Monthly Archives: November 2009

Steven Tyler: Solo

DAVE TOMAR: I differ with Akie on the capacity of a guy like Tyler to reinvent himself. After 40 years as the face of a band suspended in the sexual maturity of a junior high locker room, the idea of Tyler doing anything else can be nothing less than a parody of himself. Evidence suggests that Tyler is probably not going solo, that he is in fact retiring. Continue reading

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Sesame Street at 40

JILLIAN LOVEJOY LOWERY: Growing up, we were a household that didn’t have cable, and my television intake was pretty heavily PBS programming. At the time I was jealous of my friends with Nickelodeon who could watch things like Pinwheel, but in retrospect, I am far better off for having focused on the piece de resistance of children’s programming, Sesame Street.

JESSICA BADER: It’s hard to describe exactly the impact that Sesame Street had on my childhood. I could point out some of the elements that are among everyone’s favorites – Rubber Duckie, each show being brought to you by this letter or that number, that classic theme song. I could go for the bits and pieces that are among my personal favorites – Monsterpiece Theater (hosted by “Alistair Cookie”!), the Christmas Eve on Sesame Street special (“Feliz Navidad” was always a festive singalong in my Jewish household), the beloved Big Bird’s Day on the Farm book. I could talk about how the overall message of the show reinforced the importance of learning and asking questions and being kind to others. In any event, the celebration of Sesame Street’s 40th anniversary has me looking back at the show that I grew up with and revisiting a fantastic book about it that was published last year.
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Public Transit Perspectives: London, Boston, New York

AKIE BERMISS: I have a simple perspective when it comes to public transportation: New York City does it best. Hands-down, no quibbling, end of story. To a certain extent, we invented functional mass transit. We made it work on a municipal level in a way that no other city has been able to even come close to replicating. There is no competition. We own it.

EMILY SAIDEL: I’ve experienced a number of public transit systems: Philadelphia for four years, Chicago for four years, New York for almost four, not to mention travel forays in Boston, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. The system I’ve been most impressed with? London.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Don’t get me wrong, I love Boston. It’s like my second, not-as-good home away from home. There’s great history there, and lots of character, and the letter “R” is pronounced “AH” by natives, who like nothing more than to glare at you from under their Red Sox caps. What’s not to like? Oh, right. The cold. And the high cost of living. And all those college students. And the godforsaken T.

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Mike Huckabee: Frontrunner?

HOWARD MEGDAL: If the Republicans were most concerned with who would be the best fit for the 2012 nomination, Mike Huckabee, the talented politician, would be a good choice. However, the reality on the ground is that Huckabee hasn’t made peace with the Grover Norquist Wing of the party, and his PAC fund, just like his 2008 campaign, shows he won’t be able to raise the funds to compete properly.

CHRIS PUMMER: When push comes to shove, if Huckabee looks like he can be a winner, the money will get behind him. John McCain was loathed by Nordquist and company going into last year’s primary season. But after the Maverick clinched the GOP nomination, it didn’t stop Nordquist from embracing him. Continue reading

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House Health Care Vote: Bart Stupak/John Adler

JESSICA BADER: For those of us who believe in both universal healthcare and a woman’s right to choose, the passage of the Affordable Health Care for America Act brought on a case of emotional whiplash, as an amendment passed in the hours leading up to the final vote threatens to place further restrictions on access to abortion. The Stupak-Pitts Amendment would prohibit anyone receiving affordability credits (subsidies to help those with incomes between 150% and 400% of the poverty line pay their insurance premiums) from purchasing an insurance plan that, like most insurance plans currently sold, covers abortion (with the standard exceptions for rape, incest, and danger to the woman’s life). This amendment goes beyond current law and is significantly more restrictive than the Capps Amendment that was considered in an earlier version of the bill (where federal funds could not be used to pay for abortions but a woman could purchase an insurance plan that covered abortion with her own money, with a mechanism in place to segregate the federal and private funds).

HOWARD MEGDAL: Jessica makes some great points on the Stupak bill, but I want to discuss the serious political miscalculation John Adler (D-NJ) made by voting against the bill itself. Continue reading

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Chone Figgins: Good Free Agent Bet?

CHRIS PUMMER: Teams in need of a third baseman with payroll room should be more than willing to take a chance on Figgins at his rumored asking price.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I think the argument is pretty simple: Chone Figgins has a career OPS+ of 99, and is entering his age-32 season, making it likely that it will go down over the life of a contract that covers, say, his age 32-36 seasons. But at current level even, Figgins simply isn’t worth a 5 year/$50 million, no matter what position he plays.

HOWARD MEGDAL: fdsafdsa fdsafdsafsd. Continue reading

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Sexual Harassment Training

JILLIAN LOVEJOY LOWERY: For whatever reason, I’ve been made to endure a fair amount of sexual harassment in my lifetime. And I could’ve boo-hooed about it, or contacted human resources, or told my mom, or something. But I didn’t, because, if not for all of this sexual harassment, I wouldn’t have nearly as many funny stories to share. Besides, it’s probably my own fault anyway, because I kind of look like I’d put out (or so they tell me).

TED BERG: Look: Sexual harassment in the workplace is probably a pretty terrible thing, and it’s not something I’m aiming to excuse.

But sexual harassment training in the workplace is a hilarious and unintentionally awesome thing, not to mention a counterproductive one.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Nothing in any of my workplaces has ever made me feel as uncomfortable as sexual harassment training. I think I might sue it for damages. Continue reading

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Oliver Perez vs. Derek Lowe: 2010 and Beyond

CHRIS PUMMER: If Lowe can either regain the feel for his slider, or adjust for not being able to throw it as often, he should be an effective pitcher again in 2010. He’ll still have to keep fighting off age to keep his contract from being a disaster for the Braves. But that he threw almost 200 healthy innings in 2009, while Perez must return from an injury, makes him a better bet to approximate the value of his contract.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Well, Chris and I don’t disagree much about the numbers- Lowe’s down across the board, and turning 37. Whether that is a reason for optimism or not is another story. I think it represents the likelihood that Lowe, fresh off of an 88 ERA+, is likely to be around that or below it for the remainder of his three years and $45 million.

That sets a bar Oliver Perez is likely to clear with room to spare over the final two years of his contract- at half the price of Derek Lowe- $24 million. Continue reading

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Palin on Oprah

AKIE BERMISS: Let me cut right to the pith of things: I was impressed. I feel sort of weird admitting it and I think its weird for me to HAVE to say it, but my first reaction as this interview is drawing to a close is: that wasn’t bad. And that’s saying something. Pretty much anytime I see Sarah Palin on television, I expect to have a grand ol’ time guffawing my way through it (and taking copious mental notes to guffaw with friends later). This interview was actually pretty informative, sensitive, and — dare I say? — interesting. I’ve always had respect for Oprah as an interviewer (she sure puts Tavis Smiley to shame) and this only increased my appreciation for her as a television personality. And MOST of this interview’s success is because of her.

While I agree with Akie on just how awful this makes the McCain campaign look- imagine if Palin had given this interview instead of the ones she did- Palin certainly didn’t impress me. She was able to handle a softball interview. Congratulations. That doesn’t mean much, does it? I can hit a softball. It doesn’t mean I should play in the major leagues. Continue reading

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SNL: January Jones/Black Eyed Peas

STEVE MURPHY: A lukewarm way to start the show. Joe Biden doesn’t have the level of public exposure these days that I think was needed to pull this one off. Plus… I mean the jokes really weren’t the kind a person laughs at.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I am all for topical humor, but is the idea that Joe Biden says what’s on his mind particularly topical? Continue reading

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