Tag Archives: Fox News

The government worker fired for liking Tupac’s music a little too much. A 6-year-old manager throws a great baseball tantrum. And “The Loudest Voice” on Showtime is terrific

There are just some stories that you never expect to be real. Stories that seem like they’re written by the staff of The Onion, or inside a TV writer’s room or something, because they couldn’t possibly have actually happened.

Stories like this, under this headline on SPIN magazine’s website: “66-Year-Old Iowa government official fired after asking 4,300 employees to celebrate Tupac’s birthday.”

I first heard about this on “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me,” and it’s fantastic. Meet Jerry Foxhoven, the 66-year-old now-former director of Iowa’s Department of Human Services. He loves the late great rapper, Tupac Shakur.

According to the story, “his appreciation for the late great rapper, it seems, is not a passing fancy, nor a begrudging acknowledgement of a few good songs or poetic lines at the behest of a grandchild, but a feeling that permeates every corner of his life. It is within the realm of possibility, in fact, that Foxhoven lost his job with the Iowa government because he loved Tupac too much, and was a little overzealous about spreading the good word.”

Foxhoven’s love for the co-star of “Poetic Justice” knew no bounds; Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds reportedly instructed Foxhoven to resign on June 17, one work day after the sexagenarian sent an email to all 4,300 employees of the agency, informing them that Tupac’s birthday was happening over the weekend, and urging them to mark the day by listening to one of his songs.

How much did Foxhoven love Tupac? He hosted weekly “Tupac Fridays” to play his music in the office. He traded lyrics with employees and he marked his own 65th birthday with Shakur-themed cookies (pictured above), including ones decorated with the words “Thug life.”

The agency released 350 pages of emails with the words “Tupac” or “2Pac” sent to and from Foxhoven during his two-year tenure in response to an AP request.

My goodness Jerry! We all have musicians we love; as I type this in my home office I’ve got an autographed picture of Barry Manilow staring down at me. But you gotta know where to draw the line, my man!

Ah, ‘Pac. Gone so long, but in the office of the Iowa Dept. of Human Services, you are definitely not forgotten.

**Next up today, meet the Kalamazoo Growlers baseball team’s 6-year-old guest coach, Drake Livingston.

Drake, the son of a front-office exec for the minor league squad, got pretty upset at the home plate umpire last week over some calls.

So Drake threw a tantrum that would make Earl Weaver proud. This is great.


**Finally today, a few words about a new Showtime mini-series I’m getting sucked into. “The Loudest Voice,” is the story of the late Roger Ailes, the mastermind behind the creation and eventual powerhouse that is Fox News Network. Ailes, who died two years ago, was a famously combative, hard-headed ratings-obsessed man who used every dirty trick in the book, and hired insane talking heads like Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, to position Fox as a major force in American politics.

Ailes was also a very famous sexual harrasser, a bully, and an all-around awful guy. Russell Crowe, almost unrecognizably, plays Ailes and four episodes in, he’s doing a hell of a job.

We see Ailes at his charming best, sweet-talking Rupert Murdoch before eventually screaming at him. We see how controlling Ailes could be, with his wife (Sienna Miller) or a young, blonde assistant who he psychologically and sexually torments for years.

The mini-series, with four episodes aired out of seven so far, is fabulously entertaining, even though we know how it ends (Ailes was finally fired by Murdoch after many, many women accused him of harrassment). We see the power of Fox grow after 9/11, and after Barack Obama is elected President as well, as they have their ultimate enemy target.

Crowe is brilliant here, as is the supporting cast. Really, really engrossing stuff, even if some of it is hard to watch. It’s on Showtime all month, with new episodes airing Sundays at 10.

Bill O’Reilly’s actually gonna fall, and I’m shocked. A pro tennis match gets interrupted by people having sex. And Stanley Cup playoff hockey making me tear my (little remaining) hair out

Looks like a sacred cash cow, the biggest one on cable TV, is finally being let out of the barn.

I loathe Bill O’Reilly for the same reasons most people do: He’s a smug, arrogant blowhard who acts the fool on television and riles up millions of people with angry rhetoric, often racist and sexist in tone.  He was rude and dismissive during his interviews with Barack Obama when he was President, and his complete disregard for facts was disgusting.

Still, O’Reilly attracts a huge audience and makes a ton of money, and brings in a boatload of cash for Fox News, so I figured he was pretty much bulletproof from any scandal, including the recent New York Times investigation that showed he was a serial sexual harasser.

