Tag Archives: Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney is going to help us get rid of Trump? Color me skeptical. Ellen DeGeneres explains her hangout with George W. Bush. And a 9-year-old wins a 10K race he wasn’t even running in.

So if you’re like me, most of the news coming out of Washington these days just comes in waves and waves, and you drown trying to keep up with all of it.

Honestly, I just can’t follow and keep track of all the ways this President and his administration have broken the law and committed impeachable offense, all the ways he’s refusing to comply with the law when it comes to the impeachment investigation, and all the ways he’s proving himself to be an incredible moron (just Tuesday, a day after his Syria troops decision pissed off nearly everyone in both parties, I read about him saying that if Turkey doesn’t do what the U.S. wants, he’ll destroy its economy, and him insulting military veterans by insinuating those who suffer from PTSD aren’t tough enough.  I wish I was making any of this up.)

I’m trying not to get so crazy with the minute-by-minute stuff, and focus on the big picture. That big picture is that what once seemed absolutely, positively unthinkable (the Senate convicting Donald Trump and removing him from office) is now just unlikely, and not crazy to consider.

It’s not going to happen, I don’t think, but every day this guy does more and more stupid things and angers more and more of his Republicans, and his behavior becomes more and more indefensible, that I no longer think it’s a pie in the sky pipe dream. Unlikely, but not impossible.

And if it does happen, many people these days seem to think Willard “Mitt” Romney is going to be the brave Republican Senator who leads the way.

Yep, in story after story like this excellent piece in Vanity Fair, Mitt, who’s never been a fan of Donald Trump (and the feeling seems mutual) is reaching out to other moderate GOP Senators who also hate Trump, like Cory Gardner, Susan Collins and Ben Sasse, and quietly laying the groundwork for them to support impeachment.

The thinking goes that Romney, a man of principle and a “real” Republican, has finally had enough of Trump, and has the backbone to lead the party against him.

Color me highly skeptical. I haven’t ever thought much of Romney, who always struck me as an empty suit willing to say anything and everything to please people. His 2012 run for President was a disaster, as he proved time and again to have  no charisma, no intelligent ideas or policies. He was a moderate Republican governor in Massachussetts, then suddenly became a far-right Presidential candidate, before trying to have it both ways in the general.

So the idea that Mitt is going to make a principled stand for all that is right and good about America and its values, and inspire others to come forward and defend America against this raging madman who was elected President… I would be highly, highly surprised.

But maybe I’m wrong. My smart friend Dave thinks Romney is no more or less insincere or phony than most politicians, and that after he has spent his entire life avoiding major decisions and stands on issues, he may finally have matured and is now ready to be a leader of the resistance on the right against Trump.

I’d love to see it. Romney’s Senate seat in Utah was just won in 2018, so it’s not like he’d be primaried for a long time.

Maybe, finally, it’s Mitt’s time to step into the light.

**Next up today, I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this little video, in which Ellen DeGeneres stars. DeGeneres, who I adore for many reasons, not to mention her bravery in coming out in Hollywood in the 1990s when it absolutely hurt her career, caused a bit of a kerfuffle on the InterWebs on Sunday and Monday.

DeGeneres was invited to go to a Dallas Cowboys game by Charlotte Jones, daughter of owner Jerry Jones. So DeGeneres and wife Portia went to the game and as you might expect, sat in the owner’s suite where many other famous and rich people sat.

Including the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush.  And video emerged during the game of Bush and DeGeneres sharing a laugh.

So this set off some mild outrage (is that an oxymoron? Discuss) because W. and his administration, in addition to committing war crimes during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq regarding torture, were notoriously unfriendly to LGBTQ people and their rights.

Anyway, DeGeneres used her daily “Ellen” TV show Tuesday to discuss the controversy, and I thought it was interesting. While I agree that she’s right that of course you can share friendships with people of different views, Bush was a pretty powerful person who did some very bad things.

