And you thought the Alycia Lane scandals were over when CBS3 fired her... supposedly, Mendte is being investigated by the FBI, which is looking into whether he snooped into the e-mails of, you guessed it, Lane, who was his co-anchor at KYW until recently.
The joke is obvious- he was looking for the bikini photos!
Anyway, it's obviously wrong to snoop in the e-mails of a colleague without permission- but who knew the FBI got involved when that happened? Are people actually ever prosecuted for this sort of thing?
Hillary really has no justification for remaining in the race now. And you can tell how happy her supporters are about it (according to TNR):
Howard Dean may hope that the "healing will begin today," but two blocks away from the northwest Washington Marriott where the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee is meeting right now to try to figure out Florida and Michigan, the Hillary protesters are occupying an utterly alternate (and healing-free) universe: a universe in which one of the big lawn rally's speakers yells that the Democratic Party no longer is in the business of "promoting equality and fairness for all"; in which a Hillary supporter with two poodles shouts, "Howard Dean is a leftist freak!"; in which a man exhibits a sign that reads "At least slaves were counted as 3/5ths a Citizen" and shows Dean whipping handcuffed people; and in which Larry Sinclair, the Minnesota man who took to YouTube to allege that Barack Obama had oral sex with him in the back of a limousine in 1999, is one of the belles of the ball.Funny that that "gay sex" rumor never got much traction. If not even Fox News or Drudge takes the guy seriously, chances are there's nothing to it and the guy's a nut.
Funny stuff from the Philadelphia Turkey:
Kidd Chris Replaced by Farting OrangutanStill considerably preferable to both Angelo Cataldi and Preston and Steve.
May 27, 2007 – Controversial former WYSP morning host Kidd Chris, fired last week for the March broadcast of a racist song parody, will be replaced by Nibbles the Farting Orangutan, according to excited station officials. "Since [Kidd Chris'] dismissal, there's been a great deal of speculation about just who would host our flagship show," general manager Jim Loftus said yesterday. "So after a great deal of consideration, we've decided that Nibbles, with his hooting, screeching, and loud, wet farts, would be a natural successor to Kidd Chris."
The orangutan, famed for his brashness and chronic flatulence, was thrilled to be making the move from the Baltimore Zoo to Philadelphia's sixth-highest-rated radio show. "Hee hee hee hee HEE!" he screeched from his new studio office, pausing to emit a long, plangent fart. "HOO HOO HOO HOO!" Interim morning DJ Frank Lario said that such comedic discourse would likely win over Chris' devoted fan base. "All that farting and hoo-hooing and poo-throwing is right up their alley," he enthused. "I think it's a great hire."
Yes, the '80s are back, and David Stern's prayers have been answered. Can't wait for it to start; go Celtics.
So apparently, Marple Township, Pa., where I live, is the "porn capital of Delaware County." That's according to a newspaper story, from early 2004, about a gang of book burners down the street from me, as reported at the time by the News of Delaware County:
Jack Whoriskey says that books such as "The Illustrated Guide to Extended Massive Orgasm" can only be found at the Marple Township Library and not at any other library in Delaware or Chester counties.And he doesn't like them, so we'd better just go ahead and ban them for everybody. Luckily, the county commissioners stood up to him at the time, but next time I'm at the library I'll have to check to see if the books are still there.
"Marple Township is the pornography capital of Delaware County," says Whoriskey.
About 75 residents, ranging from teenagers to senior citizens, went to St. Pius X church to hear Whoriskey and others speak about the appropriateness of sexual instruction books, such as "Sex Toys 101: A Playfully Uninhibited Guide".
That whole meeting sounds just like that scene in early in "Field of Dreams" where Costner and his wife fight the book-burners. "You know why Terrence Mann stopped writing books? Because he masturbates!"
(Thanks to LilB for letting me know about this.)
News Item: Baltimore Looks to Ban Cheap Cigars
Geraldine Ferraro has written a wholly unconvincing op-ed in the Boston Globe blaming "sexism," fully and completely, on the part of the press, the Obama campaign, and everyone else, for Clinton's loss to Obama. Here's my favorite part, where this alleged liberal channels Sean Hannity:
". Since March, when I was accused of being racist for a statement I made about the influence of blacks on Obama's historic campaign, people have been stopping me to express a common sentiment: If you're white you can't open your mouth without being accused of being racist. They see Obama's playing the race card throughout the campaign and no one calling him for it as frightening."Those poor, poor, disadvantaged white people! When will they start getting a fair shake in this country?
If you know me, you know that I'm white, and you know that I've been known to open my mouth quite a lot. But I don't think I've ever been called racist. It's also especially hilarious when Ferraro attacks Obama because he's "someone who has gone to Columbia and Harvard Law School and is married to a Princeton-Harvard Law graduate." How dare he and his wife go to good schools! Somebody stop them before it's too late!
(Thanks to Jabbett for the heads-up).
Yea, turns out there's a lot of dirt on Al Franken. There's an uproar now about an article Franken wrote for that noted home of good articles, Playboy, eight years ago called "Porn-o-rama," in which...
Franken called the Internet a "terrific learning tool," writing that his 12-year-old son was able to use it for a sixth-grade report on bestiality.I said this when I first heard Franken was running: he's got about 30 years of writings and hundreds of hours of radio broadcasts just waiting to be picked through for "controversial" statements, and revelations of such breaking every week throughout the campaign could very well lead to a loss. Now, several Democratic Congressmen are asking questions, and his former opponent, Mike Ciresi, could even get back in the race.
Apparently, she's got a Kaffiyah problem of her own:
I bet she's OUTRAGED by the implication. (Thanks to Jeremy for noticing this.)
The anonymous author of the awesome election poll-crunching Web site fivethirtyeight.com has unmasked himself as... Nate Silver, the well-known writer for Baseball Prospectus. As a baseball fan, a political junkie, and a fellow Silver, I think this is awesome news.
If Crist were the veep pick, it would be like Obama-is-a-Muslim in reverse- a certain percentage of stupid voters would refuse to vote for him because they think he's gay, even if he's not.
News Item: Clay Aiken impregnates female friend.
I love living in a country where a 50-year-old woman can be impregnated by a sexually ambiguous but likely gay pop star 25 years her junior. This story makes me proud to be an American.
Ella Taylor of the Voice, on the "Sex and the City" movie:
For one thing, Sarah Jessica Parker dressed like somebody's eight-year-old daughter; when she had sex, I felt as though I was watching child molestation.Yes, now that "Sex" is back, all America can resume its mass delusion that Parker is an attractive woman.
I saw the movie the other night at the Philly premiere- one of them, anyway- and let's just say it's exactly like the TV show, only (literally) five times longer. If you liked the show, you'll like the movie, and if you hated it, likewise. As someone who enjoyed the show at times and was infuriated with it at others- mostly because of its celebration of unabashed materialism, and the effect it had on New York women who felt like they needed to live that life and EXACTLY that life or else their lives were empty. I felt much the same way about the movie.
Even more entertaining, though, was the atmosphere at the screening which, as more than one critic has pointed out, was like the female version of the first "Phantom Menace" midnight showings. I especially loved the radio station contests before the movie, where they gave out designer bags and dresses to whichever woman could fake the best orgasm.
