Friday, February 25, 2011

2-25-11: Gaddafi is Insane, Obama's Been Snubbed, and Oscar's Oscar Predictions

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi sure knows how to stir up the people (not, uh, in a great way), and he's not going to get much further alienating the rest of the world with his horribly violent crackdown. We're not even finished with February and the world's changed quite a bit.

On a side note, please welcome our new Turner Central intern, Jason, who became the latest victim of all things snarky.

Let's get to it...

Forecast

Scott Walker's week hasn't gone too well, according to Google. He also received the punk treatment by a "David Koch." It's great to know where your priorities really are, guv'nah! The Wisconsin state assembly voted to pass a budget that includes a provision stripping bargaining rights for public-sector employees. And guess what, they pulled off their little trick at 1 in the morning, when Dems believed they had more time to debate. So democratic, you Republicans are! The legislation now heads for the state senate, where 14 Democrats are still on the run. Indiana's governor and GOP legislators caved a bit and dropped the anti-union bill from moving forward. The Indiana legislators that did flee are still on the run. Florida's Rick Scott indicated earlier that he does support collective bargaining, as long as union members are aware of the deals being made by their leaders.

Libya's Muammar Gaddafi refuses to step down, saying he would rather die a martyr. Eyewitnesses on the streets say hundreds have been killed in a crackdown ordered by the Libyan leader. How un-leader-like! The deadly turmoil hit home in Chicago, too, while the U.N. has condemned the violence against Libyan protesters. It appears Rummy had some foresight of the unrest. Uh, kind of. In Greece, thousands of workers are on strike, and protesting -- at times violently -- alongside students and pensioners over government cuts. It's difficult to predict what kind of Egypt will emerge in the coming months and years, but according to one professor, it won't turn into an Iran.

Mitt Romney keeps bringing up his business background (and now RomneyCare!) to drum up support for a more-than-likely-than-not presidential bid. The NY Post did a little (hit?) piece that may cloud that rosy picture. Mittens has yet to respond. In other 2012 news, John Thune has decided against running for the White House, and Newt's gonna have to answer that affair question, over and over again. Which reminds us -- social issues COULD make another appearance in 2012. Sigh. Oh, and Jimmy McMillan switched to the GOP, for some reason. Whatever.

Could it be that Gramps is changing his positions so rapidly because of a formerly secret psy-opsTR mccainpsyops program run by an Army general? Apparently visiting members of Congress and other foreign VIPs were targeted. The goal was get 'em to support sending more troops and secure more funding for the war. This way... sirs. The military is "investigating." As you remember, Rolling Stone also brought us the Stanley McChrystal story. Now why can't Wolf Blitzer or John King break these stories anymore?

How could you not forget those testy town halls during the health care reform debate? People are still MAD AS HELL because of the spending, apparently. Allen West and his fellow Tea Partiers are going to be giving their fellow patriots the facts, right? That'll be the day! Once this Wisconsin thing blows over, we'll be back to budget talking in our nation's capitol, we're sure of it! Meanwhile, Georgia Rep. Paul Braun and one of his constituents are keeping the "civility" streak alive and strong.

The Week That Was

Obama has instructed his Justice Department to stop defending Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Boehner's not enthused about this, folks. The speaker says Barry should be focused on jobs and the budget, not on a "controversial issue that sharply divides the nation." Oh, hey, John, do you mean issues like, um, abortion? All is well in Fox Fantasy World, even though Megyn Kelly can't keep the facts straight. Baha. In similar news, Hawaii's governor signed into law the legalization of civil unions, and Maryland is making some progress, too. And finally, Obama's pick for social secretary will be the first man and first openly-gay person to hold the position. Save your "that's fabulous!" jokes for the haters, guys.

If we've learned one thing from the past two years, it's that you can't have a tea party without a few tea bags. Haha, we kid! Or do we? Anyways, Scotty's basically telling his former base that he's not one of them. How's that for betrayal? Sad news for mavericks out there -- Gramps is no longer with you, according to new ratings by the National Journal.

The Obamas will NOT be attending the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Now that's a royal snub. But Kanye somehow got his name on the invitation list. (We're sure Buckingham Palace saw his latest tweets).

Nobody's coming to the aid of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's home-state crusade against prostitution. Nevada has the worst TR nzearthquakeunemployment rate in the country. Maybe we're on to something... Also, Oregon Rep. David Wu is taking heat for his previously reported bizarre behavior, which included some dress-up time as a tiger. Rawr!