Like I said, I’m not sure how I feel about what DeGeneres did, but it’s interesting.

**Finally today, this story cracked me up, as it’s alternately bizarre and sweet. A 9-year-old boy in Minnesota named Kade Lovell was scheduled to run a 5K race two weeks ago, the St. Francis Fanny Flyer 5K.

During the race, though, Kade took a wrong turn, and accidentally veered onto the course for the 10K race, also being run at the time.
Kade then WON the 10K race, beating the second-place finisher, a 40-year-old, by almost a minute.

His Mom, Heather, spoke to Runner’s World magazine about when she realized something was wrong, as she waited for Kade to finish the 5K.

“I ran to the finish line (of the 5K race) and found the coordinators and said someone needs to find him,” Heather said. “I’m freaking out, I’m crying, I’m flustered, and no one really knows what to do. A fireman is getting ready to search the course when I get a call my brother-in-law, who tells me there is a cute little kid in a red shirt running the 10K.”

Hilarious. Sometimes a wrong turn can be a good thing!


A glorious night in America, as an African-American gets re-elected President.

Warning: This blog post may be only semi-coherent, as I’m beginning to write it at 3:04 a.m….

Four more years. Four more years of a decent, honorable, well-meaning man of color, continuing to make history and change lives, sitting in the Oval Office.

Four more years of the equal rights of women and gays to do with their own bodies, and love whoever they want to, being respected.

Four more years of science being taken seriously. Four more years of economic recovery, and immigration reform, and maybe even a few new Supreme Court justices who are (gasp) liberal.

Four years where maybe, real progress is made on climate change and the drug war and economic policies that help the neediest.

Most importantly, four years where universal health care becomes a reality.

Barack Obama got it done Tuesday, and in a huge way. 332 Electoral votes (I’m counting Fla.) in this day and age is massive, and absolutely gives him a strong push for a second term that’s historic and revolutionary.

His acceptance speech was beautiful and touching and rousing, the kind of speech Obama gave in 2008. It made me proud to have voted for him.

I’m exhausted but happy and thrilled to be an American tonight.

Some other huge headlines on a election night when liberals like me couldn’t have asked for much more:
The Senate races fell about as great as possible for the Dems. Chris Murphy won in Connecticut (hey Linda McMahon, what did that $77 million get you?). Elizabeth Warren and Heidi Heitkamp won, too.

— Tammy Baldwin, the newest Senator from Wisconsin, deserves her own paragraph. She’s the first openly gay Senator in U.S. history, and what a wonderful pioneer she will be. A great night for women politicians all around.

— A terrific night to see two silly barriers start to come down. First, Maine and Maryland legalized same-sex marriage, the first state voters to approve this enormous change. Washington state may do the same, although full results for that won’t be in for a few days. And a constitutional amendment declaring that marriage is only between a man and a woman was defeated, too. Gay marriage for all in America is now irreversible, don’t you think?

And Colorado and Washington state citizens legalized marijuana, a long-overdue move. I know the federal gov’t won’t allow people in Denver and Seattle to just start smoking up in public, but finally, the people have spoken and acknowledged how silly it is for pot to be criminalized.

— Thank you, Florida Democrats, for refusing to let Rick Scott and his disgusting voter-suppression tactics give Romney a win there.
— Fox News was fascinating after the race was called, with Karl Rove bitching that Fox News’ own analysts shouldn’t have called Ohio for Obama so fast. Bizarre stuff.

— Oh, and just when I thought the night couldn’t get any better, with Dems making gains in the Senate and Obama cruising to re-election, at least 1 and maybe 2 of the most radical, dangerous GOP House members go down to defeat. Allen West of Florida lost by about 2,000 votes to Patrick Murphy, and Michele Bachmann as of this writing is clinging to a 900-vote lead in Minnesota, with 11 percent of the vote still to be counted.

I know, I know, it’s too much to ask for. But if Bachmann could somehow lose, I’d be so, so happy.

