Sunday, October 31, 2004
NBC and MSNBC plan to stage their coverage from a place called Democracy Plaza, a big celebration of the democratic process that is open for the public to go see in New York City. Should make for a more lively Election Night setting than that lousy studio they sat in the last few elections- that was way way too quiet. An election studio needs to be a place where lots of stuff is happening. Also, don't forget, this is Tom Brokaw's final Election Night as Anchor over at NBC, and Tim Russert is sure to haul out his white marking board again.
This could also be Dan Rather's last Election Night over at CBS, though he may end up going out in completely inglorious fashion, unlike Brokaw. (Peter Jennings looks like he may stick around for one more election, ABC News is rolling out the promotions touting Jennings' experience so they can clobber NBC when Brokaw leaves.) Rather is always fun to watch on election nights- his "Ratherisms" and offbeat comments usually pepper the political broadcasts. You know what I mean. Last election he referred to Bob Schieffer as Deputy Dawg on the air. Anyway I'm sure he'll be up to his old tricks again, and I understand CBS is going to have new election night graphics and stuff.
CNNFan has a special page devoted to what CNN is doing election night and you can check back on election night and watch complete coverage of the coverage.
As for me I plan to do a lot of election blogging of election day and election night, but it won't be continuous live-blogging. I'll give you the latest news when it breaks, and then I'll go back onto the web to watch streaming video and get the latest updates on results. We'll have links on election day to places where you can get live results.
Nationally ABC News/Washington Post has the race Bush 48, Kerry 48. Zogby has it Bush 48, Kerry 48. Fox News has it Bush 46, Kerry 46. Something like eleven or twelve states are too close to call.
I hope the TV networks are ready for a long election night and they'd better get it right or they'll never hear the end of it. I'll add a post about election night plans, soon.
In other news, Mark Martin currently leads Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the NASCAR Nextel Cup race in Atlanta. Hey, don't discount the NASCAR Dads- all those Bush supporters.
Don't expect too much political blogging today, it's NASCAR day for me. I'm a huge auto racing fan and in this year of politicking I've been spending way too much time disregarding the sport. So I'm catching up today. By the way, I am glad the Molson Indy is coming back to Toronto next year and going to Edmonton for the first time. It'll be great for Edmonton to be able to see Paul Tracy (!), but it's terrible for Vancouver not to have a race, and this Champ Car series remains down in the dumps with a lack of talent. I remain on record as saying the Champ Car World Series still needs to merge with the IRL and get all the top drivers under one roof, because the glamour is gone.
Saturday, October 30, 2004
Well it had to happen sooner or later but Osama bin Laden had to stick his nose into the US Election and give his two cents in a video on al-Jazeera. It was bad enough with Michael Moore around.
Predictably and emphatically both George W. Bush and John Kerry denounced Osama and said any sworn enemy of the United States would not be allowed to interfere in the election.
I hope everyone in the United States totally disregards Osama's latest pronouncements. The last thing America needs to do is make political decisions based on views expressed by him. My advice to Americans: don't listen to him.
MISSING MUNITIONS AND STUFF
Other than Osama the week has been dominated by that story of the missing munitions in Iraq that were supposed to have been looted and stolen by people. John Kerry used it as another opportunity to denounce Bush's handling of the war on terror and used the word incompetent to describe the administration.
Boy, I wonder about Kerry. He has run a truly negative campaign, denouncing Bush at every turn while having trouble coming up with his own vision of where the country ought to go. Bush has the opposite problem: he has a vision, but he's been too much of a Mr. Nice Guy. He has gone to great lengths to hold his fire against Kerry. I mean, sure he's attacked Kerry too, but he could have really come out with all guns blazing criticizing him. He should be going out there and scaring the wits out of Americans about what that dangerous liberal Kerry might do to America's standing in the world; instead he just refers to his flip flops. He's been way too polite. The worst criticism Kerry has received has come from Swift Boat Veterans and people like that, but not so much from Bush himself.
Bush is finally rolling out the heavy artillery- in Ohio this week he brought out Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for a big rally there. Meanwhile Kerry brought back Bruce Springsteen for a second event this week, in Florida.
Meanwhile Christopher Reeve had his big funeral this week, which gave all these Hollywood celebrities a chance to prop up Kerry again on the evening news and call for the passage of Prop 71 in California (which calls upon the state government to borrow 3 billion dollars to fund stem cell research).
POLLS AND THE BATTLEGROUND STATES
Polls have the presidential race as either a dead heat or a slim Bush lead. A Newsweek poll has Bush leading by 6 but Zogby just came out with a poll giving the lead to Kerry. And the battleground states continue to provide few clues about who will actually win. Surprisingly, people like Hugh Hewitt and Michelle Malkin seem convinced that Bush is going to clean up on Tuesday because Bush is supposed to be doing surprisingly well in Michigan, New Jersey, and elsewhere. There are stories that Bush could be ahead in Minnesota and even Hawaii! I'm not so sure about that, yet. Both have been Blue states for basically forever. But Bush does have a chance there. Bush is in Minnesota today and blitzing the entire Midwest, trying to pick off a bunch of Blue states Kerry ought to have locked up by now.
Kerry is still going on about Bush's inability to catch Osama. Interestingly he's in Iowa and Wisconsin today- two blue states. A sure sign that Iowa and Wisconsin hold the key to the election- more so, possibly, than Florida or Ohio. Maybe Kerry feels that Ohio is in the bag- it's a curious choice.
As for Florida: Bush is also said to be ahead in Florida according to a few polls- one poll supposedly gives him an eight point lead. I do actually think Bush is going to take Florida.
It's nice to know Hugh Hewitt is convinced Bush is going to win big and that it's all good news, and that Kerry's battery of lawyers will all have to go home after election night. I'm not so confident, though. I'm reading the latest polls at RealClearPolitics and they give 6 out of 9 battleground states to Kerry. Wisconsin now is a slight Kerry lead and Bush is said to be in front only in Iowa, New Mexico and Florida. He's even trailing in Ohio. Bush may also be in tight in Colorado, of all places. By my calculations, based on what these polls are showing, Bush wins- 270 electoral votes to Kerry's 268! Too close for anyone's comfort. America will be plunged into lawsuits for weeks!
These Bush supporters may be totally confident about a big Bush win on Tuesday but I'm not. I want to see the exit polls first.
ELECTION DAY COVERAGE
As you can tell I have redesigned the site links section for Election Day. You'll find the election blogs at the top to keep you posted on what's happening between now and election day, and I've put all the news links in one place for places to go on election night for all the latest results. I will keep looking for more good links to add between now and Tuesday.
I'm also looking around for streaming election night coverage links. For streaming video you really can't beat C-SPAN and WSVN. C-SPAN will have lots of live feeds and will pick up live local news coverage on election night, while WSVN 7 Miami should have plenty of results from the important state of Florida. I'm sure there's more out there: I'll keep you posted.
THE MOST IMPORTANT LINK of Election Day itself will be The Drudge Report. They will likely once again be the first off the mark to let you know what all the exit poll results are from the networks, so you'll know what's happening well before the polls even close. I remember last year during the California recall I knew well before the polls closed that Schwarzenegger had it in the bag, thanks to these exit polls. In 2000, though, you knew it would be close: the exit poll numbers sure looked grim for Bush as I recall, but it wasn't definitive. It looked like it would be a long and tense night. Little did we know.
The other thing is that thanks to all the blogs out there, information is absolutely going to fly at the speed of light about the exit poll results on Tuesday, so if Drudge puts exit poll numbers up, you'll know about it, somewhere. This is DEFINITELY not CANADA we're talking about here, where nobody even bothers to do exit polls and everyone simply waits for the results to come in. In the United States, the exit polls usually tell the tale. Everyone knows basically what is going to happen by the time the polls actually close, and whether or not they will actually have to wait for the votes to actually be counted before they concede. They do things differently down there. Chances are, though, that they will actually need to count the votes.
Friday, October 29, 2004
CFL KEEPING SPORTS FANS OCCUPIED
Well, the baseball season is officially, completely and totally over now, leaving sports fans in this country in the predictable hole. There's no NHL to occupy our thoughts whatsoever across this country. Thank G for the CFL, though, and we'll have college football and the NFL to occupy us for the next few days. And next week the NBA comes back- just in time, thank G.
