Tag Archives: Paul Ryan

Jimmy Fallon and Miley Cyrus sing in disguise at a NYC subway stop. Aaron Judge is making me watch baseball highlights again. And the man who wants to take down Paul Ryan has a fantastic opening commercial

So there’s a little bit of depression among my die-hard Democratic political friends today, because after spending an insane amount of money trying to win a mostly-unwinnable race in a special election for a Georgia Congressional seat, the Democratic candidate lost. Jon Ossoff is barely 30 years old, and was running in a very wealthy, very white district in a very red state. And he lost by five points in a district Republicans have owned for 25 years.

Still, many of my political peeps are depressed. They see every small GOP win as a validation of the moron-in-chief, and despair that it doesn’t matter at all what he does or says, people are still with him (he’s got a 36 percent approval rating, so it’s not like A LOT of people are with him).

But I’m a realist: No election that happens in 2017 is as important as what will happen in 2018. So if you’re a bummed Democrat this morning, let me give you a reason to get excited. There’s a man in Wisconsin named Randy Bryce, and he’s trying to unseat one of the biggest phonies in American political history, Mr. Paul Ryan.

Bryce, a proud union ironworker, has just come out with an absolutely gobsmackingly-good ad introducing himself to voters. Seriously, watch this and tell me you’re not ready to vote for this guy. THIS is the kind of candidate Democrats need all over the country, to appeal to voters who by 2018 will loathe Trump in record numbers.

Randy Bryce, take it away…

**Next up today, I love it when Jimmy Fallon does this, because I see so many subway singers here in New York City who are great, and never get attention paid to them.

Fallon and Miley Cyrus decided to perform in disguise at the Rockefeller Center subway station in Manhattan recently, to see if anyone would stop and listen. Quite a few did. Very cool, and proof that for all her stupid antics and stunts, Cyrus can really perform and sing.

**Finally today, I’ve said many times here that I barely watch baseball anymore, but there’s a rookie for the New York Yankees who suddenly is making me check baseball highlights in the morning, a guy who is humble, gracious and incredibly skilled at hitting a baseball far, far away from home plate.

Aaron Judge is having a seriously amazing year. He is 6-foot-8, he hits baseballs to the moon, and he seems to be having so much fun doing it. The Yankees were supposed to stink this year, but instead they’re in first place.

Check out this 500-foot blast he hit two weeks ago; I’ve never seen a ball hit that far in new Yankee Stadium.

The kid plays the game with verve and joy, and is so much fun to watch. It’s great to see, and it’s become a part of my daily routine to see what “the Judge” did the night before.

Very cool story developing, as right now Judge is still in the embryonic stage of fame, and he approaches the game and that fame with innocence.

Bret Stephens column:

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/16/opinion/only-mass-deportation-can-save-america.html?mi_u=68234351&referer=ddd

 

Obama goes out in style in his final State of the Union. A fabulous gun-control ad hits hard. And the Flint water disaster deserves your attention.

Obama.2009.16

Man, I’m really going to miss this guy.

That’s what I kept thinking when I watched Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, the eighth and final one Barack Obama will give as President of the United States.

From the first time I saw him speak, back in 2004 at the Democratic Convention, he’s held my attention and moved me with his words more than any politician of my lifetime (40 years). Whether he’s angry, whether he’s hopeful, whether he’s empathetic, or whether he’s just saying really smart, incisive stuff, Barack Obama has never been boring.

Has he been a perfect President? Of course not. I have lots of issues with him the last seven years, from failing to close Guantanamo, moving WAY too slow on drug decriminalization, clamping down on press freedoms and subpoenaing more reporters than any President ever, and there are a few more.

But the good has far outweighed the bad to me, and watching that tremendous speech Tuesday night, I realized how much I’m going to miss him.

I’m going to miss the way he can cut through the clutter with a funny phrase or joke; he had a couple doozies Tuesday, right off the top saying he was going to keep this SOTU speech short “because I know some of you are antsy to get back to Iowa.”

His best line, despite all the ones basically smacking down Donald Trump’s B.S.,” was about denial of reality, when he said “60 years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there.”

