The Postal Service, facing huge deficits as people and businesses increasingly communicate via the internet and email, has launched a new TV ad campaign to win back business. The ad I saw tonight was nicely done.
A woman posts a bill on her refrigerator with a magnet. "A refrigerator has never been hacked." Another woman pins a page to her corkboard. "An online virus has never attacked a corkboard." A variety of other men and women are shown looking at bills and filing them in various ways. "Give your customers the added feeling of security a printed statement or receipt provides — with mail. It's good for your business and even better for your customers."
The commercial ends by telling viewers how to get more information about the advantages of using mail instead of the internet or email. By sending them to usps.com/mail.
Somewhere, a hacker with a sense of humor must be trying to figure out how to hack that page and have it display a banner with big red letters:
Thirty minutes of kick-ass rock 'n roll: Saving Abel entertaining the troops in Kuwait, courtesy of the new RightNetwork. Which, at a young age, already seems to have quite a bit of interesting content, including a video and column by Kelsey Grammer. And which may be available on demand on your TV (for instance, if you have Verizon FiOS, you lucky dog) — if not now, maybe soon.
During President Obama's appearance on The View, there was this exchange:
BEHAR: Should Snooki run as mayor of Wasilla?
OBAMA: I got to admit, I don't know who Snooki is.
But as the Gawker noted, that contradicts history:
… a mere two months ago he dropped Snooki's name in a White House Press Correspondents Dinner punchline about a health care provision named in honor of the hit MTV show. "It [the provision] reads, 'The following individuals shall be excluded from the indoor tanning tax within this bill: Snooki, JWOWW, The Situation and House minority leader John Boehner.'" So which is it, Obama? Do you know Snooki, or don't you? Clearly, this is the Watergate of our time, and America demands an answer.
We believe there are three explanations for Snooki-gate:
1. He forgot Snooki. (Which is odd, because she's the kind of person who tends to get seared into your mind forever.)
2. He is as ashamed of partaking in television's guiltiest pleasure as you are. His ignorance on The View was feigned.
3. Obama's famously hip speechwriters got ahead of him and dropped a cultural reference he didn't understand for the sake of Beltway chuckles. He recited the joke without getting it, and promptly forgot its context as soon as it was over.
I vote for number 3. I think Obama's great talent lies in delivering a speech from a teleprompter, and I suspect his ability to do that extremely well doesn't really depend on him agreeing with or even understanding the words he's given to speak.
But I could be wrong. Maybe he knew all about Snooki a couple of months ago, but has simply forgotten her completely in the meantime.
CBS4Denver did a "teaser" for a story coming up in the 10 PM news that cracked me up. It seems that millions of boxes of breakfast cereal have been recalled because of "a foul odor that's making some people sick." The story, they promised, would tell us "how to tell if your cereal has been recalled."
I just saw the story, and it said to "look for the letters KN before the 'Use before' date."
Day 3 of the Winter Olympiad is done, and still no alpine skiing, so I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane. In 1976, the games were held in Innsbruck, where I was born. Americans were rarely competitive in alpine skiing back in those days, so I was cheering on the Austrians. And the one I was cheering on the most (along with all his countrymen) was Franz Klammer, the greatest downhill racer of all time.
It didn't look good for Klammer. He was the last of the 15 competitors to ski. This was his "home mountain," but Switzerland's Bernhard Russi led with a time almost 2 seconds faster than Klammer's best ever on the course. He and everyone watching knew that it would take an amazing run to win.
And amazing it was. I don't remember where in Knoxville I was living at the time. I don't remember who was there watching with me. But I remember vividly how I felt for that 1:45 run. Every muscle in my body was tensed from beginning to end, and I could barely breathe. It's by far the most intense 2 minutes of television I've ever seen. Some people call it the most exciting 2 minutes in sports history. I certainly wouldn't argue. Klammer was on the edge of disaster throughout the run, going all-out, balls-to-the-wall from beginning to end.
I found some videos on YouTube. This first one isn't the best video quality, but it shows the entire run from top to bottom, with the original broadcast commentary by Frank Gifford and Bob Beattie. Even in a small window, with poor video quality, and knowing the outcome, it's still compelling, riveting, and intense. Imagine seeing it live (well, tape-delayed "live") on your TV, not knowing what was going to happen next.
The second one is from Austrian TV and is much higher video quality, but doesn't show the entire run. OTOH, you can see better how insanely Klammer was skiing. And you get to hear the Austrian broadcaster shouting "Jawohl!" ("Yes!") at the finish and see how Austrians reacted.
No, I won't be watching, much less posting about, the President's State of the Union speech (or POTUS SOTUS, as we cognoscenti call it). Even if I didn't have work to do, I doubt I could persuade myself to endure the torture. Later, maybe not until tomorrow, I'll read Vodkapundit's drunkblogging of it, which will probably be as informative as and far more entertaining than watching live.
