Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wow! Some sanity, and out of my belived Barbary Coast!

I was greatly heartened, at last, to find someone else who has noticed the similarities between the anti-abortion movement and the animal rights movement. I've been saying for years that there is no difference between the two. They are both based on a kind of fanatical religious faith: they are spearheaded by organizations, PETA and Operation Rescue, which are wholly cut from the same cloth; both movements are made up of a bunch of radical idealists who want to cram their personal morality down everybody else's throats; both movements use similar tactics of intimidation and vandalism; both movements inspire and tacitly condone domestic terrorism; and, finaly, both movements favor their own doctrine over science, logic, or any form of evidence that might contradict their orthodoxy.

But here in New York I've often thought I was screaming at the wind. I don't fit in with the rest of the liberal academics on this issue, after all. So I was very please to see this letter from Incanto, the fine Italian restaurant in by beloved San Francisco (the place I feel most at home, in spite of the PETA presence). Read it, and read the Village Voice article it references as well. I admit I don't think much about Foie Gras. I've had it a few times, but it's not something I care about one way or another--except that I admit to a knee jerk reaction to support anything the PETA nazis are opposed to. So I found these two pieces of writing to be very informative. And, as I would expect, the truth knocks the legs out from under the PETA argument.

Read them.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ok, so it's fluff...

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, in which he speaks of his disdain for Sean Penn (which is fair) and about his attacks on Hollywood in general. It is actually a pretty good interview (O'Reily, like a lot of the right-wing ideologues, is a fairly calm and reasonable guy when he's on somebody else's mike). But he does tell a few whoppers.

In one he claims that Fox does not promote any party or candidate. We all know that is a bald faced lie, and it can easily be disproved by looking at their coverage of President Bush over the last eight years, and their open war against the Obama administration (a war which O'Reily is not really part of--he is sincere when he says he likes Obama and wants him to succeed).

Another doozy is when he talks about right-wing actors, writers, or producers not being able to get work in Hollywood. He cites the late Ron Silver as an example of someone who left the "liberal mindset" and suddenly couldn't get work. And he may have a point--in the eight years since 9/11 Silver has 14 credits according to IMBD. In the eight years prior to that he had exactly half as many. But if that is the case how does Bill explain the success of Dwayne Johnson, let alone Chuck Norris, Tom Selleck, Bruce Willis, Mel Gibson and Heather Locklear? Leave us not forget that Hollywood has produced some very notable republicans, from John Wayne and Charleton Heston to Ronald Regan and Arnold Schwarzenegger. among the loudest and most influential conservative voices of the past ten years have been Tre Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of the wildly conservative (and wildly funny) South Park. O'Reily, when asked about his attacks against Sean Penn and George Cloony, said that if there were right-wing ideologues in Hollywood he would go after them, but they just aren't there. Really: and how did O'Reeily react to the Ayn-Rand inspired "The Incredibles," a film which was such a polemic in favor of Ayn Rand conservativism that they made her the basis of the movies best character Edna Mode? What they did with The Incredibles was exactly what conservatives excoriated Dr. Seuss for doing in The Lorax From everything I heard he waxed poetic about it and said it should win the Oscar for best picture. Of course, the gave O'Reilly a character cameo, so he was bound to go easy on them.

But probably the biggest lie O'Reily tells is when he chastises NBC and the New York Times for spreading hate and demagoguery. This from the number one guy at Fox Network News, one of the most hateful and ideologically strident institutions in America.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Inspired

There's inspired casting, and then there is this: the Farrelly brothers are making a Three Stooges movie staring Benecio Del Toro, Jim Carey, and Sean Penn. Now THAT'S inspiration!

BUSTED!

With the losses of Duke and Memphis, two of my final four, my bracket is totally completely and forever busted. Too bad. Notre Dame over in the NIT is still making me proud.

But look at it. Right now there is a real possibility that we could have an all Big East final four. As a New Yorker I would love that! UConn, Pitt, and Louisville are all still alive as number one seeds. If they hold serve, all that has to happen is that Syracuse has to get through Oklahoma and then beat the Tar Heels (assuming they make ti past Gonzaga).

And Notre Dame is still alive in the NIT.

