Esquire looks into how the world's most annoying commercial came to be.
Philadelphia's 25-year, 100-season sports championship drought finally ended tonight, as the Phillies beat the Rays 4-3 in Game 5 to win the 2008 World Series and bring the Curse of William Penn to an end.
Much as I've made fun over the years of this city's crazy fans and their relentless negativity, they deserved this win, and I'm generally happy for them. They supported their team, and kept the faith, even after that ridiculous 48-hour rain delay in the middle of Game 5. The Phils were undefeated at home in the postseason, losing only one road game in each series.
I'm happy for the players too, and especially manager Charlie Manuel, who took so much undeserved abuse and was widely expected to be fired two years ago.
The celebration will go late into the night tonight, with a parade to follow on Friday.
My review of the feeble cop film "Pride and Glory" is online at Philly.com.
I review the DVD of "The Foot Fist Way" on North Star.
My review of "W" has been posted to to Philly.com
I expected the Phillies last night to either win the World Series or lose Game 5 and head back to Tampa for Game 6. Instead, they did "none of the above."
In baseball's version of the Florida recount, Game 5 was suspended in the middle of the 6th inning after the entire game was played in a downpour, leading to an uncommonly sloppy field. MLB announced today that the game wouldn't be resumed Tuesday either, so a "mini-game" is likely for Wednesday. It's a first in baseball history, and they've been playing World Series since 1903.
Everyone in Philly is killing Bud Selig for allowing the 6th inning to begin (which led to the game being tied), as well as for suspending the general rule that if a game ends after five innings, it gets called and the team ahead gets a rain-shortened victory. Apparently, however, no one knew about this in advance, including the players.
I think Selig was in an impossible situation and chose one of the least-bad options, yet still came off like an idiot, since he might be the least PR-savvy commissioner in league history.
Still, it's a disappointment that Philly's 25 years of futility must continue for at least a couple more days. On the bright side, the Phils will resume the series with an extra turn at bat, and the series has been delayed enough that Cole Hamels may be available for a potential Game 7.
Christopher HItchens, on the woman McCain's advisor calls a "whack job":
This is what the Republican Party has done to us this year: It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just "people of faith" but theocratic bullies. On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity.
I guess Baltimore's sort of in his column anyway.
News Item: Ted Stevens convicted on seven counts
Yes, that's right- seven counts!
Jonathan Chait uses an unlikely medium to show what's really going on:
That's Broadway-bound, let me tell you.
This is awesome. When will David Palmer appear with him?
UPDATE: Yes, Wikipedia has an electoral map of "The West Wing"'s fictitious 2006 presidential election. That's awesome.
I look into this "real Americans" nonsense in this week's North Star column.
After last night's 10-2 mauling of the Rays at Citizen's Bank Park, the Phillies now stand just one victory away from ending Philadelphia's 25-year championship drought. The Phils hit four homers, including two by Ryan Howard, one by Jayson Werth, and one by pitcher Joe Blanton, and actually hit with runners in scoring position after not doing so for the entire series.
Perhaps most encouraging is that the notoriously streaky Howard has gotten hot, now hitting three homers in the last two games. That, and the Phils will have ace Cole Hamels going Monday night for the clincher, at home, with all the momentum in the world on their side. Philly fans right now, I believe, feel exactly the way Red Sox fans did during the Series in '04- no, based on our history, we shouldn't be this optimistic, but this feels like destiny.
It still hasn't sunk in that it might actually happen, this week, but then I'll feel the same way next week about Obama, too. Go Phils. I'm with TwinsGeek, another husband of a Phillies fan, who has temporarily re-Christened himself "PhilsGeek."
Scott Miller has an article on CBSSports.com asking what sort of a riot may befall Philly if the Phils end up winning the championship at home. It's a pretty fair, accurate article, except for one part:
"When we saw the dogs and the horses coming out that night, we said, 'Well, we understand. It's Philadelphia,' " said legendary broadcaster Chris Wheeler, who has been in the Phillies' booth since 1977.I like Chris Wheeler. He's a pretty good broadcaster, seems like a nice enough guy, my father-in-law is even friends with him. But "legendary"? I don't think so. The only legend in the Phillies' booth is Harry Kalas.
Turns out the party responsible is... my college classmate, Bryan Rudnick! He's an aspiring GOP dirty trickster last seen managing Katherine Harris' very, very unsuccessful 2006 campaign for the Senate, and this totally sounds like something he would do.
Political consultant Bryan Rudnick was identified as the person responsible for it. Rudnick, reached Saturday night, confirmed that he no longer works for the party, which employed him a few weeks ago as a consultant to do outreach to Jewish voters.Rudnick is lucky though- he's not Pennyslvania's most embarrassing ex-College Republican this month.
"I had authorization from party officials" to send the e-mail, Rudnick said, but he declined to say who had signed off on it. "I'm not looking to drag anyone else through the mud, so I'm not naming names right now," he said.
Wow, what a great finale to a great second season. I'll have to watch it again before I comment on it, but I wanted to acknowledge the sad news that Andrew Johnston, who had been writing great recaps of both seasons for The House Next Door, passed away Sunday at the age of 40. He will be greatly missed.
Like the Vikings' season wasn't enough of a disaster before, supposedly now their two starting defensive tackles, Pat Williams and Kevin Williams, are both facing four-game suspensions after testing positive for a banned substance.
Ugh. When does next baseball season start?
The last line of the piece is certainly my favorite.
Reminds me of one of the Wrestlemanias back in the late '80s or early '90s, when there was a guy sitting in the front row who was wearing a tuxedo, but also full Ultimate Warrior face paint. Hey, maybe it was the same guy.
The Wassup guys have apparently fallen on hard times in recent years, but see change on the horizon:
In addition to Game 4 of the World Series and the Eagles game that just ended, Philadelphia's sports complex will also host a concert by the Who tonight, which certainly will lead to the parking nightmare of all time.
Do you know how old The Who are? Daltry and Townshend are each almost 20 years older than Jamie Moyer.
The Phillies took a 2-1 lead in the World Series- very, very late Saturday night.
Thanks to a rain delay the game didn't begin until 9:30, and it didn't end until 1:47, when Carlos Ruiz singled to third and Evan Longoria's throw sailed over Dioner Navarro's head as Eric Bruntlett scored the winning run.
Jamie Moyer pitched well for the first time in the postseason, making the first World Series appearance of his long career. Hey, did you hear Moyer is 45 years old? That he's from Souderton, Pa.? That he went to the Phils' parade in 1980? Because all three were mentioned about 50 times each throughout the broadcast.
If the Phils can pull off Game 4 tonight, they go up 3-1 and will have Cole Hamels going at home in Game 5. Yes, a Philadelphia may be two days away from a championship.
Great show last night with Jon Hamm; here, they break down the essence of "Mad Men":
Also loved the "Mad Men" parody, especially Casey Wilson's Joan Holloway impression.
Jon Swift goes through the righty blogosphere's greatest hits. They're all here: Muslim! The ACORN conspiracy! Ayers wrote his book! And even the birth certificate!
Wonderful stuff going on here in PA:
A new e-mail making the rounds among Jewish voters in Pennsylvania this week falsely alleged that Mr. Obama “taught members of Acorn to commit voter registration fraud,’’ and equated a vote for Senator Barack Obama with the “tragic mistake” of their Jewish ancestors, who “ignored the warning signs in the 1930’s and 1940’s.”Yes, that's right. Obama equals the Holocaust.
At first blush, it was typical of the sorts of e-mails floating around with false, unsubstantiated and incendiary claims this year.
But where most of the attack e-mails against Mr. Obama have been mostly either anonymous or from people outside of mainstream politics, this one had an unusually official provenance: It was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Republican Party’s “Victory 2008” committee.
They're going to lose, by a lot, and they"re going to deserve it.
Not a good night for the Phillies, as they lost Game 2 4-2, even though it wasn't that close. Sure, the umps blew it big time, once failing to notice Rollins being hit in the jersey by a pitch, and later failing to pull the trigger on an obvious third strike. But the Phils' loss belongs to them, as they once again mostly failed with runners on base.
Jamie Moyer starts Game 3 Saturday, although a rainout is supposedly very possible. And now, suddenly, everyone in Philly who suddenly discovered optimism in the last week is very, very concerned.
1. Great work by Ferrell and Fey, but... isn't it a little bad for the show that the two people starring on their prime time special are both former cast members who left the show years ago?
