Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Republicans have a problem. The most-talked-about figure in the GOP is a reality show star who cannot be elected. And yet the same leaders who fret that Sarah Palin could devastate their party in 2012 are too scared to say in public what they all complain about in private. ...Scarborough is a Republican. In this short video, after comparing Republicans' silence about Sarah Palin with their silence about George W. Bush, he tells palinbots not to waste their time e-mailing him about it!
... What man or mouse with a fully functioning human brain and a résumé as thin as Palin’s would flirt with a presidential run? ...
... Still, Palin is undeterred, charging ahead maniacally while declaring her intention to run for the top office in the land if “nobody else will.” Adding audacity to this dopey dream is that Palin can’t stop herself from taking swings at Republican giants. In the past month alone, she has mocked Ronald Reagan’s credentials, dismissed George H.W. and Barbara Bush as arrogant “blue bloods” and blamed George W. Bush for wrecking the economy.
Wow. That’ll win ’em over in Iowa.
One can only guess what comes next on Palin’s bizarre road show. ...
Everything Scarborough wrote can be read here, in his opinion piece at Politico. Near its conclusion, he writes:
[I am] one Republican who would prefer that the former half-term governor promote her reality shows and hawk her books without demeaning the reputations of Presidents Reagan and Bush. These great men dedicated their lives to public service and are too good to be fodder for her gaudy circus sideshow.Of course, there are other reasons for opposing Palin. But if Republicans have their own reasons, why should we discourage them? Politics makes strange bedfellows.
Scarborough criticises Palin for blaming the Bushes for the economy's problems and for calling them blue bloods. Palin's criticism of the Bushes occurred during her recent interview on Laura Ingraham's radio show. We have a post about that interview, here. Palin may have criticised the Bushes in an attempt to get even with them after former First Lady Barbara Bush told Larry King that Palin ought to "stay in Alaska."
Warning: Scarborough is a card carrying Republican. He praises Republicans -- well, most of them -- and criticizes Democrats. If you're a card carrying Democrat, some of what he wrote may offend you.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Bristol Palin didn't technically win 'Dancing With the Stars' last week, but financially, the 20-year-old mom is paso doble-ing all the way to the bank.
"Bristol made over $345,000 from being on the show and currently is getting $35,000 for each speaking gig she does," an insider reveals to me. "Yet, all that is going to feel like pocket change if one or two of the big deals she's currently working on actually happens." ...
Barbara Walters has revealed 8 of the 10 people on her Most Fascinating People list. Sarah Palin is among them, along with the cast of "Jersey Shore." Last year, First Lady Michelle Obama was Walters' most fascinating person, despite Sarah Palin's presence on the list. In order to increase the suspense, two people on this year's list haven't yet been named. Entertainment Weekly has a story, which has a link to 2009's list.
The LA Times' "Decoding 'Sarah Palin's Alaska': Spoiled by family love" is a review of last night's episode.
Becaue it was an obtrusion, I've moved the part of the post, which was between the PopEater and Entertainment Weekly stories, to this place.
It is not inexplicable. Palin's case was a copyright case; Wikileaks, if the government had attempted to stop publication, would have been a prior restraint case. When Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to a newspaper -- something that occurred during Palin's lifetime -- the Supreme Court ruled that the government could not exercise prior restraint to prevent publication of the papers.
Is it any wonder that Republicans have told her to "sit down and shut up," even "stay in Alaska?" This latest tweet confirms Peggy Noonan's belief that Sarah Palin is out of her depth in a shallow pool.
David Corn of Mother Jones has a story explaining Palin's latest gaffe. ABC's The Note has a story, too.
Peggy Noonan's Wall Street Journal article, "A Farewell to Harms," was written shortly after Palin quit the governorship.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Earlier this year, the San Diego Zoo opened its renovated Polar Bear Plunge exhibit.
The San Diego Union-Tribune has an informative story, with drawings and photos, about the opening of the exhibit. The newspaper's Polar Bear topic has links to stories, photos and videos of polar bears.
The zoo itself has an interactive website, Conrad Preby's Polar Bear Plunge, which will be interesting to kids of all ages. There is a "Polar Bear Cam," but nothing can be seen right now, perhaps because it's dark. When you get there, just move your mouse around to explore the options.
Polar bears are threatened by global warming, and one of the exhibit's purposes is to educate its visitors about the problem.
I don't know whether Palin's show will have any polar bear footage. If it does, it's virtually certain that the bears' problems won't be attributed to global warning.
This post's photo is from an LA Times story about the exhibit's opening, here.
It has been on Amazon's Top 100 list for 14 days and is in 16th place, going down:
President Obama's book is also discounted 50%, but has been on the Top 100 list for 21 days and is in 17th place, going up:
Here are a few other differences between the books:
President Obama's book was written for kids and is Amazon's bestselling children's book.
The President's book has 4+ stars; Sarah Palin's has 3 stars.
The profits from Obama's book go to a scholarship fund for military children with a parent who has been killed or disabled; the profits from Palin's book go into her pockets.
Something the two books have in common is that deals for both of them were negotiated by D.C. attorney Robert Barnett. Barnett's work as "literary agent" to politicians was profiled in a Washington Post article, here.
But President Obama isn't touring his book; Palin is. The NY Times reported about Palin's visit to West Des Moines, Iowa, yesterday:
... [A]fter signing more than 500 books, Ms. Palin left her table to approach the stragglers who had been told they had arrived too late. With a beaming smile, she patiently signed more books and urged the crowd to watch her show the next night.Palin would like to string us along a while longer, but risks being left behind, like a coy girl whom a boy is feeling out about going to a dance. The Des Moines Register reported, in "Sarah Palin's 'star power' alone isn't enough," "While Palin has not given a time frame for her decision, Pawlenty and others have said they plan to announce their decisions in early 2011." The bestseller Game Change tells of what the candidates went through in Iowa, in 2008. Any of them that came close to winning there had to get organized and do a lot of work; two things Sarah Palin isn't famous for. You can read from the book, here, at Amazon. Try typing iowa into the search box.
