Friday, June 27, 2008

The TR: Guns, Geopolitics and George

Brace yourselves, folks — the conservatives have taken over this week’s news cycle. Of course, it’s all bad news, but maybe the only way to make history is to really screw it up.

Forecast

Lock and load. Now that the Supremes have struck down D.C.’s anti-handgun law, we’ve converted a supply closet to an armory here at TR Central. We haven’t yet stocked it with anything more potent than old coffee grounds, but give us time. In a year of liberal ascendance, this huge red-meat victory for conservatives must truly be a salve. The NRA struck swiftly while the iron was hot by challenging Chicago’s handgun ban, and more such challenges are on the way.

According to dyspeptic conservatives, Nancy Pelosi may seek to resurrect the Fairness Doctrine and its equal-time provisions. We’re skeptical that this kind of management of the public airwaves will make much of a difference in the age of new media. But we’re entirely in favor of fairness, a principle that’s the Queen’s solemn responsibility to uphold (as her beloved sons regularly remind her). Watch for conservatives to push hard next week for a floor vote on the Broadcaster Freedom Act, which would bar future presidents from bringing the FD back.

John McCain embarks on a stature-enhancing ten-day trip across Latin America next week — no doubt to dedicate memorials to governments the CIA has overthrown. McCain’s campaigns abroad may make him look presidential, but they leave Obama free to chip away at his turf here at home.

If you’re a Zimbabwean traveling abroad, don’t forget to drop your absentee ballot in the mail today. Your choices: Mugabe, Mugabe or Mugabe. We urge you to think twice about voting for him though, seeing as how he imprisons and kills his political opponents and has plunged the nation into misery, poverty and disarray. Wait a sec... if you’re Zimbabwean, you’re probably not vacationing here in the U.S. , since one billion Zimbabwean dollars equal one cent. Expect outrage over Robby Mugabe’s “triumphant win” throughout the week to come.

Finally, TR Central forecasts that the world will feel different as we head to our offices on Monday morning. Why? Because Bill Gates steps away from Microsoft this weekend, ending more than 30 years of heavy-handed empire building that reached deep into our computers and our lives. Don't be a stranger, Bill. We'll always have some affection for despots who really meant well.

The Week That Was

A huge breakthrough in diplomacy this week as the US lifts sanctions on North Korea and takes its name off the list of state sponsors of terrorism in exchange for the North Koreans disclosing their nuclear activities. This smacks of legacy-anxiety on the part of the Bushie State Department. Is this the beginning of the end for Axis of Evil politics?

If so, what does it mean for “Perilous Times McCain”? There’s nothing like peace to get in the way of a good scare campaign, especially when your top advisor’s formula for victory involves a terrorist attack. So… an Obama win would embolden terrorists, but a terrorist strike would embolden McCain’s campaign? Hey, Johnny Boy, how about we let Obama become president this time, provoking the bad guys to action and leaving you sitting pretty for 2012? That’d work for us.

Did you think immigration policy is not a big deal to voters in non-border states like Utah? Noooot. The people of Utah ’s 3rd District, who may never have seen an immigrant in three dimensions, just tossed out ultra-conservative Congressman Chris Cannon (American Conservative Union score: 96) for being soft on immigration. Score one for the red netroots.

According to Andrew Tyndall, most Americans are getting about two minutes of Iraq war coverage per major network per week. That’s less than one episode of Dancing with the Stars if it were aired over a period of six months. The TR brain trust wonders if, perhaps in the middle of this gross neglect, there might be some silver lining here for Obama’s campaign. After all, if the public is not reminded to focus on the war, then they can dwell on our troubles on the home front where McCain’s phantom positions have turned off liberals and hardened conservatives alike.

Move America Forward dared us to not support the troops during their online telethon, From the Front Lines (which, in true chicken-hawk fashion, meant the front lines of Mountain View, California). Our own Culture Minister had a flash of insight about why no liberals were present at the "star-studded" event: too much like those awkward Sunday dinners at her parents’ house, surrounded by a family of staunch conservatives who aim one-liners about "liberal blather" and "lack of patriotism" between requests for biscuits.

