Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mitt Romney flip-flops again

Looks like Mitt Romney's health care stance is back to where it was when he was serving as governor of Massachusetts.

The Washington Post reports on Romney's remarks at a fundraiser:
When our health care costs are completely out of control. Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the GDP in Israel? 8 percent. You spend 8 percent of GDP on health care. And you’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our GDP on health care. 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, let me compare that with the size of our military. Our military budget is 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of GDP. We have to find ways, not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to finally manage our health care costs.
The problem with this?  Take a look at how the Israeli health care system is funded:
How it has gotten there, however, may not be to the Republican candidate’s liking: Israel regulates its health care system aggressively, requiring all residents to carry insurance and capping revenue for various parts of the country’s health care system.

Israel created a national health care system in 1995, largely funded through payroll and general tax revenue. The government provides all citizens with health insurance: They get to pick from one of four competing, nonprofit plans. Those insurance plans have to accept all customers—including people with pre-existing conditions—and provide residents with a broad set of government-mandated benefits.
This won't play well with the Republican masses who are against the health care system as mandated by Obamacare.

United States policy goes against Jewish and Israeli beliefs?

This is confusing.  I've been raised on the belief that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.  So have Israelis.

The Obama administration would beg to differ with that.
The spokesman, Josh Earnest, said that the presumptive Republican presidential candidate’s declaration that Jerusalem is “the capital of Israel” contradicts the policy of previous Republican and Deomcratic administrations. He said Romney could further explain the comments, according to The Jerusalem Post.

"Well, our view is that that’s a different position than this administration holds,” Earnest said in a news briefing Tuesday, according to the Post. “It’s the view of this administration that the capital is something that should be determined in final status negotiations between the parties."
Mr. President, having your administration make comments like these do yourself no favors with your Jewish supporters or potential Jewish supporters.  If someone says that New York City is the capital of the United States, how would that make you feel?

The press briefing is not yet on the White House website.

Visit JTA for more.

NBC's Men's Gymnastics coverage was horrible

I'm going into each day of programming by staying away from news and sports media websites.  I'm staying away from social media sites like Twitter, which really break sports news faster than Facebook does.

But what NBC did last night with their coverage of the men's gymnastics team finals was just mind-baffling.  How do you only air 3 of the 6 rotations in men's gymnastics when it came to the American team?  Americans are tuning into NBC primetime in record numbers even though it's airing in a tape delay.  Why?  Because we don't have the hours to sit at a computer during the daytime when we can watch it on TV.

I reached out to NBC Sports and we shall see if they respond to comment on this question.

With the American women's team competing in team finals tonight, there is no doubt in my mind that all four rotations will be aired.  More people tune in for the women's gymnastics coverage.

Look at the ratings from this summer's United States Olympic Trials:
In complete overnight ratings for Friday primetime, NBC's swimming drew a 4.0 overnight -- up 54% from 2008 -- followed by NBC's gymnastics trials drawing a 5.3 overnight -- up 47% from 2008 and the highest gymnastics overnight since 2000.
Meanwhile, the Sunday broadcast:
The two-hour gymnastics broadcast, averaging a 3.2 adults rating, followed track and field (1.4 adults rating) and swimming (2.1 adults rating) for a 2.5 showing among the demo for the night. NBC also averaged a dominant 8.3 million viewers.
If you want to know ratings coverage from the men's competition, good luck finding it.  The Saturday portion of the trials aired in the afternoon as opposed to airing in primetime.

The first week of the Summer Olympics is dedicated to swimming and women's gymnastics.  All you have to do is look at the primetime ratings.

Saturday night's ratings had more to do with the showdown between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, which almost never happened, than it did to do with the men's gymnastics qualifying.
The 15.8/29 national rating and share for the first night of competition was 14% higher than Beijing (13.9/27, which featured live coverage of Phelps’ first of his eight gold medals) and 34% Higher than Athens — the last European Olympics.
This is what happened on Sunday, thanks to swimming, women's gymnastics, and synchronized springboard diving.
NBC averaged 35.45 million viewers and a 19.5 rating/32 share in households for the night, up from 27.4 million for the primetime portion of Saturday's Olympics coverage.
Of course, most of those numbers are daylong numbers as opposed to the primetime hours.

