Sunday, January 31, 2010

while we're on the subject of crushes

this is when i realized i had to be a lady gaga fan:

do you want to knowles a secret?

would it be wrong for me to have a little crush on beyonce?

even a blind squirrel...

the daily news' errol lewis suggests those who covered the original james o'keefe story might now take a look back at their stories with some regret:
The gullible reporters and TV producers who breathlessly parroted O'Keefe's wild, demonstrably false claims in the matter of ACORN should review their coverage in light of the recent arrest, and finally ask questions that should have been posed last year.

Hardly anybody has reported that O'Keefe's attack on ACORN turned out to be legal gossamer. Despite the lurid video and hysterical charges of ACORN lawbreaking, there were no arrests or indictments, no evidence that any of the nitwits featured on the videos ever completed or filed illegal paperwork.

The only illegal behavior, in fact, may have been O'Keefe's violation of anti-wiretapping laws.

Only a few news outlets have noted that O'Keefe did not wear the outlandish pimp outfit into every ACORN office; in some cases, he spliced footage of himself into the finished product to make it look that way. And of course, neither O'Keefe nor his boss, conservative media entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart of, has ever released the full, unedited videos.

don't follow me, i'm lost too

the new york times has assembled a handy timeline of some of the major events in "lost" – just in time for the final season's premier on february 2nd.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

"the best color man in college basketball"

clark kellogg and verne lundquist had a little company in the broadcast booth at today's duke-georgetown game.
Mr. Obama even handled some color commentary himself on a replay: "This was a terrific spin move and he didn't get any help coming back."

"That's well done," said Kellogg. "You can handle this job if you need to. Obviously, you've got one that's requiring a lot of your time and attention."

"After retirement, I'm coming after your job, partner," Mr. Obama said. "Just to let you know. You either have three more years, or seven, I'm not sure which, but you need to plan accordingly, since I'm going to do some play-by-play."

Mr. Obama was also treated to a replay of himself on the court. Let's go to the videotape: "That's heartbreak right there, oh," he sighed.

Verne Lundquist asked if the president, a left-hander, had any problems going to his right.

"I went to the Republican House Caucus just yesterday to prove that I can go to my right once in a while," he said, "but there is no doubt that I've got a stronger left hand."
let's go to the videotape:

let's not rush into anything

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department starts the clock next week on what is expected to be a several-year process in lifting its ban on gays from serving openly in the military.
this makes the armed forces look like a bunch of pussies. do it, get it over with, and stfu about it.

Friday, January 29, 2010

quote of the day

"I think the stimulus was key to the 4th quarter. It was really critical to business fixed investment because there was a tax bonus depreciation in the stimulus that expired in December and juiced up fixed investment. And also, it was very critical to housing and residential investment because of the housing tax credit. And the decline in government spending would have been measurably greater without the money from the stimulus. So the stimulus was very, very important in the 4th quarter."
– mark zandi
former advisor to john mccain's
presidential campaign

schooling the lions

the white house was "ecstatic" and republican officials privately suggested it was a "mistake" to allow the "cameras to roll like that." even republican pollster frank luntz agreed obama had the upper hand. "i think it was good for everybody," luntz added. "i’ve never seen this before. i’ve never seen the president of one party interacting with the other party.” for a while, c-span video of the event crashed because of too much traffic.

president obama met with house gop today. and took questions. on camera.

pasadena losing the playhouse?

l.a. times has bad news for pasadena:
The Pasadena Playhouse will close Feb. 7 after the final performance of its current production of "Camelot," leaving its future in jeopardy as company leaders explore ways out of its financial woes, including a possible bankruptcy filing.

Stephen Eich, the executive director hired last June to run the theater, said 37 employees learned at a staff meeting Thursday that they would be out of work. The playhouse is essentially out of cash to continue running, he said, and faces more than $500,000 in immediate bills, plus more than $1.5 million owed on bank loans and other debts that have dogged the nonprofit company since the mid-1990s.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

quote of the day

"I hope to hell that when I do die somebody has the sense to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetary. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody."
Holden Caulfield
in Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

45 years late & 20 mph too slow

why are we spending $8 billion on "high-speed" trains that will go 20 mph slower than the fastest train on japan's shinkansen rail line, a system that was introduced in 1964?

and now we wait

from the new york times:
Testimony concluded Wednesday in the first stage of the federal trial over the fate of Proposition 8, California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, as lawyers on both sides continued to argue their case to the news media.

A quick decision is not expected in the case, the first of its kind to reach federal court. Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who heard the case without a jury, said he would study the evidence and other briefs offered to the court before hearing final arguments, possibly in March. And even after his decision, both sides expect the case to be appealed, most likely until it reaches the United States Supreme Court.
david boies and ted olsen spent two weeks presenting a case that dug deep into the history of discrimination against homosexuals and demonstrated the potential benefits of allowing same-sex marriage. the defense spent two and a half days presenting only two witnesses.

the trial transcript, available in full here, reads like part film script, part history lesson. video of boies and company comments on the trial thus far here.

closing arguments are set for sometime in march or april.

never gonna give god up

rickrolling the lord.

(hat tip

the country liked it, the right did not

snap-polls following the president's state of the union speech show the public overwhelmingly approved (cbs – 83% approve, cnn – 78% very/somewhat positive.)

the right wing of the republican party, however, was not so kind.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

quote of the day

"Extending marriage rights to same-sex couples would probably reduce the proportion of homosexuals who marry persons of the opposite sex, and thus would likely reduce instances of marital unhappiness and divorce.

Because marriage is a wealth-creating institution, extending marriage rights to same-sex couples would probably increase wealth accumulation and lead to higher living standards for these couples as well as help reduce welfare costs (by promoting family economic self-sufficiency) and decrease economic inequality.

Gay marriage would be a victory for the worthy ideas of tolerance and inclusion. It would likely decrease the number of those in society who tend to be viewed warily as ‘other’ and increase the number who are accepted as part of ‘us.’ In that respect, gay marriage would be a victory for, and another key expansion of, the American idea.”

