Monday, November 30, 2009

Mr. Nice Guy - The Final Word on The Internet Age

It may come as a surprise to those of you who have never met me, but I have somewhat of a reputation for being a "nice guy". Not the kind of "nice guy" actors like Steve Carell are always portraying, who are so socially awkward and bumbling they are more the object of pity than respect. Nor am I the "nice guy" of lore who is eternally doomed to walk the earth as a single and lonely man playing the role of the perpetual sympathetic ear to every broken hearted girl - the male version of "always a bridesmaid, never a bride."

I won't irritate you with the list of things you might find on the last page of a YMCA job application, but I will say that I've always taken a certain pride in being known for my warmth, courtesy, good sense of humour, and quick wit - but lately, a strange phenomenon has been occurring. Some seem to be questioning that warm and fuzzy feeling they once harboured toward me. They're no longer quite sure what to make of me. A strange look crosses their face - kind of like the look you see on people who keep swigging from a carton of eggnog, trying to decide if it's gone bad or not.

It seems that with the dawn of social networking sites, people are discovering that I'm a Stephen-Harper-loving, George-Bush-cheering, Iraq-war-supporting capitalist. I have no use for quasi-fascist politicians like President Obama or Jack Layton (or the NDP as a whole for that matter), environmentalists, socialized medicine, socialism, or people who think that wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt makes you cool.

This is nothing new. I'm a university educated political scientist who's been writing about politics and the media for close to 15 years. In 1999, my former website "The Rant" was voted one of the top 5 conservative sites, and my blog has been mentioned by some of the largest political websites on the Internet, and was even referenced twice by a New York Times #1 best selling author. After my wife, my faith, my family, and maybe music, American politics has always been the great passion of my life. I live, breath and eat it. I've seen James Madison's wine cellar; I stood only a few feet away from Thomas Jefferson's desk and telescope; I even stood on the glass floor showing the foundation of the first Church in Jamestown. People often admonish Claire and I for not taking the same pains to visit the homes of our own country's leaders. It's a fair criticism, but one that has an easy enough rebuttal. Traveling 10 hours to see a crumbling duplex in Baie Comeau doesn't quite hold the same breathtaking appeal as walking the grounds of Jefferson's Monticello - a protected United Nations World Heritage Site.

Again, all of this is nothing new. These beliefs have been a part of my identity since I was 16 years old, but lately I've been feeling like the old guy who's exposed at end of every Scooby Doo episode when his rubber mask is ripped off by "those meddling kids". So it begs the question - what gives? The Internet, that's what gives.

Ever since Facebook came on the scene, there's a weird social cross-pollination occurring, and I've written about it previously. As people read and watch the things we post on our Facebook pages, they are peering into parts of our lives and personalities they didn't know existed. I've discovered some of my friends and acquaintances swear like cabbies and drink like sailors on shore leave. Some are devoutly religious. Some like to talk about their sexual escapades in graphic detail. Some are die hard anarchists, who believe the world is run by a covert network of Freemasons, Oil Executives, and "the military industrial complex". Others seem to blow through relationships like Micheal Jordon blows through money at the tables in Vegas.

And you know what? Who cares? Freddy foul mouth doesn't cease to be a nice person because he drops F-bombs like cracker crumbs on his profile page. It actually makes me admire him all the more, because it demonstrates that he has enough respect for the rules of polite society to realize it's not appropriate to 4-letter it out loud at the office. Amy the anarchist's views may annoy the hell out me, but that doesn't necessarily mean the sweet and caring attitude she demonstrates towards her co-workers is a phony pretense she puts on to lull us all into a false sense of security while waiting for the day she and her merry band of political malcontents succeed in tearing down the world's governing class.

At the end of the work day, everyone goes home, and if you're not near and dear to any given person, it shouldn't shock you that the tapestry of experiences and emotions that make up their personalities go beyond the realm of please, thank you, and idle pleasantries. We are the sum of our parts, and well, some of us let our parts hang out a little more than others in that strange little world called the "profile page".

It's all a little weird, and it's getting weirder:

Potential employers are now checking Facebook profiles before they even look at a someone's resume, and if you have a photo of the night you did a Jello shooter off the belly of that waitress, you may be the best accountant this side of Toronto, but your application is going to make a fast acquaintance with the office shredder. People are "Facebook stalking" old flames to see who they are with, who they talk to, and even try to track what bars they frequent. But I'm getting off topic. The world will always have it's weirdos and misguided HR departments. Facebook is just another vehicle to do - whatever it is they do.

