Thursday, June 03, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: The Goal, As Always, Is to Offend Stupid People.

Today's Spiritual Edification Tomorrow, George W. Bush will visit Pope John Paul II in Rome, precisely 60 years after the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Bush is apparently hoping to pick up some Catholic votes this fall, but Norman Birnbaum writes in Salon that it won't be so easy: the Vatican press has been reporting for weeks that the pope is going to rebuke Bush for the war in Iraq. "The encounter between the finely educated pope and an unread American president could be an hour of religious instruction. If he manages to listen, our president may come away with a somewhat deepened appreciation of something his own Protestant tradition warns against -- the sin of pride. The White House has no hesitation about lying about its domestic adversaries and insulting or snubbing its constructive critics. The president's political host in Rome, Berlusconi, is a clown. In the pope, however, he is meeting a giant. One hopes against experience he can make the distinction."

That Didn't Take Long Dennis Miller has fucked up a late night network talk show, a gig on Monday Night Football (the highest rated show on Mondays!), and an HBO talk show. Last year, he vanquished what was left of his dignity and became a right wing shill in the vain hope that somehow the popularity of stupid political views would rub off on him. As we predicted here on the Monster Limo Weblog, it hasn't: behold the ratings for every single cable news show during the month of May. Look upon his works and despair. Miller has the lowest-rated cable news show in primetime, with an astonishingly meager 132,000 households on average, and only an average of 66,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic. This represents a 30-40 percent decline from his April numbers, which were already bad. Truly, moments like this are why the Germans coined the term schadenfreude.

Lawyering Up: A Classic Sign of Desperation After months of absence from the headlines, Plamegate is suddenly back in the news on the heels of the revelation that George W. Bush has consulted a criminal defense attorney about representing him in case he's called to testify before the grand jury investigating the leak. Does this mean the president is a target of the investigation? No, of course not silly: It just means he's "cooperating fully" with the probe, according to Scott McClellan. Because most people like to signal their willingness to cooperate with authorities by retaining a criminal defense lawyer.

The NY Times Follies In 1996, Men's Recovery Project sneered thusly at lefties who criticized the New York Times for being the tool of the establishment: "You're never going to change my fucking mind/I read the New York Times." For years, I agreed with McPheeters and Co., until the string of disasters that began last year with Jayson Blair and continued through Rick Bragg and Judith Miller. This week, the New Yorker turns up a new disgrace: Patrick Tyler, who was in charge of the paper's Iraq war coverage, hired Ahmad Chalabi's niece to work in the paper's Kuwaiti bureau two months before the invasion began. During that time, Sarah Khalil (who was fired in 2003) helped Ahmad Chalabi and a convoy of Iraqi National Congress officials cross the border from Kuwait (in fact, she was driving the lead SUV herself). Tyler explains himself thusly: Chalabi "wasn't a factor in the war" when Khalil was hired (in January of 2003). Really. Hey, I don't mean to be rude, but I don't think they need to add new shelving at the Times for all the Pulitzers they're going to win in the future.

George W. Bush: Menshevik Yesterday, The Sikh Geek discussed the brainless column by Slate's Timothy Noah in which he smeared John Kerry as a "Stalinist" because Kerry's campaign slogan is similar to a phrase used by one-time Communist poet Langston Hughes. As this article shows, Bush's campaign slogan - "Yes, America Can!" - is similar to the famous slogan of legendary United Farm Workers leader Julio Cesar Chavez: "Si, se puede!" (Yes, we can!) By Noah's own logic, then, the 2004 US presidential election is a battle between a Stalinist and a Social Democrat. See, this is why people don't trust the media: They're demonstrably dumber than the rest of us.

-Consider Arms