Friday, May 29, 2009

The TR: Obama's Noms, the Royal Wii and the Future of the Middle East

SotomayOR, SotomayOR, SotomayOR. Is the first Latina SCOTUS judge nominee a racist... or does she just have PMS? On a less serious note, Jon & Kate has America enthralled. Read on for the dramz and the LOLz! Or, if that's too much for you, annoy your co-workers and celebrate Sesame Street's 40th anniversary with these cute clips. Ah, memories...

Forecast

Obama nom'd Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, and Puerto Rico exploded. We mean... the Republican party. We mean... the Internet. O probably thought he was gonna win some conservatives over by choosing someone with an ambiguous stance on abortion, but who can ever tell what those right-wing wackos will do? (Like this gem, which warns against Sotomayor's potential PMS. Yeah. Really.) Check out this piece on Newt Limbaugh's "white man's burden" and grab the movie snacks as the GOP continues through the remaining stages of grief up to her confirmation (which we think is a thumbs up).

Oh, and as if SCOTUS isn't already all over the wires, the detainee abuse photos are coming to the high court. Watch out for more on this, dears.

There were protests all over the country when California upheld Prop 8 this week, and while they are allowing the marriages already performed to remain valid, we, along with many others, say: *middle finger*. It's a basic civil right, and here's hoping people can get it together enough to realize that. Knowing that most of the country opposes gay marriage, however, makes it even tougher. Read here for an update on the current state of gay marriage in the country, and for a look at upcoming hurdles.

North Korea's missile testing isn't a crisis yet, according to SecDef Gates. "What we do have, though, are two new developments that are very provocative, that are aggressive, accompanied by very aggressive rhetoric." So much so that Chinese fishing boats have started to evacuate. So will this blow up into yet another international crisis, or remain under the radar? Keep an eye on this, all, as Gates & Co. head off to talk security in the region soon.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas came to the Oval Office last week to discuss the future of the West Bank, and while we're seeing the new administration's efforts to revitalize the conversation, it's most likely a no-go. Obama will be traveling to Europe and the Middle East next week, so expect coverage of his speech from Cairo.

Also on the travel agenda? The 60th anniversary of D-Day - but who forgot to invite the Queen? It's okay; she'll probably be busy playing MarioKart, anyway (to which our Culture Minister says, "Me too!"). Check out this awesome picture of Queen Elizabeth's Golden Wii (we've been waiting all our lives to type that sentence, folks).

The Week That Was

Obama was IN California last week, and Lt. Dan Choi, who was dismissed from the National Guard based on his orientation under Don't Ask, Don't Tell, came as close as he could to tell Obama that the policy should be overturned. Check out the vid, and see Dan's second interview with Rachel Maddow here.

Bushie came out of hiding this week in Michigan, and avoided talking trash. Nice for him.

Fort Campbell, in Kentucky has seen a rash of suicides lately and closed down for three days for a "suicide stand-down training event." We agree with John Eskow on this one: we need to take care of soldiers, and not only on Memorial Day. This is a small step.

NASA is now being operated by 7 year olds -- and you know what? We're okay with it.

Jon & Kate + 8 -- you know, that couple with the kids or whatever -- have been all over the news lately in wake of their marriage troubles and season premiere. Now they're being investigated with regards to child labor laws. Wow. This country sure loves a trainwreck, no? We say, get those kids off the air and get those parents some therapy.

Is this Burger-Gate 2? Did he order mustard? WERE THERE FRENCH FRIES INVOLVED?! We can't wait to see where he'll show up next. Hey, Obama! There's a Starbucks, like, IN our building! Or we can try Subway -- DC does have a reputation to uphold, after all.

In other food news, the Canadian Governor General, and we quote, gutted "a freshly slaughtered seal, [pulled] out its heart and [ate] it raw." Don't care why she did it. EWWWW.

