November 30, 2006

Film Critic Quote of the Week

"[Rachel] Weisz just doesn't register--it's one of those roles where you can tell the filmmaker is in love with her and thus thinks you are too. (Call this the "Ed Burns Casts His Girlfriends Syndrome.")"
-Sean Burns, taking apart "The Fountain" on the House Next Door, a blog you really should be reading every day if you're even the slightest bit of a film buff.
Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:21 AM | Comments (4)

November 29, 2006

You're Gonna Have to Face It You're Addicted to Porn

Everybody, please do me a favor. When I die, please don't put it in your newspaper eulogy that I helped you get over your addiction to internet pornography, like this guy did. Even if I did, please, don't mention it.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:21 PM | Comments (3)

Quote of the Day

"The good news is that Mel [Gibson] finally has something in common with the most popular man in America. The bad news is that Borat hates Jews too. In even worse news, Borat is fictional and he was joking. With Mel, we’re not quite sure.", naming Mel as #1 on its annual list of people with the coldest careers in Hollywood.
Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:47 AM | Comments (1)

November 28, 2006

I Swear...

This mind-boggling column by Dennis Prager has to be the favorite for Most Asinine Argument of the Year, which is sort of surprising, since I thought Prager was actually intelligent.

In it, Prager argues that incoming Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, a Muslim, is committing a grave anti-American offense by taking his oath of office while placing his hand on the Koran, as opposed to the Bible. The act, Prager writes, is "damaging to the fabric of American civilization." He goes on to compare one placing their hand on the Koran to taking the oath on "Mein Kampf." And finally, he argues that Ellison is contributing to "the Islamicization of America" by bringing a Koran into his swearing-in ceremony.

Where to start with this? For one thing, placing one's hand on the Bible during the oath is not a Constitutional obligation, or even a law- it is merely a traditional custom. For another, it would be unfair to ask a man not of the Christian faith to place his hand on a holy book that is not his own.

"Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned" Prager argues, "America is interested in only one book, the Bible." I don't remember "America" ever being asked to vote on such a thing, and of course, the Constitution forbids establishment of religion. And I wouldn't worry too much about this leading to the "Islamicization of Congress," since Ellison remains the lone Muslim in the 435-member House of Representatives.

Were Ellison rejecting the Constitution itself in favor of the Koran, that would be one thing. Instead, he is merely rejecting a holy book that is not his in favor of one that is. I fail to see the outrage, I really do.

There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of Keith Ellison, but how he takes his oath of office is very low on the list. And this comes just a week after another generally tolerable right-wing talk radio guy, Glenn Beck, asked Ellison on live television to "prove to me that you're not working with our enemies." There must be something about this guy that makes people go nuts.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:48 PM | Comments (5)

Film Critic Quote of the Week

"Instead, we got a Major Motion Picture directed by Ron Howard, perhaps the single director least likely to rescue this material from itself... Enter Howard who... has devoted his adult life to making Frank Capra look like an ironist. The word "earnest" is not itself earnest enough to convey the earnestness of Howard's filmmaking."
-Christopher Orr, in TNR, taking apart the horrible, horrible film adaptation of "The Da Vinci Code."

And yes, he's referring to Ron Howard the director, and not Ron Howard the Phillies first baseman.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:14 PM | Comments (1)

Yes, We Have Failed in Iraq

I come to that sad, unfortunate, and probably way-too-late conclusion in this week's North Star column.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:09 PM | Comments (2)

Sometimes, the Haters Are Right

News Item: Alcee Hastings Will Not Chair Intelligence Committee, Pelosi Announces.

A good move, I'd say, since it doesn't speak well of the Democrats if such a key post is held by someone who was impeached from a federal judgeship. And yes, I know it appears Pelosi is bungling things either, but remember- the session hasn't even started yet. This is the preseason. Wait until the Congress is actually seated before you come to any conclusions.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:07 PM | Comments (1)

How Much Would You Pay To Have Witnessed This in Person?

News Item: Idaho Zamboni drivers fired after trip to fast-food drive-thru

No, they were not arrested for ZWI.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:58 PM | Comments (0)

But, Wasn't She Like 16 When It Went Off the Air?

News Item: Lindsay Lohan Blames 'Sex and the City' for Her Promiscuous Lifestyle

But what about the nipple slips? Whose fault are those, Tara Reid's?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:49 PM | Comments (1)

It Knows Me Quite Well

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

North Central
The Midland
The Northeast
The South
The West
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes
Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:38 PM | Comments (2)

Down Memory Lane With Green

Dennis Green's (likely) final visit to the Metrodome led to a great column from Jim Souhan rehashing all the crazy stuff that happened in Denny's decade at the Vikings' helm. Some highlights:

8. Built one of the best coaching staffs in recent league history when he joined the Vikings, hiring Tony Dungy, Brian Billick, Monte Kiffin, John Teerlinck, Tyrone Willingham and Willie Shaw.

10. Molded Mike Tice into a head coach.

11. Molded Sean Salisbury into a football "analyst," Green's most brazen offense, along with choosing Salisbury to play over Rich Gannon in the 1992 playoffs, picking a future MASH (Most Annoying Screaming Head) over a future MVP.

See, Denny was a source of much comedy even before the "they are who we thought they were" thing. But notice that everyone's gone to shit- Green, Moss, Culpepper, etc.- since they left the Vikings.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:21 AM | Comments (0)

Hot Stove Heat

I'm enjoying this year's baseball offseason as much as I always do, though it's really hard to believe some of these crazy contracts ($50 million for Gary Matthews? $100 million for Carlos Lee?) It amazes me that executives, across sports, have yet to grasp the concept that it's not smart to sign a guy to a long-term deal for big money when, in his contract year, he had the first good season of his career. Call it the Carl Pavano Rule.

The Twins really need to get a pitcher or two, and I support the idea of trading for Jason Jennings and maybe signing a bottom-of-the-rotation veteran. A DH would be great too, as long as he's not Barry Bonds.

As for the Phillies, they signed Adam Eaton today for reasonable money, meaning they have five good starters at the end of November (how many teams can say that?) They still need to get rid of Pat Burrell, and you'd think some team would look at his stat sheet and get the mistaken impression that he's a good player. I mean, his contract is about half Juan Pierre's!

I'll have more when the winter meetings kick around next week, although unlike Gleeman, I'm not actually going.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:13 AM | Comments (0)


The Philadelphia Newspaper Guild, which represents the Inquirer, Daily News, and various other papers (but not my own), may go out on strike as soon as later this week, although a settlement and/or extension remains possible.

Philadelphia Weekly has even reported that the newspaper owners have advertised for replacement workers. If asked, I'll say no; I'm not about to commit career suicide, nor do I particularly wish to stab my fellow journalists in the back like that.

(The Guild does have some non-editorial employees in my office, but no pickets are planned there.)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:07 AM | Comments (1)

My Final Reaction to Michael Richards' Series of Apologies

He is a loathsome, offensive brute, yet I can't look away.

By the way, my junior year of college, I had this poster on my door, and when you looked into my room from the quad, you could see it. If I had it up today on a college campus, I'd probably get a rock thrown through my window.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:59 AM | Comments (1)

November 27, 2006

Not That There's Anything Wrong With Dingell...

A gay old correction from All Headline News.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:31 PM | Comments (1)

If You Think The Eagles Are Doing Bad, the Ex-Eagles Are Doing Worse

According to Deadspin, ex-Eagle Freddie Mitchell was working as a substitute teacher in the Indiana hometown of his baby-mama- until he was fired a week later for asking girls (students) for their phone numbers. Let's just say he dropped the ball.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:16 PM | Comments (0)

And... We're Back

Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. I enjoyed having four days off, and a weekend of food, football and fun that included a trip to Atlantic City. I capped off the weekend last night by taking in the WWE's Survivor Series at the Wachovia Center, my first live wrestling in several years. I had fun, but I think wrestling has passed me by at this point.

A few other notes from the weekend:

- Apparently Becca and I aren't the only Steve and Becca around.