— “Hillary 2016” was trending on Twitter tonight. Heaven help us, Dems, do we really want to go back to that? Won’t it be time for some fresh blood? Ah, not gonna let the specter of another Hillary run get me down tonight. I’m in too good a mood.

— The best line in any speech Tuesday night came from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who will be a serious 2016 Prez candidate if he wants to be. This is what he said about the pot legalization victory:

“Federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don’t break out the Cheetos or goldfish just yet.”

— I have no idea where Mitt Romney goes from here. I thought his concession speech was OK. This election was there to be won by a better candidate who actually help positions and consistent beliefs.

— Finally, let’s never take for granted that we get to have peaceful elections in this country. It’s a wonderful thing.

1 day out from Election Day, and the end of Mitt Romney. Andrew Luck and the Steelers star on an NFL Sunday. And the Hurricane Sandy concert rocked

Finally, the endless campaign is about over.
The undecideds have all finally decided. The constant barrage of emails begging me for money (which have turned my stomach in the past week as the really important reason to give money and time, the recovery/relief efforts of Hurricane Sandy, is so much more vital) are through.

What will happen Tuesday? Obama will win. Oh sure, I’m a little concerned and pissed that the state of Florida seems to be pulling some more crap by turning people away from the polls and cutting hours early, but I cannot believe this election is going to come down to Florida. Too many things would have to break right for Romney all at once on Tuesday for him to win this election. He’d have to get Ohio and Florida and Wisconsin and Virginia and that’s just not happening.

The Senate is what concerns me more; I’ll write more about that in Tuesday’s blog.
Right now though, I’m feeling two conflicting emotions: I can’t wait for Tuesday night to get here, because I freaking love the thrill of election nights.

And two, I can’t wait for Tuesday night to be over.

**Some NFL thoughts on a rare day when I didn’t see much football, but caught up through highlights:

— What in the name of Steve Pelluer is going on with Indianapolis? The Colts were supposed to be terrible this year as rookie QB Andrew Luck learned to play the position at the pro level.
Except he threw for 433 yards Sunday in beating the Dolphins, and Indy is now 5-3 and very much a playoff team in the AFC. Crazy to see that both Peyton Manning’s former team AND his current team have the same record. And check out this speech (above) by Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who’s battling leukemia and has been away for the team for a while, but came to the game Sunday and gave this stirring post-game speech.

— Terrible collapse by the Giants Sunday against the Steelers; Eli Manning and the offense apparently fell asleep at halftime and did squat in the fourth quarter. Even though they won, thought it was a terrible idea for Mike Tomlin to run a fake FG down 20-17 in the fourth quarter. Way too big of a risk. But a hell of a win for the Steelers.

— I guess Obama’s doomed; the Redskins lost their last home game before the election, and 17 of the last 18 times, that means the incumbent party in the White House lost the election. Oh well. President Romney it is.

— How good is the Bears defense? Every damn week they score a TD. My best fantasy football move ever was picking them up in week 2.

–Those Seahawks uniforms are by far the ugliest thing in the NFL right now. Except for Mark Sanchez’s quarterback play, of course.

**Not sure how many of you saw Friday night’s Hurricane Sandy benefit concert on NBC, but it was just outstanding. Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Christina Aguilera, Sting and others performed in a quiet studio and all sung beautiful, somber songs that really captured the mood of New York right now.

(The one bizarre note of the whole show was Jimmy Fallon, God love ’em, singing lead vocals on “Under the Boardwalk” while Springsteen, Joel and Steven Tyler sang backup. Whose idea was that?

The full one-hour concert (which can be seen here)  raised more than $22 million for the Red Cross. Fantastic job, all involved.

Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the East Coast; I’ve got bread and water so I’m good. The Jets… oy. And Mitt, lying ever more brazenly

For the first time in my life, there’s a hurricane named after my mother.
But I’m pretty sure she’s never gone 75 miles per hour in her life (even when we were late for school in the car pool), like the winds that are going to whip through New York and up and down the East Coast Monday.
Man, this is going to be one hell of a storm. There’s been talk of nothing else all weekend here in my corner of the world. Bread and water and gasoline and you name it, all stocked up.

Personally, I’m feeling pretty safe. It’s not like I can really go anywhere in Manhattan Monday; the subway, the trains, all of it, shut down completely.

They’re calling it the biggest tropical cyclone in history, so this could be quite a bit worse than Irene last year, which was pretty bad for Connecticut and other parts.
Hurricanes used to seem fun as a kid; then I moved to North Carolina and saw how devastating they can be.

I hope if you’re reading this on the East Coast, that’s a good sign you’ve still got electricity. Stay safe, my friends. Just ride out and hopefully by Tuesday night, we’ll all be getting ready to eat lots of candy and try to figure out why everyone went as Taylor Swift or a vampire for Halloween.

Final hurricane thought: Can you imagine if this storm hit a week later, on Election Day? Mass chaos.

**Not much to say about the Jets’ pathetic showing on Sunday, which would’ve had to have improved by a lot to really be called “pathetic.” A couple short thoughts, since I got my venting out hours ago during the game.

— There’s really never going to be a time where Rex Ryan benches Mark Sanchez. If it didn’t happen Sunday (and I know it wasn’t all his fault, but he was bad), with a dull, lifeless team getting blown out at home by the Dolphins, it’s not going to happen at all.

— I’m not there yet, but almost to a point where I hope they lose the rest of their games so they can get a high draft pick and start over with a new QB. I don’t think owner Woody Johnson is going to fire Rex and GM Mike Tannenbaum yet, but man he ought to start thinking about it.

— I am so sick and tired of these unlikable Jets players and their attitude and their woofing. Freaking disgusts me how much a 3-5 team talks shit to the other team.

Other, happier NFL thoughts from Sunday…

— My poor soon-to-be father-in-law nearly had a stroke watching the Giants-Cowboys (I was there with him; I should’ve had a blood-pressure machine hooked up to him, at least). Giants go up 23-0 when Tony Romo did his best Mark Sanchez impression. Then the ‘Boys storm back to go up 24-23, only for th Giants to re-take the lead 29-24.

Followed by the Cowboys scoring on a quasi-Hail Mary with six seconds left… that was overturned by replay and ruled incomplete. What a nuts game, but the Giants always seem to win them.

 I know the Saints’ defense stinks, but anyone out there still have doubts about how good Peyton Manning is?
— Crazy finish to that Bears game. Carolina is coming up with new ways to lose every week.
— I think Andy Reid will finally be shown the door in Philly after this year. His team played a dog of a game Sunday (and yes, that’s a reference for you, Mr. Vick).


**Mitt Romney is getting more and more desperate. The election is only a week away, he’s going to lose this race, and so he and his team are just flinging more and more bullshit at the wall in the hopes that somehow, it will stick.

His latest complete fabrication? While talking to a group in Ohio, he said that Chrysler is closing down its Jeep plant in Toledo and moving all Jeep manufacturing to China.

Completely, 100 percent not true, as Chrysler pointed out in this blog post immediately after Romney said it.

It’s one thing to scare the hell out of voters about what “the other guy” will do. It’s another to basically tell thousands of Ohioans that they’re about to be fired.

Ah, the last desperate breaths of a desperate campaign.

Mitt wants to be just like Barack. A compilation of great “Sportscenter” ads. And “Homeland,” holy bleep was it good

And now, there’s nothing left except the voting.
For the second straight presidential debate, Barack Obama wiped the floor with Mitt Romney, a man who continues to set new standards for lying and shape-shifting in a human being.
All night Monday I was looking at Romney’s blather about how Obama was right about Afghanistan, about how Romney believes in teachers (how the hell that came up in a foreign policy debate, I’ll never know), and how as President Mitt will “get tougher” with China and Iran, and I simply marveled at how quickly and easily he’s forgotten about all his previous positions on this issue.