In Memoriam... ish

Super top secret alert: Top newspaper execs and publishers met privately to figure out WTF to do after they totes misjudged the significance of the web -- and now, um, are paying for it. (Wait -- maybe not so top secret. But it's more fun if we say it is!) Will they charge for content? Would you care if they did?

Scorecard

Folks seemed to like last week's TR-Lite -- perhaps we should take Queenie to the beach and take it easy more often?

Friday, May 22, 2009

The TR Lite: Calorie-Free, Just in Time for Swimsuit Season!

Ready for the weekend? We certainly are! In honor of that, here’s a quickie TR to get your afternoon started right -- so you can zoom out and dodge the crowds. The Queen’s already skated off to the beach, natch. Remember the sunscreen, children!

Forecast

Healthcare’s stayed in the news all week, and it’s here for the long haul: O’s reform legislation will be officially introduced in Congress. Will even half of what he’s proposed make it through?

GM might be heading for bankruptcy sooner than we thought, and right when Chrysler will lose ITS bankruptcy protection. Eep. Keep an eye on this AND oil prices, folks.

Fresh from the torturous media frenzy, Nancy P. is off to China next week to speak on energy and the environment. This after a no-comment press conference and a show of solidarity from the staff. Pelosi might have to leave the PLANET to get away from those pesky torture questions...

The CA Supreme Court will rule on Prop 8 this Tuesday (we know -- but sometimes Perez DOES report real news), and the DC gay marriage bill is under fire.

They’re interviewing for SCOTUS -- but don’t expect an announcement until AT LEAST next week.

Whatcha doing next Saturday? If the answer is, “my seventh grade teacher,” we found yer friends.

The Week That Was

Bo and Dick’s dueling security speeches had most of Twitter and the media rapt with attention for a while – Gawker has a lovely round-up of the turmoil. Even better: the Daily Show take.

Speaking of, please let us know... what the hell is Cheney trying to accomplish these days? Is it,
A: Underscore what the right perceives as O-hypocrisy on torture?
B: Protect his legacy?
C: Actually try to, as they say in the biz, "keep it real?"
We can't figure it out. If anyone out there has poll numbers on how well Cheney is playing the base, puh-LEEZE send 'em our way.

(PS: Dear Bushie, don’t worry, most of America feels liberated from you, too. Tell Cheney to go take a vacation, would you?)

The first bill to create a national limit on greenhouse-gas emissions was approved by a House committee yesterday -- is it time for serious eco-friendly policy making? Harry Reid says: "Word."

Steele, Steele, Steele. We know your party is, um, “restructuring,” but we can’t imagine this is helping.

Neither is this.

Oo, another CNBC meltdown! (This one is just for the LOLz.)

American Idol was an upset! Uh, apparently. Whatever -- we didn't watch, either. How much longer will this be on, anyway?

Quote of the Week

"The blogosphere is no alternative, crammed as it is with ravings and manipulations of every nut with a keyboard... Good journalism is structured and structure means responsibility... I would trust citizen journalism as much as I would trust citizen surgery." -Morley Safer, CBS News

Scorecard

Here's the Sunday morning show sched, but hopefully you'll be napping through all of it. Have some fun, and we'll see you next week!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pelosi Tortured, Goracle to Self-Immolate, Google Fails

Queenie's in a tiff, no doubt about it. Didn't you read it here first that O wouldn't move on a torture witchhunt, bc he knew what Congressional Dems knew and when they knew it? Politics as usual, bay-bee. The Republican obit is veddy veddy premature, despite crowing from all the Dem pollsters.

Forecast

Watch the downward spiral and weep, dear readers. The conversation has ineptly (or deftly?) been changed to what Pelosi knew and when. Her rambling, document reading performance didn't help much. Dontcha know how these things work, chickens? Everyone on the Intelligence Committees AND the leadership of both parties has been in on the show -- and THAT's why wise O didn't want a partisan truth-telling commission. What is it about communications crisis preparedness that these politicos don't quite get? Eat crow young and tender while exuding confidence and announcing next steps. Then you own the next news cycle. Uh, right? Or stumble around blindly and deny, deny, deny. And hand it all to Rush on a silver platter.

