If It Talks, Regulate It
My friends Jesse Walker, good as always, on the regulatory regime we can expect from the FCC over the next four years.
My friends Jesse Walker, good as always, on the regulatory regime we can expect from the FCC over the next four years.
So the Beatles' music will be used in a video game. I guess that's a good thing, isn't it?
When you tape or TiVo a game, you have to be very careful not to catch any of it before you rewind. Just a glimpse could give you the score which would make watching the points up to that point pointless.
There's not much point in talking about the election odds, since I think it's over. There are a ton of polls and they all show Obama ahead, most with room to spare. Even if he were ahead only two or three points in all the polls, he'd be the big favorite.
I didn't watch it, but Mark Steyn doesn't think Obama's Big Night did the trick:
And yet an old cranky broke loser is within two or three points of the King of the World. Strange.
AMC owns the show Mad Men, but not its creator, Matthew Weiner. They're in negotiations right now to see if he'll continue runnning it.
In Anthony Lane's pan of Synecdoche, New York we get this parenthetical comment:
In Fahrenheit 451, "firemen" start fires. Now, a newspaper seems to believe its duty is to suppress news.
The Getty museum has a commercial out where people are walking around with pieces of art instead of heads. Their slogan is "it sticks with you."
NBC has a long history of having trouble finding a good sitcom to sandwich between the 8 and 9 pm shows on Thursday. I guess the streak continues with Kath & Kim. I haven't seen it yet, but I'm getting the feeling if I don't watch soon, I may never get another chance.
Now is the time, or rather, last chance, for October Surprises. Putting on my conspiracy hat, I note that both Ahmadinijihad and Kim Jong-Il are both under the weather- leaders of 2/3ds of the axis of evil. (Who is the third nowadays? OBL? ) Would anyone think that the guys who have expressed their strong belief in the need for "dark side" tactics and who are supposed to be on their way out the door (won't believe until see) and seem to have pretty close to nothing to lose might opt for the Blaze of Glory option.
“[W]e’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs.” As usual, please read the whole article.
Here's Tim Cavanaugh with a rare honest endorsement.
With the rising popularity of early voting (which I think should be mostly illegal), I have a question. What happens when someone votes, then dies before election day? Is the vote still valid?
TV pilots are first drafts that sometimes need to be fixed. For instance, Bill Cosby's house and number of kids changed once his sitcom eased into its first season.
Being a Michigan sports fan teaches you character. And I would have said that even before this football season. For example, the Best Damn Sports Show had "100 Mind Blowing Moments." Four of them dealt with Michigan and all of them were embarrassing.
Nancy Pelosi says if the Dems control the House, the Senate and the White House, they will be "more bipartisan."
Not sure if I get Ari's arc this season on Entourage. They're making a big deal about whether he'll sell out and become the head executive at a studio. How is this selling out? How is being a "suit" at a studio worse than being a wheeler-dealer agent? I'd guess most people would find it a step up.
John Kerry wants more government to respond to new economic crises: "We’re operating with old institutions that are incapable of responding fast enough, dealing with vast sums of money that cross boundaries in different financial centers.”
Here's an ad against California's parental notification law, Prop 85. Their slogan is "think outside your bubble." I have no idea if this works, but is it really a good strategy to insult the voters you're trying to bring aboard?
Fine season-closer for Mad Men, but one thing--early on, Pete tells Peggy he's "waiting on" a call. Last week I wrote how this has replaced "waiting for." But Mad Men is set in 1962. With all the care they take on getting the period detail right, one misplaced preposition puts me right back in the present.
I understand why sports uniforms were created--when two teams take the field, they need to tell each other apart. That they've grown into symbols and colors we root for is secondary. (For an enjoyable tour of ugly uniforms, go here.)
Looking over the list of major newspapers losing circulation (and it is impressive, if that's the word--The New York Times will soon dip below a million), many conservatives have a grand theory that says they're all losing readers due to their outrageous bias.
Clint Eastwood's latest, The Changeling, is getting mixed reviews, but what I noticed is the running time. The story sounds slight, but Clint takes 140 minutes to tell it.
Saw this plate on a Toyota Echo: FREAKER
Sarah Palin says the expensive wardrobe isn't her property. A McCain advisor responds by telling the press "the comments about her wardrobe 'were not the remarks we sent to her plane this morning.'" The story is stupid, and I don't blame her for being pissed off about it refusing to die, but this dissension is becoming too public, and McCain really needs to rein in his campaign staff.