I thought Obama was confident, clear, and did a good job reminding voters that what Romney is saying now isn’t what he’s said before (he was particularly good talking about Romney’s stances on Detroit and Afghanistan).

I thought Bob Schieffer did a poor job as moderator, not including nearly enough topics besides the Middle East (Mexican drug war, anyone? European economic crisis, anyone?) and not asking any follow-up questions. After him and Lehrer, I think only women should moderate presidential debates.

And Obama had the slam-dunk rebuttal to Romney’s worrying about our Navy being smaller than it was in 1917:

Look, the fact that this election is going to be close now is all because the President failed to show up for the first debate. I still have complete confidence that at the end of the day, people will see the 37 different versions of Mittens and not know which one would be sitting in the Oval Office every day, and they won’t vote for him.

Two weeks left. I think Obama has done enough. And Mitt, if you feel like agreeing with Obama as much as you did last night, I’m sure there’s a place for you in the next Cabinet.

*If you’re a sports fan at all, you’ve probably seen the brilliant “This is Sportscenter” ad campaign that ESPN has been running for the last 15 years or so. They always make me laugh and shake my head at their cleverness; even the bad ones are pretty good.

Someone with too much time on their hands has put together this compilation of some of the best ads. My favorites? The ones at 1:27 at 11:05.

**Finally, “Homeland.” I run out of adjectives to describe how great this show is; after the amazing final 10 minutes of Sunday’s episode, I just kept mouthing “holy shit, holy shit, holy shit!” at the incredible final two scenes.

First of all, how crazy is Carrie for doing what she did, basically blowing an undercover mission to see exactly who Brody is associated with, just because she’s unstable and is obsessed with him? When she screamed “I loved you,” you saw just how fragile of a person she was, and still is. I also can’t believe Saul and the new CIA guy Peter didn’t have Virgil or someone else stop Carrie when they saw her going to the elevator, up to Brody’s room.

Clare Danes is so terrific in this role; if every scene in “Homeland” was just her and Damien Lewis, I’d be happy.

I thought this was yet another really strong episode, though I can’t believe how fast they’re moving. I thought we’d at least see a few shows of Brody and the CIA circling each other, and now thanks to Carrie’s recklessness, the CIA only has the suicide tape with which to go after Brody.

Also, how cool was that scene between the teenagers at the Washington Monument? Man, the perks of being the VP’s kid.

Obama gets his mojo back in the debate. A haunting “Moth” story from the West Memphis 3. And a sick 4-year-old tries to meet Justin Bieber

Well hot damn and pass the popcorn, that was a hell of a lot better, Mr. President.

In Debate No. 2 of the presidential debate trilogy of ’12, both candidates actually showed up this time. And Barack Obama kicked some serious tushy. The President was feisty, he was aggressive, challenging Mitt Romney on so many lies and changes from his stated positions.
I thought Romney was aggressive too, and pushy, and interrupting of Candy Crowley and the President, and to me, while the Libya stuff (above) was clearly hugely important and a big blow to Romney, two other moments stood out even more:

1. When Romney interrupted Obama and said “You’ll get your chance in a moment, I’m still speaking,” it spoke volumes to the kind of bully Mitt Romney is. I really thought the two might come to blows during that exchange; (watch it here; Romney speaks the line I’m talking about at 1:40.) I really thought they might come to blows about 15 minutes in, and sadly, it’s big for Obama with white male voters that he stood up to Romney like that.

2. The other big moment I thought was very early in the debate, when Obama called out Romney’s economic numbers and said the math didn’t add up. (When Candy Crowley, who I thought did a pretty good job as moderator, asked about the numbers, Romney dismissed her, saying “Of course the numbers add up!”) It was exceedingly important for Obama to stand up and call Romney out on his lies.