Of course, the Senate Gitmo debate next week will keep this story burning (especially since Obama just confirmed he'll be resuming military trials). Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee timed the fight over the closure of the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba with a $91.3 billion supplemental war spending bill hitting the Senate floor. Hmmmm.... anyone paying attention up there on the Hill? Hellooo?

Save the planet -- or NOT? O says yes, and the House bill should be approved by August. But it faces tougher going in the Senate, where R's and blue D's are nervous about "cap and trade." So, voila -- a compromise climate change bill that House Dems hope will attract enough support to win approval next week by the Energy and Commerce Committee.

But all this wonky conversation could get REALLY REALLY fun -- the Goracle has "not ruled out" engaging in super cereal civil disobedience against new coal plants. Oooh -- can we watch? YouTube? That Gore TV station no one knows the name of? (For the latest on climate science or wonkery, sign up for Duke University's Nicholas Institute's new e-zine blog thingie. C'mon -- you know you want it.)

Debt Shangri-La, dah-links. Senate credit card bill (teehee) next week. We're so pleased that our beloved politicos hope to fix it all up so that we can continue to live on our exorbitant debt. Let's hope China keeps buying our U.S. Treasury notes so we can keep buying all that junky stuff they make. BUT -- unlike Wall Street -- we're still on the hook to (eventually) pay it all off. Hmmmm... what will our darling favorite economists say about our continuing debt addiction? Anyone keeping notes on who did what when so we can be sure to trot it all out in the next Presidential? Dancing in the shadow of the economic guillotine, mes enfants.

Let's watch as the Senate ponders the fate of the next FCC Chair. Hearings on Julius Genachowski's ends a political stalemate that has pitted Democrats seeking to fill the commission's seats sooner rather than later against Republicans, who had stalled the nomination. In the headlines or a snoozer? We say check it out on C-Span, late night edition. Wine glass in hand.

Okay, we'll try the hockey thing AGAIN. I sooooo hope our "source" has got this right, as Queenie cannot even be bothered to check TV listings about (gasp) sports. The Caps got knocked out of the Stanley Cup playoffs by Pittsburgh, but there is still potential with the NBA: The Houston Rockets pulled out a win, which means they will go to a final Game 7 against LA on Sunday 5/17. Expect to see many pretty faces in the LA crowd.

The Week That Was

O got decisive House approval for money to escalate U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but the victory obscured anxiety within his party about the course he is taking in the war-torn region. Oh -- and the top commander got canned, even as Pakistan ran a multi-million dollar ad campaign trying to persuade policymakers that they are also victims. Some Democrats -- as opponents of President Bush's war in Iraq -- see the same perils in the new administration's military moves. Plus ça change, my loves... (But at least we're focused in the RIGHT part of the world, this time.)

Release the photos or don't release the photos? (O). Release the memos or don't release the memos? (Cheney-CIA). They're gonna all pop up on the Internet somehow, someway, so why not get ahead of the curve, no? The good news is that we can't even get through a White House briefing on any of this without being interrupted by the reporters' ringing cell phones. Journalism ADHD on hyperdrive. Remember: if you can't say it in 140 characters, it doesn't exist!

Health care all around. Things got moving this week, as ubiquitous O and team touted various solutions and health care companies, and insurers announced cost-cutting measures. Let's set up some scorecards and keep track. The whole conversation is sure to be more complex than that NCAA brackets thingie.

We're loving the SCOTUS leaks, and the Ginsberg plea for a woman on the court. Women? Hispanics? Both? Preferably wearing tattoos that say ROE RAWKS?

