The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Laughter

The Politics of Laughter

Greed is Good [by Kevin Lee]

Grape Disclosure [Cuddles and Rage]

Your Fortune [Buttersafe]

Shampoo Prank [YouTube]

Dr. Dre posted this to Twitter. No explanation necessary. [picture]

How do you NOT know?? [picture]

Is This Any Way to Treat an American Hero?

Sally Ride’s domestic partner won’t get her government benefits. Is that any way to treat a hero?  [Time]

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Impossible



Imagine for a moment what it would be like to have lived our lives up to this point truly believing in our hearts every day the words below spoken by a great Kentuckian:

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men/women who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

Now imagine what it would be like to live the rest of our lives truly believing in our hearts every day these same words….

Tired of imagining yet?

The owner of these words, of course, is Louisville native Muhammad Ali. Whose life is proof that these words can be true.

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Hoops

The Politics of Hoops

The Olympics have a way of bringing people together. That includes the unlikely bond that has been forming for years on USA Basketball between The Chosen One and the college coach he never had. [NY Times]

For many, Neil Reed’s legacy was defined in that singular moment when Knight’s fingers clasped around his throat. But in the wake of Reed’s untimely demise one author remembers him as not just a moment but a friend, an idol, and one hell of a basketball player. [Grantland]

Fresh off its 35th consecutive Olympic victory and a 90-38 rout of Angola, USA Women’s Basketball is flying high. [SF Chronicle]

His teammates called him ‘Young Buck’ and for good reason. A rising high school sophomore, Karl Towns Jr. is an amazing example of talented youth in the international arena. [ESPN]

Uh-oh, Lebron left his laptop up. This peek at James’s faux email inbox is sports comedy at its best. [Grantland]


Krystal Ball and her “Cycle” Co-Hosts Open Up

From Mediate:

MSNBC’s newest show The Cycle is unlike any other political talk show on cable. That may sound like a PR cliché, but unlike your usual assortment of cable news veterans, old-school journalists, and suit-and-tie pundits, The Cycle resembles more a collection of Generation X-er political geeks talking about their passions. All four hosts represent a newer, younger generation of political pundits.

As the show’s executive producer Steve Friedman explains, that design was on purpose: “It’s basically a dinner party show, unlike any other ensemble on television.” A forty-year veteran of the business, Friedman has produced a slew of ensemble shows including ESPN2′sCold PizzaThe Early Show on CBS, and a little morning program called Today on NBC. “This is my computer,” he jokes, showing his college-ruled notebook and a pen. He may come from an older world of television, but he says that his goals with The Cycle don’t necessarily match that mentality.

The Cycle came about in the wake of Dylan Ratigan‘s abrupt departure from his MSNBC show. Friedman and executives decided to soft-launch an ensemble show with four distinct voices. “We wanted an ensemble show because we didn’t want the new person to be compared to Ratigan,” Friedman explains. “If we had just replaced him with a single host, reporters like you might’ve said ‘That’s who they replaced him with?’”

And so Friedman recruited a younger batch of frequent MSNBC guests to host the new show: controversial music journalist TouréSalon‘s stat-obsessed political writer Steve Kornacki, former Democratic congressional candidate Krystal Ball, and outspoken conservative S.E. Cupp.

“It’s the personalities that set apart ensemble shows,” Friedman says, underscoring the network’s belief that these four are particularly unique host additions to a daytime landscape usually brimming with straight-reporting cable newsman types. Interestingly, their on-air dynamic is an accurate reflection of their off-air relationship.

Touré is the eldest of the group, probably the most talkative, and definitely no stranger to controversy. Within the show’s first week, he drew criticism for suggesting the death of U.S. soliderPat Tillman was an intentional silencing by the American government; another week, he drew the ire of small government advocates when he advocated for a variety of government mandates. “He just loves to argue,” Cupp says of her co-host, pointing out that even at group dinners a conversation can’t go on without Touré playing devil’s advocate.

Kornacki, by contrast, was enlisted by Friedman as the “anti-Touré” — not politically, but characteristically. Friedman sees his two male hosts as a perfect juxtaposition: Touré pushes buttons and invites controversy; Kornacki is measured and intellectual in demeanor. Off-air and on-air, the other three “Cyclists” openly tease Kornacki for his “nerdy” ability to rattle off obscure polling numbers at the drop of a hat. During one show, the cast created a compilation video of the most neurotic things Kornacki has said on the program, and all enjoyed a good laugh at the result.

Cupp was chosen because, as Friedman describes, “the show needed someone who is not a card-carrying liberal.” Among the network’s non-liberal personalities, Friedman says, Cupp is “the best one.” She jokes that she never dreamed of hosting a show on MSNBC beside all the network’s openly liberal personalities; but she has relished the opportunity: “This is a great opportunity for me to slay dragons in front of an unfriendly audience,” she says. Her conservative fans, however, have had mixed reviews for her new job: “I’ve gotten ‘you’re a traitor,’ to ‘you’re so courageous,’ to ‘I will never watch you on that network.’”