2. I love Fred Armisen's Giant iPhone, as it was about time someone made fun of the John King/Chuck Todd enormous telestrator trend. I also like his idea of moving Minnesota to right under Pennsylvania- it would make it much easier to see my family, and Twins games.
As soon as I heard a McCain volunteer in Pittsburgh was "attacked" by a "large black man" who "targeted" her for her McCain sticker, and "scratched a 'B' on her face," I knew we'd find out sometime today that the whole thing was bullshit. You betcha!
I'm only sorry she wasn't exposed AFTER she'd done the whole run of Fox News shows- because you just know that was coming.
My colleague Jeremy calls Ashley Todd "the tacky custume du jour" this Halloween." I bet a lot of parties will have ten Sarah Palins and 1 or 2 Ashley Todds.
I hear it's quite a scene.
I agree with Jemele Hill in her column today:
I'm not sure what kind of fan support everyone expected from a franchise with such a pronounced history of losing. The Rays finished in the basement in every season but one prior to 2008, so pardon the fans for not rushing to purchase World Series tickets after Vegas sports books had the Rays as a 100-to-1 shot to make it to this point.Let's see- a team that's only existed for ten years, has sucked for all of that time, and plays in the worst stadium in baseball? If I lived in Tampa, I wouldn't have jumped on the bandwagon until now, either.
That's Obama's chance of winning, according to FiveThirtyEight. But hey, I'm sure Drudge tomorrow will lead with whichever of the eight tracking polls is most favorite to McCain.
This is the first post from my new MacBook. So far, so good.
The Phillies got off to an excellent start in the World Series, winning 3-2 in Tampa Bay off dominant pitching from Cole Hamels, Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge. They managed to overcome an 0-for-12-with-running-in-scoring-position run and quieted down the Rays' bats.
The Phils will now have a chance to go back to Philly up 2-0, although their rotation has quite a drop-off after Hamels. Brett Myers goes tonight against James Shields; I still stick with my "Phils in 5" pick.
I have a new "Week in Electronics Crime" roundup up at Dealerscope. By the way, if you've clicked over to past columns and the page didn't open, good news: we're on our new server and the site looks great.
I ask "who the fuck is that guy?" a lot when I watch cable news.
Courtesy of my buddy Rich:
If The Producers didn’t fill your need for on-stage singing and dancing Nazis, then prepare yourself for an upcoming sci-fi musical comedy stage adaptation of the 1963 camp film They Saved Hitler’s Brain.Altman, by the way, is a Brandeis alum who I once interviewed; he produced and co-wrote the Shatner comedy "Free Enterprise."
The upcoming show is being produced by Mark Altman and Chris Wyatt. Jon and Al Kaplan, who wrote the Off-Broadway spoofs Silence! Silence Of The Lambs: The Musical and 24: Season 2: The Musical will be writing the show’s book and songs.
The announcement in Variety doesn’t state where the show will debut, but given the Kaplan’s past stage works, it feels safe to say that Hitler’s Brain will be an Off-Broadway production.
News Item: Former Minnesota Gov. Carlson endorses Obama
Not a huge surprise; even as a GOP governor, Carlson was often undermined by and even faced a primary challenge from the Michele Bachmann wing of the Minnesota Republicans.
Very amusing website. The "Mad Men" one is my favorite. I'm trying to convince my bosses to have a drunken all-night office party on election night, like Sterling Cooper did in 1960.
John McCain, today:
Much, much more offensive than "lipstick on a pig," if you ask me. How will newspapers report it? They can't use that word...
News Item: Jemar Barksdale arrested in ACORN fraud case
No, there was no one named "Stringer" involved, as far as we know.
Christopher Orr, on McCain/Palin's YMCA game:
Joe the Plumber, your time is evidently up. America, meet the new physical embodiment of the McCain candidacy, Tito the Builder. (I wish I were joking.) These days, the McCain campaign is starting to resemble nothing so much as a reunion of the Village People. Keep your eyes peeled for the unveiling of a cowboy in Colorado any time now.I wonder if they know what that song is really about...
Honestly, though, isn't there something a tad infantilizing about these one-name-and-a-profession caricatures? (At the same event where Sarah Palin rolled out Tito, she also cited "Phil the bricklayer" and "Rose the teacher.") As the parent of small children, I feel that what is supposed to be a grownup exercise in participatory democracy is looking more and more like a show on Noggin.
Jon Stewart mocks this "only areas that support us are really America" nonsense coming from the McCain campaign.
Call liberals elitists, but at least we don't ever claim we're more American than our opponents.
I wonder how Hulk Hogan feels about this...
News Item: Brandeis to add $100,000 weight room
Prior to this, the only Jew ever to spend that much on a weight room was Daniel Snyder.
David Sedaris on undecideds:
To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”In 2004, there were some "smart undecideds." This time, there are none.
To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.
Jesse Taylor on McCain's awful, awful campaign:
It’s the “fuck it, whatever” guide to Republican politics, with no particular focus except putting anything out there to win a daily news cycle. Obama was a conspirator in voter fraud for a weekend, a terrorist for about three days, until he was a socialist because some plumber in Ohio said so. Before that he was a celebrity and presumptuous, a race-baiter, a shady community organizer, sexist, inexperienced, a baby killer, a sex predator and a dozen other things. You wonder why McCain/Palin supporters feel like they can go to rallies and talk about Obama being a Jew-bought Islamic radical cokehead forced abortionist communist? Because it’s the standard that the campaign’s set by having ridiculously drawn out public conversations designed to draw full attention to the charges while laboring under the pretense that they’re “debating” over using the smear.
Want to know how we know Barack Obama isn't really a socialist or a communist? Because actual socialists and communists don't think so either:
Local communists, rarely tapped as campaign pundits, say Sen. Barack Obama and his policies stand far afield from any form of socialism they know.But he's a communist, so he'd say that, wouldn't he?
John Bachtell, the Illinois organizer for Communist Party USA, sees attempts by Sen. John McCain's campaign to label Obama a socialist as both offensive to socialists and a desperate ploy to tap into fears of voters who haven't forgotten their Cold War rhetoric.
Christopher Buckley, boiling down pretty much the entire campaign:
Buckley, for his part, tells me that McCain’s vice-presidential choice was roughly 60 percent of the reason that he decided to endorse Obama. “I will readily confess that I was one of many who swooned the day after the announcement,” he says. “But it’s kind of like dating a supermodel. There comes a moment, unfortunately, where they start talking."
I look at some of the racial questions related to the presidential campaign in this week's North Star column.
Two lifelong Republicans on Sunday declared their support for Barack Obama- Colin Powell on "Meet the Press," and Michael Smerconish in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Add their support to such traditionally right-leaning editorial boards as the Chicago Tribune and the newspaper in College Station, Texas.
I found Powell's endorsement tremendously moving and powerful. I especially appreciated his discussing that Muslim soldier who died in Iraq, and slamming down the destructive rightward tilt of the GOP. My favorite part:
I also believe that on the Republican side over the last seven weeks, the approach of the Republican Party and Mr. McCain has become narrower and narrower. Mr. Obama, at the same time, has given us a more inclusive, broader reach into the needs and aspirations of our people. He's crossing lines--ethnic lines, racial lines, generational lines. He's thinking about all villages have values, all towns have values, not just small towns have values.Exactly. I don't know how anyone can intellectually defend the statement, from Palin, that "we grow good people in small towns," and not only because she was quoting a notorious anti-Semite.
I generally believe endorsements don't matter, but in this case Powell is such a respected behavior that I expect he'll change minds. Why would a four-star general, a man who has won wars, back someone if they really were a terrorist/pacifist/whatever?
Smerconish is an even odder case, a longtime conservative, operating in the right-wing talk radio universe, on a station in which the other hosts are Rush LImbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. Is he placing his career in jeopardy by doing this? He probably won't ever get a nationally syndicated radio show now, but Smerconish has become more of a TV guy recently and this won't hurt him with that. Still, I've heard Smerconish's views evolve over the past year or so, and he's definitely coming at this with honesty and integrity. Good for him.
The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Red Sox in Game 7 of the ALCS last night, to move on to the World Series against the Phillies. So sorry, long-suffering Boston fans, you're going to have to content with just one championship this year.
