Tag Archives: Jon Stewart

The Morning Grumpy

29 Jun

I have a voracious appetite for internet memes, video, podcasts, news and analysis, so each morning I’ll share several that you can read during your “morning grumpy”.

1. Elena Cala is a lot of things; assistant to Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. James Williams, former editor of Buffalo Rising, Former Teacher, Mom, and Chanteuse, but she certainly isn’t known for handling the media very well. On Monday, her ongoing Sicilian blood feud with Buffalo News education beat reporter Mary Pasciak came to  a head. You see, Elena and other BPS staff are still upset over an article Pasciak wrote in which she demonstrated that several members of the superintendent’s staff did not hold the qualifications posted for their jobs, including Cala. There have been dozens of other perceived slights during Cala’s dealing with Pasciak, but the outcome of this one was fun to watch.Click through to watch the video tutorial from Elena on how NOT to handle media members who buy ink by the barrel.

My personal dealings with Elena have always been pleasant, but during her short tenure as an employee of Dr. Williams and the BPS, she has earned a horrible reputation as the most difficult press person in the region. That’s saying a lot, as there are a lot of pompous former media pros working in these PR departments around town.

As Pasciak reported in April,

Cala, special assistant to the superintendent for community relations, is supposed to have “seven years full-time experience in public or community relations in a large institution or educational setting,” according to the posting for her position.

The only such experience listed on her resume is a stint as a public relations assistant at Westinghouse Communities of Naples Inc. in 1985.

Cala, who makes $80,000 a year, worked most recently as an editor at Buffalo Rising for four years. Prior to that, she taught at a Catholic elementary school for four years. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Buffalo State College, where she became close friends with Mayor Byron W. Brown.

Questions remain whether it was her connections with Brown, her personal relationship with Joy McDuffie, or her efforts as editor at Buffalo Rising to drive favorable turnout during a critical school board election which got her the job, but Cala will probably not have to worry about dealing with oppositional media much longer.

2. As the seemingly pointless war in Afghanistan drags on, two stories came across my radar screen that I thought drove home the futility of the conflict and the long term human costs.

The BBC’s Ben Anderson spends 24 hours in Afghanistan’s bloody Helmand Province and shares his experience with analysts at VBS.tv.

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The utter futility of the entire conflict is palpable. Bring them home.

Meanwhile, the children of our deployed soldiers face horrible conditions in military schools and deal with the mental strain and anguish of their Fathers and Mothers fighting on the front lines half a world away for over a decade.

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The shame.

3. This just in from The Brookings Institute. Cleveland, Detroit, Youngstown and Buffalo are among 36 of the top 100 metropolitan areas whose population below the age of 45 declined during the last decade. At the opposite end of the spectrum, college towns such as Austin, Raleigh, Provo and Madison, experienced significant growth in pre-senior population. Think the Mayor or County Executive might be interested in addressing these problems or are we doomed to another couple of years of crumb hoarding at the political poker table?

4. Jon Stewart is America’s finest media critic and satirist and in this clip he very succinctly analyzes the entire strategy of Fox News. Nailed it.

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5. Actual news headlines versus Fox News headlines.

6. Every national political reporter who has an opportunity to interview Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney needs to read this article first.

7. Should You Change Your Password?

8. Enjoy 57 minutes of excellence by The Hood Internet.

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See ya tomorrow.

Glenn Beck Institute For Fear and Paranoia

20 Nov

Recently, Glenn Beck created a three part series giving George Soros the Jud Süß treatment. Spending hours of broadcast time to paint Soros as “The Puppet Master” of an evil cabal of liberals who intend to overthrow America. Yes, seriously.

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Connecting Soros with shadowy networks, painting him as the architect of non-violent revolutions resulting in the overthrow of national leaders, the king of a mass media empire who intends to destroy America from the inside.