Let’s face it, TV executives don’t care what their talent does, as long as the money train keeps rolling. But O’Reilly’s advertisers have started running away from him like viewers should have years ago, and Fox is apparently now getting ready to can him.

I’m kind of stunned. O’Reilly’s shtick (and he admits off-camera that it is a shtick) was still pulling in big numbers for Fox. But after the Roger Ailes sexual scandal last year, maybe Fox didn’t feel like fighting this one, too.

Good riddance, Bill O. You deserve all the public scorn you are getting. John Oliver, take it away…

**So this is something you don’t see every day: Frances Tiafoe and Mitchell Krueger are two young American pro tennis players, and Tuesday they were playing a match at the Sarasota Open, a minor-league-level event in Florida that was watched by a crowd of dozens.

Midway through the second set, with Tiafoe about to serve, he hears some very strange noises. At first he thinks it’s from a phone, but nope… it’s a couple having very energetic sex in an apartment a few feet away from the court.

So many things I love about the above video, but the announcer trying to stay calm and explain without explaining what’s going on is great. Also, stay tuned for Tiafoe’s shout at the 1:56 mark, which is I’m sure what everyone else was thinking.

Been watching tennis a loooong. time. Never seen this before. Awesome.

**Finally today, a few words about the delightful agony and ecstasy of this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs so far.

My New York Rangers continue to baffle me, but at least they’re still alive and kicking in the playoffs. After blowing a late lead last Friday night and losing in overtime against Montreal (by the way, there have been a ton of overtime games so far this year, which makes me happy, but so many of them have been over so quickly. Come on, give us a triple-OT thriller, NHL!) my Blueshirts decided to not show up Sunday night in Game 3 at MSG, the world’s quietest arena. Truly, they played awful, and I had low expectations for last night.

But what do you know, the Rangers actually played a really strong game and beat Montreal, 2-1, Tuesday night, to even the series at 2. They could’ve scored at least 3 or 4 more goals but as usual decided that shooting the puck was a less attractive option than trying to make the perfect, beautiful pass.

Anyway, the series is probably going to go seven games, which is always nice, because I really want to tear out my four remaining hairs on top of my head.

Besides the Rangers series, I’ve been loving what I’ve seen from the Maple Leafs, who have won two straight overtime games over top-seed Washington and look like they may actually be the beneficiaries of yet another Caps playoff choke.

St. Louis and Nashville both stunningly are up 3-0, and I have no idea why Columbus is playing so poorly in being down 3-1 to Pittsburgh. Also, nice to see the referees have decided not to call any penalties this year (sarcasm).

Anyway, playoff hockey makes me very happy, especially all the overtimes.


“Transparent” is a wildly cool and different new show. Fox News has more fun lying about “voter fraud.” And “Boardwalk Empire” goes out with a bang.


Sometimes you see a show on cable and say “Man, there’s no way this show could ever be on network TV.”
Then you see a show like Amazon’s new and brilliant “Transparent,” and say, “I can’t believe this show got made, because even cable wouldn’t take a risk on airing it.”

“Transparent” is different from any other show you’ve seen. It stars the always-great Jeffrey Tambor as a divorced man in his 60s who after years of suppressing his feelings, decides to begin the transformation of becoming a woman. In going from “Mort” to “Maura,” he encounters wildly different reactions from his three children, played by Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass, and the scene-stealing Gabby Hoffman.

“Transparent” doesn’t make fun of Maura, doesn’t try to sensationalize his feelings, and doesn’t go for cheap laughs. It’s a smart, funny, surprisingly warm show that Amazon hopes becomes its first major hit show, so it can compete with Netflix.

Like Netflix does with its shows, Amazon released all 13 episodes of “Transparent” at once; I’ve seen 4 so far and each one has been as good as the rest.

If you want to see a show that’s pretty different from anything you’ve seen, definitely give it a shot.

**Next, I haven’t written a lot about the 2014 midterms coming up next week, partly because I’m a depressed Democrat who feels like the Senate is sure to slip into Republican control, and partly because I haven’t had the time to follow this cycle as closely as I usually do. (And honestly, even if the GOP takes the Senate 52-48 or something, it’s not like anything’s going to really change in the next 2 years. Shoot, Congress can’t get anything done right now with a Democratic-led Senate.)

But I’ve been happy to see that Fox News, that bastion of journalistic integrity, continues, as it has ever since it was born, to just make shit up.

