Monday, December 22, 2008

No Throw?

Am I the only one to notice that Keith Olbermann seems to have stopped "throwing" to Rachel Maddow each evening? The "throw" is the couple of chatty moments between anchors when one introduces the other's show, they appear in split screen, the second thanks the first, and then the second's show begins. Jon Stewart throws to Stephen Colbert approximately once per week. It's a way to keep viewers tuned in. Keith generally throws to Rachel every night. Friday and today, however, not only did he neglect the throw, but he didn't even mention a "stay tuned for The Rachel Maddow Show up next" before his signature paper-flinging-fake-breaking-the-camera move. With all the infighting at MSNBC ever since the party conventions, I have to wonder if the lack of throw indicates some sort of animosity between Keith and Rachel? I appear to be the only one who noticed at this point... a quick Google search turns up nothing about the slight. I'm going to watch this over the next couple of days to see if something turns up. Below, a Daily Show reminder of the laughs MSNBC produced with their self-hatred during the conventions:



Following that, there was the recent reporting (which I covered here and here at The Paradox) that Chris Matthews was using a possible Senate run as a bargaining chip in his contract negotiations with MSNBC. Matthews ended up renewing his contract last week, which I neglected to report because at the moment the Christmas miracle of SNOW in Las Vegas was trumping all political thought or reason in my brain, but the discussion surrounding the possibility of Matthews leaving MSNBC was causing some consternation around the network. So, back to my original thought, is all the infighting catching up to Keith and Rachel, who share an agent and who have always gotten on so well? Or has Keith stopped throwing to Rachel simply because her ratings are now such that she doesn't need the throw anymore? Am I reading too much into what I'm calling Keith's slight of my hero, Rachel Maddow? Input is welcome.

P.S. I blogged about this seemingly unimportant topic to distract myself from all the depressing news of the day. When I have sufficiently collected my thoughts I might go back to those depressing topics, but for now, this is what my psyche can handle.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow in the Valley, Franken in the Senate?

I am fully aware that the big news today is Obama's selection of Rev. Rick Warren to give the invocation at the Presidential inauguration in a few weeks. Well, unless you're in Vegas like me, where the big news is the fact that snow not only fell on Sin City over the last few days, but it stuck here in the valley for the first time in something like 30 years. There are pictures of people romping in the snow around the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign downtown, like this one taken from cnn.com:

and this from the LV Review Journal. Keep in mind that the Luxor is black in color...
And this is what it looked like on my way home from work (but this is lifted from the RJ as well):




I want to point out that I grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, MI (EUP What what!??) where there is snow regularly 9 months per year and an average yearly snowfall of 128 inches (and up to 209 inches) and went to college in Chicago (about 38 inches/year) - both of these experiences should have ingrained in me NOT to get excited about snow. But just bear with me... this is Vegas! This was a historic weather moment! It was on the national news! And I was here for it!

Soooo this is a politics blog, right? I think my point at the beginning of all this was that despite what the big news is, my focus is on... no, not the snow actually... Al Franken! With an apparant projected lead of only 89 votes (and an actual deficit of exactly 5 votes to Norm Coleman), the Minneapolis Star Tribune is reporting that Mr. Franken will be "vaulted" to a win over Coleman. This came about because the Minnesota Supreme Court today "rejected an attempt by incumbent Norm Coleman to block the state Canvassing Board from counting improperly rejected absentee ballots." There are 1600 ballots involved in this ruling, and the decision requires both campaigns to set a uniform standard for how the improperly rejected ballots should be counted. And through the hoodoo voodoo mumbo jumbo that is vote projection, this ruling means that Franken has more than a fighting chance. I say YAY because well, I love me the Dems, and also because Franken is funny and cool and wrote this sketch for SNL, which was awesome:



So, with this turn of events, we (might) get another progressive vote in the Senate. Hip hip hooray! I'm not calling the race or anything, but I really didn't think it would take this turn. So... snow in Sin City, and an SNL writer in the Senate... hell frozen over? ;-)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Shoe-gate

I got back to Vegas yesterday after a great weekend in Dallas (really Plano) with my best girl Stephanie, where we frolicked and romped about North Texas with reckless abandon. It was much needed and lots of fun. Now I'm home with my stinky cat (seriously, there's something wrong with him. Smelly cat, smelly cat, what am I feeding you?) and back to the workday grind. While I was out ducking the law at a local Plano bar (i rode a fake horse and joined a band), our president was ducking shoes. Now, I know everyone has seen this video already, but I'll post it here as a reference point so you all have easy access:



There are all kinds of things to think about this - my first thought was, "holy crap, President Bush has mad reflexes!!!" Many others had this thought!