In six years of writing on this website, which includes over three thousand articles, I have never used any sort of reference to Nazism. I find such allusions to be overused and overwrought. Today, that streak ends.  Mr. Beck and his boss Roger Ailes seem to have an affinity for throwing around Nazi allegations and the time Beck spent this week creating a piece of work on Soros was eerily reminiscent of an old Nazi propaganda piece which painted Jews in much the same way.  Here are some choice quotes:

  • Soros seeks a world free of nationalities. It is a global replacement for our republic, for all the work our Founders did, that’s old news. We must progress past it. We must have a new world order. It is a replacement for the republic.
  • Remember, he believes America is a repressive regime. He is turning lives and countries upside down and inside out, and he loves it.  He has to feed the addiction. So, he decides to go after the biggest market yet, America.
  • The puppet master is putting on a show. We’ve been an unwitting audience.  Now, the curtains are being lifted. We’re exposing the extent of his reach.
  • If you thought $5 or $4 a gallon gas is painful, wait until Soros devalues your dollar even more. Forget driving. How about eating?
  • He will gain profit and power — and you will lose both. He’s playing god, which is fine by him because he’s an atheist.
  • So, not only does he want to bring America to her knees, financially, he wants to reap obscene profits off us as well.

Beck’s constant purposeful stupidity and his twisting of historical fact to suit his own narrative reminds me of an old proverb, “The wise understand by themselves; fools follow the reports of others”. The masses who consume this nonsense from Beck trust that this former morning zoo radio host is coming from a place of sincerity and honesty. And, damn, he knows how to sell it.   Chalkboards, puppet shows, visual graphics, accusations, shadowy associations, talk of the new world order…he’s just asking questions, don’t you know!?!?

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He sells like a traveling faith healer/huckster in tent revival sessions for the American spirit. The fact that his audience laps it up is inherently troubling for our republic. Has a man of such willful ignorance who routinely engages in purposeful manipulation of fact ever had as big a soapbox as Beck does?

How does a reasonable person deal with a nutjob like Beck who has a broadcast platform that reaches millions?  Well, if you’re Keith Olbermann, you scold Mr. Beck.

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Effective?  Not really.

If you’re Jon Stewart, you absolutely destroy Beck with a stomach punch parody of Beck’s propaganda piece and turn the tables on him.

Part 1:

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Part 2:

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Effective?  Absolutely.

I don’t fear Glenn Beck, but I do fear the millions of brainless automatons who consume his chalkboard scribblings, study his alternative version of American History at the Glenn Beck Institute and then go vote.  Jon Stewart may be an effective counter to Beck, but sanity still needs to be restored.

The 10/30 Marches on Washington

17 Sep

I can’t decide yet whether I want to attend Jon Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity“, which aims to “take it down a notch for America“, or Stephen Colbert’s “Keep Fear Alive“, where marchers will be “freaking out for fear,” or “notching it up a scoche”.  October 30th on the National Mall in Washington from 3 – 6.

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From Stewart’s site, something that seems directed at Buffalo’s angriest gubernatorial candidate:

“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

Who among us has not wanted to open their window and shout that at the top of their lungs?

Seriously, who?

Because we’re looking for those people. We’re looking for the people who think shouting is annoying, counterproductive, and terrible for your throat; who feel that the loudest voices shouldn’t be the only ones that get heard; and who believe that the only time it’s appropriate to draw a Hitler mustache on someone is when that person is actually Hitler. Or Charlie Chaplin in certain roles.

Are you one of those people? Excellent. Then we’d like you to join us in Washington, DC on October 30 — a date of no significance whatsoever — at the Daily Show’s “Rally to Restore Sanity.” Ours is a rally for the people who’ve been too busy to go to rallies, who actually have lives and families and jobs (or are looking for jobs) — not so much the Silent Majority as the Busy Majority. If we had to sum up the political view of our participants in a single sentence… we couldn’t. That’s sort of the point.

On the other hand, Colbert describes his rally thusly:

America, the Greatest Country God ever gave Man, was built on three bedrock principles: Freedom. Liberty. And Fear — that someone might take our Freedom and Liberty. But now, there are dark, optimistic forces trying to take away our Fear — forces with salt and pepper hair and way more Emmys than they need. They want to replace our Fear with reason. But never forget — “Reason” is just one letter away from “Treason.” Coincidence? Reasonable people would say it is, but America can’t afford to take that chance.

As always, the best way to combat the creeping insanity and extremism in our politics is to make fun of them.

Required Reading

22 Aug

There were two articles written in the past 14 days which should be required reading for anyone who wants to have an honest discussion about “financial reform” as proposed by President Obama and passed by Congress or about Park51, aka the “Ground Zero Mosque”.

Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone has provided some of the best analysis and coverage of the financial reform bill and the epic collapse of our financial system in 2008.  He writes in an accessible and biting way that simplifies the issue without dumbing it down.  For instance, his article from April titled, “The Great American Bubble Machine” is required reading for understanding the financial crisis.

