Saturday, November 6, 2010

Week In Review

Willie Geist's Election Wrap

Video: MSNBC/Morning Joe

Questlove Remixes The Clips

Video: NBC/Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Recap - Week of 11/1/10
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Recap - Week of 11/1/10
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionMarch to Keep Fear Alive

Sarah's Tribute to Herself

Video: ABC/Jimmy Kimmel Live

Lewis Black: President Palin? That's Epically Insane!

Video: MSNBC/Countdown with Keith Olbermann

Penalty Box

Acting On Principle: NBC Suspends Olbermann


The Rules

Read MSNBC & other news organizations' donations policies.

The Recipients

Olbermann donated $2400 each (the maximum allowable amount from an individual directly to individual candidates, but not political action committees) to failed Democratic Senate candidate Jack Conway in Kentucky and Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona. Olbermann donated to the Arizona lawmakers on Oct. 28 - the same day Grijalva appeared on Olbermann's show. Grijalva won another term, while Giffords appears to be leading in her race for re-election. Conway lost his Senate bid to Republican Rand Paul.

The Reaction from a Concerned Colleague:
‘We Are Not A Political Operation, But Fox Is’

Video: MSNBC/The Rachel Maddow Show

Media Critic Howard Kurtz/Daily Beast,
Host: CNN's Reliable Sources, At Length

Direct Competitors React

Video: CNN - Parker/Spitzer airs at 8pm ET opposite Olbermann's Countdown

Taking A Stand / Choosing Sides

In early October, at the height of the midterm campaign, MSNBC launched a two-year, multimillion-dollar marketing campaign, embracing its politically progressive identity with the new tagline “Lean Forward.”

"To lean forward is to think bigger, listen closer, fight smarter, and act faster... To celebrate the best ideas, no matter where they come from."
At the time the "Lean Forward" campaign was announced, MSNBC President Phil Griffin said: "Now it's time to take on Fox."

With recent electoral gains by Republicans, will the cable news network change their strategy to secure more viewers?

Video: Analysis by

Are CEOs Good Pols?

In A Word: NO!

LA Times columnist Michael Hiltzik: CEOs make terrible politicians.
CEO No Go And Not Just Women
Audio Embed: Morning Edition 11/04/10,
Host: Renee Montagne

Hall & Oates - I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) - Private Eyes (1981)

Giant Question

What's the song in Korean Air's 2010 TV commercials?

Luna Seeds - Compassion / aka Breathe to This

Luna Seeds is the collaboration between British producer Andy Barlow, most famous for his work with trip-hop band Lamb, and vocalist–songwriter Carrie Tree.


McDonalds Gets A Brazillian
Audio Embed: Dave Ross, KIRO-FM/Seattle, 10/29/10.

I Left My Happy Meal Toys in San Francisco


McRib's McReturn
Audio Embed: All Things Considered 10/16/10,
Host: Guy Raz

Social Security Scam

Convinces Elderly They Are Dead

Social Security Scam Robs Elderly By Convincing Them They Are Dead
Video from Onion News Network

Friday, November 5, 2010

Left Behind

Compromise is Capitulation

Progressives mirror conservatives' hard line fighting words.

Can't We All Get Along

It's Just New Jersey

Videos: CBS, CNN & MSNBC

  1. GOP's "no on everything" plan to kill Obama's agenda.
  2. Progressive bloggers defend base's loss of faith.
  3. Parker & Spitzer agree: Obama too eager to deal.
  4. Michael Moore: Stand firm or face primary challenges.
  5. Katie Couric: Government gridlock bad for country.
  6. Auto-Tuning Stewart's "Sanity Rally" closing words.

Quantitative Easing

Understanding Funny Money Magic

Fed's plan boosts bonds, slams savers, in risky jumpstart attempt.

Riding The QE2
Audio Embed: CBS Radio's Osgood File 11/04/10.

Video: CNN
Pulling Money Out of the Hat
Audio Embed: Dave Ross, KIRO-FM/Seattle, 11/04/10.