Monday, July 30, 2012

CBS' Les Moonves defends NBC decision

CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves defended NBC's decision to delay events to air in primetime here in the states.  According to Broadcasting and Cable:
"They had no alternative to do that. What are they going to do in primetime? They would have had to show events at 5 o'clock in the morning," Moonves told B&C. "They don't happen that way. If you don't want to know the result, don't go online. If you want to know the result, go online. But I don't know what people expected of them and I think they're doing a very good job of balancing it. I really do."

Moonves also said that if the Olympics aired on CBS, he would most likely employ the same tape-delay strategy to preserve the primetime viewership.

"I'm sure it took a lot of thought went into it, but I think almost definitely we would have done the same thing," he said. "I think they're handling it very well, I really do, I think they're doing a good job.
There you have it.  CBS would have done the exact same thing as NBC is doing.

I understand the argument about airing some of the events that receive large viewership live in the afternoon but at the same time, if it is aired in the afternoon, it would not get the same ratings that it would be receiving during the primetime broadcast.

Not everybody is capable of livestreaming while at work.

Could Louisville host the 2016 USA Swimming Olympic Trials?

Louisville is one of 16 cities that is looking to place a bid to host the USA Swimming Olympic Trials in 2016.

Executive director Chuck Wielgus said Sunday that while the organization is extremely pleased with the job Omaha has done hosting the event in both 2008 and again this year, there's a feeling among athletes and coaches that it should move around the country.

USA Swimming has already met with officials from 16 cities, including Jacksonville, Fla.; Greensboro, N.C.; and Louisville, Ky. They were encouraged to attend this year's meet, which begins Monday, to get an idea of the expectations for a host city.[...]

Formal bids will be taken in the fall, and Wielgus encouraged Omaha to make another bid. The winning city is expected to be announced next May.

It will be interesting to see what happens between now and next May.  If Louisville does get the bid, would they build a natotorium or use the Ralph Wright Natatorium at the University of Louisville?  The one at U of L does not even have enough seats to host a national meet so my guess would be that a place would have to be built or a temporary pool is built somewhere.

The USA Women's Gymnastics Team is Deep

Make no mistake that the 2012 Women's Gymnastics team that is representing the United States this year in London is a deep squad.  You can look no further than the fact that three of the five gymnasts were in the top 4 gymnasts overall during Sunday's qualification round.

The best 24 gymnasts in the world will not compete but that's because of the rules.  Of the overall top 24 on Sunday, only 4 of them will not be competing in Thursday's all-around.  That's the sad reality of the gymnastics rules.  But the rules are rules and only two Americans are able to compete Thursday in the individual all-around competition.

Straight from London 2012 website:
The Olympic Artistic Gymnastics competition has four phases: qualification, Team final, Individual All-Around final and individual apparatus finals

All gymnasts compete in the qualifications. The best eight teams then go through to the Team final, where three team members compete on each apparatus. Teams are ranked on their total score
The best 24 individual gymnasts (maximum two from each country) go through to the Individual All-Around final, where gymnasts compete on all apparatus. The best eight gymnasts on each apparatus (maximum two from each country) go through to the individual apparatus finals.
Because of the rules, Jordyn Wieber, the reigning all-around champion, did not qualify for the the individual all-around competition even though her score of 60.032 placed in her the top 4 overall on Sunday.

Aly Raisman was the best American gymnast last night, mainly due to her performance on the floor exercise, and you could not deny that fact.  She was second overall with a total score of 60.391.

Gabby Douglas was the second best with a score of 60.265.  Had she not gone out of bounds during the floor routine, she would have likely have finished in first overall on Sunday night.

In addition to Aly and Gabby, Team USA will have two others competing individually in the event finals.

