, so him coming out essentially tied there? That's huge. HUGE. Totally cripples Clinton's "Unelectable, can't win white working-class voters" narrative. Even without Clinton's crushing defeat in Gary, she still only won the rest of the state 52-48 apparently.

I'm doing a little dance now.
phamos: (bamababy)
Watching the Obama speech, I was struck by a couple of things. First, as much as I love hearing this man speak, I think this particular speech benefits from being read as text rather than watching him deliver it. It's too long -- he spends too much time at the beginning setting up what he has to say through the prism of the Jeremiah Wright brouhaha. But when he hits 15 minutes, it starts getting good, and around 23 minutes, it starts getting great. Unfortunately, I would say that that's objectively too long for people to wait to get to the meat of what he's saying. My second point, however, is tied directly to that. American attention spans are, probably and unfortunately, too short to ask them to wait 15 minutes before a speech starts having a real point. But part of what Obama is talking about is the need for nuance, the need for thoughtfulness in our political discourse -- and I would really like to hope that this country IS ready for that, HAS been waiting for someone to demand intellectual rigor out of them. But what does CNN do to completely contradict that whole facet of the speech? Well, CNN feels the need to run constantly changing slogans under the video, supposedly summing up what the speech is about. The whole POINT of this speech, however, is that you shouldn't be able to sum up political discourse in little soundbytes, that the issues we're dealing with are subtle and complex and we need to deal with them forthrightly and honestly before we as a country can really change and start to deal with the fundamental structural problems of our government. But CNN goes about its merry way, putting lines up that totally ruin everything he's saying, framing it first through the Wright filter, then as the speech starts to venture away from that pulling quotes about race out of context in an infuriating contrast to what is actually being said. My favorite moment was when Obama specifically talked about the role of the media in playing up race as spectacle to drive the news cycle forward and CNN thought it was the perfect time to summarize the message of the speech as:

Obama: Problems facing blacks don't "just exist in the minds of black people"

That was when my jaw hit the floor and I had to stop watching the speech and come write this. We have a serious problem in the country, and it's due in large part to the fact that our media thinks that people can't take the time to think things through in depth, in their entirety, and instead need to be fed drivel in tiny chunks. Maybe they're right. Maybe our culture, and our populace, really is that idiotic. But Barack Obama, in this speech, is imploring us as a nation to stop falling into that trap, to stop being as stupid as the media wants us to be, to realize that the people in charge play the rest of us against each other with stupid shit to keep us distracted while they run the economy into the ground and bomb other countries into oblivion. I watch this speech and I say, "You know what? Maybe he can't make a difference, really, in the long run. Maybe this is all just a pipe dream, and we've all got stars in our eyes. But these aren't just slogans and platitudes -- he's challenging us to be a better, smarter nation. He might fail, and he might leave us brokenhearted. But are we all so deeply cynical that we won't even TRY to see if there's a better way?"

But if America doesn't actually listen to this speech, if everybody really does just read the ticker instead of bothering to turn the volume up and listen to the words, then we will continue to get what we deserve. We will get Bush again and again and again, just with changing names. And we will continue to define ourselves by our differences instead of our commonalities, and we will point fingers at one another over stupid "gotcha" non-issues that distract us from what is really going on:

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows

But do we know for sure? I'm a realist, I'm a pragmatist, but I haven't quite given up hope yet. If there's a possibility for change, I'm going to shout about it. CNN and it's chyrons and its tickers and its talking heads haven't shut me up yet. Don't let them tell you what this speech was about. Listen. Read. And if you disagree with me about what Obama says, or whether he's the right person to vote for, or even whether he's actually sincere, that's fine. But decide for yourself. We, as a country, can't let them forcefeed us their pablum anymore, because it's breaking us.
phamos: (hotkarl)
My take on the Times McCain piece? That is one story that has been lawyered to DEATH. They're basically saying everything that they could legally get away with saying, and then ending on a sorta wink-wink-nudge-nudge-say-no-more.

I have no trouble believing that McCain has had affairs. He's pretty much admitted to affairs during his first marriage -- hell, he married Cindy a month after his divorce was finalized. And he pretty obviously has a type -- one which this lovely lobbyist lady fits to a T. I'm seeing a fair amount of argument on the liberal blogs about how the Democrats should play this one out, which I think is good. There's the vengeance camp, and they're all "good for the goose is good for the gander" and pretty much want to destroy him. There's the guilty-conscience folks, who rightly point out how much our side protested about staying out of politicians' pants when it doesn't affect their governance. I tend towards this second group. However, the question is -- did this relationship, which can't currently be defined on the advice of the NYT lawyers, affect John McCain's priorities as a legislator? It's not looking good for the maverick...