The crowds for CFL football have been tremendous- attendance is way up in both Hamilton and Toronto, in part due to the lockout. The CFL is definitely getting a lot of exposure because it's the only game in town in a lot of places and has the highest profile of all the leagues still out there; and the playoffs are coming next week. The crummy Toronto Raptors return next week, but nobody cares about them. It's pretty much accepted that the Raptors are going to be terrible, again. But people are talking about them. Bottom line is, life is going on without the NHL.
And die-hard hockey fans are learning to accept the fact that there's no NHL to follow, so they're packing the rink to see the other sports. In Vancouver, Canuck fans are getting used to watching the WHL Vancouver Giants. Calgary fans have the Hitmen to follow. Edmonton fans are packing the Rexall Centre to watch the new AHL Edmonton Roadrunners. Ottawa has the 67s to follow, and there's plenty of junior action in the vicinity of Montreal and Toronto. Toronto has it the best right now: there's 4 OHL teams within a 50-mile radius, and it's only a short drive to Hamilton to watch the AHL Bulldogs. And if Toronto fans get tired of hockey, there's the Raptors and the Argos, and soon the Toronto Rock. People are coping quite well, but Saturday nights remain empty. That is the worst part of the lockout: the destruction of our Canadian Saturday tradition, and no Coach's Corner.
And even American fans are suffering. A few Rangers fans- still reeling from the Yankees' collapse in the baseball playoffs- called up WFAN to moan about the lack of hockey this week.
So it ain't just Canada, folks, it's all hockey fans who are suffering.
And more NHL players are leaving North America to play hockey elsewhere. Bryan McCabe just announced he's going to play in Sweden.
RUMBLINGS OF UNION DISCONTENT
Fans are now getting their hopes up about a potential break in the union ranks. There's been a lot of talk about Mike Commodore of the Flames saying he'd accept a salary cap, and there's been a few other comments by a few other low-level NHLers who would rather be playing hockey and would go along with a cap. So people are now getting excited and think the union may crumble. The union leaders and many of the other players, meanwhile, are struggling to put a lid on all these pro-cap comments. Hardliners like Todd Marchant and Bryan McCabe are talking to reporters and going on the radio to denounce all these comments by these out-of-line bigmouths. Once again the NHLPA is taking a PR hit and it's been one PR debacle after another for the players.
The team player reps are going to meet next Tuesday and rumblings of discontent among the rank and file are said to be at the top of the agenda. But then who knows? The conventional wisdom from the media hacks here seems to be that (a) both sides are so far apart on the salary cap issue that the league will be out for the entire season and (b) union members actually wouldn't mind a salary cap, so get your hopes up, fans! Media guys, get with it, it's either (a) or (b), it's not both! Figure out which it is and then tell us what's happening for goodness sakes!
It reminds me of Howard Berger's breathless reporting on the FAN 590: the Leafs would always be so close to making that big monster trade for some big star player who's dying to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and then the trade would never happen and Leafs fans would all be disappointed. It never fails! I don't trust ANY of the sports reporters in this town covering this lockout. You're better off actually talking to actual owners and players yourself to find out if there's gonna be a season or not.
What a lot of fans are hoping for is for the NHL to make their official proposal to the players union and declare an impasse as soon as possible. Then Gary Bettman can impose the salary cap unilaterally whether the union likes it or not. The union will then go on strike, Bettman will bring the replacement players in, the regular NHLers will cross the picket line and the union will be broken and normal NHL hockey will resume with regular players.
People think this scenario is actually doable and I happen to agree- it's certainly viable. The problem is that a lot of silly people think the current season can be saved under this scenario and there's not a chance of that happening. This is likely to play out over a much longer time frame and it's unlikely replacements will come in before the 2005 season begins- it'll take a long time for an impasse to even be declared. So even under this scenario the 2004-2005 season will be completely wiped out and countless damage will be inflicted on the sport of hockey. This will do NOTHING to save the season, and replacement hockey will be a SPECTACLE. We won't see good hockey or top players, but you can bet there will be lots of fights. Think about it: Ron MacLean and Don Cherry at the Air Canada Centre next season, bringing you Replacement Hockey Night in Canada with all these goons, no-names and bums. Terrible idea. I rant, but I have to counter all the bull out there about how replacement NHL hockey is such a great idea because it will break the union. It'll break the union, all right, but the sport will be a laughingstock. It turns my stomach even thinking about it.
The only question is whether the union capitulates sooner than later on the salary cap/cost certainty issue, and I have a sneaky feeling that by December the pressure will really be on everyone involved and we'll probably see both sides moving off their current hardline positions. I'm more optimistic of seeing that scenario play out after this week, with these reports of dissent in the rank-and-file of the union. Maybe the union will eventually see the light of day and realize they're going to get stuck with some kind of salary cap whether they like it or not, and that they should simply cut the best deal they can and not inflict any long-term damage on the NHL. A couple of weeks ago, I was really pessimistic about things, but I have to believe common sense is slowly starting to enter the picture with all these dumbbells in the NHL, and that we'll have hockey in January. We hope.
It is a terrible law that just reeked of something that might go down in the Soviet Union or some police state somewhere, and now a Quebec court has ruled that it violates the Charter of Rights and has been struck down.
Way to go. There's hope for Canada yet.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
The Donald clearly appears now to be getting serious about choosing an Apprentice. Stacy was total deadwood and she got the boot last week, even though she tried to pin the entire blame on Wes. My guess is that the deadwood are now in trouble. I think that Andy, as demonstrated by last week's boardroom, is in deep trouble now and it's a matter of time before he's booted out. Losing the phone made him look like a total idiot. As for the women, Jennifer M. is safe from the boot because of the exemption she got as the winning project manager. So that leaves Sandy and Andy as people who have yet to be project managers- and Sandy is in really deep trouble. Last week the Donald accused her and Kelly of inflating the number of customers they got- "I hate people who do that!" As for the other women, Elizabeth and Ivana seem particularly vulnerable because their emotions have been getting the better of them- but then again, they were stuck on a team of idiots.
Right now it sure looks as if Jennifer M. and Kelly are in the best shape of anyone right now- Kelly because of a record of winning, Jennifer because she was a winning project manager and will be back for sure next week. Raj seems to be in the mix, too, and Chris and Kevin seem to be doing well. But everyone else is in trouble. And Andy and Sandy are in deep trouble. And one big mistake can sink any one of them.
Task is to create the best advertising campaign.
I think it is death to the project manager who loses this week. APEX has Elizabeth as project manager; MOSAIC has Andy. It's do or die for BOTH of them. Andy has a lot to prove and is rubbing Maria the wrong way. It's clear that if Andy loses he's sunk but if he wins he's a HERO. At APEX Raj is ticked off because they wanted to go with a military theme a la "Be All You Can Be" kind of thing, and Elizabeth doesn't want it. Elizabeth already is DYING with her group at new APEX. Finally Elizabeth gives in to the military thing and looks WEAK in doing so. Man I think she's in so much trouble.
I feel bad for Elizabeth. She's in with a bunch of type As and she'll probably be fired over it. Kevin says "our project manager SUCKS!" Ivana is saying we should fire the project manager. A full-scale revolt is under way.
Maria is trying to push "sex appeal" in the MOSAIC ad campaign. But it looks like she's safe anyway and that her MOSAIC team is going to win, because APEX is in TURMOIL. The whole APEX team is FURIOUS with Elizabeth over her flip flops. Now she's redoing yet another thing that the team cooked up as an idea and telling them to do it all over again, and there's only five hours before the big presentation. They're in a complete panic and they're all afraid of being fired, and they're even threatening to gang up on Elizabeth and fire HER to take over the task.
Now even Carolyn has weighed in on Elizabeth and is trashing her leadership skills. If APEX loses she is FINISHED.
The APEX ad campaign was OK. I really liked MOSAIC's approach, too- "when was the last time?" Easy win for MOSAIC. Andy and Maria and everyone there is safe. What seems to have happened is that the reason why APEX lost is because their campaign would have scared the audience because of the terrorism theme- "you can't freak out millions of New Yorkers!" So this was a case where Elizabeth was right but wasn't able to convince the team that it was out to lunch. I think Elizabeth hasn't got a chance- this is twice that she's led her team into the toilet. And amazingly Andy is still on track to be an Apprentice even though he embarrassed himself last week.
THE BOARDROOM -
Elizabeth is in deep trouble and it looks like Raj, Mr. Pro-Military-Theme Ad Campaign, is going to be hauled into the boardroom by Elizabeth to face the firing squad over an idea that clearly Donny Deutsch and crew HATED. "This is going to freak out New Yorkers!" Well, if Raj gets the gate he will be getting HOSED. At least he had an IDEA!