- The latest Vikings embarrassment: they almost lost to the Cardinals before preventing a last-second touchdown. Had they lost, Childress would totally have been entitled to a "just crown their ass"-type speech. As for the Eagles, Childress is lucky he got a head coaching job last offseason, because had he stuck around this year, he'd be radioactive.

- As for the Turkey of the Year column, I agree with all the nominees, but it's hard to agree with the winner: University of Minnesota womens' basketball coach Pam Borton. I'm sure she's deserving, but I don't see how a performance that only affected the 10 people who watch Gophers womens' hoops is more turkey-worthy than, say, Fred Smoot or Koren Robinson.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:53 AM | Comments (4)

November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a good one everyone; I'll be in Philly for my first-ever non-Minnesota Thanksgiving, after 28 years. Be back at the end of the weekend.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:27 PM | Comments (1)

Film Critic Quote of the Week

"Fast Food Nation feels like it was made by Avril Lavigne and Lou Taylor Pucci's know-it-all, activist college students, wedded to the notion that flailing about in a misguided effort for change is the same thing as actually accomplishing something. This isn't filmmaking; it’s an op-ed column in an Alt-Weekly."
-Andrew Dignan, summing up my thoughts exactly on House Next Door. See also a serious film discussion of that "Let's Go to Prison" movie.
Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

Good For the Jews?

News Item: American Jewish Committee Honors Bud Selig

He certainly wouldn't have been my first choice of someone for the AJC to honor. Not even among commissioners- I'd honor Stern first.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)

MVP Opie

Philadelphia Mayor John Street today honored newly-minted NL MVP Ryan Howard by naming it Ryan Howard Day- but marred the moment by repeatedly referring to the first baseman as "Ron Howard." Now there's a mistake, it's safe to say, that Ed Rendell would never make.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:12 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2006

Laughing on the Right

I look at the idea of a right-wing "Daily Show" in this week's North Star column.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:43 PM | Comments (1)

Altman Dead

One of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century, Robert Altman, died today at the age of 81. Altman had a long and distinguished career, directing such films as the original "M*A*S*H*," "Nashville," and "McCabe and Mrs. Miller," before making a 1990s comeback with "The Player" and "Short Cuts." And his last film, this year's Garrison Keillor adaptation "A Prairie Home Companion," was one of his best.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:42 PM | Comments (2)

Knowing San Fran, I'm Not Holding My Breath

San Francisco Examiner: City should honor Milton Friedman by renaming Market Street "Free Market Street."

Seriously, how long would it take the Board of Supervisors to stop laughing if you brought that up to them?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:30 PM | Comments (0)


The Twins' Justin Morneau won the AL MVP today, beating out Derek Jeter. And Morneau's status in the game is clearly so vast that spelled his name "Mornea" in the headline when they first reported it.

Morneau is just the fourth Twin to win an MVP award, after Zoillo Versailles in 1965, Harmon Killebrew in 1969, and Rod Carew (he converted) in 1979.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:12 PM | Comments (1)

Good Luck Finding a Defense Lawyer

News Item: Nancy Grace Sued For Wrongful Death

I still think Grace did the wrong thing, despite the revelations that the woman she drove to suicide had appeared in homemade porn.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:42 AM | Comments (3)

If the Fundamentalists of Judaism, Christianity and Islam All Oppose It, It Must Be Good

News Item: Israel Legalizes Gay Marriage

Yes, even the Holy Land has activist judges. Good for them.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)

Hard to Get Too Upset About This

News Item: Vikings Anoka County Stadium Plan Declared Dead

It's for the best, really. Blaine is just way too far away for most people in Vikings Nation, even if it's only for eight days a year. A stadium in Minneapolis, St. Paul, or (for old times' sake) Bloomington makes much more sense. I just hope it doesn't take ten years to come to fruition, like it did in the Twins' case.

The county backed out of the arrangement after the Vikings made overtures to Minneapolis, thus violating Anoka's demand for negotiation exclusivity. Yes, that's right: they broke up with the Vikings 'cause they wouldn't stop sleeping with other counties. No, Lake Minnetonka is not in Anoka County.

The Vikings' on-field performance, meanwhile, IS worth getting upset over. Few things are more demoralizing for a team than to enter the "easy" part of the schedule, and then lose four in a row. I guess all those other teams dumped Brad Johnson for a reason.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:19 AM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2006

Film Critic Quote of the Week

Peter Suderman, slamming the ridiculous guilt-orgy "Fast Food Nation," which he calls a "rambling anti-corporate gabfest":

"Fast Food Nation kicks off with a suit-clad fast food chain boss telling one of his executives to investigate a meat packing plant rumored to be allowing fecal matter to infect the beef. But the only thing that's contaminated here is director Richard Linklater's meandering, unfocused movie, which has an unmistakable whiff of Causeitis -- a compulsive inability to avoid taking up any of the many issues in the lefty activist canon...

Linklater's movie is primarily about trying to get us to think that fast food is seriously icky stuff. But it's also about (just to name several that spring to mind): illegal immigration, animal rights, the PATRIOT act, hourly wage work, biotech foods, industrial farming, sexual exploitation, employee abuse, rightwing collusion between business and government, Halliburton, eminent domain abuse, globalization, workplace safety, exercising one's passion for environmental activism, corporate financial scandal, and, erm, the spread of home-brew meth labs. It's a 2000 calorie serving of blindly flailing anti-corporate diatribes complete with all the side dish rants anyone could ever want."

Yet David Denby, in the New Yorker, says that "no one could disagree with a single notion in" "Fast Food Nation" or "Bobby." I love that certainty- "no one."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:14 PM | Comments (2)

Cock-Blocked by Barack

This guy is mad at Barack Obama for once preventing him from getting with his girl of choice at a rally. Because as we all know, it's a senator's job to get everyone laid. At least, it will be during the administration of President Scarlett Johansson.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:59 PM | Comments (0)

Two Thoughts on the Soriano Contract

1. The Phillies at this point pretty much have to pursue Manny Ramirez. I don't know that they have any other choice.

2. While the Tribune Co. is firing reporters and editors at its newspapers from coast to coast, it's good that they were able to find the money to spend $136 million on a baseball player. And they wonder why they're failing at both.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:21 PM | Comments (1)

The Conservative Daily Show

Fox News and "24" co-creator Joel Surnow are teaming up to create a right-wing version of "The Daily Show."

Will it work? Possibly, but I'm not optimistic. Cutting-edge conservative humor is like liberal talk radio- no one knows why, but it just seems to fail completely every time it's tried. And besides: while no one denies that "Daily Show" has a liberal tilt, many conservatives still generally appreciate its humor and find it funny. I can't imagine most liberals would feel the same way about a righty version; most of them think Fox News is comical enough as it is.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:16 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

From Bill Simmons' mailbag, I think this may actually be true:

I'm 99 percent positive that Randolph and Mortimer Duke recently wagered $1 that they could turn the funniest, most successful stand-up comic into a disturbed bum on the street and turn a random unfunny guy off the street into the hottest comic in the land with TV specials and a feature film. How else can you explain the fall of Dave Chappelle and the rise of Dane Cook? It is the only answer. Looking good Dane Cook! Feeling good Dave Chappelle!
I mean, imagine how many Myspace friends Dane would have if he were actually funny?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)

Say It Ain't So, Cosmo

AP: Michael Richards Screams Racial Slurs While On Stage at Comedy Club

I remember when people used to criticize "Seinfeld" for depicting a black-free version of New York (though the show always included a whole lot more minorities than "Friends" ever did.) But I never guessed that Kramer was an all-out racist. This would probably end his career, if it hadn't already ended in 1998.

Meanwhile, the artist formerly known as Kramer has fallen so far off the face of the Earth that when I saw the headline "Richards has angry outburst at club," I assumed it must be about Denise, Keith, or Stevie, before I even thought of Michael.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:02 PM | Comments (2)

I'm So Sorry I Never Read This Blog

The Strib reports on a budding Minnesota political scandal:

Since his election to the Minneapolis school board two weeks ago, Chris Stewart has been criticized for his involvement with a racially themed Web page that satirized another political candidate.
But Stewart, 38, has a history of writing provocative racial commentary.

