Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Keith Olbermann

Olbermann v. Gore

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Oy. More here and here.

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April 5, 2012 at 6:30 pm

All the Things That Happened Today

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* Sad news: Terrorist attack at Moscow’s busiest airport.

* Rumors are swirling that the Wachowskis may pull a Lucas.

* Judge Rules White Girl Will Be Tried As Black Adult.

* SOTU 2011: “How We Win the Future.” Warning: climate change may not exist in the future.

* No composting either.

* Will big-name Republicans sit out 2012?

* The problem with regarding the photography of suffering as ‘pornography.’

* Killjoys keep debunking the “twin suns in 2012” Betelgeuse supernova story. Can’t I have just this one thing?

* Soccer science! As game theory predicts, legitimate falls far outnumber fake falls, Wilson reported at the meeting. Only 6% of the 2800 falls were highly deceptive dives. Players were two to three times as likely to dive when close to the goal, where the payoff was huge: Statistics show that there is an 80% chance of scoring from penalty kicks. Almost none of the highly deceptive dives resulted in free kicks against the diver. And referees were most likely to reward dives that occurred close to the goals—perhaps because the players were farther away and the deception harder to detect, he noted.

No. Just no.

* James Kochalka is Vermont’s first cartoonist laureate.

* Headline of the day: Man admits mailing hundreds of tarantulas.

* I don’t want to alarm anyone, but it appears the Bush administration may have broken the law.

* Genghis Khan: history’s greenest conqueror?

Unlike modern day climate change, however, the Mongol invasion actually cooled the planet, effectively scrubbing around 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere.

So how exactly did Genghis Khan, one of history’s cruelest conquerors, earn such a glowing environmental report card? The reality may be a bit difficult for today’s environmentalists to stomach, but Khan did it the same way he built his empire — with a high body count.

Over the course of the century and a half run of the Mongol Empire, about 22 percent of the world’s total land area had been conquered and an estimated 40 million people were slaughtered by the horse-driven, bow-wielding hordes. Depopulation over such a large swathe of land meant that countless numbers of cultivated fields eventually returned to forests.

For certain values of “green”… Via MetaFilter.

* And also via MetaFilter: Vermont vs. corporate personhood. Republicans vs. the Internet. Rahm Emanuel gets Chicago’d. The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. The United States of Shame. Teacher salary? Damn you North Carolina!

Good Night and Good Luck

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Written by gerrycanavan

January 21, 2011 at 11:23 pm

World’s Greatest Trick Play Ever – Links

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* Olbermann lives. The Nation calls it a victory for “bold progressives.” Our first!

* pulparchive.com is a classic SF magazine cover a day.

* Breaking news: Democratic party leaders are completely worthless.

Look, if Democrats can’t repeal a policy more than two thirds of the American people, including a majority of conservatives want gone then they can’t expect people to vote for them.

* Climate scientists to get serious in opposing the nihilists who just took over the House.

* Hard to believe an obvious lie would gain traction in conservative circles.

* Alas, Ireland.

* The Supreme Court has turned down its first challenge to the Affordable Care Act. But don’t get too excited; it was on procedural grounds.

* Der Spiegel on the end of America.

The United States of 2010 is dysfunctional, but in new ways. The entire interplay of taxes and investments is out of joint because a 16,000-page tax code allows for far too many loopholes and because solidarity is no longer part of the way Americans think. The political system, plagued by lobbyism and stark hatred, is incapable of reaching consistent or even quick decisions.

The country is reacting strangely irrationally to the loss of its importance — it is a reaction characterized primarily by rage. Significant portions of America simply want to return to a supposedly idyllic past. They devote almost no effort to reflection, and they condemn cleverness and intellect as elitist and un-American, as if people who hunt bears could seriously be expected to lead a world power. Demagogues stir up hatred and rage on television stations like Fox News. These parts of America, majorities in many states, ignorant of globalization and the international labor market, can do nothing but shout. They hate everything that is new and foreign to them.

Sounds about right.

* World’s greatest trick play ever.

* And scientific proof that 30 Rock is funnier than S#*! My Dad Says. On this there can be no debate.