Rahm Emanuel is the new mayor of Chicago, after defeating his rivals to amass more than 55% of the vote, preventing a run-off. Rahm will be in the mayor's office come May. And if you can believe it, Rahm's former foul-mouthed Twitter alter-ego started a NSFW tweeting feud with Michelle Malkin. She took the bait.

More than 100 were killed when an earthquake struck New Zealand Tuesday. Our thoughts are with those affected by the disaster.

Are You Not Entertained?

The Oscars are on Sunday. We'll get to the fun stuff to do later on, but who else could predict the winners better than Oscar, himself? (This video is amazing, kids!)

TR bourneCBS has canned the remaining episodes of this season's Two and a Half Men. The show's cast and crew are no doubt thanking Charlie Sheen for his latest rant. But really, this really sucks for them.

The Bourne Legacy, the fourth installment, is looking for a new lead actor. See you next year, Bieber?

For those of you who still watch American Idol, the 24 semi-finalists have been chosen. This is season also marks the first time fans can vote through Facebook. Why the heck did something like that take so long?!

Oh, Biebs, you're so right about your adoring fans and the haircuts. You can do NO wrong.

We gotta admit, there are a ton of apps that seem totally useless, but here in D.C. and many other municipalities going crazy with speeding tickets, this app might be totally worth it.

Interweb Tomfoolery

Facebook has a delicate balancing-act: sticking to its policies, while protecting the identity of anonymous activists who helped out Egypt's president. The Daily Beast has a good take on this emerging role of the social media giant.

Space Shuttle Discovery blasted off for the last time Thursday. It had a special crew member aboard -- Robonaut 2, who will be working TR robonaut2alongside fellow astronauts on the International Space Station. In related news, Detroit will be receiving its very own RoboCop statue -- though not for scientific tests.

Sarah refudiated Wonkette's investigative journalism on her Facebook whereabouts. Speaking of whereabouts, did you know she's headed to India to beef up her foreign policy expertise? (No pun intended.) So long, Lou!

You have got to see Queenie's own alma mater, George Mason University, rocking it out to Rage Against the Machine. Yes, we have hard rock flautists! What do YOU got?!

The crazy people of the Westboro Baptist Church had their website hacked, live. Take a looksie!

You'd think, with so many stories about the insider's take on Washington, that Politico would have great digs. Not the case. (Ed. Note: EEWW.)

Out on the Town

How does wine drinking AND walking sound to you? If you're answer is "great!," than this event is not to be missed. Crystal City is host to the first 1K Wine Walk this weekend. Stumble your way through the underground shops and stop to "hydrate" yourself with a selection of TR homerrun30-40 wines during your little stroll. But hurry -- Saturday sold out fast, so they've extended this not-to-miss adventure into Sunday.

For all you movie lovers, the AMC Loews in Georgetown is featuring a 24-hour marathon of ten films nominated for Best Picture. For 50 bucks, that's a great deal. There's also an awards showcase at the National Archives. Don't forget to tune in for the real thing on Sunday. You've got a wide range of options other than staying at home: It's happy hour all night long at The Heights. You can catch it all on the big screen at Arlington's Cinema 'N' Drafthouse, or swing on over to Nellie's. Also, D.C.'s only Academy-sanctioned watch party is available, albeit a bit pricier, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

The Smoke 'N Stout has returned to Bourbon Steak. Enjoy your meal with a Moo Thunder Stout for $7. (Don't know what that means? Go and find out!)

At the Smithsonian: The Best of Smithsonian Magazine's Seventh Annual Photo Contest, and a look back at the Kennedys, from 50 years ago. You know you want it, wonks!

Scorecard

Wisconsin is NOT going away. And thanks to Indiana Dems., the whole union-bustin' Republicans storyline is keeping us on our toes. We're also keeping tabs on the spreading unrest in North Africa and the rest of the Middle East -- if you're not, you really should be.

Have an entertaining weekend and we'll see you next week!

Friday, February 18, 2011

2-18-11: Something's Brewing in Wisconsin, South Dakota Sadness, and Watson Wins Again

Congrats, Governor Walker! You've been in office for a month, yet you're already plastered all over the news. Way to go on causing that budget shortfall, sir. It was just so calculated. We'll grant you that the Dems going rogue probably wasn't the most professional strategery for fighting your bill (they're still MIA, by the way), but it shows that they're listening to the thousands of public workers who are protesting right now. Nothing like ending the week with a little "take it to the streets!" But is it enough to re-empower the Democratic Party?

What else is up in the world? Snark on to find out...

Forecast

Madison is quickly becoming the flash point for labor unions fighting against Republicans aiming to take away bargaining rights. Thousands of protesters, including teachers, students and firefighters, are swarming the state capitol building demanding Governor Scott Walker back off. 14 Democratic lawmakers fled the state to delay the vote, and two were "interviewed" O'Reilly-style by an Illinois Tea Partier. But they have their supporters, too, including some cheese-heads in New York.