The game also hurt me as a Twins fan, seeing Matt Garza and Jon Lester start the ALCS Game 7 against each other. Because if the Twins had made the Santana-for-Lester/Lowrie/Crisp trade and not made the Garza-for-Young trade, I'd imagine THEY would've been in Game 7 of the ALCS.
While a Red Sox/Phillies series would have had a lot of intriguing subplots- J.D. Drew in Philly, city of champions vs. city of losers, Terry Francona back in Philly, etc.- there's really not much there when it comes to Rays-Phils, except for the recent history of the two cities battling in other sports. It's great ballpark vs. atrocious ballpark. It's history vs. no history. It's Why Can't Us vs. this "9 = 8" nonsense.
Much happier about the lack of a Sox-Phils matchup? Brett Myers. Since they're not playing Boston, he'll avoid a return to the scene of his spousal-abuse-arrest-that-everyone-forgot, and the dozens of national news stories that would have gone with it.
At any rate, this year just feels different, and it's time for the drought to end. Phillies in 5.
Paul Lukas fills us in on every historical instance of two players with the same name being on the same team at the same time, and how the teams have handled the uniform question. Of course, none of them went with the Cowboys' solution- break the forearm of one of the two Roy Williamses.
Yes, it was funny. But one thing about it that very much strained credibility- Palin giving a press conference. Like that would ever happen in real life.
Minnesota's Michele Bachmann is probably the most loathsome individual presently in Congress, and here she shows why. In an interview with Chris Matthews, she calls for media investigations into
un-American activities "anti-Americanism" among Democrats in Congress:
I really, really hope there's enough of a landslide that this embarrassment gets tossed out right on her ass.
Ugh, what a disaster. I don't want to talk about it.
Alan Dershowitz, in the New York Daily News:
The one issue about which candidates McCain, Obama, Palin and Biden seem to agree is Israel. During the debates each candidate has gone out of his and her way to emphasize strong support for Israel as an American ally and a bastion of democracy in a dangerous neighborhood. They have also all expressed support for Israel's right to defend itself against the nuclear threat posed by Iran, which has sworn to wipe Israel off the map.But I don't know, I know of at least a few conservative bloggers who believe with 100% faith that an Obama presidency will lead to a second Holocaust.
There may be some difference in nuance among the candidates, especially with regard to negotiations with Iran. But supporters of Israel should not base their voting decision on which party or which candidates support Israel more enthusiastically. They should vote based on more general considerations about what is best for America, the world and the values that they hold dear. In the United States, Israel is not a divisive issue, and voting for President is not a referendum on support for Israel, at least among the major parties.
I can't wait for the next installment, with Sarah Palin's head superimposed on Jesus Quintana's body.
Hmmm. Very curious.
Or maybe he's going on "Meet the Press" just to dispute Jeffrey Wright's performance as him in Oliver Stone's "W." I saw the movie Tuesday and mostly liked it, despite a few wrong stylistic choices and about ten major factual and chronological errors, and that's just what I noticed on first viewing.
Still, loved all the performances of the various Bushies- Bruce McGill's sneering George Tenet, Richard Dreyfuss' cackling Dick Cheney, Scott Glenn's Rumsfeld (in what was almost a non-speaking role), Thandie Newton playing Condi Rice exactly as Kristen Wiig would and (best of all) Toby Jones channeling Karl Rove as a creepy, pedophile-like runt.
Last night I went to a very fascinating candidates forum at my synagogue, Main Line Reform Temple, in which a pair of surrogates for the candidates squared off. It was Henry Waxman, of funny-nose and presiding-over-the-steroid-hearings fame, representing Barack Obama, and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer speaking for John McCain.
I've never had the highest opinion of Waxman, always considering him a bit of a blowhard, but he impressed me with his speech and the way he handled questions from a few wingnuts. Roemer struck me as a nice guy, albeit someone who probably hasn't paid a great deal of attention to politics in the past decade or so and is only out on the trail because McCain's his friend and asked him to go. I went up to Roemer afterwards and told him one of my earliest memories of following politics was when he ran against David Duke in 1990.
I'd say the room was about 50/50, with the fact that it was a Reform Jewish congregation sort of canceling out its geographical location on the historically Republican main line. Still though, there were quite a few people there of the "Obama will put Farrakhan in the cabinet" wing, including one guy who tried to read the entire Taheri/Jackson article out loud while asking a question.
Roemer, though, dropped a bit in my eyes when he recommended Jerome Corsi's thoroughly discredited book about Obama, "Obama Nation." Waxman's stock rose when he cut him off and yelled "that book is a fraud!"
What a game last night at Fenway. The Rays were winning 7-0 when I turned off the TV to watch "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."* When I turned the game back on afterwards, it was 7-6. Then the Sox came back to win in the 9th.
Can the Rays recover? Who knows. I don't know whether to think this softens them up for the Phils, or whether the Sox will win after all and head into the Series with momentum. But hey, in a Sox-Phillies World Series, the entire country outside New England will be on Philly's side.
*Just discovered 'Always Sunny' a couple of months ago and LOVE it. The people who created it are sick fucks, and that's probably the best thing about it- it's for people who didn't think "Seinfeld" was cynical or nihilistic enough. It's as perfectly Philly as any filmed work of fiction, ever- F you Rocky, and F you too, M. Night Shyamalan.
Every episode is on Hulu.
The Daily Mail, however, says that it wasn't Duchovny's addiction that caused the split, but Leoni's alleged affair with Billy Bob Thornton. The two met while filming the movie 'Manure' this year.If there's anything less conducive to a romantic atmosphere than Billy Bob Thornton, it's being on the set of a movie called "Manure."
But careful, Tea- Billy Bob's been known to kill people with his bare hands if they have affairs with his wife. At least, that's what his character in "The Man Who Wasn't There" did.
Daniel Drezner- yet another conservative for Obama- on the "socialist" charge:
Let’s review — in the past two months, the Bush administration, with the bipartisan support of Congress, has essentially nationalized Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG. The Federal Reserve has promised to back the commercial paper market. The Treasury Department has purchased equity stakes in nine major banks. Loan guarantees have been thrown at the automobile sector.
After all this, I’m supposed to believe that an increase in the highest marginal tax rate from 35% to 39% is the ne plus ultra of socialism?
I want to see a flat tax as much as the next libertarian, but given the events of the past two months, I just don’t think “spread the wealth” is the tipping point after which the Reds took over America.
Jesse of Pandagon, on Michelle Malkin's outrage (OUTRAGE!) about the "vicious attacks" on Joe the Plummer:
Michelle Malkin is excoriating “liberals” for attempting to destroy Joe the Plumber. It isn’t just the pot calling the kettle black, it’s the pot wandering into the pot store and declaring all other pots black-tinged traitors to our great nation, then offering to run the pot reeducation camp to bring them in line with acceptable and decent container values.Or putting them in internment camps.
I review "Body of Lies," which I liked a lot more than most people, on Philly.com, and for the paper now known as "My Community the Trend."
The movie, by the way, was at exactly 50/50 on the Tomatometer, before my review knocked it up to 51. I don't expect my vote on Nov. 4 to be nearly as crucial.
News Item: "Joe the Plumber" not a licensed plumber; real name is "Samuel"
Yes, that's right: Joe the Plumber is neither Joe, nor a plumber.
And no, I'm not the only one who noticed Joe's uncanny resemblance to Vic Mackey.
The great Hilzoy:
Seriously: given all the fretting on the right about Obama's possible socialist leanings, of which I have seen precisely no evidence, you'd think they would have noticed that someone has recently been taking steps that are genuinely socialist. And that someone isn't our guy; he's theirs.In that respect, Bush is more of a socialist than any Democrat who's run for president, ever.
The moral of this story is: there are several roads to socialism. One is to try to bring it about. There is, as I said, no evidence that Obama wants to do that. But another is to govern so disastrously that drastic steps like nationalizing banks look like the least bad option. That was the Bush administration's route.
Not too far from the real thing:
Philadelphia Will Do's 20th anniversary reaction: "I don't believe what I just saw!"
The Good Phight takes the plunge. Good for them.
The Phillies won the National League pennant tonight, defeating the Dodgers in Game 5 for a 4-1 series victory and their first World Series visit since 1993.
I rip Philly sports and its fans an awful lot around here. But if you'll allow me to be honest, I'm thrilled about this Phils run, and I'll be rooting hard for them to win. The fans in this town have suffered enough and absolutely deserve a championship, and I for one certainly hope they get it.