Also, you gotta love his camp's total non-denial denial. He's "never violated the public trust"? There are a couple of people who did their banking with the Lincoln Savings and Loan that might have something to say about that.
phamos: (hotkarl)
Holy fucking snow! So very much snow! This winter is nuts. I really shoulda bought more groceries when I was out yesterday.

Also -- as I suspected, Clinton's "decisive" 22 point win (they called it when 12% of the votes were in and they were at 33% to 55%) ended up at 42%-52%. I said I wanted Obama to get over 40 and be within 10 points. That he achieved that is huge; that the expectations were suddenly so warped in this state proves yet another example (see: New Hampshire) of why ONE POLL does not demonstrate some sort of unstoppable Obamomentum. And also -- CAN WE PLEASE stop adding -mentum to the end of candidates names? Joementum was kinda funny four years ago, even though Lieberman is a dick. Obamomentum (I have also seen "Obamamentum") at least makes a tiny bit of pronunciational sense. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS MITTMENTUM. That is not even close to being a word. Also, the man demonstrably HAS no -mentum of any kind, so I don't ever want to hear it again.

More states that we did not learn a lesson from: Florida 2000. My favorite moment of the coverage yesterday was when the wires called Illinois for Obama with 0% reporting. OK, sure, yes, we all knew he was going to win Illinois -- but at least make SOME attempt to make it look like votes count at all. And then to call California "decisive" (that was the NYT's headline around 1 a.m. -- it's gone now) at 12% of the votes? Something about California that I managed to pick up in the run-up to the vote: the first numbers that come in are the absentee ballots, which there are a gazillion of. This was obviously what was happening, given that when they called it, Edwards was at around 11%. This meant they were mostly counting votes that had come in when Edwards was still in the race -- and Clinton was still up by 20% in every poll. I think we should institute some kind of rule that says the news services have to wait until at least 50% of the vote comes in before they "call" anything. Case in point: Missouri. The networks called it too early, Clinton sent out a press release saying she won it -- and Obama ended up snatching it by a full 10,000 votes. Nice work, guys.
phamos: (thrillho)
Every five minutes I hit refresh on the California Secretary of State webpage, and every five minutes Barack's numbers go up by a tenth of a percentage point. By dawn, he should have trounced Hillary Clinton and will be well on his way towards deposing Xenu as our galactic overlord.

I really need to go to bed.

ETA -- 12:14 a.m., 38.1%. 12:19 a.m., 38.2% IT'S SERIOUSLY LIKE CLOCKWORK AND IT'S MAKING MY BRAIN DRIBBLE OUT OF MY EARS.
phamos: (hotkarl)
Some thoughts on some of the numbers coming out tonight...

Obama won more states. Clinton probably won more delegates, because she won the biggies -- New York and California. I'm tempted to find the preliminary numbers coming out of California depressing, because yesterday there was some crazy Zogby poll with Obama up 13 points or something -- but we should remember that another poll came out the day before that with Hillary up by 12. And back in December, she was leading him by 25. If Obama loses by less than 10 points in California, I'd be thrilled with that. Right now it's trickling in at a 20% differential, which -- ouch. LA's kinda kickin' Barack's butt. Dammit, Scarlett Johansson, did you get drunk and forget to vote or something? Clooney? DeNiro? Helloooooo? (San Fran is being considerably kinder.)

But what really interests me is that the majority of the states Clinton won (New York, California, Massachusetts -- where's that Kennedy bump? --, New Jersey) are ones that will go solidly democrat in the general no matter who the candidate is. She managed a relatively small victory in Arizona, but McCain will obviously get that one in the general election. She also won Arkansas -- if McCain picks Huckabee as his running mate, there goes that. The only swing state she's now proven herself in is Tennessee. Meanwhile, Obama looks poised to upset in the swingiest state of the night, Missouri, and could theoretically (which I never really thought about before) be a threat in Kansas, his ORIGINAL home state. And everybody thinks the south is solid red -- but you get out the black vote and you've suddenly got almost 100,000 voters more in Barack's column than winner Huckabee on the Repug side in Alabama. Barack got TWICE the votes of Huckabee in Georgia. This, again, points towards the potential for the general election.