And she sidestepped a question from a reporter about when she would decide to run. “Oh my goodness!” she said.
Then another person asked for her autograph. “Thanks for changing the subject for me,” she said.
America by Heart is being read and commented upon at The Mudflats. So far, four posts have been written. The first is here. Others can be found by typing america by heart into Mudflats' search box.
More information concerning the financials of President Obama's book can be read in Lynn Sweet's "Obama's Book for Kids, 'Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters,' Due in November" at Politics Daily.
Well! After years of throwing cans and reading Taco Bell wrappers, I'll have my ghostwriter show me some "comparison and contrast." Is this all it is?
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Here, we see Sarah Palin waving goodbye to the Republican nomination for President. It should come as a surprise to no one that she is happy to do so. Why? Because Sarah Palin isn't interested in government.
Last night, Judy Woodruff talked with Mark Shields, a syndicated columnist, and David Brooks, a New York Times columnist, on PBS' "News Hour" program. The conversation turned to Sarah Palin, and here is PBS' transcript of that portion of their discussion:
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, while we are talking about one man, one woman, David, Sarah Palin, she has -- not only has a new reality show out. She has a new book out. She is going to Iowa, I guess this weekend, and then again next week, important state for the presidential election.
What are we to make of where she is in the political firmament in the middle of all this?
DAVID BROOKS: Well, let's not forget "Dancing With the Stars" and Bristol's strong run there.
JUDY WOODRUFF: For sure.
DAVID BROOKS: Very impressive, I guess.
You know, the question with Palin has always been, is she on the government track or is she on the media track? Where is her career going? And, in the last six months, she's headed a little more toward the governing track, suggested a little more that she wants to run for president.
I still fundamentally think she's on the media track, wants to be a major media/political activist player, but will not run and will certainly not get the nomination. I base that on the fact that, to run for office, you have actually got to care about government, and those people don't quit the governorship in the middle of your first term.
Second, she couldn't even beat a write-in candidate in her own home state. She couldn't beat Lisa Murkowski. That doesn't suggest that she has tremendous political legs, even in her home -- own home state.
And, then, when you look at her statements, the tweets, all the stuff that comes out of camp Palin, it has to do with the media or her slashing back at the media for this or that insult, not so much about government. So, I still think she is mostly a media player.
JUDY WOODRUFF: More of a media track than a political track?
MARK SHIELDS: Well, she certainly is a dominant figure, I mean, make no mistake about it. I mean, you mentioned the media reality show, but she is a bestselling author. She is a dominant -- she dominates the debate.
I think it's fair to say, in the campaign of 2010, she was a major, major force in selecting and backing candidates. Yes, she -- the embarrassment in her home state, but, I mean, she really is the dominant female politician in the country and perhaps in the country's recent history, I mean, as a serious political -- presidential candidate.
She is liked by Republicans. The problem that she faces is that, when asked just before the election in the ABC News/Washington Post poll, do you think Sarah Palin, irrespective of how you feel toward her, is qualified to be president, only 27 percent of voters said yes, and 67 percent said no. And, most importantly of all, among independents, the swing group which they determined the last two elections, 23 percent thought she was qualified; 70 percent didn't.
That is what she has got to address, is that seriousness of purpose and sort of a mastery of the issues.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, David, when -- when she told Barbara Walters, I guess this week, that she thought she could beat President Obama two years from now, he was asked about that. And he said: I don't pay much attention to her.
He was pretty low-key, but he said he respects her political skills. Does it matter how much -- how he handles her right now?
DAVID BROOKS: Well, he -- they, of course, would love it if she got the Republican nomination.
I assume Republican primary voters can read the polls that Mark referenced. And, even if she did run, I still think, even among Republican primary voters, they would say, we like her, but we don't think she can win, and so we are not going to vote for her.
But I think Obama, the best thing for him is to have her trundle along there and maybe, if not win the nomination, control the Republican nomination, because, as Mark says, and as we saw in Delaware and Nevada and various other states, the sort of candidates she sponsors is not the kind that win over independents.
The consensus seems to be that Palin is on the media track, not the government track. David Brooks, a conservative, cites Palin's resignation of the governorship as evidence that she is not interested in government, and, I think, Palin's decision to appear in tabloids and on gossip shows confirms Brooks' view.
Video of the discussion, which touched on other subjects and lasted for more than twelve minutes, can be seen here.
For an article about what serious candidates have done in Iowa during previous campaigns, The Des Moines Register has an interesting article: "Political advisers: Sarah Palin's 'star power' alone isn't enough."
The bestseller Game Change described what candidates went through in Iowa, in 2008: it's a lot of work and requires a lot of organization; two things Sarah Palin isn't famous for. You can read from Game Change, here, at Amazon.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Oops, she did it again.
Sarah Palin made her latest verbal gaffe on Wednesday, claiming North Korea is one of America's allies on Glenn Beck's radio show when asked how she'd handle the recent escalation between the two Koreas.
"This speaks to a bigger picture here that certainly scares me in terms of our national security policy," the former vice presidential candidate said on Wednesday. "But obviously we've gotta stand with our North Korean allies."
The host corrected her. "South Korea," Beck said.
This gaffe should come as no surprise. The bestseller Game Change reported that Sarah Palin "couldn’t explain why North and South Korea were separate nations." Surely, after realizing that she didn't know the difference between the two countries, her staff would have tried to bring her up to speed. Wouldn't they? They tried and apparently succeeded: "Palin's horrified advisors provided her with scripted replies, which she memorized." Apparently, the information wasn't important enough, in Palin's view, to be filed away in long-term memory.