I predict, though, that the William Warren cartoon below will prove prescient (although I'm sure the presentation will be somewhat more cool and subtle than depicted).
ALG Editor's Note:William Warren's award-winning cartoons published at GetLiberty.org are a free service of ALG News Bureau. They may be reused and redistributed free of charge.
UPDATE: Yep, the cartoon was prescient. And Vodkapundit did a fine job of drunkblogging as usual. But zombyboy had by far the most informative and amusing coverage — an absolute must-read.
Miami Herald TV critic Glenn Garvin undertook the unpleasant task of watching MSNBC's election-night coverage of the Massachusetts senate race, and what he found was "frothing lunacy":
If you watched CNN or Fox News last night, you got a balanced analysis of how Republican Scott Brown pulled off the political upset of the century (or, if you prefer, how Democrat Martha Coakley blew a dead solid electoral lock). Yes, I said Fox News, without irony. To be sure, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity made it clear they were rooting for Brown. But their shows also included a steady parade of liberal-leaning guests — former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown, former Dukakis campaign manager Susan Estrich, Democratic party strategist Mary Anne Marsh, NPR commentator Juan Williams and radio host Alan Colmes. And pollster Frank Luntz interviewed a panel of two dozen or so Massachusetts voters, most of them Democrats, about how they voted and why. Practically every conceivable perspective on the election was represented.
And on MSNBC, you got practically every conceivable expression of venom against Brown and anybody who voted him. From Maddow's dark suspicions that the election was rigged — she cited complaints about a grand total of six ballots out of about 2.25 million cast — to Olbermann's suggestion in the video up above that the same Massachusets voters who went for Barack Obama by a 62-28 percent margin had suddenly realized they helped elect a black guy and went Republican in repentance, the network's coverage was idiotic, one-sided and downright ugly.
Read the rest for examples from the "two hours of nonstop bilious rage." (And see update below.)
Johnny Dollar pointed out a significant difference in coverage of the candidates' speeches:
During Tuesday night's coverage of the Massachusetts special election, CNN and MSNBC aired only a fraction of the Republican candidate's speech. Fox News Channel aired both candidates' speeches in their entirety.
MSNBC ran 100% of Coakley's speech, but just over a third of Brown's. CNN ran 80% of Coakley's, but only a quarter of Brown's. Yes, he spoke longer. But he'd just pulled off a stunning upset, and thus what he had to say was news. She was simply conceding defeat and then slinking back into obscurity.
So, do TV viewers have a clear preference for election coverage? You bet they do. Fox News won the ratings battle in a landslide (emphasis added):
• In the first of many elections night taking place in 2010, Fox News dominated the cable news networks, with its highest prime time viewership since Election Day 2008. FNC was the #1 news network by far, topping CNN, MSNBC and HLN combined in prime time and total day, total viewers and the A25-54 demographic. Sean Hannity has his best ratings ever in total viewers at 9pmET – the hour Bret Baier announced Scott Brown’s victory.
• FNC didn’t just clean up on cable. The network had more viewers during prime time than The Jay Leno Show, and Greta Van Susteren’s 10pmET show and Hannity’s 9pmET show topped all ABC prime time programs.
In the 25-54 demographic during the three hours after the polls closed, Fox News beat CNN 4-1 and MSNBC almost 5-1.
UPDATE: Olbermann's insane rants are too much even for John Stewart:
John Stossel is airing an "Atlas Shrugged hour" tonight, and he's taking a poll asking the above question:
Tomorrow, my Fox Business Network show about Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged" will finally air. That should stop the emails like this one from Karen Cooper:
"Oh for the love of god! 'Atlas Shrugged' explains about 99 percent of what's wrong in all of the arenas of topics: health care, education, climate change, unions, the economy, etc. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE cover 'Atlas.'"
Cooper makes a good point. Even though Rand published "Atlas" in 1957, her descriptions of intrusive and bloated government read like today's news. The "Preservation of Livelihood Law" and "Equalization of Opportunity Law" could be Nancy Pelosi's or Harry Reid's work.
Me, too. I also saw a lot of him under George W. Bush.
So I'm conducting this unscientific poll: Who is our Wesley Mouch? Hank Paulson? Tim Geithner? Barney Frank? You can vote here.
Of the five choices, I had to pick Geithner. But I think the best answer is that all of the President's czars, collectively, are playing the part of Wesley Mouch.
Go cast your vote. And if you get the Fox Business Network, be sure to watch the show:
My first guest on the show (Fox Business Network, 8 p.m. Eastern Thursday, repeating at 10 p.m. Friday) is BB&T Chairman and "Atlas" fan John Allison. Allison's bank, the ninth largest in America, is doing very well, but he's angry the government forced him to take TARP money.
Allison once told The New York Times, "To say man is bad because he is selfish is to say it's bad because he's alive."
