Posted: October 17, 2016 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: ABC, Alisyn Camerota, Barack Obama, Campaign financing, Campaign manager, CBS, Center for Public Integrity, Clinton Cash, CNN, Corey Lewandowski, Democratic Party, Donald Trump, Donald Trump presidential campaign, Fundraising, Hillary Clinton, journalism, media, NBC, New York Times, New Yorker, The Trump Organization
New Yorker television critic Emily Nussbaum, a newly minted Pulitzer Prize winner, spent the Republican National Convention pen-pricking presidential nominee Donald Trump as a misogynist shyster running an “ugly and xenophobic campaign.”
What Nussbaum didn’t disclose in her dispatches: she contributed $250 to Democrat Hillary Clinton in April.
On the nation’s left coast, Les Waldron, an Emmy Award-winning assignment editor at television station KFMB, the CBS affiliate in San Diego, swung right in July, shooting $28 to Trump.
And Carole Simpson, a former ABC “World News Tonight” anchor who in 1992 became the first African-American woman to moderate a presidential debate, is not moderate about her personal politics: the current Emerson College distinguished journalist-in-residence and regular TV news guest has given Clinton $2,800.
Conventional journalistic wisdom holds that reporters and editors are referees on politics’ playing field — bastions of neutrality who mustn’t root for Team Red or Team Blue, either in word or deed.
But during this decidedly unconventional election season, during which “the media” has itself become a prominent storyline, several hundred news professionals have aligned themselves with Clinton or Trump by personally donating money to one or the other.
In all, people identified in federal campaign finance filings as journalists, reporters, news editors or television news anchors — as well as other donors known to be working in journalism — have combined to give more than $396,000 to the presidential campaigns of Clinton and Trump, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis.
Nearly all of that money — more than 96 percent — has benefited Clinton: About 430 people who work in journalism have, through August, combined to give about $382,000 to the Democratic nominee, the Center for Public Integrity’s analysis indicates.
About 50 identifiable journalists have combined to give about $14,000 to Trump. (Talk radio ideologues, paid TV pundits and the like — think former Trump campaign manager-turned-CNN commentator Corey Lewandowski — are not included in the tally.)
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 27, 2015 Filed under: Art & Culture, Mediasphere, Reading Room | Tags: Broadway (New York City), Cover Art, Illustration, Magazines, Manhattan, New York, New York City, New Yorker, Traffic congestion, Traffic Jam
“It sure would be nice to get over a Manhattan traffic jam with one big leap on a skateboard,” Mark Ulriksen says about his cover for this week’s issue.
Posted: March 24, 2015 Filed under: Comics | Tags: Cartoons, New Yorker, Parody, satire
Posted: March 4, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Entertainment, Humor, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary email scandal, Horowitz Report, media, New Yorker, satire, State Department
Posted: November 14, 2014 Filed under: Art & Culture, Entertainment, History, Humor | Tags: Academy Award, Adam Gopnik, Anna Sten, Anything Goes, Anything Goes (1956 film), Anything Goes (song), Beastly (film), Bob Hope, Broadway theatre, Cole Porter, Comedy at the Edge: How Stand-up in the 1970s Changed America, Jackie Gleason, John Wilson Orchestra, Lucille Ball, New Yorker, Tony Award, W.C Fields, Woody Allen
Laugh Factory: How Bob Hope made a career in comedy
Adam Gopnik writes: When I was a teen-ager, I sort of hated Bob Hope. All of us did. Generationally crazy about the classics of American comedy—Groucho and Chaplin and Keaton and W. C. Fields—movie-loving kids could, in the nineteen-seventies, afford to be pious about the industrious, blue-collar types of that dispensation. Abbott and Costello and the Three Stooges had their Dada charm—they were working so hard that you couldn’t help but laugh. Henny Youngman, with his violin and grinning, rapid-fire delivery, was cool in his dirty-uncle-at-the-bar-mitzvah way. (Philip Roth went on the record as a Youngman fan.) If you were lucky enough to get to stay home with a cold and watch reruns on morning television, you could catch Lucille Ball’s and Jackie Gleason’s fifties sitcoms, which were truly funny, and had neat theme music, too.