Specifically, around election time they love talking about voter fraud. What’s extremely scary is that GOP governors all around the country have used this B.S. “voter fraud” idea to drastically reduce early voting days and hours for citizens, because again, as I’ve said hundreds of times before, if fewer people vote, Republicans think they’ll win. And isn’t that just so damn democratic of them; let’s have less people vote!

Anyway, Rachel Maddow tore down just a small piece of Fox News propaganda the other night, with this scare piece run about Colorado’s “print-at-home” ballot, which of course doesn’t exist.

When the truth doesn’t work for ya, just make stuff up. Fox News, I bow to your greatness in this area.

**Finally, a few words about the “Boardwalk Empire” series finale from Sunday night. (SPOILERS AHEAD, STOP READING IF YOU’RE A B.E. FAN AND HAVEN’T WATCHED YET).

I’ve loved this show from the start, even through some of the bumpy patches in Seasons 2 and 3, when it wasn’t quite confident enough to go away from main character Nucky Thompson and focus on the way-more interesting and charismatic characters like Al Capone, Nelson Van Alden, and Chalky White.

The last two seasons of the show have been sensational, and Sunday’s finale was a really satisfying conclusion. The major storylines wrapped up the week before, with Nucky’s financial downfall, and empire, taken over by Meyer Lansky and Charlie Luciano, Van Alden trying to strangle Capone and go out in a blaze of glory (yeah, not so much), and Gillian rotting away in a mental institution.

But with much settled, Sunday still was a fantastic episode. I know a lot of people on the Internet guessed that the teenager who suddenly appeared a few episodes back would turn out to be Jimmy Darmody’s son, and he’d take revenge on Nucky, but it still shocked me a little to see the final bullet fly from his gun into Nucky’s face.

And there were two gorgeous, heartbreaking scenes I loved: Capone, knowing he was about to go to prison, having a heart-to-heart with his deaf son, and in the 1897 flashback, watching young sheriff Nucky decide to “give” 15-year-old Gillian to the lecherous, disgusting Commodore, knowing what she was in for but wanting to please his boss and move up in power.

It was a wonderful, explosive, beautifully acted show, and I wish it went on for more than five seasons. But it went out on a really terrific note


Jon Stewart slays Fox for hypocrisy on guns. The NHL lockout has my blood boiling. And a drone that will babysit your kid for you

**As you may have heard, NBC sportscaster Bob Costas went on TV at halftime of a Sunday night football game two weeks ago and had the gall to actually speak out about gun violence in America.

And the right wing of this country lost their damn mind. Fox News led the way, of course, saying Costas should stick to sports, how dare he “hijack” the football game with a two-minute discussion of gun violence. Oh wait, what’s that? A day earlier an NFL player had shot and killed his girlfriend, then himself? Sorry, that’s not a good time to talk about gun violence. Nope, not at all, they moaned.

Well as usual, Jon Stewart has a slap-back for those folks (above). Enjoy.


**I haven’t talked too much about the NHL lockout on my blog, because I know most of you don’t give two pucks about the sport.
But I need to vent. I am so disgusted, especially after last week’s “close but not really close” series of meetings that left both sides accusing the others of lying.

Don Fehr, the NHL player rep and the man who ruined many a baseball season, has no interest in saving this season. He wants to get the players’ every cent they can, which is his job, I understand. But his job is also to realize that NO ONE is getting paid if there’s no season, and his righteous indignation is galling right now.
And commissioner Gary Bettman, well… there aren’t strong enough pejorative words to express how I feel about him. He’s presiding over his third lockout in 18 years, a dubious track record for any head of sport. He’s spiteful, he’s stubborn, and he gives not a whit about fans or what’s good for his game.

The serious negotiating that finally started a few weeks ago, three months after the season should’ve started, has led us nowhere. I have lost almost all faith that there will be a season (an aside: Why do these lockouts always happen my Rangers are actually good?), and I no longer care who “wins” the lockout (though owners always win these things).

It’s mid-December and I miss my NHL hockey. I wish all parties would shut up and stay in a room and not come out until a deal is reached.

I’m an addicted fan who needs my sport, and it’s disgusting how little anyone in this mess cares about their loyal customers.


**Finally, a new way to babysit your kids. Can’t say I recommend this for everyone, though.
Paul Wallich, a father from Vermont, got sick of walking his son to the school bus stop every day.
So he did what no father has ever done: He built a drone helicopter, with a camera mounted on it, to follow his son to the bus stop.