I know I KNOW!! I'm thinking like a fan and not a professional. Have to get hold of myself and do something sensible, like taking North Carolina over Gonzaga in spite of the 8-1/2 point spread. Or not. The zags only won their second round game by a couple of points, and the Tar Heels have been crushing people. But this is Gonzaga. They never go down without a fight.

Hell, roll the dice and take Gonzaga and the points.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Not bad so far

Well, my bracket wasn't busted. I think I had four losses in the first round, two more in the second, but nobody that I had going any deeper. Yes, I know, I said that you'd be crazy not to take Binghamton and the points, and that was a stupid thing to say. I didn't take into account that they'd be facing a Duke team that hadn't played since being embarrassed by their cross town rival, and that they would be mad and hungry and prepared to lay a beat down on Binghamton as if they had caught the hall monitor on the way home from school. That's ok: American evened that one out, and then Michigan came through for me. I have never gone wrong betting against Clemson. It was a lesson I first learned when they lost the NIT final to Cal ten years ago. That was at least half way a fan's bet, emotional, hopeful. But it also won, and since then I've found that Clemson is a rainmaker. Bet against them and you almost never lose. I don't know when the last time they covered the spread was.

Friday, March 20, 2009

President of Hip

Is Obama the first president to do late night? I know Clinton went on Arsineo while he was campaigning, and this last election it seemed everyone had to make a run through Saturday Night Live. McCain announced on the Tonight Show. But a sitting president? On a late night comedy talk show? Once upon a time it would have been unheard of. Ford reportedly wanted to host Saturday Night Live while he was president, but his handlers talked him down off the ledge.

So Obama going onto The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (a show I have successfully boycotted since NBC screwed Letterman out of what should have been his job) may not seem like much, but I think it is. In our post modern world a lot has been written about how comedy has become an important political forum, and satire has been elevated to the realm of serious discourse. What once was frivolous is now serious as the old hierarchies of taste and propriety are broken down along with that of high and low culture. I don't know if Obama is the first sitting president to do late night or not, but no matter: he has given the ultimate imprimatur to the guys who brought you Bassomatic, Stupid Pet Tricks, and Floyd R. Turbo, American.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March Madness in a World Gone Mad

We all know that President Obama is a sports fan. He has even weighed in (albeit on the wrong side) on the call for a playoff in big-time college football. Nonetheless it was encouraging to read this morning that he had filled out his bracket for the NCAA tournament just like everybody else. Somebody will probably raise the specter of gambling in the White House, and I'm sure it's illegal. The NCAA, which opposes all forms of sports betting and yearly about this time puts out a finger-wagging paper about why joining the office pool will lead to points shaving in the national championship game, will likely whine about the president setting a bad example. But who cares? This is America, and if you can't blow a few bucks on the NCAA what good is it living here? The fact that our president is playing the same game we are, with the same ridiculous hopes and stupid picks, is somehow comforting.

But this particular year the NCAA is a much bigger deal. We are a nation of doomed souls--or at least that is how we have been acting lately. Between the stock market crash and the housing bubble, fears of an even Greater Depression and the impending terrorist attack that we all know is coming sooner or later, not to mention war in Iraq and Afghanistan and, much worse, Pakistan, we are a whipped nation, beaten down and cowering in a corner, hoping the rest of the world will just ignore us, go away, and leave us in peace, if only for a day.

So the tournament cannot come at a better time.

Across the nation offices are abuzz with predictions, most of them insane. Some bozo alumni from Chatenooga are actually betting that their boys will beat lofty UCONN. Fans of Moorehead State, the number 64 seed and winner of last night's play-in game, have filled them in as the national champion. Fans make the worst gamblers. But office pools are small time, and the real professionals are going to take Bingahmton and the points to beat Duke (at +22 you'd be crazy not to).

But blown tuition funds and a few shaven points are not the issue. The issue is the flow. Gambling is an industry that does well in a recession, as desperate people bet their last dime on the lotto in the vain hope it will change their fortunes. But it is also fun, and nothing is more fun in this regard than the NCAA tournament. If you've ever been in Vegas during the final four you know what I mean. The Federal Reserve has been trying desperately for two months to get money flowing again. Well I guarantee money will be flowing freely for the next three weeks. It will be changing hands in bars as people place side bets on Tyler Hansbrough missing his free throws, or what the over/under will be after the first quarter. It will flow to beer distributorships and to corner markets who sell potato chips and dip. It will flow into the malls where spouses (not necessarily wives in these enlightened times) will go to avoid the mayhem that is taking place in their living rooms. But mostly it will just flow because, for the next three weeks, everybody will be excited and, tonight at least, everybody in the country except the Alabama State fans will be happy, and will believe that this is their year. If the thing we need most right now is optimism and enthusiasm, the NCAA tournament is the prescription for what ails us.