Dire Straits - Money For Nothing - Brothers in Arms (1985)

Fox Wednesday Night

Victory Lapdog

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Fox's Chris Wallace: MSNBC - Wrong on America!
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity
Video: Comedy Central - Chris Wallace wants Jon Srewart on Fox News Sunday

Paul Is Dead

Long Live Paul

Video: ITN - Oberhausen's new octopus is named for the previous prognosticator

Fair Game

Doug Liman is no stranger to spy films. As director of the series based on Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne and the Brangelina one off: Mr. & Mrs. Smith, he became a hot Hollywood commodity.
Liman's latest is "Fair Game," starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. It's about real-life CIA officer Valerie Plame: exposed in an attempt to discredit her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson, whose investigation of alleged attempts to acquire nuclear materials contradicted the Bush/Cheney administration's WMD assertions to justify invading Iraq.
Undercover Uncovered
Audio Embed: Weekend Edition Sunday 10/31/10,
Host: Liane Hansen

Fair Game opens in theaters 11/05/10

Bedrock Girl Talk

Reality TV meets Classic Cartoon

Video: ABC/Jimmy Kimmel Live mixes Flinstones with Real Housewives

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What's The Message?

NBC uses fancy technology, John Oliver looks cold in green, and Michael Beschloss discusses the Democrats' midterm losses.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Election Night 11/2/10 in 60 Seconds
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

I don't trust politicians' post-election pronouncements of what the "American People" want, or have said, in this year's voting.

There's really only one way to really know... Ask them directly.

The Columbia Journal Review extracted points from CNN's exit polls:

  1. Most voters don’t want the health care bill repealed and
  2. A majority of supporters would like to see it expanded.
  3. 2/3 expressed false beliefs about the stimulus package.
  4. 52% said that Obama’s policies would “hurt the country," but
  5. 61% of voters said they weren’t voting in opposition to Obama.
  6. 23% of Republican voters disliked the Republican party.
Perhaps the politicians are also wrong when inferring a conveniently self-serving mandate... As the voters were in their evaluation of the stimulus, which opponents of the president made a new dirty word.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
We Hardly Better Knew Ye: CNN picks up an unprecedented amount of opinions and the Sharron Angle Mystery Policy Box remains a secret.
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionMarch to Keep Fear Alive

Winner & Still Champion

Videos: ABC, AP, CBS & MSNBC

Uncle Sam's Red Ink

Sometimes you get a factual informed answer from a "former" occupant of a high office or appointed position. But mostly you find they've become a life-long apologist for whatever has tarnished their reputation.

For example: An aging former LBJ Defense Secretary Robert McNamara admitted the Vietnam War was a mistake before his death... The lively Pat Buchanan actively defends Nixon's role in it as if he were still employed by the late President.

If you don't recall the name David Stockman, you might better remember "trickle down theory" and "voodoo economics." As Director of the Office of Management & Budget (1981-1985) he was "taken to the woodshed by the president" over his candor with the press. He grew disillusioned with the projected trend of increasingly large federal deficits and the rapidly expanding national debt, which he blamed on the Reagan tax cut... A stance now institutionalized in Republican Party orthodoxy.

Stockman wrote a book called "The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed" in 1987.

On 10/31/10 he appeared on "60 Minutes."

The Reality of Spending Cuts
Audio Embed: CBS Radio's Osgood File 11/01/10.

United States National Debt

Modernized Monopoly

How Do You Tell Who's Winning?

Video: CNN

Goodbye Walkman

A Brief Eulogy
Audio Embed: A story from Nate DiMeo of The Memory Palace.

Maybe Not My Type

It's a Love/Hate Thing

T-shirt from Typewear

Chinese Census

Long March, Long Form, Long Count

Can an abacus overheat?

China began collecting census information Monday in what is the biggest population count in history. For the first time, the Chinese census will count people where they actually live, as opposed to where they are registered to work. It is being met with some resistance by those wish to remain inscrutable or violated one child policy, but it would've taken awhile even with enthusiastic cooperation.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

America Has Spoken

Mostly In Single Syllables

Gilda Radner as Emily Litella

Bloody Ballot Boxers

If you think the attack ads of the 2010 election have been rough, just think back to what happened during some of the first elections in this country, when just casting a ballot could invite an actual violent attack. In 2008, New Yorker contributor Jill Lepore wrote on the history of voting in America.
When Voting In The U.S. Was Dangerous
Audio Embed: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 11/02/10,
Host: Robin Young.

International Incidents

Brazil Elects First Female President

While America was wrapped up in itself, Brazil made history by electing its first female president. Is she a trailblazer or torchbearer for her immediate predecessor or a more distant Marxist past?


An (Ugly) American Example

The Tea Party's popularity could become a model for far right groups.

