Max Headroom: Examples of amplifying everything & hearing nothing
We hear nothing Jon Stewart had this killer line during his twelve-minute rant: “If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.” It’s so relevant to this video that you know that the second this moron starts yelling that you can ignore basically anything he says. He obviously heard nothing in the speech.
Missing the point And here’s someone who missed the whole point of the whole driving-through-the-tunnel analogy, which is that we have our differences and such but we’re just normal people. This guy instead suggests that “sanity” will be restored by Tuesday’s election. Not the same thing, buddy.
Here’s the point You know what critics of the rally are missing out of all of this? The inherent, almost simplistic euphoria that was around the event. The excitement that was there. There’s no politics in this video. Only a simple exchange between a random dude and a hot girl holding an “America” sign. Fuck yeah!
“It’s rank demagoguery. We should call it for what it is. If these people were all put into a room on penalty of death to come up with how much they could cut, they couldn’t come up with $50 billion, when the problem is $1.3 trillion. So, to stand before the public and rub raw this anti-tax sentiment, the Republican Party, as much as it pains me to say this, should be ashamed of themselves.”—Reagan budget director David Stockman • Ripping his own freaking party for emphasizing a tax-cut strategy despite the fact that there’s a huge deficit. “It’s become in a sense an absolute,” he explains. “Something that can’t be questioned, something that’s gospel, something that’s sort of embedded into the catechism and so scratch the average Republican today and he’ll say ‘Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts.’” The key point he seems to be getting at: We have too much going on as a government and it can’t simply be solved by cutting taxes. It’s a point that makes him angry when the Democrats (i.e. Obama) recommend it, too. The fact of the matter is that we have the Reagan tax cuts, the Bush tax cuts and now the Obama tax cuts. Is the solution cutting the government severely, like our boys in the U.K.? Or is it just raising taxes? A lot to question. (Thanks soupsoup) source (via)
DC Metro numbers suggest huge "Rally to Restore Sanity" crowds
350,000number of trips the DC Metro has on an average Saturday
825,437number of trips the DC Metro had yesterday source
» To put it in perspective: The rally had the highest Saturday ridership ever – passing the record set in June 1991, when a rally was held for Operation Desert Storm. That rally gave Metro around 786,358 trips that day. And assuming the riders went round-trip yesterday, that means 237,719 extra riders were on the Metro yesterday. That doesn’t mean 237,719 extra people – the tally doesn’t account for multiple trips by the same rider – but suffice it to say that the crowd was really huge yesterday. And no, the Beck rally (which also took place on a Saturday) didn’t even rate in the top five (which is what we know you were really wondering).
There are a lot of people saying something, “I’m glad that Jon Stewart is telling the Right to simmer down. Because the Right is crazy. But he shouldn’t tell the Left to simmer down because we’re not crazy. We consider ourselves awfully reasonable.”
I’m pretty sure…
If anything, Obama’s kind of a third party to this whole thing. The biggest jab that Stewart landed yesterday was against the media, which totally plays into his history as a media critic. I think that there was a definite corner turned where the “theater” of politics became more important to the media than the politics themselves … but I’m not sure where. Was it ACORN? Was it “die quickly”? Was it the noise around the health care bill? Was it Shirley Sherrod? Was it when Olbermann started sounding as loud as his Fox News counterparts? Actually, I take that back. I think I know the point where it became clear something like this could happen.
Back at CPAC in early 2009, Rush Limbaugh claimed that he wanted Obama to fail. This was before Obama had done anything of note in office, but it drew a ton of attention. Somehow, that set the tone for the past year-and-three-quarters afterwards. Which, if anything, proves my point. The reason why this rally happened wasn’t because of Obama. It was because of Shirley Sherrod. It was because of “die quickly.” It was because of ACORN. It was because of all of the stuff around the news that had somehow overwhelmed the political process to the point where the political process wasn’t the focus anymore.
OK, Obama’s not a popular president with a lot of people, but if anything this was Stewart’s attempt at another “Crossfire” moment. While “Crossfire” went away, the problem that Stewart pinpointed way back when has only gotten worse, and louder. And as has been proven by the ratings of CNN versus those of MSNBC and Fox News, people would rather watch “louder.” (Though CNN hasn’t done itself any favors by moving away from its serious, less-fluffy side.)
Yes, there really is a war on terror, and it’s these assholes who we are trying to - and must - stop.