Individual event finals
Vault: McKayla Maroney
Uneven bars: Gabby Douglas
Balance beam: Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman
Floor exercise: Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber

You can read some of the team's quotes over at the USA Gymnastics page.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Book Review: We Can All Do Better by Senator Bill Bradley

Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Vanguard Press; 1 edition (May 8, 2012)

The following comes from the publisher's website:
In We Can All Do Better, for the first time since the financial meltdown and since the worst of the intensifying political gridlock, Bradley offers his own concise, powerful, and highly personal review of the state of the nation. Bradley argues that government is not the problem. He criticizes the role of money and politics, explains how continuing on our existing foreign policy, electoral, and economic paths will mean a diminished future, and lays out exactly what needs to be done to reverse course.

Breaking from the intransigent long-held viewpoints of both political parties, and with careful attention to our nation's history, Bradley passionately lays out his narrative. He offers a no-holds-barred prescription on subjects including job creation, deficit reduction, education, and immigration. While equally critical of the approaches of the Tea Party and Occupy Movements, he champions the power of individual Americans to organize, speak out, bridge divisions, and he calls on the media to assume a more responsible role in our national life.

As this moving call to arms reminds us, we can all—elected officials, private citizens, presidents—do a better job of moving our country forward. Bradley is perhaps the best guide imaginable, with his firsthand knowledge of governments' inner-workings, the country’s diversity, and the untapped potential of the American people.
Former senator Bill Bradley did a tremendous job with this book.  Washington would be doing a good job just by listening to even a little bit of what he has to say.

Without mentioning the names, Bradley calls out those Republicans who refuse to raise taxes on the wealthy by calling them "job creators," when in fact the real job creators are in the middle class.

Bradley's book is definitely one to read this political season.  At a time when things are so divided in Washington, Bradley provides answers to problems.  They may not be the answers that you want but there are some reasonable solutions at a time when the United States is losing more ground to powers like China.

The Hall of Famer even shares an anecdote from the time that he shared pointers with the granddaughter of the late Sen. Jesse Helms.  He didn't quite look at Helms the same way after that despite the fact that they disagreed so much politically.

While reading this book, remember that America can do better if it listens to the right people...such as the former New Jersey senator.

The Primetime NBC Tape-Delay

I've been avoiding Twitter as much as I can during the daytime.  Sure, I'm tweeting but only from my main profile page.

Due to guys like Pat Forde ruining the Olympic experience for many that want to watch the games with the drama and suspense that goes with it, I cannot check Twitter during most of the day.  Believe me, I tried but it's impossible.

Yes, I know that NBC is allowing for the live streaming of just about everything this time around.  Come 2016 when the games are in Rio, there will be no need for a primetime tape delay as Rio is one hour ahead of those of us in Eastern Time.

On weekends, NBC could easily have aired the swimming semifinals and finals live but they didn't.  They know that had they aired it live, their evening ratings would be horrendous.  That's what it comes down to for them.  The ratings.  Large ratings means that the advertisers are satisfied at who is viewing their ads.

NBC saw an Opening Ceremony record set on Friday night mainly because they did not allow for any live streaming of the opening night.  I don't blame them one bit.  Nobody will sit at their computer for that long of a time.  But for the swimming and gymnastics--mainly the swimming--they will.

Now NBC has it wrong while ESPN has it right.  With ESPN3, if your internet/cable is provided by certain providers, you automatically have the access to ESPN3 without having to log in with your cable username and password.  NBC?  Not so much.  You HAVE to know your cable information.  If you don't, you are shit out of luck.  To those that don't have cable, talk to your parents and maybe you can get their information.

I like many members of the NBC Sports team but part of me thinks that the IOC royally screwed up by not giving the games to ESPN when they made a bid for them.  ESPN has the bandwidth to handle the extra capacity.  NBC Sports?  Not so much.  Moments ago, we tried to watch some of the swimming via Live Extra.  The browser froze almost immediately after loading and this is on a new computer, no less.

Come 2016, there won't be any bitching and moaning about not airing swimming or gymnastics live because it will be airing practically in real time.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Saints owner wants to purchase New Orleans Times-Picayune

This is a classy move on Tom Benson's part.

