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: (queer)
Best part about listening to CNN's convention coverage on XM Radio? Trying not to swerve off the road laughing when you hear a woman in the crowd screech out, "I LOOOOVE YOUUUUU ANDERSONNNNNNN!" Lady, he's too busy drooling over Barack to pay you any attention. (To be fair, so was everyone else on the CNN news team, even those that don't live in Chelsea.)
phamos: (bruce)
Am I a terrible person because I'm not paralytically crushed by the untimely demise of Tim Russert? I mean, I'm sad in the sense that it's horrible he died so young, and he seemed like a good person, and it's sad for his family and friends and everything. But I certainly don't think he was OMGZ TEH BESTEST JOURNALIST EVAR! Do I think he was seriously holding people's feet to the fire when he would find one contradictory thing they'd said once and then the rest of the interview let them repeat their talking points uncontested? No, I don't. Do I give two shits that Buffalo lost one of its supposed strongest advocates or whatever? No, I don't. I thought Meet the Press was a good show back in the late '90s, but it had sorta tapered off over time as the show became more about Tim Russert and his Tim Russertness. That new focus probably had to do with his success as an author and the increasingly accepted idea that he was singularly qualified to hand out folksy homegrown advice because he came from South Buffalo and his father was a gruff but wise Irish war veteran. Honestly, I feel like every commentary of his that I saw or read in the last ten years or so amounted to "Blah blah political process Buffalo Irish bootstraps Bills blah di blah Big Russ." It really wasn't as insightful or "man of the people"-y as everyone is suddenly making it out to be. And I'm not sure what exactly he did for Buffalo that was so great other than constantly repeat silly stereotypes. Did he come back to the city and contribute anything to keep it from falling into its current ruined state? No, he sat in DC and used Buffalo's failings as a prop for his personal mythology.

From my understanding, Tim Russert was a good man who loved his family and was extremely committed to his job and a variety of sports teams. His death is sad, as most all deaths are sad, and sadder for the fact that it came at a relatively young age. But the idea that he's suddenly St. Russert, or that he was somehow an "advocate" for Buffalo just because he perpetuated this idealized notion of its plucky industrial underdoggedness, is kinda silly and kinda annoying.
phamos: (bamababy)
It's very hard for me to comment on the Obama "bitter" flap, because I consider myself to be something of an elitist, or at least to exist in an elite situation. I went to a private high school; I have degrees from two of the finest universities in the country, as does my husband (and mine are almost vanity degrees -- seriously, a Human Rights degree isn't actually necessary for a productive career); I live in a lovely apartment (that we can barely afford, but still); I have a gazillion shiny consumer devices; I am able to spend a ludicrous amount of time running my mouth on the internet; I am at this very moment drinking overpriced locally-produced cruelty-free organic milk; I am personally acquainted with famous people; I can't bowl for shit. Sure, economically we're nowhere near the elitist-of-the-elite, and it's not like I have dinner with Bono all the time -- but culturally, we fit the stereotype just as well as Obama does. Well, Obama pre-book deal; we're not gonna be bringing in a million dollars anytime soon. I don't drive a Volvo, and I don't drink lattes, but pretty much everything else, yeah, I'll fess up. So it probably does more harm than good for me to say that I get exactly what Obama was trying to say, and I agree with it wholeheartedly. I'm just another elitist, right?

What burns me up is this ridiculous attempt by Clinton and McCain to position themselves as anything but elite. YOU ARE UNITED STATES SENATORS. YOU ARE MULTI-MILLIONAIRES. YOU ATTENDED TOP-TIER ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS. (Sure, McCain graduated at the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy -- but it's still on his resume.) Hillary, your daughter went to Stanford and Oxford and works at a hedge fund. John, your daughter went to Columbia and wears designer jeans and posts Muse songs on her personal blog. (Actually, I think I'd probably like Meghan McCain in real life. Probably more than Chelsea.) You've written best-selling autobiographies. You live in mansions and drive fancy cars and I'm guessing have had a Starbucks or two in your lives. So SHUT UP. You are the very DEFINITION of the political, cultural, and economic elite in this country, and it's absolutely disgusting to pretend to be anything but. Hillary the lifelong hunter? McCain the populist? Give me a goddamn break.

But, once again, the real issue at play is the media, and the fact that every tiny misstep in this campaign is just fodder for more roundtable pundit idiocy to sell ads. That Obama has once again not backed down in the face of this silliness (seriously, the fact that he wanted ORANGE JUICE makes him an ELITIST? WHY ARE YOU STILL TALKING, FOX AND FRIENDS??) and let his campaign be shrunken into yet another soundbyte-friendly homogenous politics-as-usual vomitfest is just one more point for him in my internal tally. Again, you can disagree all you want with me about how sincere he is about his desire to do things differently, or how effective he'll be. (Or, you know, [livejournal.com profile] rationalpassion, about whether or not he will cripple this fine nation with his Marxist welfare statist Obama Youth personality cult and we'll all be speaking Farsi by 2012.) It's not like he's politics-free -- he's pandered to a certain extent on free-trade, on Israel, and with the bowling. (Personally, though, if I were stuck in rural Pennsylvania for a month and a half and someone suggested bowling might be a good photo op, I'd totally do it -- at least it was a fun way to spend an afternoon, even if he sucked. Hell, bowling's more fun when you suck! And there's rented shoes!) I just love that he won't play by the media's rules, and it is making their brains run out of their ears, and proving to the American public at large, more so every day, that our media isn't conservative or liberal, it is idiotic and lowest-common-denominator and entirely built around profit rather than any sort of journalistic responsibility to the citizenry. So that, at least, is helpful, if absolutely miserable to sit through.
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)
So Chris Matthews finally did something vaguely journalistic and actually pro-Clinton last night after the elections. He had a Clinton supporter/"surrogate" (US Rep from Ohio Stephanie Tubbs-Jones) and an Obama supporter/"surrogate" (Texas State Senator Kirk Watson) on his show last night, and asked Kirk Watson to name just one of Obama's legislative accomplishments. Watson froze like a monkey on Xanax and looked like a damn fool.