Holy Cow! Elizabeth chose Raj and Chris to come back for the final battle but Trump turns around and says it won't be necessary and fires Elizabeth right away, without even bringing these two guys back in for the final 3-people-before-Trump session ! Elizabeth got KILLED in the boardroom and Raj was defended by people for at least having an idea. Wow, Elizabeth blows herself up on The Apprentice. Another career in business down the tubes for another contestant. What a way to go.
I don't get it. They're all saying now that nothing happened and that the charges were all bogus and there's no extortion. Well then, what the heck was the point of these lawsuits? Was this a publicity stunt?!
86 years of misery are over for Red Sox Nation. Question now is how are they going to handle winning- they can't act as martyrs anymore.
People were calling into talk shows last night- Red Sox fans were talking about how they were calling up their fathers who had suffered for years with the Red Sox. Real tear-jerker stuff here. And there are Red Sox fans everywhere celebrating. Even in New York City they were celebrating. Keep in mind that New York is full of miserable Mets fans who hate the Yankees and they were all cheering for the Red Sox to beat the Yankees, and they stayed on the bandwagon through the World Series.
I also tuned into KMOX St. Louis, and Cardinal Nation is not amused- a lot of people were phoning in and they were totally disgusted with the World Series, the Cardinals hardly even showing up. Four straight blowouts: the Cardinals got slam-a-lama ding-donged! But really, after the LCS the World Series was really the anti-climax. The Red Sox really wiped their curse out in the LCS when they came back from 0-3 down to win against their arch-rivals the Yankees- with two of the Boston wins coming deep in extra-innings. That was really unbelieveable, and one of the greatest baseball playoff series I've ever seen. Nothing in the World Series could ever have topped that. So in way I'm glad the World Series is over now, and we can enjoy watching these bewildered Red Sox fans react in shock to their good fortune.
Other tidbit: seems every time a Boston team wins a championship after many years, they beat a team from St. Louis: the Celtics over the Hawks, the Bruins over the Blues, the Patriots over the Rams. And now it's the Red Sox over the Cardinals. So to snap out of the Curse of the Bambino, they needed to be the first team to come back from 0-3 down, they needed the good karma required by having a familiar Boston punching-bag opponent from St. Louis in the Series, and they needed a lunar eclipse, too! No way the Babe's curse could compete with all of that.
I'm happy that the Red Sox finally won so that the Curse of the Bambino could be extinguished for good, and I'm glad all these people who lived their entire lives without seeing a Boston Red Sox team win finally got to see their team win a World Series. Now they know how Blue Jays fans felt when we won in 1992 after years of misery- or for that matter, us Saskatchewan Roughriders fans in 1989. Oh yeah, the pressure is now on the pathetic Cubs. Anyway, my longstanding bet came true: I'd always thought that the first team to break their curse would be the Red Sox. The Red Sox have always had better teams than the Cubs.
I wonder what Lou Dobbs thinks of this; he can't be too happy. CNNfn was basically his idea, but then again, Ted Turner is long gone from the scene, too. What appears to have happened is that the folks at Time Warner seem to have decided to try and save Headline News and feel that CNNfn is a complete lost cause- CNNfn doesn't go into many homes to begin with. (CNN also shut down its sports news channel CNNSI a couple of years ago, so this is another CNN channel down the tubes.)
It's actually a terrible time for all the business news channels- the stock market meltdown earlier this decade pretty much destroyed whatever demand there was for market programming. It's amazing CNNfn has lasted THIS long. A couple of years back, TechTV junked pretty much its entire daytime block of live market-based news programming that competed against CNN and CNBC, and fired lots of people. Even CNBC has had major problems. Their primetime programs Dennis Miller and John McEnroe have been getting audiences consisting of, well, friends and relatives. They're both getting a rating of .1! That's terrible! I read somewhere that McEnroe finished 833rd out of 844 shows aired on television in the United States. That's really bad; even infomercials are doing better than McEnroe. Reruns of sitcoms with casts full of people who have been dead for years are doing better than McEnroe on CNBC and are beating his brains out.
Latest news is that CNBC's decided to junk McEnroe and replace his show with reruns of Conan O'Brien- they have to keep Conan's visibility up between now and 2009, eh?
UPDATE- Here's a link to more stuff on the CNNfn closure from TVNewser
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Both George W. Bush and John Kerry spent the day in various parts of Wisconsin. Bush is hoping to overturn a 6000-vote Democrat victory in the presidential race in 2000 there and if he is able to do it, he might be able to win the White House- even if he loses in Ohio or Florida.
By my calculations it all comes down to Ohio and Florida. Kerry really needs both of them. If he gets both then it's almost Mission Impossible for Bush given the current tracking polls. It's too close to call in both those states but Bush is said to have a slight lead, for all that it's worth. But if Kerry is able to steal one of these two states, Bush still has a chance and that is where Wisconsin becomes important.
By my calculations, if all the states break in 2004 the way they went in 2000, then George W. Bush would get 278 electoral votes. That total would include Ohio's 20 electoral votes and Florida's 27. Kerry would basically need to steal either Ohio or Florida to win the presidency. If he steals either one of them, Bush will have to win Wisconsin and an additional "Blue State" to hang onto the White House. He'll need to flip Wisconsin, plus win at least one or more states to make up the shortfall. If Bush carries Florida but loses Ohio, he'll need either Iowa or New Mexico in addition to Wisconsin to make it to 270. If he wins Ohio but loses Florida, he'll need to pick up both Iowa and New Mexico in addition to Wisconsin. And if Bush loses both Ohio and Florida he's in grave difficulty- he'll basically have to also steal another Blue state like Minnesota ( a close race with Kerry thought to be in the lead ) and at least one or two more states- Michigan? Oregon? Tougher than even Minnesota. All this is assuming that Bush holds onto New Hampshire. If he loses New Hampshire he'll need ALL of Wisconsin, Iowa and New Mexico to make up any shortfall if they lose Ohio or Florida. Whew.
Can Bush turn all three of Wisconsin, Iowa and New Mexico into "Red States"? Short answer is YES. Bush leads narrowly in all three states according to the latest tracking (see RealClearPolitics for all the latest polling data), and all three were among the closest races in the country in 2000. When we were all up past midnight watching the returns coming in in 2000, we were waiting for word from Wisconsin, Iowa, Oregon and Florida. So it's doable for Bush- he won't need too many votes to change hands to flip Wisconsin, Iowa and New Mexico. But frankly, it will be a lot easier for Bush to win the White House if he hangs onto traditional familiar Republican territory like Ohio and Florida. Wisconsin may be turning more Republican, but it is still well known for being full of progressives and leftists, and Iowa was a Dukakis state. But Bush stands a chance there anyway. What's helping Bush in Wisconsin is that Nader is going to get a lot of votes.
This could be a case of Wisconsin, Iowa and New Mexico putting the icing on the cake for Bush, but you never know. In any event, Kerry was in Green Bay for a reason- he needs the state. Kerry is also planning a visit to shore up Iowa while Bush is heading to Ohio ( Red state ) and Pennsylvania (Blue state).
As predicted a tired-looking Bill Clinton was all over the evening news the other day because of his big appearance with Kerry in Philly. Meanwhile Ashton Kutcher was in Minnesota with John Edwards.
I understand that Angie Harmon was somewhere, supporting Bush. I saw a clip of her on TV. Sometimes it seems like she's the only celebrity supporting Bush.
Monday, October 25, 2004
HOTTEST RACE IN THE USA: BRIAN HIGGINS-VS.-NANCY NAPLES
Well, it ain't too long now until the US Election is held- until then, we still have to put up with the barrage of ads for Brian Higgins and Nancy Naples on TV. For those of you who don't live near Lake Ontario, Higgins and Naples are duking it out in a dirty congressional race in the Buffalo area. They have unleashed one attack ad after another on TV and they are calling each other every filthy name in the book. Higgins' ads would put up these crying laid-off workers criticizing all the layoffs and blaming it all on Bush, while Naples ads would attack Higgins' voting record- all his tax increases he voted for at the state capital- some fighter for the middle class he is, they're saying. Anyway, they have a big debate tonight on WNED so I may tune in to check it out.
Interestingly we aren't getting too many ads on Buffalo TV for George W. Bush or John Kerry- the reason is that New York is a solid Blue State and the Bush and Kerry people are focussing their TV fire on the real battlegrounds Ohio and Florida. I looked at all the polling and it basically comes down to these two states, folks. Basically, as it stands now it all comes down to this: if Kerry wins both of them he's on his way to the White House. If Bush loses either state, he'll need to pick up Iowa, New Mexico and Wisconsin in order to retain the White House- all three were Blue States in 2000 and all three show Bush leading right now. You can bet people living in these states are going to be inundated with political ads.