SPEAKING of Roe RAWKS tattoos, Slate was all set to offer up Double X, a blog founded by women but meant for everyone. Okay, sure. But so far it's received mixed reviews. As our good friends in the blogosphere will tell us, controversy keeps 'em coming back! (And check out this piece by Ann Friedman about "women's interest" media and the national conversation. A worthy read!)

OMFG -- how did we LIVE without the outsourced brain that is Google? The search engine when down for nearly an hour yesterday, and the world as we knew it ended. Momentarily. In the meantime, Twitter exploded with a bitchfest of epic proportions -- and this just after that itty bitty #fixreply snafu.

We were very surprised that the new Miss America only got a GUEST hosting slot on Fox. Why not an entire show? Certainly her fifteen minutes could be stretched into an entire high ratings hate-filled season. Or did the Donald want too big a cut? And so nice Governor Palin jumped into the fray. Beauty queens are VERY threatened by gay marriage, apparently. Too sad, as gay men are their biggest fans.

Warning: personal screed notice. WHAT IS IT WITH ALL THE MOTORCADES? Is this evidence of a really active executive branch? Or just a very imperial one? Queenie can barely get any work done what with the shrieking of sirens. Our interns are in danger of being crushed under the carriage wheels whenever they venture out to Starbuck's (yes, former doomed aristocrat Queenie fondly remembers her own carriage days careening over peasants). Can the Bushies really have ventured out so rarely?

Scorecard

Funny we didn't realize that CBS's Schieffer had last Sunday morning show's coup with Cheney's "torture works" op-ad. That was the week's conversation shaper, fer sure. (Yeah, yeah -- head of Paki/Aghani on THAT OTHER show even as we approve millions and re-structure that little war... but who's paying attention?) Expect lots more drama ginned up by right-wing radio and unfortunate Repug demands for a witch hunt.

So... broadcast is not completely irrelevant yet, dear blogger friends. Steele will be facing off against Tim Kaine this Sunday. Watch for the entertainment quotient.

See ya next week!

Friday, May 8, 2009

The TR: SuperMoms, Pink Quilts and SCOTUS Romps

Queenie is feeling a little disconnected and attenuated, unable to focus. Is it being nominated Mother of the Year? The Bristol-Levi abstinence-don't-work face off? Or the premature declarations of economic recovery married to the request for $75 B more bank dollahs? Whatever. Bring Mama a drinkipoo and diaper the baby your own damned self -- it's her day!

Forecast

NBC takes the Sunday weekend prize and continues this week's focus on Afghanistan/Pakistan with exclusive Hamid Kharzai/Asif Ali Zardari interviews. CBS gives Cheney a chance to explain it all with his first post-office interview. But that's okay, because Queenie will be with hundreds of other mothers (and kids) in a 24-hour White House vigil knitting a pink peace quilt (and tank tea cozy). No, really! Check it out.

Foreign policy and psychedelic pink yarn aside, we've got better news: The economy is all better! Except for that whole, um, $75B thing. Either it won't last, or we're just bonkers to even be getting out our credit cards again so soon. Of course Krugman's very gloomy, but we love that about him.

Aaaah, SCOTUS speculation. Queenie must have signed 200 online petitions making her royal demands QUITE clear this week. It starts to feel more like eHarmony than a judicial process (hair color, walks on the beach, etc.).

The future of peace in Israel/Palestine could be buoyed by visits from Netanyahu and Abbas in the next two weeks. Keep an eye out for updates and alternatives to the two-state solution, AND on how the new administration might change up the game. Obama's already all over AfPak, which has been hitting the news consistently lately.

Tomorrow night is the White House Correspondents Association Dinner and we know you've got your tuxes and purty dresses all ready to go. Text us if you have any star sightings! (The "celebs" at right, for example). Our favorite Alaskan governor, however, will be MIA for this one.

The Week That Was

Speaking of the Palins: What do Bristol Palin and Kenya (the country, duh) have in common? A no-sex pledge! We LOVED Gail Collins on Palin's scary new campaign, and are scratching our head over Kenya's...