I was personally amused that Olbermann ribbed Matthews (and the Senate itself) and asked if HE could name even one accomplishment of the whole Senate in the last seven years. That cracked up the whole newsroom. But yes, that was super pathetic. And of course, now it's coming up in Hillary's speeches.



Now, I'm not denying that Watson screwed up. He did, and Barack should pull him off the press trail tout de suite. But Clinton is now making it seem like just because Watson is a moron, that means Obama doesn't actually HAVE any legislative accomplishments. Not the case. There's the Lugar-Obama bill, which expanded on the Nunn-Lugar bill to help secure weapons of mass destruction. He also was the primary sponsor of a Congo relief bill. He's worked on campaign finance reform and tried to add an amendment to SCHIP that would help the families of disabled soldiers. He has been a great advocate for veterans in general. In Illinois he was a leader on ethics reform and death penalty reform. He also managed to get homicide interrogations taped and addressed the "driving while black" issue -- which, if you've ever lived in Chicago, you know is a big problem. (The Chicago police are kinda infamous for having a bit of a race...thing.)

If you look at the two candidates during the time they've been in the Senate together, saying that Clinton has accomplished things while Obama hasn't would be a serious stretch. And Clinton's first term? She voted for the Patriot Act and the Iraq War. Hrm. I wouldn't personally be touting those particular accomplishments, but that's just me. And anyway, past presidential history has not borne out the idea that being a Senator makes you a good executive. Among the remaining candidates, only Huckabee has executive experience. Vote President Huckabee 2008! (Yikes.) Honestly, if the Democrats honestly wanted someone who had the appropriate experience for the job, they wouldn't have ignored Richardson so completely. (But then we wouldn't have gotten to see his post-election beard, which I personally think looks REALLY GOOD.)

Hillary -- serving on Wal-Mart boards, fucking up health care plans, destroying your civil liberties, authorizing pointless wars, and mismanaging campaigns for 35 years!
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: (headdesk)
Miss South Carolina gives it a second shot. She had all weekend to prepare for this and that's as good as she could do? (I have a sneaking suspicion that, if asked the same question, Ann Curry might also start talking about everywhere like such as the Iraq.)
phamos: (superpower)
HOLY CRAP. You thought he was mad at the Oscars in 2003? You ain't seen nothing yet.

ETA: I'm also cracking up at the throw from Michael Moore to Lou Dobbs. That might give me more whiplash than yesterday's ride on the Cyclone.
phamos: (superpower)
Not bad for the guy from SportsCenter. I doubt Craig Kilborn could come up with that level of literate vitriol.
phamos: (fenton)
The new Surgeon General nominee founded a church that magically makes gay straight through the power of Jeebus H. Christ. That's who I want in charge of my health!

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post is back on message -- Al Gore is boring! And we'll add a drop of Kerry in there -- he's elitist, too! You can't expect "Iowa hog farmers" to know who Abraham Lincoln is. Duh, Mr. Vice-Egghead.

Dennis Kucinich will debate my former boyfriend Joe Biden on Fox News. The entire universe yawns, rolls over, and goes back to sleep.

Lou Dobbs sucks.

That fucking sicko who raped and tortured a Columbia journalism student has pled not guilty. I have possibly never been quite so repulsed by a human being as I am by this man. Do not click this link if you are easily triggered.

Apple is oh-so-sneaky -- You may be getting those songs DRM free, but your name is embedded in every track you download. I've gotten pretty fed up with the Orwell references on LJ this week, but I enjoy the irony of this particular piece of pseudo-big-brotherhood juxtaposed with the memory of Apple's iconic "1984" ad.

Everybody's favorite bipolar brother/creepy Jesus/asshole Beverly Hills high school student is going to be on Law & Order next season. This would be more exciting if I ever watched Law & Order. Doesn't he seem like more of a perp than a cop? Maybe I'm just biased because I saw Hideaway in the theater.

They're still pulling this "Just because I'm a pharmacist doesn't mean I actually have to dispense pharmaceuticals as prescribed by a medical professional" crap. Like I said a NUMBER of years ago now, if you're Amish, don't work for the electric company. If you're a practicing Muslim, maybe "Bacon-taste-tester" might not be the appropriate line of work for you. If you have a philosophical problem with the inherent duties of your job, try finding another one.

U.N.K.L.E. + Josh Homme = Luvvvv

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