– david blankenhorn
the second and final "expert” witness for the defense
perry v. schwartzenegger - the prop 8 trial
re-read that: the second and final expert witness for the defense.

accustomed to poison, by degrees.

hiking along the big sur coast a while back, i took this photo of some poison oak. pretty, isn't it? shiny, beautiful colors. i avoided it like the plague. didn't touch it, step in it, or brush up against it.

or so i thought:

it all started early one morning last week. five or six small, no...tiny "spider bites." shortly after they appeared they began to itch. and itch. and ITCH.

i was so mad at spiders. i've always been good to spiders. respectful, anyway. why would they come after me now, in the middle of the night? spiders are bitches.

then the little bites grew. in size and numbers. and intensity. by the third night, the itching was more intense and painful than any i've ever felt. (ala district 9 i wanted to rip through my skin to what i was certain were the alien bits underneath.)

i decided these couldn't be spider bites.

over the course of the week, as any human with access to the interweb should do, i self-diagnosed: 1) bed bugs, 2) shingles, and 3) scabies.

bed bugs occur to me because i live in new york city. i've blamed bed bugs for everything from playing loud hip-hop music outside our living room window to hiding my keys.

shingles sounds bad but didn't seem out of the question because, like many of you, i have the herp and every so often find that the city of elyria, ohio has packed up and moved to my right philtral column. (lazy wells is getting a cold sore just reading this.) i thought shingles was caused by that same herp-monster. (it's actually caused by the chicken pox virus.)

now. scabies.

listen, for those of you cocking an eyebrow, my friend the interweb says you can get scabies from bedding – sheets, comforters, pillows – and i've slept in about thirty different beds in the last four months. so i phoned a dermatologist friend. unbeknownst to me, the entire conversation was in code:

"have you, uhhh... have you engaged in anything that might lead to your having scabies?" the dermo asks.

"hell yes!" i shout. "twenty, thirty times."

(long, uncomfortable beat)

dermo: "does rob know about this?"

"of course!" i said, "he's been there for most of it."

cut to the chase: i don't have scabies.

finally, today, an actual live-and-in-person dermatologist doctor-type diagnosed, within seconds, poison oak.

poison oak?

"that's classic poison oak" she said. i made her repeat it about four times. i need repetition. i need repetition. the doctor obliged, gave me a prescription for a mega-ultra-cortisone cream, and sent me packing. tonight? it feels better.

here's one of the fascinating things i learned about bed bugs shingles scabies poison oak: none of the home remedies – including cold compresses, benadryl gel, cortisone creams, baking soda paste, calamine lotion, and even my own urine – worked. not a one. i did discover, however, that it is not as easy as you might think to pee on the inside of your own arm.

what worked amazingly well was running almost unbearably hot water over the affected area for about two minutes. while the water was basically cooking my arm, the area itched worse than ever causing me to shriek in pain, waking several neighbors and local sleeping animals. once the water torture was over there was absolutely no itching for anywhere from 6 to 8 hours. 6 to 8 hours. hot water draws out the histamine in your system which, among other things, causes your skin to itch. it takes your body 6-8 hours to regenerate this histamine, leading to an itch-free night of sleep.

so. spiders? sorry for dissing you, spiders. you're the shit. keep killing flies and little gnats. to all my rashy friends, stop peeing on yourself and start a-cookin'.

and stay away from that pretty, shiny plant. it's a bitch.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

quote of the day

“I’m not a poster child for gay rights by any means. But I have so many gay and lesbian friends and they’re just so pure and so true. That’s not politics to me. That’s human rights.”
– dolly parton

fast-forward idol: los angeles

american idol was incredibly lame and boring tonight so i washed the dishes instead. you didn't miss a thing.

watch this instead:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

"i probably should have ran it...

...I don't know how far I could have gotten."

it's time to ask about don't ask

candidate barack obama said america was ready to do away with don't ask, don't tell. richard socarides wonders what president obama is waiting for:
What is especially troubling... is Mr. Obama's oversensitivity to a dwindling minority of bigots on this issue. Hundreds of military careers have been destroyed on his watch for no valid reason. The country has been deprived of the talents of these service members and has wasted millions of dollars on their training.

Many wonder when their president will show the same kind of concern for the constitutional rights of gay American service members as he has for enemy combatants held at Guantanamo Bay. Many wonder what the administration's willingness to treat gay Americans as second-class citizens says to Uganda and other countries that are considering laws that would subject gays to imprisonment and even death.

tweet of the day

say goodbye to david patterson

cuomo is running.

a win for the basterds

"You probably heard we ain't in the prisoner-takin' business; we in the killin' Nazi business. And cousin, Business is a-boomin'."
seven times in the last 14 years, the film that's won the screen actor's guild award for best film ensemble has gone on to win the oscar for best picture.

last night that award went to "inglourious basterds".

the cast of "basterds" dedicated their award to the film's director quentin tarantino:
“A year ago we all sat down in Berlin and we read through the script ...and we saw that Quentin had pulled together actors from Ireland and from Austria and from France, and from Newton, Massachusetts, and from Germany and from New York, and from the Fangoria Convention... and pulled together such a wonderful, wonderful cast. We all felt it was really something special. So, it was an honor to be a part of it, Quentin.

For every actor out there, we just want you to know that whether you are Brad Pitt, one of the biggest stars in the world, or someone who has never acted in a motion picture, your vote is a vote for director Quentin Tarantino, who, if he feels you are right for the part, he will give it to you.

And, Quentin, your belief in us lets us rise to the occasion and brings out the best in all of us. It was an honor to be a part of this. We love you.”