Other quick takeaways:
— I thought Romney had a great shot to humanize himself at the end with that softball question about “what’s the biggest misperception about you?” and turned it into an attack on Obama.
— Man, I cringed when Obama talked about W., and basically praised him for not being as far right as Romney. Still too soon for me to think any positive thoughts, at all, about W.
— Great to see a gun control question get asked (but of course still nothing on climate change, or stem cell research). But as usual, both Romney and Obama wimped out. Politicians are so disgustingly afraid of the NRA and gun owners, it’s sad.

I have no idea if Obama will get a big poll bounce after this, but he did all he could do to erase the stench of the first debate. Tonight, I was proud to have voted for him and supported him.

**Every once in a while a story from “The Moth” radio podcast I listen to moves me so much I want to share it here.
Damien Echols is a member of the infamous “West Memphis 3,” the three teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of a 1993 murder, Echols was sentenced to death, but was released from jail in 2011 when new evidence finally cleared the men.

Echols, who has a new book out now, told his story at “The Moth” recently, and it was incredibly powerful. Listen to it here. or on iTunes.

**Finally, I thought this was pretty cool. A school in Wisconsin is trying to help a 4-year-old girl named Hailey Charlotte Roser, who is sick with a rare brain tumor, meet Justin Bieber when he comes to Milwaukee for a concer this weekend. So they made this very cool video to one of Bieber’s songs.

I hope someone shows this to Bieber and he makes this girl’s life just a tiny bit happier.

Joe Biden comes through big-time in debate. A wonderful gesture by an Eagle Scout. And a very cool video with Fun. and cell phones

Thoughts while wondering if the Yankees and Orioles will play 19 innings of scoreless baseball tonight… can’t anyone score in that series?

Well thank you Joe Biden, for showing your boss how it’s done.

In a performance worthy of a Broadway stage Thursday night, the vice-president of the United States (hailing from the great state of Delaware) took apart his youthful challenger during the debate, calling out Paul Ryan on his many lies and distortions as Ryan was telling them.

And among all the other things me and other Democrats are proud of Biden for today, that I think is the biggest. The VP didn’t let Ryan’s mistruths and lies linger in the air for a few minutes while he was speaking them, he interrupted and stammered and loudly protested immediately, so the American public watching wasn’t able to even start to believe what Ryan was spewing.

I thought Biden was terrific on the economy, bring up Romney’s 47 percent comment, finally saying what Obama should have said about the debt (namely, “Where do you think that debt came from? George W. Bush putting two wars on our credit card!”), and I thought Biden’s answers on Afghanistan and Libya showed a much greater knowledge of the subjects than Ryan has.

And major kudos to Martha Raddatz, who showed what a moderator should do. She steered the conversation, asked tough follow-up questions, and actually asked Ryan to explain the Romney/Ryan math on the economy, which of course Ryan couldn’t do with specifics.

I give Ryan credit as well; he stuck to his script, he had the best one-liner of the night (“I think the vice-president very well knows, that sometimes the words don’t come out of you mouth the right way”) and he made as passionate an argument as he could.

But Biden got the ship back on course last night. No, it probably didn’t change many voters’ minds. But he certainly made Dems feel a whole lot better about our ticket, and showed Obama exactly what he has to do next week.

Great job Joe.

**I have no idea why someone thought to do this, but the result is terrific. My future mother-in-law sent me this video of “Mystery Guitar Man” Joe Penna mapped four phones over a large format video, which were then synchronized and filmed from a ceiling-mounted camera.

A very cool song, and a very cool video.

**Finally, here’s another Good News story to warm your heart a little bit. As you know, disgustingly, the Boy Scouts of America refuses to let gay kids or gay adults be in their private organization. But a former Eagle scout named Andrew Zerbinopolous wants to give his Eagle Scout badge to 17-year-old Ryan Andresen, because Andresen’s scout master denies the teenager a badge because of his homosexuality.

