Friday, July 25, 2008

The TR: Hurricane Bob and the Homeless Person

While we were tracking Hurricane Dolly at the TR Weather Center, we tried our best to avoid Hurricane Novak tearing up the streets of our fair city.

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...!

Ahem, sorry. It's never funny when a human life is endangered. The pedestrian is recovering nicely, though.

Welcome to the TR.

Forecast

Fresh from his triumphant tour of Europe, Obama will meet next week with Democratic House members, who hunger for his reflected glory. No doubt everyone campaigning to keep or gain a seat in Congress this November will be busily measuring his coattails.

When Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani visits the U.S. on Monday, watch nonprofits call for the administration to push for democratic reforms within the Pakistani leadership. Amnesty International pre-heated the oven this week with its call for the new government to disclose what has become of hundreds of "disappeared" citizens.

And now this McBreaking News: McDonald's is paying a few Fox News stations to display McDonald's-branded iced coffee during broadcasts. Do the stations get bonuses, we wonder, when the anchors take sips, smack their lips, and exclaim "I'm lovin' it!"? The saturation of sponsorship into every morsel of media space is distressing, but watch pundits squirm as they figure out whether to bite the hand that feeds them.

McCain's best shot at gaining some good media coverage is to name a running mate, preferably by next week. Ever since word leaked that his people were close to a choice, the blogosphere has been afire with speculation. Of course, the bounce will be better if Johnny Boy's team sells the strength of the selection with clear, compelling messages. But it may not be enough to drown out this kind of noise:

From today through this weekend, VoteVets.org will be flooding the cable news networks with fresh attack ads against McCain. Talk about kicking a man when he's down! After Johnny Boy's recent string of gaffes, it looks like he'll need more than tricky editing to regain his image as a foreign policy expert.

The Week That Was

The presidential campaign may be dominating news coverage, but it's not the public's main concern, according to the Pew Research Center for People and the Press. Any wild guesses as to where our real interests lie? Just as it was in 1992, It's the Economy, Stupid. While Obama and McCain are all up in our faces, what we're really following are Anheuser-Busch, IndyMac and General Motors.

Smith and Wesson issued a special commemorative revolver celebrating the Supreme Court overturning the D.C. gun law. And it wasn't even a trophy gun - what do you think they are, wussies? - but the real deal. The Brady Campaign got it right by calling it a cowardly and hurtful PR stunt. With the gun lobby already in a frenzy, this could be dovetailing something bigger.

The New York Times plunged into the social networking this week by teaming up with LinkedIn for a "content partnership." Profits are waayyyy down. Is this really the best idea the Gray Lady could come up with to developing a robust new business model? Can she afford the time to find out?

Well it had to happen. Vanity Fair picked up where the New Yorker left off and inked a cover highlighting the least flattering aspects of McCain's public persona. Okay, we admit it. It bothers us not at all to see this "satirization" of the other side, because, unlike the New Yorker cover, this one is mostly true don'cha know.

NYC Mayor Bloomberg is getting together with Bill Gates to launch a $500 million worldwide anti-smoking initiative. Both are hell-bent on reducing the still astronomical number of smoking-related deaths per year. The fact that it takes two 800-pound gorillas to raise this sort of awareness means that more big names are going to have to step up before cigarettes become a highlighted policy issue again.

And our favorite story of the week, which just goes to show how shallow we are: Bob Novak ran down a pedestrian, and only one block from TR Central! The Prince of Darkness says he didn't see the 86-year-old homeless man, much less know he had hit him. The columnist can't seem to see old, homeless people? Well, that certainly goes a long way in explaining how Bob Novak became Bob Novak.

Scorecard

As we predicted, Obama's handlers put the tightest possible controls on his trip abroad. With restricted press access, every photo became a hero pose. Or maybe it's not the photos at all and just the stars in our own eyes. The coup de grace was what we thought it would be, fair readers: an epic speech in Berlin. Ich Bin Ein Obama indeed.

Feedback

We guess we got the last word last week, since no one had anything to say back. Hopefully you'll do better this week.

Snark on!

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