Friday, July 24, 2009

The TR: Gates-Gate, Forgetting Sarah Palin and R.I.P. Taco Bell Dog

We're truly into the signature hot, sticky, Amazonian kind of summer you Washingtonians have been waiting for... yuck. Although fun, spontaneous thunderstorms (check out this awesome photo) are a plus, no? Everyone's got an August exit strategy, including Congress -- plenty of time to work on those media campaigns, people!

Forecast

Call us Pollyanna, but we haven't heard the last of the healthcare-before-pols-get-outta-town story. Our impressive Communicator-in-Chief will keep taking his healthcare message to the masses (although, according to Gibbs-y, not via Twitter). We haven't had someone this good since, well, Reagan (hmmmm). The Senate Dems are unimpressive, however. Tell us -- unemployment booming, states going under, entitlement systems cracking -- just what about this mess don't folks understand? (And don't give me any of your right wing radio crap.) Healthcare is the elephant in the room -- and it's now or never.

The Gates racial profiling story will continue to provide plenty of commentary grist for the mill. The bottom line: did he show the cops his ID or didn't he? Early on he said no, then he said yes; cops maintain all along he refused. Queenie's own husband had cops pull guns on him when there was a report of a break-in at our peaceful little castle. Now, racial profiling is alive and well, don't get us wrong (perhaps the Prince Consort's dilemma was redneck profiling?), but, FYI, it's always helpful to be polite when scary cops have handcuffs and guns.

Will we have a food safety bill out of the house by Friday or won't we? Food safety groups say yes; CQ sez maybe. Then expect victim stories next weekend and beyond.

Our resident Fortuneteller found us this handy guide for all the econ-jargon we've been ignoring for the past 8 months or so. It may be especially helpful as the Treasury Department continues to introduce legislation to regulate our financial markets; Geithner was, yet again, testifying this morning. This week it was a bill aimed at tightening credit card regulations and next week it'll be legislation will regulate over-the-counter derivatives.

Sotomayor's hearings may be over, but we are still sitting on the edge of our chairs waiting for our Wise Latina to be voted in. Finally! A vote has been scheduled for next week Tuesday and key Republicans are finally jumping on board. Buenas suerte! (Btw, did you see the Colbert screed on reverse racism? LOVE it!)

Those outside of Chicago’s radio airwaves haven’t heard much from Rod Blagojevich lately, especially since former Chief of Staff John Harris ratted him out in a plea deal. But we may here more of his lame excuses next week when a judge will rule whether or not to release transcripts of secret FBI recordings that have been requested by CNN. Good -- we're sick of Palin!

The Week That Was

Hillary was all, "Stop it with the nukes," and then North Korea was like, "LOL! You're a stupid girl!" And then Hill was like, "Whatevs, grow up." With Congress going to recess, this sounds like we're back in preschool. When's snacktime again?

Despite the fact that (and we quote) "we're living through a clusterfuck of epic proportions," we liked Obama early in the week and weren't so much feelin' the Republicans. But now we find he's on a thin rope -- there's a huge risk of Prez-overexposure, these press conferences ain't helping, and now his approval rating is less than 50%. It's gotta be the mom jeans.

OMG, New Jersey! 44 people have been arrested in a massive money laundering scheme, including mayors, officals and rabbis. In case you're planning your own giant corruption scandal, my friends, remember to keep it quiet or use codewords or something. Doesn't anybody watch TV anymore?

In social media news, Congress is all over it with their own social network; if you're feeling lonely in the Twitter-verse, this is probably why; and don't freak out if you lost some followers -- it's just trash day. Our Culture Minister lost 20 spam-bots!

Walter Cronkite and the Taco Bell Dog passed away this week, and in a blow to respectable journalism, they got similar coverage. Maybe it's because all the big names were attending Cronkite's funeral? R.I.P., Old Ironpants.

Scorecard

So weird! We mentioned Dan Rather last week and here he is again, still talking about that little military record event. Dan, are you listening out there?

No TR next week, kiddos -- the Culture Minister needs a sunburn tan, and Queenie needs a snarking break. In the meantime, you can check out the coolest DC blog we've seen in a while (written by a firefighter!) while we're gone.

Don't miss us TOO much -- we'll be back before ya know it!