Sepinwall has the goods: There's a premiere date for Season 2 (July 27), as well as a release date for the Season 1 DVD. So if you never saw the first season of this majestic show, you have two months. It's also moving to Sunday nights, although I don't think I ever actually watched it live so I don't even remember what night it was on in the first place.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, on Yglesias' blog, writing about Obama's "race problem" and making an excellent point:
"I won't get into this too much, but I just want to say that rather than writing a memo to Obama on how to deal with "white voters" and the "race problem", Newsweek would have done better to send "white voters" a memo on how to deal with Obama and the "race problem." It was tragic to see so many interviews with folks in Kentucky and West Virginia saying point blank that they wouldn't vote for Obama because he was a colored. The conclusion always was, "Wow this is a huge problem for Obama," not "Wow. this is a huge problem for these people."Amen to that. And besides, it's not like this will prevent Obama from winning. Kentucky and West Virginia are two states out of 50, and probably weren't going to go Democratic this year regardless of the nominee's race. Obama's support comes from big city denizens, the highly educated, and African-Americans, and those two states have not so many of any of the above.
I know that seems backward, but roll with me for a second: We can all agree that a presidential election is an extremely important event, arguably the most important mass event in the country. If you have voters who essentially disqualify candidates, on race alone, isn't that, like, kind of a problem for the voters?"
There's a piece in this month's Philadelphia magazine by Robert Rys that's getting a lot of attention in town, about the Phillies' reclusive ownership group. It's an interesting piece, but like most sports arguments in Philly, it seems way too informed by talk radio conventional wisdom.
The piece looks at the "phantom five" owners of the Phillies who rarely appear in public and are content to allow the team president, Dave Montgomery, to act as their frontman. Useful in the piece is the biographical information about these people, as well as some funny, colorful details (the Betz family may have only bought into the team in order to get parking spaces for Eagles games?). Less defensible is the actual employment of a private detective to take photos of the owners, and (even worse) the actual phone numbers of two of the owners being published in Larry Platt's editor's letter.
Rys' story contains way too much of the sort of reasoning common on WIP during every Phils losing streak: the ownership doesn't care enough, is too cheap, "the fish rots from the head," "If you throw out last year, they haven't made the playoffs in 15 years!","[Co-owner John Middleton] just inherited more than $2 billion from the sale of his family's cigar company- why doesn't he put some of that towards Johan Santana?"
The fact is, the quality (or lack thereof) of the ownership group has very little to do with how good or bad the team has been in the last five or so years. They have a budget, just like every other team in the sport save for the Red Sox and Yankees. It's a HIGH budget, but it's a budget, The owners are willing to authorize a $100 million payroll and hire a smart general manager, and otherwise stay out of the way. I'd much, much rather have people like that in charge of my team than, say, the Pohlads.
Yes, Dave Montgomery (and Bill Giles before him) stands guilty of uneven decision-making ability, appalling tone deafness and horrible PR savvy. And everything I've heard about the way the team was run in the pre-Citizen's Bank Park days says the not committed/cheap narrative was true back then- but it isn't now, and hasn't been for quite some time. It's a constant recycling of a no-longer-true bit of conventional wisdom, sort of like people saying there's not enough competitive balance in baseball, even though seven different teams have won the last eight World Series.
What seems inevitable is that after a few members of the current group, most of whom are in their 70s and 80s, pass away or otherwise throw in the towel, the team will be sold, either to Middleton himself, or to a new owner altogether, at which point the "Phantom Five" will be a thing of the past anyway. Then, the city will have a whole new set of owners to complain about.
News Item: Ricky Martin endorses Clinton
No, he's not a superdelegate.
Andrew Sullivan calls this "more evidence of - to me - inexplicable gay support for the Clintons." But who does Clay Aiken support?
Malkin and Johnson seem to have internalized what I call the “Ann Coulter Business Model.” It’s a familiar concept, based on a couple of simple propositions. First, there is no such thing as bad publicity. Second, as the sage Charles Barley observed, the meek may inherit the earth, but they don’t get the ball. To stand out from a crowd, you’ve got to be provocative. You’ve got to make your friends—and, almost as important, if not more so, your enemies—keep tuning in to see what you’re going to say next.I've got a feeling it's only going to get worse during the Obama Administration.
UPDATE: Arms and Influence notices another major scandal:
* Hitler wore pants.They're missing the big picture- Geraldo wears pants- and he has a mustache. Just like Hitler!
* MSNBC's Brian Williams, Tim Russert, and Chris Matthews wear pants.
Draw your own conclusions.
Stephen goes toe-to-toe with the head of the Family Research Council, who has the same name as the late gay actor who played Norman Bates:
The fact that Perkins and charlatans like him will have considerably less influence in the next White House, no matter who wins, makes me quite happy.
Yes, thanks to the Rachael Ray terrorist plot/scarf, they've pulled the ad in question. Proof positive that corporate America will cave in to any demand, no matter how laughable, so long as the word "boycott" is invoked.
I didn't think Michelle Malkin could ever do anything more loathsome than write a book called "In Defense of Internment," but pushing this nonsense is somehow even worse.
I plan to comment much more after I've read it, but three initial thoughts:
- I think the day a Republican White House press secretary writes a book in which he chides the national media for not being tough enough on the president and his policies is the day the "liberal media bias" argument officially dies.
- I love when a reporter breaks a story because he happened to see a book on sale at a bookstore a few days early because some employee put it out before he was supposed to, as Mike Allen did. I remember the same thing happening with the Pete Rose interview a few years ago.
- The "McSame" argument notwithstanding, I've got a feeling Scott McClellan probably does not have a job waiting for him in a McCain administration.
I review "Crystal Skull" in the Trend here. I give it the usual good-but-not-great review, but I think it says something that I saw the movie almost two weeks ago and there are maybe three or four moments that I actually remember.
Jon Stewart on the increasingly laughable Hillary Clinton:
Nathan Rabin continues the "My Year of Flops" series, with "Wired":
"I'd like to think that Hollywood treated the film version of Wired like a cancerous boil at least partially because reputable writers, directors, and actors would, all things considered, rather not urinate lustily on the decaying corpse of a beloved entertainer. To call Wired an unconscionable act of grave robbery/defilement would be an insult to the good name of grave-robbers everywhere. There are snuff films with more integrity."I've never seen "Wired," but I always wondered why it's not a classic: Michael Chiklis, as Belushi, in a movie based on a Bob Woodward biography, and from the screenwriter of "The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai"? But apparently, it sucks.
Ex-neocon/"End of HIstory" author Francis Fukyama, who now supports Obama:
"I think the Republicans don't deserve to get re-elected this year," he said in an interview in Sydney yesterday. "I think they could use four years, or eight years, in the wilderness... Their two big things are fear of [terrorism] and fear of immigrants - that's not an agenda."But he forgot so many other fears: fear of gays, fear of Muslims, fear of Rachael Ray's scarf...
Always a favorite of mine, whether he was directing "Tootsie," "Out of Africa" and "The Firm," or appearing on camera as Will's father on "Will and Grace," Johnny Sack's surgeon pal in jail on "The Sopranos," or the hairy shirtless guy in suspenders in "Eyes Wide Shut." He'll be missed.
See here for a very smart, detailed analogy of which candidate is which tech giant.
It's gotta be Isbarackobamaamuslim.com. Be sure to click on the "no." Hopefully, this'll be the #1 result for that Google search by the end of the week.
Bottom of the eighth, bases loaded, one out, Phillies lead Rockies 20-4. Pitcher Clay Condrey comes to the plate. He strikes out. The crowd boos.
I know it was mostly in jest, but still...
In this week's North Star column- my 100th- I look at 15 potential vice presidents for Obama. And Hillary's always an option, should Obama's first choice be assassinated.
Matthew Yglesias, channeling Bill Simmons:
EW reports: "90210 spinoff casts Tristan Wilds of The Wire". This is all wrong. What they ought to do is make a Wire spinoff that's also an update of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in which Wilds, as Michael, moves in with rich Southern California relatives. In fact, I would pay good money just to watch David Simon's facial expression upon hearing that pitch.
Via Cracked and Those Aren't Muskets, The Internet has another party:
I'm headed to the Jersey Shore for the long weekend; have a good one. In the meantime, enjoy my latest electronics crime roundup.
