Friday, February 27, 2009

The TR: Pepto Cocktails, Michelle’s Muscle and a Rocky Mountain Requiem

Oh man, enjoy this weather while you can (until tomorrow). The Queen's been holed up at home coughing away, so please let her live vicariously and walk around the block this afternoon! Take your Blackberry with you and read the TR while you're out. And then... get back to work!


Next week will be dominated by media dissection of the proposed federal budget and the northwards-of-a-trillion deficit. We're putting on our "Go O" game hats to watch legislative
reactions and right-wing media's continued downward tailspin. Expect continued Republican media outrage over O's budget and any and all reforms, even as they support hiking the Congress's operational budget to retain previous staff levels and funding Wall Street junkets. MSM will continue to be cautiously optimistic, even as we all mix martinis with Pepto-Bismol. Just to get through all of this, dontcha know.

(Sigh) A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you have a saved economy? Of course, we LOVE the FDR in a JFK suit-of-destiny (by way of Lincoln) thing O's stylin'. We are counting the numbers on our poor little liberal arts fingers. Wall Street bailout (and sequels), stimulus package, healthcare reform, nationalizing the banks -- oh, we know we've left a few trillion out somewhere! (And what about old breaking the Sheryl-Crow-paid-with-Wall Street-stimulus-funds story?)

Most Americans' savings are tied up in our home values, which is down a record 18.6 percent since December 2007. But what fresh hell is this? Economic indicators due out next week -- construction spending and manufacturers' inventories -- will have us eyeballing yet more plummeting graph lines and mixing even more martoonis (yes, pass the Pepto again, baby).

What's worse for a potential Secretary of Health and Human Services: not paying your taxes on unrecognized income like car service OR being staunchly Catholic but pro-choice (that is, supporting a legal medical service for women)? For some, it's the latter, and the noise pollution around Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius' candidacy for that job should hit new highs.

History nerd update! If you're looking for a getaway that allows you to follow slaves' escape on the Underground Railroad, check out these B&Bs in Pennsylvania. Read about their unsalubrious hiding places. And just imagine -- the desperation, the fear, the driving urge to endure hell so as to escape hell and to run to a future no one can imagine, while putting your fate into the hands of people who may or may not be trustworthy. Spine-tingling... (Paging AG Holder - are we talking about race enough here?)

We're sure we're forgetting some big sports or culture announcement here, so ponder that part of the media universe and fill in the blank. Oh -- and tell Queenie what she forgot! Please use colorful language; the Queen just LOVES that!

The Week That Was

We were inappropriately sober on Fat Tuesday as President O addressed Congress. But, oh, we think we'll give Bobby Jindal up for Lent! The governor of Louisiana (after swearing to reject federal stimulus package funds badly needed for his impoverished state) told us that our troubles are not our fault but that of government and politicians. And he did an awesome Howdy Doody imitation each time he said "Americans can do anything!" How do you say "Honey, I shrunk the kids" in Cajun French? So sad that the GOP pre-mid-term elections messaging may be imploding among reasonable people. Oh, yes, and that good ole Bobby may not have the charisma for a brown vs. brown 2012 Presidential match-up.

Roland Burris will not run for the Senate in 2010, but, until then, you'll have to kill him if you want to remove him from that august body. We shrug. Even alive, he's just a breathing corpse in Congress. Our outrage is needed elsewhere.

Hat tip to the Hilda Solis confirmation as head of Labor! Our feminist, labor, activist hearts are delighted to report change we actually can believe in!

The DC voting bill cleared the Senate and it's been hitting the blogs and editorial sections all week long. Leave your thoughts in the comments: constitutional or not so much?

Octomom Nadya Suleman soon to be a porn star! She was offered 1 million smackers by Vivid Entertainment, including full medical and dental insurance, to be a "contract girl." Higher up the food chain, Hef wants Kate Winslet for the Playboy Centerfold (although we thought she was done with nude scenes). From fertility welfare queens to Oscar winners -- strip and eyeballs will follow.

Lest you think we're too jaded for innocence... breaking news on the First Puppy! ETA sometime in April, the new White House companion will likely be a Portuguese Water Dog (much to Office star Rainn Wilson's Twittered-chagrin). Michelle showed her "iron mom" self when she rejected pet names Frank and Moose. Says the first lady: "I'm like, no. Come on. Let's work with the names a little bit." Phew!

(Also, Culture Minister has to ask: can we STOP talking about her arms now? Yes, she has arms. Yes, we all see them. Take one last, long, good look, go ahead... 'kay, finished? Now get over it!)

Did Twitter jump the snark this week, asked Repub new media darling Patrick Ruffini? POLITICO named him a "top ten" Tweeter, and, oh, Patrick, we agree! Especially when the LA Times only listed name-brand users as top ten to follow. Admittedly, the Queen picked up a few hundred extra followers from Ruffini's moment of fame. What will they do when they realize the Queen is a baby-killing communist? Hopefully they're too newbie to understand TweetChat, #all declarations and @me DMs. Quelle horreur!

If you've been desperately trying to link to Joaquin Phoenix's online Letterman trainwreck, but found that CBS pulled the video... well, who's your sweetheart? Here you go.

And, of course, we MUST put in something we KNOW everyone will link to. Naked Brazilian beauty (FYI, NSFW... which means you're all the more likely to click, right?) celebrates Carnival adorned in a skin portrait of everyone's favorite prez.

In Memoriam

Invictus. Writing about the death of the Rocky Mountain News, Colorado's premier newspaper, feels a lot like writing an obit for a parent. There's an element of disbelief that this day would ever come. I worked at the Rocky for nearly 10 years off and on during its halcyon years in the 1980s, when it beat out its century-old opponent The Denver Post for the position of #1 in the Rocky Mountain West. This was the scrappy rag that nurtured the likes of author Damon Runyon, playwright Mary Coyle Chase ("Harvey"), and numerous other writers who went on to win Pulitzer Prizes and work for such major pubs as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, AP, Reuters and The Washington Post (Al Kamen, I still remember editors rolling their eyes about your "dynamite" story, only to realize that you really meant dynamite!).

The Rocky was the oldest newspaper and continuously-operated business in Colorado -- it would have celebrated its 150th year in two months. It was founded on April 23, 1959, by William Byers, who had the courage and fortitude to haul his printing press by oxcart across the Great Plains from Omaha to the mining camp of Denver during the start of the Gold Rush. The paper went on to cover the Civil War, Colorado's statehood, the Dust Bowl, Great Depression, Columbine High School shootings, the Oklahoma City bombing trial and, most recently, the historic Democratic National Convention just blocks from the site where the original presses once rolled in.

News gathering is all about change. And newspapers like the Rocky and others adapted well over time -- switching from linotype to offset, typewriters to computers, faxes to email. But few are equipped to handle the 24/7 news cycle of the digital era in a way that can turn a profit for their owners -- and the Rocky was no exception. The "e-oxcart" that will haul this innovative breakthrough to the news industry is still a long way from its destination. But once it arrives, I can guarantee you that the need will be greater than ever for reporters like those at the Rocky, who approached their assignments with spirit, drive, and an unconquerable thirst for truth.


Someone forgot to send us the memo on the bank bailout. Orrr we forgot to check the WH calendar. Oh, well. But, other than that, we hit it out of the park. Most of our observations were lead, above-the-fold stories last week. Of course, no one under 40 even knows that that means.

Reader Comments

Could I ask a tiny Web2.0 question? Wouldja occassionally mind commenting on the blog I do love catching up personally with each and every one of you, so (and my own personal phone number) is never off limits. But I'd love to see the rants and raves forever immortalized online.

Cheerio, dearies! Catch you next week!


mitch.harman said...

Re: the budget plan. Krugman likes it (see today's NYTimes). The tax increase provisions seem very reasonable to me. Why should my family's personal deductions be worth more actual dollars each than some poor family earning half as much? As for "class warfare" just look at the redistribution of wealth over the last 8 years. If there is a war on, they started it!- Mitch Harman

Suzanne said...

I'm glad one of our smartest readers agrees with the TR! We support O's budget and his economic plan. The re-distribution of wealth in this country has been going for some time now -- in the wrong direction. Now -- instead of footing the bill for swanky retreats and CEO golden parachutes, how about putting some bucks where they'll really count -- in the people's hands. And in healthcare, education and other investements in a vibrant society.

Anonymous said...


William Ernest Henley. 1849–1903

Invictus (Unconquered)

OUT of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

jerson said...

pepto ia a great medichament!!!

jerson said...

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