Friday, July 17, 2009

The TR: Splainin’ to Do, Healthcare Possibilities and a Goodbye to a Friend

Queenie's got some splainin' to do... She only watched SotomayOR with the sound off. But she's tracked every detail of health care legislative development while cleaning up dog vomit AND taking care of kids. (Oh, and creating UK media firestorms and easily framing policy storms in personal stories. Talk about work/life balance.) But we're feeling very oppressed this week and DEPRESSED by the crazy lack of respect our wise Latina received. Nonetheless, she's a shoo-in. Trust us.

Forecast

The hearings are over and Sotomayor did not have a hysterical meltdown as Republicans had hoped (we mean, that's what women DO, right?). Despite the fact that three of the seven Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have said they are likely to support the nomination and move the process to the full Senate (including Mel Martinez), some say they will block next week's proposed vote, just because they can! Remind us, what's the term for that again? Oh, being an asshole. Right. Anyway, watch out for August.

Is the economy back from "the abyss?" We're hearing whispers of improvement from all corners, but should we believe them? Krugman, as usual, sez, "LOL! Don't be silly."

Throw this in the WTF category, y'all. A defense spending bill on the slate for next week has a hate crimes amendment in it that, apparently, will lead to punishing Christians for their beliefs against homosexuality. Duhhhh! Of COURSE it would! Silly liberals.

The moment we have all been waiting for. Or have we? The trusty New York Daily News is reporting that we could know as early as next week what caused the death of MJ. If you hear any tidbits (from CREDIBLE SOURCES), drop us a line!

Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. isn't likely to face the hot seat questioning (yowza!) next week that Sotomayor faced this week. When he appears before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday to approve his nomination as Ambassador to China, he can expect to move through the process with ease. Maybe it's because he's a *gasp* Republican? Michael Haltzel, former Foreign Relations Committee staffer, had this gem: "I just would be very, very surprised if this were highly confrontational or even unpleasant for him. I don't want to use the word 'love-in,' but it could be." Sounds messy!

The Week That Was

YOU had the Sotomayor stuff on your office TV all week, didn't you? We watched. We Tweeted. We laughed. We cringed. The racism and sexism abounded, but we were proud of our girl for not cracking under the pressure. In fact, we were all just cracking up as Repubs embarrassed themselves. Maybe they should read our favorite headline this week: "It Would Behoove the Republican Party to Immediately Stop Pissing Off Latinos." And this might be the cutest story of the week: Girl Scouts from Baton Rouge sold cookies so they could attend the hearings in person. Cool!

The health care bill is trudging along, and we'll probably be mentioning it like this for the next year or so. If you haven't been keeping up, here's a nice summary of the latest. Seems like it got a boost this week: the AMA declared their support, and it passed the Ways and Means committee! Progress? Pfft. We'd say "think of the children!" but turns out they don't support healthcare. Who knew?

Hmmmm... Cornell study shows us that online media are only breaking 3.8 percent of news stories. As cross-media strategists, we beg to differ. Remember Dan Rather brought to his knees? That little Swift Boat incident? The Macaca snafu on that little YouTube contraption? Traditional outlets are rushing in where fools once dared to tread, but online media still provides a powerful way to shape the conversation. We recommend Twitter for starters... call with questions, chers amies!

NASA lost the moon landing footage! But, in a well-executed PR move, is now re-releasing it all new and improved. Raise your hand if you still think it's all a conspiracy! Add the FOX special tonight (yeah, yeah, we know) to your DVR to see Buzz Aldrin quietly grumbling about being the second man on the moon. Oh, and did you hear about the China espionage dramz?

In Memoriam

This is a true eulogy, not a tongue-in-cheek parade of print media sorrows. It was very apt that Queenie learned from Facebook that a dear friend from long ago tragically passed away at the age of 44 on his Connecticut farm. Nick Givotovsky was an incredible intellect, someone who saw technology's early promise way back in the 1980's when he and Queenie were busily building the world's first gallery of communications technologies with a team of other forward-thinking 20-somethings. As he -- and the technology -- matured, Nick made quite a name for himself, warning of the Internet's threat to privacy. As Queenie (again, fittingly) pieced his subsequent career together through Google and blogs, she found a poem about fears of "bar coding our souls." So Nick. He was youth and brilliance personified. Narcissistically, part of Queenie's last shreds of remaining youth die with the knowledge that he has moved on. Incredible that the very best are taken from us so young -- those that the world really needs. Great sympathy to his widow and children, and thank you for providing Nick the grounding and support to realize his early promise.