From a Politico story about Obama and his appeal to Jews in Florida:
“The bottom line is this. Nobody can find any statement that I have ever made that is anything less than unequivocally pro-Israel, that says Israel’s security is paramount,” Obama told the crowd at B’Nai Torah Synagogue. “There is not a single trace of me ever being anything more than a friend of Israel and a friend of the Jewish people.”But... but.. his mom was a socialist!
He asked the audience to move past his name and his skin color, to delete the e-mails claiming he is a Muslim and to ignore the “rumor-mongering” aimed at raising suspicions about his character or his associations.
"This is part, I think, of the tradition of the Jewish people is to judge me by what I say and what I have done," he said. "Don't judge me because I have a funny name. Don't judge me because I am an African American. People are concerned about memories of the past. ... That is exactly what I am fighting in the African American community when I hear anti-Semitic statements. We are bigger than that.
If my policies are wrong, then vote against me because my policies are wrong. If I am not honest, if I am not truthful, don't vote for me for that reason," he went on to say. "But don’t vote against me because of who I am, and I know you won't."
This nifty web tool shows you how walkable your neighborhood is, based on your address, and also tells you how close you are to things. I'm a 35 (out of 100), but all of my old New York and Hoboken addresses are in the 90s. Luckily, now I have a car.
I'm skeptical. America never voted for Tucker (in terms of ratings) on any of his TV shows, so what would change if he went for the presidency?
Cracked has another one of those user-generated lists, this time of "20 Websites From Before the Internet was Invented." My personal favorities are Jesus Christ's Facebook page, Anne Frank's LiveJournal ("still stuck in this fucking attic!") and, best of all, "The O. Cromwell Factor."
Steven Soderbergh is directing a four-and-a-half hour biopic of Che Guevara? Sounds awesome! Or not. Stephen Garrett of Esquire saw the movie at Cannes:
Che, the combined version of two Spanish-language films separately entitled The Argentine and Guerrilla (rushed to completion for Cannes, by the way, and shot and shown digitally without titles or end credits), the Oscar-winning director turns away from the box-office catnip Ocean’s Eleven franchise to pay penance at the altar of high cinema. The impulse is unimpeachably admirable; the result is heartbreakingly misguided. Why try to avoid passing judgment? Why pretend that you haven’t anyway?... Soderbergh himself said that he sees his films as companion pieces to Salles’ work, forming a trilogy of Che’s life -- albeit one without the butchering death squads, homophobia, and other unsavory aspects that liberals might find a tad too distastefully indefensible. (So much for agnosticism.)I would rather sit through "Ocean's Twelve" ten more times than see this movie. It sounds like the real-life version of Vincent Chase's "Medillin," right down to the negative Cannes reception.
Jonathan Chait, on the woman who is comparing Michigan/Florida to womens' suffrage, the civil rights movement, Zimbabwe, and the abolition of slavery:
This gambit by Clinton is simply an attempt to steal the nomination. It's obviously not going to work, because Democratic superdelegates don't want to commit suicide. But this episode is very revealing about Clinton's character. I try not to make moralistic characterological judgments about politicians, because all politicians compromise their ideals in the pursuit of power. There are no angels in this business. Clinton's gambit, however, truly is breathtaking.And no, she's not "leading in the popular vote" either.
If she's consciously lying, it's a shockingly cynical move. I don't think she's lying. I think she's so convinced of her own morality and historical importance that she can whip herself into a moralistic fervor to support nearly any position that might benefit her, however crass and sleazy. It's not just that she's convinced herself it's okay to try to steal the nomination, she has also appropriated the most sacred legacies of liberalism for her effort to do so. She is proving herself temperamentally unfit for the presidency.
Two new movie reviews today: I look at the new Narnia film in the Trend, while I review the misbegotten James Gandolfini musical "Romance & Cigarettes" at North Star. If you thought "The Sopranos" would have been better with a few more suburban song-and-dance numbers, I recommend the latter.
As for "Crystal Skull," I generally liked it. Not nearly as good as any of the three originals, but not the disappointment that any of the "Star Wars" prequels were. Also, a couple of very strong action sequences, including a dynamite chase scene through Peru.
Then there's "Bigger Stronger Faster," which I found a fascinating but ultimately infuriating documentary. It's hard to argue with any film that begins with footage of Hulk Hogan defeating the Iron Sheik in 1984. The film is funny and engaging throughout, although about 30 minutes in the movie abruptly takes the questionable position that steroids aren't all that bad for you or for anyone, before ultimately concluding that cheating by taking them isn't so bad because everyone in America cheats at everything.
Still though, the director, Chris Bell, has a real talent for getting people to admit things on camera that they shouldn't, up to and including members of his own family. But no one comes off looking worse than Henry Waxman, the erstwhile grand inquisitor of the steroid Congressional hearing, who shows in a brief interview that he knows not even the basic facts of the subject, and he has to ask an aide whether or not steroids are legal.
Look for full reviews of both in the coming weeks.
Jeff Pearlman gives us an entertaining retrospective of the ups and downs of his sportswriting career here. The name "John Rocker" is conspicuously absent.
News Item: Barnes and Noble may bid to purchase Borders
I've been talking for awhile about how while I'm glad the Twins are doing well and the young pitching's coming through, it bothers me a lot that the team, aside from Justin Morneau, just doesn't know how to hit home runs.
So when I checked last night's box scores this morning, and saw the Twinkies had beat Texas 11-4, I figured, "hey, they're hitting for power!" Uh, not exactly.
Here's how the Twins got their 11 runs last night: Infield single, run-scoring error, single, double, run-scoring fielder's choice, single, run-scoring fielder's choice, bases-loaded walk, sacrifice fly, triple, sacrifice fly.
Yes, that's 11 runs on TWO extra-base hits, two sac flys, three singles, two fielder's choices, a walk and an error. That's no home runs, and not a single hit that knocked in more than one run at a time. Don't get me wrong: a win is a win, and a run is a run. And "timely hitting' can be fun, especially when you send 12 men to the plate and score 9 runs in one inning.
But let's get real: you can't win consistently that way. The Twins are 19-6 when they score four runs or more. Shouldn't they be able to muster at least that most nights?
Via Attytood, some advice from former White House counsel David Gergen on what Hilldog should do in the campaign's waning days:
GERGEN: And it also raises the question in my judgment of whether she shouldn't say, you know, if you want to vote against him because he's black, I don't want your vote. I don't want to win that way. This has no place in this primary.That would be great if she did that. But if did, it would undoubtedly cost her votes. And that's why she hasn't done it. I'd also love McCain to make a similar pledge, and I'd bet he'd do it.
COOPER: Do you see her saying that?
GERGEN: Well, she has been a champion -- she's been a champion of civil rights for a long, long time. She and her husband both have I think well-earned reputations in the civil rights front. She's never had redneck votes before in her life.
I see no reason why she couldn't take the high road here in the closing days of his campaign and try to take this on and take on the Reverend Wright issue to say, "Look, I campaigned with this fellow for 15 months. I know a lot of you people don't think he shares your values that somehow Barack thinks like Reverend Wright. Not true. I know him. I have been with him. And race should come out of this."
I think she could do a lot by taking a high road.
News Item: Obama clinches pledged delegate majority
What would make Hillary drop out now? The superdelegate majority? Because that's probably only a few weeks away too.
After five years of little but centered-block-text covers, it's good to see SI getting adventurous for once:
Hopefuilly, they can also do something about that pesky, subpar editorial content of late.