So is "Mr. Joe Nice Guy" still a "nice guy" even though he's Reagan lovin', National Review reading, bomb the hell out of 'em all, right-wing son of a bitch? Well, not even my own wife can recall the last time I ever raised my voice. I am as cordial to strangers as I am to my friends, but some of my hippy dippy liberal friends can't square my sweet guy attitude with my conservative beliefs.

Let me help you.

I give food and sometimes money to the homeless guy who lives under the bridge near my home. I just don't think the government has any business forcing me to give my own - or anyone else's - money to him. I don't like being forced to recycle because some people are under the misguided belief that we're "killing the planet". If you want to recycle, have at 'er. Just don't fine me for putting a carrot peel in the "dry" garbage bag. President Bush may well have been a cowboy, but I felt safe at night knowing that he was a cowboy with his six shooter ready, saying "Stand back partner". I don't feel so safe anymore.

No one is a monolithic robot of banal pleasantries, and neither am I. Just because I believe in limited government, low taxes, free markets, and military spending doesn't mean I don't care about my fellow man. My wife was so shocked at people's bizarre and hostile reactions to both of our rather mainstream political beliefs that she's decided to remain silent when a conversation turns political, even though she often wants to blow her brains out when she's listening to someone parroting some idiotic banter they heard on CBC that morning.

Guess what? Not everyone thinks like you do- not even the occasional nice guy.



Saturday, November 28, 2009

Can't Stop the Shop - Black Friday Attack

Though the turnout was slightly more encouraging than expected during the post-American Thanksgiving Greco-Roman orgy of shopping called "Black Friday", it will still be interesting to see how the retail sector holds up as the holidays draw nearer. So frenzied was the shopping and eating extravaganza that plumbing calls for clogged sinks and backed up toilets increased by 50%, as they do every year on this day.

As always, I encourage all my loyal readers to keep the free market rockin' in the free world, and spend, spend, spend - like Rosie O'Donnell on all you can eat shrimp night at Red Lobster.

Now, as always, there are a few festive malcontents who smugly refrain from any form of holiday philanthropy because of their disdain for the very economic system that allows them the freedom to waste my hard earned tax money, and organize protests so they can rid the world of Walmarts, while the rest of us have to actually work for a living. Frankly, if these whiny little enviro-freaks want to knit reusable hemp tampons for the person on their Secret Santa list, that's fine with me, as long as they don't try to sell me any "Fair Trade" coffee beans. Remember, the next time one of these anti-trade layabouts starts screaming about how your cup of coffee comes from the work of exploited child labour, remind them that it's their tiny hands that make it so tasty!!!

Ok, maybe the acidic nature of this update is a little out of sync with the very spirit of Thanksgiving, which is supposed to melt the heart of even the most ardent of misanthropists amongst us. But, just like turkey ain't turkey without the stuffing, the Hype ain't the Hype without taking a few bow shots at lefties, liberals, paleo-liberals, extreme libertarians, and their unkempt cousins, the anarchists (to borrow a phrase from the invaluable Jonah Goldberg).

Anyway, if you're still waiting for the plumber to retrieve the PS3 you dropped down the toilet while trying to get the high score on 'Grand Turismo 5 - Prologue' in the bathtub, hang tight. They're probably next door trying to unclog the catastrophe some Ritalin-fuelled kid stuffed down the kitchen sink.



Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rick Sanchez and the OJ Effect

I've often said that the Washington Post bares the brunt of the blame for the sub-standard level of journalism we see today in the form of cable news networks. Were it not for the relentless and vengeful glory-seeking attack on President Nixon by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein - the douchebags that launched a thousand careers - perhaps the news would contain more reporting and less smug editorializing by the likes of Rick Sanchez and Solodad O'Brien. Sanchez's endless self-aggrandizing - like using twitter and Myspace to generate publicity for his frequent appearances on CNN - would almost be comic, were he not spinning in a constant state of self-rightousness. You would think that someone who not only hit and killed a pedestrian while driving intoxicated, but also fled the scene of the accident, would have some semblance of humility. You would be wrong.