“If I am walking my kid to the bus stop in December and January, I would really rather not be doing that,” Wallich told NBC News.

Really, Mr. Wallich? You had to go to all this trouble to build a robot because it was too cold to walk your son to school? I’m sorry, but I think that’s ridiculous.

He should’ve built a helicopter that would take he AND his son to the bus stop. That’s what a good parent would do!

Drone babysitter story from Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.

The Murdoch scandal just keeps growing. Suing your sister for Duke tickets. And a Tim Stauffer update

I haven’t written about the Rupert Murdoch/England/voicemail hacking story yet, because, well, no good reason. I just hadn’t gotten around to it. But now that this thing keeps growing and growing (Murdoch took out a full-page ad in his papers this weekend apologizing, and then Rebekah Brooks, one of his most trusted lieutenants, was arrested Sunday), I had a few thoughts:

— Slowly but surely, this scandal is growing beyond Britain and is going to have an impact on his properties in the U.S. Can you imagine if evidence comes out that Fox News has stealing Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton’s voicemails? You have to believe that if ole’ Rupert’s papers in England were doing this stuff, the NY Post, Wall Street Journal and Fox News could’ve been doing it, too. I’ll be stunned if the Post isn’t somehow implicated.

— Hard to believe that after so many years of vicious success, something like this could bring down Murdoch. Is it possible he’d have to sell Fox News?

— As a former journalist (God that feels weird to type, the former part) this is what I always wonder about scandals like this: Was it worth it? Was there really anything so juicy or interesting that it was worth the risk? Great piece by Carl Bernstein in last week’s Newsweek about Murdoch and the culture he created.

— It’s been hilarious watching the British politicians squirm as they try to distance themselves from Murdoch, a guy so many of them are in bed with. There is no one human being in U.S. politics as influential as Murdoch is in the U.K.
— Finally, I’m sure Fox will somehow report that this is all a big ole’ Democratic plot.

**So Duke basketball tickets are a pretty hot item. I know I’d love to get my hands on some, being a huge fan and all. Having been there a bunch of times in my life, I have to say Cameron Indoor Stadium is one of the greatest venues in all of sport.
Well, the  Caudle and Dorton families of Raleigh, N.C. tend to agree. A woman named Katina Dorton is currently suing her sister, Sophia Caudle over Duke season tickets once belonging to their late father. Dorton claims that Sophia’s husband arranged for the tickets to be transferred to he and Sophia without any prior consent from father John Dorton.
I’m totally with Katina on this one. Those tickets are way too valuable to give up without a fight.
And hey, nothing like a good family feud!

**You may remember that I’ve written a few times about my old pal Tim Stauffer, a pitcher for the San Diego Padres who is a really good guy with great parents, and has suffered through tons of injuries and disappointment in his major league career. Every few weeks I check the MLB.com website to see how he’s doing, and I’m thrilled to report that through the first half of this season, Timmy has been freaking fantastic.
Even though he plays on a crappy team that never scores any runs for him, he’s got a 2.97 ERA, which is phenomenal. He’s got a 5-6 record but is finally pitching like the guy who was a Top-5 pick in the draft seven years ago.
Good on ya, Timmy.

The Obama opponent I fear most jumps in the race. Venus Williams’ hideous new outfit. And Jon Stewart, thoughtfully, appears on Fox News

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We’re only about 16 months away from the next presidential campaign, and up until now I’ve been pretty uninterested.
Seeing the complete lack of serious candidates on the Republican side (Santorum? Gingrich? Really?) had me feel pretty comfortable. Even if Sarah Palin jumped in, I wasn’t really worried. Mitt Romney is a phony, Tim Pawlenty keeps making one mistake after another, and I saw no one in the field who truly could look, act and talk presidentially. If Barack Obama was to lose, it’d be a self-inflicted wound that killed him, I thought.
Until Jon Huntsman got in the race, which he apparently will do today. Jon Huntsman scares me a little bit, I have to tell you.
He’s a former governor of Utah, so you know he’s conservative (Utah likes Democrats about as much as kids like lima beans). He’s not a nut-job, which immediately puts him in the upper-tier of candidates.
He’s smart, not nearly as conservative as some GOP primary voters will want him to be (he supports civil unions), but from what I’ve seen he’s a very smooth speaker who can get his point across without shouting or browbeating the audience.
Of course, the fact that he worked for the Obama administration as the Ambassador to China will hurt him in GOP circles. But as this NYT story points out, it also helps him in a lot of other ways.