The NBA Draft Lottery is tonight, which I've always found a completely ridiculous exercise- why in the world should the future of the league, essentially, rest on the bouncing of a bunch of ping-pong balls? Especially when the actual worst teams have a less than 20 percent chance of winning. Perhaps I'm just bitter, since the Timberwolves have never either won the lottery nor moved up in their history. They've got the the third-best chance this year, but I'm not optimistic about their chances, and even if they do get in the top three, there's also a chance Kevin McHale will make the wrong call.
Back in real basketball, I'm rooting, unapologetically, for Kevin Garnett and the Celtics. Maybe, if they win, Minnesota can throw him a parade, like Boston did for Ray Bourque.
UPDATE: Yep, third place. In a two-player draft. As usual.
I'm hoping get started on my first book by the end of the year. I really hope I don't end up like this guy:
At least I know what Twitter is!
This is amusing- all the wonderful things that will happen when Obama is president. And they're not entirely facetious. Don't forget to keep refreshing.
News Item: Jon Lester pitches no-hitter for Red Sox
It's the most inspirational baseball story of the year: a year after coming back from cancer, Lester first wins the clinching World Series game, and now gets a no-hitter.
I'm sure every Twins fan now thinks they should've jumped at the Sox offers for Santana, many of which included Lester, but really, we won't know for years which package was the best. At least it looks like the Hughes/Kennedy/and/or/Cabrera package would've been a dud.
My latest North Star column, on the Republican Congressional leadership's shameful response to that Obama interview, is online here.
The Flyers' elimination in the playoffs yesterday means that Philadelphia has now experienced 100 seasons (25 years x four teams) without a professional sports championship. Chew on that, WIP, as you spend four hours today debating whether or not it's justifiable to boo Ryan Howard, when he only has about ten home runs so far.
SI.com has a nice commemoration.
Sadly, No!, responding to the latest bout of whining from that lunatic Michelle Malkin:
What it boils down to, Michelle, is that you’re a rotten human being. And I don’t mean that in a general, “Oh-you-disagree-with-me-on-policy-issues-so-I-don’t-like-you” sort of way: I mean that you go out of your way to hurt people on a very personal level, and you seem to get a big kick out of doing it. No political party, no matter how crazy it is, wants to be seen as the party of sadistic and vicious assholes. The fact that you have no one to vote for in this upcoming election is a major victory for the forces of decency and sanity in this country. May every election henceforth follow the same pattern.Meanwhile, I think this post, in which Rachael Ray is accused of wearing a scarf that looks too much like a kaffiyah, and is therefore suborning Islamic jihad, may be an all-time new low for the right-wing blogosphere.
I love his idea for an American version of Prime Minister's Question Time. Not only would it be more democratic, but it would be damn entertaining (ever seen the British version?) And besides, if Bush had had to stand for PMQT, he'd likely have been impeached in the first six months.
Jeffrey Goldberg on Obama and Israel:
There are some Jews who would be made anxious by Mr. Obama even if he changed his first name to Baruch and had his bar mitzvah on Masada. But after speaking with him it struck me that, by the standards of rhetorical correctness maintained by such groups as the Conference of Presidents and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, Mr. Obama is actually more pro-Israel than either Ehud Olmert or Ehud Barak
Thomas Friedman's been on fire since he came back from book leave; today, he addresses the Obama/"support for Israel" myth:
America today has — rightly — a bipartisan approach to Arab-Israeli peace that is not going to change no matter who becomes our next president. America, whether under a Republican or Democratic administration, is now committed to a two-state solution in which the Palestinians get back the West Bank, Gaza and Arab parts of East Jerusalem, and Israel gives back most of the settlements in the West Bank, offsetting those it does not evacuate with land from Israel.But don't worry; I'm sure Barack has been on at least one charity board with someone who disagrees.
The notion that a President Barack Obama would have a desire or ability to walk away from this consensus American position is ludicrous.
Still though, my favorite line of the column is the last one: "Maureen Dowd is off today."
This parody of the NBA playoff ads, featuring Armisen-as-Obama and Poehler-as-Hillary, may have been the best thing on SNL all year:
But apparently, someone on YouTube had the same idea a couple of weeks earlier. As did both Time Magazine a few weeks ago, and "Highlander."
Various Hillary staffers sound off to TNR's Michelle Cottle here. In most presidential elections, it seems, the campaign without much staff rancor or constant shakeups tends to win in the end, yes?
Since the right thinks it's always 1938 and every single foreign policy scenario is exactly analogous to Hitler/Chamberlain, and that diplomacy equals appeasement, you'd think their spokespeople would, you know, be familiar with the specifics of the Munich agreement. This guy, of course, isn't:
I haven't seen Matthews this fired up since the Michelle Malkin/Kerry-shot-himself-on-purpose incident in 2004.
News Item: Ex-Vikings LB Ed McDaniel is now a slumlord
In a special North Star column, I talk about the cop-murder and police beating that followed each other earlier this month here in Philadelphia. In short: everyone should be upset about both, but not one or the other.
News Item: CBS radio fires Kidd Chris over racist song
The song was a parody of a Blondie song, including various racial stereotypes/slures directed at black people; it aired for the first time, probably more than two months ago and was repeated various times since. The program director was fired as well; my biggest question is how this song aired on the show, probably dozens of times over several months, but the bosses never said anything until now.
I was fan of the show, I admit, as I found it frequently hilarious. But just as Howard Stern often crossed the line, I can't defend the "Schwoogies" song, nor the show's various other forays into questionable racial and ethnic humor (do I sound like Obama talking about Rev. Wright?). I found the song totally cringe-inducing when I first heard it and just shook my head every time afterwards. I had also wondered, while talking with friends about it a few weeks ago, how Don Imus could be fired from two national syndication contracts over the "nappy headed ho's" comment, while the considerably more offensive "Schwoogies" song aired for months without controversy.
There had been a birthday party scheduled for Chris tonight that had been advertised for months; that's off now too.
"If you will it, dude, it is no dream" -- Walter Sobchak, "The Big Lebowski"
Jon Stewart -and Jack Daniels- deconstruct the West Virginia primary:
"And I took it. And then as the boy who sold his bike and video games looked on, Hillary Clinton's campaign blew his entire donation on confetti. Food for thought [for the boy] as he walks to school, and then home again, to not play video games."
News Item: California court overturns gay marriage ban
This is great news. Two down, 48 to go.
Sonny Bunch also noticed what I did: the villain in "Speed Racer" was a dead ringer for Christopher Hitchens. Just about the only amusing thing about that whole movie.
As the Obama/Israel/"sore" controversy continues to reside in the Twilight Zone- still no retraction from Mr. Boehner*- Obama is getting more Jewish support from Chicago- from Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf, the famed peacenik rabbi who lives near the senator in Hyde Park.
Wolf, it turns out, was my rabbi for about a week at camp in 1995 or so; now, at the age of 84, he's written a letter in favor of his friend's candidacy. Anyway, Wolf goes onto the list of "people who you never would've expected to affect the presidential race," along with Bernadine Doehrn, Angelo Cataldi, and (of course) Sinbad.
*I'm planning to add "The Constant Sores" to my list of potential Fantasy Football team names for this year.
This is pretty amusing. WE'LL DO IT LIVE!
So apparently, there's dissension in the ranks between Bill Simmons and ESPN. The Sports Guy has been writing less lately, his long-awaited second book is nowhere to be found, and they canceled that Obama podcast interview. Now, Simmons goes on the record with Deadspin about his displeasure:
Yes, I still work for ESPN. No, I'm not writing for ESPN.com as much — my choice, not theirs. That's just the way it will be from now on, unfortunately. I'd have more to say, but I'd end up being profane and I don't want to offend Buzz Bissinger...Simmons has a couple of more years left on what I'd imagine is an ironclad contract. If he were to leave, I'd imagine he would go to Yahoo or SI or one of the other competitors.