Saturday, January 23, 2010

some people never learn

'cause, you know, this idea worked out so well last time...

the lessons of massachusettes

so maybe the problem is tim kaine?
David Plouffe, the man who managed President Barack Obama's campaign, will be taking on an expanded role as an outside adviser to the White House, according to sources familiar with the plan, a move that comes just days after a stunning defeat for Democrats in a Massachusetts Senate special election.
is this a gentle pushing aside of the dnc chairman?

the party of weak and right, ctd.

readers respond to my frustration with the democrats, massachusettes, and obama. malcolm wonders if the dems problems are inherent:
At our core, are liberals just too soft? If we make some noise, if we express our outrage and anger, then will the Democratic party listen and (this is way out there, I know) actually respond?
katie douses us with reality:
Sad to say, all these people are worried about is getting re-elected.
christopher looks back and finds the best advice:
I have a suggestion from my old grandpappy. He used to say "If that dog won't hunt, quit feedin' him."

So for those that care to, stop kissin' ass and start kickin' it.
and there's some indication that obama may actually be following grandpappy's advice.

quote of the day

"To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me and I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask of you is one thing: please don't be cynical. I hate cynicism -- it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere.

Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."
– conan o'brien
on his final tonight show

Friday, January 22, 2010

the future of broadway is gaga

the new york times' jason zinoman thinks broadway should go gaga:
Melding multimedia images with old-fashioned razzle-dazzle, Lady Gaga’s show (which runs through Sunday) manages to integrate theme, image and even some narrative seamlessly into one of the most engrossing dramatic spectacles in town. As a theater critic who has suffered through too many stale, pop-infused musicals, I suggest that Broadway would be smart to follow her lead.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"those things aren't going to change."

it's a curious moment, when another person explains to you "the reasons you're gay." curious, and akin to being told you were born with brown eyes that eventually turned blue because of something in your past. the good news, they often suggest, is that there are places you can go, people you can turn to, who will make your eyes not blue make you not gay.

ryan kendall's parents sent him to an "ex-gay ministry" for "reparative therapy" when he was 13 years old. kendall recounted those experiences for the prop 8 trial on wednesday, beginning with this disclaimer:
"I'm gay, I'm short, and half Hispanic. Those things aren't going to change."
surely kendall met some "successful" patients during conversion therapy, the defense attorney suggested.
"During one of our group therapy sessions, [the doctor] trotted out his perfect patient, a guy named Kelly," Kendall said. "But after [the doctor] left, Kelly told me that he was going out to a gay bar that night."

The gallery erupted in laughter.
religious dispatches has more.

quote of the day

"I have to say, I’m pretty close to giving up on Mr. Obama, who seems determined to confirm every doubt I and others ever had about whether he was ready to fight for what his supporters believed in."
– paul krugman
in his blog for the new york times

the party of weak and right

today was the first day i've looked at a photograph of president barack obama and thought, "i don't believe you."

not that i think he's dishonest. i don't.

after what happened in massachusettes, and what is happening with health care reform in the days following, i'm wondering if these are the times when someone on the edge thinks, "maybe i'm a repbulican," or at least, "maybe i'm not a democrat." president bill clinton said, "when people are insecure, they'd rather have somebody who is strong and wrong than someone who's weak and right." i'm not feeling so secure about the democratic party right now, and i'm getting a little tired of belonging to the party of weak and right.

for so long i've held on to the notion that "there must be something else going on," because of course, there always is. what we know or what we hear or what we're told is so often just surface. what appears to be cow-towing to the other side, or giving in on one point or another, or not fighting for this or that, is often being done for reasons that my little pee brain couldn't fathom. it's the first of four chess moves. it's all a part of a strategy. that's the way it works, and that's fine.

the time has come when i'm not willing to believe that. there seems to be absolutely nothing going on here, no planning, no strategy. no looking ahead to the next chess move. we were on the brink of historic reform to this country's health care system one day, and 24 hours later, because of the loss of one senate seat, we give up. because voters in massachusettes – for a myriad of reasons, polls show – voted by 5% points to elect a republican and not a democrat, we give up. massachusettes, the 15th largest state in the union, a state with 2.11% of the total u.s. population.

prior to losing the massachusettes senate seat held for 46 years by edward m. kennedy, there were at least encouraging rumblings about democrats planning what course to take with health care reform should martha coakley lose. you know, hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

and yet wednesday morning offered dem after dem rolling over, basically pronouncing health care reform dead. some didn't even wait until the the ink was dry on the ballots. this has led some media folks to speculate that the coakley loss simply provided an excuse not to vote for something these politicians didn't want to vote for in the first place. if this health care bill was worth voting for on monday, why is it not on wednesday? the democrats have gone from having one of the largest senate majorities in recent history to...having one of the largest senate majorities in recent history. and yet, let's throw in the towel.

much of the reporting around coakley's loss in massachusettes called it "stunning." and it is. stunning that no one saw it coming early enough. from massachusettes democrats to dnc chairman tim kaine to dscc head robert menendez to obama himself. a person can only withstand that type of "stunning" incompetence for so long before he begins to question his allegiances.

i don't agree with much of anything the crazy, angry teabaggers believe.
but i'm beginning to feel just as crazy and angry.

how to spend $1.5 million in 60 seconds

conan o'brien shows us how:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

fast-forward idol: orlan-don't

guest judge kristin chenowith means they won't be dissing broadway tonight.

okay, the black guy with taxi fare glued to his face...theo? "in ten years i will be running a corporate salon." yup. judges say no go and he can't believe it. "oh my güt-ness."

uh-oh. coming up, autism.


shania twain gave not-so the heave-ho, so tonight not-so's goin' after cheni. h-o-t. whoops, who's this? seth? i missed the big guy's name. his son has autism. dude's crying on camera already. he knows he's up against down syndrome and alzheimers. singing "someone to watch over to me" by frank sinatra. yes, by frank sinatra. cheni knows it's a gershwin song and makes a point to mention it – thatta girl. a million percent yes. wow. a million percent.

