Newsweek Launches ‘Decade In Rewind’ Website, Recaps Ten Years In 7 Minutes (VIDEO)

05-30-02-timeballwebWe’re less than two months from the end of the decade and up to now, the media has been suspiciously quiet about it. Maybe it’s going to be a surprise party, but it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to believe that the retrospective coverage would have been wall-to-wall for the entire second half of the year. There’s always December!

Whatever the case, Newsweek is kicking off their celebration of The Aughts and welcoming 2010 with a new website: The Decade In Rewind. It’s highly interactive, filled with top 10 lists and essays, and will doubtlessly be fleshed out at New Year’s Day grows ever closer.

The best part so far, though, is their 7-minute review of the decade in the style of Nine Minute Sopranos, all fast-talking and nostalgic, which was posted to the Newsweek Tumblr this morning. From Y2K to Obama, it’s all there.

Unfortunately, they’ve decided to make the clip un-embeddable, but the video transcends that obnoxious reality because it’s just that good. Watch it here.

Update: Newsweek was nice enough to pass on the video in shareable form. Check it out below:


A Liberal on Fox: Wanda Sykes’ New Talk Show Debuts

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On Saturday night, Wanda Sykes‘ new talk show debuted on Fox at 11pmET. Sykes started off by laying out what the show would and wouldn’t be, and she took some delight in its context: “In honor of my first talk show, let me be the first person on Fox not to pick on President Obama.” 

The show is appearing on Fox’s broadcast channel and not on Fox News, and so Sykes’ liberal stance is not quite as heretical as she’s making it sound. The Simpsons and Family Guy, no great bastions of conservatism, are Fox staples, and the rest of the programming lineup is beholden to no ideology other than the desire for good ratings.

Still, the episode was on-the-nose politically, and took direct shots at segments of what could be considered the Fox News constituency. From Sykes’ opening monologue: (transcript via Tabacco)

“Can someone explain something to me? Cause I passed out the other night — I mean, I went to sleep — when I woke up, people were mad at Obama! And I thought, ‘Did I miss something?’

Did Obama start two illegal wars? Did he fly over a flood zone and just wave? Did he torture detainees in a secret prison? Did he start illegally tapping phones? Did he alienate the world and squander a budget surplus? Because if he did any of that, we need to impeach that jackass!

He’s only been in office ten months, so what exactly has Obama done to piss everybody off? Nothing! People are going crazy calling him a Fascist. These people don’t even know what a Fascist is! When you say things like, ‘We’re gonna vote that Fascist out of office!’, you really sound dumb! When was the last time a Fascist got voted out of office! They usually stick around.”

The more standard skit and interview portions of the show weren’t as overtly political, but they bore the marks of a certain mid-2000s strain of outspoken humor: the clip below begins with a rather clunky bit about how Ann Coulter uses her huge eyelashes (?) to swat away criticism while making whooshing noises.

It’ll be interesting to see whether or not the show will have any chance of taking off: it has gotten largely negative critical reviews so far, and has the further misfortune of competing with the first half hour of SNL during its second half.

One thing is fairly clear: Christopher Hitchens, who wrote a recent Atlantic essay on the “fat-target problem” of liberal comedians, and singled Sykes out for “[breaking] bravely with tradition and chose to roast the absent Rush Limbaugh rather than the incumbent chief executive” at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner earlier this year, probably won’t be a fan.


HCR Goes To The Senate, Republicans Prepare A Tea Party Welcome?

Picture 7You’d be forgiven for concluding, after a weekend of celebratory headlines, that Congress’s passing of the health care bill on Saturday night was the final step in the long slog that saw many ups and downs this summer. Of course, you’d be wrong. Saturday’s results, which saw Congress pass the bill 220 to 215 (one Republican yea and 30 Dem nays) thanks in large part to Nancy Pelosi’s willingness to throw away coverage for “elective” abortions in what is now being referred to as “the biggest turning point in the battle over the procedure since the ban on so-called partial birth abortions six years ago” still has to make it through the Senate. Judging from some reactions on the Sunday shows, it’s going to be a battle, to say the least.

Lindsey Graham, the senior Republican senator from South Carolina told Bob Schieffer on Sunday that the bill, “written by Liberals, for Liberals” would be “dead on arrival.”