A review of postings at another Internet site he owned and published from 1998 until June this year shows that he and a small group of regular contributors threw racial barbs freely.

On the site, called American Hot Sausage, they described Minnesota Vikings fans as "anti-negro revelers," mocked Minnesota DFLers for their "tired-old-white-guy strategy" and handed out "Coon Awards" to blacks they considered too cozy with the white power structure.

Shocking stuff, for sure, but you can't hold bloggers accountable for what their commenters say. And besides, they're certainly correct about the "tired old white guy" strategy.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:26 AM | Comments (0)

Not a Great Day For Philly Sports

First, Donovan McNabb tears his ACL, ending his season in November for the second straight year. Then, the Eagles lose to the Titans in convincing fashion, getting nothing going on offense of defense for the whole day. Then, the Cowboys defeat the Colts, ending Indy's perfect season and putting even further ahead of the Eagles. Then, spreading the humiliation beyond football, the Phillies' top free agent target, Alfonso Soriano, jumps to the Cubs.

And I thought it was bad when the Vikings lost to the Dolphins, despite Miami having negative rushing yards for the day... I'm glad I was on the plane and missed the ends of both games.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:19 AM | Comments (0)

I've Heard About Minnesota Being Liberal, But...

Star Tribune: Angela Davis Lands on WCCO's Morning Team

Oops, different Angela Davis...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:14 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2006

Minny Ha Ha

I'm headed out to Minnesota for the weekend; see everyone next Monday.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

Two Movies

A couple of movies I caught screenings of this week: "Dreamgirls" totally lives up to the hype, with great music, an engaging story, and an absolutely amazing performance from "American Idol" vet Jennifer Hudson, who I would say is a better-than-even bet to win an Oscar for her first-ever movie. The audience we saw it with was about 95% theater queens, who knew every word of the score and applauded after every song (and sometimes in the middle of them.) If the movie didn't meet with their approval, it would be DOA, but that's not the case this time.

Much less impressive? "The Fountain," 90 minutes of cinematic gibberish from "Requiem For a Dream" director Darren Aronofsky. He's clearly going for a "2001"/"Solaris" homage, but I was reminded more of "What Dreams May Come." The film makes little sense, is difficult-to-impossible to follow, and the nicest thing I can say about it is that it was short. I do expect, though, for it to have a small but vocal minority of fans who get it, love it, and call it the best movie of the year. I love Rachel Weisz, but boy, does she pick some bad movies.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:00 AM | Comments (2)

Changing the Play

The Elias Sports Bureau announced the other day that that crazy play in Sunday's Eagles-Redskins game, in which Reggie Brown caught a pass from Donovan McNabb, was hit, lost the ball, and then saw it caught by Corell Buckhalter for a touchdown, has been re-scored. It now counts as a touchdown pass for McNabb and a touchdown catch for Buckhalter (not for Brown.)

This is important because... of lots of people's fantasy teams. Anyone who had Brown last week loses a touchdown, and everyone who had Buckhalter (probably just about no one) gains one.

I was at the game, but unfortunately I was up getting beer and a hot dog and missed this amazing, Immaculate Reception-like play. The hot dog vendor was very excited, however. This continues the tradition I have of missing big moments, dating back to my bathroom break that caused me to not see Dan Gladden's grand slam in the 1987 World Series.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:54 AM | Comments (1)

Just Breathe Me

The University of Pennsylvania Health System, one of Philadelphia's top hospitals, has been running a pretty high-profile series of television and radio ads lately that use a bit of familiar music: Sia's "Breathe Me," which is, of course, the song that was used in the brilliant montage sequence that ended the final episode of "Six Feet Under." Strange that they would use such a song that's well known in that way, especially since most people familiar with it associate the song with death, and they're a hospital.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:39 AM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2006

Here Goes Nothing

I've submitted to the inevitable and joined MySpace. Enjoy.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

I For One Welcome Our New Majority Leader Overlord

News Item: Steny Hoyer Defeats John Murtha to Become House Majority Leader

Good, I was hoping he would. It was centrism that won the Democrats this election, and they should govern with centrism too. Murtha, it seems to me, is just too left-wing on some things (Iraq) and too right-wing on others (just about every social issue.) Not a recipe for legislative success, if you ask me, especially when coupled with the Abscam stuff.

Still, I love how Fox News, last night, tried to turn Murtha into a man of the left, just because of his Iraq stance. This is kind of like when conservative Republicans are called "moderates," when they're conservative on everything but abortion.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:33 PM | Comments (1)

When I Die, Don't Bury Me This Way

A recently murdered drug dealer in Philly had a, shall we say, interesting burial:

Police say that at a funeral last week for a suspected Kensington drug dealer who had been shot to death, his casket was packed with some curious items: marijuana, PCP, alcohol, condoms, Playboys, bullets, gun magazines and an obligatory copy of High Times.

Narcotics Capt. Chris Werner said the unidentified twentysomething man sold marijuana to undercover cops in recent weeks on Westmoreland Street near E and was observed selling pot a number of other times...

Though seasoned narcotics cops like Werner have witnessed more than a fair share of street-level punks displaying a complete and utter lack of respect for the law, they said the pot-and-PCP-packed coffin set a new low.

What kind of respectable drug organization would
waste perfectly good narcotics by burying them, with their recently deceased soldier? And, now that this has been in the paper, how long until some addict digs up the grave in search of the drugs?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2006

The "Real Killers" Are Off the Hook

So, O.J. really did it, huh? I mean, who saw that one coming? Next thing, you'll tell me Bob Knight assaulted one of his own players.

O.J. now joins Pete Rose in the exclusive club of "former athletes who have written confessional memoirs about how their previous confessional memoir was an elaborately constructed lie."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:51 PM | Comments (0)

The Ethics of Borat

We've all heard the question, by now, of whether it's journalistically unethical for reporters to interview Sacha Baron Cohen in character as Borat. I tend to think "no," but it's not the biggest deal. Joel Stein of the L.A. Times- not exactly the first name I think of when I consider "journalistic gravitas," shares a particularly egregious example:

Male journalists get suckered into high-fiving him over the death of his wife. They laugh with Western arrogance over the fact that Borat's father is named Boltok the Rapist. Harry Smith wrestled him on "The Early Show." Becky Anderson of CNN International, desperate to play along, asked: "I've got plow experience, I've got no retardation in the family, and I'm not Jewish. Any chance that you and I could have a little thing?"
Topic for discussion: if it's wrong for journalists to interview Borat in character, is it not also unethical to report on Santa Claus as if he were real?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:22 PM | Comments (1)

Political Photo of the Year

It looks like everyone in the Democratic Party is distancing themselves from John Kerry- even the Senate leadership.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:07 PM | Comments (0)

Apparently, Being Too Racist For the Senate Leadership Has a Four-Year Statute of Limitations

News Item: Trent Lott to become Senate Minority Whip.

There's hope yet for George Allen's political career.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)

Their Most Embarrassing Moment of the Year is No Longer "Just Crown Their Ass"

News Item: Cards apologize for sound glitch during Tillman tribute

And you didn't think they could possibly screw up the aftermath of Tillman's death more than the military already did.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2006

The Other BCS

Yes, the National Hockey League is on the same network as this, a program known as the Barbeque Championship Series. Sounds like an "Iron Chef" retread, except the food looks much tastier. That, and one of the competitors looks like the long-lost fourth member of ZZ Top.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)

The 51 Million Dollar Man

The Boston Red Sox, as expected, won the auction for superstar pitcher Daisuke Matzuzaka, bidding an unbelievable $51.1 million just for the rights to negotiate with the pitcher, who was MVP of the World Baseball Classic. He'll likely get $40 million more in actual salary.

Depending on the outcome, Matzuzaka will either give the Red Sox baseball's best rotation (along with Schilling, Beckett, and Papelbon), or -if it doesn't work out- be looked upon as one of the worst signings in baseball history.