YES! coming up! ARRESTED!!


contestant #69350. jermaine purifory. his second time around. he's so, so adorable and genuine and honest. and he seems so surprised to hear this good stuff from the judges, and it's really great.

shelby has a handicap and is unable to use the right side of her face. i have nothing else. she wins. please, shelby, be really, really good. i tired? i'm gettin' a little teary. she's not amazing, but she's good. she forgets the words and swears. they all to her...and put her through.

wow, i must be really tired, and old, and a stupid, gigantic sap. this girl overcomes this huge...thing. gets up in front of these judges. pretty moving. um...then i saw this.


cheni's been called back to new york? right. she dumped not-so too.

beat boxer j. stone sings "come together." i think jay needs to do the kind of stand up where the audience thinks "how does he make all those funny noises!?" then i saw this. "i'm bringing something new and different this competition has never seen before," says jay. um. blake lewis? "blake lewis didn't do what i'm doing, singing and beat boxing simultaneously." oh.

three random girls go through.

stretchy guy who has friends who are strippers. singing "rollin'" by tina turner. yes. "rollin'". and a giant jump split. "my pants done ripped."

arrested next.


the disimi-somthing sisters. direct from jersey shore. bernadette - meh. amanda - meh. "somethin' about somethin' told me you were from jersey," says not-so. two words: horrible bag dress.

jarrod norell. this is the crazy-pants mofo who's gonna get arrested, ready? wow...crackpot from the git-go! i'm worried. "amazing grace." not-so humiliates him. "i'm trippin, i'm trippin, i'm losin' it. can i sing one more song?" he meant, the same song. he starts singing again. woah. "i cannot leave. i can't leave." and the american idol bouncer escorts him to the door. okay, wait. now they're handcuffing the guy? "that's the way it's gotta be you guys take me out in cuffs." ugh. even police action on this program is a bore.

we've seen the future convict. coming up, american idol ex-con.


almost done. hey! has this been as not funny verging on painful for you as it has been for me? the last contestant of the day is matt lawrence. when matt was a kid he liked adventure so he robbed a bank with a bb gun. we went to dandelion park, but go matt. he sings "trouble." i can't wait to see them force this guy to sing a bee gees song. they really like him, and suddenly he smiles. he has a giant smile. and he's so blown away that he made it through.

dude smiles and he's a winner.

to aim and usually deliver a blow

did ya' notice all them white folks not showin' up fer work today?

quote of the day

"I think President Obama is perhaps the best illustration of an [LGBT] ally who can't be counted on, an ally whose rhetoric far exceeds his actions."
– gary segura
stanford university political science professor
in testimony today from the prop 8 trial

fast-forward idol: sweet home chicago

it's truly fast-forward idol this week. i've downloaded about fifteen different players and rapidshare files and things i'm sure will clog up my computer like a nasty new york sewer in order to do something that seems quite remarkable to me: watch last night's episode on one side of my computer screen while i blog about it on the other side.

tonight's guest judge: shania twain. not-so-newbie* says "she has penned some the greatest pop songs..." i love it when not-so uses technical recording industry terms like "penned." dear not-so: people write stuff like that, but nobody actually says it outloud. c'mon you dork. (now. give me a second here as i google "shania twain auto tune". )
*note: last year, the female judge who was not paula abdul was labeled newbie on this blog. she not so new no mo.
random contestant: "i believe i have what it takes to be america's next top model" ftw.

by the way, do we think not-so will end up making out with the twainster?

contestent #1. caitlin someone. all she's got is divorce. mom & dad used to come to every performance together, this is the first time he's not there. deadbeat. okay, if dad divorced mom because he's gay, or because he's got down syndrome or something caitlin's got a chance. otherwise it's back to corn fields.

despite my snark, i like her.

simon cowell asks the question anyone who's been through divorce asks (or wants to ask): "who are you siding with?" caitlin sings a duffy song. well. choo-choo is nodding. "i think you've got a voice that could sing a hit song," she says. choo. please. today, martin luther king, jr. has a voice that could sing a hit song. the judges put her through in anticipation of what good tv it will be when they get to show caitlin's mother and father sitting in the audience together. crying.


contestant #2 (and maybe 3): amy lang. well, i know her friggin' name because she sang it three times. this is what my nephew thinks of when i tell him i'm in theatre. these are the people he thinks i hang out with. amy lang and the cast of glee.

amy lang is a gay man (or two) locked up in a woman's body. wow, it's a laugh riot. no, really. a laugh riot. that didn't work.

charity vance. 16 year old, from arkansas. she's been singing in the beauty parlor since she was 8. (they have beauty parlors in little rock.) okay, pretty white girl walks into the room and the big black guy lets out a kind of oogy, husky "yeah, yeah." sick randy.

charity is a bit of a riffmeister. with a tiny, but sweet voice. which is perfect, 'cause she's a sweet and tiny girl. simon cowell wants to sign her to a record deal right now. or have dinner.


next up, the really bad people, the people dressed as animals and brides, and the people who swear at the camera!

angela martin. remember her? she dropped out last year 'cause she had a court date for a warrant. maybe third time's a charm. "i've seen a lot of dreams die, but i would never give up." i am totally buying her story. singing a mary j. blige song that is a perfect, perfect choice. put this girl through again. and of course they do.


day two in chicago. "this is a town of big talent," says blandy jackson. "jennifer hudson...kanye." these are the two big talents from chicago that spring to mind for blandy.

curly gone sing maxwell. "y'all ready?" curly says. f-fwd. next girl. f-fwd. skip to brian "screw you sgt. hart, i'm the next american idol" krause singing tiny tim. "tip toe that-a-way brian."


chicago's own harold davis. "when i walk into the judges room, i'm gonna shoot off like a rocket." they tell him no, and he starts to cry. wow.

john park from northbrook, il. please god, sing. okay park-oo, nice work! the twainster and not-so are "very surprised" because, you know, most asian people sing like this.

john park is through.

paige the-tschochke. singing sam cooke. after much consternation, everyone but simon puts her through. and oh, she has asthma.


cripes, now we've got downs, divorce, warrant, spina bifida, alzheimers, cancer, and nigeria.

i still pick nigeria, but i'm leaning toward warrant.

