Let’s hope the world takes a little breather today. Yesterday’s plate was so over-loaded with news it almost killed Wolf Blitzer. We woke up to news of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s arrest (for bareback sex?) and judge’s ruling he’d be held without bail, moved into an impromptu tax cuts press conference by a President Obama so contentious you’d think he was starring in a one-man 12 Angry Men (where he dropped this message for critics on the left), and sadly learned of the passing of Elizabeth Edwards.
That’s a full freakin’ day. The only thing that could’ve made that day any more packed is if the news world decided to go Full Sarah Palin on top of it. Thankfully, we were spared. But genius screenwriter Aaron Sorkin woke everyone up with a shot across Palin’s bow, an appropriate analogy given the context: moose-hunting. It’s especially eviscerating, but no matter how you feel about Palin, you kinda just have to love an op-ed in which the second sentence reads: “You’re right, Sarah, we’ll all just go fuck ourselves now.”
[Don't Ask, Just Vote] Get out yer assless chaps, John McCain, the time has come to vote. Republicans are about to make a stark choice: immigrants or gays! If the DREAM Act, which would help send children of immigrants to college (how dare they!), gets stuck in procedural hurdles, it looks like the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell could come up for a vote as early as today: “A repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay service members could be back on the Senate floor as early as Wednesday morning if Republicans block a series of other measures, including an immigration bill, Democratic aides said Tuesday.”
[Assange Extradition?] It’s possible that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange might stand trial in the United States after all: “Informal discussions have already taken place between US and Swedish officials over the possibility of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being delivered into American custody, according to diplomatic sources. Mr Assange is in a British jail awaiting extradition proceedings to Sweden after being refused bail at Westminster Magistrates’ Court despite a number of prominent public figures offering to stand as surety.”
[Strawberry Fields For...3 Decades] Today marks the 30th anniversary of the shooting death of John Lennon. Where were you when Mark David Chapman pulled the trigger outside the Dakota building on Central Park West in New York City? The New York Times collected a few stories you can read before wandering over to Central Park for the usual candlelight vigil and botched chorus of Give Peas a Chance.
Over at Rolling Stone’s site, we’re treated to these unearthed goodies from John Lennon’s Last Days: “Three days before John Lennon was killed, Jonathan Cott spent hours interviewing him for a planned cover story. The complete Q&A, which is running in the new issue of Rolling Stone — available on stands, as well as in the online archives — has never been published before now. On this page you can find our web-exclusive companion coverage to the piece — everything from audio clips from the interview to a gallery of Lennon and Ono’s years in New York.”
Even though the live Donny Hathaway version is about 14 times better than Lennon’s — a RARE instance of a cover besting the original — we pay tribute with a little Jealous Guy from Lennon.
[Crunching Numbers] The New York Times went over the tax cut compromise, and the results are highly expected: great news for the wealthy, decent for the middle, crap for the bottom: “At least a quarter of the tax savings will go to the wealthiest 1 percent of the population.” Here’s the other side to that coin: “In fact, the only groups likely to face a tax increase are those near the bottom of the income scale — individuals who make less than $20,000 and families with earnings below $40,000.” Yikes.
[I Just Called...To Say...I Hate You] Does President Obama have a problem with his liberal base following the tax cut compromise? “Liberal activists angry about President Barack Obama’s concession on tax cuts for upper-income Americans crashed two phone lines at the White House and are gearing up for another onslaught of calls to Senate Democratic leaders in an eleventh-hour push to kill the deal. Supporters of the New York-based Agenda Project shut down two phone lines for most the day Monday in White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett’s office, according to the group’s founder, Erica Payne. And even though Obama ultimately announced a bipartisan deal that extends tax cuts for the wealthy, Payne said her group, which boasts 10,000 supporters, has plans to push back every step of the way.”
[Disconnect] Not so fast! Check out these numbers: “In the latest Associated Press survey, which was conducted Nov. 18-22, Obama’s standing was quite strong among liberals. While just 48 percent of the overall sample approve of the job Obama is doing, 80 percent of self-identified liberals feel the same — a stratospherically high number.”
[Disney Murder] If you hear It’s a Small World After All too often, you might go insane. But this seems to be less about that and more about a creepy old dude lookin’ for sex, if the attacker is to be believed: “A homeless man has been charged with the murder of a 58-year old over Thanksgiving weekend in Celebration, Disney’s small community in Florida. David-Israel Murillo, 28, beat, strangled and attacked Matteo Giovanditto with an axe at the victim’s home after a drunken fight. There is speculation that Murillo attacked Mr Giovanditto after the older man, who he had got back in touch with after first meeting a year ago, attempted to have sex with him. It is the first murder in Celebration, which was dreamed up in the 1990s and was named ‘New Community of the Year’ in 2001 by the Urban Land Institute.”
[Ironing Alert] Can a government want to protect its secrets and be a beacon for press freedom? Wonkette points out the obvious: “The United States, which is currently engaged in a complete war against some weird guy with a website, is going to host ‘World Press Freedom Day,’ the Department of State announced today. They’re all especially excited about protecting the flow of digital news, which is why Washington is ‘concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information.’ LOL. This is the same Department of State (and Justice Department and Pentagon and CIA and NATO and PayPal) trying everything to cut off WikiLeaks’ access to the Internet and its own money.” Nice use of LOL.
[Wickedly Dark Chefs] These guys get an automatic A+ for dark comedy: “Last Easter, chef Payton Curry and the crew at cheeky Caffe Boa in Tempe decided to get in the holiday spirit by putting together a special all-rabbit dinner. Public reaction ranged from anger to bemusement. The Easter Bunny went into hiding. Needless to say, the publicity was priceless. Now, channeling the spirit of Christmas, and firm in the belief that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, the Caffe Boa team is fashioning a multicourse tasting menu featuring – you guessed it – reindeer.”
[School-Sanctioned Christian Bashing] Yeah, some people aren’t gonna be too happy about this one: “A New Hampshire couple has pulled their son out of his local high school after the teen was assigned a book that refers to Jesus Christ as a ‘wine-guzzling vagrant and precocious socialist.’” But in the context of the entire passage, quoted in the article, it actually makes a ton of sense. Pulling the kid in protest seems a rash move, but hey, that’s your call, Mom and Dad.
[Punching Atheists] Speaking of context and Christian bashing, read this story — it’s quick. But if you want to see what some modern Christians are all about, check out this comment left for us on a straight news piece about the atheist billboard in New Jersey: “Atheists like to run their mouths and play victim, sooner or later the christians are going to retaliate and punch them in their mouths. Then you will all have a real reason to hate our religion, because right now your excuses are weak. You want to pick a fight with us, be careful what you wish for…” Such a wonderful sentiment.
[Well Played] Ritch Duncan and Rusty Ward have probably made the perfect video for the TSA freakout. Meet specialist Larry Wheeler, the man who says “I’m not manhandling your genitals. I’m a man. Handling your genitals.” Pretty damn funny:
That’ll do it for us. You’ve been great. If you like this edition of Hype AM, pass it along or “like” it. And if you have any tips for us, send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org. Danke.