“If I can make him feel like he has some support out there, it’s worth it to me to send him a piece of metal,” Zerbinopolous said.

It’s offensive that this kind of a gesture is necessary, but it’s a beautiful stand taken by a “model” scout. More details of the story here.

Romney wipes the floor with Obama in debate. My slightly-delayed “Homeland” review. And the new kids birthday party favorite in Fla.: Alligators

That debate last night between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney was an unmitigated disaster for the President.
If it were a boxing match, it would’ve been stopped on a TKO about 30 minutes in.
It was stunning and dispiriting and frankly, unbelievable to me how bad Obama’s performance was. He seemed bored and passion-less, like a kid sentenced to detention just hoping to get through the 90 minutes unscathed. He looked down and scowled and except for one or two moments, did a terrible job defending what he’s done over the past four years.

Incredibly, it was Mitt Romney, as phony and false a candidate for President that I can ever recall, who was in command. He bullied moderator Jim Lehrer (who was awful, by the way, allowing himself to get steamrollered), he made his points aggressively and, even though he at times seemed like a guy who’d been chugging Red Bull for 72 hours, seemed much more Presidential.

Of course, Romney lied throughout the debate, about his own record (Dude, you can’t claim credit for Mass. schools being No.1, you were governor SIX years ago!), about his economic plan (completely lying about tax cuts), and about Obama’s plan (the $716 million Medicare cut he decried was rich considering his own veep has the same cuts in mind).

But Obama, whether he was just playing it safe ’cause he’s winning, or whatever, never hit back. Didn’t bring up the 47 percent comment, didn’t attack on overseas job shipping, didn’t attack on Romney’s extreme right positions on so many issues.

All that said, I’m not going crazy and hysterical, overreacting like my man Andrew Sullivan, who thinks this may have cost Obama the election.

Debates don’t decide elections, and plus, this debate Wednesday was so wonky and detailed and policy-heavy I think it probably went over the heads of most Americans.

Still, it was a bad, bad night for Barack Obama.

**OK, I’m an idiot sometimes (ask anyone). I said I’d write about the season premiere of “Homeland” in Tuesday’s blog and then I just plum forgot. So a few days late, here’s a short review of a very strong opening episode:
— Surprised at how quickly they threw Carrie back into the fire of a real-live case; I mean, it seemed like 10 minutes after she was picking flowers in the garden and teaching English, she was walking through the streets of Beirut evading bad guys. Just seemed way too fast for her to be back in action.

— I loved the new journalist/terrorist character Roya, although that whole scene where Brody was sneaking around Estes’ office was a little contrived; how the hell did she know how long it would take him to steal the files? But her scene with Brody in his office was pitch-perfect.

–I’m very curious to see how they deal with Brody’s wife knowing he’s a Muslim. She seemed totally freaked out by it, and by his reaction when she threw the Koran on the ground.
— Finally, I love that look on Brody’s face when he was talking to Estes about the drone attacks. You just knew he was killing Estes with his eyes there.

So happy the new season has started; watch this show if you’re not yet.

**Finally today, another wacky story from the state of Florida, a place I came to love after living there for five years. Looking for a cool idea for your kid’s next birthday party, and bowling and pizza parties just aren’t cutting it?
Just hire an alligator, that’s all!

Yes, alligator wranglers are making appearances at kids birthday parties in Florida now. For $175, you can hire Bob Barrett and he’ll bring an alligator pool (and an alligator) to entertain the tykes! Don’t worry, the alligators’ mouth is taped shut, so what could go wrong?


“The Master” filled with great performances, but man is it weird. Mitt sticks foot in mouth, again. And bizarre end to football’s Holy War game

I’m one of those people willing to watch any Paul Thomas Anderson movie, partly because he’s occasionally brilliant (“Boogie Nights”) and also because most of his films star Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is almost always fantastic in front of the camera.