Flagrant Self Promotion

In a handful of phone calls, we had the British isles a-storm with the latest tidbits from their own economic meltdown. Not to mention the press that a half hour of direct dialing generated for victims of food safety. And, btw, one of our clients' (once averse to Web 2.0) tweets appeared on the landing page of the New York Times. Not a bad week -- and that's NOT ALL, chickens, just what we choose to bore you with here...

Reader Comments

"Get it out earlier," moan our readers! (What ARE you suggesting?!) Seems folks are taking off for the beach before they can procrastinate over the TR. Oh, lads and ladies, we'll do our best. But our poor Culture Minister really is tasked with running the WHOLE FIRM, and the TR is just a part of that. Cut her a tiny break, would you?

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The TR: Rubbernecking, Freak Shows and the Real Deal

Ye gods, return from two weeks at the beach and it's still all-MJ, all-Palin, all the time! Meanwhile, the economy's still tanking, Kim Jong Yosemite Sam Il is up to several kindsa no good and, other than the cool and breezy DC weather, things are kinda scary. (This TR is a doozy, so make yourselves comfortable, please!) Looks like rubbernecking the celeb freak shows (um, LOL @ Marion Barry!) is all we have to ease our pain. That and this.

Forecast

Want a blow-by-blow report of the SotomayOR hearings next week? The Huffington Post will getcha a front row seat. Ok, maybe not FRONT-front ROW, but blogger Doug Kendall will be blogging live from the hearing room to keep us up to speed on the haps. You can also check it out on PBS and CSPAN -- you know, if you're boring and old... (we kid!). Want to know WHO will be testifying next week? If you thought only political bigwigs, lawyers and firefighters from Connecticut would be speaking out, have we got a surprise for you... how about baseball pitcher David Cone? And then a bunch of bigwigs, lawyers and firefighters.

Eep -- cyber attacks! Word is it came from an Axis of Evil. Wait, can we say that now?

Sporting a sling with a State Department logo (WTF), Hillary Clinton reappears to deliver a major foreign-policy speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington next week. FYI, speech will be a PR effort as much as it will be a national policy update. But you knew that, didn't you? Such smarty-pants!

Despite Speaker Pelosi's efforts to push the healthcare bill out to committees by next week (and, y'know, squashing that whole MJ resolution), the conservative pack of Blue Dawg Dems sent a letter to House leaders asking for more time. Boo on them for not focusing on this effort over the course of the last several years and for not being ready for this debate. And louder boos for members of the coalition, like Mike Ross (D-AR), who are threatening to vote against the bill if it moves too fast. Remember, Ross is one of 44 dems who voted against the much needed cap and trade bill. We're not sure we can count on his vote no matter HOW slow the process of healthcare reform moves -- and, dude, it's gonna be slow.

Gay marriage update: DC is the next legislative battleground, Massachusetts is challenging DOMA and remember how Elton John is, like, gay and stuff? Please explain this to us.

For those on Queenie's team who are SOL (Sick of Lance! See what we did there?), next week may bring some relief as long as Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara holds onto the yellow jersey in the Tour De France. (You DO know that's going on, right?) With Armstrong only seconds behind Cancellara, there's a chance he'll take the yellow jersey for the first time this season. But does he HAVE to take over the ESPN Tour website? Queenie's team is demanding a Lance blackout, but isn't likely to get their wish anytime soon.

One of our new favorite blogs deserves a shout-out: Unsuck DC Metro has been keeping us aware of all the Red Line Fails since the crash, which, by the way, will continue indefinitely. Bookmark it, DC folks!

The Week That Was

Oh no. He. DIDN'T! Wolf Blitzer did NOT do several consecutive shows on the King of Pop! Yes he did, dear readers. And (gasp) TR Central was forced to watch FOX to get some news. Thank God for newspapers, or we would have had no idea what was going on in the world. Oh, wait, they're dropping like flies.

Did you watch the MJ funeral? Yeah, yeah, you and 3 million of your friends. We had it on in the office and our youngest staffers were hoping you could answer: why the hell was Queen Latifah there? Anyway, it was well-done. Let the wacky post-funeral controversies begin! (Is his brain back with his body yet?)

Jeb Bush said Obama might be a socialist and had a secret plan all along. Yawn. What is UP with these Republicans?