MORE ON CROSSFIRE FALLOUT
I finally got around to checking out the great Jon Stewart appearance on Crossfire where he took the program to task for its partisan hackery, playing into the hands of the agendas of all the political parties. Tucker Carlson tried to make Jon Stewart out to be a partisan shill for Kerry but it totally failed as Stewart accused Crossfire as being part of the problem.
Frankly, Stewart is right. Crossfire and the rest of the cable news shows are now part of the spin/hot air machine of the politicians. They are being used by the pros to promote and introduce talking points and other hot air. They are part of the manipulation machine used to spin a party line, and that's not what they ought to be doing. What Crossfire ought to be doing is calling these people out for spinning their party line. They should be crying "this is spin, this is BS!" every chance they get, but they aren't.
That's why I appreciate a show like the ones Bill O'Reilly or Chris Matthews puts out- they have their own views, true, but they won't put up with spin, they don't put up with any of that bull. But if you want to hawk your party line, go onto Crossfire and you'll have at least one sure-fire ally in either Carville, Begala or Tucker Carlson. They'll help you spew your line of bull and talk about your talking points for days.
In other news Triumph the Insult Comic Dog was in Spin Alley taking a strip off all these spinmeisters and PR people for Conan O'Brien. Good for him, and really funny stuff.
Bill Clinton is back from his heart surgery and made a campaign appearance to help John Kerry in Philadelphia- just in time for the evening news. Another example of the hot air machine hard at work- wonder if the evening news will again fall for the bait. "Oh, look at this- Bill Clinton is out of bed!" See, this is why the evening newscasts aren't being watched by young people any more- they allow themselves to fall for this spin and for these contrived media events. And then they report it as news. No wonder people are so cynical. No wonder more Americans prefer to get their news from comedy shows than from any other source.
SINCLAIR FINALLY AIRS THAT KERRY SPECIAL EVERYONE'S BEEN GRIPING ABOUT
Last Friday Sinclair finally aired that hatchet job special on John Kerry's Vietnam war record, and it was pretty dull stuff. It aired on Fox 29 Buffalo in my area and I still can't figure out why they bothered with it to begin with- it was such a boring show. Producing that show was a waste of time by Sinclair as far as I'm concerned. Even as a hatchet job it wasn't very good.
It was actually not all that partisan- it even examined Bush's National Guard service and the questions people raised about that. They also had on pro-Bush people and pro-Kerry people so on the whole it looked like it had some balance to it. Now you have lots of people claiming victory for forcing Sinclair to be balanced, but again, I'm cynical about these people- I think a lot of them were Kerry people to begin with. Then again, it's obvious Sinclair's in with Bush. I'm totally cynical about everyone's motives.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
First, I'm pleased to announce that I've taken down the Google ads, mainly because I was making no money from the ads, and it didn't look like I'd ever make money from the ads. So the ads are gone. Good riddance.
The second announcement is that I noticed that Andrew Coyne's website is back up and running with new stuff, so I'm very pleased to return Andrew Coyne to the blogroll. Again. And I hope someone gives Colby Cosh a job- not nice to be fired from the National Post.
As you can tell, this blog's slowly but surely morphing into, well, something pretty apolitical. That in itself is a political statement from me, folks. I've decided I'm completely burned out from politics and politicking and I can't bring myself to go on and on about pit bull terrier bans, or Stephen Harper's musings about balkanizing the country (I don't agree with giving the provinces so much of these powers, by the way- allowing Quebec to call itself an autonomous state is absolutely the wrong direction for the Conservative Party to go on policy. Preston Manning must be rolling in his grave- oops, I forgot, he's still alive.) I'm just not in the mood to rant and rave about bringing back the Red Ensign and all that. Let other guys do it. Apparently there was a big controversy about Warren Kinsella suing bloggers or something like that. But I just don't care any more.
I read a bunch of frothing-at-the-mouth conservatives on one of these blogs trashing the Ontario Liberals for outlawing pit bull terriers- which is odd because I think getting rid of pit bulls is a good idea, so long as that's the only breed you get rid of. These pit bulls are truly dangerous. I don't want to walk down the street and get attacked by some crazy pit bull. Regular dogs are bad enough! Beyond that, though, I still think that Dalton McGillicuddy's government is a DISASTER. They're wasting their energy dreaming up new laws and regulations when they should just quit while they're behind. Now, they're outlawing junk food in schools and I'm thinking, boy, am I glad I'm not a student in school anymore, I'd have no rights at all. What is Ontario coming to? Talk about a nanny state.
So that's why you're seeing a lot of stuff on this blog about the Apprentice, about the NHL lockout and baseball playoffs, and about the entertainment business in general- because I'm fed up writing about politics. So that's why I have more stuff about current events such as the Red Sox winning, or late night talk show hosts quitting in five years, or the latest hurricanes blowing away Florida. And don't worry--- I'll get around to giving my thoughts on the Greatest Canadian. I just haven't gotten around to it yet. But really- Don Cherry?
I've added a lot more links to interesting TV personalities like intrepid Fox News reporter Greg Kelly, former Billy Joel girlfriend Trish Bergin, and ex-Headline News anchorwoman Lynne Russell. I also added the site for Jon Kelley of Extra and for New York sports reporter Tina Cervasio. Amazing how many of these broadcasters have websites. There were a couple of Howard Stern fansites that I have put up, and I also finally got around to putting up a link to the Daily Show- since Jon Stewart is so hot at the moment and everyone is talking about his show.
Woo hoo hoo- I just got an idea. I should put up the link to SINCLAIR's site under Broadcast News Sources! That would be funny.
There are also quite a few fan sites out there for CNN which gives you all the gossip about that network. And I have up Aaron Barnhart's TV critic site and also LostRemote which has plenty of hurricane coverage whenever a storm is about to hit. I still have up a lot of sports sites including the OSHL and the WHA, and I think I'll have to add the site for the AHL soon. Man, hockey is DYING right now as a sport. Nobody in the United States cares about hockey at all right now. These doofuses have to get back to the bargaining table.
Even though I'm burned out on politics, look for American election coverage in the next few days. I'll have a lot of blogging about that, and I'll keep on looking for web sites covering the American election.
Here's the way I see it: if you're the project manager or if you have responsibility for setting the price, your head is on the line bigtime. If not, you're probably safe. So as far as project managers are concerned it's either Andy or Wes as the male project manager and either Jen M or Stacy or Sandy for the women. On the men's team. Raj, Kelly and Chris are more likely to be hit with the responsibility for setting the price after last week's debacle and as for the women, who knows? Oddly enough Elizabeth looks like she's in better shape in such a scenario: she may not get stuck setting the price because she's been frozen right out. In other news the women still all hate each other, while both Kelly and Raj hate each other as well. Raj's stock, which had been rising, is beginning to fall fast, which is too bad because he's really working hard and doing a good job. I think he could really get hosed.
I also think a shakeup of teams is coming sooner rather than later- maybe tonight. Back later.
CORPORATE RESTRUCTURING THIS WEEK-
NEW MOSAIC- Wes is project manager, Kelly, Andy, Sandy, Maria, Stacy.
NEW APEX- Jen M is project manager, Elizabeth, Ivana, Raj, Chris, and Kevin.
Stacy is already hated at Mosaic. Wes says she won't shut up. Raj finds Jen M. dangerous.
Project is WASHING DOGS! Good grief what an idiotic task.
Reason why Andy is still here: he's bringing ideas to the table- unlike rest of team. Pricing issue haunting the Mosaic team right now and Wes set the price so Wes has his neck on the line. Wes is vetoing Stacy's arguments to spend money like crazy and his neck's on the line for THAT, too. If Wes gets fired over THIS, my God, what will Trump be thinking. I think Wes is doing a GREAT job today. APEX, however, is DYING. They're giving dog massages. They're clipping toenails. They seem like they are getting NOWHERE. Talk about degrading.
I think Wes and Stacy have their necks on the line here, bigtime. Everyone is starting to hate Stacy. I think maybe Stacy is going to have the whole team against her in the boardroom.
Jennifer, Raj and the rest of new APEX tripled the profits over new MOSAIC. Boardroom battle to come between Wes and Stacy and if Wes gets fired it will NOT be a fair result, because Stacy was an ANCHOR.
