Comedy Central is going to stage the mother of all marketing stunts here in Washington -- oh wait, Fox News Channel already did that.
Well, anyway, the Viacom-owned network will launch the second mother of all marketing stunts in Washington on Oct. 30 when both its late-night hosts, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, host opposing rallies on the Mall.
"The Daily Show's" Jon Stewart announced on his show Thursday night his Rally to Restore Sanity -- "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." The rally will be held, Stewart's camp said, "to beg America to stop shouting, throwing and drawing Hitler mustaches on people other than Hitler (or Charlie Chaplin)."
Immediately thereafter, "The Colbert Report's," um, Colbert, announced his Keep Fear Alive rally, with instructions to "pack an overnight bag with five extra sets of underwear -- you're going to need them. Because to Restore Truthiness we must always ... Shh!!! What's that sound?! I think there's someone behind you! Run!"
Comedy Central promises the Rally Rivalry will be "bigger than Nixon/Kennedy, Ali/Foreman, Aniston/Jolie, 50 Cent/Nas, Joe/The Volcano, Alien/Predator, Bunny/Fudd and Ecks/Sever combined."
But both men are operating in the shadow of FNC's prime-time talking head Glenn Beck, who, back in July, announced that he would, on Aug. 28, stage a "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial. Imagine Beck's surprise when he discovered that was the same day Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial 47 years earlier.
We've discovered a permit application was indeed submitted for the Rally Rivalry, on Sept. 8 to the National Park Service by Minassian Media, Comedy Central, and Chris Wane and Associates.
While the permit has not yet been issued, "we do not see any hugely outstanding issues that would prevent or bar the signing of a permit," Bill Line, spokesman for the National Park Service, told WaPo TeamTV's Mall Rally Correspondent, David Montgomery.
The permit application modestly estimates a crowd of just 25,000 people. Comedy Central apparently does not think there are very many people with a sense of humor living within a reasonable commute of the Mall. According to press reports, about 87,000 people showed up for Beck's rally -- though Beck on his show dismissed that number as pure horseradish and told his viewers they should believe no one but him and he says the number was hooey, and to believe only his estimate. He said "a minimum of 500,000" people came to his rally which, he added, was "the sixth-largest gathering" on the Mall, ever and approximately the same sized crowd as had come to the Mall for that other defining moment:
"Ronald Reagan's inauguration."
The Stewart/Colbert permit application is for the north side of the Washington Monument grounds, which does not include the Lincoln Memorial, Reflecting Pool or what is known as the National Mall, Line says, what with the Monument grounds being bounded by Constitution, Independence, 15th and 17th, and the north side is the side toward Constitution.
On the other hand, he also said the Park Service and applicants are negotiating details as we write. Line declined to discuss specifics of those negotiations.
Watch the Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert announcements here:
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c Rally to Restore Sanity www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party
The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c March to Keep Fear Alive www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election Fox News
Without question, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s “Christmas” retort to Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) will be the most memorable moment of her confirmation hearings. Graham asked, “Christmas Day bomber. Where were you at on Christmas Day?” Kagan, whose day job is solicitor general of the United States, seemed confused by his query and started answering him seriously. But Graham cut her off and said, “No. I just asked where you were at on Christmas.”
Kagan’s response -- "Like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant" -- was brilliant in its humor, timing and the self-effacing manner in which it was delivered. Despite the laughter in the chamber, it was one of those “only in New York” references that might go over the heads of a few folks. Even Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) admitted that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) explained it to him before the hearing. Then Schumer kindly pointed out that Chinese restaurants are the only places that are open on Christmas Day, which is vital in a city where making reservations IS making dinner. For those of you out there who are in need of a similar cultural life raft, take a look at this instant classic video from Saturday Night Live.
Check out Kagan's other funny moments here.
From the Onion, not the Sox:
Definitely worth watching both because it's amusing and because it again makes clear that Obama operates on a longer time frame than his opponents and the media:
In the spirit of all of the other postings today, this S.A.R. is a bit more of a political warning of what could come to be, than the typical humorous fluff:
I hope that no one in the GOP sees this video or they're going to add "not fighting ghost killers" to their list of evidence that Obama is weak on terror, joining the equally stupid "he doesn't say War on Terror" and "he'd Mirandize the 911 terrorists":
Some random, twisted excerpts from Dave Barry on the money, madness and misery of 2009:
Bad news: The economy remained critically weak, with rising unemployment, a severely depressed real-estate market, the near-collapse of the domestic automobile industry and the steep decline of the dollar.
Good news: Windows 7 sucked less than Vista.
Bad news: The downward spiral of the newspaper industry continued, resulting in the firings of thousands of experienced reporters and an apparently permanent deterioration in the quality of American journalism.
Good news: A lot more people were tweeting.
Bad news: Ominous problems loomed abroad as -- among other difficulties -- the Afghanistan war went sour, and Iran threatened to plunge the Middle East and beyond into nuclear war.
Good news: They finally got Roman Polanski.
January: during which history is made in Washington, where a crowd estimated by the Congressional Estimating Office at 217 billion people gathers to watch Barack Obama be inaugurated as the first American president ever to come after George W. Bush ... President Obama then delivers an upbeat inaugural address, ushering in a new era of cooperation, civility and bipartisanship in a galaxy far, far away. Here on Earth, everything stays pretty much the same.
February: General Motors, which has sold only one car in the past year -- a Buick LaCrosse mistakenly purchased by an 87-year-old man who thought he was buying a power scooter -- announces a new four-part business plan, consisting of (1) dealership closings; (2) factory shutdowns; (3) worker layoffs; and (4) traveling backward through time to 1955.
April: The big health story in April is the rapid spread of swine flu, a dangerous new virus strain developed by the makers of Purell. Public anxiety over the flu increases when Vice President Biden, demonstrating his gift for emitting statements, declares on the "Today" show that he would not recommend traveling by commercial airplane or subway. A short while later, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs assures reporters that he is "not aware of any 'Vice President Biden.' " In another embarrassment for the White House, New York is temporarily thrown into a panic when Air Force One flies low over Manhattan for a publicity photo shoot. Responding to widespread criticism, Gibbs notes that Obama inherited Air Force One from the Bush administration.
May: the big political drama takes place in Washington, where Justice David Souter announces that he is retiring from the U.S. Supreme Court because he is tired of getting noogies from Chief Justice Roberts. To replace Souter, Obama nominates Sonia Sotomayor, setting off the traditional Washington performance of Konfirmation Kabuki, in which the Democrats portray the nominee as basically a cross between Abraham Lincoln and the Virgin Mary, and the Republicans portray her more as Ursula the Sea Witch with a law degree. Sotomayor will eventually be confirmed but only after undergoing the traditional Senate Judiciary Committee hazing ritual, during which she must talk for four straight days without expressing an opinion.
I love that the segment is titled, "Beyond the Facts."
Jon Stewart doesn't think it means much (and their pundit parody towards the end is must see TV):
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c Indecision 2009 - Reindecision 2008 And Beyond www.thedailyshow.com
Political Humor Health Care Crisis
Off-year elections can be notoriously unreliable as predictors of the future, but as a window on how the political landscape may have changed in the year since President Obama won the White House, Tuesday's Republican victories in Virginia and New Jersey delivered clear warnings for the Democrats.
Neither gubernatorial election amounted to a referendum on the president, but the changing shape of the electorates in both states and the shifts among key constituencies revealed cracks in the Obama 2008 coalition and demonstrated that, at this point, Republicans have the more energized constituency heading into next year's midterm elections.
The most significant change came among independent voters, who solidly backed Democrats in 2006 and 2008 but moved decisively to the Republicans on Tuesday, according to exit polls. In Virginia, independents strongly supported Republican Robert F. McDonnell in his victory over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds, while in New Jersey, they supported Republican Chris Christie in his win over Democratic Gov. Jon S. Corzine.
For months, polls have shown that independents were increasingly disaffected with some of Obama's domestic policies. They have expressed reservations about the president's health-care efforts and have shown concerns about the growth in government spending and the federal deficit under his leadership.
Tuesday's elections provided the first tangible evidence that Republicans can win their support with the right kind of candidates and the right messages. That is an ominous development for Democrats if it continues unabated into next year. But Republicans could squander that opportunity if they demand candidates who are too conservative to appeal to the middle.
McDonnell pitched his campaign toward the center of the electorate, offering Republicans a model for how to reach independents. But the uproar in New York's 23rd Congressional District, where a populist conservative uprising drove the hand-picked Republican nominee out of the race, showed that ideological warfare still threatens the party.
Beyond the shift among independents, there were other worrisome indicators that the coalition Obama attracted last year is a shrunken force, at least for the time being. One question all year has been whether, without Obama on the ballot, Democrats could attract the new voters who went to the polls in 2008. In New Jersey and Virginia, the answer was no.
Many of the young voters who came out in big numbers in 2008 and strongly backed Obama stayed home Tuesday. In Virginia, voters under age 30 accounted for 10 percent of the electorate, half the share they represented last year. In New Jersey, their turnout also was halved.
Meanwhile, the percentage of voters age 65 and older jumped significantly in Virginia and rose measurably in New Jersey. In both states, these voters tilted slightly more Republican than they did a year ago.
SNL noticed the fighting change in Obama posted earlier.
I didn't think I'd find something dummer than those stupid commemorative plates. And then I saw this.
This has got to be a parody from Microsoft right? They couldn't seriously have thought people would really host Windows 7 launch parties could they? Especially after watching this ridiculous video:
Since we're on the subject of commercial videos, here's a more eye catching one:
SNL uncovered some of the Obama interviews you didn't see last week ... the Glenn Beck bit was good:
First, I'm posting the NY Times' report on this stupid plan. After their story, I've posted a Daily Show report on the same subject.
The Daily Show's coverage is far more entertaining, really gets across how dumb this plan is and is therefore quite devastating to Arizona and its GOP controlled government.
It has 205,901 square feet, terrazzo floors, a big chunk of chrysocolla displayed in the lobby and a long-term tenant who wants to stay put for 20 years — leasing the building back from a buyer for more than its assessed value. Bonus feature: There is a nifty gun locker for any potential buyer or their guests who arrive packing heat.
The office building houses most of the State of Arizona’s government and was recently put on the market to help this broke state close its budget deficit.
It is looking like a pretty good deal, if the state can prove it is credit worthy.
“People are calling from all over the country,” said Alan Ecker, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Administration, who estimates that his office has taken 60 calls of inquiry since Gov. Jan Brewer approved the sale on Sept. 3 as part of a still-unresolved budget plan. “The balls are rolling.”
Selling a building that the owner wishes to continue to occupy — known as a sale and lease-back — is an oft-used strategy for businesses looking to shore up cash flow, but it is less common for governments to do so. But these are uncommon times for states gasping under piles of Medicaid bills, unemployment claims and pension payouts, and fewer tax dollars rolling in.
“Everything is on the table for a lot of states right now,” said Robb Willis, a lobbyist for H&W Development, a developer in Mableton, Ga., that is considering buying the executive office building here. “Arizona just seems to be a hotbed right now.”
If the people of the proudly independent state of Arizona would be the least bit despondent to have the owners of their state buildings hail from the Peach State, that may just be the cost of doing business right now.
To help close a $3.2 billion revenue shortfall, lawmakers allowed the sale and lease-back of the executive office tower, the buildings that house offices for both chambers of the State Legislature, as well as 10 prison complexes, a state mental hospital and other buildings. (For now, the historic Capitol, with its grand dome and aging interior, is not for sale, though state officials continue to ponder the possibility.)
All told, the assets are valued at $735 million. They are expected to cost the state $1.5 billion in lease-back fees over the next two decades, after which ownership of the buildings would revert to the state. It is sort of like renting to own new furniture. Except the state already owns the furniture.
For a state looking to preserve its credit rating and in need of a quick infusion of cash, and for an investor looking for a modest but easy return on an investment — better than treasuries, say, but not as exciting as equities — it could be a convenient marriage.
“There are a lot of empty buildings around these days,” said Lee Hunter, a principal of H&W, the Georgia firm. “So a fully leased building in this environment is attractive, and it is going to be extremely competitive.”
The centerpiece of the sale plan is the executive office tower, which holds the executive functions of government as well as the secretary of state, the state treasurer and the state mine inspector, and is valued at $39,511,240.
State lawmakers have cut their way through the rest of the budget, which remains unsolved months after the fiscal year ended because of an impasse over a sales tax increase sought by the governor but disliked by her fellow Republicans, who are a majority in the Legislature. Yet more cash is still desperately needed to get through this year and next. So prisons, historical societies, a visitor’s center at a revered state park and the Legislature building all must go.
Democratic lawmakers have little fondness for any of it.
“It’s a bad loan that makes no fiscal sense for the state,” said Kyrsten Sinema, the ranking Democrat on the State House Appropriations Committee. “We have to start paying interest in the very next fiscal year, when we’ll still be stuck in a massive deficit. So it’s definitely a penny-wise, pound-foolish plan.”
Now the Jason Jones report from last week:
A bit of their conversation, this on race & the town hall meetings:
Top Ten Reasons President Obama Agreed To Appear On The Late Show:
Read Michael Shearer's Top Ten Funny Parts from this show.
An experiment in delayed gratification:
A updated Rosh Hashanah, from 2006:
Hat tip to Chris Mathews' Hardball.
Evian's toddler version of Billie Jean: