Monthly Archives: November 2008

The Presidency, In Many Ways, Cracks Me Up

I mean, honestly:

President-elect Barack Obama visited Manny’s Cafeteria and Deli in
Chicago today to pick up two cherry pies and three corned beef
sandwiches — including one for himself and one for White House Chief
of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

President-elect Obama ordered his sandwich on rye bread with mustard.

What KIND of mustard, though? We need to know!

A.

The Little People

Wow. Just … wow.

Talk about a sign of the times in the journalism industry. Staffers at theLongmont Times-Call
recently received an internal e-mail inviting them to work as valets at
a private Christmas party for the Lehman family, who own the paper. And
at least two employees have already accepted the offer.

The party honors Ed Lehman, who’s currently in his 51st year as theTimes-Call‘s
publisher, and his wife Connie — and Dean Lehman, the paper’s editor
and president (and Ed’s son), says valets are needed because many of
the guests are elderly and may need a little extra help. So, too, do
small-market journalists in a struggling economy, so Lehman saw it as
natural to giveTimes-Call workers the chance to earn a
little extra cash as Christmas approaches. He says valets will earn the
same rate of pay they receive at their day job for the hours they work.

If you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to killing journalism.

Via Romenesko.

A.

Congrats

To First Drafter John Sundman, whosenew book is out!

A.

Friday Ferretblogging

Sleepyferrets


This is why we put up with them trashing our couch, chewing on flowers, shredding research notes, climbing inside briefcases, and generally making smelly, unholy pests of themselves. This right here.



A.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession With The Freeperati – it just keeps getting better!

Good morning, everybody! I’ve got brand-new sparkly-clean iso suits for everybody. Let’s get them dirty, shall we?

First up –“Karl Rove is a RINO! Who knew?”

Edwards, Rove agree when topic turns
to Palin

ap ^| Friday, November 14, 2008 at 8:23 a.m. | JASON
DEAREN

Posted onFriday, November 14,
2008 8:53:42 AM
bywinoneforthegipper

“But if she wants to
run for president she’s gonna have to get somebody to move to Anchorage, Alaska
and help her take her game to another level,” he said smiling. “Let’s be clear
about this … it’s really cold there most of the year.”

To: winoneforthegipper
Mr. Rove needs to find another party and another job. He called
the presidential race at 11:00 oclock in the afternoon for Obama. Give me a
break, He was the mastermnd of the pro-illegal alien strategy, he is no friend
of Republics. He needs to give it up and get lost.
He is the PAST failure, we
are moving FORWARD.
He is smug and arrogant.

4 posted onFriday, November 14, 2008
8:57:50 AM
bychicagolady
(Mexican Elite say: EXPORT Poverty Let the American Taxpayer foot the bill !)

To: winoneforthegipper
Edwards said Palin’s inexperience was too much for John
McCain’s campaign to overcome.
“The problem was, over time, particularly
in the vice presidential debate … it was fairly obvious she wasn’t ready to be
president, and that made people nervous,” he said.

Sounds likethe
liberals (Rove and Edwards)
fear Sarah and both are throwing bombs at her to
continue the attempt to derail her future national aspirations.Very telling of
the liberal RINOs.

7 posted onFriday, November 14, 2008
8:59:04 AM
bynewfreep
(“Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink.” – P.J. O’Rourke)

You know, it just doesn’t get any funnier than that.
They’re so desperate to lay the stinking carcass of the conservative movement’s failure elsewhere that they have actually started calling Rove a “liberal”. Have mercy.

More alternate reality after the jump.
You might as well…

Continue reading

And Through The Bars That Hid The Stars

I know not whether Laws be right,
Or whether Laws be wrong;
All that we know who lie in gaol
Is that the wall is strong;
And that each day is like a year,
A year whose days are long.
–Oscar Wilde, The Ballad of Reading Gaol



Someday we’ll be asked why they hate us:


Even in a courtroom that was closed to the public and the press, and with the detainees allowed access to the proceedings only by telephone, the court could find no reason to hold these men. This decision makes it clear once again that even with presumptions in its favor, the government cannot muster the barest evidence in support of its arbitrary detentions. For seven years, the Bush administration sought to avoid the courts because it had no evidence and sought instead to create a lawless prison.