This team is getting slaughtered. This whole team is cratering big, and ANDY is getting RIDICULED for his ideas and for LOSING the PHONE in the CHALLENGE. Stacy now is saying fire ANDY, after trashing WES' performance all show! Wes is bringing in two.
Andy and Stacy are chosen by Wes for the final battle. These three are all fighting for their lives. My take- this team let the leader down. The team is to blame. If either one of Stacy or Andy gets the gate, it's fine by me. But Andy did more here on this task than Stacy did, so he would kind of be getting hosed, but he's also dodged the bullet twice. This is humiliation- someone will be fired because they couldn't get people to pony up for dog manicures. How humiliating does it get.
Stacy is now starting to get killed- "what do you bring to the table!?" She is starting to go down the drain fast. This whole board is crucifying Stacy for not selling her ideas. Now her last volley is "I would love to be project manager"- but she ain't gonna get that chance.
STACY'S FIRED. Good riddance.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
I gotta see it to believe it- surely the Red Sox can hold onto THIS lead BUT... if not, then this is the curse to end all curses.
UPDATE- IT IS NOW THE NINTH INNING. No matter what happens I am not going to believe it. It's still 9 to 3.
ANOTHER UPDATE- HOLY COW! Another run. It's 10-3 heading to the bottom of the ninth. I cannot believe it. Surely this is it.
Clearly, though, Yankee fans are deeply worried. I tuned into WFAN radio from New York last night and the Yankee fans calling in were all ready to commit themselves to the nearest hospital. They are mortally afraid. Many are still confident, they say the Yankees always find a way to win the big game. But these Yankee fans know that if the Red Sox win tonight they will NEVER be able to live this one down, blowing a 3-0 lead of all things. Mad Dog Russo even called into Joe Benigno's show and he thinks there's some big karmic thing going with the Red Sox, that this may finally be the year. Joe was speculating that maybe, just maybe, the Red Sox needed to stare the abyss in the face, down 3-0, in order to finally End the Curse. (Of course, if the Sox beat the Yankees tonight, the Curse would not be over. They'd still need to win the World Series, where they could be meeting their old pal, Roger Clemens. Hows about them apples.)
I'd love to see it happen, the Sox beating the Yankees tonight. It would be spectacular. But I'd need to see it to believe it.
I don't know if I believe this story or not! My experience with TV news leads me to believe that "sexual tension" takes a back seat to "tension", period. I was always under the impression that everyone hates everyone in TV news. At least, that's my experience! And I don't entirely believe all the nonsense in the article about how only the men are making 7 million a year while all the women are starving in TV news- what about Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer, etc, etc. ($$$$$)
Monday, October 18, 2004
Their News Central stations are causing controversy, too. They feature opinionated pro-Republican commentary from the likes of bigshot Sinclair executive Mark Hyman. Now they have fired Jon Leiberman, Sinclair's Washington D.C. bureau chief, who has criticized Sinclair for planning that anti-Kerry documentary. So the controversy around Sinclair continues unabated.
For border Canadians interested in checking out the notorious Sinclair operations, both FOX 29 and WB49 in Buffalo are Sinclair stations that boom their signals into Toronto via rabbit ears. I'm watching WB49's News Central right now and they are reporting on the first day of advance polling in the United States and more frustrations in Florida! No mention, though, on the firing of Jon Leiberman yet.
These cable political pundit guys still can't get over the fact that people watch Comedy Central instead of them, and get their exposure to politics by watching guys like Jon Stewart lampoon people on the Daily Show. Now they're all having a big cow over it.
Last Friday Tucker Carlson took on Jon Stewart on Crossfire and Stewart basically handed Carlson his head. You can read about their big feud here- all the details about Stewart's appearance.
This has been an absolutely silly political season in the United States as far as the media are concerned. Traditional media is the big loser of this election! In other media news CBS News is still investigating Memogate (the Bush hatchet job), Sinclair Broadcasting is in hot water for planning to air an anti-John Kerry documentary ...and Bill O'Reilly is having to fight a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Who has the last laugh, now?
JON STEWART, THAT'S WHO.
Har har har. Life is good.
Sunday, October 17, 2004
Richardson could be counted on to appear at every political event imaginable in the city of Toronto. Hopefully he'll still get to cover politics at the new place and won't be consigned to the same crime stories everyone else has to cover. The joke about CFTO is that you don't want to see their live truck in your neighbourhood because it's a sure sign that something terrible has happened.
In another move, The Daily Planet reports that Beatrice Politi has left CBC after almost five years there and will head to Citytv Toronto.
I keep joking about the coast being clear for me to chase girls on Saturday nights now, but even that won't be the same. Think about it: I'd go to some bar trying to pick up a girl on a Saturday night, and there won't be any hockey games playing on the TV in the bar! So I won't even be able to strike up a conversation with her about the hockey game on TV! Another potential romance down the tubes. Saturday nights are ruined. We're now culturally no different from the United States when it comes to Saturday nights now.
I checked out Movie Night in Canada on CBC at 7PM and there was Ron MacLean standing with two guys wearing Red Wings jerseys at a hockey rink, and said briefly of the lockout that "there's nothing we can do about it." Then it was on to a Disney movie- and I proceeded to the remote control along with the rest of the disgusted hockey fans in this country.
In a genius programming decision Kevin Newman hosted a news special on Global on the no-hockey situation. Among other things they discussed how the game was ruined by all those teams being placed in those deep-south American markets, a ridiculous assertion. Expansion actually brought lots of money into the league to help pay the ridiculous salaries of the players! Funny how they talked about how bad things were in Nashville and Atlanta- things seem just fine in Dallas and Tampa Bay. Going down THERE didn't hurt the game.
I completely disagree with people who say NHL expansion is somehow to blame for the NHL's problems and the NHL lockout. It's got nothing to do with expansion, it's just these salaries are completely out of control. Expansion probably saved the NHL's hide for a few years. The problem for the NHL is that there's nowhere left to expand to. All these cities have all the teams they want now, they don't need the NHL. And I don't understand these people who want these existing American cities contracted. They don't seem interested in spreading interest in the game. Well, if this lockout lasts all year, they'll get their contraction, lots of it. So many teams will end up out of business that it won't even be funny.
So Global had their hockey lockout special. On the radio, AM 640 had a rerun of the Leaf playoff win over Ottawa, which was no good because it was a rerun. The baseball game on Fox between the Yankees and the BoSox was one of the biggest blowout embarrassments in the history of the sport, a 19-to-8 massacre. And Saturday Night Live was, well, not live- it was The Best of Jimmy Fallon. It didn't even start on time. So I wound up sticking a tape in the VCR of the last Leaf game at Maple Leaf Gardens, out of sheer desperation.
So Movie Night in Canada was, for everyone, exactly the disaster that everyone expected it would be. I know CBC has been criticized by all these armchair critics for not running classic hockey games, and even the arts community is blasting the CBC for running Hollywood classics instead of home-grown Canadian content (!). But really, it doesn't matter. No matter what the CBC put on the tube, NOTHING would have replaced Hockey Night in Canada and the Ron and Don Show.
The CBC did the best it could last night. Having Ron MacLean introduce movies sure beats putting on a test pattern. It's not the CBC's fault that the NHL dispute has ruined our Saturday nights and our usual routine. So don't blame the CBC for this mess, blame the people who deserve the blame: everyone in the NHL.
Yes, Movie Night in Canada sucked. But it's supposed to suck. And that's why we must put the pressure on the NHL to get a deal done. Because if they don't, our Saturdays will continue to be empty and lifeless and we'll all end up having to find other things to do on Saturday nights. I think we'll learn to get used to the new normal. Heck, we'll have to.
Friday, October 15, 2004
As for the Donald, it seems CSI mashed all the competition last night again, including him. Well, so much for the Donald's claim that his show is so great, Number One, with all its product placements and the like.
You know what is the big hit right now? Desperate Housewives on ABC! That and Lost. All I can say is: America is a boring country if that's the kind of TV they like down there right now. Zzzzzzz.
Well I'm going to have to watch something else on TV tonight because the playoff game at Fenway Park has been POSTPONED due to RAIN. What a night, no baseball, and no hockey. Pretty slim pickings for the sportscasts tonight, eh?
Even the lousy Toronto Maple Leafs have done better than that--- 1967! And they're considered the Boston Red Sox of the NHL! At least there are people still alive who remember seeing the Leafs parade down Yonge Street with the Stanley Cup. But the Red Sox... you can count the few Red Sox fans still alive who remember that 1918 victory on your FINGERS. You CAN'T count up the hordes of people who remember the 1978 Bucky Dent homer, or Bill Buckner in 1986. Most of them are still with us with their long memories. Those fans truly need some good antidepressant medication.