another mccain for gay marriage

last year, meghan mccain surprised some by publicly nudging republicans to support marriage equality. now her mother cindy mccain has also come out in favor of marriage equality by joining the NOH8 campaign:
Aligning yourself with the platform of gay marriage as a Republican still tends to be very stigmatic, but Cindy McCain wanted to participate in the (NOH8) campaign to show people that party doesn't matter - marriage equality isn't a Republican issue any more than it is a Democratic issue. It's about human rights, and everybody being treated equally in the eyes of the law that runs and protects this country.

nude photos of martha coakley

did i say martha coakley? i meant this guy:

your new senator from the state of massachusettes, scott brown. (cosmo says he's got one helluva stimulus package.)

and the results are in

the stock market thinks health care reform is dead.

via the associated press:
Health stocks boost Dow to 15-month high

The stock market rebounded as traders placed bets that the outcome of an election in Massachusetts would make it harder for President Barack Obama to make changes to health care.

Rising health care stocks led the market higher as the prospect of a logjam in Washington eased concerns that profits at companies like insurers and drug makers would suffer.

one of the worst ideas ever

if this turns out to be funny, i'll spit.

keeping it classy (, seriously)

thanks to andrew sullivan for pointing out this classy bit of scott brown's acceptance speech tonight:
"This special election came about because we lost someone very dear to Massachusetts, and to America. Senator Ted Kennedy was a tireless and big-hearted public servant, and for most of my lifetime was a force like no other in this state. His name will always command the affection and respect by the people of Massachusetts, and the same goes for his wife Vicki. There's no replacing a man like that, but tonight I honor his memory, and I pledge my very best to be a worthy successor."
brown's first phone call was to vicki kennedy, the late ted kennedy's widow, to tell her americans would always hold his memory deep in their hearts.

after all the mistakes and missteps of the democrats and the coakley campaign, and after a day of disgusting finger pointing that began long before the final votes had been cast, a refreshing bit of clarity and civility.

and from a republican, no less.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

quote of the day

"We Republicans have often found ourselves on the wrong side of civil rights struggles since the 1960s, but there was a reason that Martin Luther King, Jr.'s father is said to have supported Republicans.

Republicans were historically the party ever-expanding freedom to disenfranchised minorities, from newly liberated slaves to giving women the right to vote. Susan B. Anthony was a Republican. By supporting the [American Foundation for Equal Rights] trial we have an opportunity to establish our historic credibility on civil rights issues once again.

But we should support marriage equality because it is the right thing to do."

– margaret hoover
great-grandaughter of herbert hoover
in an opinion piece for

"the subway charms us so...

when balmy breezes blow, to and fro."

the old lorenz hart lyric is a clever bit of sarcasm. as anyone who lives in new york and rides the subway knows – in the summertime, when it's balmy, the subway stinks.

maybe someone should tell harold ford.

Monday, January 18, 2010

a somewhat emotional pee-wee

paul reubens pee-wee herman at a talkback after a performance of the pee-wee herman show, happening now thru february 7th at club nokia in los angeles:


is a martha coakley loss in massachusetts just the thing to piss obama off?

hint: it rhymes with blonald bleagan

which of the country's last nine presidents had the lowest approval ratings after one year in office?

from today's cbs news poll:

granted, this is not terrific news for obama. but like bob woodward's example, it helps keeps things in perspective.

80% polled approve of obama's handling of the crisis in haiti. 60% approve of his handling of terrorism, 70% say he's a strong leader, and 62% are still optimistic about his presidency.

but there's some not so good news too: obama's disapproval scores are up, and many of those polled feel the president is doing too much to help banks and auto makers and not enough to help them.

i'm with woodward...just barely.

two vastly different points of view on the coakley/brown race in massachusettes, the obama administration, and where the country is as a whole.

andrew sullivan seems ready to throw in the towel:
Even if Coakley wins - and my guess is she'll lose by a double digit margin - the bill is dead. The most Obama can hope for is a minimalist alternative that simply mandates that insurance companies accept people with pre-existing conditions and are barred from ejecting patients when they feel like it. That's all he can get now - and even that will be a stretch. The uninsured will even probably vote Republican next time in protest at Obama's failure! That's how blind the rage is.

Ditto any attempt to grapple with climate change. In fact, any legislative moves with this Democratic party and this Republican party are close to hopeless. The Democrats are a clapped out, gut-free lobbyist machine. The Republicans are insane. The system is therefore paralyzed beyond repair.

Yes, I'm gloomy. Not because I was so wedded to this bill, although I think it's a decent enough start. But because if America cannot grapple with its deep and real problems after electing a new president with two majorities, then America's problems are too great for Americans to tackle.

And so one suspects that this is a profound moment in the now accelerating decline of this country. And one of the major parties is ecstatic about it.
bob woodward is not so gloomy. here's a bit from sunday's meet the press:
I did some research.

Remember Ronald Reagan? If you look at Reagan now, liberals, Democrats, academics say he had a very successful presidency. Pretty universally agreed. Whether that's right or not, we'll, we'll see what the next bounce of history is.

But Lou Cannon, who is the White House correspondent for The Washington Post, wrote the--he's the premiere biographer of Reagan, and after Reagan left two terms, he wrote his monumental work on this. But after a year in the Reagan presidency, Lou also wrote a book which I'm sure he doesn't want remembered, and it was just called "Reagan." And I got it out, and this is what Lou Cannon said right at this time in the Reagan presidency in 1982:
"Reagan was, for all his optimism, running out of time. His reach had exceeded his grasp. Age and events had dimmed a sense of leadership."
Now get this:
"By 1982 it was an axiom in the White House that Reagan, like so many of his modern predecessors, would be a one-term president. I believe that Reagan will not run again."
Now, now, now what's important about this, we don't know with Obama, but it's also possible for--you know, Lou Cannon was the best. Always kept his, kept his head about Reagan's positive traits, negative traits. He had it wrong.

