Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Happy 50th Jon Stewart

I really wish I could take credit for finding these two clips, and even the idea of a Happy Birthday Jon Stewart post, but The Nation’s Greg Mitchell beat me to it (well played, professional journalist who’s way better at this than I am…!).

The Daily Show (and, later, The Colbert Report) have been staples of my political/comedy diet for as long as I can remember (I’m getting old, that timeframe is getting shorter every year…), and Stewart is at his best in election years and when he’s doing the analysis of Fox News that other media outlets are too scared of doing. Indecision 2004 was my first extended Daily Show experience (I even have the DVD set), and I’ve been hooked ever since. That it was not always easily available in the UK was most irksome, but it got better.

Here he is in one of the best scenes from his show, taking apart that most buffoon-like of conservatives, Glenn Beck:

And, in possibly the first time I ever saw him outside of The Daily Show, in which he takes apart the bow-tie-wearing Tucker Carlson on Crossfire:

This remains one of the strangest segments on any media I’ve seen. The fact that Carlson doesn’t seem to understand that the Daily Show is a comedy show, and that by definition his remit is completely different to that of a “real news” program…

Stewart: “I’m here to confront you, because we need help from the media, and they’re hurting us… What you do is not honest.”

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Dark Money & the 2012 Election

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A lot of people have spoken/written/pontificated about the impact of Dark Money in US elections – many on the left trumpet the fact that it “didn’t work” this time around (after all, President Obama was re-elected). But... what if it actually did have an impact? What would the results have been without the injection of billions of dollars of Super-PAC money? Would the demographics have been different? Would President Obama have won more of the White Male vote?

If there were fewer ads trumpeting his Kenyan-background, Nazi-Communist [sic] policies, would people have been able to form a clearer picture of what each candidate, and especially the President, actually stood for?

In the clip above, they discuss Karl Rove, and I thought it would be interested to include this link, to the breakdown of his American Crossroads Super-PAC finances/operations.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Mandatory Minimums, The West Wing, & US Political Stasis

Nation-20121112The other day, I was reading an article in that week’s issue of The Nation, and I was reminded of an old West Wing episode. The article in question was Judge Mark W. Bennett’s “Imposing Justice” (it has a different title online). What amazed me was how little the national discussion on drugs has changed since the episode of The West Wing – “Mandatory Minimums” (Season 1, Ep.20) – first aired, on May 3rd 1999.

“Never could I have imagined that by the end of my 50s, after nineteen years as one of 678 federal district court judges in the nation, I would have sent 1,092 of my fellow citizens to federal prison for mandatory minimum sentences ranging from sixty months to life without the possibility of release. The majority of these women, men and young adults are nonviolent drug addicts. Methamphetamine is their drug of choice. Crack cocaine is a distant second. Drug kingpins? Oh yes, I’ve sentenced them, too. But I can count them on one hand… I am greatly conflicted about my role in the ‘war on drugs.’”

Thursday, 1 November 2012

New York after Sandy

This is a clip from yesterday’s Rachel Maddow Show, in which she offers a stark video of the electricity situation on Manhattan:

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We’re in Astoria, which has been – amazingly – left largely unscathed by Sandy’s passage. We saw a few downed trees (below) and some downed power lines by the largest community church, but other than that we have escaped unharmed. I’ve said it in other venues, but it feels a little like we somehow cheated…