Well, the Dead Sox ain't winning this year either, folks, so sales of antidepressants should continue at a brisk pace up there in Losertown, I mean Beantown.
Curt Schilling is a scratch for Game 5 due to his busted ankle, so the Red Sox are finished. Even if they somehow manage to come back against the Yankees, they'll get their heads blown off by St. Louis. I don't think anyone can stop the Cardinals this year, not even the Yankees. But you can FORGET the Red Sox- they're DOOMED.
Don't feel too bad for Red Sox fans, though. These same people in Boston all cheer for the New England Patriots, so I wouldn't feel sorry for them one bit if I were you. (And I kid when I call the place Losertown; it's not anymore, thanks to NFL parity and the salary cap.) In fact, there are lots of cities out there with even sorrier, hapless fans. For example:
- All fans of the Chicago Cubs. No explanation needed. The Cubbies stink.
- Throw in all the Chicago White Sox fans, too. They're an equally pathetic organization.
- Hey, how about them Expos fans (R.I.P.)
- All fans of the Buffalo Bills.
- And every sports fan in the city of Cleveland.
I could throw in the pathetic Los Angeles Clippers fans but I don't think they actually HAVE fans- those are probably Lakers fans who couldn't get in to see the Lakers, so they go watch the Clippers instead. I don't think anyone would be caught dead being a fan of the Clippers. If there are any actual Clippers fans out there they probably need professional help. Really. Even being a fan of the Golden State Warriors would be better. They sometimes have a winning season.
I could even throw in Leaf fans, but heck, at least they still have 1967 to look back on. Right?! (Right now that's all they can do- look back, because there's nothing to look forward to as far as the NHL is concerned.)
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Task this week is to pick the fashion that will sell the most. It's still Men vs. Women. Well, this is yet another task where the women can't lose, but they may find a way. John and Maria are project managers and both have their necks on the line bigtime. Elizabeth is in the doghouse with Maria and Maria is cutting her off and ignoring her suggestions. What a mess at APEX. This could be a boardroom showdown waiting to happen.
The lesson of the day: Know Your Market. And right now, the men sure don't!
You know what, the men have no clue here. They're doomed. They are too busy ogling the supermodels. If they win I'll be very surprised. And Elizabeth is getting KILLED on her team.
Raj and Kelly are blowing up at each other. The men are DYING. And RAJ has gone from contender to probably DEAD. And Kevin is trashing JOHN. Their model line isn't even done. What a mess.
Elizabeth is in deep trouble. She has been complaining about being frozen out- not being the favorite of the rest of the group. Man I feel bad for Elizabeth. Her whole team hates her guts and they all hate her ideas. But she may be RIGHT.
9:34- Fashion show has started and it looks like the men are still getting killed. But I have no clue about things like this. 9:35- Commercial break. Arrrgh! By the way the promo said something about Don't Annoy George! So George is going to have a say in getting someone fired. And George has been hanging around the APEX team- the WOMEN.
Commercial break is over and the men got so badly killed that it isn't even worth talking about. Donald says he thinks the men priced incorrectly. ANYONE COULD GO but Chris is exempt. John is DEPRESSED. Kevin and WES were both responsible for price and they could get the gate. Kelly things ANDY should go based on past performance. JOHN is in a bind. This was a COMPLETE thrashing and who knows? We'll see.
Kevin is in the firing line over pricing. His defence is to blame John's decision to hire that eccentric designer and says John should be fired because he made a big mistake by picking the designer. Andy has gotten killed because he doesn't have the respect of the team. John picks Kevin and Andy and I think any one of the three could go. Despite what I said earlier today I think maybe John has a chance to survive because it wasn't a complete gangup against him. Maybe Andy catches a break because he hasn't yet led this team and Trump may want to see what he has to offer. This is a really tough call. Personally, I do not want to see Kevin fired, because of the three he's done the best job and led the team to a victory once.
Uh oh, Kevin has no support from on high- getting killed. George has spoken in Andy's defence. John is now going down in flames for not bringing in Wes who was also involved in the pricing. And they all say Andy shouldn't even be in there.
JOHN - YOU'RE FIRED! Too many bad decisions, they say. What about being stuck with a task selling FASHIONS?! Wow.
The Donald's firing sessions have become increasingly bizarre and the decisions entirely questionable. Here's a link to an article on MSNBC on what happened to Pamela last week and it basically sums it all up. Pamela got hosed. Think about it. Pamela was part of a cohesive, winning MOSAIC team. Instead, she's sent over by the Donald to the worst group of idiots ever assembled, the backstabbing, catfighting APEX team. And after successfully bringing that group of losers together and leading them to their best performance in weeks- while showing calm, albeit tough, leadership- what happens? Carolyn goes after her in the boardroom for setting the price that cost her team the victory, and the Donald fires her--- over a difference of $10! You know, this just wasn't fair. Pamela may have been a bit of a jerk, but she did what she was asked to do and showed a lot of poise while being thrown in with the wolves. I would have kept her on and gotten rid of Stacy, who has proven herself to be a backstabber and out of her league.
You know what I think did Pamela in? Her choice of people to take into the boardroom. It's clear to me after watching the expanded boardroom show that the Donald and Carolyn really have it in for Sandy. They were ready to fire her for blowing the decor in that restaurant a couple of weeks ago, and Carolyn claimed that the folks at QVC hated Sandy as well. If Pamela had served up Sandy, Pamela might have escaped with her head and Sandy would have been toast.
Who will be fired this week? Depends on who gets blame. That's what is so frustrating about this show- you can work hard and do a good job and still get fired because you're stuck with a bunch of backstabbing losers. It's clear to me that Trump and the gang are trolling around looking for people to ream out and blame for a defeat, and humiliate them on national television. The only way to get ahead in this environment is to simply do your job and shut up. That's the only way you can avoid getting sent overboard. That's why I think Jennifer M. will be the last female standing- she's doing her job and shutting her trap, while everyone else is working like mad, taking leadership roles, and blowing themselves to smithereens.
Sandy, I think, was probably held in high regard by her teammates, but the Trump people have made it clear now to the entire team that they hate Sandy and want to fire her, so I think Sandy will be served up for the slaughter soon. The only way Sandy can survive is if she's named project manager and WINS. If that happens she'll stand a chance of rescuing herself. Everyone else could hit the bricks at any time and if the women lose again the boardroom will be a barrel of laughs.
As for the men, well, they're due for a loss, and if they lose this week it will be a shame, because this whole team has shown a lot. I also feel for this week's MOSAIC project manager: his neck is squarely on the line. Not a single male project manager has lost on Apprentice 2, and you can bet the first male project manager to lose will get ripped to shreds by the Donald and will almost certainly be fired. Whose turn is it? It will be either John, Andy or Wes as project manager this week; they are also, so far, the weakest players on the team (particularly Wes and Andy. John could probably survive if he pins the blame on someone else ) and seem almost certain to be part of the final Gang of Three facing the firing squad if MOSAIC loses. If they lose, any of them could take the blame and be fired. I don't think they'll shake the teams up this week- but next week, I wouldn't be surprised. Who do I think is winning and losing in these sweepstakes? It's not written in stone, but...
WINNING: Kelly, Kevin, Raj, Chris, and Jennifer M.
DEFINITELY LOSING: Andy, Wes, and all the rest of the women.
NOT SURE: John- needs a win as project manager, but one mistake could finish him off quickly.
I'm still waiting for one of these chumps to do the "you can't fire me, I quit!" routine. Hey, it happened on Survivor once!
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
From the looks of it Bush looked like he was more energetic than in the first debate. And Kerry is all negativity. He always bashes Bush and calls him a great divider. Why won't people call him to account for a negative campaign? Anyway I didn't see all the debate. I was too busy mingling with people and eating food and stuff.
After the debate the CNN commentators didn't seem too impressed with the level of the debate. You know, these political commentators over at CNN, Wolf Blitzer, Jeff Greenfield, Carlos Watson and the rest of them, they treated these debates as if they were NFL football games, with a pre-game show and a post-game analysis. Pretty good substitute for hockey in my judgment.
I haven't been blogging much about the presidential election lately because I've been a little burned out on politics. I have had too busy a year in politics and really needed a break from it all. Now I'm ready to devote more time to the American race so expect more coverage of that in the CAIRNS BLOG between now and election day. I definitely intend to do something on election night.