For the record, I've got Louisville, Memphis, Duke and North Carolina in my final four, with NC cutting down the nets in Detroit. But what do I know?

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another Feeding Frenzy

I work under a contract as a member of a union. I make less than $30,000 from this contract, but I think it is pertinent. It so happens that this contract is with the government--in this case CUNY, which is some kind of joint venture of the City and State of New York (my checks from BMCC come from the city, my checks from CCNY come from the state).

And I expect that contract to be honored.

So does every member of my union. As does every union that has a contract with the government. As does every contractor who does business with the government. As does everybody who has any contract with anybody.

So I want those AIG fat cats to get their stupid bonuses. I don't want the government to be able to break a contract because times are hard, or because they don't now like the terms. You want to see real financial chaos? You think it's bad now? Just set a precedent that lets a contract be broken just because one party doesn't like the terms anymore. We live in a land where contracts are enforced.

Oh yeah: I think this idea of punitive taxation is unethical. I think targeting a specific group for 100% taxation to punish them for something is worse than breaking a contract. It is the government saying, in a sense, "we dont' care about the law, we are going to find a way around it because we are mad." It's kind of like setting up a prison in CUBA in order to get around laws governing torture and due process.

What we have here is a feeding frenzy. It is as grotesque and as crazy as the frenzy of the paparazzi around Angelina Jolie that I wrote about on Sunday. Only this time it is the whole country that is going mad. Just like after 9/11, America has turned into an angry mob. They are out for blood and, by God, they are going to get some. It is just the type of mob that lynches black men for being black, or breaks the windows of Jewish shop keepers, or ties gay men to the backs of vehicles and drags them to their deaths. Let me tell you, the spectacle of my senator standing up and saying 'we are going to make sure these people get none of this money' (I'm paraphrasing, but it's close) was as frightening to me as Bush talking about an Axis of Evil. One Republican senator even suggested that AIG executives commit sepuku. Howw far is it from that to some yahoo here in NYC (and our town is full of yahoos) deciding that they aren't acting fast enough and he's going to take matters into his own hands? Maybe march into AIG like John Luigi Ferri and gun down as many people as he can? Our Senators are already giving him the moral justification to do so. When you create scape goats and spread hatred, that is exactly what you do.

Lately the talking points from my party have included comparing the economic crisis to a war, and suggesting that anybody who opposes the president is being un-patriotic. It is a play right out of the GOP playbook and it is a good one. But if this is indeed a war (it's not, no more than the war on terror was a war) then it is having the same effect on truth, ethics, justice and due process as our other wars have. MSNBC is right. We have declared "war" on wealth. We have created an enemy--bankers and wall street execs--and we will fight them in the trenches and the streets blah blah blah. There is nothing new to any of this. A crazy man declared long ago "we shall not be crucified on a cross of gold!" Hating the rich has a long history in this country, and this is no different. We have declared them to be evil, greedy, fat pigs, who deserve to be destroyed. And as with the "war" on terror, we are willing to do unethical and illegal things to exact our revenge. My party, my president, is starting to remind me frighteningly of President Bush and the republicans right after 9/11 (and like the Dems at that time, the GOP are going along with them). If Marx is right the people will not be satisfied with legislative attempts to bring the rich down and the next step will be revolution. I hope not, because we've all seen how communism failed.

If you ask me, Cuomo's approach is the only one that has any merit. Investigate them for fraud and, if it was committed, then you can void the contracts on that basis. That would be ethical, legal, and I hope it happens.

Because I want my pound of flesh from these bastards too.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Leeches on the Ass of Humanity

I have been around rock and Roll. I have met governors and senators and presidential candidates. But I have never seen craziness like I did yesterday.

Yesterday Hanna and I worked as extras on “Salt”, the new Angelina Jolie film. Mostly, it meant standing around outside in the cold pretending to be part of a news crew at a state funeral, freezing my butt off (I was more poorly dressed than anyone else on set), getting a mild case of hypothermia and frost bite, and shredding my back. Good thing I had my new LL Bean boots to wear. Holding was in the Marriot on Lex. Checking us in and out was a chore, and we never got to go back to holding except for lunch. But it was fun!

There were 800 extras, including a military honor guard, pall bearers, mourners, spectators, news people, Secret Service, and cops. Liev Schreiber was in there somewhere, but nobody seemed to care. It was at St. Bart’s, right next to the Waldorf Astoria (the only time I ever get over to the Waldorf is during NASCAR week). The procession included three limos, a hearse, an SUV, six motorcycle cops, five squad cars, and the NYPD pip and drum core. There were also four mounted police moving around in the background. They had blocked off Park running North and were locking it down running south during takes. Occasionally some bozo would try to turn East on 50th right into the cops standing there, and honk, expecting them to move the hearse, squad cars, and horses blocking the road. (most of the time the road was open, but sometimes it was blocked and traffic was being directed to turn south onto Park). I saw one guy in a Mercedes get mad, flip the cop off, refuse to move, finally move, then come around ten minutes later and repeat the entire dance.

But the craziness came from the paparazzi. I didn’t even notice them at first, but as the day went on, like cockroaches, they started coming out. The paparazzi were supposed to be confined to a couple of pens set up by the police, but they tried as best they could to ignore that. The fake press (us) was placed on the two traffic islands in the middle of Park Avenue across from the hotel and the church on either side of East 50th street. Every once in awhile, paparazzi would try to come in and mingle with us. Nobody knew where Angelina was or what she was doing. We kept looking at the people in the limos, assuming she was one of them, and so did the paparazzi, but it became clear that she wasn’t. We were told no to let the paparazzi in and to tell a pa if any of them showed up. I told one of them who showed up that he wasn’t’ supposed to be here and he said “what, this is just for the legit press?” I realized he thought we were all real. “No, this is the fake press. We’re actors and you are standing in the movie set.” “Oh.” She smiled, and walked away. But I watched him all day and he was one of the pushiest around. I heard later he was from TMZ. At one point a paparazzi appeared next to me. I heard one of the other extras say “Hey, you can’t be here.” I turned around to find a paparazzi getting all up in his face. I said “He’s right. You can’t set up here.” The paparazzi got belligerent. He looked at me and said “What do you make? Eight dollars an hour? You take your job that seriously?” The PA in charge of us was waking by and we called for him. The other extra pointed the guy out and the PA said “you can’t be here.” The paparazzi tried to give the PA lip but the PA just threatened to get a cop (there were two cops there doing double duty—real cops in uniform working as extras).

Late in the afternoon things started to get noticeably more tense. More and more paparazzi tried to jump the police lines. The cop assigned to deal with them started shouting. Our PA came over to us and said “Ok, we’re about to bring out our star. Remember the focus isn’t on her it’s on the procession. She’s going to be across the street from the church. Ignore that. Just look over here. And don’t do anything to make her security nervous.” The paparazzi seemed to sense it, because they all started jockeying for position. Then a back SUV appeared, driving the wrong way up 49th street, having come from the Waldorf’s drop off bay. It parked right next to the director’s station and stayed there for twenty minutes. Burly security guard surrounded it. A couple of people went up and talked through the window to the driver. There was a delay while we got one of the fake news people back in position. When we were ready to go the door to the SUV opened and Angelina stepped out. She kept her head down and rushed to the set, surrounded by her security. Once in the crowd of extras she couldn’t be seen any more. We shot six quick takes while she was there (might have been five) of her watching the procession. After the first take an extra on the sidewalk in front of the Waldorf collapsed. All the paparazzi on that side of the street (there were probably fifteen or twenty), swung their lenses around and started snapping her. The crew brought an ambulance in, they loaded the woman up, and took off. It took just over five minutes to get her cleared. But it still made crowd (read paparazzi) control a bit harder. Some of the Paparazzi were crossing back and forth between the pen on the East side of the street to the pen on the West side of the street to get better shots. After Angelina’s last take they started to move her toward her SUV again and the paparazzi who were in the middle of the intersection rushed her car. The cops and security guards threw themselves in front of them. More paparazzi started to jump the barricades. The cops yelled “Clear the road!” and the SUV (which had turned around at some point), sped off down the hill with security running along side and in front, racing the 120 yards to the underground entrance to the Waldorf, where it turned in. All the while the paparazzi were going crazy. It was truly a feeding frenzy. A couple of them got arrested, one for climbing up on one of the fake news vans to get a better shot. A few extras were grumbling that Angelina keeps herself so aloof (I’ve actually only ever met one movie star who like to hang with the extras, that being David Warner, not an A-lister but a really great guy). Me, I felt sorry for her, and I totally understood why she had as much security as a pope or a president (she has been called “Queen of the World” recently, and you can see why). The fans and over eager extras would be hard enough to manage, but the paparazzi were insane. It is easy to hate them—and easy to see how they killed Princess Diana (and after yesterday there is no doubt in my mind who is responsible for that).

Our celebrity culture feeds on people. Fans develop deep emotional ties to people they have never even met, and emotionally they desire that to be reciprocated. They are often shocked when it is not—not consciously, but emotionally. Rejection is rejection. Others get jealous of wealth and fame. Most are simply adoring, Many love the spectacle and sparkle. Others worship. And all of these love a fiery crash. Either with outrage or joy they yearn for a scandal, a tragic death, they long to see the king fall. Maybe this is what Aristotle was taking about when he talked about catharsis. The pity and the terror of the celebrity train wreck. And the chorus in all of this is the paparazzi—they are our eyes and our ears, they represent us and our desires in our pursuit of fame. They are our surrogates, and their feeding frenzy comes from the money the magazines will pay for pictures that we will consume—feeding symbolically on the bodies of our idols, eating the flesh of our golden calves.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday run around

A pot pourri of political and financial news today all spells disaster.

B of A is under intense criticism for its sports marketing deals. The bank's CEO says that for every dollar they spend on sports marketing they get back ten dollars in revenue and three in profits. But those are numbers and statistics and the people, all hungry for blood, aren't going to care. They know deep in ther dark places in their hearts that they only reason banks sponsor sports is so the fat cats in the three piece suits can hob-nob with athletes. They know from their own envies and jealousies that the bankers are just like themselves. They envy the wealth of the bankers and they know that the bankers envy the potency and grace of athletes, and love to have them nearby. Since the Caesars starting keeping gladiators around it has ever been thus. So nobody is going to pay attention to the real fact that sports marketing generates revenue. We want blood. We want vengeance. We want the suits to suffer. Sports and arts are frivilous and, in a down economy, are the first thing to go (well, after the rich).

Speaking of the rich, or formerly rich, Blackstone's estimated today that the world lost 45% of its wealth last year. Think of it. Bill Gates lost $18 Billion just by himself. Buffet even more. It doesn't put them in the poor house, but when was the last time you lost $18 Billion dollars? I know a few of you who have lost 40% of your wealth.

And Bernie Madoff got led away in handcuffs and taken straight to jail today, a dark hole from which he is unlikely ever to re-emerge. He is old and facing 150 years. Of course, it is not the deepest or darkest hole into which Bernie will be cast. That one still awaits him, and comes with free heating and a never ending supply of red hot pokers being shoved up his ass.

David wears orange

In case you missed it, the Netherlands beat the Dominican Republic for the second time, knocking them out of the World Baseball Classic. The Netherlands had two MLB players on their team (one of them, true, being Sidney Ponson). DR had 32, including David Ortiz. This is as big an upset as there ever was in sports, and they did it TWICE.

By the way: may I say that Toronto was a hideously stupid place to play the first round of the classic. When you look at the video coming out of Mexico City and Puerto Rico (I haven't seen any of the Tokyo video) you see screaming crowds and waving banners. It's like a World Series or, more to the point, a World Cup. In Toronto, except for the USA vs Canada, the stands were less than half full and everybody was just sitting on their hands. Those people don't deserve baseball. Play those games in New York or Boston and you will see an absolute frenzy.

We'll get back to politics later.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Technology is not to blame

Over on Lemondrop there is a story about a girl who hanged herself after nude pictures of her were texted around school and other girls started bullying her. The blame fell on the text message, but Lemondrop accurately points out that the blame should fall on the bullies.