As for the implications on the Yanks/Sox rivalry, let's just say, things will certainly get awkward should Matzuzaka and Hideki Matsui run into each other at the No-Panties Shabu-Shabu.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Sam Donnellon of the Philly Daily News, in a dynamite column on why Reid and McNabb deserve more gratitude:

"We wanted Ricky Williams. We got Donovan McNabb. We wanted Dick Vermeil. We got Andy Reid. Both have been gifts, the former molded into one of the NFL's premier quarterbacks by the latter...

So why don't we like either? Why, when McNabb smiles in the huddle during a late-game collapse against the Giants, does he spend the next day explaining he was trying to keep himself and his team loose? Why, when he is filmed smiling at a pre-arranged children's charity event the day after that loss to Jacksonville, does a segment of the population express outrage in e-mails and over the airwaves? How dare he laugh? This is serious stuff. He doesn't care as much as we do. He doesn't take the losses seriously enough. Why, when I played in high school...

We know now what a disaster picking Williams over McNabb would have been, or even Tim Couch over McNabb would have been, or even Daunte Culpepper over McNabb would have been. So we got lucky. In McNabb, we got a gift we didn't want, but one that was better than anything we were asking for. And one that has been consummately more fun than those other, um, gifts would have been."

Most cities complain that their quarterback can't play (which is currently true in Oakland, Washington, Miami, and about 15 other cities.) Philly complains when their quarterback smiles at a charity event the next day. Perspective, people. Please.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 06:06 PM | Comments (0)

How Many Things Are Wrong With This Sentence? Wheelchair-bound grandmother, 37, was city's 355th homicide

On the bright side, the killer was not Denise Richards.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:38 PM | Comments (2)

I am Shocked, Shocked!

News Item: Bobby Knight Pushes Player's Chin

I've said it many times, and I'll say it again: Knight is a violent sociopath, with a long-established pattern of physical abuse of young men, who should have been banned for college basketball years ago. He has hit players, choked them, slapped them, and grabbed their arms, among numerous other transgressions. The day Indiana fired him was a great one for collegiate sports in America, and if Texas Tech fired him one game shy of breaking Dean Smith's career wins record, that would be even greater.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:30 PM | Comments (1)

A Question to Ponder


"SERIOUSLY, THE ONLY OTHER EXAMPLE I COULD COME UP WITH WAS 'DAVID MELECH YISRAEL': Is Christina Aguilera's "Ain't No Other Man" -- the subject being her husband, Jordan Bratman -- the best song ever written about a Jewish man?"

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

Hey, At Least the Twins Won Something This Year

News Item: Terry Ryan Named Executive of the Year.

That, and Santana's looking like the Cy Young favorite, once again.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:37 AM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2006

Outing Mehlman

This week's North Star column, on the bizarre flap involving Bill Maher outing Ken Mehlman to Larry King, is online here.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:38 PM | Comments (2)

No Russ in '08

Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin announced today that he will not run for president in 2008, ending the hopes of the Kos crowd that he would be the Howard Dean of next year, the idea of some Jews that he would be the first Semitic president, and the dream of campaign finance fetishists of a McCain vs. Feingold presidential election.

So who takes the left-of-Hillary slot? Al Gore? John Edwards? Bernie Sanders?

Not a good day for Russ- he also missed out on making the Forward 50. Even George Allen made it. As did Scarlett Johansson.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:35 PM | Comments (1)

Is This What He Meant by "Grab Him by His Money"?

News Item: Borat hoards box-office cash

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

Not a Good Day For Torii

Star Tribune: Hunter, impaled on chair in fall from bed, dies

Oh, you mean, uh, never mind.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2006

Eagles Fly Again

I was at the Linc today to see the Eagles snap their three-game losing streak with a convincing 27-3 victory over divisional rival Washington. The win, which brings Philly to 5-4, was the Eagles' first win in over a month, as the three straight losses were followed by last week's bye.

That month led to all sorts of hand-wringing in Philly, including the return of the asinine "does McNabb have heart?" debate, and a truly retarded talk radio brouhaha over whether the introduction of McNabb's clothing line during the bye week was a "distraction." By two weeks of this nonsense, it really was necessary to finally play a game.

Now, you would think that having their team get off to a commanding early lead, maintain and increase it, and dominate their opponent in every facet of the game would make the home fans happy. You would think wrong. The people around us yelled, booed, and cursed Reid and McNabb for more or less the entire game, especially on a couple of drives in which they had to settle for field goals. Yes, that's right, they booed throughout a 27-3 victory. And people wonder where the "Negadelphia" reputation comes from.

We got the tickets from a friend of my soon-to-be brother-in-law, and he had sat in the seats a couple of times himself. At halftime, he asked me if there had been a bald, fat guy with a mustache sitting behind us who had been yelling for the entire game. There was indeed (he had remembered that guy from previous games), but then I suppose there's a guy like that behind about 60% of the seats in the stadium.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:37 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

"Some people seem to believe that their party could and should stay in power forever, always holding all branches of government, and that any loss any time is inexcusable, and always is somebody's fault. This is insanity. No party has enough of the people, or enough of the truth, to make this sustainable: The system is built around balance of power, frequent reverses, enforced House cleanings, and changes in tone. As David Brooks notes, lack of power corrupts absolutely. In the 1950's, having lost the White House for five elections running, Republicans produced Joe McCarthy. In the past decade, Democrats lost Congress and some very tight races, and produced Michael Moore. Few conservatives are morose at the loss of the House, which ought to flip every decade for reasons of hygiene. Turn the rascals out, and bring in new rascals. And then throw the new rascals out."
-Noemie Emery, providing some sober analysis in- of all places- the Weekly Standard. Though I wouldn't argue that Michael Moore, noxious as he is, has been anywhere near the destructive force in America that McCarthy was.
Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:30 PM | Comments (0)

Spread Option

The over/under in today's Bengals-Chargers game, according to the Sunday Inquirer, was 48. The Chargers, by themselves, scored 49, in beating Cincy 49-41. If you were wondering why I don't bet on football, that there is why.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2006

One Less Reason to Hate the Yankees

They've traded their most despicable player, Gary Sheffield, to Detroit for three prospects, after the serial malcontent complained that the team had picked up his option without extending his contract (the Tigers went ahead and gave him two more years.)

What an odd trade- when was the last time the Yankees traded a veteran for prospects? Or the Tigers traded prospects for a veteran?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:08 PM | Comments (0)

"Billy Crystal. I Crap Bigger Than Him"

Jack Palance, who died yesterday at age 89, had a long and distinguished career as an actor. But I'll always remember him for his Oscar acceptance speech, when he did one-handed push-ups and said the memorable quote (from "City Slickers") to his co-star, and Oscar host. Unfortunately, the Independent was the only newspaper in the world, as far as I know, that mentioned the quote.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:05 PM | Comments (0)

Right Wing Books of '07

Writing on TNR's web site, the Philadelphia Inquirer's Michael Currie Schaffer gives us some of the sorts of books we should expect to see on "the road back" for Republicans. Here's my favorite:

What's the Matter with the Main Line? How Liberals Won the Brow of America. In 2006, three Republican candidates in the wealthy suburbs of Philadelphia were in danger of being swept out of office. The districts where Democrats Joe Sestack and Patrick Murphy knocked off GOP incuments--and where Lois Murphy nearly did the same--were once the prototypical GOP constituencies: rich, preppy, and dedicated to keeping their hard-earned money out of the grubby hands of social-welfare schemers. In this trenchant history, a conservative intellectual firebrand describes how the Democrats cleverly used wedge social issues to turn these natural Republicans against their class interests.
I assure you, there's a lot the matter with the Main Line. But at least now, I'm liking how they're voting.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:02 PM | Comments (3)

November 10, 2006

Quote of the Day

"Tuesday was the death knell for Rovism—the quaint and now fully discredited theory that majorities are built not by expanding support with ideas that work but by mobilizing extreme minorities with ideas that aren't meant to be enacted and wouldn't work if they did."
-Slate's Bruce Reed, summing up the 2006 election results in a nutshell.
Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:45 PM | Comments (0)

How Dare You Depict Us As the Drunken Idiots We Are!

