U.S. Politics

Duck Dynasty is a Fake Yuppies-in-Red-Neck-Drag Con Job


See also:

25 Stylish Photos of the Duck Dynasty Cast Before and After the Beards

Ethics · News Reporters

Reporters Rank Very Low in Gallup Honesty/Ethics Poll, Slightly Ahead of Congress


Americans don’t trust reporters much more than they trust Congress.

Surprise surprise: people hate the media and their elected officials. That’s one of the key takeaways froma new Gallup poll on certain professions and how much people associate them with honesty and ethics. And reporters rank very low on the list, slightly above Congress and slightly below bankers.

Atop the list are people in the medical profession, doctors, and police officers, but the majority of jobs on the list have less than of respondents saying they’re honest or favorable.

In the single-digits: car salespeople (9 percent), members of Congress (8 percent), and lobbyists (6 percent). Gallup notes that nurses have topped the list every year (save for one) since 1999.

20 percent of respondents had a favorable view of TV reporters, while 21 percent said the same about newspaper reporters. It should be noted these numbers have been relatively constant in the history of the poll since 1998.

Another key revelation from the poll is that for the first time, less than 50 percent of people believe that the clergy is both honest and ethical.

You can read the full poll results here [PDF].

[photo via Shutterstock]


James Gandolfini

Tony Soprano character altered face of TV, paving way for antiheroes

Image: Michael C. Hall as Dexter on "Dexter," Bryan Cranston as Walter White on "Breaking Bad," and Jon Hamm as Don Draper on "Mad Men."
Michael C. Hall as Dexter on “Dexter,” Bryan Cranston as Walter White on “Breaking Bad,” and Jon Hamm as Don Draper on “Mad Men.”

It’s not politics, but I wanted to share this “spot-on” article about how “Tony Soprano” paved the way for other TV anti-heroes…

Today.com – Entertainment

When “The Sopranos” hit the small screen in 1999, there wasn’t a leading character on television to compare to troubled patriarch Tony Soprano. Sure, the big screen had long since made room for complex antiheroes. Heck, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Clint Eastwood crafted careers by bringing those types to life. But TV is different.

Viewers develop long-term relationships with the familiar faces on weekly dramas. Audiences were used to cheering for the good guys they knew and loved and waiting for the baddies to finally get what was coming to them. So why would they tune in to see a lead like Tony Soprano?

Because of an actor like James Gandolfini.

It would have been easy to play Tony bigger than life — he was a bigger than life character. He was equal parts tough guy, wise guy, ruthless killer and devoted father, flawed husband and struggling soul. That’s what made him a tough sell. But Gandolfini somehow balanced the exaggeration that was inherent to the world of a crime boss with the mundane, everyman existence behind it. Sure, he cracked open a few heads, but he also fed the ducks that called his pool home. He was quick on the trigger, but he was also a hit around the barbecue.

“The decent part of Tony, the part that stood in for the tragically wasted human potential Dr. Melfi kept trying to tease out and embrace, came from Gandolfini,” New York Magazine writer Matt Zoller Seitz wroteshortly after the actor’s death. “His humanity shone through Tony’s rotten façade. When people said they sensed good in Tony, it was Gandolfini they sensed.”

Gandolfini made Tony real. He made the unlikable, likable.

“I once asked (‘Sopranos’ creator) David Chase what did it (mean) to find Gandolfini, and he looked at me as though I was crazy,” GQ writer and author of “Difficult Men” Brett Martin told TODAY. “He said, ‘It meant everything.’ What he brought to that role, the depth and the humanity and the kind of soulfulness, as well as the ugliness and the anger. It changed television forever, really.”

Gandolfini’s appealing portrayal of a gritty, unappealing guy ushered in the era of the modern TV anti-hero. The bad guys, the morally ambiguous guys, the not-your-typical-leading-man guys — their time had finally come.

But not just on television. As New York Times’ TV writer Bill Carter noted on TODAY Thursday, he also changed it for film actors. “The center point of drama moved from movies to television after ‘The Sopranos,’ and great actors said, ‘I can do TV now, because look what this guy is doing,'” he said. “He was dominating the whole dramatic field.”

