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Archive for August 6th, 2009|Daily archive page

Insomniac News Review.

In Media on August 6, 2009 at 3:48 am

Jeremy Hubbard and Vinita Nair at Desks - ABC World News Now

Alessandra Stanley may have opined on early morning news last week, but I am taking it one step earlier.

I’ve been staying up quite late recently, what with my lack of formal obligations that would otherwise habitually begin at 9am. It’s been productive actually. Quiet, calm, few distractions, save the cataclysmic electrical storm we’ve been punished with on a near-daily basis ’round these parts. Some nights I haven’t hit the hay until 3, 4, even 5am. (Case in point: this writing.)

Most of those nights I take in the news before I fall asleep. What news could be on at these “darkest before the dawn” hands of the clock? Well believe it or not, the Big Three (how antiquated does that sound?) broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC (sorry CW, maybe next year), actually produce live national newscasts in the still of the night.

And they are arguably the best news on all of television.

They’re the way the news used to be: straightforward, not abrasively loud or busy, and not swapping souped-up graphics for reporting.

For a decade, perhaps two or three, purists have been mourning the demise of hard news. I suppose with the ultimate hard newsman Walter Cronkite’s passing, it’s apropos to reflect with these shows.

Traditionally hard news is characterized by the intersection of two independent attributes: seriousness and timeliness. It “concerns specific events and is strictly factual.” This is opposed to soft news or infotainment, such as, well, most news today. But especially incessant guessing games on Michael Jackson’s death and the jacked nature of Michelle Obama’s arms.
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The Waxman Cometh.

In Politics on August 6, 2009 at 2:33 am

Henry Waxman - Joshua Roberts / Bloomberg News

Oh democracy, you resplendent purveyor of joy. Only in a country like ours could a guy like this, a perennial last place dodgeball pick, get elected and rise up to be a respected, influential figure in government. Is there any doubt that Henry Waxman is the most powerful moustachioed man in history? (Disclaimer: Previous statement omits figures that were not leaders of totalitarian regimes or U.S. Presidents Grant, Arthur, Cleveland, Teddy Roosevelt, or Taft.)

He may not be nerdier than he looks, but he is a bit older than he looks. At 69, Waxman is a statesman, having served in the House since 1975. That’s right: 34 years of uninterrupted service to the country and fuzzy upper lips from sea to shining sea. He’s so money he ran completely unopposed in 2008.

Surprisingly, this glitz-less, glam-less guy is the hometown Congressman for the swank and superficiality that is LA. He represents California’s 30th district, which includes Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and Malibu. Yes sir, you are correct sir: he is literally a Hollywood liberal.

Though, he defies that stereotype in many respects. He has a fair amount of street cred, because he grew up Straight Outta Watts, nearby cousin of Compton. He probably has more childhood reference points in common with Dre and Snoop than Michael Douglas and Elizabeth Taylor.

God, it must be great when he gets a call from Gary Busey in the middle of the night asking why the minimum wage is so low. And he has to take the call because Gary says those 3 words that no elected official can ignore: “I’m a constituent.”

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