John O. Brennan, the president’s chief counter-terrorism advisor, said Sunday that American authorities believe now that the two bombs found inside cargo packages were designed to blow up the airplanes carrying them, even though they were addressed to locations “associated with synagogues” in Chicago.
One of the bombs traveled on two passenger planes within the Middle East before arriving in Dubai. An unnamed spokesman for Qatar Airways said that the package containing explosives hidden in a printer cartridge arrived first at the Qatar Airways hub in Doha, Qatar, on one of the airline’s flights from the Yemeni capital of Sana. It was then shipped on a separate Qatar Airways passenger plane to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where it was discovered by authorities late Thursday or early Friday.
The disclosures came as investigators on three continents conducted forensic analyses of two bombs shipped from Yemen and intercepted Friday in Britain and Dubai. American officials said evidence was mounting that the top leadership of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, including the radical American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, was behind the attempted attacks.
Mr. Brennan, interviewed on several Sunday morning television shows, also said the role of the two women arrested Saturday by Yemeni officials in connection with the terror plot — a young woman and her mother — was to deliver the packages to the United Parcel Service and FedEx offices in the capital city of Sana. The two women were not identified, but a defense lawyer who has been in contact with the family, Abdul Rahman Barham, said the daughter was a 22-year-old engineering student at Sana University. Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, said Saturday night during a news conference that Yemeni security forces had identified her based on a tip from American officials, but he did not indicate her suspected role.
Mr. Brennan’s appeared on the major Sunday news programs: CNN’s “State of the Union,” “Fox News Sunday,” ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour,” NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CBS’s “Face the Nation.” On two of the shows, he said that it remained unclear whether those behind the devices had planned for the explosives to be detonated while in the air or after arriving in Chicago.
But in his appearance on “Face the Nation,” he said emphatically that “at this point we agree with the British that it was designed to be detonated in flight.” The packages did not appear to need someone to “physically detonate them,” he said on CNN, indicating that a remote or automatic detonation was possible.
In case you need a reminder of the difference between terrorism and misplaced anger…
“The thing I’ve learned that’s much different than any other time in my life is I have a team that is really, really great. I’ve been studying this stuff for a really long time, and I’ve screwed up in many, many, many ways in terms of managing people and product decisions and business, so I feel fairly confident at this point that it could scale pretty well.”—Twitter co-founder Evan Williams • Explaining why he decided to step down from his CEO position last month. To put it simply, he’s a big idea guy, but a terrible boss. And in case you need any proof of that, consider three things: First, when Blogger’s business model weakened during the dot-com bubble and he couldn’t pay anyone, he ran the company by himself for a while. Second, when Twitter first became immensely popular, Williams’ first instinct wasn’t to hire more people to ensure the site was up all the time. And third, Evan Williams famously flopped during a speech at SXSW earlier this year. Idea guy he is. Steve Jobs he is not. source (via)
Tribune Corp. investors suing mad over insanely massive loans
$3.7billion in loans offered prior to Tribune Corp.’s sale source
» … and here comes the lawsuit: A bunch of investors in Tribune Corp. have sued JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, Citicorp and Bank of America for making those loans possible for the leveraged buyout that Sam Zell did, knowing that it’d be nearly impossible to get those funds back. In the process, the companies received $120 million in fees while Tribune floundered to the point that L.A. Times front pages like these are depressingly commonplace.
Apple and Motorola lawsuits more annoying than anything
All these lawsuits between Apple and Motorola are silly. In the latest suit (a counter-suit, even), the iPhone maker sued Motorola for using multitouch technology (among other things which Apple owns patents for) in nine of its phones, including each of the popular Droid models. These suits are excuses for each company to get in the other’s hair, and basically do nothing useful. Honestly, if Apple was really serious about fighting these claims against their multitouch technology, they would’ve sued when the first Droid phone came out. Now, it just seems like a vindictive attempt at leverage. source
“It is a slight moment in ‘The Dilemma’ meant to demonstrate an aspect of our lead character’s personality, and we never expected it to represent our intentions or the point of view of the movie or those of us who made it.”—Director Ron Howard • Explaining why the gay joke made in “The Dilemma” stays in, despite the uproar against gay jokes in general at the moment. Howard feels the joke is important to understanding Vince Vaughn’s character, and that his film is getting lots of negative attention at the moment because of the timing of it, in which Anderson Cooper seems to be taking on gay bullying as a personal crusade of his. (Cooper called out the movie’s trailer for the use of the phrase.) While it’s controversial, we kind of agree with Howard. Comedy is a slippery slope and not one that should be so strongly affected by PC concerns. source (via)
Cargo plane bomb plot: Lots of packages under scrutiny
24more suspect packages currently getting analyzed in Yemen source
» About the suspects: Two Yemeni women, 22-year old Hanan al-Samawi and her 45-year-old mother, have reportedly been arrested for the incident. Also, bombmaker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, whose handiwork first came to everyone’s attention thanks to the Underwear Bomber, is also considered a suspect in the latest incident. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, planes from Yemen can’t directly enter the U.S. in the wake of the Underwear Bomber incident. Which is why the suspicious device was caught in London instead of Chicago.