So I was pretty excited to see their new collaboration that just came out, “The Master,” about a quasi-cult leader (Hoffman) who after World War II begins a quest to win over converts and finds as his loyal deputy a troubled young man played by Joaquin Phoenix.
After seeing it over the weekend, I had two immediate thoughts:
A. Joaquin Phoenix is absolutely getting an Oscar nomination; he was fantastic and moving and emotional and just all kinds of brilliant.
2.  I have no idea what to make of this movie.

Seriously, I sat in the theater pretty stunned after it ended, because I’m not sure what I just saw. The film was all kinds of weird.

There were scenes of real power, as Hoffman collects acolytes, including his wife (played by the terrific Amy Adams ), and gives great speeches. But the movie sort of meandered all over the place; without giving away too much, you’re never quite sure whether Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman’s character) really has a powerful hold on his flock, or if they’re just sheep dying to be led.

Still, I’d recommend seeing this film just for Phoenix. He is so expressive in every scene, and he completely nails his character. Up till now I thought he was just an OK actor with one amazing performance in him (“Walk the Line.”) But he was fabulous in “The Master,” outshining even the great Hoffman.

Go see it. And if you figure out what it’s about, shoot me a message, will ya?

**Oh Mitt, Mitt, Mitt. You just can’t seem to go more than a day or two without having some embarrassing statement come out. Monday the Internet sorta blew up with this video (above) of you talking at a fundraiser about how you’re going to win this election.
Here’s the money quote:

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.”
Romney went on: “[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

What an idiotic, cold-hearted thing for him to say. I don’t think this cost him the election; I think last week’s knee-jerk Libya response was worse. But man, he just has no clue about how Americans live. For more Internet pundits reaction to this Mitt video, click here.

**Finally today, check out the bizarre end to the Utah-BYU college football game (dubbed “The Holy War”) Saturday night. The game ended three times, with fans rushing the field three times as well. The second time the Utah fans rushed prematurely, it almost cost them the win.
Once again fans, a reminder: You are NOT part of the game. Stay off the damn field.
Thank you.

The President smacks a solid double in speech. Two cute babies boppin’ to the beat. And an unlikely Cuba-America partnership in softball

And a happy Good News Friday to you all; I spent Thursday night wearing out my remote control, flipping between a scintillating U.S. Open match between Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro (the last few games of the second set is as good as tennis gets) and the Democratic National Convention.

A few words on Barack Obama’s speech: I thought it was good. A solid double, a 7.5 on a scale of 10.

Not as good as Michelle’s, certainly not as good as Bill Clinton’s. There was a much more sober, clear-headed feel to this Obama speech, and I think that’s a good thing.

Not as much rhetorically beautiful imagery, not as many great one-liners (though his beautiful section about “citizenship” was moving, and he did get a good chuckle out of Mitt’s “borrow money from your parents” bit; truly, mocking Romney is just so easy), but all in all I think he made the case for  why he deserves four more years.
It was a terrific convention for the Dems, with even Joe Biden staying on message and giving a rousing talk.

Now, on to the debates, where I expect Obama to crush Mitt and seal the deal.

**OK, this is too cute for words. My father sent me this video; twin baby girls rocking out to music in their high-chairs. I love it when one looks over at the other one laughing.

**Finally, a story that shows that consensus can be found in sports, even among countries who don’t usually like each other. Four years ago a group of senior softball players from the U.S. went to Cuba to play against a team of senior Cuban stars, beginning what was called “The Friendship Games.”

Until this year, it was always the U.S. squad travelling. But thanks to some diplomatic intervention, this summer the Cubans came to America, playing the U.S. squad in Fenway Park. Listen to this beautiful story on NPR’s “Only A Game;”  in it you hear the joy in the voices of the Cubans, and the gratefulness that’s apparent in the voices of the Americans.

It’s truly a simple, inspiring tale of sports thawing relations just a tiny bit.