“Just look at how it passed; it passed 220 to 215. It passed by two votes. You had [39] Democrats vote against the bill…The House bill is a non-starter in the Senate. I just think the construct out of the House and what exists in the Senate is not going to pass, and I hope and pray it doesn’t because it would be a disaster for the economy and health care.”



Joining the health care doomsayers is the Dems favorite nemesis from within: Joe Lieberman. Graham noted on Face the Nation that if it came down to it he would join Lieberman in filibustering the bill on the Senate floor (considering the last-minute removal of abortion coverage one wonders whether they won’t both be joined by a number of women’s groups).

Lieberman, on Fox News Sunday told host Chris Wallace that while there are “good things” in the bill the House passed, the public option plan is “unnecessary” and “put forward, I’m convinced, by people who really want the government to take over all of health insurance.” Conclusion: Lieberman will not be voting for the public option.

Short version of all this is where the battle over the health care bill is concerned, we probably ain’t seen nothing yet.



Winners And Losers: Election, Election, Election

doug-hoffmanIt’s Friday, which means it’s time to separate the chumps from the champs in Mediaite’s Winners and Losers, our scorecard of who rocked and who flopped in the headines.

This week, a special off-year election edition, featuring Doug Hoffman, Mike Bloomberg, and more:

The Bronze Loser: Mike Bloomberg

As expected, New York’s richest citizen bought himself a third mayoral term. But somehow after spending $151.27 per vote (much of it his own money) to run against the little-known City Comptroller (who Obama barely supported by name) he STILL only managed a marginal victory. Then again, a win’s a win, and as the mayor-for-life pointed out to reporters, “The Yankees win, whether they win in four, five, six or seven, it’s Number 27 – that’s all that matters, okay?” (Funny, no one can compete with their spending either.)

The Bronze Winner: Tim Kaine

The DNC chairman proved a skilled spinster Wednesday morning, glossing over key gubernatorial defeats like a pro! Before Governor Kaine’s explanation, you might have thought incumbent John Corzine should have won New Jersey, what with his mounds of money and the backing of the Garden State democratic machine. But now you know neither Corzine nor Virginia democratic candidate Creigh Deeds ever had a shot at victory – not because they blew it, but because of historical trends. Well played!

The Silver Loser: CNN

Election coverage was the network’s bread and butter back in ‘08. Remember the ‘magic wall’ and those awesome virtual holograms? Apparently you can only dazzle viewers with snazzy graphics for so long! “The Best Political Team on Television” was the least watched Tuesday night, finishing dead last among cable news outlets. And that includes HLN, which didn’t even cover the 09 election. Which begs the question, how’s that non-partisan thing working out?

The Silver Winner: Doug Hoffman

Long before the votes were tallied in the NY-23 congressional race, right-wing pundits had declared the Conservative party candidate the winner. And after he lost by a few points to Democrat Bill Owens? STILL the winner! Ok, Maybe not the winner-winner, but his loss was still a Republican victory. Or Something. Sarah Palin broke it down on Facebook: “The race for NY’s 23rd is not over. It’s just postponed until 2010.” Gotcha. So letting a democrat represent the district for the first time since the Civil War frees up Republicans to focus on the real race!

The Gold Loser: Barack Obama

If you believe the exit polls, GOP sweeps in New Jersey and Virginia were not be a referendum on Obama’s presidency. But they’re still kind of his fault! Because low turnout among young voters is certainly a referendum on Obama’s sexiness. Between an economy in free-fall, two wars, and healthcare reform, Obama forgot to keep politics fun and exciting for the kids! And with that, his “Vote or Die” youth coalition of 08 became the “Vote or Don’t Bother” youth disassociation of 09, propelling Republicans to victory.

The Gold Winner: John McCain

A year later, the former presidential hopeful is sure to have regrets about his failed candidacy. But John McCain can look back with pride, knowing he made at least smart decision last year. And that was refusing to let Sarah Palin speak on Election Night. This week the Daily Beast got hold of her undelivered speeches — concession AND victory — and they were as amusing/cringe-worthy as as we might have imagined.


Michelle Obama: Dating Advice Columnist?

1022-mobama-couric-your-first-lady_awFirst lady Michelle Obama is one of five Glamour cover stars for this years ‘Woman of the Year’ issue. Mrs. Obama was interviewed by Katie Couric for the piece (and photographed with all her interns, what’s not to love about that!). Couric asked Obama what dating advice she would give to a young professional woman today, which is reasonable question on a number of levels one being that this is Glamour, another being, who doesn’t hope their family life in some way resembles the first couples. Anyway, here’s what she had to say:

‘Cute’s good. But cute only lasts for so long, and then it’s, Who are you as a person? That’s the advice I would give to women: Don’t look at the bankbook or the title. Look at the heart. Look at the soul. Look at how the guy treats his mother and what he says about women. How he acts with children he doesn’t know. And, more important, how does he treat you? When you’re dating a man, you should always feel good. You should never feel less than. You should never doubt yourself. You shouldn’t be in a relationship with somebody who doesn’t make you completely happy and make you feel whole. And if you’re in that relationship and you’re dating, then my advice is, don’t get married.’


Move Over Kanye: Gay Proposal Video Is The New Interruption Meme

Picture 2When Rep. Joe Wilson did it, he got called a racist. When Kanye West did it, he got called an asshole alcoholic.

Whether it was in front of Congress or screaming 20-something year olds at the Video Music Awards, if we’ve learned anything this year…it’s that interruptions are the way to get things done.

Wilson’s rudeness helped him raise over $1 million big ones for his campaign, and West’s hissy fit got him all up in the headlines once again (suspiciously enough just in time for his Fame Kills tour with Lady Gaga, which ended up getting cancelled anyways. Can you say ultimate fail Kanye?).

So when Andy Hertzberg proposed to his partner, Andy Rollman, during his testimonial at round two of the Washington D.C. Council meetings on marriage equality, perhaps he had even more of an agenda.

Wonder if this interruption will help propel the ruling in favor of equal marriage?

Video Clip Below


Pinhead Or Patriot — Is The Alien In “V” Supposed To Be Barack Obama?

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On Tuesday night, ABC’s “V” opened with a bang, drawing about 14 million viewers. It also did something that network dramas about space aliens that aren’t “The X-Files” tend not to do: set off a surprisingly heated political debate.

Why? A few reasons: the show jabs at “universal health care,” satirizes the media as access-hungry stooges (always fun), and has a charismatic alien leader who may or may not be a stand-in for Barack Obama. Bill O’Reilly sure thinks so.

Take it away, Chicago Tribune:

Imagine this. At a time of political turmoil, a charismatic, telegenic new leader arrives virtually out of nowhere. He offers a message of hope and reconciliation based on compromise and promises to marshal technology for a better future that will include universal health care.

The news media swoons in admiration — one simpering anchorman even shouts at a reporter who asks a tough question: “Why don’t you show some respect?!” The public is likewise smitten, except for a few nut cases who circulate batty rumors on the Internet about the leader’s origins and intentions. The leader, undismayed, offers assurances that are soothing, if also just a tiny bit condescending: “Embracing change is never easy.”

So, does that sound like anyone you know? Oh, wait — did I mention the leader is secretly a totalitarian space lizard who’s come here to eat us?

On last night’s O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly took things a step further. He kicked off his regular “Pinheads and Patriots?” segment with clips from “V,” including two where aliens tout their commitments to “spreading hope” and to providing “complete medical services to all.” O’Reilly’s take: “It’s pretty apparent the scriptwriters are taking some shots at President Obama. Whether that makes them pinheads or patriots, of course, depends on your political point of view.” Of course.


While O’Reilly fell in line with the “V Aliens=Obama Administration” theory, and some conservative bloggers tried to map out analogies between the show and contemporary America, it’s prompted some backlash on Twitter:

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Ana Marie Cox led the charge, picking apart the clumsy analogy between universal health care and alien cure-alls.

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Rachel Sklar (I think she writes for some blog) pointed out that the show is, in fact, about hot lizard aliens.

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AFP’s Olivier Knox (who Mediaite interviewed in August) and HuffPo Eat the Press editor Jason Linkins took a different approach, blowing up the real world/TV world analogies to absurd proportions (though an Orly Taitz cameo would be pretty sweet).

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Meanwhile, Jake Tapper just seemed excited by the prospect of interviewing alien leaders with hard-hitting questions about their consumption of our brains.

The political controversy can only be good news for “V.” The opening night ratings are encouraging, but the lively debate around a show that is 95% entertainment is an even better sign of its endurance.

Do you need further proof? “V” Twitter avatars are already starting to go viral.