I was also struck by the margins in the percentages. Hillary only went over 60% in one state -- Arkansas. Her adopted state of New York couldn't give her more than 57% -- Illinois went 64% for Obama, by contrast. He also got more than 60% of the vote in North Dakota, Minnesota, Kansas, Idaho (although apparently only 6 people and a three-legged-dog named Joe voted in Idaho -- caucuses are weird), Georgia, Alaska, and, amazingly, Colorado, where more people voted for Obama than all the Republican candidates combined. Like, 20,000 more people. And Colorado is not what I would call a liberal state. This demonstrates an amazing get-out-the vote, 50-state-strategy capacity for Obama. That's what we need in this country -- a real, national election that doesn't write off this or that state to one or the other party. (OK, well, unless that three-legged-dog switches its party designation, Idaho's probably still gonna fall in the red column.)

So, to sum up -- California is making me sad, but I think Obama comes out of tonight with the "momentum" in his favor. How's that for a narrative, Chris Matthews? No one even had to cry or castrate anyone!
phamos: (hotkarl)
Hillary wins Nevada -- but Barack might get more delegates. Fun with electoral democracy. And Edwards tanked. Shame.
phamos: (brain poison)
Yes, you should have bombed Auschwitz. That would have solved the whole problem. BOMBING SOLVES EVERYTHING.

(Condi sorta tries to make it seem like he was talking about bombing the train tracks that LEAD to Auschwitz, not Auschwitz itself. But given that his direct quote was "We should have bombed it," and train tracks are PLURAL, I don't think that holds up.)
phamos: (hotkarl)
Despite the fact that no one should listen to polls anymore (I mean, seriously, didn't we learn this in 2004? We really needed to be schooled on their serious failings by New Hampshire 2008?), this one made me laugh: Rudy might not even win New York. People seem surprised by this. I'm not. There is a huge misconception across the country that New Yorkers revere Rudy Giuliani. Actually, most of them loathe him. We liked him for about two weeks right after September 11th, and then before that there was that time he was in drag on SNL; people thought that was pretty funny. But yeah, we know firsthand that he's a bitter, petty megalomaniac. He can talk about 9/11 all he wants, but that doesn't change the fact that the firefighters hate him. A LOT. His kids hate him, too -- because he dumped their mom on television without telling her first. He's a real class act. Also, if he gets more than 10 or 11 black votes in the entire state, I would be STUNNED. (That's among black Republicans, of course, of which there are about 37.) I'm personally amused that he's running as the foreign policy candidate, when he has absolutely no actual experience in anything foreign policy-related except shouting about terrorism for the past 7 years. Hell, the guy couldn't even be bothered to show up for Iraq Study Group meetings. His main foreign policy adviser is apparently Norman Podhoretz, who is, seriously, still cranky about détente and the fact that Allen Ginsberg blew marijuana smoke in his face once in 1947. But, hey, if you want a president who will totally smote the terrorist squeegee men, Rudy's your guy. Otherwise, New York Republicans are gonna throw the vote to McCain, and Rudy's going to look like an even bigger schmuck than he usually does. Which takes some doing.
phamos: (flat albert)
The Daily Show and The Colbert Report have returned to the airwaves after nine weeks of strike-induced absence. Neither host wanted to go back on the air without their writers, but their contracts left them with little choice. I watched the first episodes back of both shows. As we were watching them, Segev said, "Do you support the writers strike?" When I answered decisively in the affirmative, he snapped, "Well, then why the hell did you download these?" I explained that the Daily Show was already paid for, the money already long gone from the iTunes monthly pass I had purchased but not completed before the strike. The auto-renewal has now been turned off, but I'm going to watch the remaining 5 episodes relatively guilt-free. And the Colbert Report...that somehow mysteriously appeared on my hard drive. Maybe the Viacom fairy put it there; I don't know... Suffice it to say that the writers may not have received any income from my viewing of Monday night's Colbert Report, but neither did Sumner Redstone or Les Moonves. (And, to be perfectly honest, I feel absolutely zero guilt about this. The studios are going to have a hell of a time trying to prosecute intellectual property cases on internet downloads of TV shows if they've proclaimed that viewing an entire episode online is a "promotional use" [even when there are unskippable ads embedded] and therefore shouldn't result in residual payments to the writers. If the internet episode has no monetary value, what are you suing me for? Not to mention Betamax time-shifting blah-di-blah...I'm over it. Get your act together, AMPTP.)

