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December 21, 2007

have i mentioned how loathsome glenn beck is?

You may have noticed, during the elongated primary season, that Sen. Barack Obama's name is curiously occasionally confused with the name of Osama bin Laden.  You might wonder why this happens -- is this a malicious act to sow doubt into certain voting blocs that think any non-Anglo Saxon surname betrays a deep hatred of America and things American, like celebrity teen pregnancies and high fructose corn syrup?  Not so, says doughy talk show host (and scourge of reason) Glenn Beck, who has slipped once or twice himself:
About six months ago, I met in a dingy basement to conspire with other right-wingers on how we could ‘accidentally’ confuse a Presidential candidate with the name of the most wanted terrorist in the world.  It was either that, or the names are 1 letter apart and I slipped up.

Ah, sarcasm!  I'm sure Mr Beck's dig will cause much consternation/public assignment of blame at our next Terrorist Sympathizing Liberals of America cadre meeting!

But he's got a point: names that are one letter apart are easy to confuse.  Why, hardly a week passes without Mr Beck dropping a shout out to "Don" McCain, a "Jill" Clinton reference, or a praise of "Doody" Guiliani.

After all, saying words is hard.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:25 AM

December 20, 2007

bush admin fixes elections -- hello daylight

This one is sure to get lost in the midst of destroyed-videos and telecom-immunities and Huckabee's Christ being better than yours, so I'm going to start yelling about it now -- the New Hampshire phone-jamming scandal, wherein a GOP operative was convicted (before winning on appeal) of interfering with the Democrats get-out-the-vote efforts in the 2002 election, is starting to grow some legs:
The Justice Department delayed prosecuting a key Republican official for jamming the phones of New Hampshire Democrats until after the 2004 election, protecting top GOP officials from the scandal until the voting was over.

Yeah, the phone-jamming scandal is not exactly the brightest star in the galaxy of the current administrations' crimes and misdemeanors, but it may be the first one to lose its slick sheen of "plausible deniability".

Which means that it is now my favorite scandal.

And BTW, while the link goes back to the always-reliable TPM, the reporting is actually another nice one from McClatchy, who has been putting "journalism" back into the infotainment industries of late.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:31 AM

December 19, 2007

less owners for media!

This morning I was reading the New York Times, specifically a front page story on the new FCC regulations pushed through yesterday.  It's a dry, bloodless little story that will interest few yet change the world as we know it -- namely, it relaxes media ownership rules in certain markets, so that Rupert Murdoch can make sure that soon no "news" will be troubling your beautiful mind.  As our pitchforks are broken and we're fresh out of torches, we can bitch about this to our friends and then promptly forget about it until the next outrage comes.

But!  There was a moment in the article which just screamed for a disclaimer, the idea of which made me the only guy smiling on the Q train.  To wit:

The other rule, which gives owners of newspapers more leeway to buy radio and television stations in the largest cities, is a step in the direction of deregulation.  It is intended to help the newspaper industry, which is suffering from dwindling advertising revenue, and to recognize that the historical conditions that gave rise to cross-ownership restrictions have changed, now that more news sources are available on the Internet and cable television.

"DISCLOSURE: you are reading a newspaper, which is published by the newspaper industry, which is indeed suffering from dwindling advertising revenue, so if you expect any tears from us, we will be crying all the way to the bank."

But nope, the NYTimes frowns on such moments of levity, though I know a guy who's working on that.

So while you party down this evening, raise your glass to Mr Murdoch and his brood, for whom you will someday be working.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:24 AM

December 18, 2007

christ for president

Just in case Gov. Mike Huckabee has not creeped your shit out yet, please examine his latest television advertisement, as reported by ABC's Jake Tapper:
With "Silent Night" strumming as soothing background music, Huckabee tells voters he doesn't blame them if they're "worn out" from all the political ads.

As the camera pans to reveal a Christmas tree behind him, the former Baptist minister says that at this time of year "what really matters is the celebration of the birth of Christ and being with our family and our friends."

I cannot remember a presidential candidate ever invoking Christ in a TV ad before.

Yeah, that's kind of creepy, the invocation of Christ, but the creepier thing is that the whole ad, the whole semiotic payload, is the negation of campaigning.  Gov. Huckabee doesn't mention that he's running for president (other than the chyron at the end, crediting his campaign as the sponsor).  It exists only to paint those he is running against as so cold that they won't take time from explaining why they want to be president to wish you nice people a Merry Christmas.

It is, of course, nauseating, but very shrewd, and I hope it works and he gains the nomination, because Gov. Huckabee is the nicest, most genuine, down-to-earth insane person running for president at this juncture.  Where your usual GOP candidate is more than happy to blow kisses at the Religious Right to suborn their votes, Huckabee actually is the religious right.

It would be a very novel campaign, and at this point, that is the most I am asking for.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:01 AM

December 17, 2007

another auld lang syne

Here's an interesting aspect of growing old I noticed today -- one is reminded of the embarrassing taste in culture one had as a pre-teen by the obits one reads in the newspaper.

Okay, not so much "growing old" as "advancing a measurable distance beyond one's youth.

I know, I know: STFU, Age-Obsessed Not-Quite-So-Old-Man.  But still.  Twenty-X years later, and for the first time I've got "Leader of the Band" running through my head.

Posted by mrbrent at 6:06 PM