Olbermannia

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MSNBC has caused a stir by suspending Keith Olbermann indefinitely without pay for making political donations to Democratic candidates (lated amended to “without prior permission”). The Wall Street Journal reported that Nation editor Chris Hayes was also being punished for donations (these made before Hayes was even under NBC contract), but Hayes denied this. Joe Scarborough made similar donations, as has Pat Buchanan—but as with most such things, it’s okay if you’re a Republican.

It’s likely that the Comcast merger was a factor.

Late last year, Comcast — the nation’s largest cable provider and second largest Internet service provider — inked a deal taking over NBC Universal, the parent company of MSNBC. Comcast moved swiftly to reshuffle MSNBC’s top staff. On September 26th of this year, Comcast announced perhaps the most dramatic shift, replacing longtime MSNBC chief Jeff Zucker with Comcast executive Steve Burke. Burke has given generous amounts to both parties — providing cash to outgoing Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) as well as to Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and other top Republicans. But as Public Citizen has noted, Burke has deep ties to the Republican Party. Public Citizen’s report reveals that Burke served as a key fundraiser to President George Bush, and even served on Bush’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology:

Comcast – the country’s largest provider of cable TV and broadband Internet services – has increased its political giving along with its mergers and acquisitions. CEO Brian Roberts was a co-chairman of the host committee at the 2000 Republican Convention. Comcast Cable President Stephen Burke has raised at least $200,000 for Bush’s re-election campaign. […] Comcast’s political giving has increased along with its mergers and acquisitions. The company was a “platinum sponsor” at the 2000 GOP convention, and Roberts was a co-chairman of the host committee at the Philadelphia event. Burke was appointed to the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology in 2002.

Why would Comcast be interested in silencing progressive voices? Historically, Comcast has boosted its profits by buying up various telecommunication and media content companies — instead of providing faster Internet or better services (overall, American broadband services are far slower than in many industrialized nations). Many of these mergers, as Public Citizen and Free Press have reported, have been allowed by regulators because of Comcast’s considerable political muscle. Comcast’s latest regulatory battle has been to oppose Net Neutrality — a rule allowing a free and open Internet — because the company would prefer to have customers pay for preferred online content.

More on that here. There’s also rampant speculation on Twitter and elsewhere that Comcast may be attempting to curry favor with the incoming GOP-run Commerce Committee, which still has to approve the NBC merger.

I don’t watch Olbermann, but I won’t watch Maddow clips online until he’s back.

Friday Night in Arlington

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* Travel the galaxy from the privacy of your couch with these retro Star Wars travel posters. (Thanks, Fiona!)

* Rally for Sanity Watch: Liberal and left activist groups will be out in force trying to swell their ranks. I wonder how they’ll feel after Stewart says they’re half the “problem.

* Rally for Insanity Watch: 1, 2, 3.

* Here come the Dollhouse comics.

Between a solid science fiction and crackpot that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the science fiction.

* Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach will co-produce “a screwball comedy about an escort, a theatre director and a private detective.” Something called Moonrise Kingdom is said to be Wes’s next directorial project. I’m already excited.

What Is This Country For If Not To Take Care Of Its People?

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Written by gerrycanavan

February 25, 2010 at 8:54 am

Everything I Write Is a Special Comment

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* Slant reviews Avatar.

Long a director who not only created new filmmaking techniques for his sci-fi adventures but, crucially, created tools that inherently meshed with his material, Cameron here seems to have put the WETA Digital workshop before the word processor, as his wannabe paradigm-shifter at once resets the boundaries of what’s possible to situate on screen while at the same time offering up a narrative skeleton for his wizardry that’s simplistic, hackneyed, and ultimately more than slightly inane. It’s motion-capture majesty in the service of lifeless romance and mushy-headed allegory.

* Is an Iraq-war-era split in the progressive blogosphere re-emerging over health care reform?

* In a Special Comment tonight Olbermann came out against the health care bill. A call to arms I could (potentially) get behind:

Let Lieberman and Ben Nelson and Baucus and the Republicans vote their lack-of-conscience and preclude 60 “ayes.” Let them commit political suicide instead of you. Let Mr. Lieberman kill the bill — then turn to his Republican friends only to find out they hate him more than the Democrats do. Let him stagger off the public stage, to go work … for the insurance industry.