News Item: Frat boys sue over drunken appearance in 'Borat'

Apparently, the three University of South Carolina frat boys are upset with the filmmakers for showing them ripping Jews and blacks, and arguing in favor of the return of slavery. The men, calling themselves "John Doe #1 and John Doe #2" (because obviously, no one knows their names or what they look like), are using the Mel Gibson defense: claim that they signed the movie releases after "heaving drinking."

I'm just amazed that there are any frat boys left in America who weren't previously familiar with "Da Ali G Show."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)

George Allen Concedes; Democrats Control Senate

Wow. And just think- If S.R. Siddarth calls in sick that day, Allen never calls him "Macaca," he probably wins the race, the Republicans keep the Senate, and Allen still runs for president in '08. Welcome to America, and congratulations on changing American political history.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:06 AM | Comments (0)

RIP, Ed Bradley

The CBS anchor and Philadelphia native died today of leukemia at age 65. I'd had no idea he even had the disease, and apparently neither did most of his colleagues. He was a great journalist and excellent interviewer, and he will be missed.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:39 AM | Comments (0)

Just a Coincidence, I'm Sure

Wednesday: Bill Maher, on Larry King, says RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman is gay.

Thursday: Mehlman announces he will leave his post in January.

It'll be interesting to see how the press covers this story, especially now that CNN has demanded YouTube pull the clip. So far, it looks like only the gay press is on it.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:28 AM | Comments (9)

November 09, 2006

Good For the Jews

Ha'aretz: New Senate will have 13 Jews, most ever; Democrats get 87% of the Jewish vote. All that, and we got rid of Cynthia McKinney.

Jews: In complete control of 13% of the government!

UPDATE: Meanwhile, Ed Jew's race for the San Francisco board of supervisors is still too close to call.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:54 PM | Comments (2)

Don't Light My Fire

News Item: The Doors Celebrate Their 40th Anniversary

Uh, actually, no they didn't. The Doors died in 1971, when Jim Morrison did. For them to celebrate their anniversary would be like if you still celebrated your anniversary with the wife who dumped you 25 years ago.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:50 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

"Let me put this as simply as I can: Rumsfeld has blood on his hands - American and Iraqi blood. He also directly ordered and personally monitored the torture of military detainees. He secured legal impunity for his own war crimes, but that doesn't mean the Congress shouldn't investigate more fully what he authorized. He remains one of the most incompetent defense secretaries in history (McNamara looks good in comparison). But he is also a war criminal: a torturer who broke the laws of this country. The catastrophe in Iraq will stain him for ever. His record of torture has indelibly stained the United States."
-Andrew Sullivan, on the thankfully now-former SecDef. Makes it even crazier that John Boehner referred to Rummy as "the best thing that's happened to the Pentagon in 25 years," which is one good reason why Boehner is now the former House Majority Leader. I mean, what about all the Secretaries of Defense who actually won wars?
Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:13 AM | Comments (1)

November 08, 2006

Good Will Santorum

Today is the first day in about a year that our newspaper office has not received a single blast-fax from Rick Santorum's campaign. I sort of feel like Ben Affleck at the end of "Good Will Hunting," pulling up to Matt Damon's house and finally, joyfully, realizing that he's really gone, like he always wished.

(Zoom in on the back of Rick's car, as it drives away from Washington...)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:11 PM | Comments (0)

How the Dems Did It

I break down the election in this week's North Star column.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

He Makes Today's Crazy Athletes Look Downright Sane

News Item: Former Ballplayer Lonnie Smith Once Considered Murdering GM John Schuerholz.

I think I can safely say none of us saw that one coming.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

Rumsfeld Fired, Now

Finally. Finally, finally, finally. Rummy is gone, only about three years too late. How many good men died because of this man's incompetence? The list, I'm afraid, is very, very long.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)

Guess the Fake

Four of these are things Hugh Hewitt really did blog in the last 24 hours; one of them I just made up. See if you can guess.

1. "Senator McCain should rethink his presidential run. Amid the ruins of the GOP's majority there is a clear culprit."

2. "The GOP couldn't recover from Foley's repulsive conduct, and the enemy was willing to kill randomly in the run-up to the vote in order to demoralize an American public."

3. "Senator Santorum is now available for a seat on the SCOTUS should one become available."

4. "Congratulations to the MSM and the terrorists, who assisted the Democrats in tonight's shocking victory."

5. "The conservative base turned out, and whether or not the House stays GOP, it prevented a wave and may yet prevent the House from going Democratic."

It's #4, of course. But admit it, you had to look.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:02 PM | Comments (2)

Farewell to Two Editors

Just a day after the very capable Dean Baquet was removed as editor of the Los Angeles Times, the news came today that Amanda Bennett, editor of my corporate overlords at the Philadelphia Inquirer, has stepped down. She will be replaced by Bill Marimow.

I hope this isn't a sign, but for the "Wire" watchers among you, you know that ineffective asshole who's the new head of the Major Crimes Unit? His name also is "Marimow."

UPDATE: Nope, not a coincidence: Marimow was formerly editor of the Baltimore Sun, where "Wire" creator David Simon used to be a reporter. But Simon denies Marimow the cop is based on Marimow the editor. I'll know whether or not this is true based upon whether the new editor institutes a "rip and run" strategy to combat declining circulation rates.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)

Election Night 2006 Running Diary

(Note: All of this was written in real time, and edited only for grammar and style after the fact):

6:45: I voted today at the local precinct here in Delaware County. I went straight ticket Democrat in the five races listed: Ed Rendell for governor, Bob Casey for Senate, Joseph Sestak for Congress, and I don’t even remember the names of the state senator and assemblyman. Strangely, there were no third party candidates at all. No trouble at all with the touchscreen machine, at least as far as I know.

7:00: MSNBC is announcing first results: Virginia Senate too early to call, but the first declared winner is Bernie Sanders, who becomes the first avowed socialist in the Senate probably in 70 or so years. Richard Lugar won in Indiana; I’d had no idea he was even running for re-election.

7:02: The faces are looking pretty glum on Fox News. Then again, I remember the same thing early on in Election Day 2004.

7:04: During an interview with MSNBC, Rick Santorum’s brother shares that when Rick was in middle school, he talked about always wanting to be… governor. So I guess we know what his next move is.

7:08: Brit Hume introduces a “balance of power bar,” which will scroll at the bottom of the screen throughout the night. “You should watch it, not eat it,” he says.

7:22: A frightening MSNBC report about a section of Missouri in which twice as many people showed up to vote as there were ballots. Yikes. Can you say “court challenge”?

7:30: As the polls close in Ohio, the Senate race is reported as 0-0, with 0 precincts reporting. Good to know. Democrat Ted Strickland is the new governor of Ohio, machine difficulties in Cleveland notwithstanding.

7:31: Robert Byrd has been re-elected to a ninth Senate term, which I’d imagine will probably be his last.

7:50: On Fox News, Bill Kristol blames “blogs and YouTube” for George Allen’s possible loss in Virginia. Yea, it’s all YouTube’s fault.

7:54: Bill Richardson talks with Matthews about some funny campaign commercials that he starred in while dressed as a cowboy; then he jokes that the horse he was riding on died after he was done filming. Wow, that joke was even more botched than Kerry’s about Bush.

7:57: Joe Negron, who would replace Mark Foley on the ballot should Foley win, is leading with 10% of vote in, Fox News says. Wouldn’t losing to the admitted pederast be even more embarrassing than John Ashcroft losing to the dead guy?

7:58: Democrat Brad Ellsworth wins in the Indiana 8th, one of the first Democratic House gains of the night.

8:00: Ted Kennedy, who I also had no idea was running, was re-elected. Trent Lott and Olympia Snowe, too. And, sadly, Katherine Harris’ political career is over, as she has lost to Bill Nelson in Florida. “You remember her, from ‘Saturday Night Live,’” Matthews reminds us.

