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May 10, 2006

Hot Scott . . . Uh, News Clip of the Day

How can I not post this? It's Scott. In jeans. Doing handyman work.

The White Sox have been working with Habitat for Humanity, building homes for Hurricane Katrina victims in the area.

Scott said he's good with a hammer because he's from the South. I bet. Num nums. His wife (grrrr) however, slammed him on the newscast. Leave her, Scott! She doesn't love you!

[Watch video – 1:28, WMV format]

April 05, 2006

Building a Bridge to the 19th Century

Jackson_1 Jesse Jackson dropped by the Colbert Report last night to discuss Hurricane Katrina, immigration, and Tom Delay's resignation.

While Jackson's comments include their usual bizarre flair - including strange Palestinian rhetoric such as "right to return" in reference to Katrina victims - it's really Colbert's needling questions that provide the majority of the fun.

[Watch video – 8:21, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 8:21, WMV ormat, low bandwidth]

March 29, 2006

Heckuva Puzzling Interview, Brownie

Brownie Malbug_13I was filled with a mixture of pity and revulsion as Stephen Colbert interviewed Mike "Brownie" Brown, former head of FEMA, last night.

On one hand, he seemed completely willing to accept the mantle of whipping boy for the debacle of the response to Hurricane Katrina, despite the evident culpability of a host of characters.  On the other hand, whether he was joking or not, he seemed comfortable having the blame shifted to his former boss, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff.

Brown's glib attempts to make light of his situation and his nervous laughter were more than a little disgusting, even in the context of a comedy show.  I kept thinking about the hundreds of needless deaths, and here was this guy who was in charge of coordinating the federal response chortling away on national TV just five months later.  It merely reinforced perceptions of the ineptness that precipitated his downfall.

Yes, FEMA was but one player in the Katrina cluster-fuck.  Compounding the mistakes of a brainless FEMA administrator were also a feckless governor and a clueless mayor.  (Katrina was a tragic "perfect storm" in many ways.)

But if Brown's goal last night was to rehabilitate his character and integrity, then I don't think he did himself any favors.

[Watch video – 7:11, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 7:11, WMV format, low bandwidth]

Of course, it wouldn't be a "Colbert Report" without some hilarious allusion to homosexuality.  Colbert brought out a thinly disguised David Cross as "ultra left-wing radio talk show host Russ Lieber," putatively to discuss school vouchers.

But the interview soon morphed into a bizarre and tangled debate on gay adoption.  See for yourself.

[Watch video – 4:46, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 4:46, WMV format, low bandwidth]

March 01, 2006

The Real-ly Gay World

Tyler His hero is Michelle Kwan, he loves Judy Garland and gossip, and he's known for his precision kigh-kicks. There are those who are stereotypically gay, and then there is Tyler - a cutie from Minnesota who has lit the magnesium strip of his sexuality on this season of Real World: Key West.

In a season beset by hurricanes, alcohol, and endless drama from the first frame, the producers of MTV seem set to cast Tyler as sidekick, dependably hilarious house commentator, and mischievious trouble-maker among a group of individuals geared towards orgy the moment they set foot on the property.

The real question of the season is whether or not the adorable Tyler manages at least one tiny make-out session with housemate hottie Jose. I'm pulling for him.

What follows are highlights from the casting special and last night's premiere.

[Watch video – 9:04, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 9:04, WMV format, low bandwidth]

February 21, 2006

Anderson Cooper Feels the Truth With Oprah

Oprahisatwat_2 Returning both to his roots and the story that made him a household name, Anderson Cooper once again graced Oprah's Court this morning in a quasi-reunion with fellow Channel One alumn Lisa Ling. The pair followed up on the victims of Hurricane Katrina six months after the storm, finding people living in conditions little better than Third World refugee camps.

Here, Anderson has wisely decided on solid reporting that speaks for itself, rather than the unmuted hysteria and rumor-mongering of his original, error-filled Katrina freak outs - where unchecked emotionalism became the new objectivity in national media circles.