Video: CNN

Sisters Make Happy Siblings

Recent studies highlight all kinds of benefits from having an affectionate sister. According to researchers, people with sisters are less likely to feel like "nobody loves me" or "unhappy, sad, depressed." So what’s so special about having a sister?

Deborah Tannen, a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University and the author of “You Were Always Mom’s Favorite! Sisters in Conversation Throughout Their Lives,” offers some theories. She recently wrote an essay in The New York Times called “Why Sisterly Chats Make People Happier.”

Thalia A-M Bruehl shares her experience of becoming a younger sister in adolescence when her family adopted an older girl. Her article, “From Only Child to Sister,” was published in Babble.
Sister, Sister
Audio Embed: The Takeaway 11/01/10,
Hosts: Celeste Headlee & John Hockenberry

Peer To Peer Counseling

Listen Up, Charlie Sheen!

Video: CBS/Late Show with David Letterman

Commercials On Pot

Video: College Humor's television of the future

Demon Alcohol

You'll need this post if your Election Night Drinking Game made you take a sip every time you heard or saw any of the following campaign coverage clichés:
  • A hologram.
  • "Narrative."
  • That awkward pause at the beginning of the hour when they're about to call a race(s) but mistimed the graphics.
  • "Would you have thought that just X months ago we'd be here talking about Y?"
  • "Wave."
  • "1994."
  • Stirring orchestral intros and outros.
  • A Fox News pundit/anchor tying an obscure House race result to Iran policy.
  • "Referendum."
  • "This isn't about me."
  • "Tonight we start to take America back."
  • "Disconnect."
  • "Let's go to the map."
  • Any and all missed cues.
  • "Thanks, Chuck."
  • "Tsunami."
  • "Speaker Boehner."
  • "Looking ahead."
  • Overwhelmed TV correspondents who can't hear the anchor over the din of the election party they're covering.
  • "Pocketbook."
  • Bill Bennett looking pleased-as-punch.
  • "Stayed at home."
  • "Well, [Anchor's name], voters sent a message loud and clear tonight."
  • "Hard-fought."
  • Contradictory turnout reports within 30 mins of each other.
  • "Day of reckoning."
  • Any time Wolf Blitzer continues to talk past the point when the average human being would need to take an in-breath.
  • If you look in the mirror and see a Democrat.

More Harmful than Crack?

Using a new measurement scale, a UK study determined alcohol is three times more damaging to a person than crack cocaine.


AA Destroying The Social Lives Of Thousands Of Once-Fun Americans

Video: The Onion

Drunkorexia: Swapping Food for Booze

College students are skipping meals in order to drink more alcohol. Health officials fear the practice is encouraging eating disorders.


The Kinks

From an appearance on "Beat Club" (1972)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

America Is Waiting

2010's Key Battleground States

Senior political correspondent Jeff Greenfield analyzes the country's most important battlegrounds and outlines the key states to watch this 2010 mid-term election night.

Video: CBS

Host Scott Simon talked to NPR political editor Ken Rudin about the tight races for U.S. Senate in West Virginia, Illinois and Nevada and predictions for the outcome of races in the House.
A Conservative Headcount of Coming Congressional Changes
Audio Embed: Weekend Edition Saturday 10/30/10.
NPR's On The Media spent an entire program examining the impact of campaign ads, and asked if secret sponsors can buy elections.

Here’s When All The Polls Close

Compiled with comments by Steve Krakauer of
We’ve already laid out which of the media’s favorite candidates have a chance of actually winning today – but when will we find out if the media’s dreams come true?

What to watch as the clock winds down.

7:00pmET: Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont, Virgin Islands

• Races to watch – Can Alvin Greene pull of the upset?! No. But Rand Paul certainly can win in Kentucky.

7:30pmET: North Carolina, Ohio, West Virgina

• Races to watch – The Ohio Governor race featuring former media member John Kasich against incumbent Ted Strickland will be big. Also, our favorite Nazi re-enactor Rich Iott has a congressional race in Ohio. In West Virginia, it’s a tight race for Senate – Joe Manchin vs. John Raese.

8:00pmET: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee

• Races to watch – All eyes will be on Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, but three other big races are going on in this time slot. Check out Florida, for Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist, Illinois for the fight between Alexi Giannoulias and Mark Kirk and Pennsylvania where Joe Sestak and Pat Toomey have battled down to the wire. Also, can Alan Grayson keep his seat?

