I say it every year, and I’ll keep saying it: The White House Correspondents Dinner is ridiculous. Journalists who cover high-ranking politicians in the U.S. government, going to an event where they kiss up to, schmooze and drink with the people they cover violates so many ethical rules of journalism, I can’t even count that high.
It’s obscene, journalistically, that so many papers and websites and TV stations attend this every year. And Saturday night, while the city of Baltimore was erupting in protest over yet another suspicious death of a black man while in police custory (RIP, Freddie Gray), every single major cable news channel showed the WHCD, and not real, actual news breaking in a major American city. Disgraceful.
It’s also a little bit blood-boiling for me that Barack Obama always honors and toasts journalists at this thing, yet his administration has done more to stifle press freedom, between prosecuting journalists who protect secret sources, to being not nearly as transparent as he promised, than most other Presidents have.
However, it’s also true that it’s the one time of year where Barack Obama gets to show off his comedy chops. And the man has serious comedy chops. (Check out this clip with the awesome Keegan-Michael Key, playing his “anger translator.“)
His speech this year was as good as ever, highlighted by one-liners such as:
— Those Grey Hairs: “I look so old John Boehner’s already invited Netanyahu to speak at my funeral.”
— Hillary Clinton: The economy’s gotten so bad for some people, Obama said, “I had a friend, just a few weeks ago, she was making millions of dollars a year, and now she’s living out of a van in Iowa.”
— Joe Biden: Talking about how close he and Vice President Biden have gotten, especially in stressful times, Obama joked that he loves Biden’s back massages. “Those Joe Biden shoulder massages are like magic. You should try one.” [Pause.] “Oh, you have?”
He added, “We’ve gotten so close, in some places in Indiana, they won’t serve us pizza anymore.”
**Next up today, this is incredibly cool: NASA released a video last year (that I just saw this wekeend, thanks to a friend’s Facebook page) showing what the eruption of the Sarychev volcano looked like when it happened in 2009 (The Sarychev volcano is a Russian archipelago located in the Kuril Islands, out in the Pacific Ocean).
Mesmerizing, isn’t it?
**God bless the Stanley Cup playoffs. Man, I love them. Of course I’m happy this day because my New York Rangers finished off Pittsburgh Friday night, and for the first time in forever, actually have a few days off.
But there was sensational hockey all over the place the last few days, in great contrast to the for some reason more popular NBA, where blowout after blowout reigned in the first round. (Seriously, there’s one competitive series among the 8 first-rounders. ONE!)
A few scattered Stanley Cup playoffs thoughts from the last few days:
— The Islanders and Capitals play Game 7 tonight, and it should be a beaut. If Saturday was the last game at the old dump, aka, Nassau Coliseum, it went with a loud bang, literally. As a Rangers fan, I’m stuck in a very uncomfortable position: Rooting for the Islanders.
I desperately want to see a Rangers-Islanders series, first one in 21 years, but I’m also scared to death that the Isles might win that series. So I should be rooting for the Caps tonight, but that would be no fun. Go Isles (ducking to avoid lightning bolt).
— Move over, San Jose Sharks. The St. Louis Blues have eclipsed you as the biggest chokers in hockey. Man oh man, what a miserable performance, losing in the first round again, on Sunday to Minnesota. How many years have the Blues been favorites, and lost?
— The Chicago Blackhawks, if they get any kind of decent goaltending at all, will win the Cup.
— So great to see Canadian teams like Calgary doing well; they are such a fun team to watch.
— Finally, Ryan Miller almost won a gold medal for the U.S. in 2010. Now in 2015, he gives up a 3-0 lead for Vancouver and 5 goals, total, in an elimination game. Boy has that guy fallen fast.