Posted by: Mark Nielsen | April 18, 2008

The Obvious Hour! The Dems, Reagan, the Titanic, and Other Unnatural Disasters

It’s time for America’s favorite gameshow: The Obvious Hour!

Our top story tonight:

Ghost of Ronald Reagan Roams the halls of Comedy Central and other key political sites

Ronald Reagan opened the door. Then Sonny Bono, Clint Eastwood, Schwarzenegger and a few others walked through. But now we’ve got politicians crossing over in the other  direction, toward  becoming actors and actresses (including Oscar-winner Al Gore, who seems more like a pimpish, gimmicky car salesman, now that he’s putting ridiculous people like Pat Robertson and Al Sharpton in enviromental ads together). It makes me feel icky and shallow even to see it happening.

Plus if you watched The Colbert Report on Thursday night, you saw not just Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama delivering scripted lines provided by Stephen’s writers, but even John Edwards got into the act. As for which of the three is the best actor, I think for better or worse, it was Edwards. Either that or he just got the funniest lines, because there was no risk of him losing votes if he made fun of himself (he said he wanted to be a spy, and to get some jet skis for himself and his family). All three were comfortable in the comedy venue, but Hillary’s performance was a little too wooden and practiced, while Obama’s was too laid back to allow for the best delivery (he didn’t “sell” the joke about the grizzlies). Just give me my comedy out of the mouths of professional  actors, please and thank you…

From the Too Much Time On Their Hands department

A recently conducted study concluded that the Titanic sank because of weak, poor-quality rivets. First of all, one might ask, why study something that happened almost a hundred years ago? The answer: infrastructure issues, like that failed bridge in Minneapolis last year.

Secondly I asked: was this a government-funded study? Not exactly. But one of the co-authors was a federal employee:

“Under the pressure to get these ships up, they ramped up the riveters, found materials from additional suppliers, and some was not of quality,” said Foecke, a metallurgist at the U.S. government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology who has been studying the Titanic for a decade.

A decade? It took you that long to figure out that corporate cost-cutting was as much to blame as that damned iceberg? Well in that case, can I have $100,000 to study how the bad Army-engineered dams caused the flooding of New Orleans? No wait, that’s too useful and relevant a subject! (Can I wring some FEMA neck now?) How about the Johnstown Flood of 1889? Has it been long enough for the wounds to heal on that one?

The Back Page: Everything Old Is New Again

Nixon crony John Dean has a new book out about Barry Goldwater, co-written with Goldwater’s son. Dean, a so-called “independent” now, reminded listeners to the Stephanie Miller radio show yesterday that anything Cheney’s mentor Nixon did was mild compared to the far-reaching abuses of power by the current administration. Dean also informed us that Goldwater  was instrumental in getting John McCain into that Arizona Senate seat Goldwater had formerly occupied. However, Goldie later soured on Johnny POW  for, among other things, being a little too close to the whole savings and loan/Keating Five scandal. I’ve gone a little sour on John myself. Where’s John the Campaign Reformer? All I see is now John the Groveler, worried he’s losing the Republican base. Not that I’m sweet on old guard hawks like Barry Goldwater. He’d have gone into Iraq as well.

But he might have at least done it right… (speaking of Unnatural Disasters…)



  1. Hi Mark. Somehow I just had a hunch you’d be blogging, so I googled “Mark Nielsen” and blog and here you are.

    Hi. Love the Titanic irony.

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