But why didn't Sarah Palin know what every reasonably well informed person with an interest in world affairs knows? The two Koreas have been front-page news for years; North Korea, especially, for its atomic program and missile tests. On the same page of Game Change, referring to her unpreparedness, Sarah Palin told her staff: "I wish I'd paid more attention to this stuff."
You can read page 397 of Game Change, here, at Amazon. When you're there, type horrified into the search box.
Sarah Palin obviously doesn't read. It isn't difficult to understand why Republicans have told her to sit down and shut up.
Sorry, Sarah. Americans know the presidency isn't a game show prize.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
ABC's story is here.
Oh! And she slams current First Lady, Michelle Obama, for taking an interest in children's nutrition! Imagine that. It didn't occur to me that Sarah has four feet. My mistake! I wish I'd paid more attention when she talked about being an animal. She says grizzly bear, but I'm not so sure about that ... .
You can read my post about Glenn Beck's game show, "BS Your Way to The Presidency," here.
Digby wrote: "If you have five minutes, take a few minutes to watch it all the way through if you haven't seen it in a while. The symbolism is amazing."
Oz Mudflats has "How A Real President Pardons A Turkey" (with video). During the ceremony, President Obama humorously mentions Dancing With the Stars.
Ken Tucker writes a column for Entertainment Weekly eponymously named "Ken Tucker's TV." Today he's got four things to be thankful about:
Taylor Swift: Speak Now, tonightThere are entertainment alternatives to the Palins.
A new Fringe episode, next Thursday
Dancing With the Stars is over!
A new Walking Dead on Sunday.
Shopping tomorrow? Check out Pulp History. One of the series' creators says:
“We definitely did not want to make history like spinach, good for you but boring. We wanted to do the stuff that wasn’t good for you, with good guys, bad guys, blood, guts and sex.”and
"You can't make this stuff up."The story's writer, Patricia Cohen, says, "They [the Talbots] are the mild-mannered creators of a new book series called “Pulp History,” rip-roaring nonfiction tales with enough purple prose, gory illustrations and va-va-va-voom women to lure in even reluctant teenage male readers.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
At one point, Palin laid the blame for the economy's problems on the Bushs, who, she said, had played a role in "the economic policies that were in place that got us into these economic woeful times." Even if she was only speaking of the first President Bush, he continued the policies of his predecessor, Ronald Reagan. Of course, the second George Bush continued those policies, too -- on steroids. Handed a budget surplus by his predecessor, Bill Clinton, the adminstration of the second Bush racked-up trillions of dollars in debt and was responsible for the near collapse of the economy in 2008.
Palin talked a lot. At one point, she complained that Republicans criticizing her are trying to thwart the will of the people. That's akin to her fallacious belief that anyone criticizing her is restricting her First Amendment rights. She complained that the First Lady's interest in nutrition amounts to telling the people what to eat. It is as though Palin is completely unaware that one of the hallmarks of leadership is setting an example and encouraging people to do the right thing.
If Ingraham is a Palin supporter, she may well regret this interview.
Politico's Ben Smith has a partial transcript and audio, here. CBS has a story, too, with audio.
Here is the interview:
After listening to Sarah Palin, it isn't difficult to understand why Republicans have told her to "sit down and shut up," and now we have the matriarch of the clan telling her to "stay in Alaska."
"I don't think about Sarah Palin. Obviously Sarah Palin has a strong base of support in the Republican Party and I respect those skills, But I spend most of my time right now on how I can be the best possible president. And my attitude has always been, from the day I started this job that if I do a good job and if I'm delivering for the American people the politics will take care of itself."
"A Barbara Walters Special: A Thanksgiving Visit with President and Mrs. Obama" will air at 10:00 PM ET, Friday, and takes place in the White House.
During an interview to be aired at 10:00 PM, December 9, on "Barbara Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People," Sarah Palin will say, "I believe so," when asked by Walters, "If you ran for President, could you beat President Obama?"
The post's photo came from CBS' Political Hotsheet.
Ronald Reagan became the host of "General Electric Theater" in 1953. The show made the already well-known Reagan, who had appeared in many films as a "second lead" throughout his career, wealthy, due to his part ownership of the show. After eight years as host, Reagan estimated he had visited 135 GE research and manufacturing facilities, and met over a quarter-million people. During that time he would also speak at other forums such as Rotary clubs and Moose lodges, presenting views on economic progress that in form and content were often similar to what he said in introductions, segues and closing comments on the show as a spokesman for GE. Reagan, who would later be known as "The Great Communicator" due to his oratorical prowess, often credited these engagements as helping him develop his public speaking abilities. [emphasis added]
Got that? Reagan did "introductions, segues and closing comments" for the show. He was the emcee, not the star of the show. He was off-camera and off-mic most of the time. The show was about the play, not about Ronald Reagan. Not only that, but Reagan credits his experience with improving his public speaking abilities. Did he say, "geez" and "flippin'" on the show, like Sarah Palin does on her show? No way! How would that have improved his public speaking abilities? Did Reagan use the program to showcase his family and lifestyle? Again, No!
And what about "Death Valley Days," which Reagan hosted from 1965 until he entered politics? He was the show's host and did much the same as he did on "General Electric Theater."
Try to see an episode of all three shows: "General Electric Theater," "Death Valley Days," and "Sarah Palin's Alaska," then explain how Sarah Palin is like Ronald Reagan.
Perhaps the reason for the ratings collapse of Palin's show is that the show should have been more about Alaska than about Sarah Palin.
Note: The second paragraph's description of Reagan's experience on "General Electric Theater" is taken from Wikipedia, here. Wikipedia's description of "Death Valley Days" can be read here. The post's photo comes from Wikipedia's entry for "General Electric Theater."
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
After setting a TLC ratings record last week, Sarah Palin's reality show plummeted for its second episode.
Sarah Palin's Alaska fell 40% on Sunday night to 3 million viewers.
Not many were in the key adult demo either. Only 885,000 viewers were ages 18-49, dropping 44% from last week.
In fact, the median age of the show is 57 -- that's 15 years older than TLC's average. ...Those ratings and demographics don't indicate that there is a lot of enthusiasm out there for Sarah Palin.
Don't be surprised if Sarah Palin's book, America by Heart, is a flop in comparison with Going Rogue.
By the way, TLC's record of about 5 million viewers for the first episode of Sarah Palin's Alaska was nothing in comparison with, oh, say, Dancing With the Stars. It has beaten the first episode of Sarah's show by a 4-to-1 margin, with about 20 million viewers.
When will Bristol be old enough to run? 2024? 2028?
Note: Hibberd's article mentions that the collapse in ratings of Palin's show may be due to competition with Sunday Night Football; however, Palin's show had to compete with Sunday Night Football in its first episode and it had two million more viewers! That spin apparently came from TLC executives, who, of course, are desperately grasping at straws in order to explain the ratings collapse. There is another reason for the ratings collapse.
Monday, November 22, 2010
The Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes writes The TV Column. This morning she wrote about the controversy over Bristol Palin's longevity on Dancing With the Stars, and she has a lot of comments from the show's executive producer, Conrad Green.
The NY Daily News has talked with a dietician about Bristol's weight gain on DWTS. Update: Gryphen has weighed in on this story with his experience as a personal trainer.
Life & Style Weekly quotes named sources on Willow Palin's 1:00 AM drug buy and underage drinking. Gryphen added his insight into the Palin family's problems here. Perez Hilton has posted a story, too.
I thought The Proposal, a 2009 movie with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, might afford people looking for Alaskan scenery an alternative to Sarah Palin's Alaska. Although most of the movie is set in and around Sitka, it was actually filmed in the Cape Ann area of Massachusetts, mostly in Rockport. There is some beautiful scenery in the movie, however. It is a romantic comedy and held my attention; it wasn't boring. The contrast between the New York office and the outdoors, wherever it was, was especially interesting.
This morning Mudflats posted "Voices from the Flats: This Movie Was Shot in Alaska." It is very informative and has an extensive list of films shot in Alaska. "The King (Salmon) is Dead. Long Live the Mine" mentions that the December issue of National Geographic is now online and links to a slideshow of Michael Melford's very beautiful photos of Alaska.
Update: I must have lucked-out or become wise before I'm old. I waited until 7:45 PST -- oops! 6:45 PST; I've retreated to an undisclosed location for the holidays and should reset my watch -- before tuning in to DWTS. Bristol started in a cage, and it was Mark Ballas who ended up in the cage! Freestyle. They received scores of 8, 9 and 8 for a total of 25; 52 out of 60 for the night. Apparently, they're going to dance again, tomorrow night? I don't regularly watch DWTS, so I am unfamiliar with the rules.
I must say that Bristol's size can depend on lighting and camera angle. Before she danced she expressed her feelings about the "haters"; obviously, Mama has schooled her on the sympathy vote. The camera panned to Sarah Palin -- in the audience, again. Jennifer and Derek are up next. Derek is very good; Jennifer not so good in comparison with Derek. The judges are more enthusiastic about their dance -- scores after the break -- it's 10, 10 and 10!
Yes, more dancing tomorrow. The leaderboard: Jennifer/Derek, 60/60; Kyle/Lacy (?), 56/60; Bristol/Mark, 52/60. Can "the people" save Bristol? Whatever the outcome, there is sure to be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Apparently they danced twice tonight, and in my "wisdom" I missed the first dance.
OMG! Skating With the Stars is on next! When will we see Sleeping With the Stars?
Update November 23: The Hollywood Gossip has a summary of what happened last night.
Here is last night's first dance:
Carrie Ann Inabe had a little criticism of the way Bristol pointed her toes, but then said she was more "vibrant." You have to watch the video and see her say that to understand what she means. The judges were all enthusiastic about the dance. Bristol and Mark got three nines.
I am not sure why the video embeds at 240p. After it starts, it can be changed to 480p for a clearer video (there is a widget to the left of the YouTube logo, on the control panel).
People magazine has a story with backstage comments from Carrie Ann Inabe and some of the other participants, here.
PopEater's Rob Shuter writes that Sarah Palin is lobbying the show's producers to have failed senate candidate Christine O'Donnell appear as a contestant on DWTS! "Christine is not a bad idea at all," one ABC executive tells me. "After Kate Gosselin and Cloris Leachman, O'Donnell would fit right in. She certainly would be so controversial that the amount of press attention and buzz the show would get would be huge. Plus, you know they would make her dance in a witch's hat with a broomstick." That's the way it is. Isn't life wonderful?
Those of use who work every day -- as linkers and linkees -- in the legally unsettled terrain of fair use watch cases like Gawker's posting of pages from Sarah Palin's book, and a judge's order that they take them down, with a great deal of interest.
[M]y initial, very strong, reaction is no, it’s not fair use.
There is actually a U.S. Supreme Court opinion remarkably close on the facts. In Harper & Row Publishers v. Nation Enterprises, 471 U.S. 539 (1985), the high court held that Nation magazine’s unauthorized advance publication of excerpts of Gerald Ford’s soon-to-be-released A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford, did not qualify as fair use.
In closing, Smith quoted Sandra Baron of the Media Law Resource Center. Smith wrote, quoting her, "It is a very troubling aspect of the case where in an instance where theoretically what they’re really seeking is to keep someone from eating their lunch, in fact what they’re getting is a pre-trial prior restraint," she said, suggesting that politicians or other figures could make similar arguments in trying to suppress stories. This seems to me to be a red herring: Palin v. Gawker is a copyright case, not a prior restraint case. If it were a prior restraint issue, the suit would have been brought before Gawker published.
Palingates did much what Gawker did. Why aren't they under the gun? Shallow pockets? Palin considers them to be useful idiots? Likely.
I know of at least one case in which one of this blog's posts was copied into the comments at Palingates in its entirety. That is clearly not fair use; it is theft.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Blue Water Comics' Female Force: Sarah Palin, Take 2, "focuses on Palin's life after the 2008 presidential elections. The book examines the reasons behind Palin's increasing celebrity, and the threat that she might pose to both Democrats and mainstream Republicans should she decide to run in 2012." Blue Water Comics' promo concludes with, "Both the Female Force and Political Power biography comic book series strive to present even-handed stories of prominent individuals responsible for shaping the political and cultural landscape," so I wouldn't expect the book to portray Palin any more violently -- heroically, if you prefer -- than she is portrayed on the book's cover.
Comic books -- graphic novels, if you prefer -- are thought by some (parental units) to be violent. But the "violence" of comic books is stylized violence, which some (vermin intellectuals, a.k.a. elites) call "aestheticized violence." Stylized violence is the heart and soul of Superhero comics. Superheroes survive villians' knockout, fatal blows and use their supernatural powers to defeat their adversaries. The books' theme is classic Good vs. Evil, at times drawn in graphic black and white.
Frank Miller's Sin City appeared about twenty years ago and was adapted to film in 2005. Many, if not all, of the characters are criminals and may not be, strictly speaking, superheroes, but they are able to survive incredible violence and come back for another beating, bullet or blade. There are "good" criminals; when everyone is a criminal, aren't there bound to be "good" and "bad" criminals? It's a black and white film, with a little color used to draw attention to a character in each of its many episodes: red in The Customer Is Always Right, blonde in The Hard Goodbye, ... . Excellent!
In the mid-eighties, Watchmen was written by Alan Moore, drawn by Dave Gibbons and colored by John Higgins. A film adaptation of Watchmen appeared in 2009. The film portrays Superheroes in several lights: flawed good-guys, vigilantes and has-beens. The film is set in the mid-eighties, when Nixon -- believe it or not! -- is in his fifth term. The Blu-ray set contains some extra clips with an interview in which the comparison of Superheroes with vigilantes is made explicit. Until seeing that particular interview, I had forgotten that the mid-eighties were a time when the "Subway Shooter" and "Guardian Angels" flourished. Another extra clip attempts to discourage kids from becoming a Superhero or pretending to be one.
But one teenage boy does decide to play Superhero. Mark Millar and John Romita created Kick-Ass in 2008, and it was adapted to film this year. The film's stars are "Big Daddy" (Nicolas Cage) and "Hit-Girl" (Chloe Moretz). Hit-Girl is a young femme fatale (she's eleven), and the film was criticized for her profanity and violence, but it is stylized violence (could anyone do and survive what she did?), so I have to give her (and the film) a "You go, girl!" rating. "Kick-Ass" (Aaron Johnson) is the boy who pretends to be a Superhero.
Kill Bill, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino of Pulp Fiction fame, didn't originate in comics, but is a wonderful revenge story in which "The Bride" (Uma Thurman) avenges a wedding massacre as she searches for "Bill" (David Carradine). One rather lengthy display of The Bride's martial arts prowess and sword-fighting skill culminates in a beautiful scene (the sword fight with "O-Ren Ishi" (Lucy Liu)) that looks as though it could have been filmed in a snow globe. In another scene, The Bride's family values become apparent as she and "Vernita Green" (Vivaca Fox) engage in a knife fight. And, in yet another scene, you can witness an assassin's compassion: Sent to kill The Bride, "Karen Kim" (Helen Kim) walks away during a tense standoff after she learns "The Bride" is pregnant. During the film, "Bill" reveals a great secret about Superheroes when he tells how Superman differs from other Superheroes. You'll have to watch the whole film to learn what that secret is.
So, I've given you some movie tips for the holidays. What are you going to do? Read Sarah Palin's new book or watch some kick-ass movies? All of these movies are ones I'll watch again.
I am indebted to 0>w/hole>1 for the busting-out-of-a-coffin insight and a correction concerning the number of terms Richard Nixon had served in 1985.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
After reading Robert Draper's profile of Sarah Palin that will run in the New York Times Magazine on Sunday -- the one in which she says "I am" thinking about running for president -- I remain convinced that she won't for three reasons.Capehart backs-up his reasoning very neatly, even devastatingly. See whether you don't agree by reading his post, Sarah Palin needs to 'man up' if she's going to run. Right now -- and probably up until the point of no return -- Palin is going to be "thinking" about running, because she is able to garner attention by being coy about her intentions.
First, the half-term governor is a whiner. ...
Second, to be blunt, if Palin is running for the nomination, she is half-assing it right now. ...
The third, and most important, reason why I think Palin won't run for president is because she is spectacular at being a star. ...
One afternoon in June 2009, Gov. Sarah Palin was sitting in the Washington office of her friend Fred Malek, whom she met through McCain during the 2008 campaign. She was listening to the former White House aide to Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford map out logical next steps to her political career. Focus on amassing a good record as governor, he advised her. Run for a second term. Develop some policy expertise. Do some extensive overseas travel. Generate some good will by campaigning for fellow Republicans.Weiner then cited an Anchorage Daily News article in which Palin complained about the debt that, she said, she incurred as a consequence of the ethics complaints against her.
Malek told me that he could tell that this wasn't what Palin wanted to hear. Here's the problem, she replied impatiently: I've got a long commute from my house to my office. I don't have the funds to pay for my family to travel with me, and the state won't pay for it, either. I can't afford to have security at my home -- anybody can come up to my door, and they do. Under the laws of Alaska, anybody can file suit or an ethics charge against me, and I have to defend it on my own. I'm going into debt.
But The Mudflats has some informative posts, on matters of ethics and expenses, which cut through Palin's feeble spin. On the idea that she resigned due to expenses associated with ethics complaints, see "Palin's Millions of Dollars," and "Palin's Millions - Take 2. A Closer Look." Those two articles, written in July of 2009, shortly after Palin quit her job, let the air out of the baloon that Palin tried to float about why she resigned. If she runs, her resignation will be a major issue, and she will try to claim, again, that she quit because the ethics complaints were costing the state of Alaska millions of dollars. They weren't. Sarah Palin quit because celebrity was more exciting (and more remunerative) than the hard work of trying to govern a state.
The complete NY Times article can be read by clicking the post's title. The Times' article is about much more than the ethics complaints' "expenses." For example, there is an amusing anecdote about how Sarah "Just Ask My Mom" Palin became testy when the article's author asked her about the books she had been reading. The article's author spoke with Palin for an hour, by telephone.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monsters and Critics called last night's first dance a "raunchy Pasodoble," and noted that afterward Judge Carrie Ann Inabe hugged Bristol and told her she had "nailed it." Ms Inabe's explanation for Bristol's success, before last night's episode, can be viewed at People.
In a remark that may explain the outcome of the recent midterm election, The TV Column states:
What if Bristol wins? This question was just a laugh line until last week when she made it to the semi-finals. If the very thought seems an outrage, Green [DWTS' Executive Producer] offers an outlet: "It's a very simple solution: Mobilize to vote for someone else." Green said he's been astonished when he's encountered people angry about seeing so much of the Palins on this edition of the show, "and I ask who they voted for and they say, 'No one'."Anyway, The TV Column reminds us, "Tuesday night, viewers will find out if Bristol is going to make it to next week's final round; the winner of the coveted yet hideous Mirror Ball Trophy will be announced next Tuesday."
Update: November 16, 2010: CBS News reports that Bristol is going to the finals on DWTS,
Update: November 17, 2010: The Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes has new comments, here. Her post includes news of the man who shot his TV after learning that Bristol had made it to the finals!
Monday, November 15, 2010
Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski Tells Katie Couric: Sarah Palin lacks 'leadership qualities' and 'intelluctual curiosity'
From CBS News: Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowki told CBS News' Katie Couric today that she would not support Sarah Palin for president because Palin lacks the "leadership qualities" and "intellectual curiosity" to craft great policy."You know, she was my governor for two years, for just about two years there, and I don't think that she enjoyed governing," Murkowski said. "I don't think she liked to get down into the policy." The Alaska senator added that she prefers a candidate who "goes to bed at night and wakes up in the morning thinking about how we're going to deal with" important issues.
There are additional segments from the interview, at the CBS News link, above.
Senator Murkowski has gone even further than those who won't say that Palin is qualified to be President; she has flatly said that she would not support a Palin candidacy. What the Senator says about Palin's lack of interest in governing is true. If Palin were interested in anything more than the ceremonial duties of office, she would work to find solutions to the country's problems rather than continually sniping at President Obama in her quest for attention, and she would not have quit on the people of Alaska when the going got tough.
The Washington Post's Alexandra Petri may have written the best review of Sarah Palin's Alaska. It begins:
If real life were like this, to paraphrase a member of the Palin clan, I would be outside 24/7 eating popcorn on a chair. But instead, I'm inside watching "Sarah Palin's Alaska" on TLC. In escalating order, here are the top moments of last night's episode. I would say "I watch so you don't have to," but, actually, I urge you to watch. It's better than Dancing With the Stars!
Ms Petri definitiely has some insights to offer. My favorite was her description of Sarah the hairless bear. At the end of her list of the show's high points, she closes with:
Before watching this, I would have likened Palin, the outdoorsy, folksy, big-stick-totin' country gal, to Teddy Roosevelt. But after watching her climb, I'd say she's more like Franklin.
"How do we get down?" she asks at the end. I hope the entire second episode is just her attempting to get down! If so, it will be riveting television!
Regardless, I can't wait. As Sarah says, " I don't think that I have been that scared or that challenged in a long time."
You can watch "The Five Most Ridiculous Moments from the Sarah Palin's Alaska Premiere" here.
After watching that, how can Palin's fans continue to call her "Madame President?" Karl Rove appears to have been prescient when he said, last month, “With all due candour, appearing on your own reality show on the Discovery Channel, I am not certain how that fits in the American calculus of 'that helps me see you in the Oval Office’.”
And, from ABC's The Note, quoting a New Yorker article about the show: “Why she [Palin] thought that [a reality show] was a good idea, considering that she complained regularly about the media’s intrusion into her family life when she was John McCain’s running mate in 2008 (while, at the same time, frequently putting her children on display), is a mystery,” Nancy Franklin wrote in the New Yorker. “Moreover, you might ask, how seriously will people take her as a political candidate – a Presidential candidate – once she has participated in a reality show?”
I might add that most voters expect candidates to have a much larger vocabulary than "flippin'" and "geez."
The post's photo came from a Mail Online article about the show. Sarah doesn't really mush dogs, but it isn't a bad photo.
Update: Apparently Sarah's Fox News colleagues got a few chuckles out of the show:
Update: The Washington Post's TV Column has ratings. It may have been a big night for TLC, but some other shows did much better ... Family Guy and more ...
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Caffeinated Thoughts -- an excellent name for a pro-Palin blog -- has the rules for Sarah Palin's book signing in Des Moines, Iowa on November 27th:
- She will be only signing America By Heart, not [sic] other memorabilia will be allowed.
- Books must be purchased at the West Des Moines Borders and you must provide proof of purchase.
- There will be a limited number of wristbands (he [a Borders assistant manager] didn’t say when they’ll start giving those out). Only one wristband per person, and only two books per person. During the Going Rogue tour they typically gave out anywhere between 500-1000 wristbands.
- No cameras, phones with a camera, recording devices, video cameras, etc. will be allowed. Please leave those in your car or at the security check point.
- A wristband will guarantee your place in line, but it will not guarantee that you will get to meet Governor Palin (circumstances may not permit everyone in line to be able to get through).
Philly.com has "Sideshow: Bristol Palin: A klutz to the judges, a dancing dream to 'the people'" It begins:
Is it . . . a plot? As Jimmy Kimmel put it: "Is there a tea party conspiracy?"And ends:
Or is it a collusion of like-minded people across this land, hurling buttered monkey wrenches into the works and sitting back for a laugh?
To the last question, we answer: Of course! D'oh. How else could Bristol Palin still be on Dancing With the Stars? ...
There's a long history of the least talented being favored on these reality-contest shows. Anyone remember Sanjaya Malakar, the ponyhawked, talently challenged random who got to 7th place in Season 6 of American Idol? The judges hated him; the people voted, and he stayed. In Season 8 of DWTS, Lil' Kim (a pro, OK?) got booted, and rodeo who? Ty Murray stayed because his unknown fan base clogged the phone lines. ...Bristol has reached DWTS' semi-finals, and Kelly Osbourne thinks she could win!
... Have fun, that's what we at "SideShow" say. It's the massed cussedness of tens of millions of TV-addicted young folks who like to stir it up. It's like spooning sugar in your enemy's gas tank. Or calling in a fake bomb threat to your high school. It's merry destruction, having a good old time with a dumb old show.
During troubling times great leaders stand up and explain things to the people in an address to the nation. Carrie Ann Inaba, a Dancing With the Stars judge, told People Magazine, "She might be in our finals. Wow." There is video of what Inaba told People, here, and, although she delivered her remarks while seated, her explanation of Bristol's success is worth considering.
Finally, Tina Fey has won the Mark Twain Prize For American Humor. When she received the award at Kennedy Center, she thanked -- who else? -- Sarah Palin. Did you know that "John McCain has a picture of Tina in his office and had been getting ideas long before he picked the former Alaska governor as his running mate?" The ceremony was taped and may be seen on your PBS station. Sunday night? Check your listings.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Senator Collins was interviewed by Maine's Kennebec Journal. The paper's report of their conversation about Palin was:
As we [The Kennebec Journal and Senator Collins] discussed the election returns, Collins was critical of Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for backing Tea Party losers in Nevada and Delaware. By taking that action, “they cost us two seats we could have won,” she said.Senator Collins echoed Representative Bachus' recent comment about Sarah Palin's role in the recent midterm election:
Collins said Palin will be weakened if Sen. Lisa Murkowski wins her write-in campaign for re-election in Alaska. Election officials say enough write-in votes were cast that Murkowski could be the winner.
Palin — who has a long family grudge against Murkowski — supported Tea Party candidate Joe Miller, who won the Republican primary.
Collins does not expect Palin to run for president.
“I think she likes being a celebrity commentator for Fox and a speaker and being able to provide for her family,” Collins said. “I think that life appeals to her. It’s a lot easier to charge people up than to actually govern.”
“The Senate would be Republican today except for states (in which Palin endorsed candidates) like Christine O’Donnell in Delaware,” Bachus said. “Sarah Palin cost us control of the Senate.”It looks as though Republican knives are out for Sarah Palin.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
... In a post on her Facebook page Monday, Ms. Palin threw a sarcasm-laced jab at a Wall Street Journal writer who had criticized a statement she made about the rising price of groceries. The writer had accused her of “inflation hyperbole” on the Journal’s website. ...
... [S]he noted the irony that perhaps the Wall Street Journal writer criticizing her had not, in fact, read the Wall Street Journal.
“Now I realize I’m just a former governor and current housewife from Alaska, but even humble folks like me can read the newspaper,” she wrote on Facebook. “The newspaper. I’m surprised a prestigious reporter for the Wall Street Journal doesn’t.”
But it's very likely that Palin still isn't reading newspapers. Another article from the NY Times, which was written with the assistance of Palin's spokesperson Meg Stapleton, last February, noted:
She [Palin] reads daily e-mail briefings on domestic and foreign policy from a small group of advisers who remained loyal after her tumultuous vice presidential campaign in 2008.
The Wall Street Journal's account of Palin's dust-up with the paper is here.
Today, The WSJ's MarketBeat column continued the paper's interest in Palin with "Sarah Palin: Monetary Policy Wonk." The article ended, after noting how Palin is abusing the truth about what Ronald Reagan said about inflation, "If you’re gung-ho on the prospect of Madame President Palin, that’s great. Just be careful about taking investment advice from her."
Now, Gawker has confirmed what we already know: "Sarah Palin Still Can't Read or Understand a Newspaper."
There is another challenger to sure-thing Republican nominee Sarah Palin. The NY Daily News reported:
Former [New York] Gov. George Pataki hinted at a possible presidential run on Monday, noting his mayoral credentials were a lot more impressive than potential rival Sarah Palin's.
Pataki joked that Palin's former job as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, was nothing compared with his one-time job as mayor of Peekskill in Westchester County.
"It was a challenging job, mayor of Peekskill, let me assure you," Pataki said during an interview on ABC News' "Top Line."
"Twice the size of Wasilla."
Pataki also managed to complete his governorship without resigning.
Bristol Palin's False Steps considers Bristol's longevity on Dancing With the Stars. Last night, Bristol made a move that judge Bruno Tonioli called “the Pencil Sharpener.”
Updated November 10: Bristol not only survived another week, she has made it to the DWTS semi-finals! CBS Predictions isn't giving her much chance of success, however:
Despite receiving the lowest scores after Monday night's performance, Bristol Palin and her dance partner Mark Ballas have made it to the semi-finals of "Dancing with the Stars." Former football star Kurt Warner was sent home on Tuesday.
Bristol's continued success in not getting voted off the "DWTS" island is due in part to fans of her mother, Sarah Palin.
She certainly hasn't wowed the judges, typically receiving among the lowest scores from the judges throughout the competition. The judges try to be kind and offer some compliments, but it is faint praise. "It's so important getting those heels and toes right. And by and large, Bristol always does that," judge Len Goodman told Bristol on Monday night's show.Odds are that Bristol will not win. Even if she won the phone-in vote, the judges would have a major issue giving her the trophy versus Jennifer Grey or Brandy, both of whom outshine the 20-year-old teen advocate by a wide margin on the dance floor. Whatever the outcome, Bristol challenged herself on a national stage, made some good money and provided another outlet for the Palin media machine. ...
Don't you worry, Bristol. Enjoy laughing on your way to the bank.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Conservatives talked a lot about Ronald Reagan this year, but they have to take him more to heart, because his example here is a guide. All this seemed lost last week on Sarah Palin, who called him, on Fox, “an actor.” She was defending her form of political celebrity—reality show, “Dancing With the Stars,” etc. This is how she did it: “Wasn’t Ronald Reagan an actor? Wasn’t he in ‘Bedtime for Bonzo,’ Bozo, something? Ronald Reagan was an actor.”Peggy Noonan makes her point very clearly, just as she did last year when she wrote that Sarah Palin was "out of her depth in a shallow pool." The "empty or crazy" people she refers to must be characters like Joe Miller, Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell, all of whom were rejected by the voters.
Excuse me, but this was ignorant even for Mrs. Palin. Reagan people quietly flipped their lids, but I’ll voice their consternation to make a larger point. Ronald Reagan was an artist who willed himself into leadership as president of a major American labor union (Screen Actors Guild, seven terms, 1947-59.) He led that union successfully through major upheavals (the Hollywood communist wars, labor-management struggles); discovered and honed his ability to speak persuasively by talking to workers on the line at General Electric for eight years; was elected to and completed two full terms as governor of California; challenged and almost unseated an incumbent president of his own party; and went on to popularize modern conservative political philosophy without the help of a conservative infrastructure. Then he was elected president.
The point is not “He was a great man and you are a nincompoop,” though that is true. The point is that Reagan’s career is a guide, not only for the tea party but for all in politics. He brought his fully mature, fully seasoned self into politics with him. He wasn’t in search of a life when he ran for office, and he wasn’t in search of fame; he’d already lived a life, he was already well known, he’d accomplished things in the world.
Here is an old tradition badly in need of return: You have to earn your way into politics. You should go have a life, build a string of accomplishments, then enter public service. And you need actual talent: You have to be able to bring people in and along. You can’t just bully them, you can’t just assert and taunt, you have to be able to persuade.
Americans don’t want, as their representatives, people who seem empty or crazy. They’ll vote no on that.
It’s not just the message, it’s the messenger.
Although we may not agree that Ronald Reagan was a great man, we can understand how Noonan does think so and is incensed that an upstart like Palin would trivialize Reagan by claiming to be like him.
Noonan's "Americans Vote for Maturity" can be read in its entirety here. Her "A Farewell to Harms," written shortly after Palin quit the governorship of Alaska, can be read here.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
But it is a movie. In reality we have an incident with Sarah Palin that illustrates how she cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons. The NY Daily News reported:
Blame it on the Blackberry.She is attributing her "mistake" to "technology mismanagement." It was an "accident."
After being slammed for appearing to list a controversial tweet from Ann Coulter's as a "favorite" on her Twitter account, Sarah Palin defended herself Friday by saying she didn't even know how to tag Twitter posts.
On her account, Palin had appeared to list a Coulter tweet with a photograph of a sign outside of a church that said "The blood of Jesus against Obama history made 4 Nov 2008 a Taliban Muslim illegally elected president USA: Hussein."
Palin, however, said it was simply a case of technology mismanagement.
"I've never purposefully 'favorited' any Tweet," Palin wrote in an email to an ABC reporter on Friday. "I had to go back to my BlackBerry to even see if such a function was possible."
And even if she did know how to tag a favorite tweet, she said she had been traveling that day anyway.
"I was traveling to Alaska that day ... it was an obvious accidental 'favoriting,'" she argued.
Do you want Sarah Palin's thumb on the nuclear button?
Friday, November 5, 2010
“The people who got slapped the hardest in this election — besides Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama — are Jim DeMint and Sarah Palin,” he said. “Jim DeMint and Sarah Palin are responsible for the fact that the Senate did not go Republican. They’re the ones who are responsible for Christine O’Donnell. They’re the ones who are responsible for Joe Miller in Alaska. They’re the ones who are responsible for Ken Buck in Colorado. They’re the ones who are responsible for Sharron Angle in Nevada.”
Kondracke called Miller, O'Donnell, Buck and Angle "characters." And for the coup de grâce, Politico reported that Kondracke said of the Palin's prospects for becoming the Republicans' nominee in 2012:
"She's a joke even within her own party," Kondracke said. "The idea that she would be the presidential nominee is unthinkable."
Here is the C-SPAN video of Kondracke's remarks: