Rebooting Carl Sagan’s seminal “Cosmos” miniseries three decades later is almost impossible — unless you happen to be renowned astrophysicist and science educator Neil deGrasse Tyson.
For those who may have missed the original back in 1980, “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage” was a documentary series on PBS that explored the universe as well as the history of scientific discovery. Sagan’s topics of discussionranged from Japanese folklore to debunking astrology to the ultimate fate of the stars and galaxies that surround us.
10/3/2013 - Jon Stewart Government Shutdown - For the third night in a row, Jon Stewart opened The Daily Show with coverage of “Shutstorm 2013? and this time his rage was aimed squarely at “Bullshit Mountain,” AKA Fox News. He noticed that the hosts over at Fox seem to have realized that “this shutdown ain’t looking so hot for one particular political party.”
Stewart went straight to the “Bullshit-anator” himself, Sean Hannity, who has been referring to the whole thing as a “liberal shutdown.” But it was Fox’s coverage of the shuttered World War II memorial that really got him going. “Could there be a higher octane fuel for Fox News’ false outrage exploitation engine than wheelchair-bound World War II veterans?” he asked. “Maybe a fetus that owns a small business and that small business makes ‘Merry Christmas’ muzzle cozies.”
The host blasted Fox for standing up against the memorial closure while forgetting that “it’s their allies’ assassin budget shenanigans that not only shut it in the first place, but also put Meals on Wheels at risk, a program that serves meals to over 500,000 veterans a year.”
After playing a montage of Republicans describing their love for “small government,” Stewart came to a realization. “You hate the government,” he said. “Yet you rail like banshees if any of the services and benefits you like are taken away.” Echoing an infamous scene from Steve Martin’s The Jerk, he said, “I don’t need any government, except these memorials, and Social Security, and the paddle game.”
Turning back to Fox, Stewart played a clip of Fox & Friends’ Steve Doocey remarking that the Obama administration sent more security to the World War II memorial than he did to Benghazi. “I’m pretty sure the news face you want to use to convey outrage and concern isn’t shit-eating grin,” he said. “The gratuitous and cavalier nature of that comparison truly shows how little they actually care about Benghazi, except as a ‘Ben-gotcha.’”
For more, Stewart went “live via satellite” to a “longtime federal employee who has seen the effects of this shutdown firsthand”: Smokey the Bear. When Stewart called him out for throwing a lit cigarette on the ground, he replied, “Oh, you want me to go put that out? How about this, fuck you, pay me, Jon, all right?”
A jury did not believe the bullshit in this book, and three accomplices all testified that it was lies - so why would Fox news tout the book other than to perpetuate doubt and anti-gay hate?
Right-wing pundits, radio hosts and bloggers are celebrating a brand new book purporting to demonstrate that Matthew Shepard’s brutal 1998 murder in Wyoming was not an anti-gay hate crime, but rather a simple drug-motivated crime fueled by crystal methamphetamine. The book is capped by the sensational, and utterly unproven, claim that Shepard had previously engaged in gay sex with his eventual murderer.
These are not new claims — the allegation that the murder was primarily drug-fueled was in fact aired during the trial of Shepard’s killers. Similarly, claims that the chief perpetrator, Aaron McKinney, had had sex with Shepard, had previously surfaced. But McKinney has angrily denied those claims, and they are based on nothing more than hearsay evidence from questionable witnesses.
The book’s central assertions, in fact, are both factually flawed and, at bottom, profoundly irrelevant. They are also essentially recycled.
Indeed, The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard is the work of Stephen Jimenez, one of the producers of an ABC News “20/20” report in 2004 that was widely criticized by other journalists, gay-rights organizations and the Shepard family for its factual inaccuracies and distortions, as well as its clear bias. For instance, ABC News failed to reveal to its viewers that Jimenez was a longtime friend of the defense attorney for McKinney co-defendant Russell Henderson who, when he pitched the story to ABC producers, had already reached his sensational conclusions — long before ABC’s reporters had begun doing actual investigative work.
A number of right-wing pundits have seized upon Jimenez’s book, which was just published on Sept. 24, to claim that the much of the justification for the nation’s anti-gay hate-crime laws — including the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2009 — is little more than a fabric of lies. These pundits claim that the Shepard “mythology” has been used to fuel a “grievance industry” that is based on the supposedly false notion that hate crimes, in particular anti-LGBT hate crimes, are widespread.
The Miss America pageant is not known for being especially thoughtful (the first question asked in the interview segment this year was about twerking, the second question about sexting, the third about Syria).
The judges seem unusually prescient this year though, with their decision to award the title to Miss New York, 24-year-old Nina Davuluri.
But New York-based Fox News & Commentary radio host Todd Starnes isn’t pleased with the pick.
Davuluri’s family immigrated to Fayetteville, New York, from India 30 years ago, and she played up her differences from the traditional idea of Miss America while campaigning for the title. She performed a Bollywood Fusion style dance for the talent portion. In her a video bio, she said, “Miss America has always been the girl next door, but Miss America is evolving and she is not going to look the same.”