Obama won, but McCain performed better than in the first two debates, by a wide margin.
McCain actually appeared forceful and looked less like a doddering old fool than in the other debates, especially the second. But the "Joe the Plumber" gimmick didn't work for a second, and McCain often muttered under his breath while his opponent was talking, much like Hannity often does.
Still, this was the first of the four debates that actually had a good format- namely, one in which the candidates were able to actually argue with one another and the moderator largely stood out of the way.
A few notes:
- Of McCain's "line of the night," asking why Obama didn't run against Bush four years ago: Obama, obviously, never gave consideration to doing so- but McCain certainly did.
- McCain: "You didn't tell the American people the truth... because you didn't." Wow, he sounds like a second grader.
- Loved Obama's answer on the Ayers/ACORN question, as he rightly pointed out that Obama's tenuous association with a radical from 40 years ago has become the "centerpiece" of McCain's campaign. Made it especially odd that McCain said he "doesn't care about an old washed-up terrorist." Then again, I suppose Bin Laden is "old" and "washed up" too.
- I had no idea a false voter registration for Mickey Mouse- who is not, I'd imagine, likely to show up and vote- constituted "one of the greatest frauds in voter history" with the potential to "destroy the fabric of American democracy."
- Obama baldly lied only once: When he answered "that's up to the American people" when asked if Sarah Palin is qualified to be president. The only factual answer to that question is "no."
- Always amusing to see a 72-year-old four-term U.S. senator denounce the "old boys network in Washington."
- If McCain thinks he can win this election by talking about partial-birth abortion, he's further gone than I thought. And does he really think Sarah Palin's son is autistic? It's Down's Syndrome- McCain made that mistake in the first debate, too.
Bottom line: In order to get back in the race, McCain had to win big tonight. He didn't.
A caller to Howard Eskin Wednesday made the contrarian argument that it would actually be a bad thing if the Phillies won the World Series. Why's that? Because they "never spend money," and a Series win would embolden that strategy and cause the team to dump all their players after the season.
The argument that the Phils (2008 payroll: $105 million) are too cheap is usually that they don't spend sufficiently to win a championship; therefore, you would think a championship would invalidate the thesis' key argument. Especially if it comes against their likely opponent, the Rays (2008 payroll: $44 million.) That caller, though, is showing that clinging to the "Phillies are cheap" idea is more important to him than a title.
Eskin, despite being a longtime spreader of the "Phillies are cheap" lie, slammed the caller down, to his credit.
Sean Burns, reviewing "Body of Lies" in Philadelphia Weekly:
Like Alec Baldwin, Russell Crowe is way more fun to watch when he’s fat. Middle age and excess poundage have worked wonders for these fellows, liberating them from any leading man’s vanity of burning intensity, allowing for more playful and inventive performances.Good point, although I don't think Alec gained weight to play any particular role.
With both LCS series now standing at 3-1, it's looking like Bud Selig's dream of a Red Sox-Dodgers World Series is increasingly unlikely. Instead, we're most likely looking at a Tampa Bay Rays-Philadelphia Phillies series.
This might not be so great for Philly, because matchups between the two cities - in which the established, favored Philly team faced the upstart Tampa squad- haven't exactly gone the way of the City of Brotherly Love in recent years. The Lightning have won multiple playoff series over the Flyers in the last ten years, and of course the Bucs beat the favored Eagles in the 2003 NFC championship game.
So, the Philies, if they make it to a series against Tampa, will be doing more than trying to win their city's first title in 25 years- they'll be avenging past aggression by the much-less rabid Tampa-St. Petersburg area.
"The Daily Show" looks at the central contradiction in the McCain campaign:
The fat lady may not have sang yet, but she's on her way into the auditorium...
Where to start? This story was reported by Amir Taheri- the guy behind the bogus "yellow stars in Iran" story of a few years ago- and everyone involved has denied all of the particulars of the story.
And besides- who cares what Jesse Jackson says about this? Considering the last time the two men were in the news together, one was threatening to cut the balls off the other. But hey, they're both black, so they must speak for each other, right?
Obama's national security spokeswoman Wendy Morigi said the column presented ''vague quotes -- recorded by a columnist it (the campaign) considers hostile in a tabloid newspaper it considers biased against them -- from an interview with a man last publicly seen threatening to castrate Sen. Obama.''How often does a presidential candidate's spokesman get to use the word "castrate" in a professional capacity?
If you absolutely must judge Obama by his supporters -as his opponents are wont to do- it's probably best to pick one of the supporters who hasn't ever threatened to "cut his nuts off."
News Item: 'Whizzinator' makers to plead guilty
It's federal charges of conspiracy to defraud the government. I still can't figure out why manufacturing a false penis used for circumvention of drug tests was ever legal in the first place.
Cracked readers have some ideas about how to improve the debates. #2 is my favorite.
The Phillies snatched victory from the jaws of defeat last night, beating the Dodgers in L.A. 7-5 on a pair of two-run homers in the eighth inning, first by Shane Victorino and then by Matt Stairs. The Phils now take a 3-1 lead and will have three chances to clinch a trip to the World Series. A few observations:
- Ace Cole Hamels starts Game 5 Wednesday night, scheduled for the exact same time as the third presidential debate, which I suppose isn't as bad for the Phillies as a game in the Milwaukee series going right up against an Eagles game. But I'm going to a wedding Saturday, so they had better wrap it up by then.
- This game marked the first Dodgers-Phillies game this year, in either the regular season or playoffs, in which the road team won.
- After complaining about having the ball thrown at his head in Game 3, Shane Victorino has emerged as Public Enemy #1 among Dodgers fans (or perhaps #2, behind postgame traffic.) Seems sort of bizarre, although for someone with such a reputation as a sweet guy, I've now seen Victorino nearly fight people on the field twice in three weeks.
- What a play by Chase Utley in the 6th with the bases loaded, catching a line drive and then, literally, crawling to second base to tag it for the unassisted double play.
- Charlie Manuel, a man that much of Philly believed as late as last year was the worst manager in the history of the game, appears to be thoroughly outmanaging Joe Torre, a four-time world champion and likely Hall of Fame manager. Then again, maybe this strengthens my theory that managers are overrated and much of what happens has more to do with either player skill or luck.
After all, doesn't every fan think their manager is an idiot? You watch a whole season of games you're going to see some mistakes. Whole swathes of baseball fandom believe Torre and Tony LaRussa, both winners of multiple championships, are utter morons, most Twins fans I know think Ron Gardenhire is a buffoon, and there are even many Red Sox fans who doubt Terry Francona.
- Good thing Brad Lidge got out of that first-and-third jam in the bottom of the eighth. Because if he'd given up a homer to Manny or James Loney, he could look forward to having that highlight shown on TV, oh, every time he pitches for the next three years, replacing the Pujols jack of 2005.
Slate has a very good piece, by Ben Mathis-Lilley, on why they can't seem to find any actual smart people to analyze baseball games on TV:
During the baseball playoffs, the best place to see comprehensive highlights of all the games is ESPN's Baseball Tonight. Just make sure to watch with the sound off, lest lead analyst John Kruk pulverize the parts of your brain responsible for logical reasoning. Kruk is a champion of the indefensible, the nonsensical, and the utterly pointless who once called Placido Polanco the toughest out in the American League (he isn't) and said that Brett Myers' arrest for hitting his wife in the face would "propel him to stand up and be the ace of [the Phillies'] staff" (it didn't, which is probably a good thing). Last week, Kruk's SportsCenter segment on the Tampa Bay Rays concluded with the meaningful observation that they are "a special team that can do special things."Excellent piece, but it all but ignores the real problem: The #1 announcing teams on Fox and ESPN both suckity, suckity suck (TBS is slightly better.) We all know about Joe Morgan, and we've once again been sucked into the insight vortex that is Joe Buck and Tim McCarver during this NLCS. Even though McCarver has been around the game for something like 40 years, listening to him talk about baseball is like listening to Sarah Palin talk about foreign or domestic policy.
News Item: Cowboys trade for Lions' Williams
This news will likely drive the "we-need-a-receiver, dammit!" segment of the Eagles fan base into a sputtering rage that no amount of Phillies playoff victories can cure. But on the bright side- the acquisition of another big wideout can only upset T.O., especially now that it'll be Brad Johnson throwing to them. Plus, first-, third- and sixth-round picks are a bit of a high price to pay, no?
And not only do the Cowboys already have a top receiver... they already have a Roy Williams. How will they handle the back-of-the-uniforms question? Middle initials?
I've had my differences with Abe Foxman over the years, but he's right on here:
Why is Sean Hannity inviting a man with an “extensive track record of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel remarks” to be a guest on his television show? The Anti-Defamation League would like to know.I think it's even worse that Martin alleged, on a nationally televised primetime "news" broadcast, that Obama plotted the violent overthrow of the federal government. Tell me lawyers- doesn't Obama have a pretty good libel case?
In a letter to the Fox News Channel host, the organization states that an espouser of “odious views” such as Andy Martin “ought not to be given the opportunity to enhance his credentials or his standing by appearing on ‘Hannity’s America.’” Martin appeared on the show to falsely allege that Obama is a Muslim.
Martin has a history of filing court documents containing anti-Semitic slurs, and in 1986 he listed the purpose of a campaign committee he launched for U.S. Congress in Connecticut as “to exterminate Jew power.”
Philadelphia Turkey: Palin Exceeds Puck-Dropping Expectations
It's been running during baseball lately:
Isn't it odd that there are so many eugenics references- the illusions to "having babies for German engineering"- in the service of a brand with historical Nazi ties? Not so much offensive as really, really weird. Adweek noticed too.
Still, very much preferable to such abominable ads as "This is Our Country," the two-faced ticket agent, the More Taste League and the Coors Light press conference idiots.
A caller to Howard Eskin on Monday charged that Andy Reid went for a field goal instead of a touchdown at the end of Sunday's Eagles win against San Francisco because he didn't want the Eagles to beat the spread.
I look into McCain's "be afraid!" strategy, and why it backfired, in this week's North Star column.
You may have noticed I haven't had links to my last couple of movie reviews; that's because the Trend web site was being moved to a new server. That new server, it turns out, is part of Philly.com, the home page for the paper's parent papers, the Inquirer and Daily News. Starting today my reviews will be appearing there; here's the first, my take on the wonderful "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist."
Hilzoy, on that nutty Hannity/Andy Martin segment, alleging that Obama began "training for a radical overthrow of the government" (what, as opposed to a moderate overthrow of the government?) while a community organizer in Chicago:
Sometimes people describe Fox News as a sort of antidote to more liberal news stations. That's not true. When CNN airs a "documentary" that presents, unchallenged, claims that John McCain is running a child porn ring from one of his seven houses, we can talk about equivalence. Until then, we have several news networks, but Fox is not among them.But hey, it's the left that's crazy, right?
I'm used to crazy, unsubstantiated stuff on Fox, but this is a whole other matter entirely, sort of verging on Clinton-killed-Vince-Foster territory. Here's the clip, a new low even by Hannity standards:
I especially love the insinuation that "there have been numerous reports linking Barack Obama to Louis Farrakhan and the people of his church." First, I've seen no such reports, and second, Farrakhan, who I don't believe Obama has ever met, is of course a Muslim leader, and doesn't have a church.
This isn't conservatism; this is mental illness. Dan Rather was fired for much, much less.
New York magazine's Vulture blog counts down the top ten "One Crazy Night" movies of all time. I like the idea, but it ranks both "American Graffiti" and "Dazed and Confused" way too low. "Nick and Norah" should've made the list; it's obviously heavily influenced by both of the above, as well as the list's #1 (Scorsese's "After Hours.")
News Item: Tony Romo out four weeks with broken pinkie
This is bad news for my fantasy team, but maybe now the Eagles aren't quite as dead-in-the-water as everyone thinks. Also Johnson, who looked done with the Vikings three years ago, is now the Dallas QB, and I've got a feeling T.O. is going to chew him up and spit him out.
On Saturday I finally, for the first time in the campaign, saw Barack Obama speak in person. It was at the first of four rallies held throughout the city over the course of the day; I went to the one near Temple University, where a couple thousand people turned out and braved lines going several blocks to get inside the plaza.
Obama gave his standard stump speech, sort of marred by the glare of the rising sun behind him. But what struck me about the event was the crowd. Young and old, black and white, all sort of people, all quite excited but nevertheless anxious and sort of ready for Election Day to get here already. Passing cars were honking as they passed the event.
And while McCain was booed slightly when his name was mentioned, the event had no anger, no viciousness, and no one yelling "terrorist," or "kill him." (See a few posts below.)
What a day in the NFL, with seemingly half of the games coming down to the last play. The Vikings, for the second week in a row, played a generally awful game but won thanks to a fortuitous pass interference call. It's pretty humiliating to trail the Detroit Lions 3-2 at the half, but hey, a win is a win is a win- and at 3-3, the Vikings have a share for the NFC North lead.
The Eagles also got a win ahead of their bye week, scoring a lot in the second half for the first time this year to beat the Niners in San Francisco, 40-26. The team may have given up an embarrassing blocked-field-goal-return-for-a-touchdown at the end of the first half, but redeemed themselves by finishing the game with an interception return for a touchdown.
Best of all for the team, after a week of gloom-and-doom, the Redskins and Cowboys both lost, putting them just a game ahead of Philly.
I noticed throughout the week that despite the Phillies being two wins from the World Series, the chatter on sports talk radio was still about 90-10 Eagles/Phillies, both because negativity better lends itself to radio, and because more people care about the Eagles in this town. After Sunday, in which the Eagles won but the Phillies lost Game 3 of the NLCS, we'll see if that reverses itself.
The Republicans are already talking up this "ACORN is stealing the election for Obama" nonsense; Josh Marshall knocks it down:
Here's the key. This is fraud against ACORN. They end up paying people for registering more people then they actually signed up. If you register me three times to vote, the registrar will see two new registrations of an already registered person and the ones won't count. If I successfully register Mickey Mouse to vote, on election day, Mickey Mouse will still be a cartoon character who cannot go to the local voting station and vote. Logically speaking there's very little way a few phony names on the voting rolls could be used to commit actual vote fraud. And much more importantly, numerous studies and investigations have shown no evidence of anything more than a handful of isolated cases of actual instances of vote fraud.But I'm sure it'll become an article of faith on the right for the next four years that "Obama and ACORN stole the election."
From an interview of Obama on sports by the Inquirer's Bob Ford:
When Obama thinks about Philadelphia sports, he thinks about Julius Erving, who was his hero growing up...That's more of a media interview than Palin's given in weeks.
Obama also said he roots for Donovan McNabb, who is from Chicago, and promises to pay close attention to the 76ers once again after they've finished going through "their growing pains, their post-Iverson years."
Who think Obama is a terrorist/Muslim/Arab/communist. Many, many, many, many bad apples:
Sports handicapper Wayne Allyn Root, the self-proclaimed "King of Vegas," briefly ran for president earlier this year for the Libertarian Party, and accepted an offer to be Bob Barr's running mate.
Root did a segment on WIP Saturday morning, going through his usual 10-15 minute schpiel of this week's football picks, including both a "Game of the Year" and "Game of the Decade" (not the same game.) But strangely, at no time during the segment did Root make any mention of the fact that he's presently running for the vice presidency of the United States. Must've slipped his mind.
All that stuff I've said over the years about Philadlephia sports fans? I take it all back:
Noted sports blogger Big Daddy Drew, making fun of "Blindness":
Children Of Men. Between this and the new movie “Blindness,” where everyone on Earth goes blind, I have discovered the hottest new trend in semi-independent filmmaking: inexplicable worldwide afflictions. The possibilities are endless. I have five such scripts now in development. Here now are the titles of each film, followed by the affliction they depict.I think the Joe Buck version would be the most horrifying. Then again, Buck is probably more qualified for the vice presidency than Palin.
Hear No Evil (everyone goes deaf)
Our Left Feet (everyone loses a left foot)
The Palin Effect (everyone loses 72 IQ points and starts winking uncontrollably)
Smugged In (everyone suddenly has the same voice as Joe Buck)
Hard Sharks (every man gets a permanent erection)
You’re welcome, Hollywood. I want eight points off the back end.
someone dangled a great big piece of low-hanging fruit in front of McCain: "I'm scared to bring up my child in a world where Barack Obama is president."Wow. So McCain has spent the last, desperate week trying to rev up the base with the bogus Ayers smear, and now they're revved up, all right- so much so that he's felt the need to defend his own opponent, to the boos of his own supporters. He's doomed.
McCain replies, "Well, I don't want him to be president, either. I wouldn't be running if I did. But," and he pauses for emphasis, "you don't have to be scared to have him be President of the United States." A round of boos.
And he snaps back: "Well, obviously I think I'd be better. "
Of course, this is kind of the best of both world: Crazy base-world gets to bring up Ayers and whatever else, really, and he gets to say, "Be respectful." But I think he means it.
UPDATE: Indeed, he just snatched the microphone out the hands of a woman who began her question with, "I'm scared of Barack Obama... he's an Arab terrorist..."
"No, no ma'am," he interrupted. "He's a decent family man with whom I happen to have some disagreements."
News Item: Connecticut legalizes same-sex marriage
And yes, my heterosexual marriage remains secure.
I'm actually going to a same-sex wedding in Baltimore next weekend; can Maryland have a similar ruling in the next eight days? Unfortunately, it will have come too late for Omar and Renaldo...
The Phillies won Game 1 of the NLCS last night, beating the Dodgers 3-2 after scoring three runs in the fifth, on a pair of homers from Chase Utley and Pat Burrell. In doing so the Phils beat L.A.'s best and most postseason-seasoned pitcher (Derek Lowe).
Game 2 is tonight.
So, if I understand this correctly: Barack Obama is in fact a radical; if not himself a Maoist, then at least someone who "fits comfortably" with people who are "more Maoist than Stalinist." But he is disguising this fact in order to infiltrate bourgeois institutions and implement his radical vision from within. A quiescent media does not press him for specifics, thereby allowing his centrist disguise to go unquestioned. Only his relationship with Bill Ayers allows us "a peek behind the curtain."
This is delusional. It would be interesting to ask, for instance, why so few of Obama's law students have come forward to talk about his attempt to transform them into Maoist cadres, or why the lawyers in his firm have not mentioned his commitment to cultural revolution, or how he has managed to conceal his desire to nationalize the means of production from, well, everyone. Was he secretly plotting to get asked, unexpectedly, to speak at the Democratic Convention, take a chance on running for President, and succeed, back when he was on the Harvard Law Review? That, plus absolutely iron self-control, might explain why no one caught a glimpse of Obama's secret radicalism: he has been concealing it for decades, the better to bore away at our bourgeois institutions.
There's only one problem with that hypothesis: if Obama were as stealthy as that, if he had lived a secret life for decades, completely concealing his inner Maoist, he would never, ever have blown his cover by getting on a board with William Ayers.
We talked to some publishing people about why more reporters out on the campaign trail aren't working on books about the election—and why the handful who are doing it think it's a good idea. One campaign book that has already bitten the dust is right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt's How Sarah Palin Won the Election ... and Saved America, which the literary agent Curtis Yates sent to publishers in New York last week.
When Media Mob reached Mr. Yates by phone on Monday, he'd already given up on trying to sell the book.
Hannity gets owned like never before by an Obama spokesman:
I also love that Colmes doesn't actually talk for the entire segment, before popping up at the end to defend Hannity.
This was in response to a special that Fox aired over the weekend, featuring Andy Martin, a conservative activist who argued that Obama trained in Chicago to overthrow the government and his entire political rise was "engineered" by Bill Ayers. Martin, in 1996, said that one of objectives was to "exterminate Jew power in America and to impeach the judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York City.”
Sean Burns, teeing off on "An American Carol":
How passe a target is Michael Moore, anyway? Nobody takes him seriously anymore; the guy had to give his latest flick away for free on the Internet. I kept waiting for Zucker to goof on more cutting-edge targets, like John Kerry speaking French, or maybe that new dance craze called the Macarena.
She's going to get booed, loudly, and I for one can't wait.
Jeffrey Goldberg talks to our people:
I'm torn by my desire to destroy these ridiculous smears (Valerie Jarrett was born to American parents working in Iran!) and ignore them. When conspiracy-theorists direct their malevolent energies at Jews, I usually try to ignore the particulars of their arguments, simply to avoid crediting them in any way. So let me do the opposite: Instead of debunking, I'll bunk:
Barack Obama has called Israel America's strongest ally in the Middle East; he wants to stop Iran from getting the bomb; he is a stalwart enemy of Hamas and Hezbollah; he is the darling of Chicago Jewry; he is the protege of Sen. Dick Durbin, whose election was aided immeasurably by AIPAC; he himself is close to AIPAC; his advisers include Dennis Ross, Jim Steinberg and Richard Clarke; and on and on and on.
So, all you rumor-mongering, fever-headed Jewish conspiracists: Support McCain, if you want, and there are credible reasons for doing so, but stop smearing Obama in the face of overwhelming evidence that the man is a great friend of Jews and of Israel. After a point, it becomes obvious that what you fear is not Israel's destruction, but the presence of an African-American in the White House. And that's disgusting.
Interesting observation from Ben Smith:
An Obama supporter, who canvassed for the candidate in the working-class, white Philadelphia neighborhood of Fishtown recently, sends over an account that, in various forms, I've heard a lot in recent weeks.I think there are a whole lot of people in this country who have varying degrees of racist feelings- looking down on those black kids on the subway, that sort of thing- but will nonetheless vote for Obama, rationalizing that he's "one of the good ones." I'm not saying I defend that formulation, but it's out there, and not just in Fishtown.
"What's crazy is this," he writes. "I was blown away by the outright racism, but these folks are f***ing undecided. They would call him a n----r and mention how they don't know what to do because of the economy."
Alan Sepinwall on "Kath and Kim":
Having a laugh at the expense of the ignorant isn't as easy as it looks, as shown by three comedies with low-IQ central characters that premiere over the next two nights: NBC's "Kath & Kim" (tomorrow at 8:30), FX's "Testees" (tomorrow at 10:30) and season two of Comedy Central's "The Sarah Silverman Program" (tonight at 10:30). The latter two succeed intermittently, but "Kath & Kim" is among the most unpleasant viewing experiences of my lifetime.Has Molly Shannon ever done anything funny? All of her recurring SNL characters were annoying as hell. The funniest thing I can think of about her is that aside in the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" pilot, and she wasn't even really directly involved.
It is as smug, airless and grating a half-hour as you can possibly spend, the kind of show that requires enormous reservoirs of willpower to avoid turning off. I'll confess that I didn't actually have that much willpower, and that I needed a pep talk from my wife (something about mortgage payments and health insurance) and, eventually, duct tape before I could be kept from using the remote.
John Oliver gives it a shot:
Yes, it's a montage of McCain wandering aimlessly around the stage last night.
Another big win for Obama. To stop the momentum towards an Obama landslide, McCain needed to shake things up, do things differently, and either win the debate or not lose. He did none of the above. A few observations:
- Obama was confident and in command, while McCain looked uncomfortable and grouchy, mangling various phrases throughout the night. He did absolutely nothing differently than in the first debate or previous appearances, and took no advantage of the town hall format, his alleged specialty. He also tried to make jokes on three different occasions, all of which were met by dead, dead silence.
- Calling Obama "that one"? Really?
- Three debates so far, and three absolutely horrible formats. So, the people asked their own questions, but Brokaw picked which ones and the order? No follow-ups or cross talk? Both more boring than the alternative, and teaches us even less about the candidates.
- McCain arguing that Obama was "wrong on the surge and Iraq" was sort of undercut by his actually saying his opponent was "long on the surge and Iraq." Mangling the Rwanda phrasing wasn't a fine moment either.
- Obama: "We will take them out. We will kill Bin Laden, we will crush al-Qaeda." Let me say this: if that happens in the Obama Administration, no one will ever make the Obama/Osama mistake again.
- Brokaw asked the candidates to define "The Obama Doctrine" and "The McCain Doctrine." I won't even make the obvious Sarah Palin joke.
- Obama has improved significantly as a debater since the primaries. I don't think he won any of the one-on-ones against Hillary, but he's done much better in the general.
- How bad a night was it for McCain? Not even Hugh Hewitt gave him a decisive victory! Hugh says McCain won the Fannie/Freddie argument, and that "the rest of the debate is a non-event which favors Obama." McCain is so, so doomed.
Gut read. Obama owned it. This election’s over unless he murders and eats the flesh of a child on live television.I expect McCain to have an ad ready alleging exactly that, probably by Thursday.