There is nothing new here. Technology may have exacerbated the problem but it didn't create it. Teens bullying one another is as old as time. Girls calling other girls whore or slut because of their supposed promiscuity certainly didn't start when nude pictures started flying around the internet. It may have taken a little more effort, but a copy machine and an instamatic served the same purpose once upon a time.

The media are to quick to blame technology--whether it be texting or video games or social networking sites--for the problems of teenagers, when in fact the problems are not new at all. Technology may provide a new outlet for teen angst or fuel for the teen fire, but it is not the underlying cause. Bullying, puberty, family and peer pressure are and always will be the underlying problems teens have to navigate. And by wailing and moaning and blaming technology you distract people from the root causes of al these problems, and they are no closer to getting fixed.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Post Time

It is early 2009. The jockeying for position on the 2012 republican primary ballots has been going on since John McCain's ignominious defeat was even official. In fact, since about three weeks before the election. Bobby Jindal making trips to Iowa. Mitt Romney making speeches on the economy. Was Rush laying the groundwork for his own campaign at CPAC? Who knows. Mostly this has been like the parade of freshman boys in front of the wall flower girls at the first high school dance of the school year. there is some posing, some eye contact, a few awkward, slack-jawed stares that are supposed to pass for flirting, but the wallflowers--meaning those voters stupid enough to notice this far out from the election, are being standoffish (toward everyone except Rush that is). Nothing is official yet.

Well, almost nothing. In Connecticut, that most forward thinking of all states on Long Island Sound not called New York, the "2012 Draft Sarah" committee has become the first group in the country to register to officially raise money for the election. Sarah Palin is now an almost candidate. This has got to be some sort of record.

Starters to your gates.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Maybe Fox News was right about President Obama. You remember....when they said he was a socialist? When they said that he really wanted socialized medicine and not the corporate insurance based plan he promoted during the campaign? They might ahve pegged it right on.

Not that that would be a bad thing. I mean, we can certainly hope.

I haven't seen the dots connected yet, but here they are: today the President held his Health Care summit. Going into it he said that although he had proposed a plan during the campaign he wasn't married to it. All he wants is to fix the problem now. Add to that the fact that he wants the dying Ted Kennedy, a long time proponent of universal health care, to spear head the effort. But the most telling story is this one about Sanjay Gupta withdrawing his name as the new Surgeon General. Gupta, a long time opponent of a Canadian-stye single payer health care system, had drawn opposition from liberals and from some democratic congressmen who for years have been trying to expand Medicare to cover all Americans, creating a single payer system out of the one that already exists for old people. News reports say that Gupta was worried about his pay cut and wants to spend more time with his family. Right. That family line is what you say after you can somebody who's been on the job for several years, not before he's even taken the job. No, I suspect that Gupta's withdrawal, along with Obama's sudden willingness to deep-six his campaign plan, one that promised people that they wouldn't have to get up their existing health care plans if they had them, one that covered people by forcing them to buy low-cost health insurance, indicates to me that we are all going Canadian very soon.

God! We can only hope. While I have a problem with Canada's social engineering through health care--the part where they have made it illegal to purchase extra insurance so that you can get treatments earlier or from more successful specialists, all in a Utopian effort to make sure all health care is equal--nonetheless I have long advocated a single-payer system for the United States. No other system can maintain some form of competition between doctors (ensuring innovation), cover everyone, and get rid of the biggest waste of money under the currnet system, the army of "benefits experts" who exist to wade through all the existing health care plans to help people actually get health care, which should be the easiest part of getting help but is in fact a complicated Kafkaesque nightmare for most people.

So here's hoping Fox is right and we can soon Blame Canada for our good health.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A Big Fat Idiot Indeed

On Monday I asked my students if Rush Limbaugh really should be considered the voice of the Republican party and, if so, what does that say about the party and about media. Most of them had never heard of Limbaugh and thought it was a lot about nothing. Today they were amazed at the legs the story had, and wondered how I had know it would be a big deal? Simple: I watch MSNBC.

The consensus is that the whole thing shows how fractured the party is. My friend Warren says it indicates that the Regan revolution is now dead. One can only hope.