Insight. Antics.

Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

BLOVIATOR: Party Over Country.

In Politics on May 27, 2009 at 11:11 am

Bloviate (v.)  \ˈblō-vē-ˌāt\

to speak or write verbosely and windily

This is the inaugural Bloviator segment (patent pending) on Brief Wit.  It’s reserved for those long-winds you just can’t keep to a low word count, knowing full well you’ve lost the reader halfway through.

Heath Ledger as Joker in Dark Knight

To hijack a recent movie quote and mess it around: “This country deserves a better class of Republican.”  (-Gasp– Did he just compare GOPers with criminals?)

It barely seems partisan to say that the rhetoric coming out of Republican leaders this year has been nitpicky, complaint-ridden, and largely free of substance.  Some of the sounds vibrating through the uvulas of these guys (which most of them are) go beyond passionate disagreement.  It’s like they’re rooting for their constituents to lose jobs or for Afghanistan to turn into Iraq circa 2004, just because Obama’s in charge. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m Not A Businessman. I’m A Business, Man.

In Media on May 18, 2009 at 5:58 pm

CNBC HD+ Screen

These days, I take in a fair amount of CNBC, because hey, I like to know how I am losing my money. I’ve been a viewer for years but have been heeding closer attention of late. Plus the high-definition feed cycles through some solid charts and graphs.

CNBC, which stands for Consumer News and Business Channel, just marked its 20-year anniversary and remains a bona fide cash-cow for GE. I haven’t seen the latest Nielsens, but am fairly sure it hasn’t stuttered or blinked since Fox Business went on-air in 2007.

Aside from the delightful Erin Burnett and lovably grouchy Mark Haines, much of the daytime schedule melds into a 7-hour interchangeable mix of commentators and satellite-link-ups with fund managers. That’s what I expect on 24-hour cable news; there is simply too much time to fill.

Regardless, I have concerns with the network. But let me begin with what my concerns are not. It’s not that CNBC is biased to be reflexively conservative (which I don’t believe to be true… even though there is a correspondent named Courtney Reagan, and it is highly suspect that she pronounces her last name with an “-ee” and not an “-ay” sound).  Read the rest of this entry »

Live From DC… It’s Saturday Night!

In Politics on May 14, 2009 at 11:00 am

Photo/Brendan Smialowski

The first White House Correspondents’ Dinner of the Obama years was this past Saturday.  Check it all out here.

Now that this whole Wanda Sykes “Oh-no-you-didn’t!” business is blowing over, let’s do a quick recap of what President Obama said… and didn’t say.


Jokes we heard:

  • “Wishing all a happy mother’s day, a difficult time for Rahm Emmanuel who’s unused to saying the word day after mother.”
  • “I’d like to welcome you all to the ten-day anniversary of my first one hundred days.  I’m Barack Obama.  Most of you covered me.  All of you voted for me. Apologies to the Fox table.”
  • “Sasha and Malia aren’t here tonight because they are grounded. You can’t just take Air Force One on a joyride around Manhattan. I don’t care whose kids you are.”

Read the rest of this entry »

An Officer And A Congressman. (2 of 2)

In Politics on May 14, 2009 at 1:24 am

Once again, Chris Matthews produced a provocative, substantive interview.  What is it with this guy?  I want to view him as some caricature but he simply isn’t choking lately.

He had Joe Sestak on as well.  The entire discussion was about Arlen Specter and the repercussions of his switcheroo.  Sestak acts skeptical and critical, but somewhat open-minded about this realignment: “[I am] waiting and seeing.  If he has got the right answers then he can be the man, I am not opposed to it… but right now… I am worried it is more about political survivability.  Too many people lost their jobs to worry about his.”  He persists, “At the end of the day, Arlen Specter found it was too hard to run against someone.  That’s not what politics is about.  It is what you are running for.”

For his part, Matthews offers Specter no quarter, saying “We have no idea which way Arlen Specter will go on any issue, you never can predict him… He’ll do what he thinks will work politically” and Sestak laments, “But it shouldn’t be true.  That isn’t the point of politics.”  The Statue of Liberty just stood up straight with pride.

Joe Sestak on Hardball - 5/1/09

Read the rest of this entry »

An Officer And A Congressman. (1 of 2)

In Politics, War on May 13, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Sestak and Sanchez - 5/5/09

Sans Snuggie, I caught a few other interviews recently.  Nope, not Elizabeth Edwards and Oprah.  Or Sarah Palin lounging with the dudes from American Chopper on a grizzly bear blanket.  Actually, the ones I am thinking of have been with Joe Sestak, another Congressman, of whom I didn’t know anything about beforehand.  And I feel like I should have.  He is rational and slow-to-judge on-air, definitely a fox (in the intellectual sense) in my book.  His background is unique and distinguished: he was a three-star admiral in the Navy, which makes him the highest-ranking military man ever to serve in Congress.  How has that not gotten a bit more press?

Sestak represents Pennsylvania’s 7th district, which gives him dominion over the King of Prussia Mall.  He’s been on TV saying a few smart, possibly popular, possibly unpopular things lately.  Compared to these shenanigans, it’s like the difference between listening to Brian Williams and Lauren Conrad explain current Russian-Georgian relations.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mike Pence, None The Richer

In Energy, Politics on May 7, 2009 at 1:06 pm

So, there I was Tuesday evening, taking full advantage of the 3Ss (SnuggieShamWow, and Slap Chop, of course) in the kitchen with the TV on in the background, when Hardball came on.  Chris Matthews interviewed Congressman Mike Pence, Republican in the Indiana 6th district (shout out to the Ball State women in Muncie!)

Pence is chairman of the Republican House Conference, making him third highest in Republican leadership, which these days is like being the third best player on the Knicks.  Matthews proceeds to playfully interrogate Pence in a long but worthwhile interview.  Not so much for the brilliance of Pence’s responses, but for the charade he has to put up because right now his party has few answers and does not want to offend its powerful, if ignorant right flank.

Chris Matthews takes a lot of flack for his outsize persona but he is a dogged interviewer who knows when to cut to the chase.  Pence comes across as a somewhat amicable, sensible guy who has to shill garbage talking points.  As I slapped some red pepper into submission, they got to it:

Mike Pence on Hardball - 5/5/09

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Put Your Money Where Your Mouthpiece Is.

In Advertising, Energy on May 5, 2009 at 11:18 am

exxonmobil-ad-screen2Another story that got lost in the shuffle last month: know how we are seeing all these oil companies advertise on network primetime, cable news, and Sunday talk shows about how they are making major investments in harnessing the potential of clean, environmental, and efficient sources?  They are reassuring; they give the sense that aside from using fewer plastic bags and unplugging your cell phone charger, that climate change has penetrated the corporate psyche, has momentum with the big dogs.  Well, guess what: the ads are almost all for show.

Read the rest of this entry »