Much like the Touré-Kornacki pairing, Ball was selected as the “anti-Cupp,” in the political sense. Before her television career, she was a 29-year-old liberal congressional candidate in Virginia. Shortly thereafter, she made the rounds as a “Democratic strategist” on Fox News and MSNBC. She credits her on-air experiences with Touré during Ratigan’s “Mega Panel” as helping shape her comfortability with The Cycle‘s format. And even with the stresses of hosting a cable news program, Ball says “running for Congress was way harder,” especially in terms of having the time to spend with her young daughter.

Click here to read the full article.

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Pigskin

The Politics of Pigskin

Tennessee Titans wide reciever, O.J. Murdock, has committed suicide by way of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest in Tampa Bay, FL. Murdock sat out last season on the IR after injuring his foot before the season. [Yahoo!]

Here is a super cool story about Drew Brees giving a former high school assistant coach a shot at playing in the NFL. [LA Times]

Peter King has started his tour of NFL training camps. Here you can check out his review of the first five: Arizona, New Orleans, Denver, Seattle, and San Diego. [SI]

The next three teams you can expect to hear sale announcements about are the Titans, Bills, and Broncos. [PFT]

Speaking of sales, current Browns owner Randy Lerner is close to selling the franchise to current Steelers minority owner Jimmy Haslam. If the deal goes through the NFL is expected to make Haslam divest himself of his Steelers ownership. []

What is your opinion of Mike Wallace’s holdout? [Football Nation]


Tipping Point on Marijuana Legalization?

With three states nearing initiatives to legalize marijuana this fall, Julian Brookes thinks that we are near reaching the tipping point: [The Daily Beast]

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Chick-fil-A

Used to be if you were hungry for chicken and in a hurry–and against gay marriage–there wasn’t a clear fast food option.

Not anymore.

Chick-fil-A has finally articulated what most suspected. They want to dominate market share of the heterosexual chicken eating population by coming out against gay-marriage.

No surprises here. I mean, c’mon. “Chick” is in the name.

“I’ve loved Chik-fil-A from the first time I tried it. That’s got to count for something.”

I’ll be watching next month for the new Chick-fil-A “Hetero Combo” featuring a masculine looking sandwich with two chicken breasts and straight looking garnishments.

This creates a frenzy among the remaining fast food chicken chains to see who will try to appeal to the gay friendly chicken eating population.

Apparently rumors that Popeye’s is considering moving their headquarters to Fire Island, NY and that KFC is introducing the “Judy Garland Over the Rainbow” sandwich are false. However it does appear that Dairy Queen is working on playing both sides with the “Big Butch Chicken Basket”

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Media

The Politics of Media

More than 40 million tuned in to NBC’s coverage of the Olympics Opening Ceremony on Friday, making it the most watched ever for the network. [LA Times]

CNN’s President, Jim Walton, announced he will step down at the end of the year. He said the network needs “new thinking.” [The Wall Street Journal]

Viacom will publicly oppose the Defense of Marriage Act. The company is joining a group of entities that is filing a court brief expressing opposition. [TVBlog]

The New York Times Company saw circulation revenue surpass advertising revenue over the first half of 2012. [New York Magazine]

NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America are now too close to call in ratings races. Today had been the perpetual leader for years. [NYT]


Artur Davis: An Evil Without Solution

It took literally minutes for politics to get twisted into the massacre in Aurora, Colorado. ABC News’ Brian Ross (the same journalist who slandered former House Speaker Dennis Hastert with an unattributed and false report that he was a target of a criminal probe) took to the air to link the shooter to the Tea Party. The claim was quickly unmasked as a breathtaking stupidity, based on connecting a shared, reasonably common name that is worn by a couple dozen people in the Denver phonebook.

Then, when the link between James Holmes and the ideological right was severed, it took minutes more to unearth the politics of gun control. The Internet and cable news are already awash with the notion that Holmes’ atrocity is an indictment of any number of related sins, from permissive gun laws in general, to the ease of obtaining tear gas and ammunition on the web, to the fecklessness of candidates and congressmen in the face of the NRA’s might, to the inevitable wages of a society that endorses gun possession as a constitutional liberty at all.

Americans typically dig for social and institutional causes for the most unfathomable examples of evil. It’s not only liberal talk show hosts who were quick to tie the coarsening of the political culture to the slaughter at a congressional event in Arizona in 2011. Our instinct of forces larger than us driving our destiny, a religious and psychological strand in our thinking, ill prepares us for the power a loner caught in his own warped view can wield.

Read the rest of…
Artur Davis: An Evil Without Solution

The Recovering Politician Bookstore


The RP on The Daily Show