But Hope was beyond hope. There he was, year after year, on those post-Christmas U.S.O. specials, with shrieking starlets and shirtless soldiers, swinging his golf club like a swagger stick. He seemed barely interested in his jokes, which he recited rather than performed, their standardized rhythmic forms—“Hey, you know what A is? It’s B!”; “Yeah, let me tell you: C reminds me of D”—more like the mumbled monotones of some ancient scripture than like anything funny. James Agee’s canonical essay on silent comedians used Hope as an example of everything that had gone wrong with movie comedy since sound came in.
[read the complete text of Adam Gopnik’s profile of Bob Hope in the New Yorker]
Worse, Hope seemed like the perfect jester for the Nixon court: contemptuous of his audience and even of his role. A rule of American life is that the same face often appears as comic and tragic masks on two public figures at the same time. The unsmiling and remote Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry and the ever-smiling but equally remote Johnny Carson were look-alikes of this kind through the seventies, and so in the early nineties were the shoegazing stoner twins of the rocker Kurt Cobain and the comedian Mitch Hedberg—both sweet and self-destructive and dead too young. Hope and Nixon had that kind of symmetry: the ski-jump nose; the hooded, darting, watchful eyes; the five-o’clock castaway shadow (in the thirties, Hope did razor-blade ads because of it); the flat, nowheresville American accent; above all, the constant show of regular-guy companionability, unable to disguise for long the coldness and isolation at its core.
Woody Allen’s was the one voice speaking up for Hope’s genius in those years; he even did a Hope homage in “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex.” But one felt that Allen liked Hope because he needed something from Hope’s work for his own—perhaps a sense that this much verbal aggression was going to work out O.K., perhaps a desire to be pious about someone other than the obvious.
America, however, is the country of the eternal appeals court, where judgment, once it has worked its way through the system, has to work its way through it all over again. With a comedian or a humorist, the newsweekly eulogy usually oversweetens the case, then the memorial makes some of the right jokes, and then the biography comes to make the last, best case for his importance. Richard Zoglin’s biography “Hope” (Simon & Schuster) does such an effective job of arguing the appeal that even the Hope-hater comes away eager to see more of his good early work, and more sympathetic to the forces in his life and in the country’s which left him hard to like at the end.
Bob Hope, we learn, was born outside London in 1903, and remained in one respect more English than American: the truest thing that can be said about his inner life is that he chose not to have one. His hard-drinking father was a stone cutter—a mediocre artisan in a dying field, who, failing to make a living in London, immigrated to Cleveland only to fail further there. Hope’s mother brought up seven boys in drear, impoverished conditions. The outer fringes of London and then industrial Cleveland were not places designed to bring out the beaming aesthete in any man. The grim determination with which Hope pursued his career is perfectly understandable if you first grasp the grim lack of determination with which his father pursued his own.
Some successful performers are perpetually on, and some are just perpetually pushing. Hope was the second type. You almost have a sense, following his progress, that he became a comedian not because he much liked entertaining people but because he had to do something, and it beat all the other jobs on offer. Then he discovered that the same gift of sober perseverance that would push you up in any other business would push you up onstage. In the mid-twenties, he hopped onto what was left of the vaudeville circuit, which, one gathers, was a bit like writing for the Huffington Post today: to do it, you did it. The early notices suggest that Hope was an efficient comic rather than an inspired one—a swift retailer of as many jokes as he could borrow from other comedians or steal from magazines. This made his rise surprisingly swift without, at first, being particularly notable. He was successful before he had a style.
His real reputation was made on Broadway, when, in 1936, he was lifted out of the ranks of scuffling comics to star with Ethel Merman and Jimmy Durante in Cole Porter’s “Red, Hot and Blue.” (In a duet he sang with Merman, he introduced the Porter standard “It’s De-lovely.”) He was what was called brash, and could dance lightly on the surface of conventional comedy, without melodrama or pathos. “He knows a poor joke when he hides it,” a critic wrote of Hope on Broadway, and he always would.
It was the final, onstage translation of all that pure ambition. Hope knew that there were many laughs to be had by laughing at the whole business of making people laugh. Early on, he had hired stooges to heckle him from the wings during his act. “Don’t you boys know you can be arrested for annoying an audience?” Hope would snap. “You should know!” was their reply. (Johnny Carson took this manner over whole, knowing how to get laughs out of the failure of a one-liner.)
Onstage, Hope was a wise guy and a go-getter—“cocky, brash, and bumptious” was his own summing up. Durante, Bert Lahr, and, later, Jackie Gleason played at being lovable naïfs of a kind. The personae presented by Groucho and W. C. Fields represented another form of displacement: Fields a nineteenth-century con man lost in the new world of immigrant energies, Groucho a rabbinic disputant without a congregation to listen to him. Hope, by contrast, was all the things comedians are not supposed to be: sure of himself, self-satisfied, a man justified in his complacency. He got his laughs by hovering knowingly over his material, without worrying it too much. Hope was entirely a city smart-aleck. (It was already an American voice, right out of Sinclair Lewis’s “Babbitt.”)
The Marx Brothers were satiric—they were against war and authority—but they were not particularly topical. Hope was always “on the news” in a nicely breezy way. Zoglin retails some of his lines from his first movie hit, the horror-flick parody “The Cat and the Canary”: Someone asks whether he believes in reincarnation—“You know, that dead people come back.” Hope: “You mean like the Republicans?” Will Rogers preceded him in this, but that was slow-spoken country-boy wisdom. Hope was tabloid-alert, and very New York. He later referred to his “suave, sterling style” on Broadway; Hollywood to his mind was mere “Hicksville.”
He was also what was called in those days an “inveterate skirt-chaser.” After an early and unsuccessful marriage to a vaudeville partner, he made an early and successful marriage to a minor singer, Dolores Reade. It was successful in the sense that they stuck together and raised children—she was devoutly Catholic—and that she permanently stabilized his life.
[Order Adam Gopnik‘s book “Americans in Paris: A Literary Anthology” (Library of America) from Amazon]
Along the way, however, he had an apparently unending series of sexual escapades. Most of his assignations were with little-remembered beauty queens and chorus girls, though he did tell a friend that he had had sex with the brass-tonsilled Merman in doorways all the way up Eighth Avenue. Although all this was widely known, Zoglin points out, no one chose to notice. Some work went into this. Hope’s agent Louis Shurr once said, brutally, to a new Hope publicist, “Our mission in life is to keep all news about fucking and sucking away from Dolores.”
It was in Hollywood, hick town or no, that he got paired with Bing Crosby, a much bigger star, in a small buddy comedy called “The Road to Singapore” (1940). This was the first of the series of “Road” movies—“The Road to Morocco,” “The Road to Utopia,” “The Road to Rio”—which made him a household name, and are his best shot at posterity. They really are funny, and curiously modern, and a key part of this, strange to say, is Hope’s sex appeal. He’s a self-confident wise guy—exposed as a coward but not as a nebbish. Riding the back of a camel with Crosby in “Road to Morocco,” he’s as at ease in his undershirt as Brando. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 10, 2014 Filed under: Art & Culture, Mediasphere | Tags: Architecture, Bruce McCall, design, Illustration, New Yorker, typography
“Everything that I knew in 1964 is gone,” says this week’s cover artist, Bruce McCall, who came to New York from Canada that year. “I realize there’s a natural cycle. Nothing lasts more than thirty years. No shop, no franchise, even, ever stays more than thirty years. It all just keeps flipping over all the time…(read more)
The New Yorker
Posted: August 26, 2014 Filed under: Think Tank, War Room | Tags: Barack Obama, David Petraeus, George Packer, Iraq, ISI, New Yorker, Syria, United States
An F/A-18 Hornet takes off for northern Iraq, Aug. 18. AFP/Getty Images
ISIS Makes Liberals Rediscover the Necessity of Hard Power
Bret Stephens writes: So now liberals want the U.S. to bomb Iraq, and maybe Syria as well, to stop and defeat ISIS, the vilest terror group of all time. Where, one might ask, were these neo-neocons a couple of years ago, when stopping ISIS in its infancy might have spared us the current catastrophe?
“Are we going to fight terrorists over there—or are we going to wait for them to come here? “
Oh, right, they were dining at the table of establishment respectability, drinking from the fountain of opportunistic punditry, hissing at the sound of the names Wolfowitz, Cheney, Libby and Perle.
And, always, rhapsodizing to the music of Barack Obama.
Not because he is the most egregious offender, but only because he’s so utterly the type, it’s worth turning to the work of George Packer, a writer for the New Yorker. Over the years Mr. Packer has been of this or that mind about Iraq. Yet he has always managed to remain at the dead center of conventional wisdom. Think of him as the bubble, intellectually speaking, in the spirit level of American opinion journalism.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 3, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, U.S. News, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Congress, David Remnick, John Boehner, Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire, New Yorker, Obama administration, Remnick, Republican Party (United States), United States Congress, Weekly Standard
From The Corner, Ian Tuttle brings this:
The Obama administration has been “rather light on executive orders,” says David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker.
“This business about a lawsuit and talk of impeachment is pathetic.”
On ABC’s This Week, apparently having dipped into the NYT’s cannabis stash before going on the air, continues.
“It is a very sad spectacle, and history will look back on this Congress with a very, very critical eye.”
History will look back on which branch of the government with a very, very critical eye?
Later in the show, Remnick insisted that it was shameful that a majority of the Republican party was in favor of impeachment.
Really. A majority of the Republican party?
There you have it. If the editor of The New Yorker says it on ABC’s This Week, it must be true.
Posted: June 28, 2014 Filed under: Politics, U.S. News, White House | Tags: BarackObama, BEN SHAPIRO, David Remnick, Fox News Channel, Jake Tapper, New Yorker, Obama, Rush Limbaugh
For Breitbart.com, Ben Shapiro writes: On Friday, President Obama spent a good chunk of his public speech in Minneapolis complaining about how tough it is to be President Obama. “They don’t do anything except block me!” he complained of the Republican House of Representatives, as though it were the job of Congress to rubber stamp the Great Monarch’s imperial dictates. “And, and, and call me names!”
The most powerful man on earth is a petulant whiner.
But this isn’t the first time he’s had a crying jag over his sad, sad life. Get out your tiny violins.
Whining About The Press. Here’s Obama at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, channeling Richard Sherman:
Sometimes I feel disrespected by you reporters, but that’s okay…Jake Tapper, don’t you ever talk about me like that. I’m the best president in the game!
He was joking. But not about how he feels disrespected. After all, he told Bill O’Reilly in his Super Bowl interview that O’Reilly is “absolutely” unfair for asking basic questions about issues like Benghazi. Poor baby. And in January, he mewled to The New Yorker’s David Remnick that he couldn’t “penetrate the Republican base” because he couldn’t break through the right-wing media firewall to show conservatives he’s “not the caricature that you see on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh.”
Whining About Republicans. In December 2012, Obama stated that Republican opposition to a fiscal cliff deal sprang from personal hatred of him. “I don’t know if that just has to do with, you know, it is very hard for them to say yes to me.” And again in March 2013:
I recognize that it’s very hard for Republicans leaders to be perceived as making concessions to me… Is there something else I could do to make these guys — I’m not talking about the leaders now, but maybe some of the House Republican caucus members — not paint horns on my head?
