Friday, March 27, 2009

The TR: It's a TR Central Birthday Week!

In honor of this birthday week (both the Queen AND her Character Assassin were celebrating), we're taking a little vacation. We liked this so much that we're posting it again. Read it, share it, make it your laptop background -- whatever it takes to REMEMBER IT. From the mouths of babes, dearies.

Of course, this break-in-snark only means that you, dear and loyal readers, get to give the Queen a little birthday gift. Send us your snark -- what happened this week that got you all up in arms? Got any rants, raves, keen observances... even puns? Send 'em to us and we'll publish our favorites next week so you can all show off your handiwork.

In Memoriam... Again. Sigh.

Get out your trumpets, folks. The NY Times is cutting salaries AND jobs -- read the goodbye memo here. And the Washington Post is launching a new round of buyouts. And the SF Chronicle is teetering on the brink. AND Cox Newspapers is closing their DC Bureau. Good luck, dear reporters... if you MUST turn to blogging, at least do that with dignity.

(Btw, check out the stats on MSM in DC here. Not encouraging.)


Maybe the Queen shouldn't dictate the TR off the top of her head to the Culture Minister while driving in city traffic. (Yes, children, that's how the sausages are made here.) We had some REAL HOWLERS last week. For the record we REALLY DO KNOW that ANDREW Cuomo (not Mario) released the letter the got the nation's blood lust boiling. And, yes, we also know that our esteemed reader and permission-based marketing expert is named SETH (not Franz) Godin. And fer chrissakes, our predix were even off -- Michelle's little victory garden got FRONT PAGE COVERAGE for two days in a row, when we predicted the middle of the paper. But -- we were correct in all else, particularly the fact that food safety was not part of that conversation.

We have only the excuse that we are a dumb little e-zine/blog wannabe that it is tossed off in between paid client work. Thus, we illustrate how the Internets really work and why it's a crying shame that newspapers and real journalism are dead.

Reader Comments

Despite our rank idiocy, we got many many raves last week. "Love it so much," "keep 'em coming" and the like. Thank you, friends. And thank you that only ONE of you called us on the Mario-Andrew slip up (good catch, Dianne!) xxoo

Enjoy your weekend, and see you next week for more snarking good times!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The TR: O on the TV, Economic Anxiety and AIG Absurdity

Ye gods, be careful what you wish for! Manufactured populist outrage at just the wrong moment for Obama. And hysteria, hysteria, hysteria... we even received an inspired beat poem on the state of affairs. Read and weep, dear readers.


Expect continued firestorms as Andrew Cuomo releases not just the letter but the names of those who received bonuses. The White House-Chris Dodd finger pointing will continue and Rush will schizophrenically echo Larry Summers' quote that we have to honor contracts while trying to pound the administration into oblivion.

Queenie begged for insurrection and here it comes: we'll see continued (organized) outrage around the country tied to The Bonuses. Man those barricades!! We mean, it sounds fun and all (our Culture Minister had a great time down at 2020 K Street yesterday):

BUT what we NEED are real arguments from credible people about what's really wrong with the system. C'mon, people, step up.

Inside the beltway alert! Conservative blue dog Dems decided to join together to fight hope and change -- no climate, no budget, no nothin'.

As hard as the Prez is trying to make food safety an agenda item, we'll only see limited stories about Michelle's victory garden and the restructuring of the FDA. Expect print pieces deep in the interior of the paper. Unless there's another food recall, no room in wall-to-wall AIG outrage for TV or Internet attention.

The Dow keeps coming and going, just like spring. Rain one day, crocuses the next. We predict spring will come (it's, allegedly, here to stay today) and the Dow will go.

It's March Madness and, um... yay? We're not really into this whole bracketing-thing but plenty of other people are. What are your picks? Leave your predictions in the comments and help us sound like we know what the hell we're talking about. (Btw, Queenie was friends with Michael Jordan at Chapel Hill... uh, is he still playing?)