Obama unveiled his budget for fiscal year 2012. Republicans predictably pounced over the additional $1.6 trillion that the plan adds to the deficit over a decade. Some Democrats aren't happy with it, either, particularly with cuts to the energy assistance program for low-income earners. Education is receiving a modest boost despite all the painful cuts elsewhere. Yet Republicans want to slash education funding with a bill introduced the previous Friday. They may also have unwittingly taken the bait on that tricky issue of entitlement reform. Stewart caught Jeff Sessions red-handed. The New York Times has a handy info-graph for your perusal, and many of you are doing a bit better with personal finances. Buckle up, kiddos, this is going to be a rough couple of months (at least). But don't let Michele Bachmann scare you over a government shut-down...because that's Boehner's job.

The GOP House agenda is pretty unique this year. Darrell Issa leads off with his obsession with condoms, pot, and yoga. Some real investigatin,' there, Sheriff Darrell! Maybe this has something to do with a few Democratic operatives digging up his past? Anyways, both sides have come up with some ridiculous amendments to the budget. Barry's teleprompter was promptly saved from the budget axe (PHEW). Boehner's plan to cut a million jobs? So be it. Also, Free(dumb)works is handing out talking-point brochures to GOP'ers because, well, they don't have a message to sell repealing the health care law.

Egypt's military, which has taken over former president Mubarak's duties, indicated it will hold a constitutional referendum in two months. Bahrain is spinning out of control. Two dozen protesters were killed in Libya's "Day of Rage." Things are heating up in Iran, too. Are the pundits right? Is this really a wave of democracy in the Middle East? We're also concerned for the safety of journalists covering the unfolding events. And then there's the foolish tweet by a now former NYU fellow. Can we show some empathy? Apparently, not. By the by, Hillary Clinton tapped Marc Grossman to succeed the late Richard Holbrooke as the U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Polls are showing that Rahm is on his way to a blowout to become Chicago's next mayor. He's also made an offer to donate to charity if his foul-mouthed Twitter alter-ego comes forward. (But we LOVE his foul-mouthed Twitter alter-ego!) Also, New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman announced his retirement.

The Week That Was

A group of wing-nuts testified in support of an extreme -- and we really mean it -- bill to amend South Dakota's justifiable homicide law to theoretically permit anyone to kill an abortion provider. South Dakota: Just Plain Crazy. In other women's health news, Mike Pence's amendment to strip Planned Parenthood of funding passed. The Senate is expected to block the legislation.

Obama jetted out west to have a working dinner-discussion with Silicon Valley execs. Those in attendance included the CEOs of Apple, Facebook and Google. A little schmoozing before 2012.

A Italian judge ordered Silvio Berlusconi to stand trial on those charges that he solicited sex from an underage girl. Three judges -- all female -- will be presiding over the trial, set for April 6. Not a great way to celebrate an anniversary, eh?

So what happens to the millions of dollars concerned Tea Partiers send to a few important Tea Party leaders? No one knows. Don't question the Establishment!

Former South Carolina Senate candidate Alvin Greene was on the ballot for a state house seat and was soundly defeated. He previously said he felt optimistic about his chances.

Ah yes, do you remember the Iraq war? The Bushies deny misleading the American people to support the invasion, but there's another angle to it: the guy the Bush administration depended on for intelligence admitted to making it all up. WONderful.

Are You Not Entertained?

"Beliebers" were furious when their idol lost to Esparanza Spalding, so they went out of their way to deface her Wikipedia page. Classy. BREAKING: Biebs also says America's health care system is the reason for our evilness (sometimes we conveniently forget that Biebs is Canadian), and that he's anti-abortion. And, finally, don't show this video to your Belieber friend(s).

DIPE! Does observing a celebrity's eating habits mean anything, in a tightly compressed media frenzy world? Apparently.

Did you catch the Grammys? Much ado was made over Lady Gaga's egg, Cee-Lo Green's "flamboyant" peacock and trying to figure out who the hell Arcade Fire is.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie waded into some pretty presidential-level decision-making by asking his New York counterpart to take back Snooki and The Situation.

Fox News "apologized" for an "honest mistake" that appeared to be a smear against Ron Paul. Is it us or is Fox always apologizing for honest mistakes?

Interweb Tomfoolery

IBM's Watson handily defeated its lowly human opponents on Jeopardy. Kent Brockman welcomes the news.

Hey, American Red Cross? Can we come party with you this weekend?