The owner of the New Orleans Saints wants to preserve the daily reading of the newspaper at the breakfast table.  This is the ritual of many in the morning.  You get up, eat breakfast, and read the paper.  It cannot get better than that.

If the current ownership of the TP is smart, they will sell the New Orleans Times-Picayune to someone that gives a rat's ass about the city.  Not everybody wants to read their news online, even in this age of digital media.

Look at the Olympic Games in London this week.  I don't want to read the names of the winners online.  I'm not even going to live stream the games.  What is being televised in primetime should not be spoiled for those of us who follow sportswriters and NBC folks on Twitter.  Do you think I want to read the winners at 2 in the afternoon?  It takes the fun out of watching the games at night if I already know who won.

This is one of the few times that I agree with Sen. David Vitter, a Republican.  I wrote an article on Anthony Davis and the Hornets a while back.  Just trying to find out who were the beat writers and sports columnists were a pain in the tuchas!

If Advance.net head Steven Newhouse thinks that a print publication schedule of 3 days a week is right, he should resign or sell the paper.  Three days a week is not the right business model for a daily newspaper.  It never has been!

Look at what Gannett has done to The Courier-Journal in Louisville.  It's been thinned out in several years to the point that there is no local TV/Radio critic, no Film critic, and in recent weeks, two sports columnists and a recruiting writer have departed for online websites.

Entertainment coverage has gotten so bad that I get my TV and Film news elsewhere.  I stopped reading the Features section because the Buzz column is all tabloid gossip now.  There's nothing even worth reading.

Something in the paper three days after the fact is already old news.  That's how much time I have saved in reading the CJ.  If I read an article the day before online, why would I even bother reading it in the paper the next day?  If that's the case, just stop printing altogether and the citizens will run you out of town!

USA Swimming: Call Me Maybe

How else do you get ready for the Olympics this weekend? American swimmers have the answer!

The 2012 USA Olympic Swimming Team lip synchs to Call Me Maybe, the hit song recorded by Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen. The project was spearheaded by Alyssa Anderson, Kathleen Hersey and Caitlin Leverenz.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Racism?!? Are you serious?!?

Are we really surprised by the latest turn of events?

Despite all the public outrage at the IOC for ignoring calls for a moment of silence, The Times of Israel reports that the Palestinian Olympics chief Jibril Rajoub wrote the the following in a letter to International Olympic Committee head Jacques Rogge.  Read it carefully.
Sports are a bridge for love, communication and the spreading of peace between nations and should not be used for divisiveness and the spread of racism.
 This is the same person that urged the UEFA to not allow Israel to host an European Under-21 soccer championship in Israel in 2013.  If you asked for my opinion, that's a strong case of prejudice against Israel.  The Palestinians might argue that they want peace but acts like these show that, deep down, they don't want peace at all.

In August 2010, The Palestinan Authority gave an official military funeral to one of those who planned the Black September terrorist attack.  The funeral was attended by the PA president and prime minister.

Rajoub may charge that it is racism but he is wrong.  Dead wrong.  Holding a moment of silence is not racism.  Killing those unarmed innocent civilians at the Munich Games in 1972 was terrorism that was sponsored by Fatah.  These facts are all very well known.  They don't want a moment of silence because they know that, deep down, they are responsible for one of the worst acts of Anti-Semitism at a sporting event.

The IOC once again says no to a Moment of Silence

Once again, the IOC has said no to a moment of silence being held during Friday evening's Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.

Jim McKay said that day while broadcasting on ABC: "The longest and most terrible day in the history of the Olympic games."

Bob Costas has gone on record saying he will honor them.  I'm happy about that.  Will NBC support him?  I hope so.

Forty years ago in 1972, 11 Israeli athletes were killed by terrorists during the Summer Olympics in Munich.  Is a moment of silence really too much to ask for?  Does one moment of silence take a way from the Opening Ceremony?  No.

It's no different than all the sporting events that honored those who died on 9/11 with a moment of silence.  It's no different than a moment of silence for the victims killed in the Aurora shooting.

