Saturday, January 22, 2011

Good Bye And Good Luck

On 1/21/11's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" the host announced the show would be his last.

The company's initial terse press statement followed industry boilerplate; wishing Keith well in his future endeavors. But it didn't acknowledge his reign as MSNBC's ratings leader or as the visionary who introduced the network to both Lawrence O'Donnell (who moves into the 8p slot) and Rachel Maddow (who remains at 9p) via stints as guest hosts on Countdown.

"Real Time with Bill Maher" lived up to its name... Rachel Maddow was a guest as the HBO show hit the air within minutes of Keith Olbermann's sign-off.

Eventually Olbermann will appear on Maher's show with an interesting story to tell, but early word leaking from 30 Rock indicates longstanding tension escalating into hostility surrounding Keith's brief fall suspension over previously undisclosed 2010 campaign donations. So the parties headed for a breakup long before Comcast’s impending takeover was approved by the Feds and it's noteworthy that neither NBC News or MSNBC's presidents received on-air thanks from KO.

And now, exactly one year after the demise of progressive talk radio network Air America, MSNBC's night time lineup gains another of their alumni: "Young Turk" webcast host & recent guest host Cenk Uygur (say Jenk YOU-ger) at 6p as Ed Schultz moves to 10p.


The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Recap - Week of 01/17/11
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Recap - Week of 01/17/11
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

War Council

20 Years after the bombs and blitzkrieg of Operation Desert Storm, NBC's Brian Williams interviews the Bush 41 war team.

The full round table appears on Dateline NBC Sunday 1/23/11.

Newly-declassified archival transcripts provide a fresh look at the first Iraq War — with more than a few surprises. The documents reveal that as the U.S. was bearing down on Iraq in February 1991, Hussein turned to Mikhail Gorbachev, hoping he would help convince the United States to retreat.

Michael Gordon, military correspondent for The New York Times and author of the book “The General’s War: The Inside Story of the Conflict in the Gulf,” explains how Gorbachev refused, surprising Hussein, who apparently, and falsely, believed that the Soviet president would flout United States and NATO coalition forces in order to save the ostracized Iraqi government.
A Secret Soviet Ally Tug of War
Audio Embed: PRI & WNYC's program The Takeaway 1/20/11,
Hosts: John Hockenberry & Celeste Headlee.

Judging The Judges

Fab or Flop?

Long before the Hollywood final round, reviews roll in for American Idol's new judges for season 10; Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez.
Even at NPR... Seriously!
Audio Embed: All Things Considered 1/20/11,
Panel: Linda Holmes, Jasmine Garsd and Andrew Wallenstein .

Limbaugh Speaks Chinese

Hu Dat Fat Idiot?

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Rush Limbaugh Speaks Chinese -- Stephen is deeply offended by the cheap, insensitive rip-off of his own offensive Asian stereotype.
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

Forty Years of Doonesbury

He gave few interviews for the first 25 years he produced Doonesbury, which was syndicated in 1,400 newspapers worldwide... But after four decades, cartoonist Garry Trudeau is still creating the Doonesbury comic strip and a celebration called 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective which includes 1,800 cartoons from the long-running strip.

It's a collection of timely topical satire, and multi-generational character development which also chronicles his own maturing process. For example, in Trudeau's own youth his Vietnam-era strips about B.D. as a soldier were a counterculture fantasy, but in his 60's what he most wants in his present-day depictions of injured Iraq War veterans is to get it right.
Tooned In To Changing Times
Audio Embed: Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen 1/14/11.

Want more?

Garry Trudeau also spoke to Jian Ghomeshi, host of CBC Radio's excellent cultural affairs show "Q," and to Charlie Rose on PBS-TV.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Brotherhood of Man


White supremacists are on the FBI's usual suspects roster for the attempted bombing of the MLK Day parade... Their rap sheet in the Spokane, WA and Coeur d'Alene, ID area supports suspicion even before forensic tests are complete at the FBI labs in Quantico, VA.


In the generally tolerant portion of Washington state, you won't be seeing this bus board on the streets of King County.
ACLU Sues Over Banned Bus Ads
Audio Embed: Puget Sound Public Radio 1/20/11,
Reporter: Meghan Walker.
Absolute and unconditional support for Israel without question is a "bullet vote" issue, as critical to a candidate's constituency as social security, gun ownership or "right to life" issues can be. Take a "wrong" position, you're dead.

To the sizeable and vociferous absolutist pro-Israel pressure community this ban represents a "Victory in Seattle" over the Mideast Awareness Campaign’s "terrorist-enabling propaganda."

But what's the truth?

Estimates of the actual dollar of amount of aid vary widely... And the reported figures are tainted by ideological and religious bias.

But in September 2009, the United Nations Human Rights Council's Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict headed by Justice Richard Goldstone found strong evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by both Israel and Hamas during the Gaza conflict (during the winter of 2008–2009); urging the international community as a whole to put an end to impunity for violations of international law in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

The South African jurist was no novice in the field. He had previously investigated, or prosecuted, similar allegations pertaining to the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. He also didn't come to the task with an anti-Israeli bias... Justice Richard Goldstone is a Jew.


Comedian Maysoon Zayid comments on Alabama rookie Governor's remarks that non-Christian people are “not his brothers and sisters.”

National Brotherhood Week - Tom Lehrer

Reforming The Filibuster

MSNBC/Countdown: The Nation’s Chris Hayes discusses how the Democrats plan to fix the filibuster when the U.S. Senate finally gets around to doing business... Sometime later this month. No hurry.

House Arrest

Not Exactly Mr. Clean

Darrell Issa, the California Republican about to make life more difficult for President Obama as chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has had some troubles of his own... Namely being on the wrong side of the law in many criminal investigations and had, among other things, been indicted for stealing a car, arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, and accused by former associates of burning down a building.

Ryan Lizza profiled Mr Issa in The New Yorker.
GOP's Top Cop A Flop?
Audio Embed: Morning Edition 1/20/11,
Interviewer: Renee Montagne.

Poison Pillow Talk

Blown Jobs from TNW

Tuition Statement

Are They Using Real Gold On The Dome?

The cost of college, in the past decade, has gone through the roof... Faster, perhaps, than anything other than health care.

It's a nationwide trend, but especially for public universities in cash-strapped states. For example: a year of college at the University of California's elite Berkeley campus now costs more than $50,000 — Really soaking those without in-state status.

While Cal's price tag is the only state school to reach the 50k range, increases elsewhere have been pretty steep, too... Prompting a statement about cost of education in the US by non-resident University of Colorado sophomore Nic Ramos, who paid his 14,000 dollar per semester tuition entirely in ones.

Everyday Expressions

Surprising Origins

Why do we "fly by the seat of our pants" when we're "winging it?"

Or why would something annoying "get your goat" as opposed to any other kind of farm animal?

Harry Oliver has researched hundreds of the quirky phrases we use in everyday life, and found out the history and stories behind each one. His recently published UK paperback: Flying by the Seat of Your Pants makes the connections between little known history and widely used, but not completely understood, parts of common language.
Why We Say It That Way
Audio Embed: PRI & WNYC's program The Takeaway 1/10/11,
Hosts: Celeste Headlee & John Hockenberry.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ask Not, plus 50

JFK's Inaugural Address

It was ironic that in describing the theme of his next book, NY Times columnist Tom Friedman said that America needs to do something big and hard together... It sounds familiar, and timely... Ask Not author Thurston Clarke explored what has and hasn't happened since the day President Kennedy issued his challenge from the Capitol steps.

End of NFL Season, or Career?

Players & owners are struggling to come up with a new collective bargaining agreement... Will they agree before it's too late?

Brady will be back; those further down the depth chart may not.
NFL Lock-Out = End of the Line
Audio Embed: WBUR FM, Boston 1/19/11,
Host: Bob Oakes, Reporter: Bill Littlefield
Want some Cheerios instead?

Regis Pulls The Plug

Is "Live" Dead Without Him?

Turning 80 this year, Regis Philbin announced he'll retire from "LIVE! With Regis and Kelly" after 28 years on the air. Speculation about who would replace him began immediately... Among those offering an appreciation was his previous long-term co-host Kathie Lee Gifford, spending some time across the street from "Today" on "Morning Joe."

Dave Does Shots

With Betty White

The now 89 year-old's latest spot on the Late Show.

