Archive for the ‘In the news’ Category

Thu 6 Nov 2008 10:17 am   //   Posted in: Failure, In the news

Scapegoat found

When the going gets tough, accuse somebody of not knowing Africa is a continent!


Related: All previous posts about Sarah Palin.

Wed 5 Nov 2008 2:15 pm   //   Posted in: In the news

Top photos that helped Obama win

To see them, please check out this post on my work blog.

Wed 5 Nov 2008 8:22 am   //   Posted in: In the news

Where were you?

When the bar in Gowanus where we were trying to watch the election got too crowded, a group of us walked over to Leslie and Brian’s apartment. Two pizzas were ordered. We passed the remote around, jumping between MSNBC, CNN and Comedy Central. I had saved a page from the newspaper with a map and a schedule on it, which was helpful for following along. As 11 p.m. approached, a few more states flipped blue. Then, with Wolf Blitzer standing in front of a big graphic, a countdown started. At the top of the hour, as polls closed on the West Coast, the Breaking News graphic swooshed across the screen, and text on the screen called it for Obama. The math checked out – there was no way he could lose. We cheered.

On the car ride home, three guys were standing on the divider in the middle of 4th Avenue, cheering Barack’s name, and getting cars to honk. There were more cheers in other directions. Back at home we watched Obama deliver his acceptance speech. It was a good speech.

Now back to Earth. We do not worship presidents. Government is always subject to the failures of humans and the inevitable letdown of ugly compromises. And please don’t listen to anybody who says this is proof that we’ve moved beyond racism, because we have a long way to go.

Tue 4 Nov 2008 2:53 pm   //   Posted in: In the news, Movies

Citizen McCain

A classic film clip to keep in mind as you’re watching the election returns tonight:

(Direct link.)

Mon 3 Nov 2008 11:02 pm   //   Posted in: In the news, Media, TV

Channel Z

“All static, all day, forever!” – Channel Z by The B-52’s

This election season, I picked up an odd habit. At the gym in the mornings, I’ve started watching Fox & Friends. I’m totally obsessed with this show. I know, weird.

Fox & Friends is beamed from a newsroom in another galaxy where everybody is batshit, spit-flying, crazypants. There is an election happening in this parallel universe, but it bears no resemblance to any election happening on planet Earth. For one thing, there only seems to be one candidate.

This candidate, Fox & Friends tells us, is a closet socialist, a terrorist sympathizer and a con artist. His head is so clouded by messianic ambition that he spins outrageous lies about his own tax plan. An endless loop of talking heads appears via satellite every morning to denounce him as a conniving snake. But alas, everyone agrees this candidate is predestined to win, thanks to the all-powerful and all-biased mainstream media. His opponent is practically irrelevant, seldom mentioned, never pictured.

Occasionally, the Fox & Friends storyline drifts from this villainous character to the world’s only other news story – The War. In this war, proud generals strut through hallways, helicopters fly low over sand-hued cityscapes, and important men shake hands. A well-oiled defense machine hums with purposeful confidence. It is a great war. May it never end.

I have been trying to psychoanalyze why I find Fox & Friends such compelling television. For one thing, it is broadcast live and has shockingly sloppy production, so watching for goofs is part of the fun. It also stokes my ego when I realize I know more about the news than a professional news anchor. But those are superficial satisfactions. Bottom line, I think it helps me exercise better. As I watch this show on the elliptical or the treadmill, I am thinking: I have to be faster, smarter, stronger and better than the schlubs who take Fox & Friends seriously. I owe that to my country.

So thank you Steve, Brian, Gretchen, and friends for helping me stay fit!

Below, please enjoy some Fox & Friends video from this morning’s show – a conversation about the rich and the poor that practically could have been written by Joseph Heller.


Mon 3 Nov 2008 7:57 am   //   Posted in: In the news

Why I’m voting for Barack Obama

This has been a long campaign, but it had to be. Because he is black, Barack Obama had to prove himself twice over any white male candidate. Consider how long it took this country to sort out that his name alone doesn’t indicate a lack of patriotism!