As if he is not doing that now.

Then, Mr. Reid, take every worthwhile provision of health care reform you legally can, and pass it via reconciliation, when ever and how ever you can — and by the way, a Medicare Buy-In can be legally passed via reconciliation.

is immediately followed by something totally wrongheaded and painfully moronic:

I call on all those whose conscience urges them to fight, to use the only weapon that will be left to us if this bill becomes law.

We must not buy federally mandated insurance if this cheesy counterfeit of reform is all we can buy.

The spectacle of a millionaire instructing his viewers to risk medical bankruptcy out of spite. C’est la Olbermann.

* Why sunspots aren’t causing climate change. Via TNR and Kevin Drum.

* And Bryan Singer will return to the X-Men franchise for First Class. Still wish we could have seen what he intended for the Dark Phoenix Saga. C’est la vie.

Declare Victory and Go Home

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I haven’t watched much Keith Olbermann lately, but I thought his special comment on Afghanistan was pretty sensible, if, alas, a day late and a dollar short. The decision’s been made, and it isn’t “declare victory and go home.”

Still Waiting

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Still waiting.

* It’s not exactly Douchiest College honors, but Duke is #14 on the Times‘s ranking of top 200 universities worldwide.

* Bitter Laughter reports by way of Nate Silver that public option opt-out may be a compromise that can actually get through the Senate—and Steve Benen agrees it’s not a bad thing.

* Also in health care: Olbermann’s hour-long “Special Comment” from last night, which wasn’t nearly as unbearable as I imagined it would be when I heard it was coming.

* A second NJ-GOV poll—albeit one taken before Fatgateshows Corzine up, this time by three.

* Lots of talk today about this New York Times genealogy of Michelle Obama, focused on an enslaved ancestor who was raped by her owner.

* Pee before you fly. It’s funny how low-cost, outside-the-box carbon solutions—like Stephen Chu’s suggestion that we paint our roofs white—are never taken seriously. It’s like our society has a death wish.

* The literary journal is dead. Long live the literary journal.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 8, 2009 at 11:30 pm

Friday!

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Friday!

* Can’t-miss upcoming events at Duke: a Sun Ra talk and accompanying art exhibit.

* Glenn Beck, art critic. Olbermann critiques the critic.

* This morning John Hodgman accidentally tweeted his cell phone number to all 82,000 of his Twiter followers.

* Ten sci-fi ways to change the climate.

* Turns out the White House drafting its own health-care reform bill. Steve Benen speculates as to what might be in it.

* Krugman on the causes of the Great Recession. Discussion at MetaFilter.

* MetaFilter also has your police brutality outrage of the day.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 5, 2009 at 2:25 am

Wednesday Night Whoa!

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Early morning Wednesday.

* We finally saw Up! tonight. All I can say is if the first ten minutes don’t break your heart you have no soul.

* Blackwater founder Erik Prince has apparently been implicated in a huge swath of crimes by a former employee and a Marine working with the company, ranging from tax evasion and money laundering to weapons smuggling to obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence to crimes of war and even to the murder of federal informants. (See MetaFilter for more.) My now-incredibly-timely review of Master of War is getting bumped up accordingly and will probably be online (updated) at Independent Weekly in a day or so. This is all pretty shocking, even by Blackwater standards.

* In not-completely-frakked-up news, Bill Clinton did a good thing today, a win for just about everybody but infamous douchebag of liberty John Bolton.

* More on the Olbermann/O’Reilly saga from Glenn Greenwald, Jane Hamsher, and David Sirota. While I appreciate that he finds himself in a tough spot here, Olbermann is not doing himself any favors with his behavior; making one type of statement on-the-air and another off makes it very clear what is going on, and makes him look like a fool.

* The 100 Greatest Sci-Fi Movies. Outraged to see Galaxy Quest only squeaking by at #95. And 12 Monkeys quietly buried in the 80s? Nonsense.

* “In Which I Ruin Rashomon For Everyone, Forever.”