8:05: To the surprise of no one, Ed Rendell has been re-elected governor of Pennsylvania. And Deval Patrick has re-captured the Massachusetts governorship for the Democrats, following four straight Republicans. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict he’ll be a better governor than Paul Cellucci was.

8:07: Tim Russert is on MSNBC- minus the Magic Slate. Or does he only bust it out in presidential years? Kristol’s little telestrator on Fox is but a pale imitation.

8:18: Lou Dobbs interviews Howard Dean on CNN; Dean gets through the entire interview without squealing a single time. He also says he “just got off the phone” with Rahm Emanuel, and he complements the DCCC, so I guess they’re back on speaking terms again.

8:30: Dan Savage is the happiest man in America right now: NBC News says Bob Casey has defeated Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania. I’m sure, though, that he’ll have a shot at the WWE’s general council job.

8:32: Someone named “Weed” was the Democratic nominee for Congress in the Virginia 5th, but he lost to incumbent Virgil Goode. Yes, that’s right, Goode-Weed. Surprisingly, marijuana legalization did not come up much in the race.

8:37: Bob Menendez has won a full term in New Jersey. The only question, now is who will be appointed to replace Bob if/when he resigns and/or goes to jail.

8:41: Sherrod Brown wins Ohio, for another Democratic Senate pickup.

8:48: Nancy Grace, on Headline News, is ignoring the election and instead doing a segment on “Mom Missing: Baby Found Alone.” Nice to see she’s focusing on what’s important.

8:53: South Carolina Rep. Chip Pickering’s cameo in the “Borat” movie apparently didn’t keep him from getting re-elected, although his lack of an opponent seems to have helped as well.

8:54: How’d I not hear about this? There’s a race in New Jersey between Sexton and Saxton. Was the strategy just to confuse everyone?

8:56: Joe Scarborough takes issue, after the fact, with Howard Dean calling him biased (and Chris Matthews agreeing.) So he gives a three-minute soliloquy about how he’s ripped the Republicans a lot more than the Democrats the last two years. Then he apologizes for calling Hillary Clinton “a part of the far left” of the Democratic Party. It’s official: he’s no longer an O’Reilly clone. The panel then spends several more minutes debating how biased Scarborough is or isn’t. Gee, good thing there’s not an election going on, or anything like that.

9:00: The non-far-left Hillary Clinton has been re-elected to the Senate from New York. And Amy Klobachar wins the Minnesota Senate race, becoming the first female senator from my home state. Michigan’s Debbie Stabenow, North Dakota’s Kent Conrad, and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico win as well.

9:02: Matthews calls Herb Kohl winner in Wisconsin, and refers to him as the owner of the “Milwaukee Bulls.” Luckily, former sportscaster Keith Olbermann is on hand to correct him.

9:03: Craig Thomas has been re-elected senator in Wyoming, which is strange because I’m not sure I’d ever heard his name before.

9:10: Centrism triumphs over crazy leftism- just the way I like it- as Joe Lieberman wins in Connecticut. That should temper the gloating of the Kos people that I can almost hear from here.

9:13: Continuing the theme of confusing politics and sports, Olbermann mistakenly calls Lieberman “Lieberthal.” Joe certainly had a better year in ‘06 than now-former Phillies catcher Mike Lieberthal did.

9:17: Ben Cardin has won the Senate race over Michael Steele in Maryland. It’s really looking like a Democratic Senate is possible at this point. I was quite impressed with Steele, however; we’ll be seeing more of him in the future, I’m sure.

9:18: An MSNBC reporter, Kevin Corke, says that earlier that night he had asked a Steele staffer to tell him, “off the record,” how the mood was inside the campaign- and then Corke shares the staffer’s answer. Uh, Kevin, didn’t they teach you what “off the record” means?

9:20: Nancy Pelosi speaks at a rally, and asks the crowd, “are you ready for victory?” Everyone screams “yes!,” until, after two beats, one guy yells “no!”

9:22: The most undeserving election victory of the night? Probably Durham, N.C. district attorney Mike Nifong, the man behind the ridiculous Duke lacrosse prosecution.

9:24: Former “Apprentice” contestant Raj Bhakta, a Republican, has lost in his bid to unseat Allyson Schwartz in the Pennsylvania 13th. Raj had no hope, of course, but I liked him on the show, I loved that stunt he did with the elephant at the border, and he had about five times as many signs as Schwartz did, from what I saw, in Northeast Philadelphia. I’d like to see a lot more former reality TV people run for office, just for comedy’s sake.

9:27: Sheldon Whitehouse wins the Rhode Island Senate race, for another Democratic pickup. For control, Democrats need to win three of the following: Virginia, Missouri, Arizona, Tennessee, or Montana. Wouldn’t be surprised, at this point.

9:31: According to MSNBC, Martin O’Malley, the mayor of Baltimore, has been elected governor of Maryland, defeating incumbent Bob Ehrlich. O’Malley has been just as victorious, of course, as Thomas Carcetti, the mayor character based on him on HBO’s “The Wire.”

9:37: Keith Ellison has won in the Minnesota 5th to become the first-ever Muslim member of Congress, and the first African-American congressman from Minnesota. Expect him to be a very outspoken –and controversial- member of the House from the start.

9:38: Michelle Malkin appears on Fox News.

9:38: I click over to MSNBC.

9:41: Indiana’s Republican Congressman Chris “Count” Chocola has been defeated by Joe Donnelly. I hear the DNC wanted Boo Berry to run, but he had other commitments.

9:49: CNN’s bloggers are having their “blog party” at Tryst, a bar in the Adams Morgan area of Washington. That was, you may remember, an important place in the Gary Condit/Chandra Levy scandal.

9:50: So much for all those worries about Diebold hacking the voting machines to help Republicans, huh?

10:00: Santorum concedes, saying that he wants to help Casey because “he’s a good man.” I didn’t get that impression from the ten faxes a day from his campaign that my office has been getting for the last year, about what an incompetent hack Casey is.

10:11: Who’s less deserving of being on a national TV panel- Mike Barnicle, or Pat Buchanan?

10:16: Don Sherwood has lost in Pennsylvania. The lesson, as always: it’s a bad idea, if you’re in politics, to choke your Peruvian mistress during a backrub.

10:22: Andrew Cuomo has finally been elected to something, as he defeated Jeanine Pirro to become Attorney General in New York. Most Republicans this year only had one embarrassing election loss; Pirro had two.

10:28: Michael Arcuri, the guy who had the infamous “phone sex” ad aired against him, has won in the New York 24th.

10:46: Michael Barone, out of nowhere, predicts it will take “36 days” to determine who wins the Virginia Senate race. Yikes.

10:48: Until moving to Pennsylvania last year, I’d had a Democratic congressman for my entire life. And now I’m about to again, as Curt Weldon has been defeated by Joe Sestak in the Pennsylvania 7th. Another example of the Democrats coming up with a strong candidate and riding him to victory- the kind of thing they never, ever did before.

10:50: Heath Shuler is certainly much better at politics than he ever was at football: he’s been elected to Congress from North Carolina. “He finally completed something,” Olbermann says.

11:02: NBC News has officially projected that the Democrats have won control of the House.

11:20: “Dennis Hastert,” Olbermann says, “is now speaking.” Not for long, I’m afraid.

11:30: Wow, the South Dakota abortion ban failed. Awesome.

11:33: Steve Cohen has won the Memphis-area Congressional seat formerly held by Harold Ford, Jr. Cohen, who is Jewish and white, has vowed to join the Congressional Black Caucus, which led to one of the most nonsensical quotes of the campaign, from a local county commissioner: “The only reason he wants to join is that he wants to get money for Israel.”

11:56: Eckstein Award nominee David Freudenthal has been re-elected as governor of Wyoming.

12:08: MSNBC says James Webb has taken the lead in Virginia. Absolutely unbelievable, potential recount notwithstanding.

12:26: Bob Corker has won in Tennessee, the Washington Post says. I was rooting for Ford, and I hope he goes for it again next time a Senate seat opens up. Remember: Ford is very young, and was running in a very Republican state. This means that to win the Senate, the Democrats need to win all three remaining seats (Missouri, Montana and Virginia.) And yes, it is possible that they take all three.