That was enough for Fox “News” closet case Todd Starnes to blow a gasket:
Miss Kansas, a gun-toting, deer-hunting, military veteran was America's choice - but not the liberal Miss America judges' choice.— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) September 16, 2013
SIDE NOTE: While there’s enough to ping the gaydar about this guy, doesn’t live tweeting Miss America pretty much vaporize it?
But I digress…
Meanwhile, Wingnustian freaks out over a non white Miss America:
“Well they just picked a Muslim for Miss America. That must’ve made Obama happy. Maybe he had a vote,” griped Elizabeth@EJR Buckeye.
“This is Miss America…Not Miss Foreign Country,” tweeted Meredith Talley@meredithRoanell
“The sad thing is, Miss Kansas didn’t make it because America isn’t ready to crown someone who represents AMERICA,” added Aly Walansky @alywalansky.
“She’s like not even american and she won miss america,” fumed Kat@kathrynRyan50.
The station has issued an apology
KTVU Channel 2 is apologizing for an on-air gaffe that the station — or viewers – won’t soon forget.
During the noon newscast Friday, co-anchor Tori Campbell, announced that “KTVU has just learned the names of the four pilots who were on board” Asiana flight 214 when it crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday.
She then read from a teleprompter while a TV graphic displayed four fake names that clearly were someone’s idea of a joke.
The first name — “Captain Sum Ting Wong” — should have been a give-away that something really was wrong. But Campbell kept reading… “Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk, Bang Ding Ow.
Speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington on Friday, Rick Santorum offered criticism of the campaign that bested him in the 2012 GOP primary, but wound up losing the general election:
One after another, they talked about the business they had built. But not a single factory worker went out there. Not a single janitor, waitress or person who worked in that company! We didn’t care about them. You know what? They built that company too! And we should have had them on that stage.
When all you do is talk to people who are owners, talk to folks who are Type A’s who want to succeed economically, we’re talking to a very small group of people. No wonder they don’t think we care about them. No wonder they don’t think we understand them. Folks, if we’re going to win, you just need to think about who you talk to in your life.
Taking stock of Santorum’s advice that Republicans should “talk to the folks who are worried about the next paycheck” instead of just CEOs, Politico judges that he wants to “carve out a role as a leading populist in the 2016 field.”
This article in Salon by Joe Muto is an excerpt from his book An Atheist in the FOXhole: A Liberal’s Eight-Year Odyssey Inside the Heart of the Right-Wing Media, and it’s a very good read on the inner workings of Fox News, with this excerpt focusing on The O’Reilly Factor, and how O’Reilly works within it, and he often doesn’t cope very well.
But in terms of how a typical O’Reilly show is put together, this quote leapt out at me:
When O’Reilly picked the topics for the show, he’d usually have a specific guest in mind. Sometimes he’d give it to one of our “regulars,” guests who appear every week. (These include, in addition to the aforementioned Messrs. Rove, Morris, and Goldberg, figures like comedian Dennis Miller and Fox daytime anchor Megyn Kelly.) But sometimes he’d want a guest who was not one of the regulars but, rather, someone who would take a certain side on an issue, or an expert with certain biographical details.
Often these requests got hilariously specific: “We’re doing a gay marriage segment — get me a black lesbian civil rights attorney!” or “I want to do a segment on the Super Bowl next week — find me a funny white sports expert under forty! But he can’t be bald.”
One of the most important things the segment producer did was the pre-interview, which was exactly what it sounds like— we’d interview the guest a few hours before Bill interviewed them. We tried to think of the same questions Bill would ask, and would take notes, condensing and bullet-pointing whatever the guest said. Eventually, we’d give this “POV” to Bill, along with research on the topic.
The end result was that, barring the occasional surprise, Bill knew exactly what his guest was going to say in the interview, sometimes down to the last word. In this way, cable news somewhat resembled professional wrestling: The outcomes were predetermined, with the host not only choosing his guests based specifically on the stance he knew they were going to take, but actually getting a preview of their arguments several hours in advance so he could formulate his counterarguments.
It’s long, but it’s a fascinating article, and you should read the whole thing.
Appearing on Fox News Republican talk show “Hannity” Monday night, right-wing columnist Ann Coulter said she’s sad that not only does she think the Boston bombing should shut down the nation’s immigration reform debate, she would like to see the alleged bomber’s widow in jail too, not for committing a crime but for “wearing a hijab.”
“I don’t care if she knew about this,” Coulter said. “She ought to be in prison for wearing a hijab. This immigration policy of us, you know, assimilating immigrants into our culture isn’t really working. They’re assimilating us into their culture. Did she get a clitorectomy too?”
Hannity seemed momentarily puzzled at the sudden citation of female genital mutilation, stammering his reply. “I, uh, I don’t know the answer to that,” he said before confidently adding: “But your point is well taken.”