So, you know, all of these pronouncements about disappointment and so forth I think are crap.

quote of the day

"Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better."
– martin luther king, jr.

if she only wanted it as much

think martha coakley's gonna pull it out in massachusetts? time's karen tumulty tweeted this only a few moments ago:
coakley rally, set to start in five minutes in middle school gym, is 3/4 empty. they've pulled curtain across middle of gym.
that's fitting, because – until this week – martha coakley seems to have been about 1/4 of the way in this race.

take a look at virtually every poll that's been taken over the course of the last week or so and it's not hard to come to the conclusion that republican scott brown is gonna win the senate seat held by ted kennedy for 46 years.

some say the kennedy legacy is part of the reason brown is gonna win: ted kennedy was firmly entrenched in that seat for so long, his brother before him, that it's time for a change - and coakley looks like more of the same.

some say it's a state referendum on obama's policies, specifically health care reform.

i'd say it's about complacency and arrogance. dems couldn't imagine losing this seat. they didn't need to worry about it. then came coakley. from watching the rally on sunday, featuring a fired up president obama, i can easily say that coakley is a massive, colossal bore. when every other speaker in the room has the crowd ten times as riled up as you, there's a problem.

couple this with some amazingly naive gaffes on coakley's part (i'd know enough to not call curt shilling a yankees fan, please) and a republican candidate who is incredibly energized and motivated, and you're headed for disaster.

over the past year or so, there's been a lot of grumbling about what a buffoon rnc chairman michael steele is. no argument here. but right now i'm wondering, how good a job is dnc party chair tim kaine really doing?

do i want coakley to win? sure. does obama want a coakley win? damn straight. does the dnc? yup. but does coakley?

scott brown sure looks like he wants it.
i'm not sure what coakley wants.

“not to mince words, mr. epstein...

...we don't like your boys' sound. groups of guitarists are on the way out.”

the top-selling album of the 2000s was 1 by the beatles.
Over three decades after their breakup, the Beatles still released the top-selling album of the 2000s. The Fab Four’s greatest hits compilation 1 sold over 11,448,000 copies since its release in November 2000 according to Nielsen SoundScan’s decade-end sales numbers.
eminem was the decade's top-selling artist, with 32.2 million in combined sales, barely edging out the fab four at number two with 30 million.

the beatles were also the top-selling band of 2009.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

quote of the day

"I like a drink as much as the next man. Unless the next man is... Mel Gibson!"
– ricky gervais
introducing gibson at the golden globes

"i'm already an honorary lesbian."

maureen dowd had a chat with ted olson and david boies this week.
It has been quite a journey for Ted Olson. He’s gone from being the conservative lawyer who helped crown W. by winning the Bush v. Gore case before the Supreme Court, to being a lesbian.

“Maureen,” he told me in his gravelly voice, “one of the biggest lesbian groups in this country told me I’m already an honorary lesbian.”
olson and boies were arch-rivals during bush v. gore (boies represented vice president al gore.) now they're a team, fighting to overturn california's proposition 8.

"You can be a child molester and get married. You can be a wife beater and get married. You can be a child-support scofflaw and get married. The importance of that emotional relationship is so vital to the pursuit of happiness that even prison felons, who aren’t really procreating, have a right to get married.”
but yes, let's protect the sanctity of marriage.

in case you missed it, olson recently penned a must-read piece for newsweekthe conservative case for gay marriage. and is providing essential live-blogging of the landmark trial.

from happy talk to head banging

over the holidays, the new york times' christopher isherwood took in a double feature of rodgers and hammerstein's south pacific and the arena-rock, jukebox musical rock of ages:
As we settled in [at "Rock of Ages"] I commented to my companion that it was a pretty safe bet that I was the only one in the theater who’d just been to see “South Pacific.”

“You’re probably the only person here who’s heard of ‘South Pacific,’ ” she replied.

weekend in new england

in her last minute take on the scott brown/martha coakley senate race in massachusetts, joan walsh correctly sums up the entire democratic party as it stands:
This party is in trouble: Nobody understands its complicated health care reform plan; the economy is still pinching many people, and too many voters don't know if Obama and the Dems are on the side of the overdogs or the underdogs. Like most Americans, and most Democrats, I have better things to do this weekend than pay attention to a race that shouldn't be one. Let's hope this is a wakeup call to the party that just a year ago was celebrating what seemed like a glorious realignment.
let's hope.

Friday, January 15, 2010

one hundred percent

president obama has asked former presidents george w. bush and bill clinton to head up a recovery effort to help the people of haiti. one hundred percent of your donation will go toward relief and recovery efforts in haiti:

At the request of President Obama, we are partnering to help the Haitian people reclaim their country and build back not only their infrastructure but also their unwavering spirit...

Both of us have personally witnessed the tremendous generosity and goodwill of the American people and of our friends around the world to help in times of great need. There is no greater rallying cry for our common humanity than to witness our neighbors in distress – and want to come to their aid.

Thank you for taking the time to visit, and we hope you will donate to this worthwhile cause. The people of Haiti now need our assistance more than ever.

President William J. Clinton
President George W. Bush

donate here.

"everyone hated zucker"

andrew sullivan's recollection of harvard with nbc's jeff zucker and conan o'brien:
"Conan ran the Lampoon; Zucker ran the Crimson. I knew neither. I just remember that everyone hated Zucker and thought Conan was some sort of comic deity."

the california that men dreamed of

“Big Sur is the California that men dreamed of years ago, this is the Pacific that Balboa looked at from the Peak of Darien, this is the face of the earth as the Creator intended it to look."
– henry miller

seven minutes v. two hours

the american red cross estimates between 45,000 - 50,000 dead in haiti, and what is fox talking about?
On January 13, Fox News' three top-rated programs for 2009 -- The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity, and Glenn Beck -- devoted a combined total of less than 7 minutes of coverage to the earthquake in Haiti, instead choosing to air such things as Beck's hour-long interview with Sarah Palin, Bill O'Reilly's discussion of Comedy Central host Jon Stewart, and Sean Hannity's advocacy for Massachusetts candidate Scott Brown's Senate campaign.
msnbc's countdown, the rachel maddow show, and hardball devoted a total of more than two hours to the earthquake. cnn's anderson cooper is in haiti.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"people were dying below me."