12:35: George Allen speaks in Virginia, introducing his entire family, including his brother Bruce (the GM of the Tampa Bay Bucs.) Thus far, he has yet to accidentally drop any racial slurs.

12:45: Bob Shrum is discussing the election on MSNBC. It’s good that the Democrats didn’t listen to him at all during this election, because they would likely be looking at a vastly different result tonight if they had.

12:47: News from Minnesota: Ultraconservative Michelle Bachmann wins in the 6th; Tim Walz (not to be confused with the Minnesota Wild’s Wes Walz) knocks off Republican incumbent Gil Gutknecht in the 1st, and the Democrats capture the state House of Representatives for the first time in eight years. No word on the governors’ race. I love Minnesota. You can only marvel at a state that can send both Keith Ellison and Michelle Bachmann to Congress the same year.

12:59: A bizarre discussion of Bill and Hillary’s celebration behavior leads Matthews to comment that “I don’t get this whole ‘clapping for yourself’ stuff. It’s, like, Chinese, or something.” I think he’s tired.

1:02: Fox News says all the votes are in in Virginia, with Webb leading by a few thousand votes- and Bill Kristol says McCaskill is leading in Missouri. If Tester wins- Democratic Senate. Unbelievable.

1:15: Ford appears before the cameras. When he called Corker to concede, did either of them make a “call me, Harold” joke? A great speech, and he’d better run again in ’08.

1:36: No, the new Congressman from New York, John Hall, was NOT a member of Hall & Oates. He was in fact the frontman of Orleans, who sang “Still the One.”

1:40: An MSNBC reporter, Mike Viqueria, just said that, ironically, Nancy Pelosi is considered conservative by San Francisco standards. Then again, so is Hugo Chavez.

1:50: As Michael Barone sifts through polling data with pinpoint precision, Shepard Smith asks him questions and accidentally calls Montana “Vermont.” Not as bad as accidentally saying “cock” on the air, but still.

1:56: McCaskill declares victory in Missouri, and the numbers seem to back her up (though she has been projected winner by anyone, as far as I know.)

2:08: Just kidding- NBC calls it for McCaskill. What a strange route that Senate seat has taken: it was John Ashcroft’s, he lost it to the already-deceased Mel Carnahan, it was assumed by Carnahan’s widow Jean, she lost a special election to Talent to complete the term, and now it’s McCaskill’s.

2:12: The NBC group discusses the possibility that Joe Lieberman will switch parties, giving the Republicans the Senate again. This thesis assumes that Lieberman would 1) Go back on his word, 2) Depart the only party he’s ever known at a crucial time, 3) Leave the party with the momentum to join the party without it, and 4) Decide the Democrats are too left wing for him, right after they won a national election by running candidates from all over the political spectrum. So no, I don’t foresee that.

2:17: A Fox News question: who, exactly, is “Democratic strategist Kristin Powers”? I’ve never known her as anything other than a Fox News contributor. I love how all of the Republican “contributors” are heavyweights like Newt Gingrich and Robert Novak, and the Democratic ones are people nobody has ever heard of.

2:25: Scenes from the Schwarzenegger victory party: Ah-nuld was reportedly seen dancing with his mother-in-law, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, to “Let the Sun Shine In.” Yes, in order to win as a Republican this year, you have to be the sort of person who dances with a Kennedy, to music from “Hair,” in Beverly Hills.

2:34: David Schuster mistakenly refers to “George Webb,” transposing the names of the Virginia Senate candidates. There’s no such person, but George Webb is the name of a popular fast-food restaurant chain in Wisconsin.

2:54: Tim Pawlenty has won the Minnesota governors' race, in a squeaker, as the Dems could not complete the three-way states-I-used-to-live-in parlay along with Massachusetts' Deval Patrick and New York's Future First Jewish President, Eliot Spitzer. I wish Pawlenty had lost, of course, but I'm not a big Mike Hatch fan, and I probably would've voted for Peter Hutchinson, the independent candidate.

3:02: Good to see Steve Centanni back on Fox, especially since he was captured by terrorists in Gaza just three months ago.

3:05: All right, that's it for tonight. A banner day for the Democrats, thankfully not marred by any kind of voting machine trouble or widespread fraud. I'm anxious to see how Montana and Virginia turn out, but it looks to me like both houses have flipped. I'll be back tomorrow with more analysis.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:53 AM | Comments (6)

November 07, 2006

The End of Rick Santorum

Behold, one of the weirdest, creepiest ads in the history of politics:

Where, oh where, do we start here? The most conservative Republican in the Senate suddenly, for the first time, appealing to bipartisanship? And praising Hillary Clinton? And including scantily-clad men, when we know his views on gay issues? It's weird enough, even if we don't remember that Rick, as a young lawyer, was once council for the World Wrestling Federation. Makes me wonder if he and Pat Patterson ever met.

Santorum's loss tonight is the election result that I'm most eagerly awaiting.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 03:16 PM | Comments (4)

It's Coming to America First

On this election day, Andrew Sullivan posts the lyrics of Leonard Cohen's great song "Democracy." If you don't know the song, head straight on over to iTunes.

As for the election, I offer no predictions. My plan is to park out in front of the TV at 7 tonight (right after I vote), stay there until the results are determined, and probably do a running diary of the night that will be posted here in the morning (here's the '04 version.) I've also got my North Star column to write, as well as an editorial for the day-job paper.

Have a good election night, and don't forget to go and vote.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:40 PM | Comments (1)

Afghanistan's Next Top Cock

It was bad enough, a few months ago, when someone on MSNBC mentioned that the astronauts' space walk reminded her of her father spending a day in the garage, "experimenting with goopy black caulk." But Fox News' Jane Skinner did her one better earlier this week, saying the wrong thing when wrongly referring to the murder of Afghanistan's "top cop":

Keith Olbermann introduced this clip on "Countdown"; I was surprised he made no mention of the Steve Levy "bulging disc" incident, for which he himself had a front row seat.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:25 PM | Comments (1)

A Woody Allen Movie, With 11-Year-Olds

That's how one critic described "Little Manhattan," a delightful and funny little movie that Becca and I watched last night. It's been on HBO a lot lately; we actually started watching it a few weeks ago and missed the end because we had to go somewhere.

A wonderfully photographed New York movie that very much makes the Upper West Side a character, "Little Manhattan" captures as well as any movie I've seen what it's like to be a preteen boy, just discovering girls, and not having any idea what to do or say. And, it's got Josh from "The West Wing" and Miranda from "Sex and the City" as the hero's divorcing-but-still-living-together parents.

It's sort of unbelievable that a movie this good barely got a theatrical release last year, and that I'd never even heard of it until we stumbled across it on TV.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:05 PM | Comments (1)

Quote of the Day

A letter writer named Al Singer, in Phil Sheridan's Philadelphia Inquirer Q&A forum:

"I ask this of you, since I respect your mind and the fact that you haven't sold out to new breed of tabloid junkies who litter the sport pages these days. Why has sports journalism taken the role of critic in something as whimsical as sports? What are its roots and justifications of this style of journalism. Seriously, who are any of us to be critical of major league teams that win say half their games. To me, anything above that is gravy when you consider the competition of so many teams, the luck of draw in selecting men, the simple twists of fate and capricious bounces of the ball, and the "war of attrition" aspect where ill fated injuries are not really misfortune but inexorable. It's like we can't seem to put sports in perspective with what we really should be examining."
So obvious, yet no one ever seems to actually say it. Sheridan agrees, stating that "are the Phillies contributing to global warming? Are the Eagles to blame for problems with the economy or the education system? Of course not, and it does seem that a lot of people direct their ire at sports figures out of all proportion." He's great. Let's hope he survives the Inquirer's upcoming staff cuts.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 11:58 AM | Comments (1)

November 06, 2006

Thoughts On a Bat Mitzvah

I had a wonderful time up in Boston this weekend at the Bat Mitzvah of my soon-to-be-wife's cousin. But three things disturbed me: Some of the decidedly grown-up outfits worn by some of the decidedly non-grownup female attendees; the fact that the song "Baby Got Back" was played, and my realization that "Baby Got Back" was released before most of said female attendees were born. Damn, I feel old all of a sudden.