Missy Smith, campaign ads, and reaching the bottom of the barrel
So, recently, this lady has been clogging DC airwaves with the worst ads. We saw them a few times over the weekend. Missy Smith’s been paying money to show aborted fetuses in as disgusting a light as possible, during daytime hours. (Click here if you’re curious.) And because she’s in cahoots with Randall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue, she knew that she legally could force the TV stations to show them. In fact, she ran for Congress in DC (where she’s destined to lose, because Eleanor Holmes Norton is very popular) specifically to run these ads on television. The stations have had to put lengthy, 15-second warnings in front of the ads. And they’ve forced us to consider a few things:
Culture wars not over In the age of Obama, despite all the negative energy that’s been popping up, one positive of it is that certain social movements (specifically gay rights) have been looking more and more likely to go mainstream. But as this ad proves, certain wedge issues won’t go away quite that easily.
Playing to our divisions Jon Stewart’s twelve-minute rant at the very end of yesterday’s “Rally To Restore Sanity” was pretty much made for people like Smith and ads like this one. Most people aren’t like Smith, but people like Smith use stunts like these to dominate our dialogue. Don’t let these stunts define us, fellow Americans.
The bar has lowered In a political advertising season that started with Demon Sheep and has only gotten worse from there (barring Dale Peterson), it makes sense that we end it with an ad that literally shows aborted fetuses during daytime television. Those earlier ads set the stage for us to hit bottom. Now, here we are. source
“If the right people are elected, we will be able to continue with raises and benefits at or above our present levels. If others are elected, we will not.”—A message distributed with paychecks at a Canton, Ohio McDonald’s • Telling employees to vote for the GOP – or else. The dude who sent out the note with the paychecks was called out for it, for good reason, but he gave one of those non-apology apologies which are in vogue nowadays. ”Distributing this communication was an error of judgment on my part,” said a statement from franchisee Paul Siegfried. “Please know it was never my intention to offend anyone. For those that I have offended, I sincerely apologize.” Protip: Don’t disenfranchise voters by threatening to cut (or limit) their benefits. It’ll bite you in the ass. source (via)
The true center of American politics isn’t found where most of us agree. We fiercely disagree. That’s not a problem. Democracy assumes disagreement.
The true center is about how we resolve those disagreements. Most of us believe we should work them out respectfully.
We don’t believe in winning…
While we agree with Robbie Reich here, we feel like he should’ve named some examples on the left, too. There’s been plenty of this stuff on the other side, too. (Looking at you, Mr. Grayson …) The big problem is not the message but the tone.
Cablevision, Fox finally settle whiny baby dispute – after two weeks
14number of days the cable network stalemate went on
3Mnumber of customers affected by the cable stalemate
eightMLB playoff games (and two weeks of football) went off the air source
» Why did the stalemate last so long? Well, Cablevision wanted regulatory intervention from the government, who wanted the two companies to decide things for themselves. Usually, these things last two days, tops. And it’s possible that the long stalemate has hurt Fox’s overall ratings, which are down 17 percent from a year ago. To both of these companies: Who benefits from this?
Stewart/Colbert rally: The highlights of the awesomest event evah!
There were many great moments in today’s Rally To Restore Sanity and/or Fear. But above is probably the best. The way Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert raided their record collections to pull three well-known artists that have nothing in common (other than really famous songs with word “train” in the title) was brilliant. Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam hasn’t exactly been in the spotlight for a good thirty years, partially by choice. And, as certain conservative pundits will remind you, he said something very stupid 21 years ago. So what? If anything, Stewart’s use of Islam only proves the point of the rally. Other key parts of the day:
oneThe Mythbuster dudes turned the rally into a giant science experiment, complete with “The Wave.” Awesome use of a crowd.
twoStephen Colbert first came out using a contraption not unlike the one used to rescue the Chilean miners. LOL. Freaking brilliant.
three Jon Stewart said this: “Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land, it’s just New Jersey, but we do it anyway.” source
» Oh, and the signs! We can’t forget the signs. There were many of them. Here are some of the highlights. And here are some more. And to the users of Reddit: Way to come out in force for this one! Digg only wishes it had this kind of influence on current events.