There was so much I liked about this speech, even knowing that very little gets done legislatively in a two-term President’s final year. Loved the talk about making it easier, not harder, to vote, which sadly goes against what so many GOP governors are doing. Loved his passionate defense of the growing U.S. economy, and really liked his talk of criminal justice reform, years too late though it is.

The President seemed, to me, relaxed and confident; I said on Twitter I thought it was his “I’m Keith Hernandez!” moment. He’s done so much good for so many, that when he walks off the stage for the final time next January, it’s going to be a sad day.

Other things I will miss after watching Obama’s final SOTU:

— Joe Biden, smiling for an hour like a proud papa at his son’s Little League game.
— The TV shots of Ruth Bader Ginsburg falling asleep. I think she stayed awake this year!
— The Michelle Obama screen shots. She is one beautiful, powerful, fierce First Lady.
— Trying to decipher the system these TV networks use when they decide which politicians to identify and which aren’t worth it. I have no clue what their formula is.

— Finally, I’ll miss seeing the history of the first African-American President of the United States. Cannot be overstated how important this man has been, symbolically, to the world.

**Next up, one thing Obama has been talking about lately is gun control, and I have to say, I’m impressed with how committed groups like Michael Bloomberg’s gun control lobby has been. This ad, which I just saw last week, was incredibly powerful and points to what could be a life-saving law change, if it ever happened.

The ad shocked me and will probably shock you. Which is the point.

Finally today, the lead poisoning of the children of the city of Flint, Mich. should be a much, much bigger story, and lead to criminal charges for state officials and maybe even the governor.

If you’re late to this like I was, a quick recap: The city of Flint is very poor, and the state of Michigan, thanks in large part to Detroit, is looking for any way to save money possible. So in 2014 Flint’s water supply was switched from Lake Huron, which has been supplying their clean water for decades, to the Flint River, which apparently is notoriously dirty.

Very quickly, folks in Flint noticed their water was odd colored and odd tasting, and what do you know, the state did nothing about it, said it was safe, blah blah blah. And of course, it turns out the water, when tested, revealed huge amounts of lead in it, which can have horrible effects for children.

Rachel Maddow has been all over this story, I urge you to watch the above clip, and not to be outraged. The Detroit News has more damaging info.

 

A great Colbert spoof on Paul Ryan. The Atari 2600 turns 35 years old. And a Greek soccer team gets sponsored by a brothel

**Still laughing as I write this at Wednesday night’s “Modern Family.” Man that show brings the funny every week. My favorite line tonight? “What are you, a flapper? And where did you get that shirt, Forever 1921?”

I have been remiss in not writing about the fine work being done by Stephen Colbert lately. But this bit about Paul Ryan’s volunteer work at a soup kitchen, and the new “charity” Colbert is starting for him, had me in stitches.

Man, how do you screw up a photo op at a soup kitchen? Hard to do.

**It’s appropriate that one of my best friends from childhood, Marc, sent me the following story, since he and I spent hours upon hours of our childhood playing the subject of the story.

This week, the Atari 2600 celebrated its 35th birthday. I literally remember the first day my parents bought one for my sister and I, and we gathered around the new color TV to play “Combat,” “Space Invaders,” and the other awesome games.
The hours I spent in the basement trying to master “Kaboom,” kicking the computer’s butt in Activision Ice Hockey, and shooting down planes in “River Raid” were some of my happiest childhood memories.

(Of course, then there was the day when my mother unplugged the “Asteroids” game I was getting my all-time high score on, just because the school bus was outside honking. Like missing one day of school woulda killed me. I flipped the board three times, for heaven’s sakes!)

This story commemorating the anniversary of the revolutionary game system had a ton of interesting facts in it; if you had an Atari, I predict you’ll enjoy (and how great is the button that allows you to say whether you have a color or b/w TV?

**Finally, a hat tip to my friend Will for this delightful story. We all know the Greece economy is in the crapper, but it’s gotten so bad for sports teams there that a soccer squad has taken to having a brothel sponsor them.

Yep, the Voukefalas team now wears jerseys embroidered with “Villa Erotica” and “Soula’s House of History,” two bordellos it recruited as sponsors after drastic government spending cuts left the country’s sports clubs facing ruin.

