Well, who knew that activating a new WordPress account for research purposes would unlock a long-forgotten old relic from the past like this?
Five-plus years ago suddenly seems like unfathomably long time ago, even though it’s clearly not. Or at least it really shouldn’t be, under normal circumstances. But that rarely seems to be the case these days, where everything under the sun now seems to be rapidly coming apart and wildly flying off in all directions.
What a curious situation.
As an inveterate fan of the original 1989 BBC series “House of Cards” I was highly skeptical that it could be successfully adapted into an American context. It had some pretty big shoes to fill, after all – most notably, the outstanding performance of Ian Richardson as the cunningly ambitious protagonist Francis Urquhart… a small taste of which can be seen here:
Happily, Netflix and the production team assembled behind this groundbreaking project have managed to develop a streaming series that is not only a worthwhile successor to its namesake, but an intense political drama that is, quite arguably, even more fascinating and deeply engrossing than the original. Kevin Spacey is brilliant as the ruthless, scheming House Majority Whip out for revenge and grander things, so too is the rest of the excellent cast. After a few episodes you may well be expecting to see them on “Meet the Press” or other cable news shows, such is the verity of the series.
Not a subscriber to Netflix? No problem. You can still enjoy all 13 episodes free online by clicking here. Each link will provide you with a number of different sources (Note: you may have to play a bit of whack-a-mole to kill off the pesky pop-up windows that appear, some of which be warned promote NSFW offerings. Putlocker/Sockshare are usually quite reliable, as are Videxden and 180Upload.).
Standing out by a country mile from the slew of rubbish advertisements sponsoring this year’s Super Bowl broadcast, The Richards Group agency down in Texas crafted this perfect, brilliant little gem for Chrysler’s Dodge Ram truck brand:
There’s little doubt this ad will hit home with its target demographic, but I suspect it also has sentimental appeal to a much broader audience; perhaps even including atheistic heathens that would have normally winced at the prospect of listening to Paul Harvey’s unctuous God-bothering treacle, don’t farm and, in fact, have no ostensible need whatsoever for a truck.
Quite simply, it is a remarkably beautiful ad.
A recent bullshit survey by Nanos Research asked a thousand or so random people online to describe the “personality” of the five federal parties using a single word.
Just for fun, let’s pretend this ridiculous poll is meaningful in some way and compare the primary responses given, shall we?
Conservatives were described most frequently as “untrustworthy”; Liberals were most often considered “bad/incompetent”; and the NDP were viewed as… wait for it, “socialist.” Oh, and for the record, the Greens were described as being “green” (shock!) and the Bloc as “useless.”
At the second tier, the Conservatives were described as “conservative” (duh); the Liberals as “untrustworthy”; and the NDP as “caring.” Following that, Conservatives were “bad/incompetent”; Liberals “Good”; and the NDP “bad/incompetent.” And on it goes with increasingly smaller percentages of idiotic respondents ascribing all manner of contradictory descriptions to the various parties. By the way, “bad/incompetent” was the artful term applied by Nanos to those responding with undefined expletives such as (one imagines) “fucktards,” “twats” etc.
So, what are we to make of this “survey”? Personally, I’d suggest absolutely nothing at all other than the utterly unsurprising fact that a predominant number of people think all of the parties are complete rubbish for the most part. Curiously however, Liberal activist, lawyer and ursine fetishist James Morton derives this brilliant conclusion from the poll: “We have to figure out how to be seen as trustworthy and competent again. I say review the shift to ‘New Labour’ in the UK — Tony Blair made Labour seem to be something it hadn’t been before.”
Well, perhaps… although I’m not certain what specific lessons Blair’s “third way” re-boot of the Labour Party has to offer the Liberals at this juncture.
Can one really call ten people gathered on Parliament Hill a “rally”?
Perhaps a more concerning issue than the “robocall” scandal and the minimal effect some purport it may have had on a number of marginal ridings may be the fact that, as now seems to be the trend, almost 4 in 10 eligible voters couldn’t be bothered in the least to cast a ballot in the first place.
Keynote speeches from this year’s White House Correspondents’ dinner by Jimmy Kimmel and President Obama:
Well, go figure. Who would have thought that a resurgence of the “Red Tory” political brand would occur in, of all places, Alberta? For weeks now, right-wing pundits across the land have been viciously excoriating the Alberta PCs for being “Red Tories” and for having drifted so far to the left in recent years as to have become a supposedly oppressive Liberal government in all but name – something that would surely result in them being, as Ezra Levant confidently predicted last week, decisively “crushed” in yesterday’s election.
Ah, but as things turned out, clearly not so.
It seems that Levant (his pre-election blog archive now makes for even more hilarious reading/viewing in retrospect) and other perpetually indignant tub-thumpers of the right-wing media elite utterly failed to appreciate the evolving dynamic of the Alberta electorate; especially that of the province’s increasingly diverse urban demographic which evidently has little regard for a collection of hateful bigots, witless hayseeds, ignorant cranks, anti-science crackpots, and religious kooks masquerading as “libertarians”…
After four continuous decades in power during which time the ruling Progressive Conservative party was virtually unchallenged in any serious fashion, is it any wonder that so many Albertans are apparently now so eager for a change? Given the inevitable “throw the bums out” impetus amongst the normally feckless electorate usually kicks in a good deal sooner than that, a steady run of 41 years at the helm is an impressive achievement by any measure.
While it’s a shame that opposition to the entrenched establishment had to orginate from the more extreme, crackpot wing of the conservative movement, it’s no surprise the ideological insurrection should have come from the imaginary rural hinterland given the PCs had gradually assimilated over the years much of the liberal urban social agenda and arguably become far more “progressive” than “conservative” in nature.
So, Alberta is now poised to elect a spanky new “libertarian” government with results that may well prove to be amusing and/or disconcerting to some. Whatever the outcome, it may well be a positive thing because there’s nothing worse than dreary stagnation, and nothing more stimulating to eventual progress than radical change.
Seeking to dispel accusations of pathological flip-flopping, “Mitt” Romney unveiled plans to use a time machine to kill earlier versions of himself who believed in universal health care and gay rights.
Now that he’s the presumptive Republican nominee, I guess “Mitt” will also have to exterminate earlier iterations of himself such as the one that wanted to force women with babies out of the house and re-enter the labour pool so they could experience the “dignity of work” and the one that vowed to support so-called “personhood” legislation that would effectively make the pill illegal.
At Gettysburg, PA (of all places!) Rick Santorum announced today that he’s throwing in the towel on his bid to become the Theocrat in Chief of the United States.
No surprise really, considering that in all probability he would otherwise have lost the primary later this month in his home state. Not only would that have been a crushing blow, but also a bitter personal reminder of the defeat that saw him ousted from the Senate in 2006. Better to end his improbable yet relatively successful campaign on a positive note rather than waging an ugly and futile campaign against Mitt Romney’s vastly better-financed attack machine.
Viewing his emotionally touching concession speech it’s not hard to see why so many people were attracted to Santorum – he comes across as warm, genuinely compassionate and, as pols say, “relatable”… What a tragic shame for Republicans that Willard Romney has absolutely none of those qualities to his credit.