All the while, Obama has proven himself worthy of the office with a graceful campaign that has stayed true to his message of hope. He has played fair. In his public speeches, he has elevated this country’s discourse on politics, especially on race relations. If he wins, Obama will stand for more than just the Democratic party in the White House. He’ll be a symbol of things going right in America. Every kid who’s growing up a minority, or gay, or poor, or unfairly marginalized for any reason, will be able to look to Obama as an inspiration. This is more important for America than any tax policy or war strategy. That’s why I’m voting for Barack Obama tomorrow.

You haven’t heard many people on TV making this argument because it welcomes the charge of being an affirmative-action voter, picking the black candidate because he’s black. Voters are allowed to do that of course – and the chance to make history is a fair motivation – but that’s not reason enough. Because Obama has demonstrated good judgment, intelligence, a spirit of cooperation, and a willingness to use our government to help the less fortunate, he deserves our votes. And if that doesn’t work for you, consider the alternatives. There are no signs that Obama would make a worse president than George Bush, or John McCain, or Sarah Palin.

America was built to be run by representatives of the people, not by dynasties. The spirit of the country is encapsulated in the cliché that anybody can grow up to be president. For much of our history, that promise was a lie. I’d like to think it isn’t any more. A vote for Barack Obama tomorrow is a vote for that basic principle. In that respect, it’s probably the most conservative vote you can make.

(P.S. – Obviously this is my personal opinion. Per my standard disclaimer, this blog is separate from my full-time job and has no connection to the company where I work.)

Tue 28 Oct 2008 11:44 am   //   Posted in: In the news, Media

The worst opinion column of the election so far

Check out this opinion column on Media’s Presidential Bias and Decline. Which of the following do you suppose is true?

– Michael Malone has just discovered – gee whiz! – this thing called media bias, somehow having never read any serious critique of political journalism. As such, he’s reduced to borrowing tired ideas from right-wing blogs.

– Michael Malone lives in a place where the only newspaper he can get is The New York Times and the only TV network he can receive is CNN International. He has no access to The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, AM radio, Lou Dobbs, or The Drudge Report.

– Michael Malone (“one of the nation’s best-known technology writers”) doesn’t know the names of any other journalists, or for some reason is afraid to name them.

– Michael Malone is a time-traveler from some film-noir version of the 1950s… When journalists were journalists their whole lives, working for one newspaper their entire career, praying the wouldn’t be dispatched to the dreaded Omaha bureau… When mysterious and all-powerful editors pulled the puppet-strings and never answered to publishers, corporate chains, or budget constraints… When everyone who used cocaine obtained it from a drug dealer… When the expression “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable” wasn’t so clichéd (as it is now) that even the laziest journalism professors consider it trite and shallow.

– The hundreds of people who have posted supportive comments of Malone’s column on are free of bias.

Thu 23 Oct 2008 6:05 am   //   Posted in: In the news, Right now, Stray data

Facts! Figures! Charts!

Right now I am a little obsessed with this graphic:

Link to more…

Tue 21 Oct 2008 10:32 am   //   Posted in: In the news

“A lie can travel halfway around the world…

…while the truth is putting on its shoes.” – attributed to Mark Twain.

On Page Six today:

“The source who told us last week about Michelle Obama getting lobster and caviar delivered to her room at the Waldorf-Astoria must have been under the influence of a mind-altering drug. She was not even staying at the Waldorf. We regret the mistake, and our former source is going to regret it, too. Bread and water would be too good for such disinformation.”

More context in The Observer.

Sat 18 Oct 2008 10:45 am   //   Posted in: Art, In the news

The world’s most depressed stock broker

From my work blog: Same Stock Trader Keeps Getting Himself Photographed.

This kind of stupidity is what happens when the story – money changing hands – is impossible to photograph. Money changing hands can’t reflect light back onto a camera sensor. Money changing hands doesn’t even exist in space.

See also: Pictures of price signs at gas stations.

If things really go south, that’s when we’ll get some great photos!