The former Buffalo resident and the original editor of the once great Buffalo Beast, has written an article which should have every Obama supporter crying into their Hope T-shirts.

Over a long year of feverish lobbying and brutally intense backroom negotiations, a group of D.C. insiders fought over a single question: Just how much of the truth about the financial crisis should we share with the public? Do we admit that control over the economy in the past dec­ade was ceded to a small group of rapacious criminals who to this day are engaged in a mind-­numbing campaign of theft on a global scale? Or do we pretend that, minus a few bumps in the road that have mostly been smoothed out, the clean-hands capitalism of Adam Smith still rules the day in America? In other words, do people need to know the real version, in all its majestic whorebotchery, or can we get away with some bullshit cover story?

In passing Dodd-Frank, they went with the cover story.

The involvement of the Obama Administration in the construction of that cover story narrative is depressing.

As for the issue of the Park51 story that has become the central Republican created bullshit distraction issue of the election season, Frank Rich of the New York Times pretty much shuts down the dummies with this brilliant Op-Ed.

So virulent is the Islamophobic hysteria of the neocon and Fox News right — abetted by the useful idiocy of the Anti-Defamation League, Harry Reid and other cowed Democrats — that it has also rendered Gen. David Petraeus’s last-ditch counterinsurgency strategy for fighting the war inoperative. How do you win Muslim hearts and minds in Kandahar when you are calling Muslims every filthy name in the book in New York?

Also, a couple of required viewing videos from the week that was…

Jon Stewart also destroys right wing talking points on Park51

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The following video is not political in any way, it’s just awesome.  Cee-Lo Green is back…if you’re at work or around kids, I suggest headphones.  The song is excellent, but profane.

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Keep Calm and Carry On

6 Feb

I didn’t see the cut version of Jon Stewart on Bill O’Reilly’s Factor the other night, but Gawker reviewed the entire, uncut version on Fox’s website and brings us highlights from the parts that didn’t make it to air. Which include many of Stewart’s strongest arguments about Fox News’ descent into hysterical, emotion-driven rage. Seriously excellent discussion. My favorite quotes:

On discussing the insanity of Neil Cavuto, Stewart explains that Cavuto’s schtick is posing ridiculous questions like: is Obama a Stalinist, while posting a picture of Stalin over his shoulder:

I know what this is. I come from Jersey—it’s the same thing: “I’m not saying your mother’s a whore. I’m just saying she has sex for money. With people.” [F]ox News used to be all about, you don’t criticize a president during wartime. It’s unacceptable, it’s treasonous, it gives aid and comfort to the enemy. All of a sudden, for some reason you can run out there and say, “Barack Obama is destroying the fabric of this country.”

Stewart gets O’Reilly to admit that he thinks Obama is a socialist tyrant. Stewart retorts:

How many tyrants do you know that really suffer because they can’t get cloture?

On the panic attack hysterical Fox-driven conservative terror over Khalid Sheikh Muhammad being tried on the US mainland:

He’s not Magneto—Khalid Sheikh Muhammad isn’t going to sprout wings and fly out and start shooting buildings with lasers

Check out the whole thing.

Cutting the Bullsh*t

22 Aug

In the following clips, Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart commits aggravated journalism in the first degree.  He doesn’t let anti-health-reform spokeswoman Betsy McCaughey get away with lies, prevarications, and nonsense, nor does he simply ask another pro-reform talking head to offer screamy rebuttals.

Instead, Jon Stewart did his homework, read the bill, became familiar with ancillary statutes and regulations, and obliterated McCaughey point-by-point.   And cracked jokes to boot.

If cable news actually did this sort of thing and, you know, demanded its reporters and anchors educate themselves on what the hell they were talking about, and actually called the truth the truth, lies lies, and didn’t just leave objective truth to something you should “decide”, then there’d be some value in it.  As it stands now, the overwhelming majority of American television journalism is to intellectual discourse what Cheetos® brand corn noodles are to nutritious food.

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Stewart takes on Cheney 2.0

5 Jun

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Dick Cheney cracks wise.

Stewart and Cramer – pwnage on Brawl Street

13 Mar

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You have to sit through a 2:30 minute ad for some movie, but at least Hulu doesn’t chop the show up into separate segments like Comedy Central does.