8:30pmET: Arkansas

• Races to watch – Hmm. Christine O’Donnell hangover.

9:00pmET: Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, Wyoming

• Races to watch – This seems like the hour we part ways with Carl Paladino (and Jimmy McMillan). Also check out Wisconsin, where Ron Johnson looks to upset Russ Feingold.

10:00pmET: Arizona, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, Utah

• Races to watch – This should be fun. How many of the trio of Ben Quayle, Jan Brewer and, of course, Sharron Angle, pull off the GOP victories?

11pmET: California, Idaho, Oregon, Washington

• Races to watch – Of course there’s the two California races: whether Carly Fiorina or Meg Whitman can win it for the GOP. But also, Washington looms, and the tight Senate race between Dino Rossi and incumbent Democrat Patty Murray.

12amET: Hawaii

• Races to watch – Man, Alaska’s far away…

1amET: Alaska

• Races to watch – Joe Miller! Lisa Murkowski! Sarah Palin! Battledome!

David Byrne & Brian Eno, from My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (1981)

Nevada's Gut Check

Sweating Out The Senate Race

Read detailed analysis by Jon Ralston in Sunday's Las Vegas Sun.

A Monday Night Update

Video: MSNBC

Legislative Agenda

In the small U.S. municipality of Agenda, Wisconsin, the town council has an agenda... Every time they meet... Across Lake Superior in Ontario, Canada, "The Agenda" is a current affairs TV show. Scotland & New Zealand have shows in the same vein with the same name.

So how did a simple list of points to be discussed, schedule of activities or goals to be accomplished become such a terrible thing in the context of American political rhetoric?

Guilt by association and repetition.

The very meaning of agenda has been distorted and corrupted into something pejorative by conservative politicians and media who use "agenda" in harsh tones to condemn a "radical liberal agenda," "judicial activist agenda" or (worst of all) the "homosexual agenda."

Voters have been primed to despise whoever has an agenda.

Enter "the Obama, Pelosi, Reid agenda," derisively scorned in 2010's conservative attack ads all across the nation. And if most polls are to be believed, it has come to represent something evil in the minds of "likely voters," instead of the record of legislative accomplishment by the 111th Congress, which the projected 112th will attempt to undo,

Not Liberal Enough?

Videos: MSNBC
Changing the Change
Audio Embed: Dave Ross, KIRO-FM/Seattle, 11/02/10

Public Radio Investigates

Not So Independent PIGs*

NPR went looking for ties between supposedly independent *Political Interest Groups spending huge sums of secretly sourced corporate cash and the official party campaign apparatus they support, but which (by law) shouldn't contact. Click through to see an intricate web of deception... And just maybe what NPR discovered is a part of why conservatives are so anxious to defund the network.
Illusions Of Independence
Audio Embed: Morning Edition 10/27/10,
Reporters: Peter Overby and Andrea Seabrook

Deprogram Guide

Huffington Post contributor Brian Ross's (not the one from ABC TV)
Do-It-Yourself Deprogrammers Guide to Fox News Zombies.

Election Eve Factor Moment: Far Right? Far Out!
“Can you be too far right in this country?” asked Bill O’Reilly.

“At this point in time with the state of the union? No!” exclaimed Sarah Palin.

BS Detector

From UCB comedy via Huffington Post

Lowlights of Midterm Madness

Video: MSNBC

Videos: CNN
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jonathan Alter: Barack Obama had a more productive first two years than any president since Lyndon Johnson, but the message didn't get out.
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionMarch to Keep Fear Alive

Monday, November 1, 2010

Political Theater

Ragin' Cajun, SNL Style

Weekend Update (10/30/10) featured James Carville (Bill Hader) weighing in on the pluses and minuses of a Tea Party victory.

Video: NBC

An Ohio McDonald's owner is in hot water after distributing pamphlets with his employees' paychecks urging them to vote for "the right people"... Many of whose party favor repealing the minimum wage.

Many in the media who were depicted in Comedy Central's illustration of TV's capacity and tendency to magnify irrationality took offense at being depicted among the deranged... Keith Olbermann tweeted that Stewart's closing comments constituted shark-jumping.

But while insisting that any Fox vs MSNBC comparison was a false equivalency, on Monday Olbermann removed a staple from his show's lineup in direct response to Jon Stewart's criticism of cable news.

Videos: Comedy Central via Mediaite & MSNBC