I still love writing my column and only re-signed last year because I really did believe that we had hashed out all the behind the scenes bullshit and come to some sort of agreement on creative lines, media criticism rules, the promotion of the column and everything else on ESPN.com. Within a few months, all of those things changed and certain promises were not kept. It's as simple as that.
But why not go back to his roots and launch his own site? Simmons could start a site now- allegedly, he already has- and include his columns, blogs, podcasts, and everything else, and I'd bet it would instantly become one of the 50 most popular websites in America, and an ad revenue generator that could make more for Simmons then he's getting now.
Certainly a story worth following...
My theory of what happened today: Edwards really wanted to back Hillary, but didn't think she could win. So he waited until after North Carolina, when it looked like it was just about over.
Will this help Obama win? Not really, no. But it does help move forward the notion, once again, that the Democratic race is over.
But let's, please, banish any thought of Edwards as vice president. It didn't work last time, and it won't now. I'd prefer Biden, Webb, Rendell, or Richardson.
I review the horrible, horrible "Speed Racer" in the Trend, and I also have a roundup of recent electronics crimes on the Dealerscope site. My favorite is the MacGyver-like story of the woman whose laptop was stolen, but because she was an Apple store employee, she was able to remotely activate an internal camera in it, take a picture of the thieves, and lead police directly to them.
Even James Carville has abandoned ship:
Speaking to students at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, Carville argued Clinton should stay in through the final nominating contest in early June, but said the Democratic tide appears to be moving in Obama's direction.I like this a lot better than the last Carville quote that made news, the one where he said of Hillary and Obama, "If she gave him one of her cojones, they'd both have two." Huh?
"I still hear some dogs barking," Carville said, according to The State newspaper. "I'm for Senator Clinton, but I think the great likelihood is that Obama will be the nominee."
"As soon as I determine when that is, I'll send him a check," he added.
This is great:
Today marks the tenth anniversary of one of my most memorable nights of college: when "Seinfeld" broadcast its final episode, and, a few hours later, Frank Sinatra's death was announced. In between, on the night before we all went home at the end of the school year, my friends and I conducted a drunken rampage across campus- probably to get the stain of that awful finale out of our minds ("I love.. United Airlines?" Really, Jerry?) Then, when we got back home at 3 AM, we heard about Frank.
Not as much as this guy does:
Nor do I want Randy Moss back. That video is like a 50/50 collaboration of the styles of Wes Anderson and Mars Blackmon.
The Wall Street Journal writes about those 200-word "vanity cards" that air at the end of episodes of "Two and a Half Men." Now I should preface that I HATE "Two and a Half Men" with a passion, and it bothers me immensely that it's the highest-rated sitcom on TV. But I must admit that I like the cards, and I also thoroughly enjoyed the recent "Men"/"CSI" crossover. Because the CSI writers wrote it, it was by far the best "Two and a Half Men" episode ever.
Since Kornheiser has been an important and influential sportswriter for many years, this would be a major story, except that... Kornheiser pretty much stopped writing for the paper years ago. Since '04 he's had one or two bylines a year, I think.
Here's one of the best pieces of journalism I've read this year: an analysis of American foreign policy since 2001, through the prism of "The Godfather." Sonny Corleone is, of course, the neocon.
My friend John Paul Pagano says it well:
There's a persistent, nasty notion that Barack Obama is bad for the Jews. It crests and falls rhythmically in public discourse, and I hear it expressed by Jews I know. The sense is Obama places somewhere on a spectrum between a latte-drinking, liberal milquetoast and a black anti-Semite. Wherever the dart sticks, it will be bad for Israel.Again, if you doubt Obama's pro-Israel convictions, please go and read that Jeffrey Goldberg interview again. And speaking of that interview, the House Republican leadership saw it fit to lie about it. Here's Goldberg again:
As someone who has spent years writing about foes of Israel, subtle and overt, and specifically these two types that supposedly bookend Obama, I'd like to go on record saying this is top-shelf, triple-distilled horseshit.
A press release from House Republican leader John Boehner asserts that Barack Obama told me that Israel is a "constant sore" that infects American foreign policy. "Israel is a critical American ally and a beacon of democracy in the Middle East, not a `constant sore' as Barack Obama claims," Boehner's statement reads.
Mr. Boehner, I'm sure, is a terribly busy man, with many burdensome responsibilities, so I have to assume that he simply didn't have time to read the entire Obama interview, or even the entire paragraph, or even a single clause. If he had, of course, he would have seen that Obama was clearly calling the Middle East conflict, and not Israel, a sore. Why, there's no one who would disagree that the Middle East conflict is a "sore," is there?
I have no doubt that Mr. Boehner will issue a correction to his press release in which he states the obvious, which is that Obama expressed -- in twelve different ways -- his support for Israel to me.
If he doesn't, however, I would, sadly, have to agree with my colleague, the less-forgiving Andrew Sullivan, who called Boehner's statement a "flat-out lie." In fact, I would add to Andrew's post, by calling Boehner's statement mendacious, duplicitous, gross, and comically refutable. So Mr. Boehner, do the right thing, and correct the record. I'll be happy to post the correction right here.
True, due to Britney Spears' unwelcome appearance, last night's may have been the worst episode of "How I Met Your Mother" every broadcast. But man, the super-obscure "Cheers" reference almost redeemed it for me. Alan Sepinwall caught it too:
Someone on the staff is a big "Cheers" fan. (And why wouldn't they be?) Not only did Barney and Abby's cab ride include an homage to the most famous Sam/Diane scene of all time ("Are you as turned on right now as I am?" "More!"), but the frame on Lily's painting that the G-CWOKs bought was made by Anton Kreitzer, which was Norm's pseudonym in the episode where he hired a lazy crew for his painting business.>One of my favorite episodes!
By the way, happy day- HIMYM has been renewed! And don't forget to check out www.guyforceshiswifetodressinagarbagebagforthenextthreeyears.com
For some reason, the weekend's four-game series between the Twins and Red Sox was deemed so important by the powers that be in Bristol that ESPN needed to carry nationally televised games on successive nights. Not that I'm complaining, especially since the Twins took three of four from the defending champs. Somehow, Craig Monroe hit two homers on Sunday night, and the Twins won with small ball on Monday, scoring seven runs with no homers.
It's great to see the Twins doing so well, especially since they weren't even supposed to contend this year. But they really need to start hitting for some power. You really can't expect to contend while ranking near the bottom of the league in home runs.
I should probably mention the faceoff on yesterday morning's WIP morning show between Eagles coach Andy Reid and his nemesis, Angelo Cataldi. During the 40-minute-or-so interview, Cataldi asked not a single question that you wouldn't have expected him to ask, while Reid gave no answer that you wouldn't have expected him to answer with.
My biggest beef with the interview from a Cataldi standpoint- other than his screeching voice, his general ignorance, and conspiracy-minded tone- was that about five different questions began with "the perception in town is...", and "the perception among Eagles fans is...", and every single sentence ended with a supposition that is demonstrably false, and is only believed by everyone because Cataldi and friends say it every day. The Eagles aren't committed to winning? McNabb whines too much? The Eagles don't spend enough? None of those things are true.
I guess that makes sense, although they're still yet to do a season in Washington, Baltimore, Detroit, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, or Minneapolis-St. Paul. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the current Hollywood season, if only for the Briana character, who is I believe the first actual stripper ever on the show. "The Paper" is much better, though.
If there's a player on your favorite team who has been arrested and tried for having sex with an underage babysitter in a hot tub, then yea... you probably shouldn't let you kid wear that guy's jersey.
I plead, once again, for Hillary Clinton to drop out of the race, in this week's North Star column.