Stephen Colbert shows you just how easy it is to make a cool $315 million.

Search Engine Optimization, made worthy of a rap, and now a whole lot cooler (we think).

Glenny's newest conspiracy theory: The Google is, in fact, a front for the federal government. You know, we're betting that he Google'd that. Also, what happened to his usual "wearing a costume" routine?

Coca-Cola's secret recipe may not be so secret anymore. Please read the legal disclaimer near the end, if you plan on making some of this stuff, yourself!

Geeky gals, have a look at your new Superman.

Out on the Town

Heads up! This President's Day weekend Metro will have you fuming if you haven't planned ahead. Don't hate, just elevate.

There's a lot to do over this very presidential weekend. Enjoy a breakfast and/or tour at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. Madame Tussauds has a new exhibit featuring all the presidents in wax form. For you athletic buffs, a 10k'er in Alexandria will fulfill your Saturday.

DC Fashion Week is coming up. There are many events through next Sunday, including a kickoff reception at Kellari Taverna, across from Turner Central.

Come celebrate Black History Month with the GMU Wind Symphony.

Free food and...belly dancers. Next Friday night is the Apokries Carnival at Slaviya of Adams Morgan. (The free stuff is between 9 and 10).

Feeling the need for some laughs at the expense of a former Alaska governor? Head over to The Sound of Palin.

The Mt. Pleasant Temporium is coming to town and last through mid-March. Shop away!

Scorecard

Well now, this Wisconsin situation has the potential to spread to many other state capitols. It's going to be a close one between this and the budget battle between Obama and Congress. Prepare for the long haul, people.

Have a nice, extended weekend, and we'll see you next week!

Friday, February 11, 2011

2-11-11: Mubarak Takes a Hike, Everyone's Retiring, and Love is in the Air

Protesters erupted in jubilation with the news that Mubarak's thirty years of power had ended. What does this all mean to the thousands of new Middle Eastern foreign policy Twitter "experts?"

Well, we're certainly snark experts. Read on for some truth-telling!

Forecast

Obama is speaking about today's big news: Mubarak is no longer president of Egypt. The Egyptian army will be taking control. Biden called his resignation a "pivotal moment in history." On the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, lawmakers are worried about a power grab by the Muslim Brotherhood. Congress people are stampeding to let you know that they had a hand in this momentous occasion. Now, let the western punditry begin! Leon Panetta's CIA just had to come out and say that they predicted it. Uh, scratch that. Distraction, much? All you had to do was check this status page, Leon. Mubarak, at first, refused to step down, and promised to hand "some" power to his number two. That just further pissed off his opposition on the streets. A military-controlled Algeria is also preparing for protests.

Are y'all ready for some CPAC love? Momma Grizzlies are disappointed because their darling Sarah won't grace them with her presence -- is it because of the gays? Any-who, Ron Paul is again looking to "rig" the presidential straw poll, because his victory in 2010 meant so much! Sharron blathered about freedom this, freedom that; Michele ranted about socialism; and Raul, from the far land of Idaho, pandered to the birther crowd. Dick and Rummy were booed by some Ron Paul people. Donald Trump was there for some reason, too. Also, our friends over at Wonkette went undercover to discover the true meaning of the gathering. Sadly, the freak show comes to an end tomorrow with a keynote from the infamous Allen West. Not such a great start for 2012 GOP'ers. What a country we live in.

Obama's approval is on the uptick, but now centrist Democrats in danger in next year's election are seeking "independence" by going after the health care law and relaxing business and environmental regulations (because we don't need those, right?). BTW, Repubs AREN'T backtracking on the whole rape-definition outrage. Deeply disappointed! Heath Shuler is crying in a corner somewhere because Nancy won't give him and a significantly reduced Blue Dog caucus the attention he says they deserve. Don't worry, though, Republicans aren't looking that strong, either.

Hey, peeps, remember the John McCain from 2006, or 2004 -- or maybe 2000? Well, he's is talking about immigration reform again, and that it might have a chance of succeeding this year. Gramps is teaming up with his Senate BFF, Lindsey Graham. As you know, a lot of Tea Party govs. aren't pleased with "Obamacare," so they've done the most effective thing they can do and penned a letter to Kathleen Sebelius. And, in between all that news, the administration put forward plans for broadband internet expansion and a larger investment in high speed rail. Well, these initiatives involve spending, so good luck trying to sell them to the Tea Partiers.

Sources say the Koch brothers are gearing up like crazy to fund conservative organizations for 2012. $88 million seems a little low for the Koch's, eh?