We started off the week by trying to say goodbye to the least sentimental among us. What was great about George Carlin’s scorched earth comedy was how it only got angrier and darker as the country got progressively more apathetic towards its decline. A lot of vintage TR snark derived from Carlin plumbing the irrelevant and finding items that were equal parts ridiculous and disturbing. We’ll be spinning our copy of AM/FM by the pool this weekend.

Scorecard

The TR wasn’t even cool off the presses last week before Obama announced that he’d cover the backs of Congress on the FISA bill. While that move has slightly tarnished his near-pristine rep with the netroots, a larger picture is emerging from this whole ordeal. If O is the next Commander in Chief, he’s going to need a bolder Congress than the one he was elected to.

We end this week, however, feeling some optimism about the state of our democracy, thanks to the afterglow of our participation in the sizzling Personal Democracy Forum in New York. From Obama campaign directors to Craig Newmark to Lawrence Lessig, there were all sorts of bigwigs there, but the only one we were interested in getting close to was Obama Girl. But lest you think the PDF left us snark-less, here’re some additional comments: “We Are Way Beyond Celebrating Citizen Journalists.”

Have a great weekend.

Monday, June 23, 2008

We Are Way Beyond Celebrating Citizen Journalists

When I studied the program for the Personal Democracy Forum 2008, I was thrilled to see, for the first time ever, luminaries from both the media and advocacy world sharing the spotlight. That people like Jay Rosen and Jeff Jarvis would appear on the same program as Liza Sabater and Alan Rosenblatt signaled to me that the two worlds of media and advocacy are truly converging -- great news for our democracy. Today was the first day of the two-day event, and to my dismay, the media crowd seemed to be stuck in 2005, when thumbing one's nose at the MSM and celebrating the rise of bloggers and "citizen journalists" was the order of the day. Why would they think these ideas add anything new to the conversation at a conference that has grown to such prominence precisely because of these developments?

Hasn't the media conversation moved way past defending citizen journalists, or even celebrating them? Haven't we finally made peace with mainstream media and accepted our dependence on their role in collecting news and driving the national conversation? Isn't it time to turn our attentions to how we can fill the gaping holes of information that yet grow bigger as newsrooms cut staff -- gaping holes that, like the hole in the ozone layer, have consequences as dire for our democracy as the loss of ozone has for our earth?

When I left the media-technology world and joined the advocacy world in late 2006, I was eager to see how people and organizations that spend their days working to make the world a better place would use the power of the Internet to advance their work. It was clear to me that as the definition of "journalism" evolved and expanded to include independent voices outside mainstream media, the center of information must eventually shift to this world. Newsrooms are increasingly unable or unwilling to fund reporting around more expertise-dependent, specialized news (like science, or human rights or even workplace laws) that are critical to a well-informed democratic society. Meanwhile, advocacy organizations are home to issue experts who should be the obvious natural heirs to the endangered species of beat journalists.

From the advocacy world, we see true thought leaders encouraging advocacy organizations to speak up, to take their place in the pantheon of content producers that provide the information needed to nourish our political system. From the media side, however, putative thought leaders are either patronizing in how they think the advocacy world just doesn't get We Media yet, or are happy to dwell on the tired ideas on which they made their names whenever they think they've found a new audience who hasn't yet heard their spiel. Instead of celebrating the Mayhill Fowlers of this election, positive but these days hardly unusual signals of the health of citizen journalism, it's time for media thought leaders to truly look forward and lead our thinking. At a forum like PDF, it means recognizing and encouraging those who can speak in depth about issues like health care, the environment and the Middle East, who hold the keys to the knowledge our democracy depends on. It's time for media thought leaders to survey the information landscape and do their part in awakening the voices we really need.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The TR: No-Bid Contracts, No-Public-Financing Candidates, and No-Protection Teens

The Queen has temporarily escaped the D.C. humidity and freak sun-showers, but there's no time-out for the TR! Worry not, dear readers: Sit back, relax, and imagine you're on the beach. Ah, feel that breeze? Smell that snark?

Forecast

It's Oldies Weekend at TR Central. If you recall the controversial no-bid contracts doled out to Western companies in Iraq post-invasion, this headline will sound familiar: "Deals With Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back." More than three decades after being banished by Saddam, eastern oil companies are poised to win no-bid oil contracts to service Iraq's largest oil fields. Of course, some cranky and bitter cynics say this is the real reason we went to war. Fire up your search engines - the story will be everywhere by early next week.

With House Dems caving on amnesty for the telecomsthat aid domestic spying, ACLU-types are fit to be tied. But what makes this a Forecast item are the netroots' war criesin response. Our dusted-off crystal ball sees Internet-charged primary challenges for the Blue Dogs in Congress.

Fresh off the wire comes the news that the AFL-CIO is set to endorse Obama "within weeks." No surprise there. But expect a big lead-up with pro-labor rhetoric from O's camp, meaning more trade speeches and a promise or two.

Next week, Hillary throws open her treasure box to Obama as the two target her major supporters in their first joint fundraising event. Obama's fundraising activities are under scrutiny now that his campaign has pledged to forego public financing. What's gone under the radar is that McCain's refusal to rein in the backdoor swiftboat-style 527s factored heavily in O's decision. Expect a vigorous debate over campaign-finance ethics in the weeks to come.

Take the Megabus from DC to New York for a buck, and spend your transport savings on admission to the Personal Democracy Forum, June 23 to 24. Heavyweight bloggers will be on hand to discuss the nexus between technology outreach and politics. As an added incentive, both the right and left will be hosting workshops, yielding ample opportunities for espionage - uh, cross-pollination. You can meet citizen-journalist phenom Mayhill Fowler and... Gilberto Gil!? The Queen of Snark is dispatching Gloria Pan as her ambassador, so if you don't have anything nice to say, go sit by Gloria.

The Week That Was

While the price of corn skyrockets to eight dollars a bushel, McCain and Bush separately took pains to survey the Midwestern flood damage. Wouldn't want to appear to belong to the same party or anything. Even more awkward, the Republican brand still hasn't recovered from Katrina and An Inconvenient Truth. Someone should tell the GOP in the nicest way that photo ops in climate-related disaster areas don't really work for them.

And we learned this week that there actually is a critical mass of people who dislike Michelle Obama, a mass large enough to warrant a front-page story in the NY Times and for Obama's people to attempt what some are calling a "Hillary Makeover" by inserting her as a guest host on The View. Since most political public figures arrive at the national scene already thoroughly hardened by years in the trenches, this is a rare opportunity indeed to see the authenticity of a charming, accomplished, proud woman erode before our eyes. We shed tears over Michelle's loss of innocence.

The late Tim Russert has received the encomiums he earned and deserved. But do members of the media honor his spirit as well as they did his memory? The public Russert, the one we got to know over the course of many Sunday mornings, was a humble steward and unapologetic student of journalism. The best possible tributes to him would be incisive investigative reports on page 4 rather than sentimental prose in the obituary section.

The counterassault on the housing crunch took its first prisoners of war this week when "Operation: Malicious Mortgage" led to the arrest of two senior managers at Bear Sterns. Our Legal Department here at TR Central has a unique perspective on this: These arrests reek of political bloodlust. The goal: to pawn off the failed market on a few greedy opportunists so the Administration looks innocent of the failure of the election-year economy.

In the face of record gas prices, Americans drove 1.4 billion miles less this April than they did a year ago, extending the decline to its sixth year in a row. While we're happy that fewer people on the road means we might get to work just a teensy bit faster, less gas-tax revenue means we'll be driving rather bumpier roads.

The rough economy is distracting parents from their supervisory responsibilities. Exhibits A through R come from Gloucester High School in Massachusetts, where 17 girls, all under age 16, intentionally became pregnant this year as part of a pact. Doesn't help that this "fiercely Catholic" (sez Time) blue-collar enclave is in no hurry to ease access to birth control. The Queen loves her children dearly, but surely would not have attained Queendom had she not postponed parenthood until she completed her education.

Scorecard

As we predicted, the media and the candidates picked up on the GITMO detainee debate, with Obama hitting McCain hard in his big anti-terrorism speech. Even George Will speculated that McCain's position would eventually hurt him.

Reader Comments

The Queen is on an extended tour of the Carolinas, where she heard a remark so appalling it must be repeated here. In a car crowded with members of all generations from babyhood to near-senility, the Queen's procession passed through a small southern town. When noticing a lone Obama sign, an elder of the Queen's grandparents' generation casually remarked, "Well, that house will be torched by nightfall." Readers, the Queen's blood ran cold. To say such things so matter-of-factly, and in front of children! It was more terrifying yet because we were in the African-American section of town, where untold evils used to be perpetrated. Yea, verily, from the back of the car, an indignant nine-year-old demanded, "What are you talking about?! He's about to win! He's going to be our next President!" Think about it, reader - how far we've come, but how far still to go.

This missive arrived from a dear friend: "While writing remarks that Queen Noor of Jordan gave to the UN High Commission on Refugees conference in Geneva on Wednesday, I found I had suddenly become an 'expert' overnight. It is mind blowing. As we all sit comfortably in our air-conditioned homes tomorrow wondering what's in our stocked refrigerators to eat, I ask that you take a moment to think about the 20 million people around the world who are refugees. Doctors and professors, business owners and students who were 'normal' people living normal lives, who suddenly had to leave home. Take a moment to give thanks for your own safety and home, and just send a small prayer of hope out to those 20 million who are hanging on to their own hope that they too will some day return to their own homes and resume the life they once had. They deserve to be recognized even in this small way."

On the lighter side, a reader remarked this week: "I read every TR - it comes in on Friday just as I'm tired of working for the week." So, from the banality of evil to the just the banal, that's what we have to report from friends, family, readers and wise children.

Have a restful weekend!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

LIVE BLOG: Advocacy on the internet? Yes, we can!

The TR spent yesterday at Innovative Advocacy seminar at the Chamber of Commerce. Ah, the Hall of Flags... so gorgeous, and that giant door we struggled open to let ourselves in left us feeling accomplished before anything even started!

Besides nibbling bagels with some fellow politics-and-advocacy-wonks (we're looking at you, Politico), we enjoyed the keynote address from Stu Rothenberg, who's available for speeches if you need any top-notch wonking yourself. We're being cheeky, of course--we loved his VP recommendations for O and Johnny ("They shouldn't be bad picks, just quirky") and giggled when he jumped off stage to grab someone's Post and accurately report poll results instead of, oh, making them up.

Other highlights:
  • You have to love everyone's fascination with female candidates. Carly Fiorina as Veep? She's the quirkiest pick of all, as she's, among other things, "an attractive woman." Yeah, too risky.
  • 84% of the country believe the country is on the wrong track, but Democratic candidates are not ahead of their counterparts by a very wide margin. What gives? We dunno either, Stu.
  • "Liberal Democratic women will support Obama. C'mon." Um, gosh, is he looking at us?
  • Ah, another observation on WDC Fashion... we'll just say that mismatching stripes and plaid is cool, and don't judge these books by their covers. Ever. 'Cause they own you.
  • Breaks for crackberries are a requirement for events like these. We recommend a corral in a corner for these people so they don't bump into us as they e-mail all those important friends of theirs. Specially-trained shepharding dogs can help.

Finally, Barry Jackson from AARP showed us the power of celebrities and the Internet (which we kinda already knew--we're hip like that). And the panel discussion afterwords with Cyrus Krohn from the RNC and Jonathan Martin and Ken Vogel from Politico left us cheering on Obama's ridiculously-successful online efforts and nodding approval when it was pointed out that most people agree: "Cell phones are for talking." Oh, and people don't trust information on the Internet, apparently. Fear not, dear Readers, we'd never steer you off-course!

Friday, June 13, 2008

What a way to start the weekend...

No snark on this post, guys. The venerable Tim Russert has died today, after collapsing in his office from a heart attack. We wish our condolences and best wishes to his family. 
Latest news here: 
Daily Kos, RIP Tim Russert

The TR: Daddios, Tomatoes and GITMO

While the economy eats at everyone's summer vacation plans, we wonder what the fuss is all about. Our devotion to the TR is such that "vacation" isn't even in our vocabulary.

Forecast

The Supremes spanked Dubya a 5-4 ruling that GITMO detainees have a right to appeal their detention in federal court. But don't think Bush and Co. will let this political football go. Expect this decision to spawn a new flurry of ultra-patriotic terrorism legislation -- the perfect wedge issue for the GOP over the long, hot months to come.

The Senate will look at interactive advertising next week on the heels of invasive "behavioral" marketing techniques from Internet providers. If you're curious about what your online providers know about you and plan to attend the hearings, bring an air-sickness bag with your ACLU card.

There's a new gang in town, folks. Fourteen GOP legislators have refused to endorse John McCain, the foremost among them retiring Sen. Chuck Hagel. Is someone booking a room in Denver for this man yet? If this is a quid pro quo for McCain putting Joe Lieberman front and center, Dems should feel a little guilty for getting such the better deal.

Yahoo! refused Microsoft's marriage proposal in order to plunge into a 10-year advertising affair with the much hunkier Google. Microsoft's aggressive wooing backfired, leaving Google to continue its steady conquest of the universe. Who's the hero and who's the villain here, it's hard to say, but Yahoo!'s choice marks a major turning point in how online business is done, and it will be all over the trades starting early next week.

In honor of Father's Day this weekend, NY Times Magazine will run a story about "equal parenting" in modern times. Um, equal? Unless they're setting up daycare at Home Depot, we're not quite there yet. Still, Dad does deserve one day. Even if Mom has to do all the work. Again.

The Week That Was

With Hillary out of the spotlight (and seemingly off the face of the earth), Katie Couric ascended to the role of U.S. Woman Drawing the Most Fire after she excoriated the media for its sexism during the dearly departed primary from hell. We're a bit old-fashioned about the appropriateness of editorializing from an anchor's chair, no matter what the subject. But we also think progressives should take a good hard look at the boys' club dominating the blogosphere and cable news. Having reviewed the slurs used against Hillary in the heat of battle, who could conclude otherwise?

Fox News network came up with a cute little nickname for Michelle Obama. Oh wait... cute and racist aren't the same thing? "Obama's baby mama" -- do they even know what that means? Before throwing around "hip" or "young" terms to shore up ratings, they need to look it up, people, look it up!

It's this sort of nastiness that inspired Obama's people to assemble a crack staff to monitor thewild jungle that is the 24/7 news cycle. Their marquee achievement, thus far, has been "Fight the Smears," a website designed to root out right-wing slander against the campaign.

Eek, it's Attack of the Killer Produce Puns! The tomato-salmonella scare is wreaking havoc on the tomato market both here and abroad. Meanwhile, media types and clever bloggers are having a field day with silly word play. Time to stick a fork in it!

Pew released the results of a new poll on what the world thinks about the US. And thank goodness, it's improved. Slightly. Turns out that the only thing shoring up our standing in the world is anticipation of Bush's impending departure. For those of you flacks looking for steady
State Department work, better update your resumes soon. Massive PR hiring is coming!

Scorecard

Where have the Queen of Snark's Court been hanging this week? At the Art of Political Campaigning conference with some of the nation's top political consultants. Yes, it was a heavy spin zone, but we're happy to report (live from the Marriott) that we still feel like we know up from down, and we're working on right from wrong.

Remember those permanent bases in Iraq that we said were going up soon? Despite the administration's denials, it looks like the deal will be done in July as part of a US-Iraq
pact
. This is our country's most open-ended commitment to the war, but the left has yet to mount an effective public outcry. This must change. Now!

But it's Friday and we're too hot for outrage. We'll start fresh next week. Have a great weekend, all.

LIVE BLOG: Hangin' with the Big Dogs at the Campaigns & Elections Conference Good Bad and Ugly

Well, the Queen of Snark finds herself a wee bit out of her element -- at the Campaigns and Elections conference.  Here's a quick live blog:  the good, the bad and the ugly.

THE GOOD:  First off, I got to meet Doc Sweitzer, the guy who got surprise candidate Michael Nutter elected mayor of Philadelphia.  Now, one of the Queen's very best friend heads up the Philly govt entity responsible for the homeless.  She had nothing but a stream of bitching about the last mayor -- including the fact that homeless people were actually freezing to death in the winter bc of his incompetence.  Well, under Nutter she is moving thousands of homeless people into housing.  This is EXACTLY why we do politics -- to get the good guys elected and to take care of those who can't take care of themselves.  As Sweitzer said to me, "Yep, I got into this business before it was a business -- there are much easier ways to make a living."  GO SWEITZER!  Warrior Queen agrees completely.

THE BAD:  It seems over half the folks here are from other countries.  So ... we are clearly exporting political consulting and campaigning AS IT EXISTS NOW to other countries.  Not necessarily elect-the-good-guy-from-behind-Michael-Nutter kind of consulting, but the get-rich-on-TV-advertising kind of consulting.  Since this is a bi-partisan event, possibly the "do-we-count-the-hanging-chad" kind of a thing.  YIKES!!

THE UGLY:  Talk about get-rich-quick -- the giant scary industry of hangers-on here in the exhibit area (of which we are [GASP] one).   Do ya need a database-opinion research-robocall-geeky sign-buncha buttons-strange new technology-campaign ad-campaign manager or [EEK] on- and off-line media consulting firm (that's us, dear reader) ?????

OKAY THEN -- where does that leave us?  Well, as our wonderful C&E guy Tim said, all of these options give us better ways to reach people, engage them in the process, and get down into the fab rough and tumble of no-holds-barred democracy.  (Well, maybe I paraphrase a bit.) After all, say what you will, there are the Nutters among the political class who -- get this -- SAVE LIVES by being elected. 

WHAT DO YOU THINK, DEAR READER?  Truth?  C&E spin?  Or just a great way for the Queen to placate her conscience about her high billings?  Let us know....  Ciao ciao for now...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hillary Agonistes, Dick and the Dap

Finally, bleary-eyed and dazed, we round a bend and see it looming in the distance. Is it a mirage? Is it... Is it... Yes, it's the general election! Only 151 more days! Can we make it? YES WE... uh, how did that go again?

Forecast

The Obama Veep committee, under pressures variously hidden, obvious, pragmatic and Byzantine, now embarks on a quest for the magic candidate who will complement the presumptive" nominee, deliver a key state or constituency and help seal the deal in November. Our analysis: Caroline Kennedy's symbolic stature will give weight to her recommendation.

Time Warner's plan to charge customers for Internet bandwidth is re-sparking net-neutrality debates, with commentators predictably balking at the prospect of paying more for something that just seems like it should be free (bandwidth = the air we breathe). What are these poor customers to do? Hope for someone and his merry men to take free Internet from the few and bring it to the unnecessarily-billed. Verizon, can you hear us now?

The more the Administration denies the rumored secret plans for permanent bases in Iraq, the more plausible it sounds. The subterranean quality of the story is primed to become a major issue now that the general election is at our door.

GM comes to Capitol Hill next week to show off the all-electric Chevy Volt. With climate-change legislation under fierce attack in Congress, the Dems need some shiny toys to complement their "science homework" talking points. Let's hope they get their message across.

And the World Naked Bike Ride graces fair Washington this Saturday. It's billed as a protest against our dependency on foreign oil. Fine, but let's face it: Denizens of the District are more likely to push paper than pump iron. Might the prospect of confrontations with au naturale Washingtonians ironically spark a stampede to gas up and get the hell out of Dodge?

The Week That Was

Well, slow week. Certainly some rocky weather across the country, but not much to report...

Oh yeah, that.
The hubris is so thick you can cut it lean and serve it as satire. Hillary, we thought you knew better than this. First there's the concession speech which conceded math instead of the election. Then a post-Conan, pre-dreamland email to your Listserv at 1:30 AM to declare you'll back Obama. And they didn't even contact O's campaign first. Should we be expecting her support, due this weekend, to arrive by Pony Express? Bah, if she's going for VP in earnest, she has to leave the campaign strategies that failed her in the past. The new VoteBoth movement created by ex-Clinton staffers is a promising start. But to win Obama's favor she may also have to learn the art of dap. (That's a fist pound, for all of you who didn't know, ahem.)

We'd like to take this moment to declare a found farewell to our primary coverage at TR Central. Much like WP's Richard Cohen, we felt it turned into a rather loathsome affair for some of this
generation's best political minds. Many of our writers and operatives toiled in the aimless fields of sound bytes and media strategy trying to discern the shape of this race. We're pretty sure Joe Biden got mentioned once as well, but we wouldn't put money on it. Anyhow, look out for the commemorative plates.

If Hillary really wants to prove herself as the best candidate for Vice President, she's going to have to hire a crack team to come up with some incest jokes the country hasn't heard yet. In this area, Cheney has set the bar pret-ty darn high.

The two top Air Force officers in the country were fired this week after accidentally sending nuclear fuses to Taiwan. This is only one of a string of mishaps involving our military and nuclear weapons. Swell. Remember when BOTH candidates in '04 called proliferation the top issue? Perspective, people - it's a godsend. Someone needs to make room for this in the public discourse.

And a study found that teens feel more comfortable telling computers their health problems than speaking to actual people, like their parents. Which is understandable. Everyone has to answer to their own Queen Mother of Snark sooner or later. And at those times, Facebook family reunions are easier to digest than the real McCoy.

Scorecard

Pfizer and their push to save the product Chantix resurfaced in the financial pages. The press smelled blood and investors followed the same nose. Stock in Pfizer plummeted, complete with a downgrade from Goldman Sachs. Hey, this financial stuff is easier than we thought. The Turner Market Update has a nice ring to it...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hillary à La Carte

One key to healthy eating is to keep it simple: Have some meatloaf, but skip the mashed potatoes; have a little pie, but forgo the ice cream. I think this is a lesson that can be extended into the political arena. To celebrate the fact that the Democratic presidential nominee has finally been decided, I’m going to indulge.

So, Barack, listen up. You are the man. Now, Mr. Man, what we want to know is, will Hillary be your running mate?

There are a lot of things about Hillary that would be good for you: She’s a policy wonk, work horse, one of the most experienced pols in the country, stands shoulder to shoulder with you on almost all the issues, and is one determined woman. For a lot of people, the two of you would be a dream ticket – in one fell swoop, unite the party and crush McCain come November.

But, as everyone knows, if you pick Hillary, you get soooo much more. There’s her official pit bull, Harold Ickes. There’s her hubby, Bill, who, as soon as he got involved with her campaign, quickly burst out of his elder-statesman costume like the Incredible Hulk on a rampage, and who just yesterday called a reporter a “scumbag.” Yikes! And then there’s the daughter... no, wait, we love Chelsea. She could give your girls some sound tips about growing up in the White House and still turning out normal.

We totally get it: Hillary et al is probably more than you want to or could swallow. What if, however, in exchange for making her your Number Two, Harold has to go serve in the Middle East for a few years, preferably in a part of the desert where the cellular service is spotty? And Bill could be US ambassador to England and hang out with old pal Tony, if he can get over Tony making George his new BFF before Bill’s seat in the Oval Room was barely cold. With both these dudes out of the country, you could have Hillary à la carte (with a little Chelsea on the side).

Even with Hillary on her own, take small bites and chew thoroughly before swallowing.