One thing I did do last weekend that I didn't tell you about was that I got up in the middle of the night to watch election coverage from Australia on the Internet. So I got to see the Aussies re-elect John Howard and vindicate his country's stand in the war on terrorism. Way to go, Australia. And also, way to go Afghanistan, too. I know everyone reported on the problems they had in holding an election but still, they had an election people! That should be cause for celebration.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Because this is the week where we officially start losing games and our Saturday nights in this country. This is the week when the fans finally feel it. Movie Night in Canada? Yecch! Well, maybe they'll be good movies. Maybe it won't be so bad after all.
SPORTSCASTERS IN CANADA GETTING CLOBBERED, NOW REPORTING ON CHESS MATCHES
The people really feeling it are all the sportscasters in this country. If you haven't noticed, about 90% of the sportscasters in Canada are big hockey nuts who are really knowledgable about the NHL but care not one bit about anything else. So as a result, sportscasters like Gord Stellick, Jim McKenny, Kathryn Humphreys, Norm Rumack, Pierre McGuire et. al. are really struggling to find something to say about all the other sports. Kathryn's sportscasts on Citytv have fallen to new lows: last week she reported on Tiger Woods' wedding, and this week she went to McDonald's to interview some champion monopoly player. No, I am not making this up! This is how bad it has gotten in Canada and how embarrassing the sportscasts have become at Citytv. Their whole sports department has been reduced to rubble by the lack of sports news.
Then you have the guys like Paul Romanuk, people who'd be better off covering football or basketball or something else. Instead he is stuck doing hockey shows in a season with no NHL hockey. I tuned into Live from Wayne Gretzky's last Friday and I am amazed Romanuk and crew were able to find any hockey to talk about since it's entirely an NHL show. Well, I have a suggestion for all these folks. Cover other sports. Go do the baseball and football highlights, cover the Raptors training camp, and once you run out of those stories go take your cameras to the OHL rinks and cover that, and cover the bleeping high school football games going on. But the problem is: these people can't get off the floor and DO that because they don't know how. See, this is what happens when the entire sports media establishment in a single country is geared to covering a single sport and a single league. At least when baseball went on strike in 1994 a lot of the American sportscasters were able to switch easily to football and basketball and they didn't miss a beat. Here, the entire sport media industry's been devastated.
Right now the one sportscaster in the country who is thriving during this lockout is Chuck Swirsky, the Voice of the Raptors, because he's literally the only sportscaster in town capable of talking about more than one sport. He's single-handedly saving the FAN 590. (Elliotte Friedman is also capable of talking about more than one sport but in an ill-fated career move he is stuck at the sinking ship Hockey Night in Canada. He is making guest appearances on the FAN, though.) There's also Tom and Jerry, and the football guys like Mark Lee and Chris Cuthbert. Isn't Scott Russell ever glad he left Hockey Night in Canada now to go do the amateur sports beat on CBC? If he stayed at HNIC he probably would've been laid off. (Hazel Mae, who has a clue about other sports, wisely left the country during the summer for Boston.)
LATEST PROGNOSIS NOT GOOD FOR NHL
I should talk about what the media is saying about when this NHL impasse will actually end, because the prognosis is not good. In fact, it's SCARY the scenarios these sportswriters are cooking up.
The latest conventional wisdom has these bums out the entire season, then Gary Bettman will try to bring in replacement players to the NHL next fall. They also think that Canada's loyal hockey fans will actually come back and pay $55 bucks a seat to see the National Hockey League when it finally returns from this nonsense. Just about all the sportscasters are convinced this doomsday scenario is actually going to happen- and then the fans will simply forgive and forget and come back!
Wow, what a debacle: we'd get a whole season cancelled with no Stanley Cup, and to top it all off we'd get replacement hockey too. Think about it for a moment and ask yourselves whether you, as a fan, would want to come back to a league that treated you in such spectacularly wretched fashion. This type of thing would be enough to make me switch to NASCAR permanently.
People actually think the Canadian teams will continue to sell out the buildings in Canada after such a debacle. I wouldn't. I'd be so mad at the sport that I'd be threatening to quit following hockey! I remember Bob Costas after they cancelled the 1994 World Series and he was so mad that he was even saying "I'm through with this sport!"... and he LOVES baseball! I don't understand these Canadians who declared they were through with baseball after what happened in 1994, yet they'd be willing to come back to hockey so quickly after they wipe out a season and bring in the replacements. There are even fans saying they won't miss all the American teams that will be going out of business, so long as all the hockey teams in Canada are saved by the lockout.
I'll tell you something, I remember the 1987 NFL player's strike with the replacement players, and that was really a sad display, even though it only lasted a few weeks. I don't care if the replacement players broke the union. It was still a debacle, and it will be a debacle if it happens again in the NHL, with the damage of a lost season already in the books. That's what's so scary- people think this is doable. But you can bet the American fans will be furious. They're the ones who'd be ready to say "I'm through with this sport!" and I wouldn't blame them one bit!
Like I said before, as bad as it is now, the worst is still yet to come in the NHL player's lockout. ENJOY THE HOCKEY SEASON, FELLOW CHUMPS.
Thursday, October 07, 2004
Welcome to the Apprentice 2 blog for this week, which will sort of turn into a blog on reality TV in general in addition to being a blog on this show. The good news of course is that there IS a blog tonight. The Liberal government cut a deal for themselves so that they wouldn't have to go down to defeat tonight and screw up all our favorite TV programs. That would have been a fine way to launch an election campaign- tick off the viewers.
REALITY TV TAKING A BATH IN THE RATINGS
Heard a news story today that these "reality TV shows" are starting to crumble in the ratings. All the top reality shows are supposed to be down in the ratings, including The Apprentice 2. There's also been some early cancellations- Fox's The Next Great Champ did so great in the ratings that Fox had to send it to regional cable! And NBC's The Last Comic Standing is dead- they just announced it. They're going to announce their winner next week and be done with it. Why?!? I thought that was an OK show and that the comedians were pretty good. Then again I didn't watch it enough myself.
I think the main problem is that too many of these reality shows are giving the whole genre a bad name, so therefore no one watches. You have the few that are any good ( Apprentice, Survivor, The Amazing Race ), then you have the boring I-need-a-soulmate shows ( like The Bachelor, Blind Date, Elimidate! etc. ). Then it's a steep dropoff to the real trash like "Renovate My Family" or "You Can Take My Wife" or "Amish in the City" or "Rich and Spoiled in the Country". It's either that or it's some billionaire like Richard Branson or Mark Cuban forcing contestants to perform crappy stunts so they can give their millions away. These shows make Fear Factor look like a masterpiece. The latest one is some diet show called "The Biggest Loser", where people lose weight. Right now it looks like the Biggest Losers are the ones stuck at home watching.
Another problem: these shows are getting dull. On too many of these shows you're seeing people self-destruct on national television, and boy is that ever boring. Take a look at The Apprentice 2. You had Rob who self-destructed by not doing enough. You had Bradford who blew himself up by surrendering immunity in the boardroom. You had Stacie J. who blew herself up over an eight-ball. And then you had Jennifer C. who blew herself up thanks to her mouth. The question therefore seems to be increasingly: who will blow up this week? I think Elizabeth, Maria, Ivana, even Stacy and Sandy are in a heap of danger. Of the men, Raj really helped himself by being the winning project manager, and I think he's out of danger- at least this week. Anyone else could melt down on the spot and be fired. Also don't be surprised if there's a team shakeup this week. It's happened before.
Chris is project manager on MOSAIC- so if they lose he could be sent to the boardroom and sent packing. And after last week's victory that would be a shame.
Well well well, here comes the shakeup- Pamela has been sent over to the women's team APEX and has been named project manager. Well, well, she's just been handed her head. It's 7 men at Mosaic versus 7 at APEX.
And here's the deal- the team that wins is the one that sells the most product on QVC! And Pamela has already gotten off to a great start (not) with that team of malcontents on APEX, who now completely hate HER guts now too. If Pamela leads this bunch of losers to victory she's got it made- she'll be the first project manager to lead her team to a victory. Given the assignment I think they might even have a chance- they're hawking a product on QVC!
Donald's message of the week: Price It Right!
Trouble on the men's team- Raj and Kelly hate each other and seem to be trying to fight over who has the most power. This could blow up in Kelly's face over pricing. Men are selling grills. Women can't stand Pamela.