O released his budget to the expected rants and raves. Too little cutting, too much spending, socialist, fascist -- who's to say? Personally, we (and Dan Rather) are more concerned over Dijon-gate.

Hmmmmm... Maybe Specter didn't think through the party switcheroo all the way. Or something fell through in bargaining. Lost seniority? Chairmanship of unfunded sub-committee? Pissed-off former Republican during Supreme Court confirmation? Ouch.

Torture is not torture, and Gitmo was a medium security prison, says Condi under not-exactly-harsh questioning from a Stanford student. Always amusing to watch a preternaturally controlled person show a little passion -- misguided though it may be.

Apparently, the New York Times did NOT bust the Boston Globe's union after all, allowing the venerable New England paper to stay alive. It must have been the ritual seppuku committed by the New York Times editorial staff in Central Park early one morning this week that prevented the appalling move. Well, there were MASSIVE pay cuts at the Globe. And, btw, the Times editorial page will now be written by unpaid bloggers. NOT.

Who will buy Twitter? We're dying to know. If it's not Google and it's not Apple, we have no one left. Or do we? In other Twitter news, Queen Rania has joined the masses, and so has Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister. Even the White House will Tweet you back. Be still, our Twittering hearts!

We just want the ENTIRE WORLD TO KNOW that MomsRising RAWKS. Yes, it's not just that they figured out a way to nominate Queenie (and most of America) for BEST MOTHER EVER. It's the running message at the bottom of this amazing campaign telling us about women's second class economic status. Such smart ladies over there!

Scorecard

Did we EVER screw up. We don't know enough about hockey to even remember what we did wrong, but we seem to have misstated something about the Caps schedule this past weekend. A human rights advocate even recommended... unpleasant methods against the Queen. But, ye gawds, at least you people finally figured out how to comment on the blog!

Enjoy this weekend -- our Culture Minister highly recommends ogling Chris Pine if you need to hide from the thunderstorms!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The TR: Piggy Pandemic, Even More Twitter News and Specter the Defecter

Took a bunch of pigs to get Sibelius confirmed, and, no, we're not talking about Congress. But better late than never... Pin on the paper surgeons mask and cuddle up! We have so much to tell you about pretty boy John Edwards!
Forecast

Of course the big media... er... sausage will continue to be the pig pandemic. And there's more fun and games to come. We'll have a congressional hearing next week on how schools and businesses are prepared to handle the outbreak. Cablenets are already screeching about pandemic overkill -- they're just irritated that they can't opine on less important things.

And just who let Papa Biden out to fan the hysteria? Is logorrhea a symptom? (Kind of rhymes with hog-diarrhea, and just as hard to spell...) Or does he have foot-in-mouth disease? Who can blame the man, though -- hundreds of schools closed, a member of Energy Secretary Chu's team already ill -- verily the man may speaketh truth.

Oh, EXCUUUUUSE ME, USDA Secretary Vilsack wants us to call it H1N1 Virus, and O complies. Sounds like "heiny virus." The American Meat Institute and WHO prefer North American Flu. What say you, flacks and flackettes, politicos, bloggers and columnists who gobble up our tasty little e-zine -- good messaging, or finger in the dike? NPR would like you to 'fess up! It's a rough situation. There's only human-to-human transmission, but the ignorant are eschewing pork products and our trading partners are always on the outlook to push their products ahead of ours....

Inspector Spector Defector will be the toast of the talk shows this weekend, and we'll have the popcorn. We love our friend David Broder, the ancient political scribe at WashPo who actually remembers when beloved Defecto was a Democrat! But, more to the point, says Broder, "[t]here are no Republican House members left in New England. A traditionally Republican House seat in Upstate New York has flipped to the Democrats, and both coasts, the Southwest and the upper Midwest are increasingly voting for Democrats."

Meanwhile, the DNC eyes GOP seats as the Grand Old Party considers re-branding. Lest we get TOO happy, Prince-Consort The Crank, as he badgers her with Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity's talking points ad infinitum (harsh before coffee, let me tell you), constantly reminds Queenie over breakfast that Republicans are NOWHERE NEAR dead, and in fact, still control the conversation through talk radio.

Well, we don't know where YOU learned about Souter (CNN?), but we know from Twitter HOURS before you did. Expect lots of conversation next week on O's replacement pick.

The Chrysler union-financed bailout will continue to make headlines. Some argued that the squeeze on car companies was designed to kill the unions. Now they're a 55 percent partner. Wonder if that will help change the dynamic to make car companies profitable? Oh, just give me a sleek little coupe that runs on vegetable oil and I'll be your slave forever!

Speaking of, we finally have climate action: The House Energy and Commerce Committee is scheduled to take its first vote on the bill next week. Note that Gingrich thinks Obama could lose his job over this bill, but Queenie votes for giving O a secondand third term instead...

Elizabeth Edwards tells all in a new book due out May 12th. It's hitting newsroom desks next week, so we're sure you've already gotten all the good bits on Twitter. If not, expect to hear about vomiting in the bathroom, begging Johnny boy not to run for Prez, etc.

Hockey! Hockey! Hockey! The Washington Capitals begin play this weekend (Game 1 Friday night) against Philadelphia Penguins after a squeaker with the Rangers. Place yer bets now! Caps, Caps, Caps!

The Week That Was

The Obama 100 Day Report Cards were issued, and everyone had something to say -- much of it contradictory. Obama's presser left us wondering if this is too much exposure. Are we seeing too much of our dreamy President? FOX was like, "Yeah, you are!" -- and didn't air it. Politically motivated or did they need the money THAT badly? In any event, the Queen has stopped getting her fix from stuffy old broadcast, as she prefers the "bad smoking kids back stage" quality of Tweets from the press gallery. Speaking of, have you seen this?

The Air Force One plane flew near the site of the 9/11 attacks, causing evacuations, panic and sheer embarrassment all around. Who thought this was a good idea? I mean, really?!

The GOP ain't doing so well on the gay marriage thing (and to that we say, YAY!) but they're still trying. Miss CA is on the boat, too -- she's in the new NOM ad and still in the papers for comments that might have cost her the Miss USA crown. Maybe Americans are finally embracing civil rights? The New Hampshire and Maine Senates voted to legalize gay marriage. Queenie, however, just wants her stylist to match the pretty loudmouth's hair color.
And about pretty hair.... Jordan's Queen Noor was SO not offended by her forced wait to enter the White House. Seems guards agreed she was way too hot to be a queen. And besides, her passport must be wrong as she couldn't possibly be a day over 25 (give or take).

Back to equality... we celebrated Equal Pay Day on Tuesday, and were sickened by reactions to articles about the wage gap. These people... go read it for yourself and leave a comment (or three). If they want a debate, they should get it!

The future of Twitter? Maybe no Twitter at all. Microsoft Vine combines aspects of Twitter, Facebook, Google and is meant to be used for crises, but, hey, looks fun for everyday! Is this another passing idea, or will it actually take off?

Scorecard

TURNER RULES!!!!

Well, it had to come. There's a crazy busy PR firm laboring behind the Turner Report and we have knocked the doors off these last few weeks. On April 21, we got a national (and online) media grandslam for client Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation when they released a survey showing roughly a million more people paralyzed than previously thought. All the national newspapers, all the networks, firestorm in the blogosphere... life is good. Thanks to AAUW, we were able to generate editorials and op/eds all over the country demanding equal pay for equal work, and of course, create more sturm und drang chez blogosphere.

See you next week, kittens! Keep those paper masks on and get thee to a Tamiflu dispenser (erm, doctor) if you've got flu symptoms!