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John Oliver Ends Season with a Bang from the ‘Salmon Cannon’

Ahead of his performance tomorrow at “The Concert for Valor” on the National Mall, John Oliver ended the inaugural season of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” with a segment poking fun at a Washington state news story which featured a cannon that could launch salmon over dams.

Oliver gathered an impressive list of his celebrity buddies being shot in the face with the “Salmon Cannon,” including Jon Stewart, Jimmy Fallon, Tom Hanks, Dwight Howard, Seth Meyers, Anderson Cooper, Mario Batali, Rachel Ray, David Letterman, Wanda Sykes, Stephen Colbert, Wayne Brady, Meredith Vieira, and Joel McHale. Even Homer Simpson and R2D2 made appearances.

Don’t forget, “The Concert for Valor” is a free event tomorrow on the National Mall in honor of Veterans Day. (Oliver’s wife Kate Norley is an Iraq War veteran.) Click here for more information.

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WCP Interactive: Dem Voters May Choose Non-Dem if Gray Wins Primary

A  new interactive put out by Washington City Paper, based on a PPP poll conducted for WCP and the Kojo Nnamdi Show earlier this month, shows how this year’s Mayoral race could stretch far beyond the Democratic primaries. DC is a heavily Democratic town, and winning the nom is usually a guarantee of victory in November. But this year, majorities of supporters of all the top-tier candidates -except Vincent Gray’s -say they are at least somewhat likely to vote for a non-Democrat if their candidate doesn’t win the nomination.

If Gray does win, he’ll have a lot of disaffected Democrats looking for other options. 57% of Murial Bowser’s supporters who were polled said they were “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to look outside the Democratic party, while 61% of Jack Evans supporters and 59% of Tommy Welles supporters say the same. By contrast, if Gray loses, the eventual Dem nominee won’t have to worry as much about losing his supporters -only 41% of whom said they would look elsewhere.

This could boost the chances of Independent candidate David Catania. Catania was first elected to city-wide office as a Republican, but split from the party in 2004 over their stances on gay marriage and urban issues. He has since run and been elected as an Independent, and declared his candidacy for Mayor March 12.

Van Jones: “Sleep is for Mortals”

cufflinksSo who sports the super-patriotic cuff links? If you guessed Van Jones from CNN’s Crossfire, you win! Actually none of you guessed Van Jones, so none of you win. But that’s okay, even the man himself admits they’re uncharacteristic.

“My liberal friends get mad at me for wearing them,” he told us through a mouthful of chicken tacos after his 6:30 show last night.

He’s not exactly a wrap-yourself-in the flag kinda guy after all. Indeed, his appeal on Crossfire is as an unapologetic, anti-war, anti-gun, pro-social welfare Progressive. Add to that a stint as Obama’s “Green Jobs Czar,” and detractors are quick to label him as one of those people trying to “destroy America.”

VanJonesVan himself isn’t bothered by such accusations. “You know, I think there are only two parties in this countries -the ‘Give a Damn’ Party and the ‘Don’t Give a Damn’ Party. Me and everyone I work with, we’re part of the ‘Give a Damn’ Party.”

We asked Van where co-star Newt Gingrich fell on that spectrum. “Oh Newt is great! You know I think I’m the only other person in the country besides his wife, Callista, who has read every single one of his books.”

Even the alternative fiction? “Okay, every non-fiction book.”

That’s what we thought.

“Working with Newt is a privilege though. The man knows everything. You never know when he’ll turn to you and say something like, ‘President Reagan once gave me some advice about life…’ How often do you get to have access to a resource like that?”

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What You Should Think, Straight From Politico

Immigration, Blah Blah Blah

Pramila Jayapal writes in a piece headlined “Why don’t Republicans want to win?” that polls show Republicans stand to lose key House seats and national elections if they fail to pass some kind of immigration reform. Here’s a key line though: “…he’s [Speaker John Boehner] been more Hamlet than hero — hemming and hawing while his caucus goes to war with itself over whether reform is to be or not to be. Something is rotten indeed.” That brings us to a more interesting point, as in what if Republicans do pass some kind of reform? Will it be enough? Will Hispanic voters forgive and forget Rep. Steve King‘s “calves the size of cantaloupes” comment just because the GOP passes immigrant-friendly laws it really, really hates just to win votes? We’ve been over the GOP-must-do-this-to-be-relevant arguments so much it’s almost a trope. It’d be nice if opinion writers start thinking a little deeper on the issue and stop giving us generic columns with well trod ideas.

Bet you hadn’t heard, but WaPo was sold this week…

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What You Should Think, Straight From WaPo

This week we perused the opinion section at Washington Post, mostly so you don’t have to. Here’s a sampling of what we found:

Step Right Up and See the Show

WaPo’s Kathleen Parker, with an admittedly heavy heart, thinks it’s time to get cameras out of the courtroom. She cites as exhibit A ”the carnival trial of George Zimmerman.” While we agree the trial has had its… dramatic moments, we can’t blame it all on the cameras, can we? Parker thinks so. She argues that the mere presence of a camera makes people act different and thereby, without the cameras, this particular trial would be going differently. Maybe. Sometimes the drama is just inherent in the characters playing it out, camera or not. Really, it’s a special kind of person who has no qualms about saying “creepy ass cracker” on the witness stand and it’s a special kind of lawyer who opens with a knock knock joke. Do we really think it’s just the cameras that’s making them do this? Now, if you want to get into a discussion about how the networks are covering this particular trial — ahem, CNN — then we should talk.

If you’ve never agreed with Jennifer Rubin before, read on…

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What You Should Think, Science Edition

We perused the various opinion sections across DC media today, mostly so you don’t have to. We even picked up on a theme: science. Here’s a selection of what we found.


For a second, we thought we were reading The Onion when we saw “America’s Looming Helium Disaster” atop a Politico column this morning. We pictured ruined children’s birthday parties and proms without balloon arches. The devastation! But this was not The Onion and we learned that helium is actually used for a lot more than just making things float. Scientists need helium for critical experiments, for example. MRI machines require it to work. Next generation semiconductors depend on it. According to the two scientists that wrote the piece, there’s also a critical shortage and problems in the crude helium markets—at least, there could be unless Congress acts soon. Bonus points to this one just for working in phrases like “helium must not be held hostage to congressional gridlock” and “havoc in the U.S. and global helium markets.” We like the drama.

Global warming? Pshaaaw…

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What You Should Think, Straight From TWT

Today, we took a spin through Washington Time’s opinion section, mostly so you don’t have to. Here’s a few highlights:

TSA Almost As Bad as Day-Laborers

We thought we had a winner when we started reading a column by airline pilot David Bittle headlined TSA = Thousands Standing Around. As anyone who has ever been to an airport knows, that’s actually not a bad description of the TSA. But he can’t make the point without a subtle racist swipe: “…screening areas often look a lot like where shift-change meets day-labor pick-up encampment…” Do day-laborers encamp? Has anyone asked day-laborers how they feel being compared to Bittle’s shiftless TSA? So many questions.

We have others… Read more

Fish Food

(A sprinkling of things we think you ought to know…)

Wonkette is now just a 40-year-old woman’s diary– Politico‘s Patrick Gavin has a story that puts a happy, smiley face on just how terrible Wonkette has become. Gavin’s piece brings up all the cool things Wonkette once had — fearless D.C. gossip, tabloid-worthy photos from the Capitol’s social scene, good writing, etc. — and reminds readers that you won’t find those things on the blog anymore. The features that made Wonkette fun to read have, instead, been replaced by “the occasional heartfelt rant from Schoenkopf about, say, gun control or the tornadoes in Oklahoma.” Now it’s a “national” site, according to its editor and owner, Rebecca Schoenkopf, who lives in Los Angeles. By “national,” Schoenkopf means she picks up on little news bits coming out of various statehouses across the country and mocks it with humor typical of high school freshmen who shop at Hot Topic. Curiously, Gavin also writes that under Schoenkopf, “long past are those very public and nasty feuds with Washington politicos.” This, even though it was just in January that Schoenkopf called FishbowlDC’s editor “a fucking cunt” with “cunt” being in the headline before that mysteriously disappeared. Not quite the creativity or intelligence that the blog’s founder Ana Marie Cox was known for. Read more

Politico Publishes 3-Day-Old Scarborough Blog Post

A new development in the ongoing mystery that is Joe Scarborough‘s curious relationship with Politico.

At 8:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Politico published a blog post written by the Republican commentator and MSNBC host headlined “Marco Rubio’s Risky Gamble.” It’s a four-paragraph opinion piece about the balancing act Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is playing to avoid upsetting the conservative and moderate wings of the GOP.

The post only came three days after a separate Scarborough item, which is noteworthy considering how large swaths of time can pass between his posts. But even more noteworthy is that the Rubio item was posted already, in full, at Scarborough’s personal site three days ago (approximately 1.48 years in Politico time). Another element: Scarborough posted something new about Rep. Michele Bachmann‘s (R-Minn.) decision not to run for reelection on his personal site.

Why would Politico, a publication known for functioning in real time, post something so old? Read more

Star-Ledger Blogger Hates CPAC Crowd Warming, Calls it ‘Worst F&@king Thing’

Sitting in the media center on the final day of the Conservative Political Action Conference was the relatively discreet Paul Mulshine of the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

Conservative comedian Steven Crowder had just taken the stage to introduce the next speaker. “Are you ready?!” Crowder yelled into the microphone three times as a way to warm up the crowd. That’s when Mulshine turned around in his seat and said, “I hate that. I’ve been to a lot of CPACs. That is the worst fucking thing when they do that.”

Mulshine isn’t keen on crowd warming or the people who do it. “I want to strangle them,” he continued. “I’ve been to 10 of these things. Certain lines you hear over and over. And that is the fucking worst.”

Asked about himself, Mulshine told us… Read more