And just yesterday: “We’ve got a party on the other side whose only rationale, motivation seems to be opposing me.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 15, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Censorship, Mediasphere | Tags: Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., BBC, David Folkenflik, Dean Baquet, Jill Abramson, Jimmy Savile, Ken Auletta, New York Times, New Yorker, NewYorker
For Breitbart.com, Warner Todd Huston writes: On May 14, Jill Abramson, the first female executive editor of The New York Times, was suddenly fired by the paper. A myriad of explanations have been offered for her ouster, but an intriguing one flying under the radar is the ire she reportedly raised by launching an investigation into charges that the paper’s CEO, Mark Thompson, had a role in a sex scandal that embroiled the BBC, as Breitbart News previously reported.
“Jimmy Savile, was rocked by sex abuse accusations that went all the way back to the 1960s when Savile was a young broadcaster with the BBC.”
Ken Auletta of The New Yorker magazine noted that Abramson was not in attendance with Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the Times’ publisher, and Managing Editor Dean Baquet during the annual City University Journalism School dinner on Monday, May 12. This was likely the first public sign that Abramson was on the way out as only two days later the paper announced she was fired.
“…investigations by British authorities uncovered hundreds of teens, both girls and boys, that were sexually abused and exploited over the decades by Savile and a handful of other BBC employees.”
Still, the media has been filled with many reports over the last year that the editor was grating on her bosses. Since her firing, several reasons have been proffered in the press as to why the first female editor was released by the paper of record but one in particular seems to be flying below the radar and may be of far more importance than it seems.
NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik pointed out on Twitter that one of the things Abramson did that riled her bosses was to send an investigator to London to investigate the past conduct of Times CEO Mark Thompson, who was the head of the British Broadcasting Corporation during the biggest child sex abuse scandal in the history of British media. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 12, 2014 Filed under: Entertainment, Mediasphere, U.S. News, White House | Tags: Amy Davidson, Bill Clinton, Clinton, Ken Starr, Linda Tripp, Monica Lewinsky, New Yorker, Oval Office, Paula Jones, Rand Paul, White House
For The New Yorker, Amy Davidson writes:
“You want me out of your life,” Monica Lewinsky wrote in a draft of a letter to President Bill Clinton in December, 1997. At that point, their sexual encounters in his Oval Office study, which had begun two years earlier during a government shutdown and were facilitated by a pizza delivery, were still secret. “I will never forget what you said that night we fought on the phone—if you had known what I was really like you would never have gotten involved with me. I’m sure you’re not the first person to have felt that way about me. I am sorry that this has been such a bad experience.” But, she wrote, she had some Christmas presents for him.
“Should I put my life on hold for another 8 to 10 years?”
In what remains, sixteen years later, a remarkable story of sub-tabloid Presidential behavior, they met twice more in the White House, and in one of those meetings she gave him an antique cigar holder, a tie, a mug, a book, and a “Hugs and Kisses” box. He reciprocated with a stash of tourist swag—a Rockettes blanket, a pin with a New York skyline, a stuffed animal from the Black Dog restaurant, in Martha’s Vineyard—and what Lewinsky described as a “physically intimate” kiss. By then, she had been subpoenaed in a sexual-harassment suit that an Arkansas woman named Paula Jones had filed against the President. Lewinsky soon came to the attention of Kenneth Starr, who had been appointed to investigate the Clintons’ connection to a land deal and ended up looking into everything he could find. The Monica experience was just beginning.
“I turned 40 last year, and it is time to stop tiptoeing around my past…”
Last week, Lewinsky published an essay in Vanity Fair about her life as an object of extreme mass voyeurism. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 6, 2014 Filed under: Global, Politics, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Bashar al-Assad, Democratic Party (United States), History, New Yorker, Obama, President, Republicans
Obama Biographer: “The world seems to disappoint him”
Posted: March 24, 2014 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Adam Liptak, Chuck Schumer, CNN, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, James Risen, Jeffrey Toobin, New York Times, New Yorker
Andrew Beaujon writes: “It won’t take me long to alienate everyone in the room,” Jeffrey Toobin told an audience in New York Friday. “For better or worse, it has been clear there is no journalistic privilege under the First Amendment.”