Mutton Rustlers

Britain’s National Farmers Union experiences a rural crime wave.
Theft Rises With Meat Prices
Audio Embed: BBC, PRI & WGBH's The World 1/18/11,
Host: Marco Werman.
RUN!!! ... Get the flock outta here!!!!

Shari Lewis' "Lambchop" by Travis Howell

Do Fear The Reapers

Next Generation UAV Predator Drones

Sensors & safety drive drones as new wave of advanced air war.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lasting Legacies


In any other family Sargent Shriver would have been the star... But marrying into the Kennedy clan left him overshadowed by in-laws.


Two sons, with different mothers and politics, offer very different perspectives on their shared father: the late Ronald Reagan.

Lingering Aftertaste

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Mika Brzezinski experiences "Palin Fatigue" from speeches with coded talking points mixed in with words picked up at random from a thesaurus.
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

Journalist Carl Bernstein, of Watergate scandal fame, on how to cover Sarah Palin, whom he calls "Senator John McCain's real legacy."

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Petty Woman -- Credit Sarah Palin's recovery to her nurse, Sean Hannity.
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook


Experts who examined the "Stuxnet" computer worm infecting Iran's nuclear program said its sophistication suggested a state-sponsored attack... The New York Times reported the two most likely suspects with means & motive (U.S. & Israel) committed the cyber sabotage.

What unintended consequences will come back to haunt us for firing the first shot in a cyber war?
Beware Karmic Kickback
Audio Embed: Dave Ross, KIRO-FM/Seattle, 1/17/11.

Another new computer program, named after TV's Stephen Colbert, allows researchers to control a moving worm's neurons with light.

Friends With Biochemistry

Scientists find genetic correlations among people in social groups.
Your Friends & Your Genes
Audio Embed: CBS Radio's Osgood File 1/18/11.
We really do show our ages with our sense of musical relevance...

Cult Classic Movies

Indexed by Jessica Hagy

Showbiz Shocker

Host Ricky Gervais brings controversy to an otherwise sanctimonious self-congratulatory celebrity circle jerk: the Golden Globes.

Sounds From The North Shore

Refreshing, uplifting, mid-tempo grooves and melodic soundscapes.
Mark Preston, Uplifting Down Tempo
Audio Embed: Echoes, an ambient music program on public radio with extensive archives of subscriber downloads.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Apple Without Its Core

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is often credited as the driving force behind making his products "insanely great." He has also had a bout with pancreatic cancer and a liver transplant prior to announcing Monday that he would be taking another indefinite length medical leave.

Although he didn't disclose his current issue, media quickly started speculating on what the announcement means for Apple's health.

Airborne Auction

Is it airline or eBay when you bid on bumping?
And how badly do you want to go?
Audio Embed: Dave Ross, KIRO-FM/Seattle, 1/14/11.

Lenny Kravitz - Fly Away - from the album "5" (1998)


There Can Only Be One

Show Biz Super Human

Two sides to humor as portrayed by split personality YouTubers...

Ben & Eric

Give A Little Bit

Martin Luther King Day is also a national day of service.
Will you lend a caring hand
To shelter those who need it?

-- Penny, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (2008)
Microvolunteering... Small contributions add up at

Roger Hodgson's solo performance of his Supertramp classic from the album "Even in the Quietest Moments" (1977)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Once More With Feeling

Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King...

And recognize that there are ties between us, all men & women living on the Earth... Ties of hope & love, of sister & brotherhood.

That we are bound together in our desire to see the world become a place in which our children can grow free and strong.

We are bound together by the task that stands before us and the road that lies ahead. We are bound and we are bound.

James Taylor - Shed a Little Light... Backed by (left to right) Arnold McCuller, David Lasley, Kate Markowitz & Valerie Carter in his choir.

Fortress America Obsolete?

The War Machine: America's Largest Exporters

Just days before he left office in 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave the speech that coined the phrase, "the military-industrial complex." It was his warning to the nation about the impact of invested interests, and some say it's a lesson in truth that America needs but didn't heed.

Grandson David Eisenhower & history professor Andrew Bacevich comment.
A Legacy of Unchallenged Influence
Audio Embed: All Things Considered 1/16/11,
Host: Guy Raz.

Far Far Away

Legos Have Taken The Ice Planet Hoth!