Five years after Fox canceled the animated comedy, 20th Century Fox TV has officially struck a deal with Comedy Central to produce 26 original episodes of the Matt Groening series. It will return as early as mid-2010.
The studio doesn’t have a broadcast network deal yet, but it said it might yet reach an agreement for a network window.
“We’re thrilled Futurama is coming back,” Groening said. “We now have only 25,766 episodes to make before we catch up with Bender and Fry in the year 3000.”
The Democrats' economic policies amount to Peronism and threaten to turn us into a crony-capitalist third-world nation, but at least we no longer have to worry about social conservatives imposing their morality, censoring television, and the like. Right?
Um,wrong. I spoke too soon, according to Reason's Jacob Sullum (emphasis added):
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) has reintroduced legislation that would require the Federal Communications Commission to treat ads for Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs as indecent, meaning they could be legally aired only between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. In 2005, when he introduced a similar bill, Moran complained:
You can hardly watch primetime television or a major sporting event with your family without ads warning of the dangers of a "four-hour experience" airing every 10 minutes….They just push the envelope too far….There's just too much sexual innuendo.
But there's hope, according to Reason's Jesse Walker. Last week in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court refused an appeal in FCC v. Fox (a case involving the airing of "obscene" explitives) on narrow procedural grounds. But Walker noticed that the argument against government censorship of broadcast TV seemed to have what some would consider an unlikely ally among the majority — the notorious "right-wing zealot," Clarence Thomas, who typically wrote his own opinion (emphasis added):
While siding with the commission on the technical legal question immediately at hand, Thomas signaled his sympathy with the argument that the rules violate the First Amendment. The two precedents that supported the FCC's authority—1969's Red Lion decision, which upheld the Fairness Doctrine, and 1978's Pacifica decision, which upheld the government's right to restrict indecent language—"were unconvincing when they were issued," Thomas wrote, "and the passage of time has only increased doubt regarding their continued validity." He continued:
Broadcast spectrum is significantly less scarce than it was 40 years ago….Moreover, traditional broadcast television and radio are no longer the "uniquely pervasive" media forms they once were. For most consumers, traditional broadcast media programming is now bundled with cable or satellite services….Broadcast and other video programming is also widely available over the Internet….And like radio and television broadcasts, Internet access is now often freely available over the airwaves and can be accessed by portable computer, cell phones, and other wireless devices….The extant facts that drove this Court to subject broadcasters to unique disfavor under the First Amendment simply do not exist today.
Walker thinks the case, remanded to the Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, will eventually come back to the Supreme Court. Good. I look forward to reading Thomas's majority opinion affirming the First Amendment. Or more likely, given Thomas's history, his separate opinion concurring with the majority opinion, but making a more forceful, less weak-kneed argument for freedom of speech.
Have I mentioned how intensely I admire Clarence Thomas? His appointment was one of the few good things to come out of the George H.W. Bush administration, and almost makes up for the appointment of Souter.
Recently, I finally got around to reading his autobiography, My Grandfather's Son (given to me by a good friend). I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It's a terrific read, and he doesn't gloss over his family conflicts or personal failings, including his problems with alcohol. Especially if you're not a fan and think you know all you need to know about Thomas — read this book. If you're at all fair-minded, you'll reconsider your opinion. And you'll end up respecting and admiring him, even if you don't agree with his judicial philosophy.
After two episodes, Joss Whedon's new series, Dollhouse, hasn't clicked with me yet. But I'm willing to give the great Whedon some time. Eliza Dushku as Echo is pretty easy on the eyes, and it looks like her character (a mind-wiped "doll" who gets "programmed" with an artificial personality for each assignment) is going to evolve into someone viewers can actually care about and be interested in.
The second episode (which aired this past Friday) endeared itself to me with just one great line. Echo and her "handler," Boyd, are being hunted by a crazy with a bow. Boyd is wounded. At Echo's insistence (she has an outdoorswoman's personality for this assignment), he reluctantly hands her his gun, asking "Do you know how to use this?"
As she checks the pistol out confidently and competently, Echo replies, "I've got four brothers. None of them Democrats."
The long-awaited season premier of 24 didn't disappoint, IMHO, and my Dish DVR is set up to record the entire season. But I've got to say I'm with Jack on this — I really don't buy the idea that Tony Almeida is in cahoots with terrorists. I foresee suprises and plot twists aplenty.
Here's my real question, though: where the heck is Chloe??
UPDATE (1/12): I was right, and we only had to wait until hour 3 to find out that Tony's working undercover. And he's teamed up with Bill. And Chloe!
I just saw a clip from the season premier of 24: Redemption (airing Sunday, Nov. 23, at 8 PM Eastern, 7 PM Central/Mountain). As all hell breaks loose in the distance, Jack Bauer says to a UN peacekeeper (who just declared "we remain neutral"), "Why don't you go hide with the other children?"