The IOC is acting like cowards in this example.  No matter how many big names are asking for a moment of silence, they refuse to budge from their stance.

Did the IOC budge when the widows of the Munich victims made an in-person request presented with a petition of 100,000 plus signatures?  According to the Forward, they did not.
Widows of two of the athletes presented a request in person for the minute of silence to IOC President Jacques Rogge on Wednesday. The request came along with a petition with over 100,000 signatures. Rogge once again denied the request.
“We are outraged by the denial of the request, which comes not only from us but from so many people around the world,” said Ankie Spitzer, one of the widows, in a statement. “Our husbands were murdered at the Olympics in Munich. To observe a minute of silence in their memory would let the world know where the IOC stands in the fight against terrorism.”
To the members of the International Olympic Committee, it is not too much to ask for.  All we want is a moment of silence.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

George Clooney for President?

A recent survey according to Entertainment Weekly says that George Clooney is the #1 celebrity fit to be president.  He led the pack with 35% of the vote.

Interesting.  It goes without saying that as a native Kentuckian, I would be inclined to vote for the son of Nick Clooney.

George is one of the actors in Hollywood most identified with fighting for human rights, especially for the people of Darfur.  Clooney has also identified lately with films with a political theme.  Good Night and Good LuckSyrianaThe Ides of March.

It's hard to predict what would happen if he actually did run for the highest office in the land.  This country is too divided and Republicans, mainly those in the Tea Party wing, are trying to drag it further to the right.

Then there is the Hollywood factor.  How would that play nationwide?  We already saw what happened with California under the Governator.

The same survey also saw 67% of men saying they were tired of hearing about Justin Bieber.  I didn't vote but count me in to that statistic if you are so inclined to do so.  Similarly, 62% were tired of hearing about Kim Kardashian.  That's probably the last time that name gets mentioned in this neck of the woods.

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Will the media stop showing the coward's face?

This has been a big failure in the media and it still keeps happening.

Every single time that the network news and cable news channels show the face of the COWARD, all it does is glorify and validate what they did.  Please stop.  It's not just rude but it's painful for the families of the victims.

I give Dick Vitale a lot of grief for never shutting up while I watch basketball games on ESPN but he's pretty smart on this one.  If only his bosses would pass on his opinions to the managing editors of the news networks.

Dick Vitale:
I am sick to my stomach opening the papers seeing all the PR & fame that redhead scumbag COWARD rec'd over his actions in Aurora.
Another tweet of Dick Vitale:
Keep his mug off TV- coward that killed those that had no defense.  Brings u to tears hearing families speak about their loved ones.
This is the right action to take.  Does the media have no respect?  These families have been through enough over the last few days.  I beg of you, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, PBS, and all the cable news networks to stop glorifying and validating the actions of that schmuck.

Political Commentary

I am going to get back in the habit of political commentating if and when my time permits.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Book Review: America, You Sexy Bitch by Michael Ian Black and Meghan McCain

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press (June 12, 2012)

Michael Ian Black and Meghan McCain teamed up in the summer of 2011 to go on a tour across the United States of America.  One is a Democratic comedian.  The other is the daughter of the 2008 Republican presidential nominee.  How in the hell would they get along together?

They did.  Sure, there were times while reading that you thought one of them would hurt the other.  But they didn't.  They survived their trek across the country and talked with your average American.

America, You Sexy Bitch: A Love Letter to Freedom is written in a journal mode, alternating with thoughts from each other.

Meghan McCain is not your typical Republican.  She's more of a moderate Republican and most definitely a social liberal.  She's no fan of Sarah Palin, either.

They started with biased expectations.  This evolved into what could be described as a genuine respect.

They were able to find common ground in talking about American politics.  Both already had a love of America going into the book project.

In meeting John McCain towards the end of their trip, his legislative director Joe Donoghue told them that he would tell his younger self not to go into politics for a career, calling Congress a place that is no longer as fun as it used to be.