* And your short pictorial history of robots.

MMLD #3

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MMLD #3.

* Oil! More here and here.

* We are rich enough. Economic growth has done as much as it can to improve material conditions in the developed countries, and in some cases appears to be damaging health. If Britain were instead to concentrate on making its citizens’ incomes as equal as those of people in Japan and Scandinavia, we could each have seven extra weeks’ holiday a year, we would be thinner, we would each live a year or so longer, and we’d trust each other more.

* Continued tough week for MSNBC as the Richard Wolffe scandal piles on the Fox détente scandal. Of course, the roots of corporate media corruption go much deeper than just this pair of incidents. UPDATE: For what it’s worth, Olbermann emphatically denied the rumors on his show tonight during his Worst Persons segment, another proud entry in the “not KO’s proudest moment” file. UPDATE 2: Olbermann posted a Daily Kos diary on both subjects today as well.

* Duke’s Cathy Davidson is profiled at Inside Higher Ed for her plan to schematize student grades.

*PKD rocks Bookslut and the San Francisco Gate.

* And Terry Pratchett, suffering from Alzheimer’s, is fighting for his right to die.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 4, 2009 at 2:03 am

Saturday Morning Linkdump 2

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Saturday morning linkdump 2: politics edition.

* The Vonnegut-flavored image at right is graffiti fresh from the streets of Burlington, Vermont.

* Vegetarianism, as every school child knows, is evil. I had an upstairs neighbor once who really believed this—he used to tell me all the time how vegetarians were on the fast track to full-on Nazism. Weird guy.

* Birther update: even OpinionJournal’s odious “Best of the Web” column says the birthers are nuts. In the L.A. Times, Bill Maher says birtherism is no joke. But you and I know birtherism exists only in the feverish lies of Chris Matthews and Markos Moulitsas.

* Glenn Greenwald has a must-read post on corporate interference at MSNBC and Fox News.

In essence, the chairman of General Electric (which owns MSNBC), Jeffrey Immelt, and the chairman of News Corporation (which owns Fox News), Rupert Murdoch, were brought into a room at a “summit meeting” for CEOs in May, where Charlie Rose tried to engineer an end to the “feud” between MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and Fox’s Bill O’Reilly. According to the NYT, both CEO’s agreed that the dispute was bad for the interests of the corporate parents, and thus agreed to order their news employees to cease attacking each other’s news organizations and employees.

Most notably, the deal wasn’t engineered because of a perception that it was hurting either Olbermann or O’Reilly’s show, or even that it was hurting MSNBC. To the contrary, as Olbermann himself has acknowledged, his battles with O’Reilly have substantially boosted his ratings. The agreement of the corporate CEOs to cease criticizing each other was motivated by the belief that such criticism was hurting the unrelated corporate interests of GE and News Corp…

* Democrats facing big off-year electoral losses in New Jersey and Virginia?

* In the days leading up to Obama’s decision to run, Axelrod prepared a private strategy memo — dated Nov. 28, 2006 — that has never been published before. He wrote that an outgoing president nearly always defines the next election and argued that people almost never seek a replica — certainly not after the presidency of George W. Bush. In 2008, people were going to be looking for a replacement, someone who represented different qualities. In Axelrod’s opinion, Obama’s profile fit this historical moment far better than did Hillary Rodham Clinton’s. If he was right, Obama could spark a political movement and prevail against sizable odds. He also counseled Obama against waiting for a future opportunity to run for president. “History is replete with potential candidates for the presidency who waited too long rather than examples of people who ran too soon. . . . You will never be hotter than you are right now.”

* A new study demonstrating that organic food is no healthier than regularly produced food seems to entirely miss the point of organics.

One Week Down!

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Friday morning and one week down!

* David Sedaris delivers a pizza.

* Stephen Colbert rightly demands that he be named worst person in the world. I certainly hope a Special Comment™ is forthcoming on this travesty.

* Confidential to climate change deniers: A headline that reads “Global Warming: Scientists’ Best Predictions May Be Wrong” doesn’t necessarily help your argument. See also. (Via Atrios.)

Written by gerrycanavan

July 17, 2009 at 11:30 am