quote of the day

"Here's my goal, my dream, for American television. I just want everybody who wants a show to have a show. That's all. It's 2010. If we can't get these kids shows, then the terrorists have won."
– david letterman
on the "situation over at nbc"

first american idol mugshots of 2010!

and the winner is: skii blo ski! skii bo ski!

nb-see ya

conan ditching early?

is there really a ford in ny's future?

the new york times takes on harold ford jr:
Q. Have you been to Staten Island?
A. I landed there in the helicopter, so I can say yes.
kirsten gillibrand takes on harold ford jr:
"If Harold Ford wants to move from Tennessee and run in New York, he is welcome to do so and I welcome an honest comparison of our records and our work for New York."
brave new films takes on on harold ford jr:

pants on the ground

the second most popular search on google tonight.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

fast-forward idol: welcome to hotlanta

8:02 pm.

hotlanta. i love it when cities have nicknames. like clam town. or rubber city. or poky, or clock city, or dogtrot capital, or spamtown, or the big "o," or the corn cob capital of the world.

or frisco. that's short for san francisco, did you know that? isn't that cute? sans the san, eighty-six the a-n-c and you've got frisco. using the nickname frisco is a sure way to let someone know that you've probably never been to san francisco, or spent any real time there. today, when someone asks me, "where do you live?" (and they're always asking) i say "i live in the big apple. the city that never sleeps. america's mecca. father knickerbocker. modern gomorrah. the frog and toe."

fryin' buttcrust is excited about "the depth of the talent pool in the deep south." he's remembering a quiet night he had with gay-kin a few years back at a red lobster. guest judge mary j. blige. i cannot name one mary j. blige song. oh piss off, can you?

dawan robinson. "music is my blood," dawan says. not in my blood. is my blood. dawan sings "lay-tee, we're not together anymore." right, that hit. goner.

kia johnson. 26. great smile (huge.) great hair (big.) great pants (yellow.) great shoes (fuschia.) sings "my heart does go on dan-don." newbie says, "you're nice to look at...when you're performing." hollywood.

every time a black girl riffs they show mary j. usually mary goes, "mm!" under her breath.

jermaine sellers is a church singer whose mother has spina bifida. that's spina bifida ftw. "what if god was one of us." jermaine sang more notes in 15 seconds than my ears could possibly listen to. hollywood.

i want one of the judges to say, "absolutely, yes. 80% yes."

coming up – someone gets arrested on american idol.

8:33 pm.

this 411 chick needs to go. now. (note to self: when you audition for american idol, come up with a line other than "music is my life.")

vanessa wolf, bridge jumper from vonore, tennessee. okay, i wanna laugh at her because she's a backwoods hick (it takes one to know one) but the longer this goes on the more i like her. she's so genuine. and dear. now i want her to be really good. she sings "wagon wheel." she is country. simon calls her authentic. they put her through to hollywood, and she screams! loud! and she kicks! whooo! she's crying. "my mom's gonna have a heart attack," she says through tears. i got 'em too now. wolfy is a major highlight of the last few years.

8:43 pm.

basically nothing happened here that was more exciting than the commercials.

8:56 pm.

holly somebody is a human guitar. she's dressed herself up like a guitar. a human guitar. and her face is the fretboard. that. says. it all. "i'm the next (beat)...great thing!" attention holly. when you can't think what follows the words "i'm the next," you're probably not. randy says she's hilarious even though he didn't laugh once. newbie says, "you know, ordinarily when somone comes in dressed like a guitar..." she's talking about her personal life. hollywood.

mallorie haley from south dakota has the voice, and the composure, and the breasts to go to hollywood. yes. yes. yes. and yes.

9:10 pm.

skiiboski. "heard it through the grapevine." i can't type because i can't stop watching. wait. is it skii blo ski? simon, a resounding no. the other three put him through. i got nothin'.

two cute and skinny 18 year old girls are wearing more makeup than ray jivoff in a g&s. best friends since third grade. (like ray & me.) one girl is good. one is not. (shut. it.) one makes it to hollywood. idol keeps trying to show the losing friend being supportive, but -- woah -- even when she is, it's so pained! someone told her she needs to be happy for her friend, but she just ain't right now.

9:22 pm.

brian walker, sevierville ranger. he sings "superstar." i'm giving him a riffing ticket. he sings two held notes. but the judges are right, there is something there.

here comes the guy who gets arrested. he is a scary person. he won't stop singing. he needs to stfu and listen. mary j. blige is gonna smack him down! he's a freak and he won't leave. he keeps singing the opening to "my cherie amour," badly, as though it's amazing. and he doesn't even get arrested. blech. boring.

9:30 pm.

pants on the ground.

nothing more to say.

i'm ready not ready for my close-up

Splitting 5-4, the Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked any television broadcast to the general public of the San Francisco federal court challenge to California’s ban on same-sex marriage.
follow the trial via prop 8 trial tracker's live blogging here.

baby, he was born to run

suddenly, i don't feel so old.

bruce springsteen at 60.

good things come to those who wait...

...but not to those who wait too late.

democrat martha coakley is on the verge of losing ted kennedy's senate seat to the republican candidate, even though – in the words of a coakley volunteer – the republican is "an empty suit":
"Look at his record, he's has literally zero accomplishments as a state senator. When asked why he differs from Bush and Cheney he says its because he drives a truck. You'll rarely find a jaw made of thinner glass, but Coakley didn't throw a punch for a month."

pathetic excuse #2

giving limbaugh a run for his money.

UPDATE 1/13/10, 1:29 pmta-nehisicoates lets "professional bigot" robertson, and his nodding co-host, have it.

a pathetic excuse for a human being

enough of this "i like him sometimes" bullshit. he's a piece of trash.

how to help haiti

haiti's prime minister estimates there are more than 100,000 dead as a result of a tuesday's 7.0 earthquake. by texting HAITI to 90999 you can automatically donate $10 to the american red cross.

msnbc has compiled a thorough list of other ways you can help.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

fast-forward idol: the 2010 edition

8:02 pm.

i'm not sure i can do this.

i'm at an oakwood in mountain view, california with no dvr. no dvr. which means i actually have to do this live. live-blog american idol.

so. just so you know. this may not last long.

besides, these shows early in the season are some of the most painful. i don't know about you, but watching someone sing really, really badly stopped being fun around 2003, when i heard jason trubitt sing dark lady at his karaoke birthday party.

it's not that jason was bad, he was actually quite good. i can't hear dark lady today without thinking of him. jason was actually what can, in extremely – extremely – limited amounts, make karaoke almost bearable. he was not showing off, he was enjoying it. he was just having fun. he was just having fun, singin' some cher.

if jason trubitt shows up on the american idol season premier tonight, no one would be happier.

but then, of course...there's ellen.

8:03 pm.

okay, there's a contestant named chris golightly? i'm in.

8:13 pm.

some random guy in the stadium full of people in boston is taking his shirt off and peecrust forgot his line. tonight, three judges and a beckham an alien.

first up: janet. please, janet. no bare midriff.

8:25 pm.

next: 16-year old maddy curtis. maddy has a down syndrome brother, so i think she should be the next american idol. wait. maddy has a whole family of down syndrome. and she's never caught it? wow. "they see the world in color and we need to see the world that way." and a tear. shit. she wins.

okay, i bet she's good.

she is. randy. "you went to the high note and came back down and actually stayed in key." he means without using auto-tune, i think. if this girl takes all her downs syndrome brothers to hollywood i'll kill her. seriously, someone better be blind, or in a wheelchair, or maddy wins.

next: oops. pat someone. little nerdly. "i've been singing and dancing all my life," says patly. "simon, you're even sassier in person than you are on tv." patrick is the love child of tucker carlson and little edie bouvier.

8:39 pm.

back from commercial. someone from the sopranos. i wanna eat with this guy. he sweats when he eats. that's real.

amadeo diricco? is that it? i sort of love him. he's gonna be good too, isn't he. okay. they're gonna put him through, but i worry this is all he's got. "i don't feel there's any need to be mean to people, unless they deserve it." that's italian. okay...sorry maddy, but the mob trumps down syndrome: amadeo's gonna win.

8:57 pm.

mary doyle. i'm an otako: an anime freak. (chuck? my brother is...nevermind.) mary is gonna get hurt, here. "everyone says that i'm good. my voice coaches, theatre directors." well, there's where she went wrong: listening to theatre directors. "singing is my life." but mary. you need a brother with disability, or a bum leg, or something. and talent.

luke shaffer. red. the girls are wondering if he's gay. benjamin sings "all my lovin" beautifully. both are through to hollywood. and i'm here to tell you that

andrew fenlen, grumpy big glasses attitude guy. this character lasted for about ten seconds. he's gonna be good too, because we want to see him next week. whoops, three nos. i think that's a mistake.

9:06 pm.

american idol: here's how musical theatre students sing pop music! (sadly, they're right.)

ashley rodriguez sings alicia keys. i think the girls want a threesome. seriously though, that beckham chick...what is that? that's not human. if randy rolled over on her she'd snap like a twig. am i crazy...this ashley chick looks like baby paula abdul?

tyler gradey. fell out of a tree. titanium arms. "let's get it on." he's through. is randy fatter this year? i thought he went on the cookie diet or something and slimmed down. maybe he ate the wrong cookies. okay...tyler. anyone who's still climbing trees at his age is okay by me. i liked him a lot. you?

oh shit. another hour? i have cheerios to eat.

9:20 pm.

i'm eating a bowl of cereal, so this might be spotty.

lisa olivietti has to step touch before she starts singing. so, do these people really think they're good? or is this just what they say on national television?

beefy mike. singing "yesterday." shaky start, i thought, but got better. beefy asks newbie on a date, but she cheneys and answers some other question. okay, they're interviewing the parents, so beefy is through. peecrest hears beefy mention a date with newbie and immediately pulls him aside. "we should talk," he says. yeah, and here's a six pack of beer. (oldest trick in the book! peecrest is shameless!)

9:30 pm.

oy. this kid is 16, has a grandmother with alzheimer's, and can sing. katie stevens, you're the next american idol.

joshua blalock. 28 with one last shot. "he's an actor" says rob. rob hates american idol. he's in the room now, so this may be difficult. randy: "i could see him in a new group that sings spandau ballet." randy pulled that shit out of his dawg ass, didn't he?! spandau ballet? nice, dawg.

uh. oh. there's someone with cancer?

all bets are off.

9:33 pm.

btw – it was a bowl of kashi heart to heart, not cheerios.

9:41 pm.

a vulture screech. rob liked.

beefy spanish mission boy. "i am cancer free." and he wins. he wins. plus, he's cute. justin "i shoulda been an osmond" williams has the whitest teeth this side of the great salt lake. please let him have, like, four wives.

9:52 pm.

what. is. this. norberto. why are they humoring him? best line of the night: simon to norb - "you sing like a three year old girl, dressed like latoya jackson, with a beard..."

nigerian. bosa mora. i like him already. genuine. he started off okay...but kind of lost it there. the alien smacks down simon cowell (about the eye-rolling) as only a fellow brit could do. and quite seriously. that was one of the most real moments on american idol in a long time. worth all this bad tv? no. but good.

9:59 pm.

the last contestant in boston. "i didn't really listen to secular music." is that what she said? i missed it. leah someone. i'll remember after she wins. "blue skies." she's going through. but do i like her? i can't tell. do you?

okay, so far this year we have to decide between down syndrom, alzheimers, cancer, and nigeria.

i pick nigeria.

(read more "fast-forward idol: 2010")