It's a depressing, poignant piece of cross-marketing (hey, folks may be homeless, but the boy does have a book to sell, people).

The second half of this clip is a bit of Malcovision schizophrenia. I was busy tapping away at work while recording, and I inadvertantly caught the intro to today's View. Look, it's a bunch of Chippendales dancers prancing around in Vegas. Enjoy the beefcake as a tonic for the soul destroying Katrina footage.

As Star Jones and the others tease producer Bill about his stripper credentials, I couldn't help but wonder if her questions might better be directed towards her nominally hetero hubby, Al "The Stallion" Reynolds.

Video clips deleted at demand of Jeffrey Friedman, attorney for Oprah Winfrey

January 17, 2006

Lunatics, Start Your Engines

The stakes are high, the competition brutal, but New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has elbowed his way onto an already crowded field in the 2006 race to the Douche-Baggery Hall of Fame.

"I don't care what people are saying Uptown or wherever they are. This city will be chocolate at the end of the day," Nagin said in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech. "This city will be a majority African-American city. It's the way God wants it to be." [. . .]

In his speech, Nagin also said "God is mad at America," in part because he does not approve "of us being in Iraq under false pretenses. . . He is sending hurricane after hurricane after hurricane, and it is destroying and putting stress on this country," Nagin said. God is "upset at black America also."

Asked if he could clarify and condense his remarks in the most hilariously unbelievable fashion possible, Nagin replied:

Nagin[said] that he was referring to the creation of a racially diverse city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, insisting that his remarks were not divisive. "How do you make chocolate? You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink. That is the chocolate I am talking about," he said.

In related news, Marion Barry has finally unraveled the mystery of what happened to his stash.

November 16, 2005

Quote of the Day

Malbug_13"9/11 was too ambiguous. You couldn't prove how the government was somehow in on the deal. … New ­Orleans was undeniable irresponsibility."

Madonna

Is it possible for her to shut her friggin' yap and keep singing?

October 20, 2005

All Hail Comedy Central

Malbug_13

South Park returned to its "South Park Republican" roots last night with a season premiere that lit into global warming hysteria and the Hurricane Katrina blame game, using a dam breach that destroyed the town of "Beaverton" as a proxy.

[Watch video – 1:34, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 1:34, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 1:34, QT format]

Malbug_13

Xandirspanky_3 Meanwhile, Drawn Together is back for a second season with the addition of a new housemate, a Strawberry Shortcake-like character with a history of genocide.

But the episode I'm really looking forward to is next week with the gay wedding of Xandir and Spanky Ham.  For insurance purposes only, of course.

[Watch video – 2:44, WMV format, high bandwidth]

(Corrupted audio from original upload fixed)

October 19, 2005

Quote Asshole of the Day

Malbug_13"Unfortunately, it's the crossroads where Katrina meets Rita.  I always knew I was against same-sex unions."

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.)

You might want to fire whichever writer came up with that one for you, Senator.

Is it not enough that some politicians have to be against gay marriage, but that they also have to be incredible jerks about it?  It's hard to count the ways that one brief statement is insensitive.

[HT: Queerty]

September 27, 2005

Katrina Swamps Media Credibility

Malbug_13Katrina has helped transmogrify the "adversarial media" into the "antagonistic media."  BoiFromTroy has the goods.

September 26, 2005

Quote of the Day

"Rita is supposed to make landfall in Texas, which is good for Barbara Bush because she can insult survivors closer to home."

— Bill Maher, HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher

September 23, 2005

A Bitch of a Sister

Malbug_13

I hope to God that Rita, already a tragedy, doesn't turn into a replay of Katrina.

But I am prone to start thinking that major disasters strike every time I fly home from overseas.  (Rita is scheduled to make landfall about the time I get on my plane tomorrow; Katrina hit as I was on my way back from Beijing.)