From Power Line:
Entertainment Weekly has five problems with Heroes, and ways to fix them. I made my list a few weeks ago.
My book group once read the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I remember it started out pretty good, listing a lot of negative rights, where the state had to leave you alone or, if it had you in its clutches, treat you properly. (I admit the UN hasn't followed up well on these rights, but at least it had them as an ideal.)
I was at a party recently and everyone was talking politics. As you might expect, they all supported Obama.
Broadway will be a little less fun next year. Spamalot of Hairspray are both set to close in January. It happens to every show sooner or later. But why hasn't it happened to The Phanton Of The Opera yet?
This parable has been making the rounds:
An interesting post from Carnal Reason about the difference in perception between Barack Obama's and Sarah Palin's religious beliefs: (h/t David Thompson)
So far as I know Palin is not a Young Earther. But if she were, her belief would be no more at odds with science than is Obama’s stated belief that Christ is Lord. I suspect those who mock Palin’s belief without mocking Obama’s do so because in their hearts they imagine that Obama does not actually believe. He just says what he has to say to attain power. And they’re ok with that. They mock Palin because they imagine she means what she says.
As always, read the whole thing.
"The BBC will tackle Islam differently to Christianity, admits its Director General."
House is one of my favorite shows, but boy is the USA channel repeating the heck out of it. Yesterday, they had seven episodes in a row.
Many are saying, assuming Obama wins, that Sarah Palin will be the Republican nominee in 2012. (Some are saying she will be even if McCain wins.)
Andy Klein's review of Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York starts thus:
We know the American Thinker wants McCain for President, so perhaps it's not surprising they make an argument about why he'll win. It amounts to this: there are plenty of Democrats who support McCain. No doubt true, but so what? The question is what percentage of Dems support McCain, since it's easy enough to find anecdotes.
Okay, this one is going to be tough to express without doing my own unintended race-baiting, but I think the issue is interesting so I'll give it a shot.
When I heard Jeremy Piven was starring in a Broadway revival of David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow I thought "that's a bit on the nose." Piven's Ari Gold, the conniving agent on Entourage, sounds just like S-t-P's Charlie, another fast-talking hustler who fights to get his film off the ground. But it turns out Piven has been cast as Bobby, the producer with greenlight power. It might be interesting to see how Piven handles the other side of the desk. (Actually, on Entourage right now, it looks like he may be kicked up to that sort of role.)
With all the bad economic news (and some claim that's the only kind), shouldn't we at least celebrate the nosedive in oil prices? If someone had told us three months ago the cost would be cut in half, we'd have thrown our hats in the air.
I don't know if I should feel sorry for this guy or hate him. (Don't turn the sound up too high since people shout around the 50 second mark.)
After calling his constituents racists and rednecks, John Murtha appears to be slightly ahead in his Congressional race. I wondered why the voters put up with this rhetoric. My answer came via Wikipedia (whose content I trust):
I'm at a law conference in South Florida today and the keynote was by an economist. While reasonable-sounding and more upbeat than most of the prognosticators, he was fairly bleak about the next 6 months. Fred Barnes spoke too and was equally gloomy (but that was about President Obama)
...the more they remain the same.
The first season of Mad Men was set in 1960. This season it's 1962--the final episode takes place during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Overall there are five seasons planned (just like Star Trek, which can be referenced starting in season four), ending in 1968.
Proving once again that the South Side of Chicago is the baddest part of town, the post office has suspended service on Marshfield between 151st and 152nd streets. No courier wanted to be appointed to this round. They may put up with rain and snow, but not gunfire. Though that is the sort of thing that makes for swift completion.
The IBD/TIPP poll says Obama's ahead by 1.1%. This result is absurd. Not because it disagrees with all the other polls, but because of the internals.
Ben Brantley reviewing a revival of All My Sons in The New York Times:
The Reader's Digest Presidential Election '08 Global Poll found that the rest of the world pretty heavily favors Barack Obama. It's interesting reading, although I'm surely never going to base my vote on what non-Americans think America needs. But I couldn't help suspecting their choices of which countries to poll biased the results in favor of Obama. I mean, Russia instead of Israel? Finland instead of name-your-favorite-former-SSR? Color me skeptical.
From the WSJ:
If as Joe Biden suggests the U.S. is likely to be tested by a foreign enemy next year, who of the following would you rather have dealing with it in the Oval Office: Nancy (of Damascus) Pelosi, Harry Reid, John Edwards, Joe (the U.S. drove Hezbollah out of Lebanon) Biden, Mike Huckabee, Geraldine Ferraro, Tom DeLay, Jimmy Carter or Sarah Palin?
My pick? Gov. Palin, surely the most grounded, common-sense person on that list of prime-time politicians.
As always, read the whole thing.
The polls taken together show Obama with a solid lead. All told, however, they vary greatly. Much of this is due to different modeling, and since no one knows how many Dems and Repubs are gonna show up, there's no way to know which poll is most reliable. You can't really count on previous elections, since they change so much.
When Sarah Palin appeared in SNL, she said she wasn't going to do the rap they asked her to do, so Amy Poehler did it.
There's a new Mac commercial responding to the latest Microsoft campaign. Neither of these ads would make me buy the product, but it's fun to watch the shooting match.
The LA Times recently wrote there was "no recorded basis" for the claim that Barack Obama launched his political career in Bill Ayer's living room. After they received recorded basis for the claim, they moved the goalposts, saying no correcton was necessary since the new information (created by a pro-Obama source who later tried to hide it when it became embarrassing) didn't prove the claim.
There are some who claim the polls showing Obama clearly ahead are wrong. It's true different polls use different methods, so some of them must be a little off, but they can't all be wrong. I'd say every poll being way off is about as likely as McCain winning right now.
My old pal Richard Posner is in the news. He wrote a piece in The New Republic arguing Justice Scalia's opinon in the Heller Second Amendment case went too far. As he puts it:
Every year, I try to get through October without turning the heat on. The last couple of years I've managed, but this year - with temps dropping into the 20's in the last week - I've been forced to crank it up early. Right now, as I look out my window, wet snow is falling in my yard.
Editors' note from The New York Times:
The survey included data from Sept. 19 to Sept. 23, 2008, a period of volatility on Wall Street, but none of the questions in the association’s survey referred to Wall Street or any economic crises. Participants were not asked how business travel affected their stress levels or where they felt most vulnerable to stress. The author of the article distorted the survey’s findings to fit his theme, contrary to The Times’s standards of integrity.
The article also quoted incorrectly from a comment by Nancy Molitor, a psychologist in Wilmette, Ill., who told the author that, “In my 20 years of practice I’ve never seen such anxiety among my patients,” not “among my banking and business patients.” While Dr. Molitor does have patients in banking and business, she did not single them out as being more anxious than her other patients.
Rudy Ray Moore, of Dolemite fame, has died. Haven't heard of Dolemite? This trailer will fill you in. (Guess I should warn about the explicit language.)
So Oliver Platt will be Nathan Detroit in the upcoming Broadway production of Guys And Dolls. Usually a smaller man plays the role--there's even a reference to his size in the play--but Platt seems like a good choice.
One of the neat things about old literature--doesn't even have to be great literature--is it gives you a sense of perspective. You can understand what concerned people at different times and places. (I don't trust historical novels to do this--they too easily incorporate modern views.)
As I've said here several times before, I'm a one-issue voter on civil liberties issues this election cycle. Well, I've found one civil liberties issue that I believe both McCain and Obama have right, even though they come to seemingly opposite conclusions (how's that for a lawyerly lede?): presidential signing statements.
I've been dipping into Fierce Pajamas, a collection of humorous writing from The New Yorker.
Matt Welch of Reason is far too kind in his dissection of Jacob Weisberg's predictable attack on libertarianism. Still, it's a pretty good general discussion--there's hardly a sentence in Weisberg's argument that can't be refuted, and Matt didn't have the space to go into every detail.
Thanks to an Instalanche, we got to 90,000 hits (since we started counting) faster than usual.
Amidst all the troubles of Don, Peggy, Joan, Betty, Roger and Pete, I was glad to see the latest Mad Men showed a little more love for Bertram Cooper. In the first season, he was eccentric, but as the leading name in the firm, one assumed he had some mastery of the ad game.
I caught Factory Girl, a mess of a film about the sad life of Edie Sedgwick. What interested me was it's another picture featuring a portrayal of Andy Warhol.
Well, it was probably pretty clear beforehand whom the Russians would prefer as the US president. But if there was any doubt....
Some are saying we're in for the worst recession since the early 80s. While I hope it doesn't get that bad, let's remember that even those bad days lasted around 18 months and then we pulled out and had about 18 years of solid growth (with a slight recession thrown in--the one Al Gore said was the worst since the Depression). We can't always predict the future based on the past, but we have good reason to believe, as long as we keep out heads about us and don't do anything crazy, we'll come out the other end okay.
From an article about the fall TV season:
From an otherwise forgettable article on Obama's chances, we get this odd argument:
Interesting piece in Variety on how stars' salaries are finally coming down (a bit). Maybe they're right, but I've heard this song before. In fact, it seems this article comes out every few years.
I saw the trailer for Doubt. A very impressive production, written and directed by John Patrick Shanley, based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams. Still, it didn't look too good.
I saw What Just Happened over the weekend, a movie about the problems of a Hollywood producer. It's based on the book by producer Art Linson, with, alas, a screenplay by Art Linson. It's also got a big name director and star, but I'm not going to mention them. Why? Because critics have taught us all that matters is the director, and moviegoers seem to care most about the star. It's nice to see a focus on the producer, even in a not-so-great film.
This is interesting.
Neal Hefti is dead. I've always been a fan, and have written about how much I love his theme to Lord Love A Duck.
Walking past a newsstand, I saw Obama on the cover of Time, with words to the effect "How The Economy Trumped Race."
...one plumber at a time.
"Then he boarded Air Force One, blasted 'We Are The Champions' and shouted 'I'm King of the World'."
Levi Stubbs has died.
I have no idea if negative campaigning works. I only know it usually does. And that both sides do it.
Monsieur Verdoux is getting a rerelease and critics, old and new, seem to like it. Truth is, they've been trying to pump this up into a classic since James Agee went overboard on its original release.
Buy 'em at Intrade. There's someone pushing the prices way out of line with the other books. I can't imagine why anyone would be upset -- he's basically giving away money.
Last night's Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner was one for the ages. Because of disputes about his relationship with the Catholic Church, Kerry wasn't invited in 2004, and the church felt it would be unfair to invite GW Bush without him. I remember the event in 2000 as showing both Bush and Gore in a far better light than usual, but neither Bush nor (particularly) Gore were very funny. Last night McCain was undeniably funnier -- he's got excellent comedic timing and his material was quite good. Obama did a reasonably good job as well, once he allowed himself to get into the self-deprecating spirit of the event. So far as I know, this is a uniquely American tradition, though it would be easy to imagine the Brits having something similar. In any event, I think it's a wonderful tradition, in that it highlights an important distinction: while the candidates must be opponents, they need not be enemies.
Fringe debuted to much fanfare not that long ago. Is anyone even talking about it any more?
My old pal Nick Gillespie does an unfortunately necessary takedown of the silly arguments being made against free markets these days.
A lot of people are saying "Joe The Plumber" isn't a plumber. (They're not jumping so fast to note the legendary shout of "kill him" at a Palin rally seems not to have happened--I wonder why?) Turns out Joe is "an unlicensed and unregistered employee of a small plumbing and heating company."
Color me unimpressed.
Edie Adams, who died on Wednesday, was one of those beautiful women who was willing to make fun of herself. I remember seeing her on old Ernie Kovacs shows, parodying Marilyn Monroe. We're so used to thinking of Monroe as an icon it's hard to remember how odd her oversexed style must have looked to many when she was alive.
It was cold in California last weekend, but the heat returned yesterday. This is the third time it's gotten too hot again after I thought things had cooled down for the winter. I'm hoping this is the last time, since "cold" in Los Angeles is just right.
David E. Kelley has a commitment from NBC to create a new legal drama. Does he really have another legal series in him? Seems like the well has run dry.
So we finally found out how House and Wilson met. It was too cute by half. They were both rowdy at a medical convention in New Orleans and met in lockup.
Here's a Dennis Prager article claiming America has two irreconcilable sides, the red and the blue. He's been beating this drum for a while, but I don't think his evidence is too convincing. I know we have solid conservatives and solid liberals, and I have plenty of friends who so strongly identify with the Democrats or Republicans that the idea of voting for the other side nauseates them.
Obama explains to people whose taxes will be raised that the idea is to "spread the wealth around."
Someone sent me this. It told me something about voters I already knew, but don't like to think about.
My Representative, Xavier Becerra, is running unopposed. I realize no one has any chance of beating him, but it would be nice for keeping up the appearance of a race that someone else actually be listed on the ballot.
Maybe it's time to give up on Heroes. It just keeps getting more ridiculous.
The long awaited Troopergate report is out and, as October Surprises go, this one's about as exciting as the prospect of a Ray's-Phillies World Series. Over at Townhall.com, Beldar's done the heavy lifting for us so let me just summarize: