Great moments in journalism

Carol Lee FTW:

The president’s teleprompter also elicited some uncomfortable laughter after he announced Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as his choice for Health and Human Services secretary. “Kathy,” Obama said, turning the podium over to Sebelius, who waited at the microphone for an awkward few seconds while the teleprompters were lowered to the floor and the television cameras rolled.

The only remaining question is whether Obama should be impeached now, or whether he should have been impeached yesterday.

I really don’t get the TelePrompter obsession, a fixture on the right – note how Limbaugh challenged Obama to a debate with “no TelePrompters.” It was pushed hard before the debates, just in time for Obama to roll over McCain like a line of panzers in Poland circa 1939. The guy is not dumb.

Some thoughts on the Decade Project

I am listening to every song that made the end of the year Billboard Top 100 chart, supplementing my already pretty-good knowledge of indie rock and hip-hop and dinosaur nonsense like Richard Thompson with oodles and oodles of pop nonsense. Early reflections:

– When Tom Chaplin of Keane sang the lines “I’m getting old and I need something to rely on,” he was 25 years old.

– Nickelback had more top 40 hits than almost any band I like, and almost all of them are completely fucking awful. (I do not completely hate “How You Remind Me,” but re-writing it fifty times is the apex of uncool.)

– David Banner’s “Play” is to “Wait (The Whisper Song)” as Michael Steele is to Barack Obama.


What Obama says:

The top congressional leaders from both parties gathered at the White House for a working discussion over the shape and size of President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan. The meeting was designed to promote bipartisanship.

But Obama showed that in an ideological debate, he’s not averse to using a jab.

Challenged by one Republican senator over the contents of the package, the new president, according to participants, replied: “I won.”

What I hear:

Just so we’ve got it straight

According to Instapundit, Leon Panetta is not qualified to lead the CIA but Joe the Plumber is qualified to report on the fighting in Gaza—more qualified, even, than “most other journalists.”

Can I say that I don’t understand the Joe the Plumber phenomenon, and never did? I’ve got nothing against him, but he’s not very interesting or politically sophisticated. And there’s no evidence that he can write. Why isn’t PJM bankrolling Michael Totten, who is both of those things, in spades? Or why not send a real conservative writer like Mary Katherine Ham or Amanda Carpenter?

Because that wouldn’t turn PJM into a national punchline?

Still tippin’

A sincere thanks to Spencer Ackerman for this. I know a lot of reporters, and I don’t want to put them down, but few of them make me go “damn, how did he get that story” like Spencer.

And another thing. I don’t know what precipitated his compliment, but if he’s pushing the Weigel brand, I appreciate it, because at the start of December I am leaving reason magazine, my journalistic home since April 2006. You could not concoct a better 30 months to be the political reporter for America’s flagship libertarian journal. I was there when the Republican party hit the rocks in 2006 (and I’m afraid I helped cost Jeff Flake his committee seat). I covered the Ron Paul r3VOLution from start to… well, is it finished yet? I was there when Bob Barr joined the Libertarian Party, there when he became its presidential candidate, and there when he ended his campaign by blowing out the candles on a birthday cake.

It’s an amicable parting. Starting last week, I’ve been writing at The Economist‘s Democracy in America blog. There are three Word files with freelance stories open in front of me, and there are e-mails about additional reporting gigs in my mailbox. And I get to keep living in and covering D.C., a much more pleasant place than it has the right to be thanks to people like Spencer.

Serve the service

I have a soft spot for presidential conspiracy theories the same way I have a soft spot for the radio shows about UFOs that come on in the 1 a.m. hour. To wit, this shit.

How would I go about buying stock in the companies that pad rubber rooms? Things are going to be overflowering by election day 2012.

Weigel, Weigel everywhere

I’ve got a column up at Reason about the politics of the gay marriage amendment. I also posted a diary at Daily Kos about the potentially election-swinging gaffe of the Democratic candidate in California’s 50th district. Kos frontpaged it, so it’ll probably become a ping-pong table for a while.

A note about Daily Kos. I belong to the site under my real name – the same name I used to mock Daily Kos back in 2004 in a piece for the American Spectator. If I wanted to run for president or buy 100,000 shares of Exxon or something, this might be used against me. In my more Democrat-supporting moments, I’ve said some snarky crap there. But I find it pretty irresistable to stay near the Kos universe. It’s a fascinating, unfolding experiment in media and a hell of a lodestone for what Democrats are thinking. (I used to have a FreeRepublic account for the same reason, but that was years ago and I forget what my name and password were.)