Which means there are plenty of actors from all over Hollywood who owe a debt of gratitude to Gandolfini. If viewers hadn’t connected to his portrayal of Tony Soprano, would they have even had the chance to connect to Michael C. Hall’s portrayal of Dexter Morgan in “Dexter”? The serial killer with a moral compass may seem miles away from the mobster, but both characters possess a strong sense of right and wrong, as well as a taste for bloody business. Tony came first. He was the test. In passing the test, Gandolfini made way for Hall and many others.

Jon Hamm’s downward spiral as Don Draper on “Mad Men” is often Tony-esque, especially in the way he can hop from his mistress’s arms to his marital bed without a moment’s regret. Bryan Cranston’s far darker descent as Walter White on “Breaking Bad” sees a basically good — or at-one-time good — man find a way to justify death and destruction, just as Tony did again and again. And Michael Chiklis’ brutal-with-cause Vic Mackey on “The Shield” shared Tony’s satisfaction in “convincing” an enemy to divulge hidden information.

They all benefitted from the ground Gandolfini broke — as do audiences, who get to enjoy some of the most complex characters to ever grace the small screen.

Tea Party Agenda

“The American Taliban” – HBO’s ‘The Newsroom’

In my opinion HBO’s The Newsroom rates right up there with The West Wing.

(So that  there’s no confusion, play the Newsroom clip in it’s entirety and  start the West Wing clip at 2:20)

Here’s why…

MSNBC · Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow – ‘Something weird is going on’ in FBI shooting of Ibragim Todashev

Maddow 053113

(Revised from earlier post)

The Raw Story

On Thursday night’s edition of “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow discussed the swirl of questions around the shooting of Ibragim Todashev, an associate of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the two men charged with the bombing of the Boston Marathon.

FBI officials have given conflicting accounts of the questioning and killing of Todashev, who knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev through Mixed Martial Arts fighting. Todashev, who, like the Tsarnaevs, was Chechen, lived in Boston for a time before moving to Florida. Agents from the FBI traveled to Florida to question Todashev repeatedly about the bombing.

“Last week while being questioned again in Florida,” said Maddow, “something went very, very wrong and he ended up dead.”

Law enforcement officials were interviewing Todashev in his apartment in Orlando on Wednesday, May 22, when something occurred that resulted in the young man being shot multiple times.

On Thursday, Todashev’s family held a press conference in Moscow, where they showed autopsie photos of their slain son. Ibragim Todashev was shot six times in the torso and once in the back of the head.

“We have not been able to authenticate these photos,” said Maddow. “No one has.”

But, she said, if they are genuine, “something weird is going on.”

“How does that comport with the FBI’s story that he was killed during questioning by armed agents who were only acting in self defense?” she asked. “Shot seven times, including in the back of the head?”

Todashev was questioned because of a possible connection to a bizarre 2011 murder in Waltham, Massachusetts in which three men were found with their throats cut, covered in marijuana, with $5,000 in cash untouched nearby. Law enforcement officials theorize now that Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have murdered the men with the help of some other person or persons.

“That cold case got hot again” after the marathon bombing, Maddow said. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was close friends with one of the victims, but, after his murder, Tsarnaev declined to attend his friend’s funeral.

After Todashev was shot during questioning, Maddow said, law enforcement officials “leaked an elaborate story” that purported to justify the killing. The officials also claimed that Todashev had implicated himself in the Waltham murders prior to being shot. They said that just before the man was about to sign a confession, he snapped, and “lunged at the interrogator with a blade.”

“That initial story has fallen apart,” Maddow said. Within 12 hours of the shooting, two of the three law enforcement officials who were talking to the media about the case changed their story, saying they were no longer sure whether Todashev had a knife.

Now, multiple sources have come forward to papers like the Washington Post to say that, in fact, Todashev was unarmed. NBC News reported on Thursday that Todashev may have been brandishing some kind of “metal rod.”

“So they shot him seven times?” Maddow asked, “Including in the back of the head?” She added that no one actually knows right now if that was the actual number of gunshot wounds on Todashev’s body since officials will neither confirm nor deny that the post-autopsy photos are accurate.

“What we’re left with here is a baffling mess and a story that does not make sense,” she said.


Obama's Accomplishments · Rachel Maddow

11-5-12: Obama’s Accomplishments via Video (Rachel Maddow is the best)

Please share this…not just today, but for posterity.  In my opinion, this president is turning out to be historic in terms of his accomplishments, given the opposition he has endured and probably will continue to endure.