They created a lawless prison. If I had to sum up the past eight years in a single sentence that would be it. They created a lawless prison. And I’m not talking about Guantanamo. I’m not talking about Guantanamo at all.


A.

Predictable

Keepthis in mind when they start bitching about gridlock:

This is the Senate GOP that obstructed practically every major bill
that Democrats tried to bring up for the last two years. That’s not
going to stop, regardless of how many Republicans are planted in the
Cabinet or throughout the federal bureaucracy.

And you know, I’m not naive, I get that part of the reason you want to put Republicans in the Cabinet and the bureaucracy is for media purposes, but this just continues the Democratic 19th Century SOP which assumes your punditry paid attention to what was actually going on instead of whatever bullshit the Republicans were spewing on the Sunday shows about this far-left agenda of not fucking over perhaps a third of the country quite so hard.

I personally don’t care that much if competent Republicans or Republican-leaners are given jobs subject to the pleasure of the president because the president believes they can do a job well; I care very much if we go into this administration still believing — STILL — that there’s some way to appease a bully. Obama could make Mitch McConnell Secretary of Everything and he’d still be out there whining that the Communists have taken over.

The sooner we get down to realizing that reality is immaterial to these people, the easier it will be to ignore these crude and horny bastards and get down to running the country. Do whatever you want as a gesture of bipartisanship, but don’t be deceived into thinking itmeans something.

A.

Some People Are Too Fucking Stupid To Breathe


Yeah, like this, but without the excuse of being a dog.

You’ll probably get a kick out of this.

I have a dear friend who just told me that some schmuck at work has started harassing her. You know, in the sexual way.

Now, that’s fucking stupid enough, but it gets dumber. He’s a manager (not directly her boss, but a manager).

Okay, that’s really amping up the stupid. But wait! It goes to eleven:

My friend is the human resources rep.

Now, dear readers, we have entered the realm of epic, epic fail. 

Or, in my friend’s words:

Honest to god, I thought people knew better than that. Or at least, if you wanna harass somebody, maybe you choose someone besides the human resource rep?

Yeah, you’d think.

So, do any of you have any similar stories to share? Of harassment, or epic fail, or both? Leave ’em in the comments.

From Whence The Ongoing Freakout Came

Reading around, I see a lot of ZOMG HILLARY and ZOMG THIS TREASURY DUDE and insta-analysis and joy or disappointment and predications about what this REALLY MEANS for the coming Obama presidency which seems like it’s in its fifth year already, is how this is stretching out. I’m almost happy the holidays are almost here, because even though I’m not done with my shopping it will give all the crack squirrels in the world something to do other than freak out about this appointment versus that one.


Part of it’s that there isn’t an Obama presidency yet. Part of it’s that there’s so much speculation about who’s gonna do what; part of it’s that we’re trying to figure out what we thought about Obama was true and what was some combination of adrenaline, alcohol and projection. Part of it’s that unlike during the campaign, we’re all just watching now. You can’t go door-to-door to get Richardson made Secretary of Commerce. Well, you can, but people will stare at you funny.



Part of it, of though, is that we’re simply not used to having a president whose intelligence and decisions we can trust. It’s not about whether you trust Obama, it’s not even about whether he’s trustworthy. Opinions on that can differ and only time will tell. It’s about whether you can be rewired to give anybody in this job the barest amount of the benefit of the doubt ever again.


I mean, for eight years we have basically had a president we were afraid was gonna sit on the button. We had this chewy little asshole who every time he opened his mouth caused an international incident, who couldn’t pick up the phone without almost burning the place down. He and his people gave us absolutely no indication we could stop paying attention for a second because if this was the shit they did while we werewatching, I mean, good God. It was like watching a guy juggle fire, and not well, and for eight years.