“The administration wants to “narrow the field of national security reporting,” Risen said, to “create a path for accepted reporting.’ Anyone journalist who exceeds those parameters, Risen said, ‘will be punished.'”
The New Yorker staff writer and CNN commentator was appearing on a panel as part of a conference called Sources and Secrets at the Times Center. A lot has already been written about the conference (links below), so I’m going to pull out a theme that appears again and again in my notes: How much protection do reporters really have with regard to sources, and how much, if any, protection would a federal shield law give them?
New York Times reporter James Risen, who is fighting an order that he testify in the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer accused of leaking information to him, opened the conference earlier by saying the Obama administration is “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.” The administration wants to “narrow the field of national security reporting,” Risen said, to “create a path for accepted reporting.” Anyone journalist who exceeds those parameters, Risen said, “will be punished.”
The administration’s aggressive prosecutions have created “a de facto Official Secrets Act,” Risen said, and the media has been “too timid” in responding.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 10, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, U.S. News | Tags: Adam, Andrew Solomon, Asperger syndrome, Autism spectrum, New Yorker, Newtown Public Schools, Peter Lanza, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Savannah Guthrie
The father of Newtown, Conn. school shooter Adam Lanza told a writer for The New Yorker that he and his ex-wife, Nancy, never suspected their son was dangerous.
“He said…that he really felt that he wished Adam had never been born, and he said he struggled with coming to that, but what happened was so horrific he could only wish it away…”
Peter Lanza, has spoken out for the first time since the murders committed by his son Adam. TODAY Getty Images
“Adam had what was then called Asperger’s syndrome and what would now be autism spectrum disorder…He had a certain amount of autism, and the autism made him as his father said, ‘very weird.’”
— Andrew Solomon
“Nancy Lanza had grown up a ‘live free or die’ New Hampshire gal, and she had a sense that guns were part of everyday life,” author and journalist Andrew Solomon told Savannah Guthrie on TODAY Monday. Nancy, a gun enthusiast who was shot and killed by her son, kept several firearms in the house. The Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle that Adam used belonged to her. “I don’t think guns should be a part of everyday life, but I think they had no sense that Adam was dangerous. They thought he was peculiar, but they never thought he would hurt anyone. Peter, who taught him to drive, said he was the ‘safest, most cautious, most rule-following person I ever met.”’
In an article in this week’s issue of The New Yorker, Peter Lanza spoke to Solomon, the author of “Far From the Tree,” a book about how parents deal with children — including criminal children — who are different from them.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 11, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Law & Justice, U.S. News, White House | Tags: CBS News, Eric Holder, Holder, Jeffrey Toobin, New Yorker, United States Attorney General, Voting Rights Act, Washington Times
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will step down this year, he said in an interview with the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin in the magazine’s Feb. 17 edition.
The most controversial, combative, distrusted, divisive, nakedly political, and openly partisan Justice Department in decades may be about to have an overdue transition? The Washington Times reports: In a feature article, Mr. Holder said he plans on staying in his position “well into” the year.
Last November, Mr. Holder told CBS News he didn’t have “any plans” to step down.
Mr. Holder has made voting rights the test case of his tenure, the New Yorker reported. He has been a vocal critic of the Supreme Court case that invalidated key parts of the Voting Rights Act and has supported Congressional action to renew and revise the law.
During his five years as the nation’s top law enforcement officer, Mr. Holder has also weighed in on other controversial Supreme Court decisions…Washington Times…more…
Meanwhile, just yesterday, David Jackson at USA Today reported Attorney General Eric Holder has “no specific plans to step down by the end of 2014“, Obama administration officials say, contrary to a new magazine report.
The New Yorker, in a piece about Holder’s battles over voting rights, said President Obama’s attorney general “will leave office sometime this year.”
That is a misinterpretation of a frequent Holder comment that he plans to stay in the job until at least most of 2014, officials said….