I thought I would try to compile much of the silliness that has sprung up all over in video and .gif form regarding this shoe throwing fiasco!

Duck Hunt!

Pokemon!

Who Throws a Shoe?

Mortal Combat

Stooges!

The really sad thing about all this is that there are some reports that the shoe-throwing reporter has been beaten while in custody. It is only just that the reporter would face some type of punishment - as funny as the whole thing was, it's also terribly disrespectful, and I want you to think about what would be done in this country (which has a very humane domestic justice system, I'd like to point out) if someone threw a shoe at a foreign leader during a press conference. Even if it were someone we don't like very much. Let's say... Hugo Chavez? That shoe-thrower would be taken down and taken into custody before you can say "you fight like a woman!" and while he most likely would not face anything like life in prison, he would definitely face some type of punishment. All that said... he certainly would not be beaten in custody (i hope). This reporter reportedly has "a broken arm, broken ribs, and internal bleeding." These reports are denied by the Iraqi military. Muntadar al-Zaidi has become something of a hero in Iraq these last few days, and his press union is asking for clemency for his crime (of insulting a foreign leader and disrespecting the Iraqi leader, who was standing next to Mr. Bush). I don't condone throwing shit at people... but hell, the man made his point, no one was hurt, and it caused endless creative products to be born on the internet! I hope his punishment is minimal and that the reports of beatings turn out to be false.

And now, you too can throw a shoe!

Update: Yep, i think our domestic justice system is humane. (I don't think it's especially well functioning or effective in reducing recidivism. But humane, yes). My views on what we do to those we detain outside our borders is another matter altogether, as pointed out in the comments section. Just wanted to make sure we're clear here...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another little break

I'm heading to Dallas tomorrow to visit my girl Stephanie so I'm 90% sure I will not be updating Thurs-Sun. Will be back with plenty to say on Monday, 15 Dec. You can catch me on Twitter throughout the weekend, though. Have a great one!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

This Is Why Rachel's Hot

Friggin hilarious segment on Rachel tonight. She takes G-Rod's actual words from the wiretap transcripts and puts a bad Chicago accent to them... Phenomenal!


Blago, for shame!

In Croatian, "Blago" means "blessed." Gov Blagojevich of Illinois is Serbian, I believe, but I'm willing to bet it has a similar meaning there. Regardless of what his name really means, something tells me this guy isn't feeling too blessed today. Well, maybe a blessed idiot.

I'll start by saying that Chicago is my second home, I went to school at Loyola, and when I worked for Senator Richard Durbin in the summer of 2005, I indirectly did work for many Illinois Democrats, including Barack Obama, but not so much for G-Rod (old nickname for the governor). I was registered to vote in the state of Illinois. I never had the opportunity to vote for Blagojevich based on his re-election schedule (he was first elected to office during my first year in Chicago and I lived there 4 years), though I'm sure I would have at the time, based on political allegiances... tho I always found G-Rod a little shady. And look here what I dug up... Summer 2005:


Yep, there I am, 3 years younger, 20 (30?) pounds heavier, smiling like a goofball with my corrupt asshole of a governor. Why am I showing you this? Well, it's already out there and I figure I better get it out there again now and explain it before I'm running for office in 15 years and someone digs it up and says this was 3 years later than it really was or that I was somehow in the mix with this yahoo.

Okay in case you didn't see the news today, I should explain. G-Rod was taken into Federal custody this morning and is accused of conspiring to sell or trade Barack Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder! How low can you get?? I'm sickened. Let's leave the corruption to the Republicans, shall we?

And something else... not only "how low and slimy can you get?" but "how dumb can you be???" This is a guy who yesterday said he's got "nothin but sunshine over [him]," and invited wiretapping on his phones! Well the ubiguitous "they" called his bluff, listened to his calls, and lo and behold he found himself in custody this morning. Derrr...

Nobody with those beady little eyes and that much hair should be trusted, I think.
(above lawlpicture compliments of the OMG TOO SOON blog specifically Noctolator - stealing w/out crediting is for loozers)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Twitter Addiction

The Paradox is growing... you can now link to my posts through Twitter! (www.twitter.com/paradoxdaily or just click "follow" on the Twitter app on the right side of this page!) TwitPics, blog updates, messages, and status updates 24/7! I want to thank Ryan for helping me get this all set up. A real life saver. Or... blog saver. Or whatever - just thanks. You're nice. Here's a present:

Retired General Eric Shinseki Tagged for VA Secretary


As many of you know (and if you don't, you can read my feelings here), I have long been frustrated with the perception that we in the military suffer from political groupthink. I have been equally frustrated that many actually do seem to suffer from that affliction. And I have been most frustrated by the fact that many in the Republican party claim to be the best representation of service members and veterans, while they simultaneously continue to cut benefits, redefine combat injuries (to exclude roadside bombs and landmines!) and refuse to grant benefits to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, more often than not calling it a prior condition. And these are the people who are supposed to be the party of the military? Give me a break. So, if these things don't make you angry enough, let me remind you of General Eric Shinseki, who was fired by President Bush and ridiculed by Secretary Rumsfeld after telling Congress in 2003 that it would take "on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers," to occupy Iraq, because "we're talking about post-hostilities control over a piece of geography that's fairly significant with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems." Does this sound like a wise prediction to anyone else? Maybe that's because that is exactly the situation we have found ourselves in. The man made a measured, analytical, well-informed decision, and was then rewarded for his candor by losing his job. Well, guess what dear readers... our President-Elect has remedied the situation by appointing General Shinseki as the Secretary of Veterans' Affairs. Or I should say he has begun to remedy the situation. This particular situation will take a while to remedy. One of General Shinseki's first orders of business will be to re-redefined "combat injuries" to include COMBAT INJURIES like roadside bombs and landmines. The absolute ludicrous nature of the fact that somehow such injuries could be excluded (and thereby denied benefits) astounds me. Even worse are those who have been told they had a case of pre-existing depression or paranoia and thus cannot be treated for PTSD. PTSD is terrifying not just for the afflicted warrior but also, and I might say especially, for the friends and family of that person. Imagine having your husband return home after six months, a year, fifteen months if he's Army, and not knowing him anymore. Seeing him twitch at loud noises. Watching him lay awake at night and ultimately just give up on trying to sleep. Maybe even reaching for a weapon or resorting to violence at the slightest provocation. I'm not making these things up, they are classic symptoms of PTSD and I have seen them firsthand. Now imagine the VA telling you that you'll just have to deal with your husband's newfound craziness (at personal risk to you, I might add), because he probably just had a pre-existing condition. This makes me absolutely sick. With Shinseki at the helm, my deepest hope is that these labeling errors will be resolved, resulting in the best care we can possibly provide to our military members and families.

Arianna Huffington has an excellent post on the topic of General Shinseki's appointment in which she discusses Obama's propensity for rewarding those who "got it right," (Shinseki) rather than promoting and rewarding those who got it wrong (Rumsfeld, Brown of FEMA, etc). Here's to 8 years of getting it right.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

More Matthews


To answer Emily's question, Chris Matthews is actually a Redskins fan, according to an interview with Philadelphia Magazine last year - tho it does appear that if he were to choose between the Steelers and the Eagles, he would pick the Eagles. What do you expect though, he is from Philly. Can't blame the guy. His heart belongs to the Philadelphia Phillies, of course.

Why am I talking about Chris again today? Because there's new Chris news! He has apparantly already chosen a home in Philadelphia to establish residency in the state. MSNBC has advised him that if he truly intends to run for the Senate, he should step down from his show soon rather than when his contract is up in June. Some think he's just using it as a bargaining chip for his upcoming contract negotiations. My advice to you, Mr. Matthews, is to just go ahead and run, don't press your luck with MSNBC - After all the controversy after the Republican National Convention regarding Matthews and the appearance the MSNBC (and NBC more broadly) was "in the tank" for the Dems, MSNBC doesn't have a whole lot of incentive to keep him around. I'm a good liberal and even I can see pretty clearly that MSNBC is a pretty darn left leaning news channel - not that that's all they've got. David Gregory, Joe Scarborough, David Schuster, Chuck Todd - all relatively moderate, unbiased reporters. But then you've got the 3 hours every night of Chris, Keith, and Rachel - big delicious gulps of righteous indignation, and biting progressive wit. Of course their shows are not billed as "the news" but rather are personality driven programs with clear motivations. They don't front.






In other news, the Iraqi government under Prime Minister Maliki has passed a new agreement that requires U.S. troops to be out by Jan 1, 2012. It warms my heart to know there's an end... it would warm my heart more if the agreement said 2011... or 2010... That's all I will say about that.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Gay Marriage Will Save the Economy!

Kudos to John for linking me to this awesome, star-studded video. Jack Black, Neil Patrick Harris, Margaret Cho, Maya Rudolph, John C. Reilly, Allison Janney, and more team up for a so-funny (and so true) musical on Prop 8!