Jeffrey Goldberg has an illuminating interview with Obama, about the subjects of Israel and his appeal to Jewish voters:
When it comes to the gut issue, I have such ardent defenders among my Jewish friends in Chicago. I don’t think people have noticed how fiercely they defend me, and how central they are to my success, because they’ve interacted with me long enough to know that I've got it in my gut. During the Wright episode, they didn’t flinch for a minute, because they know me and trust me, and they’ve seen me operate in difficult political situations.Way too many Jews I know don't trust Obama, for reasons that I don't entirely understand.
There's a story that has made the rounds from Super Bowl XV, the Eagles' first trip to the Big Game, in New Orleans back in 1981.Yes, yes, sure they do.
Then owner Leonard Tose wanted to entertain several friends at one of the Big Easy's better res taurants for brunch the afternoon of the game.
Tose sent one of his right-hand men into the restaurant to get reservations for the rather large party. Told by the host that the restau rant was completely booked the entire day, and there was nothing he could do, Tose's man explained it was for the owner of the Eagles.
It didn't matter, the host said, there really was nothing he could do.
Until Tose's guy started placing $100 bills one by one on the counter, when the pile got high enough, the host finally gave in and said, "Tell, Mr. Tose to have his party here by noon."
Why is this story relevant 27 years later?
The Eagles need to apply the same strategy to get the missing piece to its offense, namely a big- play wide receiver.
You know what eventually happened to Leonard Tose, right? He had to sell the Eagles to satisfy a $25 million gambling debt to Atlantic City casinos, later sued one of those casinos claiming they got him drunk when he blew all his money, and ended up dying alone and penniless. But hey, the Eagles should totally follow his example and make reckless and risky trade offers.
Trade seven first round picks for Roy Williams! That's what Leonard Tose would've done. Instead, Eckel proposes the typical fan trade- "we'll give you five of our guys who suck for your one big star!"
This is hilarious, as though seeing BillO with hair wasn't funny enough:
Even better than the similar Chris Berman clips. I can't wait to hear O'Reilly rail tonight against the "smear merchants" responsible for this leaking out.
I really like this Stanley Crouch column about Obama and the "elitist" charge:
It has become commonplace for the predictable millionaire puppets of Fox News and their conservative talk radio counterparts to present themselves as the voices of the working class in combat with an educated elite from places like Harvard.And I love when they attack Obama for being a Harvard Law School grad, as though having gone to good schools is somehow something to be ashamed of.
But beneath those cliches fester ideas that are deeply anti-democratic.
They are anti-democratic because they scoff at this basic truth: Education is the key to social mobility in our country. The stereotyped working class has no innate limits. It has produced the majority of doctors, engineers, architects, educators and others who realized the dreams of their families by studying hard and moving into careers quite different from those of their parents and their neighbors.
Education has always been viewed as suspect by everyone from slave owners to totalitarians. Wherever in the world you find them, they share one hostility: They hate books.
The presidency is not an Academy Award for Best Performance as a bowler, a fast food gobbler, a whisky and beer guzzler, a hard-hat-wearer or a hunter. We ought to know how far leadership capabilities are from surfaces, slogans and costumes.
And we should be ever suspicious of anyone or any group that scorns education, that pretends to believe that only the simple and the uncomplicated can express the national ethos.
News Item: Cablevision to buy Newsday
Hey, the company still owes Isiah Thomas millions over the next three years, and they certainly don't want him around the basketball operation, so... ladies and gentlemen, your new managing editor!
This map, consisting of a map of which parts of the country root for which baseball team, is pretty damn cool. For one thing, it makes Minnesota look like a much larger market than we thought.
Kim Kardashian and her "dead-behind-the-eyes" sisters (as Joel McHale calls them) spread awareness about Burma:
But did they have anything to say about the Armenian genocide resolution?
News Item: Actor Dennis Farina arrested with gun at LAX
The "Get Shorty" jokes just write themselves. Did he turn to the arresting officer and yell "fuck you, fuckball!"? Was the gun hidden in an airport locker guarded by DEA agents? I mean, the movie ends with Farina's character getting arrested at LAX (before he, you know, turns into Harvey Kietel)- and now Farina gets arrested himself, at that very airport?
On Saturday I went to the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Philadelphia art museum, and very much enjoyed it, although there was one thing I had to laugh at. In the gift shop of the museum there were dozens of items based around various Kahlo works, including this necktie:
You can order the Broken Column Tie here. Try wearing that to an important business meeting, and see what people say.
At any rate, I think it's hilarious that while Frida Kahlo was a lifelong devout Communist, now rich people can go to a museum and spend hundreds of dollars on T-shirts, coffee mugs and ties based on her paintings.
Christopher Orr, piling on "Speed Racer" at the TNR site:
The film's aesthetic might be described indelicately, though not inaccurately, as resembling the upchuck of a child who has just eaten a boxful of crayons. Its cities shine like Lucas-scapes frosted by Willy Wonka; its Day-Glo costumes and interiors make The Umbrellas of Cherbourg look drab by comparison. In the many race scenes, the cars swerve and slide across courses whose serpentine impossibility rivals the knotty creations of a twelve-year-old set loose with yards of Hot Wheels track.The American public seems to agree with Orr and I- the movie earned the comically low sum of $20 million in its opening weekend, and even that's supposedly a fudged amount. And I can't imagine the word-of-mouth will be very strong either.
Twins win totals, 2002-2006: 94, 90, 92, 83, 96. Four division titles in five years. You're telling me that a team that won four division titles in a five year stretch ending in 2006 is the seventh worst franchise in all of sports?The obvious #1, the Knicks, didn't even make the list, which should tell us a lot.
You know who's a terrible director? Scorsese. Did you see Kundun? Booooo-ring.
An Andrew Sullivan letter-writer, on the campaign that won't end:
" Hillary's hanging on to the contest dramatically proves to me that she is unfit to be our president. It is so Bush-like, is it not? It's her Iraq. She has obviously failed, yet she keeps on just to prove she's not a quitter. Where have we heard that lately? How can we depend on her? Like Bush, she cannot admit a mistake. She can't admit failure. She is not rational. She'll take us down with her.Bush, though, was almost much, much better at running for president than he was at being president.
We need a rational president so badly. One who makes decisions based on careful consideration of all the facts and understands the real risks and likelihood of success. Hillary is running her campaign into the ground financially. Is that what we want in a president? Someone who uses fear and divisiveness to appeal to people?
Her campaign alone is a reason to vote against her."
My money's on the Philly police commissioner, especially after this exchange:
By the way, I feel like an idiot now. The one question I asked Mayor Nutter after the presidential debate, after Hillary talked in the debate about assault weapons, was... how many of the murders in Philadelphia last year were committed with assault weapons? Less than a month later, a Philly police officer is killed by... an assault weapon. ADD IT TO THE FRIGGIN' LIST!
Stephanie Zacherak tees off on "Speed Racer" at Salon:
Paulie Litt, as Speed's pudgy little brother, Sprittle, is so annoying I kept wishing he'd go play in traffic. Not even his mascot, Chim Chim (played by two chimps, Willy and Kenzie), is funny, and you're in trouble when your movie doesn't even get laughs with a monkey.
"Speed Racer" is so arrogant about its so-called stylishness and energy that it feels like punishment, the equivalent of being trapped at a dinner party between two guys who feel compelled to inform you, in long-winded detail, how great they are. This isn't a picture filled with wonder and a sense of fun; it's so jaded and crass that I almost wonder if it's a highly unscientific experiment designed to gauge how little audiences will settle for these days. Manic and multicolored, "Speed Racer" is an excess of nothingness.
I've gone on record before as saying that I love it when media commentators- even gentiles; ESPECIALLY gentiles- bust out the Yiddish. The time during the 2001 NBA playoffs that Dan Patrick talked about "Iverson's touchas"- in reference to an injury to the Sixers star's tailbone, left me laughing for a long while. But when you get it wrong, it just plain doesn't work.