President Barack Obama

Obama = mc2

obama as Einstein / middle class   :    http://mariopiperni.com/

I really like this!  Mario Piperni and friend are awesome…

Mario Piperni – September 2, 2012

I’m loving the push back from President Obama after the GOP spent three days reinforcing the notion that they really are the party of NOthing.

Nominee Mitt Romney “did not offer a single new idea, just retreads of the same old policies that have been sticking it to the middle class for years,” Obama told supporters in Urbandale, Iowa, near Des Moines.

Obama, who accepts re-nomination from the Democrats next week at their convention in Charlotte, N.C., said Romney’s proposed tax cuts would lead to cutbacks in such middle class programs as Medicare and education.

Making his first public comments on the Republican convention, Obama said voters are already familiar with GOP plans because they applied them during the last decade, leading to the financial meltdown of 2008.

“You’ve lived through it,” Obama told the crowd. “You can’t afford to repeat it.”

Obama repeatedly ridiculed the recent Republican convention in Tampa. He said the GOP blamed him for all the nation’s problems, exaggerated Romney’s qualifications for the presidency, and simply re-cycled “trickle down” economic ideas that benefit the rich and fail the middle class.

“It was a rerun,” Obama said. “We’d seen it before. You might as well have watched it on a black-and-white TV.”

Romney, running mate Paul Ryan, and other Republicans spoke of “hard truths” and “bold truths,” Obama said, “but nobody ever bothered to tell you what they were.”

There are hard truths but you won’t find Republicans speaking about them. Ryan has spent two weeks running away from his budget plan’s position on Medicare and Social Security. He won’t even defend his hard-right position on abortion and rape. Romney, for his part, has spent a year running away from every position he’s ever held…gay rights, support for Roe v. Wade, gun control, Romneycare, the stimulus and the GM bailout to name a few.

The entire RomneYAN campaign has essentially come down to: the economy sucks, Obama sucks, blame Obama for everything and ‘Bush who?’ – therefore, close your eyes, block your ears, shut down your brain and trust Mitt and Paul to fix it all.

Down in Tampa, you heard Republicans paying lip service to the middle class, minorities and women. In fact, the policies they’ve proposed (but don’t speak of much) would destroy the middle class, make second class citizens of minorities and take women’s rights back a hundred years.

This choices in this election could not be any clearer. On one side you have a political party that believes that the only real contributors to society are the rich and therefore every effort should be made to make them richer, even if it means raping the planet and destroying the social safety net that protects the poor and middle class in difficult times.

On the other side you have a political party that believes the exact opposite.

As I wrote, it could not be clearer.

Obama equals mc2   http://mariopiperni.com/

Note: Special thanks to E.A. Blair, our resident linguist, who came up with the MiddleClass part of the Obama equation. I was looking for a way to translate Einstein’s e=mc2 into something meaningful for the election and within minutes of asking E.A. for ideas, he came up with MiddleClass. Brilliant.

I’ll be adding the graphic to the store later today. Obama=MiddleClass² on a bumper sticker or t-shirt? That works.

Tea Party · Tea Party Agenda

What We Already Knew About The Tea Party And ‘The Newsroom’ Finally Said Out Loud


Newsroom is the best show on TV, bar none.  When The West Wing was on, in my opinion, it was the best show on TV.

Aaron Sorkin produced both shows.


EDITOR’S NOTE: While they have way too much in common, the actual Taliban uses political violence to achieve its ends and the Tea Party doesn’t — and that’s an important distinction.



Julianne Moore · Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin versus Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore is an excellent actress.  More clips from Game Change.  I have a pretty good feeling that she’ll get an Emmy for this role…

You Tube

A scene for scene comparison of Sarah Palin’s actual media appearances and Julianne Moore’s reenactments of them from the movie Game Change.

This is for the purposes of revealing the similarities and differences between the reality and the performance.

The West Wing

Matt Santos (The West Wing) on the definition of Liberal

I’ve said this before, The West Wing was my absolute favorite show on television.  Here is an example why…

” … I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor. ”

From The Debate episode, season seven of the West Wing

“The Debate” between Arnold Vinick and Matt Santos

Written by Lawrence O’Donnell