Posted: January 22, 2014 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Andrew Johnson, Barack Obama, Cannabis, Colorado, Jay Carney, New Yorker, Washington, White House, White House Press Secretary
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney would have an easier sell if he hadn’t just grown himself a beatnik beard. I bet Carney’s got rolling papers in his pocket. I just know it. He’s holding. For sure.
Andrew Johnson writes: President Obama’s recent comments about marijuana didn’t quite call for the legalization of recreational use, the White House clarified. In a recent interview with The New Yorker, the president made comments that some interpreted as a policy shift on the issue.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 22, 2014 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, David Remnick, George W. Bush, New Yorker, Obama, Remnick, Robert Gates, United States
Because he’s so busy showing us what an adult he is
Isaac Chotiner writes: David Remnick’s long profile of President Obama in this week’s New Yorker gives the president numerous opportunities to speak at length about a variety of subjects and events. Remnick’s piece is not edited in the style of most New Yorker stories, perhaps because Remnick himself felt that the best way for readers to really “get” Obama was to let him talk (and talk), largely uninterrupted. The portrait that emerges is not so different from the picture most people who follow politics already have of the president: serious, reserved, rather dispassionate, cerebral, intellectual, and proud of his own self-awareness.
It’s this last attribute, however, that has become increasingly noticeable over the past five years. And the more noticeable it’s gotten, the less attractive it has become.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 22, 2014 Filed under: Politics, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, David Remnick, New Yorker, Obama, Richard Nixon, United States, Wayne Allyn Root, White American
Wayne Allyn Root writes: America, we have an egotistical, delusional president. He has convinced himself that he is disliked by many Americans because he is black.
In a lengthy interview with New Yorker magazine editor David Remnick the president tells him, “There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black president. Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black president.”
[The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide: How to Survive, Thrive, and Prosper During Obamageddon]
President Obama’s approval rating has fallen badly in the national polls. His ratings are historically low. The second lowest in modern history at this point of a presidency. Lower than Bush. Lower than everyone but Richard Nixon.
“I don’t dislike Obama. I dislike his beliefs and his policies”
Here come the excuses. Obama desperately wants to believe it’s all because he’s black. Because if he didn’t have that excuse, it would have to be based on his performance.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 19, 2014 Filed under: White House | Tags: Association football, Barack Obama, Caveat emptor, National Football League, New Republic, New Yorker, Obama, Super Bowl
Comparing professional football to boxing and smoking, President Barack Obama said that if he had a son he would not let him play pro football because of the risk of concussions. Last year, Obama said that he would have to think “long and hard” before he would let his son play football.
“I would not let my son play pro football,” Obama told the New Yorker in a lengthy piece that was published on Sunday. “But, I mean, you wrote a lot about boxing, right? We’re sort of in the same realm.”
Obama then compared playing professional football to smoking.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 10, 2014 Filed under: Art & Culture, Humor, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: Barry, Barry Blitt, Chris Christie, Fort Lee New Jersey, George Washington Bridge, New Jersey, New Yorker, NewYorker
Cover Story: Barry Blitt’s “Playing in Traffic” : The New Yorker
Posted: January 4, 2014 Filed under: Mediasphere, Robotics, Science & Technology, Think Tank | Tags: Artificial Intelligence, Deep learning, Facebook, Frank Rosenblatt, Google, John Markoff, New Yorker, Yann LeCun
Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty
Gary Marcus writes: According to the Times, true artificial intelligence is just around the corner. A year ago, the paper ran a front-page story about the wonders of new technologies, including deep learning, a neurally-inspired A.I. technique for statistical analysis. Then, among others, came an article about how I.B.M.’s Watson had been repurposed into a chef, followed by an upbeat post about quantum computation. On Sunday, the paper ran a front-page story about “biologically inspired processors,” “brainlike computers” that learn from experience.
This past Sunday’s story, by John Markoff, announced that “computers have entered the age when they are able to learn from their own mistakes, a development that is about to turn the digital world on its head.” The deep-learning story, from a year ago, also by Markoff, told us of “advances in an artificial intelligence technology that can recognize patterns offer the possibility of machines that perform human activities like seeing, listening and thinking.” For fans of “Battlestar Galactica,” it sounds like exciting stuff.
But, examined carefully, the articles seem more enthusiastic than substantive. As I wrote before, the story about Watson was off the mark factually. The deep-learning piece had problems, too. Sunday’s story is confused at best; there is nothing new in teaching computers to learn from their mistakes. Instead, the article seems to be about building computer chips that use “brainlike” algorithms, but the algorithms themselves aren’t new, either. As the author notes in passing, “the new computing approach” is “already in use by some large technology companies.” Mostly, the article seems to be about neuromorphic processors—computer processors that are organized to be somewhat brainlike—though, as the piece points out, they have been around since the nineteen-eighties. In fact, the core idea of Sunday’s article—nets based “on large groups of neuron-like elements … that learn from experience”—goes back over fifty years, to the well-known Perceptron, built by Frank Rosenblatt in 1957. (If you check the archives, the Times billed it as a revolution, with the headline “NEW NAVY DEVICE LEARNS BY DOING.” The New Yorker similarly gushed about the advancement.) The only new thing mentioned is a computer chip, as yet unproven but scheduled to be released this year, along with the claim that it can “potentially [make] the term ‘computer crash’ obsolete.” Steven Pinker wrote me an e-mail after reading the Times story, saying “We’re back in 1985!”—the last time there was huge hype in the mainstream media about neural networks.
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Posted: November 1, 2013 Filed under: Art & Culture, Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News, White House | Tags: Art, Barack Obama, Barry Blitt, Comics, Illustration, New Yorker, NewYorker, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
“When I heard that the troubled Obamacare Web site was built by a Canadian company, of course I felt personally responsible,” says the Montreal-born Barry Blitt, who drew next week’s cover, “Reboot.” “I’ll be happy when the glitches are all worked out and everything’s running smoothly, so I can put this all behind me,” he concludes.
The New Yorker
Posted: May 29, 2013 Filed under: Mediasphere, The Butcher's Notebook | Tags: Ace of Spades HQ, Barack Obama, David Brooks, Hot Air, Meyer, New Yorker, Obama, P. J. O'Rourke
What are these conspicuous howls about? Are they really about the tree?
Or are they really about the people howling about the tree?
What is Ace talking about?
Well, it starts with P.J. O’Rourke: Obama Is Stupid. Then, refers to a funny Hot Air item quoting Jane Meyer of the New Yorker, giving Obama a pass on drone-strike kills because he shows how anguished he is all about it, thus flattering Meyer’s own self-conception as The Sort of Person Who Would Put on Shows of Anguish Over Drone Strikes (While Not Objecting To Them Terribly Much In Reality)….
Then adds some commentary…including an analysis of the self-flattering nature of David Brooks praising the impeccable crease of Obama’s pants…. then…somehow… wraps it up with a video of Earth First people moved by their own crying and howling and mourning a tree…
…never mind, just read Ace’s rant—it’s a great example of his signature screwball keyboard voodoo.
Posted: May 19, 2013 Filed under: Mediasphere | Tags: ANDY BOROWITZ, Barack Obama, Federal government of the United States, New Yorker, President, United States, United States Department of Justice, Weekly Radio Address of the President of the United States
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—President Obama used his weekly radio address on Saturday to reassure the American people that he has “played no role whatsoever” in the U.S. government over the past four years.
“Right now, many of you are angry at the government, and no one is angrier than I am,” he said. “Quite frankly, I am glad that I have had no involvement in such an organization.”
The President’s outrage only increased, he said, when he “recently became aware of a part of that government called the Department of Justice.”
“The more I learn about the activities of these individuals, the more certain I am that I would not want to be associated with them,” he said. “They sound like bad news.”
Mr. Obama closed his address by indicating that beginning next week he would enforce what he called a “zero tolerance policy on governing.”
“If I find that any members of my Administration have had any intimate knowledge of, or involvement in, the workings of the United States government, they will be dealt with accordingly,” he said.
via The New Yorker