Archive of Articles in the "Name-dropping" Category

Friday Talking Points -- Hannibal Lecter Makes A Campaign Appearance

[ Posted Friday, May 17th, 2024 – 18:17 UTC ]

Presidential debate announcements, Michael Cohen testifying, and The Jerry Springer Show breaking out in a House committee -- it's been an eventful political week all around, folks!

But we have to begin today with a very sobering piece of data, just to put everything in some perspective. We (rather obviously) personally live and breathe the political scene, and it is a fair assumption that anyone who regularly reads this column all the way to the end (a weekly marathon, 'tis true...) is also pretty plugged in to the follies of the everyday political landscape as well. We all pay attention, in other words. Not just to the large and meaningful events, but also to the small and amusing. But it cannot be repeated enough: this is not exactly normal. Most Americans just don't pay all that much attention to politics. Like, at all.

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Friday Talking Points -- Old Man Misinformates

[ Posted Friday, March 29th, 2024 – 17:58 UTC ]

From the "stop me if you've heard this one" file, we suppose: An old man is running for president who is saying increasingly bizarre things... except that you might not know about it because the mainstream media only goes into a frenzy of breathless reporting when his opponent misspeaks.

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Springtime Is Near For New Jersey Politics

[ Posted Tuesday, March 26th, 2024 – 15:56 UTC ]

In much the same way that odious manure previously spread over the ground can give rise to the sweetest-smelling flowers in the spring, New Jersey politics seem to be going through a period of rebirth or re-emergence into the light of a new spring day (perhaps appropriate for "The Garden State," no?). The sleazy scandal which has (so far) successfully brought down Senator Robert Menendez -- complete with 24-karat gold bars seized by the feds -- has tangentially morphed into an attack on the state's "machine politics," and it could all wind up with major reforms in the way local political leaders currently hand-pick their favorite candidates. This is long overdue and although it comes from an unexpected direction (a major scandal not directly related to the reform itself), it should be welcome news for voters in New Jersey -- and anyone else who supports the concept of fairness in politics.

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Biden Knocks It Out Of The Park

[ Posted Friday, March 8th, 2024 – 17:48 UTC ]

President Joe Biden gave his third "State Of The Union" speech last night to a joint session of Congress, and he more than exceeded expectations, in multiple ways. Ol' Joe had a very good night, to put it another way.

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The Birth Of The Modern World

[ Posted Wednesday, January 24th, 2024 – 15:48 UTC ]

Few people will actually celebrate it, but today is the 40th birthday of the modern world. Because on this day, back in 1984, Apple Computers began selling the first Macintosh model. And thus 1984 was not like Nineteen Eighty-Four.

That's what the ad promised, at any rate. The television ad that introduced the Mac only ran nationally once (during the Super Bowl, no less), but it's still one of the most memorable ads of all time (which it should be, seeing as how it was directed by none other than Ridley Scott). This all seems entirely appropriate for the revolutionary product it was promoting. In the timeline of technological advancement in average people's lives, there was "before Mac," and then there was "after Mac" -- which is the world we all live in today. And it all started forty years ago.

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My 2023 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 2]

[ Posted Friday, December 29th, 2023 – 19:20 UTC ]

Welcome back to the second of our year-end awards columns! And if you missed it last Friday, go check out [Part 1] as well.

As always, we must begin with a warning for all readers. It's long. Really, really long. Horrendously long. Insanely long. It takes a lot of stamina to read all the way to the end. You have been duly warned! But because it is so long, we certainly don't want to add any more here at the start, so let's just dive in, shall we?

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Farewell And Godspeed, Mr. Roadshow

[ Posted Tuesday, December 19th, 2023 – 15:19 UTC ]

I realize that it is the height of the holiday season and I should be either writing about politics or attempting to dispense my own particular brand of holiday cheer, but instead today I am personally moved to write an obituary for a well-loved newspaper columnist. Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer the week before Christmas -- which is why I am warning everyone here up front (in case you'd prefer to skip today's article and instead seek out something more cheerful).

I am not alone today -- far from it -- in mourning the news of the passing of Gary Richards. For those of you who don't now or have never lived in or around Silicon Valley, he was a feature writer for the San Jose Mercury News. But few called him by his given name, because for over three decades he was much more well-known by the title of his column series: Mr. Roadshow. His beat was traffic. And the roads. And drivers. And all things transportation, really.

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And Then There Were 13... Or 10? Or Maybe 9?

[ Posted Tuesday, August 29th, 2023 – 16:26 UTC ]

Way back in 2015, late-night television's Stephen Colbert had a ritual bit he'd run every time a presidential candidate dropped out of the race. Using the impressive ceiling in his studio, he projected an image of the also-ran candidate à la how the deaths of each "tribute" in The Hunger Games were announced. He called it the "Hungry For Power Games." Of course, earlier this year, late-night television was the first to go dark when the Hollywood writers went on strike, so we can't expect this sort of thing in the current campaign until they are all back at work (and being paid better). Which is a shame, because the Republican presidential field is already beginning to narrow. Today, the mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, became the first to officially drop out of the race.

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The First Republican Presidential Debate

[ Posted Wednesday, August 23rd, 2023 – 22:01 UTC ]

Overall, tonight's first Republican debate was pretty entertaining, at least to me. These days, the entertainment value of a debate is a lot more important than scoring any kind of ideological points, so I'm using the same scale everyone else will.

There wasn't a whole lot of actual debate about differences in ideology... some, but not a lot. It was instead more of a series of one-on-one shouting matches between two of the candidates. More on those in a moment.

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Friday Talking Points -- Programs! Getcher Programs Here!

[ Posted Friday, July 21st, 2023 – 17:49 UTC ]

We do try to resist the urge (we really do!), but this week it was impossible to focus on just about anything else in politics other than the tsunami of bad legal news for Donald Trump. Remember how Trump dominated each and every news cycle for over four years? Those days are back, sadly enough, and will likely continue (at some degree of intensity or another) for the foreseeable future. He is the quintessential car wreck towards which we all must dutifully rubberneck, so here we go....

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