September 14, 2005

Rall's Fans: The Real Suckers

Malbug_13

I would like to amend what I said yesterday about columnists (and bloggers) saying outrageous things mainly to get attention, and add "certain cartoonists" to the indictment.  Specifically, a skunk masquerading in the guise of Ted Rall.

The man who can't draw and who writes even more poorly has penned a column calling Americans "suckers" for giving to charity.  Government, Rall believes, is the only instrument capable of responding to disasters (the same government, incidentally, that many liberals and conservatives alike believe screwed up the Katrina response in the first place.)

Rall is same the rodent who, among other random acts of kindness, vomited ink onto paper in the form of a scurrilous attack on a dead military hero.

Maybe 15th place on Bernard Goldberg's list of despicable idiots wasn't high enough for Rall.

September 12, 2005

Blanco, Nagin Should Follow Suit

Malbug_13

Drudge is reporting that Michael "Heck of a Job" Brown is resigning as head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  (I haven't seen the story yet, but I'm guessing Mr. Brown just coincidentally decided that he wanted to "spend more time with his family.")

Maybe this means that presidents (of both parties) will learn that you might not want the person who's in charge of our safety during disasters to be a strictly political patronage spot.

By the way, kudos to whichever political hack nicely timed the announcement so that it would be buried by the Roberts confirmation hearings.

Update: The Fournier story that is beginning to move indicates that Brown might actually be accepting some responsibility, instead of using typical DC resignation-speak:

Federal Emergency Management Agency director Mike Brown said Monday he has resigned "in the best interest of the agency and best interest of the president," three days after losing his onsite command of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

"The focus has got to be on FEMA, what the people are trying to do down there," Brown told The Associated Press.

Update 2 ... Bush reax (from WaPo):

The president side-stepped questions about Brown's resignation. "Maybe you know something I don't know. I've been working," Bush said to reporters on an inspection tour of damage in Gulfport, Miss. Bush said he planned to talk with Brown's boss, Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff, from Air Force One on the flight back to Washington.

"There will be plenty of time to figure out what went right and what went wrong," Bush said.

Earlier today, Bush toured flood-ravaged New Orleans and denied race or the war in Iraq played a part in the administration's sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina.

"The storm didn't discriminate and neither will the recovery effort," Bush said when asked if the government's slow response was due to the fact that many of the storm's victims were poor African-Americans, a charge some U.S. black leaders have levied against the administration.

"When those Coast Guard choppers . . . were pulling people off roofs, they didn't check the color of a person's skin. They wanted to save lives," he said.

Bush said the government will take a "sober look" at "what went on and how it went on" amid continued criticism of what is seen as an inadequate federal response to a national disaster.

Asked by reporters whether the war in Iraq meant U.S. troops were stretched too thin to respond quickly, Bush answered testily that it was "preposterous to claim that the engagement in Iraq meant there weren't enough troops here, pure and simple."

"We've got plenty of troops to do both," he insisted.

September 09, 2005

Looking for Good News Where We Can Find It

Malbug_13

Katrina's death toll might turn out to be much lower than feared.  Let's hope that it is so.

Lack of Irony Is Painful

"D. Earl Griffin"

Malbug_13

I just had to link to this and this, mainly because I know it will make "D. Earl's" day – and I do strive to bring a little joy into people's miserable little lives – but also because I find it more than a little fascinating that someone clearly hates me so much, yet dedicates nearly one-quarter of their recent posts to me.

Keep on coming back, D. Earl!  I'd miss you if you left me.

Hugs and kisses,

MalcontentNY

September 07, 2005

Richard Simmons Jumps the Couch on ET

Malbug_13

Richardsimmons I tried to resist.  Really, I did.  I tried so hard.

They teased me last night with Mary Hart's interview of a shuddering Richard Simmons, clad in his trademark short-shorts and a black "muscle" shirt with hearts sequined all over it.  I was strong and posted about Oprah instead.