I didn't yet watch the debate, having spent the evening at the Spectrum for an exhibition hockey game between the Philadelphia Flyers and their minor-league affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms. And, surprisingly, the Phantoms won 4-2.
The event was billed as the final Flyers game at the Spectrum, which was their home from the late 1960s through 1996; the Phantoms play there now, though the building is being torn down after this season. A parade of '70s Flyers was honored prior to the game.
It was sort of bizarre to see Philadelphia against Philadelphia, especially since neither club was treated as the home team and the crowd seemed to be divided between them. For instance, they played the "we scored a goal" music whenever either team scored.
And while it may have been embarrasing for the Flyers to lose to their own affiliate, look on the bright side: Unlike every other game of the year, they get to take whichever players they want from the team they just played. Kind of like the Yankees, whenever they play anyone.
The Wikipedia page for Grimace. Yes, Grimace:
Grimace is a large, purple anthropomorphic being of indeterminate species with short arms and legs. One theory is that Grimace is a large, walking, talking taste-bud. He is known for his slow-witted demeanor. His most common expression is the word "duh". Originally, Grimace was the "Evil Grimace", with two pairs of arms with which to steal milkshakes. After that first campaign, the character was revised to be one of the "good guys", and his number of arms was reduced by two. Commercials and merchandise generally portrayed him as a well-meaning simpleton, whose clumsy antics provided a comic foil to Ronald McDonald. The character was retained after the streamlining of the characters in the '80s.Don't ask what got me looking for this. But I was wondering- why is there no site anywhere on the web that lists the entire advertising history of every brand? Sounds to me like a nostalgia goldmine.
I review Sal Paolantonio's new book, "How Football Explains America," on the North Star site.
The Vikings were able to luck into a win last night, beating the Saints in New Orleans despite almost no contribution from Adrian Peterson. A long fourth-quarter touchdown followed by a lucky pass interference call put the game away for them; now, much like the Eagles and my fantasy team, they are 2-3.
In the game, Reggie Bush became the first Kim Kardashian boyfriend ever to return two punts for a touchdown in the same game.
"The Daily Show" goes to Wasilla:
I said this when they brawled earlier this year: Sorry Yankees, but the AL East war is now Red Sox vs. Rays.
The ALCS is now set, after the Red Sox beat the Angels and the Rays defeated the White Sox, both in four games. All I have to say after the Red Sox won Game 4 to win is this: I really wish the Twins had taken the Lester/Lowrie/Crisp offer for Johan Santana. If they had, it would probably be them in the ALCS instead of Tampa.
Deadspin editor (and Philly guy) A.J. Daulerio on an incident in which Eagles fans threw eggs at the Redskins' team bus:
At some point this behavior has to become a little less "typical Philly fan", right? Packers fans moon the bus. Giants fans throw eggs. Everybody has their share of lowlifes that attend games but it's always the Philly fans that get singled out for chronic misbehavior problems. It's not the people that are the problems, but it's stories like this that give Philadelphians a complex about their bad reputations. And by "complex" I mean "swell with pride", for most of them.
What did you ever do?
A caller to Mike Missanelli's 950 ESPN show suggested that the Eagles immediately fire Andy Reid and replace him with Lane Kiffen. No, I'm not kidding.
And yes, two days before the Phillies start the NLCS, the sports radio chatter in Philly was about 90/10 Eagles/Phillies.
But how will go on Hannity's radio show once a week between now and the election?
What a sports day in Philly Sunday. By a quirk of scheduling, both the Eagles home game against Washington and Game 4 of the National League Division Series between the Phillies and Milwaukee started at 1 p.m. and ended at 4 p.m. Two victories may have been too much to ask, but no matter- the Eagles lost to fall to 2-3, but the Phils decisively defeated the Brewers in Milwaukee to win their first playoff series since 1993.
So are people in Philly happy or sad? Judging from WIP in the few hours after, the calls ran about 5-1 in favor of "Eagles suck" (as opposed to "Phillies rule"), although some of the Eagles sucks-ers did give credit to the Phils. Perhaps today will mark a turning point in the movement of Philly back to a baseball town.
The Phils will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in a bicoastal NLCS between two teams that haven't advanced this far in awhile (the Phils in 15 years, the Dodgers in 20.) As with most playoff series, I suspect this will come down to who's hot at the right time, although the teams seem fairly evenly matched. What the hell; I say Phils in 7. Red Sox-Phillies, in an East Coast Bias Series, remains probably the best bet.
Meanwhile, I feel for Cubs fans, I really do. They deserved better. However, I expect them to follow the Red Sox lead of finally winning that elusive championship AFTER the visionary ownership group takes over.
That's the general gist of this week's North Star column on the vice presidential debate.
Along with 20,000 other Philadelphians, I was on Benjamin Franklin Parkway Saturday to see Bruce Springsteen play an acoustic set in support of Barack Obama- and let's just say, I've got a feeling this drive is going to be more successful than Bruce's John Kerry concerts four years ago.
Bruce played a brief set, sure to bust out "Thunder Road" before closing with Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land." The concerts I've seen of him with the E Street Band were much better, of course, but it's Bruce! I certainly can't complaint. Not to mention, the crowd there was clearly just as jazzed about Obama as they were about Bruce. When I saw the '04 "Vote For Change" tour, the priorities of most of the crowd were roughly 1. Bruce, 2. that night's Yankee game, and 3. John Kerry.
Opening up was the excellent local musician Amos Lee, who my sister's been telling me about for two years. And the MC was, of all people, Angelo Cataldi, whose political judgment is considerably better developed than his sports judgment. He told the whole story about Obama's appearance on his show, conveniently leaving out the "typical white person" part.
My wife and I agree- last night's "Entourage" was the worst episode in the history of the series. Not funny, nothing happened, and it only makes sense if you think tripping on shrooms in the desert is inherently hilarious. I had thought the show had its fastball back after the first couple of episodes, but now they've put up a couple of clunkers in a row. And why is it funny that Eric Roberts, a long-term drug addict, is their shrooms supplier?
It could get better, but the return of the show's all-time most-annoying character, Dom, in next week's episode doesn't bode well. At least that stupid director who calls everyone "Suit" isn't around anymore.
Ghastly Hollywood analogies (+14) over AL DAVISI think he resembles Skelator, myself.
In the span of five hours after his surreal news conference, my readers sent me e-mails comparing Davis to the following Hollywood characters: Jigsaw (from "Saw"); Skeksis ("Dark Crystal"); Bill Murray's dead boss ("Scrooged"); Mason Verger ("Hannibal"); Mr. Burns ("The Simpsons"); the Crypt Keeper; Emperor Palpatine; the first alien villain who lands in "Men in Black"; Jason Voorhees when he comes out of the water in "Friday the 13th" (the first one); and what Bernie's rotting corpse would have looked like if they stretched the series to a "Weekend at Bernie's V."
David Weigel, on the witless-looking Michael Moore parody "An American Carol":
The liberals and left-wingers in the movie are psychopaths who willfully make things up, chant slogans mindlessly, and beat up people who upset them. This is the first Hannity and Colmes comedy, birthed in an echo chamber, with references that only make sense to people who are already die-hard conservatives... If you transported Zucker back to 1978 and pitched him Animal House, he’d direct Niedermeyer: Man of Iron.I can't imagine a universe in which this movie could possibly be funny. And I say that as a liberal who can't stand Michael Moore.
They do the veep debate:
Last night's SNL was the best of the year, I thought. Anne Hathaway really brought it, the Digital Short was funny, and Kristen Wiig continues to carry the show. I also loved "Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals," and Fred Armisen's hilarious Barney Frank impression.
News Item: O.J. Simpson convicted on all counts
Just (exactly) 13 years too late.
I'm going tomorrow to see Bruce Springsteen's concert for Obama on Franklin Parkway here in Philly. I'm here it'll be total chaos, but I'm looking forward to it all the same. Let's hope it works out better than the last time Bruce performed for a Democratic presidential nominee under a banner that said "Vote for Change."
This is genius. Pretty accurate too, I'm sure.
UPDATE: Yes, she was reading cue cards pretty much the entire debate.
Colbert explains the financial crisis:
I have another roundup of electronics retail crimes in Dealerscope today.
I interviewed Frank several years ago- about predatory-lending legislation, oddly enough- and he was much nicer to me.
