This week, not without controversy, the television industry held its "upfronts," the annual circlejerk of advertisers, TV executives and media that everyone talks about, even though it's rare that anything newsworthy happens. But what wasn't discussed this week is that television as we know it is dying, and here's why.
Hey, Obama press availability time: president-elect Barry Obama is "saddened" by the actions of evil criminal governor Rod Blagojevich, but it's an "ongoing investigation," so he won't comment on it. Where have we heard that line before? Oh, right—from the Bush administration, for eight years. Now Barry will just talk about how he met Al Gore, who speaks for the trees. He is actually talking about climate change, and no one is listening. We want to hear about Tony Rezko and Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett and how they're tied up in this mess! No questions! Well, one question: "I had no contact with the governor or his office, so I was not aware of what was happening." Poor Al Gore.
As anyone who watched The Wire knows, when the feds tape and tape and tape someone's phone calls, they're likely to hear them saying something stupid. And in the criminal complaint against Gov. Rod Blagojevich, arrested by FBI agents this morning for allegedly sellling the appointment of President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat, he says plenty of really stupid things. The Smoking Gun has an excerpt and it's loaded with straight-off-the-wire quotes, such as his frank assessment: a Senate appointment "is a fucking valuable thing, you just don't give it away for nothing."
You want your Chicago-style politics? They don't come much more Chicago-style than this: Democratic Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was just arrested, along with his chief of staff, by FBI agents. How many corrupt things can one Governor do before a new ethics law takes effect at the beginning of next year? Blagojevich was apparently trying to set some sort of record. And Rezko's involved! And Tribune Co! Let's start with Rod's charming decision to sell the Senate seat vacated by squeaky clean president-elect Barack Obama!
Retired Minnesota Congressman Jim Ramstad is rumored to be Barack Obama's new "Drug Czar." The "Drug Czar" is the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (the term "Drug Czar" was invented by Joe Biden!), and his or her job is to release crappy PSAs about marijuana. Here is the problem: Ramstad, a recovering alcoholic, not only opposed medical marijuana and supported prosecution of people who use medical marijuana, but he also consistently opposed funding life-saving needle exchange programs throughout his entire congressional tenure. All these policies are in opposition to crazy liberal things Barack Obama said, during the campaign, about how he'd be less terrible re. drug policy.
Our first black president might appoint our first openly gay cabinet member! Or, you know, maybe not. And the job is really one of the most toothless and sadly irrelevant in the cabinet. That's right: Secretary of Labor! As if there was even any of that "labor" stuff left, in this country. Anyways, please say hello to Mary Beth Maxwell.
People criticize President-Elect Hopey Hussein McGee for promising "change" and then appointing "people with experience in Washington." At his press conference today, he was asked about all the grizzled white dudes from Washington he keeps hiring to fix the economy. As he points out, new Economic Recovery Advisory Board head Paul Volcker hasn't been anywhere near Washington in years, and board staffer Austin Goolsbee has never been to Washington, ever. Then there is an implied joke about Austin's "fresh face" or something, which gets a chuckle from the crowd, thus fulfilling Obama's "one moment of levity per press conference" mandate. A new tone!
Rolling Stone just alternates Barack Obama and Britney Spears covers anyway, so its a testament to Jann Wenner's genius that he's discovered he no longer has to even change the coverline. Yes She Can! Save a shrinking music/lifestyle mag and expose her toned midriff without embarrassment! (What's next, the Obamas on the cover of Us Weekly? Hah, that'll be the day!) [Idoltaor]