“And now I thought we might have a moment, however brief, for some sincerity. If that’s okay - I know that there are boundaries for a comedian / pundit / talker guy, and I’m sure that I’ll find out tomorrow how I have violated them.”—
JON STEWART, in a dig at the mainstream media seemingly obsessed with whatever the fuck it is that he does, during the Rally To Restore Sanity.
Does the U.S. think companies should patent genes?
NOthey think that genes are part of nature and shouldn’t be source
» Why this is a big deal: Well, among other things, this is a change of policy for them, one that could make it harder for the biotechnology and medicine industries to keep innovations unique. We wish that the government would make this distinction on software patents over trivial things. See, that’s where a change in decision is necessary.
“The target may have been an aircraft and had it detonated the aircraft could have been brought down. We do not believe that the perpetrators of the attack would have known the location of the device when it was planned to explode.”—UK emergency planning committee Theresa May • Explaining the situation with the device found on a plane intercepted at a London airport yesterday. So yeah, the expected the thing to blow up. It didn’t. In other news, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano states the obvious. source (via)
“No, we don’t think there’s anything wrong with what Christine O’Donnell did on Halloween three years ago. We think there’s something wrong with what she’s done every day since, though. And we’re happy to expose the hypocrisy.”—A post from “The Staff of Gawker.com” • Explaining their rationale for the Christine O’Donnnell one-night stand piece. While one might consider this a fair rationale (and there’s a lot of explanation here backing up their point), we’re not so sure. Who does it benefit to inform the world of this woman’s grooming options? And like we said earlier, it’s not like this is going to change anything. O’Donnell is already unpopular among voters. Know when to pick your battles, Gawker Media. The iPhone 4 thing was impressive, and a perfect example of when your paying-for-stories method almost kinda works. The Brett Favre thing, while not particularly classy, came at the nadir of his popularity and made sense from an coverage standpoint. This just feels wrong, and dirty. source (via)
The U.S. spends LOTS of money on intelligence, defense
$80.1 billionthe amount the U.S. spent on intelligence in 2010
$664 billionthe amount the U.S. spends on its total defense budget source
» Why this is a big deal: Two reasons. First of all, the intelligence spending numbers were never reported during the most recent Bush Administration – this is the first time we’ve gotten new numbers here in nearly a decade. Secondly, the intelligence budget has effectively doubled in the ten years – which makes sense if, you know, you account for 9/11 happening in the meantime. If you’re a high-spending government looking for something to cut to correct years of fiscal irresponsibility, though, this might be a good spot to look.
“Halliburton does not believe that the foam cement design used on the Macondo well was the cause of the incident.”—A statement from Halliburton • Responding to the Senate committee report that suggested that their handiwork was a cause of the Gulf Oil Spill. Their take? While Halliburton admits that they didn’t do a key stability test, BP was to blame for a poor design process (an angle they’ve held onto since the spill first happened). And, worse, BP didn’t perform a critical cement bond log test. Also, both BP and Transocean misinterpreted the results of a negative pressure test – a misinterpretation that proved deadly for the workers on the rig. There are a lot of complicated details here, but the point you should take from this is that everyone is blaming everyone else. Which is understandable. Have you seen the rage caused by this oil spill? source (via)
“The idea that you can continue to keep human beings in detention offshore is an insult to us as a civil society and everything we stand for. I think the same thing can be said about the clandestine renditions. We need to shine a light on all of that and let it lead us where it may.”—Former U.S. diplomat (and husband of Valerie Plame) Joe Wilson • Ripping on the Obama administration for not doing enough to stop Bush-era methods of security, including closing the base at Guantanamo Bay. Some of this is, of course, personal: Wilson’s wife was outed as a spy by members of the Bush Administration after Wilson publicly doubted the administration’s reasons for starting the Iraq war. Still interesting, though, that they’re ripping on Obama for this, too. In other news, the couple is about to get the Hollywood treatment – “Fair Game,” starring Naomi Watts and SEAN FREAKING PENN, sounds like an awards-season racehorse. source (via)