So, anyway, the results of the first episodes were mixed. Jon Stewart was widely criticized for being kinda cranky about the fact that the WGA wouldn't break him off the same deal that Worldwide Pants got. I personally think that the Worldwide Pants deal was a bad strategic call on the part of the WGA. They're saying that it's a totally different case because Worldwide Pants owns the rights to Letterman's show, where as Busboy Productions doesn't own The Daily Show or The Colbert Report (Viacom does). But, you know, where I'm standing, CBS is getting ad revenues from Letterman the same way that Comedy Central gets ad revenues from Colbert. The difference really seems to be that The Daily Show has more cachet as a bargaining tool than Letterman does -- higher profile, I guess, what with John Oliver traipsing around New York with picket signs, being all British and cute. Obviously Jon was a little upset, because he wants his show to go back to normal, but he's very sympathetic to labor, and he knows how much he depends on his writers for material. (Last night's episode had a great bit where Jon quoted Cocoon and it flew right over the college-aged audience's head -- he said, "You know, without my writers all my references are going to be from the '80s. I can get up to about Breakfast Club, and then nothin'.") He's conflicted. So Jon's first episode back was a little rough, especially compared to Colbert. Colbert has a huge advantage -- he comes from an improv background, a rich and storied Second City improv background, and is much more able to just wing it than stand-up Jon. Colbert really can just pull stuff out of his ass and be funny at a moment's notice. It's kinda brilliant. But, as I've said before, although I'm a huge fan of Colbert himself, I'm not super fond of the show. Colbert-the-persona is a little hard for me to take in full half-hour doses. If the episodes were Aqua-Teen-sized, then I'd be totally up for it. 11 minutes of Colbert-larity, in and out, boom. But I cant do the full half hour. Which is sad, because half-hour shows are really only 21 minutes long. I have no attention span left.

Last night's Daily Show, however, was leaps and bounds better, and featured a music cue that made me laugh hysterically -- as a response to Hillary's total non-cry heard around the world, they did a montage of presidents and other celebrities crying set to "It's Alright to Cry" from Free To Be You And Me, ending with the classic shot of the Indian crying about pollution. Jon's cultural references really did top off somewhere in the mid-70s. I think Cocoon is actually pushing it, timeline-wise. But that montage totally made me want to download Free To Be You And Me and sing about how William Has A Doll and Parents Are People, People With Children, and listen to Marlo Thomas and Mel Brooks riff about gender roles. Awesome. (Speaking of Betamax...I HAD THAT on betamax! It was part of the Children's Video Library, which had an animated logo with balloons and a jaunty whistled tune. They also put out Benji movies on videotape. I miss my childhood so.) It looks like Hillary has learned the lesson Rosey Grier made clear all those years ago: It's alright to cry. Crying gets the sad out of you.
phamos: (hotkarl)
Kerry to endorse Obama. Yeah, I'm sure that'll help. Look at Barack's face:



He's all, "Please stop touching me. You carry with you the stench of death."
phamos: (hotkarl)
I'm thoroughly aggravated by the coverage of the presidential campaign right now. I'm not SURPRISED by the way this is playing out, by the fact that the MSM (god I feel like a tool using that abbreviation, but it's useful in this case) creates a "narrative" for these campaigns rather than actually covering the FACTS and the ISSUES. Hillary's a cranky old witch and nobody likes her! Obama is the new incarnation of Martin Luther King and is UNSTOPPABLE! Oh but wait, Hillary kinda sorta almost cried a little bit and then the boys were all mean to her! Hillary pulls off a STUNNING upset of 2 percentage points; even though she was leading here in double digits for a year this is STUNNING and it's because all the women in New Hampshire came out and voted and burned their bras and spit in mean ol' John Edwards' pretty pretty face! (Did we mention that Edwards is stunningly beautiful? And Obama is, too? And Hillary is an ugly hag with LINES IN HER LIPS! Why can't the pretty men stop the unattractive woman?!?)