I don’t know enough about Huntsman to be truly frightened of him. But he’s certainly the most electable Republican I’ve seen so far this cycle.
So yeah, I’m a little worried as a Democrat. 

**OK, I’m no fashion expert. It was until I was in my late 20s that I really learned what “matching” meant, and there are still some sweaters I was forced to throw away by women that I still will fight to the death for.

But even though I ain’t no Tim Gunn, certainly I can’t be the only one to wonder what the hell it was Venus Williams was wearing on Centre Court at Wimbledon Monday.
Seriously Venus, it looks like something a “Star Wars” character would wear on the spaceship. Or maybe it just looks like a frock of some kind. Either way, it’s really, really bad.
Isn’t there someone who could’ve told her that?

**Finally, I’m always fascinated with how Fox News treats people who call them out. Jon Stewart, of course, has been taking shots at the Roger Ailes propaganda machine (very warranted shots) for as long as he’s been hosting “The Daily Show.”

Sunday, Stewart went on Fox to have a sit-down with Chris Wallace, one of Fox’s more toned-down idealogues. It was really fascinating television; watch the whole thing if you have time.
The false equivalency of Wallace baffles me; watch how he continues to try to say Fox News is just like the NY Times and CBS, while Stewart keeps trying to show him that they’re not.
Really entertaining stuff. (For the full, unedited version of the interview, click here.)

Fired by Google Alert, and hired from a crazy question: 2 employment stories

Economy Jobless

***Big, exciting news here on the blog before I begin today: I seem to have finally figured out a way to let readers subscribe to the blog, through the fancy-pants little RSS feed icon, down on the right side of the screen (under the search bar).

I’m not 100 percent sure how it works, but I think it’s like other RSS feeds, in that you can get each post emailed to you when I post it here.

OK, maybe it’s not that exciting for you; I have no idea of the excitement level of your day so far. Maybe you found 20 bucks in your pants pocket, or somebody smiled at you at work. But dammit, it’s exciting for me!

We live in crazy times. And in this economy, with unemployment at huge numbers, you wouldn’t think a story about someone being fired, or someone else being hired, would be that interesting.

But wait. I’ve got two stories that may make your head dizzy, like they did mine. (By the way, totally underrated fact about being a kid? Spinning round and round and making yourself get dizzy is considered a legitimate fun activity? As an adult? Not so much.)

Our first story comes from (drum roll please) the fine folks at Fox News, where truth never gets in the way of a good conspiracy theory. Fox had hired a liberal political analyst named Marc Lamont Hill, apparently so they’d have a punching bag lying around the set.

Well, Hill was fired last Friday. And he found out … thanks to a Google Alert email he got that’s tagged to his name.

Here’s Hill’s quote, according to ThinkProgress.org:

Yeah I eventually – I got a Google alert at 11 o’clock [a.m.] that it had been announced that I’d been fired. After that, I guess someone followed up later in the day, you know because I was sort of trying to figure out what was going on. … I found out that it was true but other than that I don’t have any other information. … I haven’t had any thorough conversation with anyone.

Yep, fired by Google Alert. That’s a new one on me. I’ve heard of fired by text, by email, by voicemail … but not this one.

Thing Sergei and Larry, while they were dreaming about starting Google, ever thought one day their invention would be used for this?

Then there’s this, um, slightly less strange story. A trucking company in Indiana was looking to fill a $13 an hour administrative assistant job. After going through candidate after candidate, winnowing it down to two, the interviewer asked the two women the same question, one we all get on job interviews: If she were in the stands at a baseball game and a foul ball came her way, would she stand up to try to catch it, or wait in her seat and hope it fell her way?

One candidate said she’d wait. The other said she’d go for it. The aggressive one got the job.

Hilarious. I give the employer credit for trying something different, but it’s still kinda weird. The whole story can be read here.

**OK, so this annoyed me Thursday night, and always annoys me when I watch a baseball game. Major League teams, because they’re always looking to squeeze another dollar out of fans, has decided in recent years to let some organizations sell seats in this newly-created area right behind home plate, basically at field level.

And every time, like Thursday night, you see those fans behind the plate, they’re not paying attention to the game and/or look completely disinterested. Thursday night every one of the people behind the plate was either looking away, playing with their phone/Blackberry, or doing anything but cheering.

And it was a great game! Can’t wait for Game 6.

Just pisses me off.


***And speaking of things that piss me off: Dick Cheney, shut the hell up already.