Via The Daily What

Cornhusker Cutie

In the 90th Miss America Pageant, Teresa Scanlan of Nebraska beat 52 other contestants to become the youngest-ever winner at age 17.

Video analysis by

The Tubes - She's A Beauty - Outside Inside (1983)

Carved From A Horn

Electronic rhythms, free improvisation and elaborate processing on his trumpet characterize the breathy, introspective sound of Norway's Nils Petter Molvaer.
His Latest CD Is Hamada
Audio Embed: Echoes, an ambient music program on public radio with extensive archives of subscriber downloads.

Unintended Imagery

Sure it's nice to have a flat rate plan if you're a high volume user, but don't most people consider it bad form to break bad news by mobile phone? And what do the ads that say about the company's customers?

These Sprint flat rate customers are passive-aggressive douches.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

NFL Game Daze

A surprising weekend has solidified the NFL's version of the Final 4. And the biggest surprises are who won't be there... Both opponents from last year's Super Bowl & the #1 seeds from both conferences.

35-24: Bears Say SEA-YA!

It came down to a battle along the line. The Seahawks starting tight end hurdled a defender along the sidelines, landed head-first on the still-frozen out of bounds part of Soldiers Field and exited the game on a backboard during the first possession, while the Bears were able to use their tight ends effectively to put points on the scoreboard.

Interior linemen provided better protection for QB Jay Cutler and halved the sacks allowed in the teams' October encounter and sent the Hawks home without repeating those results.

28-21: Jets Land On Top

The Patriots weren't able to duplicate the drubbing they dished out last time the teams met at Foxboro. The Jets constantly shifting defensive backfield blanketed receivers with confusing match ups, which allowed their rushers to sack Tom Brady 5 times. That left Mark Sanchez enough room to notch his fourth playoff win in two years.

New England hates to lose to anyone, but especially New York, whose teams have spoiled their hopes in both the undefeated 2007 regular season and this year's inter-divisional defeat.

NYC's rabid sports press had stoked Jets Super Bowl talk since training camp. That road runs through Pittsburgh.

31-24: Steelers Pluck Ravens

A 58-yard pass to rookie Antonio Brown with less than two minutes to go ended any ideas the Ravens had of finally winning a playoff game against their division rivals. Ben Roethlisberger took his shots early from the Ravens' defense, but threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns before completing that big pass on third-and-19.

"He may not be Brady or all those other guys, but when I see him in the huddle I know we've got a chance to win," said Hines Ward.

48-21: Packers Melt "Matty Ice"

The team from the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field didn't thaw into a puddle indoors at the Georgia Dome. Instead it was the Falcons defenders who had the meltdown, allowing both the most points and widest margin of victory among the weekend's four match-ups.

Green Bay's next stop is Chicago, a team they've faced more often than any other in the history of the NFL. But last time it was a playoff game was 1941... One week after Pearl Harbor.

An Oddsmaker's 'What If' Analysis

Shining Amidst Tragedy

There is nothing wrong with America that can not be cured by what is right with America.
-- Bill Clinton, 1st Inaugural Address, 1/21/93
Because of the people of Tucson -- its retirees, its hipsters, its military families, its immigrants and its old-timers -- the attack in which six people were killed and 13 wounded will be remembered not just as a crime, but also for the glimpse Tucson gave us into the resilience of the human soul.
Tucson Shows What It's Made Of
Audio Embed: Weekend Edition Saturday 1/15/11,
Commentary by host: Scott Simon.

Down Under Water

Residents of Queensland have been warned that a tropical cyclone (equivalent to an Atlantic hurricane or Pacific typhoon) is forming offshore, threatening more rain for the flood-hit Australian state.

Brisbane is the country's third largest city, but the rural town of Grantham is the 'Ground Zero' of Australia's massive summer flood, which to date has impacted an area the size of South Africa.

Updated estimates indicate more than 600 people have died as extensive floods and landslides have also devastated densely populated southeastern Brazil, where rescuers in Rio de Janeiro state hauled a woman to safety after being cut off by a mudslide.

Building A Better Chicken

Genetic Engineering To Keep Chickens From Spreading Bird Flu
El Pollo No Contagioso
Audio Embed: CBS Radio's Osgood File 1/14/11.