Saturday Night Entertainment: Billie Piper Singing “Girlfriend”

You know you might might have been watching a little too much of Doctor Who when everytime you watch The Tudors you expect to hear the sound of the Tardis appearing in old England. (That Ann Boleyn character is fascinating, but I hope she doesn’t lose her head, or suffer a comparable fate, over Henry.)

This week, instead of appearing in England, The Doctor takes on Daleks in Manhattan. There’s now torrents with enough seeds for decent (but not optimal) downloading speed available on line. While waiting for this week’s episode, there’s always more Saturday night entertainment with Billie Piper:


MoveOn Creates Ad to Respond To McCain Singing About Bombing Iran


MoveOn has created the above ad, to run in New Hampshire, Iowa, and possibly other states, in response to John McCain’s musical recommendation to Bomb Iran. While John McCain has tried to defend this statement, it is increasingly looking like his “macaca” moment. John McCain is telling critics to “get a life,” but he was sure harder on John Kerry after he botched a joke about George Bush getting stuck in Iraq.

Hoping For More Choices in the Presidential Race

As the campaign goes on I remain disillusioned by the choices offered by both parties. Looking at the top tier in the Democratic race, neither Hillary Clinton or John Edwards look like people I could ever really see as President. Barack Obama does impress me as someone who just might be Presidential caliber some day, and at least was right on Iraq  while Clinton and Edwards were wrong, but was thrown into this race before he was ready. I’m still hoping that we are offered additional choices. I’d welcome Al Gore in the race provided he runs as a combination of opponent of the war and government reformer rather than as the populist he sometimes tried to be in 2000. Otherwise I’m hoping someone in the second tier breaks out and shows both that they would make a good President and that they can beat the major candidates.

It is far too early to decide upon a candidate, and I want to take a much closer look at both their past records and what they do in the upcoming year before deciding. That said, at this stage Bill Richardson impresses me the most so far as is probably apparent from some of my previous posts on him. Richardson remains a long shot (as was Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter at this stage) but he plans to put up a fight. The Des Moines Register reports that Richardson will be the first Democrat to run television ads in Iowa:

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is scheduled to begin airing television campaign ads in Iowa next week, the Democratic presidential candidate said at a party fundraising dinner in Denison Thursday.

Richardson will air two ads beginning Monday. One is a 60-second biographical look at the candidate; the second is a 30-second spot on his political career, including his foreign policy experience, aides said.

The ads are intended to increase name recognition among Iowa Democrats in the leadoff caucus state. Ads also will begin running in New Hampshire on Monday, although Richardson said more advertising money was spent in Iowa. Aides would not disclose how much money was spent on the ads…

Aides hope the ads will help separate Richardson from “celebrity” Democratic candidates New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. Tom Reynolds, Richardson’s Iowa spokesman, said Richardson will run a grass-roots, “traditional Iowa caucus campaign.”

When Clinton or Obama appear in Iowa it is before large crowds. Richardson is at a disadvantage. Perhaps appearing in smaller groups, and even in the living rooms of caucus goers, as they are accustomed to seeing the candidates, will win some over. If Richardson has to run from behind, at least running on a stronger resume than his opponents might give him a fighting chance.

Maureen Dowd on John Edwards and His Haircuts

Maureen Dowd looks at one of the problems faced by John Edwards, but misses the real problem in today’s column:

Whether or not the country is ready to elect a woman president or a black president, it’s definitely not ready for a metrosexual in chief.

In presidential politics, it’s all but impossible to put the man into manicure. Be sensitive, but not soft. Effete is never effective. Not much has changed since George H. W. Bush drove his New Hampshire campaign off the road by requesting “a splash” more coffee at a truck stop…

John Edwards has reminded us that even — or especially — in the age of appearances, you must not appear to care too much about appearances.

When you spend more on a couple of haircuts than Burundi’s per capita G.D.P. , it looks so vain it makes Paul Wolfowitz’s ablutions spitting on his comb look like rugged individualism.

Following his star turn primping his hair for two minutes on a YouTube video to the tune of “I Feel Pretty,” Mr. Edwards this week had to pay back the $800 charged to his campaign for two shearings at Torrenueva Hair Designs in Beverly Hills. He seems intent on proving that he is a Breck Girl — and a Material Boy.