Yesterday on his 950 ESPN show, Mike Missanelli was telling an old story about how he worked selling perfume at a local mall, and had to give a "Spiel" while doing so. Except instead of saying "Spiel" he said "schmear." Actually, he said "schmear" the first three times, then used the correct"Spiel" then used "schmear" again.
(In case you're lost: "Spiel" means "a usually high-flown talk or speech, esp. for the purpose of luring people to a movie, a sale, etc.; pitch." "Schmear" is something that goes on a bagel.
Mikey Miss narrowly beats out the WIP caller, on Ike Reese's show, who questioned whether the doctor who diagnosed Kimmo Timonen's season-ending injury is an agenda-harboring Penguins fan.
This is instantly legendary:
Philadelphia Daily News: N.J. Santa charged as international pedophile
It would be bad enough if he were a mere local pedophile. Or if he weren't a Santa.
Congratulations to the State of Israel, which celebrates its 60th anniversary today. Israel's creation was a miracle, its continued survival an even bigger miracle, and its resilience may be the biggest miracle of all.
Look at it this way: because of Israel, Brandeis University will always be the second most-important Jewish-oriented institution that was created in 1948.
And with that, the Santana trade suddenly looks... a little bit better. Gomez is the first Twin to hit for the cycle since Kirby Puckett did it in 1986. I totally remember that, if only because I was eight years old at the time and had never heard of the "hitting for the cycle" concept before that.
I was checking the score on my cell phone, like I do most nights, and when I looked at the scoring plays and boxscore I noticed that Gomez was 4-for-6, and had a run-scoring double and triple in addition to the homer. So if that fourth hit was a single... In all, a wonderful way to follow up nearly being no-hit by failed Phillies prospect Gavin Floyd the night before.
Gomez has looked iffy since the start of the season, leading most observers to conclude that he's probably not ready, and certainly shouldn't be batting leadoff for a major league team at this point. But he's damn exciting, and as last night proved, he's capable of breakout games. I see him as a special, special player in 2 or 3 years, if not sooner.
This game had a lot of other things you don't normally see: a nine-hit complete game (by Livan Hernandez, eating innings as always), and Nick Punto driving in five runs. And most strangely? Five weeks into what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, the Twinkies are in first place in the AL Central, thanks to the melting down Tigers and White Sox, and the offensively challenged Cleveland "Baseball Team" Indians. Not sure if it'll last, but I'm enjoying it now.
Yes, there is a big media figure in America who is more clueless about blogs than Buzz Bissinger. That'd be Howard Eskin, who did an hour on the topic yesterday- following an interview with Bissinger himself- before discoursing on the topic without having any idea at all what he was talking about.
The howlers were plentiful. Eskin claimed most bloggers are "out to make money" (actually, the majority of bloggers have no advertisers and do it for free.) In response to a caller who asked how Eskin can rip bloggers while hosting sports handicappers on his show regularly, he called this "the dumbest thing I've heard in the last six months." Even though the sports touting industry is right at the bottom of the list of America's shadiest non-criminal rackets, just slightly above payday lending.
Throughout the rant, Eskin made one thing abundantly clear: the only blog he's read in the past four years is ProFootballTalk.com.
In all, it would've been the dumbest thing I heard on the radio yesterday, if it hadn't been for the Hannity caller who said he can't support McCain because he's too liberal- and suggested that if we'd been waterboarding from the beginning, half of the U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq would still be alive. (Huh?)
The kicker? Eskin, at one point... had his own blog!
Sean Burns, on "Redbelt":
The chest-thumping, manly-man mannerisms of David Mamet have always teetered on the brink of self-parody. (I have a theory that his sentences are so short because he types them with his balls.)Fuck you. That's my review.
This is great news. Three men robbed a bank last week and, in the process, shot and killed Philadelphia police officer Stephen Liczbinski; one of the suspects was killed during the robbery, a second was captured shortly afterward, and the third was finally caught yesterday after a five-day manhunt.
Less fortunate? A video, taken a couple of days after the shooting, surfaced last week featuring several Philadelphia police beating three men who were suspects in a murder unrelated to the Liczbinski death. A news helicopter from local Fox affiliate WTXF captured the beating on tape, and both the mayor and police commissioner have called for the public to withhold judgment.
The Fox station has come under some heat in Philly for broadcasting the tape, but I can't blame them. They're journalists, it's news, and you don't sit on something that's news. What is unfair, however, is that the police beating became a national story while the Liczbinski shooting did not. The only reason Al Sharpton hasn't arrived in Philly yet is because he's tied up at the moment.
The headquarters of the Fraternal Order of Police is two blocks from my office; every news truck in town was parked outside there this morning.
Meanwhile, a Philadelphia mosque has announced that they will refuse to conduct funeral services for the alleged shooter, "We don't want one slight scintilla hinting that we condone his behavior." I'm going to guess that neither Daniel Pipes or Debbie Schlussel will make any mention of that today.
Damon Linker, in TNR:
"Who would now deny that the political ascendancy of the religious right has been bad for the United States? Its destructive consequences are plain for all to see. It has polarized the nation. It has injected theological certainties into public life. It has led political leaders to invest their aims and their deeds with metaphysical significance. It has made America a laughingstock in the eyes of the educated of the world. And it has encouraged devout believers to think of themselves as agents of the divine, and their political opponents as enemies of God."After the last seven and a half years, who can indeed?
I review the excellent "Iron Man" in the Trend this week.
Something Tim Russert said this morning that shocked me: Did you know that the night of the Democratic convention when the presidential nominee speaks will be the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech? And you thought there was pressure on Obama to give a great speech before...
If Homer Simpson ran for president, would he have to answer for the shocking comments by Grandpa Simpson?
He's a yellow supremacist!
A few months after his firing from the Philadelphia Inquirer, Stephen A. Smith has returned to the written word, penning the first of what is expected to be a regular column for ESPN the Magazine.
I've done a lot of SAS-bashing around here over the years, but I should say that I once considered Smith a fine newspaper sportswriter, when he was first with the Inquirer. This was before the development of his louder-than-thou TV persona, as well as his annoying habit of writing columns in the Philadelphia paper long after he stopped both living in Philadelphia and paying attention to what was going on there.
I'm not expecting the idiots who frequent the ESPN.com comment sections to much like the first column, in which Smith asks whether the NBA is racist for bringing in lots of European players, before ultimately rejecting the notion.
News Item: Superdelegate Heath Shuler endorses Clinton
Gus Frerotte and Brad Johnson, though, both support Obama, while Trent Green remains undecided.
Dead on. Totally. Right down to the football metaphors. My only complaint? No reference to the Rachel Maddow/Pat Buchanan pairing.
Chicago Tribune: Apologize for inflatable dolls? Not Guillen
Do I hate the White Sox? Yes. Am I embarrassed that the Twins were almost no-hit last night by Gavin Floyd? Oh yea. But man, I love Ozzie Guillen. He's the funniest coach/manager currently working in sports, and the only reason to be happy about the Sox's championship a few years ago is that it means he'll never be fired.
So Obama won North Carolina tonight, and lost Indiana by two percent (in a race that was called about two minutes ago.) Hillary clearly, at this point, has no path to the nomination and in a just world will drop out tomorrow. Instead, I imagine, she'll come forward with some pretzel-like rationalization about how Indiana counts and North Carolina doesn't, and continue through the convention.
I know it didn't matter because it was a difference of one delegate, but it was pretty hilarious that the eyes of the nation, for about two hours, were on Gary, Indiana. Sully had the same song in his head during this that I did.