The Week That Was

In all the hysteria and handwringing about that little AIG snafu, it's hard to connect the dots between who knew what and when and how. Does anybody believe that the WH and Geithner didn't know, or that Dodd didn't remember? No matter what the Dem involvement, the left is doing a good job of painting Repubs as the bad guys and counting their votes against tax penalties on the bonuses.

Speaking of hysteria... NO ONE does it better than the cablenets. If you never click on anything else, you HAVE to click on this.

Media really is dead, my darlings! The Obama girls' spring break prevented the Prez from attending the august Gridiron Dinner. Put your white tie away, dear columnists, and start begging sad flacks to pay you to write blog posts.

Other important news you should Google (but probably won't)! The developing world is going under, too! (Like, duh.) MSM isn't telling us about the cascading effect of economic meltdown & debt on third-world economies. You're only gonna read about it on obscure blogs. (Funny, prominent columnists like Tom Friedman covered the crushing burden of third world debt diligently in the '80s -- where are they now?)

Sadly, we don't read legislation either, nor do we fully read all the online activist emails that we forward to our Congressfolk. But this time there's plenty to be alarmed about -- corporate America is taking over the Internet! Imagine. Look, if you're not gonna Google third-world economies, at least find out why we need to keep the Internet free -- so you pretend to Google them later.

You may not see much about this in the MSM, but there's an ambitious move afoot to make government completely transparent. The Ellen Miller Sunlight Foundation received a million quadrillion dollar grant (no, not bailout money), but she would like to know why the legislators didn't READ the bailout legislation. And our friends at TechPresident have launched a new Ask the President site & Twitterstream. This is a convo that will stay online; we won't see much of it above ground.

Obama was on Leno! For 23 whole minutes! The Special Olympics thing was cringeworthy, but the rest wasn't bad. What do you think, though - was this Obama-the-Brilliant-Campaigner trying to distract us, or was this a good move?

Expect confirmation that there is no Web2.0 relationship between corporate Facebook and its users. As revolution mounts against the new FB layout, you'll see NO changes. Just like last time. Don't get duped by anyone saying you'll have to pay for your accounts anytime soon. (If you did already, sorry we couldn't warn you sooner! But you should know better. Really.)

In Memoriam Ad Nauseum

The Seattle P.I. went to digital-only format this week, and the Legal Times bit the dust. Play taps, my dears... yet another legendary newspaper runs into the buzzsaw of the future. We're mourning these losses and, at the same time, wondering even more about the future of journalism, period. Wonder why we used "Google" as a verb, like, four times this issue? No? Here's your answer.


TR central wins EXTREMELY PRESTIGIOUS marketing award! From Seth Godin? From Guy Kawasaki? Alas, dear readers, no: from Constant Contact, in a marketing bid to get us to put their logo on our website. Well, here.
Thank you for not reporting us as spam. We prefer to be known as bacon: the newsletter you didn't ask for, but actually enjoy.

Enjoy the sun this weekend!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Obama Joins Other Prominent Socialists (Reagan, Nixon) in Tax Policy

We'd like to THANK GOD for this chart from MoveOn. Drawn from actual statistics (aka "real facts") as opposed to right-wing partisan hysteria, this appears to show that Obama's tax cuts are NOT ACTUALLY SOCIALIST. Oh, that is, unless Reagan, Nixon and Eisenhower were also socialists. We can only hope.

The TR: Pecuniary Positivism, Newspaper Necrosis and Tyra's Teachable Moment

As Queenie types, spring is (was?) in the air, the stock market is on the rise, and an arctic snowy owl is checking out lemmings in the fertile hunting grounds just a block away from our office. Oh, yeah, and Pluto is a planet again -- briefly and only in Illinois. But (brace yourself) Bristol and Levi are history (sob). What a week.


We -- and what's left of the media world -- will all hang on the Dow's every movement with bated breath. Far be it for the Queen to say anything to jinx things! We'll just point you to wise man Tom Friedman's column and suggest that there may be other news next week. (Shhhh! Not a whisper to all these optimistic Americans a bunch of Dem pollsters managed to pull together and question. We need them to keep spending their money, especially since the rest of us also took the biggest earnings plunge in the last 50 years.)