In an industry that loves to shout "HYPOCRISY" at any conservative politician who so much as jaywalks, it was almost surreal to watch Sanchez endlessly replay footage of the day he chased down a Georgia State Legislator who refused to overturn a 2006 prohibition that would have reduced the prison sentence of Genarlow Wilson. The legislator - who worried that changes to the law could possibly allow convicted sex offenders back on the streets - was relentlessly badgered by a sanctimonious Sanchez, whose usual tunnel vision blinded him from appreciating the difficult situation the man was in. Maybe someone should have played the tape from the mid-eighties that forced Sanchez to resign from his job as a Miami TV anchor when he was unexpectedly caught accepting favours from a corrupt political operative during a police sting.

I'm picking on Rick because he is perhaps the best example of how low the bar has dropped since the age of "Gotcha!" journalism erupted. In the post-Watergate cable news world, he proves that as long you are in constant attack mode, your own credibility - or past criminal conduct for that matter - is of trifling importance. Stranger still is that Sanchez lacks even the respect of his own peers. After a recent "tweet" claiming he could easily get a job at Fox News as a Latino "sellout", the industry erupted in a cacophony of laughter, and prompted a Fox News' spokesman to wryly reply "Everyone knows that Rick is a joke, he shows that he's a hack everyday. And he doesn't have to worry about working at FOX because we only hire talent who have the ability to generate ratings."

Perhaps Ace Smith and James Bowman were right to lament about how our society has abandoned the quaint notion of shame.

But what about the OJ Effect? I'm not talking about the popular urban usage of the term, which implies money buys justice. I'm talking about the birth of modern media-created spectacles that turn virtually unknown and unexceptional people into overnight celebrities. What brought this to mind was Jeffrey Toobin's rather odd "brief" that appeared in the New Yorker magazine critiquing the Stupak amendment. Not only did the article skirt the boundries of outright plagiarism, it was plagiarized from a 1989 Supreme Court briefing, whose contents were later proven to be entirely fraudulent. It appears that Toobin has been a "legal analyst" for so long he's forgotten he's an actual lawyer.

Shortly after former Heisman trophy winner OJ Simpson was arrested for the double murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, murder became not just news, but entertainment, and CNN needed a ready slew of "legal experts" to keep up appearances. Suddenly an adjunct faculty member from Georgetown Law of no particular distinction named Greta Van Susteren became a household name; OJ's freeloading house guest, Kato Kaelin, is now a regular fixture in a variety of TV and radio shows, resulting from nothing more than hearing a bump in the alley below his window; A Los Angeles prosecuting attorney named Roger Cossack is now enjoying a cushy job as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Pepperdine University School of Law, as well a good paying gig at ESPN. As for Toobin, he has the distinction of being the "First TV Legal Analyst" at ABC - all a direct result of being plucked from virtual obscurity to provide commentary during the OJ trial (as a matter of fairness, I must admit I've always had a grudging fondness for Cossack).

There seem to be more self-professed analysts making the daily rounds of cable news stations than there are actual journalists. One hour of watching CNN produced commentary by a "Gaming Analyst", a "Fashion Analyst", and even a "self esteem expert", whatever the hell that is. There was a time when the only kind of analyst who had any business being anywhere near an anchor desk was a "Financial Analyst" or a "Political Analyst", and even the latter have been wearing out their welcome as of late.

Could anyone have envisioned a world, even years after Ted Turner cut the ribbon on CNN in 1980, where people would tune in every night to watch disgraced former prosecuter Nancy Grace speculating on the contents of bottles seen in grainy pictures of the inside Anna Nicole Smith's fridge?

The "news as entertainment" shtick is an old hobbyhorse of writers who fancy themselves a cut above the pack for making such a painfully obvious observation. What I'm really driving at is why a news anchor like Rick Sanchez sometimes doubles as a financial commentator on CNN's "Your Money". Why does Jeff Toobin sit in every election night as a political commentator, when he can't even avoid being duped by a dubious Supreme Court briefing? Everyday we watch the village idiots act like interchangable polymath titans playing a bizarre game of musical chairs.

As I write this, Rick Sanchez is reminding us that using words is much better than settling disagreements with bats and clubs (I had no idea), after quite deliberately refering to a band of thugs who are on rampage in Mumbai as "conservatives" because they are "anti-Muslim". He's making sure to repeat the dishonest conservative angle, and has it blazed across the screen, just in case someone's not listening. Really Rick, how do you know they aren't liberals? Did you interview any of the looters to find out if they thought free markets, limited goverment, personal responsibility, and fiscal restraint was the answer to India's third world conditions?