So, yeah, I knew that was how the papers and the stations rolled. I wasn't really expecting insightful coverage. I've been through the Dean Scream and the Gore Sighs and the Kerry Windsurfing Robot with the Foreign Ketchup Heiress Sugar Mama Who Dares to Speak Foreign Languages in the USA! USA! USA! I know. But I think it's almost different this time. In the past, I thought they did it all because it's a catchy way to sell papers, or get eyeballs on the screen for their eighteen different news tickers. But now...I think they're lazy. I seriously think the reporters on the campaign trail are writing things up this way because they really, really, REALLY wanted the campaign to be over in two states. It's so much easier that way. These reporters have already been following these chuckleheads around boring-ass Iowa and New Hampshire for a YEAR already, because the higher-ups decided that the race started as soon as the Diebold machines were being rolled back into the closets from the 2006 election. Can you imagine how boring it is to follow Mitt Romney around for a year through cow pastures? Or those poor people who had to stay up with John Edwards through his 36 hour tilt at windmills? The reporters want a break. If Obama had forced Hillary out last night, they would have gotten a damn nap. That's why there are so many Rudy-trashing articles right now. All the reporters are like, "You're kidding me, right? We've got to wait for your delusional ass to get whooped in FLORIDA before we can go home? Where can we find some more city-billed mistress taxi cab rides? Bernie Kerik probably molested children at some point, right? Can we dig that up?"

Last night I saw their laziness in action. I was reading through the New York Times lead article on the website last night after the election had been called for Hillary. STUNNING UPSET, yeah yeah whatever. But as I read down, I realized that they had just stuck a new lede graph at the top of the article they had written earlier in the day! If you continued through the whole article, you would find a paragraph that still talked about how Hillary's advisers were trying to regroup after her LOSS and whether or not she'd drop out! That is absolutely the worst editing, the LAZIEST editing, I have ever seen in the damn Gray Lady. If you were lazy enough to write out the post-election article hours (possibly days) before the election even took place, and then it turns out that you were completely wrong, MAN UP AND RE-WRITE THE ARTICLE. The media is not supposed to create the news, they are supposed to report the news. Do it right.

The Times has written a puff piece on every one of the major candidates at this point (John McCain bonded with his children at barbecues so it's OK that the rest of the time he was a totally cold PTSD-ed out dad; Mike Huckabee plays the bass in some kind of Christian rock band with Chuck Norris so let's ignore that his son rapes puppies and smuggles semi-automatic weapons onto planes or whatever...), but only ONCE have I seen them actually finally write out a chart of where each of the candidates stands on, you know, the myriad of issues at play in this election. If you read just the front page of the Times for the past year, you would know absolutely nothing of use about any of them. You would know that one or the other was grumpy and defensive at a debate, or that somebody spent a ludicrous amount of money on some sort of cosmetic procedure or luxury transportation, or that Bloomberg is maybe running but not necessarily but maybe and then wouldn't that be interesting and awesome and it could be three New York candidates vying for the legacy of 9/11 and then we can have some sort of flag graphic. YES. Oh, and don't even get me started on this new, ridiculous speculation that Lou Dobbs might decide to run on an independent ticket. The Xenophobic Hair-Dye-Addict party! Let's make Lou Dobbs a candidate, and let's have Chris Matthews talk some more about how he wants to make sweet gentle love to Barack Hussein Obama, and let's just make the campaign all about the cable newscasters and how they personally relate to the candidates, rather than about anything of substance. It's easier for everyone that way. Writers won't actually have to write anything beyond Mad Libs-level fill-in-the-political-blanks, and the newscasters can look pretty and advertise their next "Live Your Life Like a Campaign" or "Liberals are Doodyheads" book currently on the front table at your nearby Barnes and Noble (10% off for Barnes and Noble cardholders!), and the candidates can stop worrying about any ideological heavy lifting and just protect their rear flank against 527 neo-Swift Boating. And the rest of the country can watch American Gladiators and get their homes repossessed. And I can rock here in the corner in the fetal position. Everybody wins.
phamos: (mario)
I am totally cracking up at the Concord Monitor releasing an ANTI-ENDORSEMENT of Mitt Romney, calling him a phony. So much for home-field advantage. John McCain seems to be gaining in New Hampshire, which I'm actually a little psyched about. Strategically I probably shouldn't be rooting for McCain, but man, he's the only one in that race I have even a modicum of respect for. That now includes Ron Paul, given that he apparently doesn't believe in evolution. Yeesh. That one is going to break my friend Jeremy's heart.

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March 2009

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