November 24, 2004

Okay, I'm outta here,

Okay, I'm outta here, folks. I'll be up in New Jersey with family until the end of the weekend, so I'm afraid the guns of will fall silent during that time. However, before I leave, I've gotta make another pitch for

As some of you know, The Campus Progress Network is an offshoot of The Center for American Progress, the wonderful organization I now work for. I'm part of a team that's setting up this network, primarily this website, which is targeting and encouraging progressive student action on college campuses nationwide.

If you haven't read or recieved the copy yet, here's where it's really good: we want you college students to be involved. We're looking for writers to write for us, bloggers to blog for us, and student publications to ally themselves with us.

So please, if you're a college student and don't want the College Republicans running the entire show at your school, take a look at Trust me, you'll be hearing about this from me a lot in the upcoming months. But now's as good a time as any to start checking it out.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:59 AM

November 23, 2004

The Mouse that Squeaked

The humor in Glenn Reynolds and his conservative friends desperate to stain the retirement of Dan Rather with the Killian memos lies in the Guys With Websites still clinging to their failed perception of relevance to the American news scene.

I'm not some adoring fan of Dan Rather, and this Guard documents thing is hardly the only stupid decision he's made. But it's interesting how the wingers are trying to discuss the close of Rather's career as if he didn't have one- as if he was hired a year ago, pushed the Killian story, and then left.

Dan Rather's been a newsman for 24 years. And deep down, it infuriates Glenn Reynolds that, no matter what he does, no matter how hard he tries, Rather will simply be more significant to history than he ever will be. All this self-promoting, all this declarations of the blogosphere as the new epoch of journalism, all this Drudge-esque ramblings from the Powerline-types of "bringing down" whatever they decided they "brought down" this week- it's a sad denial of the fact that history will document the news- not the people who pasted it onto a monitor.

Fight on, Guy With a Website. Fight on.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:45 AM

How low the mighty hath fallen

The NFL has announced that, following the crisis of the century that was Janet Jackson's nipple at last year's Super Bowl, the halftime show will be toned down for a more passive, mainstream act: Paul McCartney.

Clearly, the league has chosen to avoid such potential problems by signing the former Beatle. It will be McCartney's second Super Bowl appearance. He also sang in the pregame show in New Orleans in 2002.

"We are extremely pleased to work again with Paul McCartney, one of the greatest musicians of our time, to create a memorable show," said Steve Bornstein, the NFL's executive vice president of media. "As one of the worlds most beloved artists and incomparable live entertainers, Paul McCartney will deliver an inspirational performance."

Former Beatle. You know, the guys who created probably the largest controversies and societal outrages in the history of the American music scene. The guys who crossed over from Europe and gave women orgasms in the stands just by performing. The guys who wrote thinly-veiled lyrics about acid trips and declared themselves bigger than Jesus.

And now they're hiring one of them because he's tamer than a titty shot.

I really don't know what to say, but if I did I'm sure it would make a great Don Henley song.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:12 AM

Hammering the Bugman

NY Times Op-Ed from Ronnie Earle, the Texas DA who is both investigating Tom DeLay and, in the most amazing of coincidences, has suddenly been discovered by the Republican Party to be the reincarnation of Satan or something like that:

Last week Congressional Republicans voted to change their rule that required an indicted leader to relinquish his post. They were responding to an investigation by the Travis County grand jury into political contributions by corporations that has already resulted in the indictments of three associates of Mr. DeLay, the House majority leader.

Yet no member of Congress has been indicted in the investigation, and none is a target unless he or she has committed a crime. The grand jury will continue its work, abiding by the rule of law. That law requires a grand jury of citizens, not the prosecutor, to determine whether probable cause exists to hold an accused person to answer for the accusation against him or her.

Politicians in Congress are responsible for the leaders they choose. Their choices reflect their moral values.

Mmmm. Screw moral values. Reading this op-ed makes you feel special. Down there.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:59 AM

November 22, 2004

Attention New Yorkers

About four hours from now, U2 will be holding a FREE CONCERT at the park in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn.

DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, the tiny northwest section of Brooklyn where the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges meet. The park in question is across the street from a studio I used to work at, goddamit.

No, I'm not upset about missing this at all. Nope.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:37 AM

We paid y'all to shuffle fo' us, boy

Look, I'm not a sports fan. I don't watch sports on TV, and I'm one of those who scoff at the "problems" in the lives of sports players because they're paid millions of dollars to, essentially, play sports slightly better than the people who do it for free on college campuses and school blacktops across the nation.

That said, the rhetoric coming from a lot of people about this whole massive NBA game fight really disturbs me for some reason. For some reason, "hey should put up with it, we pay them" doesn't seem as arguable when it's after some fans lobbed drinks at a player's head. Watching the video of the players being escorted out the arena, as fans rushed to the side stairs to pour the rest of their beer over their heads, shocked me more than the opening seconds of the fight. People rushing to humilate the players.

And then you get "they're paid to deal with this." Then you get "man, Detroit sure is violent, isn't it?" Golly, what does that mean? Oh, well it'll be explained very quickly what that means: "what is it with black culture? Why do they want to fight so much?"


I hate that athletes are overpaid, over-pampered intolerants. That doesn't mean spectators have the right to assault them. And it doesn't mean they have to endure questions about their anger because of their race. Are they paid? Yeah, they are. They're paid to play basketball. They're not paid to dance for you. The NBA is not your minstrel show, and no one has the right to say "they paid" to make it one.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:40 AM