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

David Gregory gets Meet the Press


Despite my prediction that the Meet the Press moderator position would go to MSNBC's political director Chuck Todd, the powers that be have ignored me and given the position to MSNBC's David Gregory. Of course, this isn't official yet... but all the bloggers are saying it. I don't even know why traditional media exists anymore! P.S. I like Gregory - very even, a good choice for moderator.

Matthews for Senate!

I want to take a minute to publicly flog myself (figuratively speaking, of course!) for missing this tidbit over the holiday weekend: CHRIS MATTHEWS IS THINKING ABOUT RUNNING FOR SENATE IN PENNSYLVANIA! If I'd been on my game I would have run with this exciting and potentially hilarious news and posted an emergency Thanksgiving post. So, dear readers, I apologize if you had already heard about it, but I'm just catching up.


Now, to be fair, Matthews has strongly denied that he is thinking about a run, much less hiring campaign staffers as fivethirtyeight initially reported on Friday. FiveThirtyEight's sources say different. Matthews's contract with MSNBC is up in June with no talk of renegotiations just yet, and why shouldn't he look forward to a 2010 run? He would be up against Arlen Specter, a 78 year old man (who will be 80 during the election) who has been in office since 1980. He is relatively moderate as Republicans go, and his Wiki page claims that he "has a higher approval rating among registered Democrats in Pennsylvania than Republicans (though the difference is within the margin of error)." So, what's my problem with this particular Republican that makes me wish him to be unseated by Mr. Matthews? Well - I don't really have one. But how much fun would it be to watch Chris Matthews campaign and talk about shivers up his leg and tingles down his spine and all the other sexual imagery you can think of in reference to politics, and while he's at it, the Philadelphia Phillies, while trying to get elected? Plus maybe he'd accidentally grab some more boobies on talk shows during the campaign, which would provide months of hilarity.

There's also the fact that I think Chris Matthews is a really good man with a really good heart. I would sincerely miss his show, which is far more entertaining and less self-important than Keith (but less witty and intellectual than Rachel), but I'm holding out hope for a Matthews campaign!

Monday, December 1, 2008

George Bush Makes Me Laugh

He used to make me sick to my stomach. As I mentioned before, after he was reelected in 2004 I had trouble getting out of bed I was so upset. But now, in December of 2008, Mr. Bush is no longer dangerous. He's got 49 days in office (as my trusty countdown clock tells me) which is long enough for him to make plenty of annoying lame duck laws and executive orders that will be a pain in the ass of the new administration, but he's not truly dangerous anymore. And the best part? He seems pretty eager to get outta dodge. He's even got a sense of humor about it. Today he compared his reception in Africa with the reception he receives at home, saying "It was good to see them all waving with all five fingers." He even told Charlie Gibson that he believes people voted for Barack Obama because they're sick of George Bush - not in so many words, but here it is: "And I'm sure some people voted for Barack Obama because of me. I think most people voted for Barack Obama because they decided they wanted him to be in their living room for the next four years explaining policy"



A couple months ago, while speaking to the press, Mr. Bush said something along the lines of, "Thank goodness I won't be around next year, but you suckers will be." (That is NOT the exact quote, but I can't find it anywhere. That's the gist of it though!) The point is that this guy is ready to go. He has been extraordinarily cooperative with Obama's transition team, to his credit. There are no reports of shenanigans (like when President Clinton's staffers removed the W's from all the White House keyboards... heh...) in the handover. Our current president seems determined to provide a dignified, professional, and thoroughly thought out transition to our next president. Kudos for that, Mr. Bush. However, since there's only so much longer we can revel in your terrible inadequacy, here are the 5 Best Bushisms of 2008!

5) "Thank you, your Holiness. Awesome speech!" --to Pope Benedict after he spoke at the White House, Washington, D.C., April 15, 2008

4) "Wait a minute. What did you just say? You're predicting $4-a-gallon gas? ... That's interesting. I hadn't heard that." --at a news conference, Washington, D.C., Feb. 28, 2008

3) "And so, General, I want to thank you for your service. And I appreciate the fact that you really snatched defeat out of the jaws of those who are trying to defeat us in Iraq." --to Army Gen. Ray Odierno, Washington, D.C., March 3, 2008

2) "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter." --in parting words to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy at his final G-8 Summit, punching the air and grinning widely as the two leaders looked on in shock, Rusutsu, Japan, July 10, 2008

1) "I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office." --Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008