Anyway, O's been busy this week. Doing what, you ask? Trying to curb the spread of nukes? Yup. At the G-8 summit? Of course! Hangin' with the Pope? Durr. Potentially being kind of pervy, but not really, because it's all contextual, and, anyway, everybody does it? You decide! (Just a note: lots of people like to take things out of context. We're looking at you, Hannity.) Here was our favorite cute-First-Family article of the week, by the way. It'll make you feel all cuddly. He just got to Africa today, so go flip on CNN already. Geez. We can't do ALL the work for you people.

PS: One of our favorite things about Twitter? Getting the 411 on things like the G-8 summit from attendees like Sarah Brown. And, hey, the Royal Family!

We couldn't do just one screed on international news this week, so here's a shortlist: violence and earthquakes in China; great news from Uganda; more from Iran; journalists still jailed in N. Korea; and violence since the Iraq pullback. And you NEED to read these 10 reasons the US isn't freaking out about Honduras.

Here is the Queen's mini-tribute to Palin (whom, liberal elite media, the vast bulk of voting conservatives LOOOVE, despite our Culture Minister's nasty digs). Thank you, Sarah, for lowering the bar. Thank you for making it okay for wacky, mediocre women to have a chance at the political big show. Women used to have to be better than anyone else to get into the club -- now the bar has officially been lowered to the male entry point. (Note from our Culture Minister: "'Blah, blah, blah, equality for all, etc.' I'd like to respond with: Department of Law. Think she'll go for 2012?")

Someone heard us ranting about the Real World haters and joined our ranks, and, just for that, we're linking to him. Right on, bro!

Scorecard

Just loved how many of you responded to our July 4th "are you EVEN in the office" with chatty notes about where you were. And it wasn't the office. Kudos!

Also got a thumbs up for "less snark" and, counter-intuitively, a pat on the back for "great snark." Um... thanks? We think?

Homework assignment: Practice dropping your Rahm Bombs this weekend. We'll see those shining faces bright and early on Monday. Class dismissed!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The TR: Are You Even IN Your Office Right Now? Didn't Think So.

Ready for the 4th? We figure that the entire city is off on their vacation plans already, except for those forlorn few trapped in the office right now. Our Culture Minister feels your pain. We hope you can leave soon -- fireworks, hot dogs, BBQ and the pool are calling your name!

Enjoy these juicy TR tidbits -- just like Mom used to make.

The Tr Lite: Freedom Edition

MJ, MJ, MJ! The King of Pop's death has crashed the news cycle this week, and taken Iran/the economy/any other celebs/everything else with him. The latest:
ANYWAY. Aside from that, things actually happened in the world this week. We know! We were surprised too!

Hey, South Carolina! Did you accept Sanford's apology? We heard the words "self-serving" and "bullshit" were appropriate. His wife thought so too, and she deserves the props (and WOW, we hate linking to this but listen to some of the bs Michael Wolff is spewing about her). Look, blah blah blah, scandal, infidelity -- we wrote about it last week, we mentioned it this week, we're done, okay? No more Sanford. We're bored. Go back to Maria, take care of your sons and call it a DAY.

North Korea is celebrating the Fourth of July early! H'ray! Wait... what?

Everyone is unemployed. We mean, you knew that, but now it's confirmed. And it's all Obama's fault!

Now, okay, everyone knows that pulling out is not always a great plan. (Take that one how you like, folks.) But the US pulling out of Iraq's major cities? We'll take it. Say hi to Papa Joe and George Stephawhatever for us!

This is from last week, and made the Twitter rounds already, but LOL! Stoned wallabies!

In Other News You Forgot Was Still Happening, it's FRANKEN.

The quickest scandal we ever did see: first the WashPo was offering a pay-for-access dinner; then everyone freaked out; then they weren't. Bam. Well done, all.

Finally, in local news, the Real World-ers are moving in, and the stalkers/haters are on it. If you're into the DC blog scene, expect to hear more about their every move, and then wonder why you care.

PS: Don't. Forget. About. Iran.

Scorecard

So that's it. Maybe we missed something, but you know what? We're outta here. Tell us what we missed and we'll, um, read it.

Here's a handy list of ALLLLLL the fun things you can do around here this weekend. And be careful with those fireworks, people. THIS IS WHAT COULD HAPPEN. For serious. Don't Sanford it.

Have a GREAT holiday!