It’s gonna take us a minute to stop jumping every time the phone rings.


A.

Already Holiday-Crazy

Whenever it gets the slightest bit cold outside, I start baking and watching this movie:



A.

Better Journalists

We not only have to raise the kids right, we have toproperly honor those who did a job like grown men and women.

A.

Insert Minnesota Joke Here

Fun with ballots in the recount:


This Beltrami County voter cast their ballot for Al Franken, but also put “Lizard People” as a write-in candidate, not only in the U.S. Senate race, but for several others. The county auditor/treasurer ruled that the vote should not be counted because it’s considered an overvote. Representatives for Franken challenged that decision.



Yes, I know, serious business. Shouldn’t throw rocks at the Gopher Hole State from my glass house in Chicago.



But … Lizard People?

Don’t even get me started on the dude who wrote in Michelle Bachman’s name for Senate. Lizard People starts to look like the smart choice.



A.

“Minimally Adequate”

Monster.com dida series of commercials in the late 1990s that tried to capture the sense of how you likely didn’t want to be whatever it is you turned out to be. (The kid who says “I want to claw my way up to middle management” was one of my favorites in that commercial.) The commercials were funny and sad at the same time because you really couldn’t imagine yourself ever saying anything close to that when you were a kid. You wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, a firefighter, an astronaut or other things we all think about when we’re kids. Yet, some of us ended up just like the kids said, arguing with the jackass in the next cubicle about who stole whose stapler.

I thought about that commercial todaywhile reading something a friend sent me about a movement in South Carolina to change the state’s constitution. Apparently, 1895 Jim-Crow-style language argued that every kid had a right to a “minimally adequate” education. It’s been more than 110 years since that’s been written and yet “minimally adequate” still controls the dice in that state.

I go back to that Monster ad in my head and find myself imagining the dinner conversation at a typical SC house:

Mom: Did you get your minimally adequate education today, son?
Son: Yes, Maw, I did. We learned about nouns. Next semester, it’s verbs!
Mom: Hell, son, if you don’t quit now, you’ll get adjectives and such next year as a senior.

It’s not funny and I’m glad to see thatsome people are taking a run at this thing, trying to force the state to take education more seriously in the state. Still I worry that in a time in which education is more important than it’s ever been, conditions for teachers still lead to heavy burnout, thanks to low pay, bad classroom conditions and an assortment of other problems.

Part of the reason is that people believe “if it was good enough for me…” which is so far from true anymore it’s not even funny. (Hey, if that’s true, why aren’t we doing math with slide rules any more or exposing the kids to asbestos, mimeograph machine chemicals and ruler-toting nuns who have a license to kill?) The other part of the reason isthe argument that A made earlier in the election season: It’s easier to tell people, “This will cost money” and create an immediate threat (I have no money, this will cost money, this will not immediately help me feed my family. Screw funding the schools.) than it is to convince them of a more nuanced argument (If you pump money in to the kids, they’ll get smarter. When they grow up and use those smarts, we’ll have better innovation, the economy will improve and we’ll be better at what we do. Also, we won’t be looking up the ass of every other country on the planet when it comes to financial and sociological conditions, but it’s going to take some time.).

A long time ago, I told my father I wanted to work in the same factory he was working in. It was the same one his father and his father before him had worked in. Dad said no, you’re getting an education, a demand for which I’ve never ceased to be grateful. I know what a good education can create for children and I know what the lack of one can yield as well. Because of that, I feel horrible for the kids at those “minimally exceptional” schools taught by the “vaguely adequate and underpaid educators.”

In this world of slashed workforces and crashed economies, they don’t have a chance.

Not even at clawing their way up to middle management.

Quitting Time Booster Shot

Savannah

– Here’s a perfect example of why letting computers do the work for you might not always be the best idea. Usually database pairing of ads with a story works. Here, not so much. “Hey, there was just a school shooting in Savannah! I wonder what it’d be like to go down there and enjoy the trolley!”

– From the “Think, verify, then report” department: I wonder how many times people are going to get all sexed up by some Web site that tells them some “insider” information before they start to realize that an internet connection and a cursory class on PhotoShop canset up an “Insta-Hoax” in about 20 minutes. First rule of journalism: If your mother says she loves you, go check it out. Internet corollary: Ask mom. Don’t look it up on a Wikipedia…

– Of course you didn’t always need the internet to put on a good hoax.This one was officially debunked today in 1953.

MTV finally did something we all had been hoping they’d do for about five years now. Still, it’s one of thecoolest databases ever. Of course, you’ve likely been looking for (and finding) most of this stuff on YouTube, but hey, let’s not be upset that MTV’s coming late to the party and be grateful they showed up at all. Of the 16,000+ videos uploaded, they’ve yet to add this classic, which I remember watching at my grandmother’s house eons ago when she had cable and we didn’t.

– Sadly, it seems post-West Wing work is kind of hard to find these days for Aaron Sorkin’s acting troupe. Saw Toby (Richard Schiff)as a soon-to-be-dead guy on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and last night Will (Joshua Malina)was pooping in a dish for the woman he loves on Gray’s Anatomy.

Then again, it could be worse…

– And finally, here’s your one-stop shopping site for governmental stupidity. Enjoy…

Thanks for letting me share your air. See you next Friday.

Doc

Fold up the sidewalks

If you’ve not yet seen David Modigliani’s documentaryCrawford, it can be viewed in its entirety atHulu. Highly recommended, and entirely apropos now, during the lame-duck End of Days, and in light of the election 2008 bullcrap aboutReal America.

Fakecowby_2

The pic above is part of a great post about Chicago real vs. Crawford real over atBAGnewsNotes. Athenae riffed on this stuff a few days back inthis post:

I’m pretty damn excited about a president who comes from where I come from, who sees cabs and bikes and elevated trains and subways and buses every day, who doesn’t have an “estate” or a “compound” or a “ranch” someplace “real.” People always say they want a candidate they can relate to, after all. As a girl so white she’s practically transparent, I can’t lay claim to a connection to history near as strong as those African-Americans who’ve been waiting their whole lives for a president who looks like them, but I can take a certain amount of joy in having a president who sees my skyline every day from his front sidewalk.

I’m fine with small towns, suburbs, you should do whatever you want to do. But we do America no favors when we assume the qualifications for leadership include coming from one place and not another, and we need not only diversity of race in our leaders but diversity of experiences.

By actually being “real,” which for him meant beingreallydifferent, and still winning the election, Obama has potentially shifted the rules. It’s a question of degrees: candidates will always be marketed and branded, there will always be stagecraft involved in the game for sure, but in post-Obama politics, there may be a “base” for whom reality is actually a plus instead of something to compensate for or disguise. Or, if not an outright plus, something that issimplywhat it is and nothing more. Obama served on a board with Wiliam Ayers and lived near him. Even though McCain never succeeded, even though it was flimsy, he never stopped trying to pin more than that on Obama. He never had a choice because his role dictated it: since it was an undisputed fact that there was an Obama-Ayers connection, it was likely also factual that Obama would lie about it and McCain had to keep calling him out, even though it never stuck. Not enough people ever believed Obama was lying — about anything, much less Ayers.

Again, it’s a shift, not an entirely brand new game, but it’s a big shift, I’m not saying Obama isn’t above kabuki, but he never occupied an entire town to try to prove he was something he wasn’t.

W. bought the “western white house” in Crawford so he could appear real enough to win the 2000 election, so he could look like he wasfrom somewhere, like he was ofa certain culture. It didn’t fool all of us but it worked for a lot of people. At least he looked like he was trying. Eight long years later, now that pretty much everyone can seen through the holes in that cheap illusion, now that he’s run the country into the ground just like the rest of his endeavors, now that he no longer needs it, he’ll be leaving Crawford behind for the bright lights of Dallas, where I suspect he’ll feel right at home.

Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eye.

A steel and concrete soul with a warm hearted love disguise.


A rich man who tends to believe in his own lies.


Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eyes
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‘Students May Not Know Your Political View’

Good Christ. Forget Obama vs. McCain or even Bush vs. Kerry, this is the part of the story that stood out to me:

“As per the Code of Ethics and the above state School Board policy, students may not know your political view,” it continued. “This could be construed as using your position to influence others. It is my expectation, that in the future as you teach students to clarify and express their own political views, you will remain neutral.”



Because while I get that you wouldn’t want to turn every day of school into Political Debate Day, nor oppress your kids or silence them, I also hate this current thing of saying the very act of discussing your politics is somehow inappropriate. Exactly whose education does that serve?


Maybe I was just massively spoiled in my teachers; I had an algebra teacher who, realizing that most of us in the class were stupendously uninterested in math, would bring in the Chicago Tribune and read it to us at the start of session each day. During the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. And believe me, there was a range of opinion and never once did Mr. R shy away from either telling us what he thought or inviting us to intellectually kick his ass if we thought he was wrong. Since he thought Anita Hill was lying, there were plenty of students who did think he was wrong and around and around we went. I didn’t learn shit about algebra that year but I learned a lot about how to live in the world, and to be honest, this is why calculators were invented.


My best teachers taught that way: stand on your feet and use your mind. Defeat me in an argument. Just because I’m standing here with a ruler and you’re sitting there with a bookbag doesn’t mean you can’t be right and I can’t be wrong, but prove it.Think. It made a lot of us into people who didn’t take any shit from anybody, who wouldn’t let somebody get away with something just because he has a name tag on. I can see where that would seem like heresy to people invested in the idea of unearned authority, but it’s never steered me wrong yet.



And yes, I would feel this way if it was the day after 2004 and the teacher had shown up wearing a Bush t-shirt, if he invited discussion and welcomed debate. Not talking about our beliefs gets us nowhere. Dishonesty (and boy can kids ever pick up on false neutrality as a chickenass move, let me tell you) gets us nowhere. We have to have the modicum of respect for each other that says, “I can tell you what I believe without you having to feel threatened by it.” Simple expression of one’s views is not coercion.


A.

For The Love of Steve: Health Beat!

Mr. A and I have a bet going. Not really a bet. More like a prediction game. A depressing one. A depressing prediction game that’s also kind of a drinking game, except that we can’t do it for more than one newscast or we’ll go blind.


Game goes like this. Is tonight’s HEALTHBEAT or YOUR HEALTH or whatever asinine “medical” segment the affiliate comes up with going to be about a) liposuction b) fad diets or c) erectile dysfunction, or will they pull a wild card and go with a breast enlargement story just so they can say the word BREAST on TV in that ponderous Anchorman voice?

Seriously, try it with your local news sometime. It’s instructive. Tonight we both lost, because the story was abouthow to get really awesome eyelashes:


The real thing is hard to beat. But now there may be a way to get lashes to grow on their own, no matter what your age.


Never mind the fact that eyelashes have a real purpose – to protect the eye from dust and other foreign particles. Eyelashes, for many people, are also a symbol of beauty. But as we age, eyelashes seem to grow scarce.



So it’s no wonder women are now batting their eyes at an anti-glaucoma medication with the unusual side effect of making lashes grow. But, how safe is it?



Apparently it’s not so unsafe that the TV station felt uncomfortable appending the contact info for a doctor who will give it to you, as well as the manufacturer’s web site, at the end of the “health” story.



I mean, I’m sorry, I know I’m supposed to be off killing journalism with my lack of attribution and my shaky ethical standards and all, but either we are radically redefining what “health” means to include cosmetics or there really is a problem in the world in that while millions are dying of AIDS, millions are also suffering from stubby, pale eyelashes.


A.

Oh My

Palin pardoned a turkey today and then did an interview while a worker slaughtered turkeys in the background…