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talib kweli and strong arm steady – rap city freestyle April 7, 2008

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barack obama strongest in november versus mccain February 9, 2008

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how tv types will stay awake February 5, 2008

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Jeffrey Toobin, CNN: “Nectar of the Gods – Diet Coke. And sometimes Wolf gives a swig from the flask of Southern Comfort he keeps in his back pocket.”

Brian Williams, anchor, NBC News: “Grape-flavored Propel vitamin water. Banana power bars. One ziplock bag full of carrots. And the newsroom rumor is: someone is ordering Mexican.”

vintage jon stewart footage January 30, 2008

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With Mike Huckabee’s surge in national prominence following his win in the Iowa caucuses, both Stephen Colbert and Conan O’Brien attempted to take credit for his newfound popularity, claiming they “made” him. Last night on “The Colbert Report,” Jon Stewart dropped in to settle the score by claiming — with VHS footage from the erstwhile “Jon Stewart Show” — that he, in fact, had made Conan O’Brien, keeping victory within the Comedy Central family. Watch:

link roundup January 27, 2008

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, arts/culture, books, comedy, econ, food, health, international, interviews, media, news, politics, science, speeches, talks, television.
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1. what don’t we know about the pharmaceutical industry? a freakonomics quorom

2. video: stewart slams media for provoking campaign drama

3. malcolm gladwell @ TED in 2004, exhibiting his superior storytelling abilities and making the horizontal segmentation of pasta fascinating – 18 min 15 sec youtube video

4. booksthatmakeyoudumb

5. nabokov wanted his final, unfinished work destroyed. should his son get out the matches?

6. nicholas kristof in india (“china and india: the race is on” & “power of a mother’s love” – nytimes video)

“the unbearable inanity of tim russert” January 16, 2008

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matthew yglesias hit the nail on the head with this one. it’s as if the guests on meet the press and russert have to come to a mutual agreement. the guests dodge his seemingly “tough” questions and russert continues to ask them.

“the unbearable inanity of tim russert”:

Actually, the balls Russert favors may be hard, but the pitches he throws aren’t curveballs, which go someplace useful. They’re sillyballs, which go somewhere pointless. Russert has created a strike zone of his own where toughness meets irrelevance. John McCain entered the zone last May, when he went on the show and repeatedly asserted that the Bush tax cuts had increased the federal government’s revenue. Hearing this, a tough but conscientious journalist might have pointed out that this is demonstrably false. Russert, however, reached for a trusty hardball and sent it sailing. McCain, he pointed out, was now supporting extending the very same Bush tax cuts that he had once opposed.

Well, yes, but this was a bit like asking someone who says the world is flat why he used to say the earth was round. The contradiction Russert pointed out was real—but hardly central. In fact, if tax cuts actually had increased revenues, then McCain’s change of heart would have been perfectly logical. The real problem was that McCain’s theory of the relationship between tax rates and revenue wasn’t true. In Russertland, though, as long as you acknowledge the contradiction, the questioner is satisfied. “You say the world is flat, but just three years ago you said it was round.” “You know, Tim, yes, I used to say the world was round, but times change, and that’s why I support the Bush administration’s bill to construct a restraining wall to prevent ships from sailing over the edge of the sea.” And so on.

To say that such exercises offer no information would be unfair. But the information is purely meta. Viewers watch a candidate getting grilled by Russert not to assess the candidate’s views but to assess his or her ability to withstand the grilling. And, when this sort of toughness and sparring becomes its own reward, the vacuity of the questioning is almost guaranteed. After all, if you asked a politician a serious, important question and got a perfectly good answer, then maybe, for a moment, you couldn’t be tough. Instead, Russert relies on his crutch of confronting politicians with allegedly contradictory statements they’ve made—to highly monotonous effect.

And that’s really the game here. Russert’s goal isn’t to inform his audience. He’s there to “make news”—to get his guest to say something embarrassing that lands in the next day’s papers or on the NBC Nightly News. The politicians, in turn, go on the show determined not to make news. And why do they bother? Because, as Geraghty has noted, it’s a rite of passage, and any politician too chicken to play Russert’s inane games would never garner the respect of the political class. And then, seven days later, it all happens again like clockwork. If it’s Sunday, it’s Meet the Press.

“it was 20 years ago today” January 6, 2008

Posted by KG in arts/culture, history, interviews, music, television.
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1987 british documentary covering 60’s counterculture…lots of great archival footage & interviews…

“This film examines the masterwork album by the Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, released in 1967, with its creation, themes and impact explored in turn. In addition, this film explores the summer of that year with the rise of the counter-culture and hippies for instance, and the whole notion that love and music could change the world.”

part 1 of 10:

1987 nytimes review

rolling stone’s 40th anniversary issue November 14, 2007

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, arts/culture, books, campaign finance, comedy, design, econ, environment, film, health, hip-hop, history, immigration, international, interviews, iraq, iraq war, media, misc, music, news, politics, race, religion, science, style, tech, television, terrorism.
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“This issue looks forward, not back, and it’s packed with interviews with the artists, leaders and thinkers who can best divine what our future holds. It arrives, appropriately, during the run-up to next year’s presidential election, which looms as a moment of truth for our nation. “People are nauseous about being perceived as the enemy,” Bono says of America’s standing in the world. “Whoever fixes that problem gets elected.” But it’s not just politics – as a society, we face choices that will likely determine the fate of our civilization, matters of war and peace, resource depletion and explosive population growth. And, of course, global warming: “It’s a mistake to think of the climate crisis as one in a list of issues that will define our future,” Al Gore tells us. “It is the issue.”

We don’t claim to have the answers to these challenges, but we do know where to look for leadership and inspiration. The values of tolerance, inclusiveness, common sense and personal liberty (not to mention fun) that took shape in the 1960s have animated this magazine ever since.”

chock full of wit and wisdom from some of the world’s most interesting minds…

you can find the entire issue digitally right here, but the interface rolling stone set up is really horrible, so i’ve made the text from some of the interviews into pdfs:










here’s some quotes that i’ve culled:


npr vs. fox news November 12, 2007

Posted by KG in arts/culture, film, hip-hop, media, music, news, politics, sports, television.
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political wire:

Not surprisingly, a new Norman Lear Center/Zogby poll reveals that America’s entertainment tastes are as polarized as our political views.

A few of the findings:

  • Liberals were much more likely than conservatives to listen to commentary and entertainment with which they disagreed philosophically.
  • Fox News wins the prize for the most politically divisive TV channel (70% of conservatives watch it daily and only 3% of liberals).
  • Over 82% of conservatives say they never watch MTV.
  • Cerebral material like documentaries and arts and educational programming all appeal more to liberals… Conservative viewers are more likely to watch action-adventure, sports, and business programming.
  • Conservatives are the least likely group to listen to jazz and reggae… Liberals, on the other hand, are more likely than other respondents to enjoy almost every music genre.

oh those crazy democratic presidential nominees… November 5, 2007

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, comedy, media, news, politics, television.
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when making a case for charisma goes wrong…