This book is just one of many books to be released during the 2012 election season but this one will likely be one of the few written by a comedian and the daughter of a Senator.  It's by far the most entertaining book I have read this year that deals with politics.

I highly recommend the book.

Serious Gun Control Reform is Needed

During every shooting, there is a new call for serious reform for Gun Control and nothing ever happens.

Every time a politician asks us to keep victims in our thoughts and prayers, they never take any action to find a solution.

Enough is enough.  It is time for politicians in Washington, DC and state legislatures to get their heads out of the NRA's ass and see to it to that these deaths were not in vain.

I remember writing off to those in Washington in 2004, when the assault weapons ban was expiring, saying that it would be Congress who was ultimately responsible for making it easier to buy weapons.  I agree with former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell in that not passing the ban was an "act of cowardice by the Congress."  I'm with him 100 percent.  Assault weapons have no place in the home.  They are not the weapons that people should be using while they hunt.  Rendell's comments on MSNBC are below the jump.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review: They Eat Puppies, Don't They

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Twelve; First Edition edition (May 8, 2012)

In They Eat Puppies, Don't They? Christopher Buckley makes us laugh until our stomach hurts. That's what we come to expect from what Fortune calls "the quintessential political novelist of our time."

Nothing is left untouched.  Not the Dalai Lama, Chris Matthews, Defense contractors, lobbyists, activists, neocons, liberals, Civil War reenactors, and even Henry Kissinger!

Lobbyist "Bird McIntyre teams up with Angel Templeton to turn the American public against China so that they can gain approval for a weapons system.  When Bird fails to get this done, he spreads a rumor about China wanting to assassinate the Dalai Lama.  You can just imagine the laughs that start coming at this point.

These are very serious subjects to tackle but Buckley is at his best in doing so.  He makes it very easy to satirize.

You want to laugh?  You won't regret this book.

64th Annual Emmy Nominations for the 2011-12 TV Season

Here are the nominations for the 64th Annual Emmys, to be telecast Sept. 23 on ABC:

Best comedy
The Big Bang Theory
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Modern Family
30 Rock

Best drama
Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Mad Men

Lead actress in drama
Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law
Glenn Close, Damages
Claire Danes, Homeland
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Lead actor in a drama
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Michael C. Hall, Dexter

Best competition reality show
The Amazing Race
Dancing with the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
The Voice
Top Chef

Best comedy actress
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Best comedy actor
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louic C.K., Louie
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Best supporting actress, comedy
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Kathryn Joosten, Desperate Housewives
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live

Best supporting actor, comedy

Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Max Greenfield, The New Girl
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live

Best supporting actress, drama
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

Best supporting actor, drama
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad
Brendan Coyle, Downton Abbey
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Jared Harris, Mad Men 

Best miniseries or movie
Game Change
American Horror Story
Hatfield and McCoys
Hemingway and Gellhorn

Outstanding variety series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Real Time With Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live 

Outstanding animated program
American Dad
Bob’s Burgers
The Penguins Of Madagascar: The Return Of The Revenge Of Dr. Blowhole
The Simpsons

Outstanding non-competition reality program
Antiques Roadshow
Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution
Shark Tank
Undercover Boss
Who Do You Think You Are?

Outstanding reality show host
Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol
Betty White, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With The Stars
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance

Outstanding guest actress in a comedy
Dot-Marie Jones, Glee
Maya Rudolph, Saturday Night Live
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Elizabeth Banks, 30 Rock
Margaret Cho, 30 Rock
Kathy Bates, Two and a Half Men

Outstanding guest actor in a comedy
Michael J. Fox, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Greg Kinnear, Modern Family
Bobby Cannavale, Nurse Jackie
Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live
Will Arnett, 30 Rock
Jon Hamm, 30 Rock

Outstanding guest actress in a drama
Martha Plimpton, The Good Wife
Loretta Devine, Grey’s Anatomy
Jean Smart, Harry’s Law
Julia Ormond, Mad Men
Joan Cusack, Shameless
Uma Thurman, Smash

Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series
Mark Margolis, Breaking Bad
Dylan Baker, The Good Wife
Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
Dickie Bennett, Justified
Ben Feldman, Mad Men
Jason Ritter, Parenthood

Outstanding writing for a comedy
Chris McKenna, Community
Lena Dunham, Girls
Louis C.K., Louie
Amy Poehler, Parks And Recreation
Michael Schur, Parks and Recreation

Outstanding writing for a drama
Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey
Alex Gansa, Gideon Raff, Howard Gordon, Homeland
Semi Chellas, Matthew Weiner, Mad Men
Andre and Maria Jacquemetton, Mad Men
Erin Levy, Matthew Weiner, Mad Men

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Time Warner Cable does not carry the NFL Network

Insight customers have reason to be concerned and scared by the actions of Time Warner Cable.

When Insight was purchased a while ago, they had a carriage agreement with the NFL Network.  At the same time, Time Warner had agreements with the MLB Network and NBA TV.

Time Warner has since placed the MLB Network on the cable listings and will be adding NBA TV in the middle of August.  However, they have never been able to come to an agreement with the NFL Network.

When they announced schedules for 2012, the NFL announced a Thursday night package that will air exclusively on the NFL Network.  The Indianapolis Colts and the Cincinnati Bengals both have at least one game airing on the network during the regular season.  They have quite a few more preseason games on the network as well.  However, because Louisville or Lexington are not in the LOCAL AREA MARKET, these games will NOT BE CARRIED by a LOCAL CHANNEL.

The former Insight customers, now being served by Time Warner, are being held hostage.  The one thing that cable companies--most of them, anyway--have learned is that you don't mess around with sports fans.  But not Time Warner.  They are evil.

Here's this bit from Roger Goodell:
NFL Network still isn't available to all viewers, though. The league will work to make sure providers such as Cablevision and Time Warner Cable include it in their offerings to consumers.

"Every cable operator, other than the two, has seen that with their customers," Goodell said of NFL Network's popularity "We'll continue to work with them. We'll continue to try to get an agreement. The market has spoken. The NFL Network's here, and it's going to continue to grow."
There was optimism in 2011 that the NFL Network would be added but talks fell through.

 That's right, according to this article, Time Warner does not fucking care one bit about whether we want to watch the NFL Network.  There are 680,000 customers that, in all likelihood, will be considering switching to alternative cable carriers or even a satellite company like Dish or DirecTV.
Insight, whose footprint covers 680,000 customers in Kentucky and Ohio, will drop NFL Network from its lineup once TWC closes its deal.

The NFL Network is in 60 million homes.
TWC only wants to place the channel on a sports tier as opposed to ESPN, which is on basic cable in most cable systems.

Per Bleacher Report, the best bet for Insight customers is to switch to AT&T and pray that Time Warner Cable does not obtain a monopoly.  Unfortunately, the local papers really haven't discovered that Time Warner Cable is a PAIN IN THE TUCHAS!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Bring Woody Allen to Israel!

Why not? After all, he's made several films in London, and now Barcelona, Paris, and Rome.

Read Rob Eshman's editorial here.

You can visit Jewcer to help fund the $18 million project.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Book Review: Dream Team by Jack McCallum

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 10, 2012)

Longtime Sports Illustrated writer Jack McCallum was there at the very beginning of the Dream Team.  He was there for the team photo, which he appeared in alongside David Dupree of USA Today, which was taken right before the 1992 Gold Medal game against Croatia.

Magic Johnson.  Larry Bird.  Michael Jordan.  Charles Barkley.  Scottie Pippen.  David Robinson.  Patrick Ewing.  Clyde Drexler.  John Stockton.  Karl Malone.  Chris Mullin.  Christian Laettner.

A coaching staff led by Chuck Daly with Mike Krzyzewski, Lenny Wilkens, and P. J. Carlesimo serving as assistants.

As a team, they were enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.  Of the coaching staff, all but P. J. Carlesimo have been inducted as individuals.  Of players, only Christian Laettner has not been inducted as an individual and chances are, in all likelihood, he never will.

