Not-So-Slacker Friday


We've got a new Think Again column here called "The Return of the Cold War Punditocracy," dealing with purposely hyped and simplistic chest-beating over Georgia and Russia.

This just in: A Denver Post gossip columnist writes here:


Bruce Springsteen will perform at the Super Bowl next year -- and here's saying (again) that he'll perform at Invesco Field at Mile High after Barack Obama's speech next Thursday. Insiders who would know say it's a 95 percent sure thing. The night will open with two or three top acts preceding Obama.

(I think the Super Bowl report was shot down, however, so... but seriously. I'm fine, naturally, with Bruce ending the convention, but if I were in charge, I'd bring up Bob Seger and have them duet on Get Out of Denver ["You look just like a commie and you might jes' be a member..."].)

On another plane entirely, I'll be doing a book-signing of Why We're Liberals at the Denver Convention Center, which I'm told will be across from the main merchandise center on Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. Should be standing room only ...

And will be on a panel following this:

Impact Film Festival- Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story
Impact Film Fund
Starz FilmCenter
12:30 PM - 2:30 PM 202.758.3977 RSVP
Delegates Only
Open to Media: Yes

George Zornick writes:

David Perel, editor of the National Enquirer, has a gloating piece up at Huffington Post, claiming that his paper's scoop of the John Edwards story is a "watershed moment," as the power shifts from the "corporate media" to the "populist medium," which apparently he thinks now includes the Enquirer. (Note, the National Enquirer is published by American Media Incorportated, which has yearly revenues in the $450 million range).

We've pointed out before all the problems with even the paper's John Edwards story, and over at County Fair, a new blog from Eric Boehlert and Jamison Foser, Boehlert reminds us that the Enquirer's scoop on Edwards is a broken-clock-right-once-in-a-while kinda thing. Just earlier this month, the paper "quietly settled a lawsuit filed by a Cape Cod woman who claimed the Enquirer published false and defamatory stories about her supposed 'love child' with Senator Ted Kennedy." And that's not to mention this, this, or this, to name a few.

Hannity Insanity: Sorry, the guy is losing it. From last night's show:

On the Obama ads, attacking McCain for forgetting how many houses he owns: "What's more important: the number of buildings that Cindy McCain owns, or the number of buildings that Barack Obama's friend blew up?"

And this: "So [Obama] does support infanticide. Is that a fair assessment?"

To be clear, these are not things he said on AM radio, but with a straight face, on his prime-time show, on a cable news network with soaring national ratings.

Hear any more? Drop them in the correspondence box ...

But one more thing: This Peretz fellow. Can anyone tell me just what the f**k this lunatic is saying here? I know Samantha Power appears to suck, but why, exactly? And aid workers also apparently suck, but again, why? And Jews are wonderful, I know, and I suppose I agree, but in this context, why exactly? Anyone? Are the fillings in his teeth mistranslating, perhaps?

Slacker Friday:

Name: Charles Pierce
Hometown: Newton, MA

Hey Doc:

"The girl I used to love/Lives in this yellow house/Yesterday she passed me by/She doesn't want to know me now"

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "Feets Too Big" (The Tinmen) -- This week, once again, I failed to choose someone who, if I should fall, would carry on the work of telling the galaxies beyond how much I love New Orleans.

Part The First: I fear that it's not so much that Rachel Maddow is a liberal that has people in such a swivet, or the fact that she is an empowered gay lesbian woman. It is that she's got everybody who hosts one of these programs -- to say nothing of most media critics and all of the Marty Peretz Junior Explorers Troop -- by about 25 IQ points, easily. That also may be the greatest barrier to her success in the field of newsotainment television. And, please, Rachel, do not bring that Kent Jones guy to my teevee. He is Not Funny in a very big way.

Part The Second: Bad week for Jeff Jarvis to argue against editors since, in many places, that seems to involve speaking ill of the dead. The Plague seems to have hit hard The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. Remember, when you read this tripe, that at least one highly paid suit has to approve the thing before it is unleashed on unsuspecting English speakers. Of course, it is a hopeful sign to discover that even meatheads have their fanboys. Tell you what, Peg O'My Heart, Dolphin Queen Of The Cass Corridor, I'll meet you here or a couple of cold ones next week. We'll toss the kid from TNR a few bucks to go to the movies or something.

Part The Third: Big ups to these guys for covering the great uncovered story of the Olympics. Keeth Smart's rally to upset the Russian sabre team -- and the great Stanislav Pozdnyakov -- was, outside of that great men's swimming relay, the most exciting moment of the Games.

Part The Fourth: This one's going to leave a mark. It should kick off a big fight in Denver, but it won't.

Part The Last: I have two favorite stories this week that give me hope for America. This is one of them, and this is the other. I think the we're all in for a great couple decades in American furniture and gazebos.

I feel very safe in saying that at least 60 percent of the people who will appear on your television sets over the next two weeks to tell you about what's going on at the two quadrennial goat-ropings will not be any more worth listening to than the guy on the corner who yells about the space aliens. (If we're just talking about the lineup at the podium in St. Paul, I'm willing to push that number to 80 percent.) This is not necessarily a bad thing, because the conventions are really all about them anyway. These things are made-for-television extravaganzas anyway, and I guarantee you that a huge portion of the actual conversation will be television stars talking about television, television stars talking about other television stars, politicians talking to television stars, television stars talking about how politicians did in talking to other television stars, and politicians talking to television stars about other politicians and what they said to other television stars about other politicians.

Barack Obama's acceptance speech will be wildly received and endlessly criticized because he gave it on a football field.

The Republican convention will be brought to you by the number 72 and the letters P, O and W, in that order.

For a week, people once again pretend that Willamette Romney is not an android.

Oh, and Jeannie Moos will not be funny.

Pass it on.

Name: Brian Kresge (Army Sergeant)
Hometown: Lancaster, PA

I was glad to read Spencer Ackerman's piece on the whole TNR/Beauchamp mishegas. I will freely admit that while I found some of his writing to be incredible, there was a good deal of it that rang true after 15 years of being a grunt, especially the kind of gallows humor he imparted about burn victims and skull fragments. And truthfully, how much does the setting of the jokes about the Crypt Keeper really matter? Wasn't the insensitivity the key point?

Those in the know with regards to the service will understand that when the military itself commends a troop's service in spite of a controversy that held bad PR for them, it says something about his personal integrity. I don't know that TNR owes Beauchamp an apology, but it would be meaningful if they published some kind of acknowledgment of his credibility. Best of luck to him in Iraq, maybe we'll see each other.

Name: Becky Martz
Hometown: Cambridge, MA

Eric & George,

While drinking my morning coffee and reading things online I stumbled on this. On the bright side, it would be an incentive for people not to bring their cars into Manhattan ...

Name: Debra
Hometown: Chapel Hill

Dudes, the real message of the McCain house meme is that McCain doesn't own any houses -- his trophy wife does. He's a kept man who is completely dependent for his political career and general upkeep on his rodeo queen/beer distributor heiress wife (with whom he cheated on his first wife after she was badly disfigured and disabled in an auto accident while he was in 'Nam). Now, I ask you, how manly is that?

Name: Mrs. Tarquin Biscuitbarrel
Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Dr. A --

I'm not sure that John McCain really sees the implications that follow venturing into Too Much Informationland (Female Division) when he insists that "life begins at conception." Roughly one in five fertilized eggs do not implant in the endometrium, and are lost during menstruation. Presumably, this would not be considered an "abortion," since presumably, the expulsion of the little critter was not induced intentionally.

But in the current batsh*t-crazy obsession with women's sexual/reproductive activity, how do we know for sure that a girl or woman is simply menstruating, and that she didn't do anything to bring it on? (As it were.)

And how do we prove it? I am morally certain that there are some folks that would love to make every female prove, by display of certain material, that we didn't jettison any fertilized eggs in our usual unconscious and discreet ways.

But I really don't think we should go there. Even my husband of twentysomething years has never seen my endometrium.

Eric replies: Really?

Name: Jason Boskey
Hometown: Blairsville, GA

Stephen Hirsch uses Kristolian like facts in order to support football over baseball.

While the conclusion to the debate is irrelevant to me, facts are relevant.

A 90 mile an hour fastball spends about .44 seconds in the air. Based upon a typical 5-4 game, 300 pitches are thrown and 50 balls were put in play. If you assume that each of the 50 balls is in play for 5 seconds (conservative in my opinion) then the ball is in play for 6 minutes, 22 seconds per game or 17 hours per season per team.

In football, since much of the time when the clock is running, a play is not being run, and the NFL network purports to being able to show a full game in 1/2 hour by just showing the action, it is a reasonable assumption to believe that the ball is in play for 8 hours per season per team.

Name: Brian P. Evans
Hometown: San Diego, CA

Stephen Zeoli worries about the instant replay. The problem isn't that it exists but rather how it is used.

Look to tennis for how to use instant replay. For the major tournaments, there are judges who look to see if the ball is out and if a player thinks the wrong call is made, they look to the instant replay to see if it was done.

For the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and US Open, they've got computer-based cameras that can track the ball and tell you if it was in or out. The result is so quick that they actually have to slow it down in order to introduce drama into the outcome of a challenge.

At the French, it's even more basic: They play in the dirt. The ball leaves a mark. If there's a question about where the ball landed, the chair comes down and takes a look. Half the time the player will do the Telestrator for you and use his racquet to draw a circle around it so there's no mistake.

Does this switch the focus to the linesmen? Only when they keep getting the call wrong. When the replay is shown to the crowd, immediately, with a single judgement to be made, then the replay is part of the game.

They make similar equipment for baseball to determine balls and strikes. The umpire's union has fought tooth and nail against its introduction.

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