Don't expect to hear any decent analysis from CNBC, though. Despite our pessimistic screed last week, we did see phenomenal economic commentary from the newspaper columnists of the world, like here and here and here. Whichever way the Dow heads, puh-leeeeze, dear LORD, let this intelligent conversation continue! (Unseemly praying commences.)

And, based on the (false) evidence above, it seems the Queen ONLY reads MSM over her morning witch's brew. So Hallelujah that the Grey Lady has temporarily saved herself with a complicated real estate deal. But, alas, MORE newspapers will be going under shortly. And just when we needed them to save Democracy from cablenet screamfests and Limbaugh-mania...

We found the liberals! True, they are leaving it to economists and pointy-headed, soon-to-be extinct newspaper columnists to cover the White House's left flank on the economy. (Or to the craven banks that have decided that accepting federal money interferes with their greedy excess.) But our good libs ARE fighting for health care reform, thank goodness! (Don't expect reporters to get the nuances, though. A new report says they aren't up to covering health care any more.)

So, there you have it. We'll hear more about the economy, health care and (how could we forget?) climate change. Apparently, even as Mr. Snowy Owl Goes to Washington (becoming a poster bird for climate confusion), we find the seas are rising faster than expected and the EPA is proposing a reporting system that could shame polluters to greener practices. Now, how will WH energy proposals fare in Congress?

The Week That Was

Geithner on the Hill, heads of financial companies giving Congressional testimony and even Larry Summers live on CNN ("an excess of greed led to a lack of fear" -- and he never even saw the Queen's credit card statements!) Oh, this week was a wonderful economic blab-fast. We STILL aren't pleased with the coverage and agree with Jon Stewart in the current "week-long feud of the century." What, been locked in a dark closet? Check it out here and here and here.

We've been locked in the basement hiding from the Bushies for so long that we almost couldn't believe that something as wonderful as a White House Council on Women and Girls could actually happen! And Barack is such a cutie, calling Michelle his rock. No, dah-link, according to SNL, YOU'RE "The Rock" Obama.

Really, though, hiding from the former President's men WAS wise, considering what Seymour Hersh is saying about Cheney's ring of assassins...

Can you imagine -- seriously -- Bernie Madoff is SORRY and ASHAMED? Say it ain't so, Jo-- er, Bo? Mado?

Oh, and we found a neat new tool to track online ads in political fights. Check out some examples here.

Chris Brown is inspiring everyone to talk about abusive relationships and teen violence -- check out this clip of Tyra Banks talking to Oprah about her own experience. Our Culture Minister applauds his flacks for making the right move and pulling him out of the Kid's Choice Awards. Took you long enough.

Dear readers: please discuss. As scads more blogs pop up and people spend more time on Facebook status lines and Twitter, could the blogosphere be losing influence? Is IT becoming the MSM? Where oh where can we get in-depth economic commentary now?? (Don't worry, you're fine -- you've got us, remember?)


We were happy -- delighted -- to be wrong about forecasting lack of in-depth economic commentary this week. Too bad it was only in the moribund print media. We hit it out of the park on the rest, though, so keep checking back!

Reader Comments

Scores and scores of you lovely folks thanked us for our heartfelt screed last week. Mwah! Kisses back to you! And thanks for the e-mail back and forth and the articles. Really, very very very kind. Please continue to write early and often. BUT, post to the blog, too, pleeeaaase?

If you haven't planned your St. Paddy's Day yet, Shamrockfest still has tickets for tomorrow and it's gonna be nuts. Too wild for you? Sneak over to Virginia for some Guinness and fish 'n chips -- you might run into our Culture Minister in her favorite neighborhood.

Snark on and have a lovely weekend!

Friday, March 6, 2009

The TR: King Rush, McNugget Imbroglio, & Economist Smack Down

Rush Limbaugh is now officially running the Republican Party. At least THAT’s out in the open. And his challenge to debate O! Now there’s an Oxycontin moment for you... But, wait, this is a DEMOCRATIC maneuver to discredit a private citizen... Or was it 24/7 coverage over a 911 McNugget nightmare? Sometimes hard to tell the difference.


We cannot tell a lie. It’s going to get worse -- much worse -- before it gets better. No, we’re not talking about the continued economic downward spiral. Yes, we’re talking about partisan insanity. Read on for an economists’ slap down -- we’re so damned sick of the media’s inability to cover anything in real depth that we did our own (admittedly minimal) research.

How much longer can the ridiculous Rush Limbaugh story continue? As long as the Fat Man and his lefty wannabes on MSNBC want it to. Yes, it was insane that Michael Steele had to apologize, kiss Rush’s ring and likely lose his job. And, yes, there was unseemly gloating from the WH and the Dems. And, oh yes, the Repub poll numbers are still in the toilet. But CAN WE ALL MOVE ON PLEASE? The economy and planet we save just may be our own. And, btw Dems, there are a lot of angry white guys out there who really love Rush and don’t care 'bout no stinkin' pollsters.

We will get to the forecast, yes, we will. But we have to pause for a brief moment while the Queen REALLY. LOSES. HER. SH*T. Yeah, baby, I’m gonna go all head swiveling, dreadlocked and sans culottes yet again...

We are experiencing the worst financial crisis since the depression. And the best the media can give us is a week on RUSH f’ing LIMBAUGH?????

Queenie had to actually talk to real economists this week, and, guess what. There are perfectly brilliant and credible PhDs out there who are NOT getting all hot and bothered about Obama’s spending -- in fact he may not be going far enough. Throwing money at a broken system doesn’t fix it (duh), we may even need to nationalize a bank or two. Where’s is the media commentary on this? (TV BOOKER ALERT: Get the Peterson Institute’s Adam Posen on your shows NOW.)

We keep asking, WHERE IS THE LEFT? Still in post-Bush stuttering Stockholm Syndrome learned helplessness messaging toward the middle? This is the best Dean Baker can do? We’re at a critical moment in economic history, with untold opportunity, and no one is manning the barricades, pushing O to go further? This leaves the WH completely exposed -- the poles of the conversation are the wacked out Republicans on the right and the White House on the left. At least give the guy some air cover, fer chrissakes. Couldn’t USAction throw together a few more large citizen protests against Wall Street and FOR the common man? Only the left-wing Germans are bitching, and they’re harder to understand than the economists.

Okay, phew, just had to get that out of my system.

Sadly, don’t expect to see any of the above (except Rush) in next week’s news. Instead, you will get:
The Queen is just too damned bone tired to be funny about it. Bring me one of those drinks with a funny little umbrella, dah-link. While you’re searching for last of the 50-year-old rum, ponder this: worldwide depression, two (count ‘em) wars, global climate change now perhaps irreversible, AND WE’RE STILL TALKING ABOUT RUSH.

The Week That Was

Thanks for that housing bail out, O. Glad the CNBC wack job didn’t scare you off. Funny how Santelli doesn’t throw any tantrums when the guvamint is throwing dollars at Wall Street.

While Rome burns, the entire social mediasphere goes wild over SKITTLES. World-shattering analyses: Is it the END OF CORPORATE WEB SITES???? How well did your opportunistic online campaign rank in the Skitter Twitter? (Still confused? Then click!)

Speaking of Rome burning, slow action on global warming solutions. It may yet be too late for all of us, but Waxman has pledged a committee markup by Memorial Day, and Pelosi has pledged a first-ever floor vote before the end of the year.

Hold the phone! Bush memos to invade U.S., suspend civil liberties post-911! 92 videotaped torture confessions were destroyed! Karl Rove & Harriett Myers to testify (not under oath, btw) on AG firings! W: The sorry gift that keeps on giving.

We were tipped off by our favorite paparazzi on TUESDAY that Brad Pitt would be on the Hill THURSDAY. Aren’t we cool? We’re still not sure why he was there, but Nancy Pelosi was sure starstruck. If you saw Angie or any of the brood, let us know!

And, on a final note, we love this decidedly non-scientific survey PROVING all pundits are wrong.


Well, we don’t predict them all, but those we call we call right on the money.

Catch you next week! Enjoy fleeting Spring!