The Week That Was

A wave of retirements this week -- not all for the right reasons. In the Senate, Jim Webb, who never really liked the whole "being a politician" thing, is leaving after a single term. His Arizona colleague, Jon Kyl is also retiring (but SO wants to be veep). California Rep. Jane Harman also resigned from Congress this week, to head up the Woodrow Wilson Center. But everyone had their eyes on already-former-Rep. Chris Lee, who resigned within hours of some leaked NSFW (at least, on the Hill?) Craigslist photos. Oh, and Gawker broke the news. Take that, Blitzer!

Boehner's been having trouble keeping the flock together. Tea Partiers defied his leadership team and voted against an extension to provisions of the Patriot Act. And Cantor's vote special vote to cut funding to the U.N. failed. All in all, a great week for the Republicans! Also on the Hill: Reid and Kerry aren't happy with Barry's plan to cut aid to the federal government's energy assistance program.

The International Monetary Fund is thinking about the possibility of replacing the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency. Supporters of the change say the American currency continues to be volatile, leading to sharp changes in commodity prices. The Treasury Department also released a report that outlines the Obama administration's plan to reform the housing finance market, hoping to tackle the issues that led to the ongoing mortgage crisis. Each proposal calls for different levels of federal government involvement, but each assumes for the elimination of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over five to seven years.

Can you believe it? It's been four years since a certain former Illinois senator launched his presidential campaign. So, go ahead, and watch it here, for old time's sake. On that note -- today was also Gibbsy's final day as White House Press Secretary. Tears. Politico sent him off in style.

The Super Bowl was just last week, right? Hopefully you remember some of the bestest commercials. Baby Darth Vader, (Meg Ryan lookalike), was unveiled to us. Well, it also looks like the NFL is running into some more trouble with "labor issues." The dispute between players and owners is over a $9 billion pie. Mmm. Pie.

The votes have been officially counted from last month's referendum in southern Sudan. Nearly 99% of the ballots were in favor of secession. Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir accepted the results (good move, dude!).

Are You Not Entertained?

Keith Olbermann is heading to Current TV after his dramatic fallout with MSNBC. Al Gore got into a little dust up with Keith's former employer.

Apparently, Lindsay never learned the true meaning of "borrowing." Lohan was charged with allegedly stealing a necklace worth $2,500. If she were anyone else, there might be jail involved, but we know how these things turn out in Hollywood.

According to the WaPo, a Grammy award isn't worth anything anymore. Usher and Biebs will be sharing the stage on Sunday, so maybe a few of you will be tuning in. Will he be sans hair? NPR did a wittle review for their fan base of teenage girls.

Charlie Sheen giving advice to college students? Haha. No.

Interweb Tomfoolery

AOL acquired Arianna's Huffington Post for $315 million. Will progressives be left behind? There's a call for current contributors to boycott.

Verizon's iPhone4 is finally here, but the launch didn't exactly meet expectations. Perhaps people are holding out for the fifth generation or the Microsoft-Nokia gamble.

How would you like some .love beyond Valentine's Day? You'd better come up with a a great reason, because there's about to be a big rush for space on the internets.

Hey, look! You too can now pre-order Bristol Palin's soon-to-be hit entitled, "Untitled Bristol Palin Memoir."

We REALLY don't think Mississippi understands the image they've managed to cultivate to the rest of the country. Meanwhile, a Tennessee state rep. credits previous work at Hooters for her first successful campaign. Who knew?

Crediting journalists is serious biz, peeps -- even if the subject of the story is a joke.

Out on the Town

Valentine's Day is Monday, and what better way to celebrate than the freezing your buns off for the Cupid's Undie Run? More than likely, you and your special someone will enjoy a dinner for two at one of Queenie's favorite Alexandria restaurants. Sweet tooths can also head over to the Valentine's Day mixer at Del Ray Artisans. Singles, don't fret -- there's always places to eat! AGAINN is hosting its annual anti-Valentine's Day weekend, if that suits your tastes.

Over the weekend, you can enjoy the Fifth Annual Virginia Wine & Food Showcase. It's a little farther out from the city, but maybe you can hitch a ride with a fellow wine and cheese lover? For something closer to home, head over to the The Grand Tasting at the Ronald Reagan Building. Enjoy a some Asian food at the Family Festival, or maybe you'd prefer some Latin culture and bites at the El Salvador consulate.

Feeling stuffed but still have some dollars burning a hole in your wallet? There's the DC Record Fair in Arlington. It's always nice to get an LP or two for your mom or dad (or hipster cousin).

Scorecard

Mubarak is gone, but what's next? Egypt is definitely staying around in the news. Meanwhile, we're still pouring over photos of the hilarious characters at CPAC.

See you next week!