He did not pony up for the pricey bills from Designworks Salon in Dubuque, Iowa, or the Pink Sapphire spa in Manchester, which offers services for men that include the “Touch of Youth” facial, as well as trips “into the intriguing world of makeup.” The Edwards campaign calls makeup a legitimate expense.

Speaking of roots, my dad, a police detective who was in charge of Senate security, got haircuts at the Senate barbershop for 50 cents. He cut my three brothers’ hair and did the same for anyone else in the neighborhood who wanted a free clip job. Even now, Mr. Edwards could get his hair cut at the Senate barbershop for $21 or the Chapel Hill Barber Shop near his campaign headquarters for $16.

So it’s hard for me to understand how a guy could spend $400 without getting Bergdorf Blonde highlights. (The tabloids claim that Brad and Jen used to get matching streaks.) And don’t campaign donors get snippy about sponsoring tonsorial treats?

Someone who aspires to talk credibly about the two Americas can’t lavish on his locks what working families may spend on electricity in a year. You can’t sell earnestness while indulging in decadence.

Mr. Edwards, the son of a mill worker, moved from a $5.2 million, six-bedroom Federal mansion in Georgetown to a 28,000-square-foot behemoth in North Carolina with a basketball court, a squash court, two stages and a swimming pool.

Dowd concludes, “All the haircuts in the world may not save John Edwards from a blowout.” The haircut is only part of the problem. The real problem is the lack of substance which makes Edwards so susceptable to such characterizations. Dowd also found that John Kerry and Bill Clinton had similar problems:

John Kerry sank himself by windsurfing in spandex and ordering a cheese steak in Philly with Swiss instead of Cheez Whiz…

Bill Clinton sometimes flirted with metrosexuality, with Zegna ties, Christophe haircuts, Donna Karan suits and keen anima, but the heterosexual beat out the metrosexual.

Despite this, John Kerry did better than any challenger to an incumbent during time of war, and Bill Clinton was elected President twice. John Kerry and Bill Clinton had a chance to overcome such characterizations because there is more to their story. John Kerry has years in Congress fighting for the causes he campaigned about, and Bill Clinton, for all hsi faults, was a policy wonk who, in contrast to George Bush, wasn’t afraid of hard work when necessary.

In contrast, John Edwards has a single, rather undistinguished term in the Senate which he used as a launching pad to run for President rather than to accomplish anything. His smile and trial lawyer’s ability to work the jury (or voters) placed him in a position where he seemed like a good choice as running mate for John Kerry, but if actual experience and accomplishments were considered this was a choice comparable to George H. W. Bush’s choice of Dan Quayle.

When Dan Quayle was picked, people tried to be polite by saying he was so “young” as opposed to more openly saying he was not being qualified for national office. We are seeing a comparable response when talk about Edwards concentrates on topics such as his hair cuts. To some degree the You Tube video is a cheap shot as anyone could be made to look similarly silly while preparing for a television appearance. If there was real substance there, it would be easier to move past such topics, but in this case his haircuts are as significant as anything else about Edwards. (more…)

Bill Moyers Investigates Failure of Press to Investigate During Run Up to War

Bill Moyers is coming back to PBS, and he’s doing so to present a big story. Editor and Publisher calls the show, to appear next Wednesday, “The most powerful indictment of the news media for falling down in its duties in the run-up to the war in Iraq.” I’ve often noted that Knight Ridder was often reporting the news when much of the media was acting as lap dogs for the Bush administration. Moyer’s film, Buying the War, also points this out:

Among the few heroes of this devastating film are reporters with the Knight Ridder/McClatchy bureau in D.C. Tragically late, Walter Isaacson, who headed CNN, observes, “The people at Knight Ridder were calling the colonels and the lieutenants and the people in the CIA and finding out, you know, that the intelligence is not very good. We should’ve all been doing that.”

Stories about the conservative bias at MSNBC are also repeated:

Phil Donahue recalls that he was told he could not feature war dissenters alone on his MSNBC talk show and always had to have “two conservatives for every liberal.” Moyers resurrects a leaked NBC memo about Donahue’s firing that claimed he “presents a difficult public face for NBC in a time of war. At the same time our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity.”

None of the networks did a real job of investigating the news. “Of the 414 Iraq stories broadcast on NBC, ABC and CBS nightly news in the six months before the war, almost all could be traced back to sources solely in the White House, Pentagon or State Dept., Moyers tells Russert, who offers no coherent reply.”