John Lingan of Splice Today on "Blindness":
In his previous, better films City of God and The Constant Gardener, Fernando Mereilles displayed a lack of directorial subtlety that would make Spike Lee blush, but even they were no preparation for his new movie Blindness, which is an unholy symphony of bludgeoning metaphors and moral dubiousness. Blindness’ failure is so complete that it almost reaches a kind of pathetic grandeur. Here is a movie in which no aesthetic decision works, and which aims for shock, fear, and soaring emotional resonance, but instead achieves nothing but vacuous clichés. It’s a gumbo of pretentious symbolism and portentous ethics, and the most thoroughly misguided Hollywood debacle since Babel.I didn't really care for City of God or Constant Gardener, and I HATED Babel (two thirds of it, anyway.) In fact, I always hate these sprawling, hyper-earnest epics that ask us to Consider! The State! of this world! Except for "Children of Men," which was way too awesome to hate.
Longtime journalist Steve Dunleavy retired this week, after a four-decade career spent drinking and outraging his way through New York City and elsewhere. I rarely agreed with anything he wrote, but Dunleavy was one of the last of a dying breed- the older, hard-drinking, foreign New York reporter, along the lines of the Peter Fallow character in Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities." Christopher Hitchens is one of the only others remaining.
During the years I read him in the New York Post, Dunleavy had two basic columns that he repeated over again: Whenever a white police officer shot or assaulted an unarmed black man, he would defend the cops, often in several columns in a row. And whenever a mob trial was in progress, he would go on and on about what honorable gentlemen the mobsters were and what rat bastards the witnesses were. His tolerance for criminals, though, never expanded beyond the Mafia; anyone else was an "animal" or "vermin."
There's a panel of no less than 15 people, in one studio, discussing the debate. FIFTEEN! I thought ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown had too many panelists, and they have like half that.
The cable news consensus is clear: because Sarah Palin did not run away, break down and cry, or concede defeat on stage, she therefore won the debate.
I think all she did was prove that she's better at reading cue cards than she is at answering questions on her feet. And make no mistake, she was- did you notice that after nearly every question she stalled for a second and fiddled with her notes?
It wasn't Biden's all-time greatest performance, but not his worst either. He committed no big gaffes, and no Rick Lazio-type blunders, and had a couple of strong flourishes, especially in the "around the kitchen table" section.
Gwen Ifill didn't help matters, asking virtually no follow-up questions and not pressing on the numerous occasions when Palin gave answers that had nothing to do with the question.
But there were other mistakes: Palin called for the constitutional authority of the vice president to be increased (!), gave an answer on nuclear energy that, like many others, was a run-on sentence that made no sense, and used "I’ve only been at this for five weeks” as an argument IN FAVOR of her candidacy, as opposed to the opposite.
Was Palin's performance the unmitigated disaster of her Gibson and Couric interviews? No. But is she still an unmitigated disaster as a candidate? Oh yes.
The Phillies tonight won the game they weren't supposed to win, beating C.C. Sabathia and the Brewers to go up 2-0 in the NLDS. Brett Myers, who had gotten lit up in his last two starts, gave up a run in the first inning but settled down and gave up just one more hit in the remainder of the game.
Game 3 is Saturday in Milwaukee; the Brewers clearly look like the "just happy to be here" team, just as Philly was last year. And maybe this game- in which Sabathia was knocked out in the fourth inning- will prevent Phils fans from demanding his signing this offseason.
Sports Guy returns to long-form writing in an "E-Ticket" piece today, on Manny Ramirez's acrimonious departure from the Red Sox. Bill's take- which, to be honest, probably didn't need 9,000 words to articulate- is that it's mostly Scott Boras' fault, but that Red Sox management isn't utterly blameless either.
The other twist? Footnotes! Lots of them! Presumably a homage to the recently deceased David Foster Wallace.
The Times columnist wrote the following today on the op-ed page referring to the Asian economic crisis of the late '90s:
Just as in the U.S. today, most Japanese did not initially appreciate how devastating a banking crisis could be to the real economy. Banks and real estate tycoons in Japan were corrupt, profligate and unsympathetic figures, and no one wanted to help them. On corporate expense accounts, they sipped coffee with gold leaf and patronized “no-panties shabu-shabu” restaurants, which had mirrored floors and miniskirted waitresses.If you google "no panties shabu shabu," the very first result is a post on this blog almost three years ago, about Hideki Matsui's large porn collection, as well as his own fondness for such Tokyo establishments. Hundreds of Kristof readers were clearly curious about what exactly a "no panties shabu shabu" is, leading them here. Thanks, Nick.
The Phillies on Wednesday notched their first playoff victory since the 1993 World Series, beating the Brewers 3-1 in Game 1 of the ALDS. Cole Hamels was dominant, and the game's only drama took place in the 9th inning, when Brad Lidge came in the game, gave up a run, and threw more than 30 pitches, in the process of closing out the game and keeping his no-blown-saves streak intact.
Should the Phils have let Hamels finish the game? Nah. He's the ace pitcher and he's going to be needed for the rest of the playoffs. 100 pitches through eight innings is enough, especially since Hamels has already thrown more innings so far this year than any time in his career. Relax, fans, they got a win! s
As for TBS- is it just me, or does Dennis Eckersley look exactly the same now as he did in 1990? Same hair, same mustache...
Americans disdain snobbery in all its forms except the most popular one: reverse snobbery. Joe Biden would never get up in front of a crowd and suggest that the citizens of Manhattan are morally superior to the residents of Possum Gulch, Ark. But Sarah Palin was happy to tell the Republican National Convention that the very best people come from the country... One of these days, the 80 percent of Americans who live in more populated areas may tire of being obliquely insulted. Most urbanites and suburbanites don't think they're any better than their country cousins. But Palin might want to think twice before telling them they're worse."To suggest that "good people" are more likely to come from any particular part of America, or any particularly sized city than not is one of the more absurd insinuations to appear thus far in the election.
Will Bunch has an amusing analogy. Let's hope Brett has a better night tonight.
Obama's chance of winning just keeps rising...
I'm just glad Al Davis doesn't own my team:
Also, since Wade Phillips failed to give Felix Jones a single carry last Sunday, causing my fantasy team to lose, I'm rooting for him to get the Kiffin Treatment.
The New York daily published its final edition yesterday. The paper may have been known mostly as a bastion of the neocon media, but it also contained surprisingly strong arts and especially sports coverage. That part, especially, will be missed.
ALDS: Rays in three; Angels in five
NLDS: Phillies in four, Cubs in four
ALCS: Angels in 6
NLCS: Cubs in 7
World Series: Cubs in 6.
The Twins' 2008 season came to an end tonight, as they lost a one-game playoff to the White Sox, 1-0, on a home run by Jim Thome (the joke at my in-laws' was that the Phillies paid for one-third of that homer.)
It was disappointing, of course, but the Twins certainly weren't supposed to win 88 games this year, nor be eliminated on September 30. And yes, it's sort of sweet that the year after the Santana trade, they lasted two days longer than the Mets did.
The Twins' shopping list for the offseason? I'm thinking one more veteran starter (more a Derek Lowe type than a Livan Hernandez), plus actual major-league caliber players for the left side of the infield. But, a year from the new ballpark, the Twins certainly look to be in good shape. How many teams have five good starting pitchers, all 26 and younger?
Salon's Rebecca Traister, RSVPing no for the "Palin Pity Party":
Sarah Palin is no wilting flower. She is a politician who took the national stage and sneered at the work of community activists. She boldly tries to pass off incuriosity and lassitude as regular-people qualities, thereby doing a disservice to all those Americans who also work two jobs and do not come from families that hand out passports and backpacking trips, yet still manage to pick up a paper and read about their government and seek out experience and knowledge.Me neither.
When you stage a train wreck of this magnitude -- trying to pass one underqualified chick off as another highly qualified chick with the lame hope that no one will notice -- well, then, I don't feel bad for you.
When you treat women as your toys, as gullible and insensate pawns in your Big Fat Presidential Bid -- or in Palin's case, in your Big Fat Chance to Be the First Woman Vice President Thanks to All the Cracks Hillary Put in the Ceiling -- I don't feel bad for you.
When you don't take your own career and reputation seriously enough to pause before striding onto a national stage and lying about your record of opposing a Bridge to Nowhere or using your special-needs child to garner the support of Americans in need of healthcare reform you don't support, I don't feel bad for you."