David Edelstein, on "Speed Racer":
From the previews it was clear that the people were props in an ecstatically cartoony world with its own laws of time, space, and motion. Instead of actors superimposed over futuristic Deco backdrops, as in the handsome but congealed Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Speed Racer would be organically fake, an unbridled orgy of artifice.I saw this tonight, and my lord it's a disaster, made even worse coming just a week after "Iron Man," an all-time great blockbuster.
Orgy, hell: The film is like a nightmare in which you’re trapped in an arcade with screens on all sides and no eyelids. Based on an elemental but happily streamlined Japanese cartoon (an anime precursor), it’s an eyesore, a shambles, with incoherent action and ear-buckling dialogue.
Lots of pretty colors, sure, but just about everything in "Speed Racer" goes wrong, from the impossible-to-follow action sequences to the nonsense plot to one of the most annoying comic-relief duos in history, one of whom is a monkey. The only thing "Speed Racer" has in common with "The Matrix" is an unfortunate weakness for LONG, expository speeches.
Don't see this movie. See "Iron Man" again if you have to.
In preparation for tonight, Olbermann tells us what counts and what doesn't:
He noticed the same thing I did about Cindy McCain.
I review Jeff Garlin's very funny "Marty" semi-remake, "I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With," on the North Star site, where you can also find my latest column, on the Buzz Bissinger/Will Leitch confrontation. And on Dealerscope- that Geek Squad/nude photos lawsuit is about to go to trial.
Mark Halperin, on "The Page":
Hillary Clinton enthusiastically picked a filly named Eight Belles to win the Kentucky Derby and compared herself to the horse. Eight Belles finished second. The winner was the favorite, Big Brown.
Eight Belles collapsed immediately after crossing the finish line, and was euthanized shortly thereafter.
I think it's safe to say that no one saw that one coming. A respected player who has never had any significant trouble with the law, Harrison is known as the NFL's only great receiver who's not a complete jackass. It remains too early, of course, to know what happened, and I'll reserve further comment on the case until more is known (the victim, for what it's worth, lived.)
I didn't hear much WIP this weekend, but I'm going to guess at least one caller's reaction to this was to somehow wish Harrison onto the Eagles. He is, after all, a Big Time Receiver, one who is a Philadelphia native and a college teammate of Donovan McNabb. I wouldn't bet on that, though. If these legal troubles were to cause the Colts to drop Harrison, I'd imagine he'd be suspended, and not able to go to another team.
Issuing an apology for unspecified transgressions- it's a Yankee tradition!
Now that the Philadelphia Flyers have defeated Canada's conspiracy and moved on to the Eastern Conference finals, the happiest NHL fan in the world is... Dave Mustaine.
The Megadeth frontman got his biggest career break in at least a decade the other week, resulting from the controversy when Washington Post columnist Mike Wise insulted Flyers fans. Rather than liken them to Metallica groupies like most writers would have, Wise instead wrote at the time that "many of the women and children in the crowd looked as if they could be security for Megadeth."
Mustaine apparently delighted in this, going so far as to record a scoreboard message for the crowd during the Flyers-Montreal series, stating that ""You guys can work security for us anytime... now, go out there and kick some freakin' ass!" Meanwhile, the upcoming Flyers-Penguins series might be enough to get me into hockey again- even though it seemed like every one of Philly's regular season games was against either the Pens or the Devils.
News Item: Actor from "The Wire" to appear on new 90210
UPDATE: Alan Sepinwall thought of Simmons too when he heard the news. His headline? "West Balitmore to West Beverly."
More Minnesota local news goodness. Watch the door:
Judging by the clothes, haircuts, KSTP logos, and graphics, I'm guessing this clip is from the late '80s or early '90s- but I don't remember ever seeing it or even hearing about it before now. Good thing, for them, that there was no YouTube back then.
It's funny that years go by without any elite athletes being accused of sleeping with girls in the first half of their teen years, yet then it happens twice in one week.
We all know about Roger Clemens and the country singer; because of it, the Red Sox should retire number 15 in his honor. But now we get even creepier news about another future Hall of Famer- the NBA's Karl Malone.
It came out this week that Demetrius Bell, a player drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the seventh round of last week's NFL Draft, is in fact the Mailman's illegitimate son, though he played no role in Bell's upbringing and has only met him once. But even more bizarrely- Bell's mother was apparently 13 years old at the time of conception (Malone at the time was a college student.)
Sort of puts the "Little Mexican Girls" incident in perspective, huh?
America's greatest living gonzo journalist, Matt Labash, strikes again- this time crashing a "Vagina Monologues" convention in New Orleans. My favorite part:
If anything, The Vagina Monologues reminds me of my kids' bath time. My two young sons, as is often the case with children, are frequently fascinated with their own gadgetry. The other day, when I walked in to check on how one of their baths was proceeding, my youngest stood up in the tub, grabbed the skin of his nether-region with both hands, stretched it into a square, and said, "Hey look, daddy, a flying squirrel!" I had to admit it bore an uncanny resemblance.What's Labash still doing at the Weekly Standard? He should either be writing for the New Yorker, or putting out frequent great books.
It was a good line--better than most of Ensler's, but on about the same par, sophistication-wise. There are two differences, however. The first is that my son is five. The second is that unlike Ensler, he will not receive an Obie Award or a Guggenheim Fellowship or be named one of "America's Best" by CNN or be called a "messiah" by the New York Times for his journey to self-discovery. Instead, he was told to dry off, get dressed, and go to bed by eight o'clock.
I have another electronics crime roundup at Dealerscope, including cameo appearances by two football players.
I'll be writing my North Star column on this this week, but in the meantime, some commentary from elsewhere:
"Picking a random blog comment and wielding it as a club to bash "blogs" is like picking a random romance novel off an airport bookstore shelf and saying, "This book sucks. Fuck you, Tolstoy -- your medium is worthless!"
This routine was very much like holding up a gummy worm and saying, "Food is terrible. I mean, look at this thing!"
"It looked to me like Buzz had decided to prepare for his appearance by not eating red meat for several days. You know a conversation might not go Lincoln-Douglas when one of the debaters breaks out the “I really think you’re full of sh..” line like 22 seconds into it. That was Buzz... Come on. Is journalism dedicated to lies because a couple of pretty famous writers made up stories? Are books dedicated to murderous anti-semitism because Hitler wrote ”Mein Kampf?“ Is music dedicated to demeaning women because Flo-Rida sang “Low?” How are you going to judge blogs and the Internet because some anonymous jerk on a message board or in a comment section decides to tell poo-poo jokes about Tony LaRussa?I totally want to hear those jokes.
To have Leitch up there representing all sports bloggers would be like having the editor of TMZ up there to represent all on-line entertainment coverage. There's a lot more out there than pictures of celebrities getting drunk and making fools of themselves, you know?
"We cannot imagine any reasonable human being watching that display and saying, 'doggone it, that raving man has a point!'"
Longtime state senator and Philadelphia political boss Vince Fumo is in trouble for comments he made during a Senate hearing last week:
"What you are advocating here is that we take away the rights of a minority. And I don't think that's right," Fumo told Gilbert Coleman, Jr., senior pastor of Freedom Christian Bible Fellowship in Philadelphia, during the hearing. ". . . If we introduced a bill on slavery, it might pass. That doesn't make it right."Fumo may be a corrupt, destructive criminal, but I think he deserves a pass here. Obviously, he's not calling for the reinstatement of slavery. He may have violated Godwin's Law- assuming it applies to slavery as well as Hitler- along with all the other laws he's violated, but I don't see what all the hubbub is about. More fake outrage, as usual.
Look at it this way: Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities" was one of the best novels of the past 25 years, and was made into a legendarily disastrous movie. Why would 'Charlotte Simmons,' which was both much less successful and much less good, make a good movie? Then again, since it's about oversexed college kids, that might make it more cinematic.