There's only one Dream Team.  I don't care what people say about the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles, the James/Wade/Bosh Miami Heat.  The Dream Team represented the United States of America as they played in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.

During the Olympics, they would demolish their competition, beating their opponents by 32-68 points.  As Charles Barkley once said: "I don't know anything about Angola but Angola's in trouble."

Michael Jordan almost said no to playing for Team USA as I've read in the book.  If Isiah Thomas was going to be offered a spot on the team, Michael would not play.  Others, too, said they would not play if Thomas was invited.

Laettner beat out Shaquille O'Neal for the collegiate spot.  Had it gone to Shaq, all 12 players would have been inducted to the Hall of Fame not only as a team but individually as well.

For those that need more after the Dream Team documentary that recently aired on NBA TV, this is the book for you.  It's the 20th anniversary of the Dream Team and this is the book that is a must-read for that occasion.

Magic Johnson and Larry Bird saved the NBA in the 1980s.  For them, this was their swan song, their farewell tour to professional basketball.  Michael Jordan, the new it guy in the NBA, was one of the leaders on the team as well.  As John Stockton put it so kindly, "everybody was a rock star."

McCallum takes us behind the scenes to the hotel at The Ambassador in Spain, where Team USA would stay in 1992.  He takes us to the intrasquad scrimmage in Monte Carlo, which pitted half the team against the other half, calling it "The Greatest Game No One Ever Saw."  This book provides the first real account of that game.

With no Dream Team, there would be no Dirk Nowitzki, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, etc.  It was the Dream Team that really expanded the NBA fan base into Europe and around the world.  Because of guys like Magic, Larry, Michael, and Charles, the Dream Team not only was able to conquer the world but, as the title suggests, they would change the game of basketball forever.

Jack McCallum tells a great story with in-depth interviews from the team and the folks behind USA Basketball in the late 1990s.

Grade: A+

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies
In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Independence Photos

G-d Bless the USA

G-d Bless the U.S.A
by Lee Greenwood

If tomorrow all the things were gone
I'd worked for all my life,
And I had to start again
with just my children and my wife,
I'd thank my lucky stars
to be living here today,
'Cause the flag still stands for freedom
and they can't take that away.

I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free,
And I won't forget the men who died
who gave that right to me,
And I gladly stand up next to you
and defend her still today,
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
G-d Bless the U.S.A.

From the lakes of Minnesota
to the hills of Tennessee,
Across the plains of Texas
from sea to shining sea.
From Detroit down to Houston
and New York to L.A.,
There's pride in every American heart
and it's time we stand and say:

I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free,
And I won't forget the men who died
who gave that right to me,
And I gladly stand up next to you
and defend her still today,
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
G-d Bless the U.S.A.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Book Review: Don't Mess with Travis by Bob Smiley

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (May 8, 2012)

I recently read Don't Mess with Travis by author Bob Smiley.  The book is an entertaining read for anyone with an interest in politics, no matter where in the political spectrum that they fall.

This is Smiley's debut novel and he has done a fine job creating characters that pay homage to the likes of Joe Biden, Barack Obama, George Soros, Glenn Beck, etc.  His novel tells the story of Ben Travis, a right-wing member of the Texas State Senate who becomes the Texas governor after both the governor and lieutenant governor die in a tragic car crash.

After Travis takes the oath is where all the fun takes place.  Smiley doesn't just lampoon the present state of American politics, he takes it to a whole new level as Gov. Travis calls for the state of Texas to secede from the Union.  This puts Travis at odds with President Michael Leary, who can only be described as "a golf-obsessed, progressive egomaniac with spotty leadership skills."

Leary is from Massachusetts so don't be blamed if all of a sudden you hear the voice of Denis Leary in your head!

While it is more likely that conservatives will enjoy this book more than liberals and moderates, that does not mean that liberals and moderates should not read it.  Don't hold the fact that Bob Smiley once worked as a research assistant for William Buckley, Jr. against him.

Stop what you are doing and click on the Amazon link right now!  Because, in all honesty, DON'T MESS WITH TRAVIS!