But then Entertainment Tonight's cameras followed Richard today to hurricane country for a tearful, blubbering reunion with his brother.  (Actually, Richard blubbered, while his brother just looked embarrassed and bored.)

Tonight the "muscle" shirt was identical, except that the sequined hearts were now on a red background.

I'm sure some will call me an insensitive prick, but watch the video for yourself and tell me that Richard isn't just asking for it.

Tell me that he isn't either seriously disturbed, that he doesn't have the emotional level of a 7-year-old, or that perhaps he isn't mildly retarded.  (If it is the latter, I apologize, but the man has been putting his flaming, lampoon-able self out there for years.)  Above all else, tell me he isn't trying just a little too hard to milk this human tragedy for publicity.

You just know the ET crew was stifling their laughter until they could get back to the truck and play it back, then they just laughed and laughed until they cried.

Did you catch the details of the story?  Richard didn't lose anyone in the disaster, nor does he really seem to know anyone who did.  He just seems really, really upset that he knows people who were down there ... and lived.  (Time to up the meds, Richard, because that describes about three-quarters of the U.S. population!)

I need to stop typing and roll it.  It's too much ...

[Watch video – 6.6mb, 2:36, WMV format]

Siegel's "False" Sense of Security

Malbug_13

Falsealarm Author Marc Siegel was on "The Daily Show" last night, flogging his book False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear.  I have not yet read the book, but his interview with Jon Stewart was troubling, to say the least.

[Watch video – 10mb, 6:09, WMV format]

The cover photo is indeed taken from a true false alarm: the evacuation of the U.S. Capitol when a plane carrying Kentucky's governor bound for the Reagan funeral wandered into restricted airspace with a broken transponder.  But the cause for the panic was genuine.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Flight 93 was headed for the U.S. Capitol before it was taken down when passengers rose up against their terrorist hijackers.  The Capitol has been evacuated a handful of times since, though one would be hard-pressed to argue that an alarm is "false" when it involves the potential of dying from a plane crashing into you.

It was hard to tell exactly what Siegel's point was, but I'd try to sum it up this way: "We don't really need to worry about terrorism.  Except for nukes.  But we didn't find any nukes in Iraq, so everything is OK."

“We’re worried about the wrong thing,” Siegel said, arguing that we put too much concern into a "truck bomb versus a hurricane."

But what if that "truck bomb" involved a series of coordinated attacks on levees?  The end result would be much the same as Hurricane Katrina.

"We have the whole country afraid of terrorism, which can happen to a few people and scare the whole country,” Siegel says.

Call me silly, but I don't think 5,000 people murdered (and counting) by al-Qaeda qualifies as "a few" under most definitions.

"They’re scaring us silly about everything," Siegel says, throwing “mad cow and West Nile” into the mix.

But Siegel has a pronoun problem.  His "theys" are actually several discrete entities.  For instance, the chief fear-mongers on mad cow disease actually come from the left because they see partisan gain at the expense of the Administration.  They also want us all to eat organically grown food, even though millions more people a year would starve if we actually heeded their advice.  (Incidentally, total number of confirmed cases of mad cow in U.S. cattle: two.  Total number of confirmed human deaths from mad cow in the United States: zero.)

“Our National Guard is over there instead of over here protecting against the disaster,” Siegel said.

More leftist hyperbole.  As James Robbins points out, only about 10 percent of the Army (including Guard and Reserve) is in Iraq, while nearly three-quarters is in the United States.  Isn't it raising a "false alarm" to make such an overblown claim?

JON STEWART: There clearly is a group of people who are organizing a network that is aiming to get large weapons to come over.  Or am I reading that wrong?  [SILENCE] You’re scaring me.

MARC: You’re reading that right, but what I’m saying is that we can’t assume that everything that happens is a risk to all of us.  The terrorists know that the biggest weapon they have is fear.  They don’t have to hurt a lot of us.  They get a few of us, and the rest of us panic.  … That’s the elephant in the room is nuclear weapons.