(Also of note: a cantor at the Bat Mitzvah whose resemblance to Larry David was so uncanny it was almost impossible to separate the two in my mind. The upshot, though, was that the cantor apparently did not enter the synagogue by buying tickets from a scalper.)

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:16 PM | Comments (2)

You Mean He Didn’t Really Love Wanda?

News Item: Neil Patrick Harris, Actor Who Played Doogie Howser, Says He’s Gay

Before announcing it in the press, he typed out the announcement in his Apple IIgs-based computer diary.

Good for him; let’s just say he had a much easier coming-out process than Ted Haggard did. And if you ask me, the news adds a new, much-appreciated level of irony to Harris’ performance as suit-clad womanizer Barney on "How I Met Your Mother."

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:01 PM | Comments (2)


News Item: Saddam Hussein Found Guilty of War Crimes; Sentenced to Death By Hanging

Regardless of how the Iraq war has turned out, and whether you were for or against it at the beginning or today, you absolutely cannot deny that the end of Saddam is an excellent development.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:59 PM | Comments (1)

These Bloggers Are Who We Thought They Were!

If you want to crown them, just crown their ass.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:58 PM | Comments (0)

The Halloween Bomber

Yes, I am aware of the story about the University of Pennsylvania student who showed up at a Halloween party dressed as a suicide bomber, and had his picture taken with the president of the university. Yes, it’s ridiculous, yes, everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves, and yes, that school is an absolute cesspool of P.C. fascism, even by normal academic standards. But let’s not get carried away here. There are much more important things going on these days that are much more worthy of our outrage.

Now, if an actual suicide bomber had showed up in West Philly, then I’d feel differently. At that point, people at Penn would likely argue that the presence of Jewish students created a hostile environment for the bomber...

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:57 PM | Comments (1)

So Much For My Brief Optimism

Did I say 8-8, or did I say 8-8?

The Vikings played their second consecutive joke of a game yesterday, losing 9-3 to San Francisco in a game that was probably about as exciting as it sounds (I followed it on my cell phone while driving back from Boston.)

After the Vikes failed to score a touchdown again, I'm beginning to realize why all those teams dumped Brad Johnson over the years. Are they calling for Tavaris Jackson in Minnesota yet?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

Hooray For Ron

Ron Washington, who I remember seeing on the field at one of my first Twins games in the mid-'80s (and, later, when I poked my head in and looked into the Metrodome dugout) has been named the new manager of the Texas Rangers. Good for him, finally getting a chance after several decades in baseball.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2006

To Beantown

I'm heading up to Boston for the weekend for a family Bat Mitzvah, and while up there I'll try to avoid the junior senator, who I'm guessing is holed up in an undisclosed location somewhere in the area until next Wednesday. In the meantime, here's Rebecca and my engagement announcement.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 12:00 PM | Comments (5)

November 02, 2006

Is It Even a Surprise Anymore?

One of the most hateful fire-breathers on the entire religious right has resigned from his church because... he had an (alleged) affair with a male escort:

Ted Haggard, one of the most prominent evangelical pastors in the nation, resigned today as president of the National Association of Evangelicals amid allegations that he carried on a three-year sexual relationship with a male prostitute.

Haggard, founder of the 14,000-member New Life Church, has denied the accusations but said in a statement released by the church today that he could "not continue to minister under the cloud created by accusations made on Denver talk radio this morning."

The reign of these lying hucksters, mercifully, is likely coming to an end in just five days.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:18 PM | Comments (5)

And You Thought UA Couldn't Sink Lower Than "Heaven's Gate"

News Item: MGM Studios Puts Tom Cruise in Charge of United Artists

It's like Cruise wasn't happy ruining his own career, so now he has to go and trash the name and legacy of a great film studio with a lineage that goes back nearly a century. Not good times. I can't wait until he greenlights another L. Ron Hubbard novel.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 10:09 PM | Comments (0)

Imus is Right

I don't often agree with the creepy morning show host, but this time he's dead-on. Him and Kerry yesterday:

KERRY: Of course I'm sorry about a botched joke. You think I love botched jokes? I mean, it's pretty stupid.

IMUS: I love you, but just stop it. I'm begging you.

KERRY: Well, I think it's important to talk about Iraq.

IMUS: I'm begging you.

KERRY: I hear you. You do not have to beg. You're my friend. ...

IMUS: Stop now, stop now. I'm begging you.

I'm with him, except for the "I love you" part.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 05:59 PM | Comments (0)

SS.Net Predicts the Future

This blog, Sept. 15:

Just a few months after Los Angeles Magazine published a lengthy piece on why everyone in LA hates T.J. Simers, Chicago Magazine has come forward with a lengthy report of its own, on why everyone in Chicago hates Jay Mariotti. I look forward to future pieces in Boston Magazine on Bob Ryan, Texas Monthly on Tim Cowlishaw, and various other profiles in national magazines on why everyone in every city hates "Around the Horn."
Okay, so I got the Globe writer wrong:

Boston Magazine:

Ron Borges has amassed more enemies than any other journalist in town. Yet as much as it would pain them to admit it, Boston’s sports fans couldn’t live without him.
Didn't anyone notice that the exact same story has now been written in three different cities about three different sportswriters?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2006

Quote of the Day

Bill Simmons:

Isiah Thomas, head coach
We mentioned how the same guy who once squandered a playoff series in which his team had 10 of the best 12 players (2003, Boston vs. Indiana) is back coaching again, right? This is like Sofia Coppola casting herself as Marie Antoinette.
Brilliant. Why didn't I think of that one myself?

Posted by Stephen Silver at 02:44 PM | Comments (0)

Chutzpah Award Nominee

New York Post:

November 1, 2006 -- A student at a Brooklyn high school named for a prominent Jewish educator faced a blitzkrieg of trouble yesterday when he arrived dressed as Adolf Hitler for Halloween.
That whole idea was a lot funnier when Cartman tried it.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:57 PM | Comments (0)

Film Critic Quote of the Week

"Don't get me wrong -- I think Ms. Bening is a unique talent who has lit up the screen in films such as "The Grifters" and "Bugsy." She's at her best when she's an outwardly sunny charmer with a predator's heart. But here she gives a screeching, self-indulgent performance in a precious, pretentious, relentlessly irritating film about deranged people engaging in twisted acts and telling themselves they're free spirits when in fact they should all be institutionalized."
-Richard Roeper, reviewing "Running With Scissors" in the Chicago Sun-Times. It was an absolute mess of a movie, made by a writer/director ("Nip/Tuck" creator Ryan Murphy) who clearly has no idea how to put a coherent screenplay together. But it was just crazy enough that I was entertained most of the way through (no, I didn't read the book.)
Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:55 PM | Comments (1)

The Piss Man Sues

News Item: Urine Collectors Plan to Sue NFL

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)

Not Him Again...

Well, look on the bright side: I guess now we won't be subjected to that 2008 Kerry presidential campaign...

John Kerry put his foot in his mouth again yesterday, making a botched joke in which it appeared he had insulted the education level of the troops serving in Iraq. Kerry claimed that the "joke," in which he said that young people will get "stuck in Iraq" if they don't study hard, was directed at the people who started the war, not those fighting. But the damage, alas, has been done, and the Republicans now get the luxury of running against Kerry again.

In 2004 the presidential election was a rehashing of the Vietnam War; apparently the '06 race is merely a rehashing of the '04 race. Oh joy.

Once again, however, we're getting the delightful phenomenon known as Republican Fake Outrage. Every GOP pundit and politician has already declared how outraged they are about what Kerry said. But they're not. They're absolutely thrilled. This flap might give them political traction, and if it does, something tells me they'll get over their offense.

The Democrats, meanwhile, have all distanced themselves from Kerry. Unfortunately, they're two years too late.

Posted by Stephen Silver at 01:38 PM | Comments (2)