QVC looks really cool. Oh oh they're not selling any product, MOSAIC. They are really dying. Then some woman calls in to praise them and they finally move product. The men look like they are really disappointed. They look like they are in deep trouble and since Kelly set the price, it looks like Kelly is the one who looks like the guy on the block. As for APEX, they also get off to a crummy start but they sold 650 units of their product. Wow. It'll come down to who made the biggest profit.
The winners of the challenge are MOSAIC. They won by $10 and Kelly looks like a HERO. Chris the Project Manager gets an EXEMPTION next week. Reward is the men get to meet John McEnroe and Anna Kournikova. And all the women are DEAD. Not even PAMELA could save this APEX team. GET READY FOR THE CLAWS TO COME OUT.
I'm trying to remember who set the price that lost the women the challenge and now I remember- I think it's Pamela! If so, she's to blame and SHE IS SO DEAD.
Stacy's beef was that she had the price chore but that Pamela took it out of her hands. Well, that puts her in the line of danger too. But I think Pamela's in big danger. She also lost as project manager two times. Looks like she's doomed but we'll see.
Pamela is now imploding- she is claiming the price should have been higher. She's taking Stacy and Maria in with her into the final boardroom battle. And everyone is trashing Pamela's leadership style. I think it's a foregone conclusion, unless Trump feels the team is to blame.
But wow, Pamela is fighting hard to save herself in the boardroom- a lot of poise. Now Maria is on the spot for crumbling on camera. Now Pamela's starting to sink again, and now she's sunk over the issue of choosing the right people.
PAMELA- YOU'RE FIRED!
Another contestant gets destroyed on the Donald's show.
Then again the government could fall any old time in a minority parliament.
But the bottom line is that the big vote on a sub-amendment to the Throne Speech comes tonight. The Paul Martin Liberals are treating it as a confidence matter and are already talking about holding yet another bleeping election!
Here's the deal. The Liberals are still completely arrogant and still acting like they own the world. They've brought in their throne speech with all their platitudes about what they will do to save health care and all that, and they figure they'll be in power until 2006 or later. But the Conservatives and the Bloc want to give the Liberals a dose of humility and a Bloc-sponsored sub-amendment to the Throne Speech will be voted on tonight.
The Liberals are, to this point, acting like Liberals. They're not simply governing as if they still have a majority; they're governing as if they think they'll win every election this country ever holds, and that's a dangerous attitude for a government to have. This is a government that truly thinks it can do no wrong.
They are daring the opposition to pass this sub-amendment and throw the whole Parliament of Canada into chaos. They think that Stephen Harper and Gilles Duceppe really don't want to have another election because they're afraid they'll get beaten by the Liberals again. So they are treating this vote as a matter of confidence and are threatening election, hoping the opposition will blink.
But so far Stephen Harper and Gilles Duceppe are hanging tough and refusing to compromise. GOOD FOR THEM, and I hope they hang tough. If the opposition backs down on their proposals they will simply look weak and get killed by the press. They've GOT to force the Liberals to compromise or come up with some kind of alternative plan in Parliament to save their own government. Otherwise the Liberals will come out smelling like a rose ( pardon the Trudeau pun ).
As for Jack Layton and the NDP, he was originally part of the opposition coalition with Harper and Duceppe calling for changes to give the opposition more power, but now he's dissolved that partnership and his NDP will probably vote to help save the Liberals- if it comes to that. Poor Jack Layton- he's got no power at all in this Parliament. The Conservatives and the Bloc have the power to create some fireworks and they are using it and they'd better be enjoying it, because they haven't had power like this before.
This is a very interesting chess match going on and it could well fall on the shoulders of independent Chuck Cadman to determine whether the government lives on for another few weeks. What do I think will happen? Heck, I think common sense ought to prevail and that the Liberals should and will show some humility (for a change), but common sense has been missing from federal politics for a long, long time, so I'm not too confident.
The Liberals are banking on the opposition supposedly not wanting an election. Well, that is true. I've spoken to lots of Conservatives and nobody wants to have another election- at least, no one in Ontario. I want to relax and enjoy the victory from the leadership race! And I'm sure Ralph Klein doesn't want a federal election either, since he was all set to beat the opposition to a pulp in Alberta. But if the government falls that will highlight the fact that Paul Martin brought his own government down through a miscalculation. He'll have no one to blame but himself, and I'll be blaming the Liberals for the election if we have to hold one again. I'm really fed up with doing politics, as you know. I really don't enjoy going door to door, getting yelled at by Liberals. But if we have to have another election, well, so be it. That's politics, that's Canada for you. Beats living in Cuba.
As for me, my plans are all screwed up. I had intended to send a follow-up application today to the Conservatives in the House of Commons to see if there was still some way I could get in there with a political job, but I have decided I had better hold off until tomorrow. I don't want to end up re-sending an application to Ottawa on the day the government falls; if I do that, I'll look like an idiot.
The other thing is that if this government falls tonight it could mess up my live-blog coverage of the Apprentice 2. The show could be pre-empted by prime-time specials featuring Kevin Newman on Global, discussing Paul Martin's plans. The entire Global TV schedule could be ruined if the government falls tonight. Oh well, such is life in Canada.
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
No doubt this move was prompted by the FCC fines that drove Stern off of several Clear Channel stations- and with the threat of further harassment to come from the feds, Stern has decided he's had enough of the censorship and he's getting out right now. He won't have to worry about the FCC now that he's on satellite radio; the FCC doesn't reach that far. Now Stern will be able to say whatever he wants- every swear word imaginable.
Seems that the new rule is: if you're any good you end up on satellite. Stern joins other refugees from regular radio on the dish, including people like Opie and Anthony (fired for some stunt they pulled) and Bob Edwards (fired from NPR). Fired from your well-paying radio gig? Get a job on satellite!
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
In other news: the network news anchors have decided to gang up to help save Dan Rather and are blasting away at all the bloggers.
Sunday, October 03, 2004
According to the Albany Times-Union Jennifer has LOST HER REAL JOB because she ripped those two "old bags" who trashed the decor in her restaurant.
Apparently there were bigwigs at the real estate firm in which she worked in real life who were glued to their sets watching Jennifer badmouth those two "fat" "Jewish" women (direct quote) on The Apprentice 2. They were so offended by her remarks that they have ashcanned Jennifer and have distanced themselves from her "anti-Semitic" remarks. Wow. Jennifer is claiming that she's lost her career, is devastated, etc. She even says she's half-Jewish herself and has Jewish relatives and really doesn't hate Jews, but the damage is done.
In a way I feel bad for Jennifer. A lot of the problems were beyond her control. She was on a team rife with problems, wrecked by infighting, and I think NO ONE at the head of this team could have had anyone's respect. This team trashed Elizabeth when she was project manager and they trashed Ivana when she was project manager as well. They even trashed Bradford- and he WON. Jennifer did about as well as could be expected under the circumstances. They clearly put a lot of effort into this restaurant. Unfortunately two customers come in, didn't appreciate the effort the team put into the decor, and sunk them. What really sunk Jennifer was that she refused to accept blame for the defeat. Instead she went ballistic and trashed the customers in a racially-charged manner. That's no way to handle business- in business, the customers are always right, even when they're out to lunch. You DO NOT trash the customers! This is another example of a contestant melting down on the Donald's show, setting herself up for the axe, not just on TV but in real life.
I wouldn't feel too sorry for Jen C. I heard she worked as a photo editor for the magazines in her past life, so maybe she'll go back to that. Maybe she'll work for Forbes. If she wants to make some fast cash she could pose for Playboy. I hear the pay would have Donald Trump all beat.
Frankly, though, Jennifer knew she was finished the moment APEX lost. Jen C.'s best ally on the team, Sandy, was responsible for the decor. So if Jennifer had thrown Sandy to the wolves Jennifer would have been accused of backstabbing an ally and would have been fired for that. So she brought in Stacy to the boardroom and got slammed for bringing her in for personal reasons. And Jennifer was in a no-win situation with respect to accepting her share of blame; if she had accepted any portion of the blame she would have been raked over the coals for that and would have been doomed. Poor Jen C. was done like dinner. Any project manager who ran a company filled with the group of idiots Jennifer was stuck with had no chance.
Why doesn't Trump simply go ahead on a mass firing spree and be done with it? Half the women's team deserves to be booted right onto the street right now. The only woman in that bunch who's any good is that under-the-radar attorney Jennifer M.- she's a really cool cat- but if this were real life she wouldn't stick around, she'd quit in disgust. If APEX was a real company they'd be in bankruptcy court because of the chaos. What a train wreck.