Finally we've found something that actually scares Marc Siegel: nukes.

They don't have to hurt a lot of us, Marc, but anyone who has been paying even a little bit of attention since, oh, 1998 knows that they want to hurt, or kill, a lot of us.  All of us, actually, or at least those of us who don't subscribe to their perverted religious fanaticism.

JON: Isn’t that what we’re aiming to do, by taking on the terrorists where they live?

MARC: I think that’s a global paranoia.  I think when we went over there, we didn’t find those weapons.

Marc, you just said "nukes" were the elephant in the room, then you called them "paranoia."  Which is it?

So just because we haven't found them in Iraq, do we ignore them elsewhere, like in Iran?  Is it a "false alarm" to be concerned about countries like Iran with deep terrorist ties transferring those weapons to be used against us, or is it a legitimate concern?  You're confusing me, Marc!

Predictably, Siegel's book is earning plaudits from such great nonpartisan pre-Sept. 11 thinkers as Bob Kerrey, Bill Press and David Corn.  (I couldn't find a noteworthy Republican in the bunch.)

Kerrey calls it "a terrific and groundbreaking book," while Corn calls it "masterful and provocative."  (Anything that bashes life-saving pharmaceutical companies is OK by him!)  While Press says, "Relax and put away your duct tape," precisely the kind of thing that explains his status as a former co-host of Crossfire.

Look, Siegel has a point, but only to a point.  If we're going to worry about things, we should probably prioritize between the trivial and the serious.  But if his interview last night was any indication, his book sounds more like part of the left's ongoing campaign to hit the "snooze button" on terrorism than an honest attempt to delineate among the relative risk of things.

Did I mention that Marc Siegel is a medical doctor and not a politician or policymaker?  But at least he has given me a book idea: "The Doctor's Definitive Guide to Open-Heart Surgery."

UPDATE: I conceded at the outset that I hadn't yet read the book, but I thought in fairness that I'd share this brief email I got from Dr. Siegel today.  Maybe he was just trying to speak Jon Stewart's language?:

Try reading it.

It is neither left or right.

I am not minimizing terrorism, what I am doing is pointing out that it often – deliberately – scares beyond the actual damage.

Let me know what you think after you read it.

September 06, 2005

Celebs to the Rescue

Malbug_13

Oprahno Like most people, I'm probably a bit torn about the massive influx of celebrities into the hurricane-hit Gulf States.

On one hand, it brings needed attention and the attendant financial contributions to an unimaginable tragedy.

But on the other hand, I can't help but wonder how many resources, human or otherwise, are drained away so that these stars can get their positive PR bump?  How many state troopers or police have to provide security or escort the A-listers?  How much badly needed gasoline and bottled water do their convoys guzzle up?

Entertainment Tonight has been all celeb-response, all the time.  Tonight they trailed around with Oprah, fresh back from hiatus to lend the disaster her imprimatur.  (I will not post the embarrassing video of a sequined Richard Simmons blubbering and shaking like a leaf, however.  It is too embarrassing and demeaning to us all.)

ET did a good job of steering clear of the political blame game.  Which is probably a good thing, because the edition of 48 Hours that aired immediately afterward on CBS made it clear that there is plenty of blame to go around on all sides.

[Watch video – 4.4mb, WMV format]

September 05, 2005

The International Community Lends a Hand

Malbug_13

How to spin good news if you're a Bush-hater:

• He waited almost a whole week to say "yes."  He should have accepted the aid at the moment it was offered, even if it meant accepting things we already have and depriving live-saving assistance to other areas of the world.

• This is all a Halliburton conspiracy allowing Bush to pass off responsibility for his failure to someone else.

• This is more evidence of America's inherent incompetence.

• For some vague reason, Impeach Now!

I have not made a recent journey into the fever swamps of the liberal blogs.  I'm certain I am missing something much better.



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