Hey, you gotta do what you’ve gotta do. I can only imagine that their victory after-parties are the hottest ticket in town.

And hey, where better to shrug off the disappointment of a loss than with one of the finest women in Greece, who’s paid to make you happy?

I see this catching on in America. How long until we see the “Scores” New York Knicks, or the “Cathouse” UNLV Rebels?

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.

A cool story of “paying it forward.” Paul Ryan, an ultimate B.S.’er. And the bride who ordered a life-size self-portrait as a wedding cake

We begin today with a story so ridiculous it could only involve a Bridezilla.

My good friend Victoria C. pointed me to this, and I’m so glad she did.
A bride in Dallas named Chidi Ogbuta decided to order a wedding cake for her nuptials.
A life-sized cake that looked exactly like she did.
“Creepy” doesn’t even begin to describe this. How self-absorbed do you have to be to have a LIFE-SIZED wedding cake? Are you not certain that everyone at your wedding knows what you look like? Do you fear that the phrase “Eat Me” will lose its ironic context without a giant cream-filled cake in the middle of the dance floor?

And the most important question of all about this 400-pound, five-foot tall behemoth: Do you need a bodybag and a meat locker to freeze the leftovers?

This woman takes narcissism way, way beyond Paris Hilton or Kanye West. This deserves a whole new word.
I also love the part that says the groom was supposed to get one too, but the designer ran out of time. Ain’t it always the groom who gets screwed?

**Meanwhile, my mind is still reeling from the many, many, many Whopper-sized lies told by Paul Ryan last night as he accepted the GOP’s vice-presidential nomination. Hard to narrow down which of Ryan’s fibs were most egregious; was it the one about the GM plant in Janesville closing down for which he blamed Obama, when it really closed under Bush? Or maybe his excoriating Obama about the $700 million in Medicare reductions, while Ryan’s budget did the exact same thing.

This Ryan guy is quite the character. Handsome, young, and able to lie through his teeth while thousands whooped and hollered. Yep, he’s the new W. all right.

Here’s a handy guide to Ryan’s five biggest mistruths Wednesday.


**Finally, a palatte-cleanser that’ll make you feel better about people, and life. My buddy Pearlman had a heartwarming “Pay it Forward” experience while at a diner in Weldon, N.C. recently, with a total stranger just aching to do good in the world.
It’s a beautiful tale told very well.

Romney picks Ryan for VP, and both sides rejoice (me too). A very cool football coach. And The Olympics end with USA basketball on top. And

Saturday morning, Mitt Romney, a man who rarely makes anyone happy, delighted and thrilled two groups of people who are rarely ever happy at the same time: Democrats and hard-core conservatives.

He thrilled the latter by picking Paul Ryan to be his vice-presidential running mate. Paul Ryan, if you don’t know by the media blitz over the past 24 hours, is a 42-year-old seven-term Congressman from Wisconsin.

He’s fresh-faced, he’s enthusiastic, and he’s pretty much beloved in GOP circles for putting forth a budget last year that slashed spending, cut Medicare, and ordered all cute kittens and puppies to be sent to Russia (I read the fine print, that was in there).

Paul Ryan, you see, had a really bright future as a Republican because he, alone among his colleagues, actually put forth more than platitudes like “we need to rein in spending and cut the debt;” he actually put forth a plan on how to do it.

It happens to be a horrendous plan, but it was a plan nonetheless.
Meanwhile, Democrats like me are celebrating the Ryan pick for many reasons, and I’ll try to be brief here.
No. 1: Mitt Romney has made this entire campaign not about himself, but about Barack Obama. It’s been month after month of “Man, this guy is terrible,” without giving any specifics of his own.
Now, the Mittster has picked a guy loaded with specifics, and Mitt is going to have to own every one of ’em. Severe, severe cuts to health care, Medicare, transportation, energy, science, you name it, it’s in the Ryan budget plan. And whether Mitt agrees with all of it or not, he’s going to be stuck with Ryan’s positions. You think Florida seniors are going to want to vote for a ticket with Ryan on it?

No. 2: Ryan’s much more charismatic than Romney. As they campaign together, that’ll be very clear to voters. Romney will look boring and uninteresting compared to his surrogate, making Mitt’s flaws even more apparent.

No. 3. This guy Ryan has never been elected by more than a few hundred thousand people. He’s never faced the kind of national scrutiny he’s about to endure. Sarah Palin was wildly popular, too, before millions got a look at her.

No.4: Ryan is vehemently anti-gay rights. That won’t play well with moderates at all.

So, yeah, like I said, I’m happy. I thought Obama was going to win this thing anyway. But with Romney picking Ryan, the whole discussion has shifted. And that’s not good for old Mitt Romney.

**And now, a video interlude. Vanderbilt football coach James Franklin did something very cool the other day; he was extolling the virtues of a walk-on player named Marc Panu when, out of the blue, he told the kid he’d earned a full scholarship.
Especially at a school like Vanderbilt, which is so expensive, this was a beautiful moment.

**Finally, a few final words about the last day of the Olympics. The London Games were fabulous, really exceptional in every way. (And how great is that photo above?)
Which is why I was glad that the USA men’s basketball team finished off the Games  in style, winning a very entertaining gold-medal game over Spain.

Yes, you could say America is supposed to win gold when we have more of the world’s best in hoops than anyone else. But this team, from Coach K on down, carried itself with class for the 2nd straight Olympics. They played hard, played the right way, and you could tell on the medal stand how much it meant to them to win.

I’m sad the Olympics are over. I’ll miss the swimming and the track and the great stories and all the British flags. But I’m glad that American athletes all over did our country proud, including a men’s basketball squad that has embarrassed us in the past.
Can’t wait till 2014 and the next Olympics!

A brief open letter to Matthew Perry. The Mittster closes in on a veep. And a cereal protest gone very wrong

Dear Matthew Perry,
I write on behalf of all TV watchers everywhere, who laughed at you for years while you played Chandler Bing on “Friends.” I also enjoyed your serious turns on “West Wing” and “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” You clearly have at least a modicum of acting talent.

But for the love of all things Joey Tribbiani, please stop starring in crappy television shows. Spare us the horribly cliched writing, the over-acting, the forced yukking for the camera.
We could forgive you “Mr. Sunshine,” which was terrible in every way even with the awesome Allison Janney in it. OK, so you made a bad mistake in choosing a show.
But now you’ve given us “Go On,” which I painfully sat through 20 minutes of Wednesday night. You’re a sports-radio host whose wife has died and you’re forced to go to group therapy to work out your feelings.
I know it’s just the pilot, but it’s BAD. Really, really, un-good. So I ask you, for the good of your career and us viewers in general, stop making bad TV choices.

Choose smarter (or have your agents choose smarter). Take a supporting role in something really good, like a miniseries or something. Don’t be the star, just blend in. You can make a comeback to good TV; hell, look at Matt LeBlanc! He did the horrendous “Joey” and “Lost in Space” and now he’s on the brilliant “Episodes.”

It’s not too late to save yourself, Matthew. In the words and vocal inflection of Chandler Bing, Could your career BE any deader after this show tanks?

Hugs and Kisses,
Michael

**So while we’ve all been watching the awesome Olympics (great stories Wednesday with Allyson Felix winning the 200 meters, and Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings winning a third straight gold in beach volleyball), it looks like everyone’s favorite Republican presidential nominee is closing in on a veep choice.
According to this story from NBC News, it’s going to be one of three men: Senator Rob Portman of Ohio (a former G.W. Bush appointee), former Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota (who wowed us in the GOP primaries), or Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, he of the plan to slash Medicare and completely obliterate spending in this country.

OK, so I may be biased, but I don’t think any of these boring white men move the needle for independent voters. I think Ryan will galvanize Democrats, I think Portman is going to remind everyone of W’s disastrous reign, and Pawlenty is the one who coined the phrase “Obamneycare.”

Clearly, Mitt’s looking for a safe choice who won’t overshadow him.
Me? I think he ought to pick Sarah Palin and surprise the hell out of America.

**Finally, a lesson here: If you’re going to protest at a company’s headquarters by burning their product, make sure you know how to actually set said product on fire…