My wife, a graduate of a grueling 2 year massage therapy course, said that when we hear that an elderly person fell and broke their hip, it didn't really happen that way - their hip broke first, causing the fall. Her comment reminded me of a buffoonish Rick Sanchez, clumsily trotting about in a post-Watergate post-OJ news world. Sanchez's daily rantings and Toobin's half-baked legal ramblings aren't what caused the media to break, it was broken long before they got there.



Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No Soup For You!! Midweek Pit-Stop

I have never rejected a comment submitted for posting on the blog until today. A reader, identifying himself as "John", emailed a comment on a recent piece of mine entitled "Heydrich's Ghost". He lamented about; "...why we're to feel sorry for the Jews" and repeated the tired old canard about how those; "...not glorifying the Jews are considered anti-Semitic".

We are not opposed to debate at the Hype. On a message board hosted by Prospero forums, the article received over 130 comments. There are legitimate arguments to made about settlements, boundaries, and historical claims on the region, but I will never let this blog become a forum for bigotry - no matter how cleverly disguised it is.

Every day we are bombarded with anti-Catholicism, anti-Semitism, and the ranting of lunatics who think 9/11 was a Jewish/American neo-con conspiracy. We have made it very clear in the past that we won't post comments sympathetic to those views - anything else is game, and will appear unedited within 12 to 24 hours.

So have at it. Write in! Have your say! Leave a thoughtful comment, or a semi-coherent alcohol induced diatribe about the merits of socialism and eating 8 small meals a day! If the fancy strikes you, go ahead and write a long and insulting post about how I'm a right-wing whack job who murders homeless people, drowns kittens, and volunteers as the guy who pushes the buttons on lethal injection machines on the weekends. We even encourage naked pillow fights, cage matches and also dueling when warranted.

Have a great week everyone!



Saturday, November 14, 2009

Weekend Musings - Welcome to TSH

The Hype has picked up lots of action this week - kind of like Barney Frank on 2 for 1 Tuesdays at Mort's House of Flapjacks, or Eliot Spitzer on coupon day at Miss Kitty's House of Leather (read whatever you like into either of those jabs). The blog has received close to 100 hits in less that 48 hours, and the counter continues to click away, like that nifty statistics keeper that continually updates the world's population. We are at a loss to explain just what to attribute this phenomenon to, but I am extremely grateful for all of you who take the time out your day to check out my punch-drunk ramblings. For our newer readers, note that I view blogging as the most convenient format to transmit information, and treat it more as a website than a Facebook-like profile page. I try to post once or twice a week, but if good taste and proper sleeping habits are your thing, you may want to shop elsewhere. I am grateful to everyone of you for making The Straight Hype what it is today. Thank you!!

In other news, today was my lucky day! I just got an email from Mr. Amala Kumbadi, President of the First National bank of Sierra Leone, and he's chosen ME of all people to help him release a rather large unclaimed inheritance. He just needs my social insurance number and some credit information. I'll be flashin' Benjamin's to the tune of $2.5 million once I wire $5000 American for the processing fees.

I really don't get it. Thousands of North Americans are victims of this kind of Internet fraud every year, and losses are estimated in the range of $150 million. Experts claim there are three main victim groups: The greedy, the sympathetic, and the vulnerable. They should add a fourth: The astoundingly stupid. What would cause anyone to think that an official from a corrupt country - without any real infrastructure, an average life expectancy of under 40, and no functioning government - would be in possession of that kind of money? I can understand people falling victim to certain phone scams, or a good hearted person being suckered via email into sending money for Little Sarah's operation on her deviated septum. I just can't grasp how people could believe that someone claiming to be an official from a country where 12 year old's wield machetes like nerf balls and elections are decided with M-16's could hold employment in an institution that requires a nominal amount of stability to operate.

Law enforcement officials are usually very charitable in their warnings, repeating non-offensive axioms about how "if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is." How about this instead: If you send a substantial amount of money to a stranger you've never heard of simply because you've received an email asking you to, you shouldn't be allowed to use sharp objects unsupervised. If you huddle over the ATM machine to hide your PIN number, but willingly send your SIN number to some guy in Nigeria, no number of FBI or RCMP warnings are going to protect you. You might as well burn the money in your savings account in a bonfire and roast S'mores over the blaze.

Anyway, consider that my PSA for the week. By the way, I recently have come in possession of some classified information that may be of the utmost interest to you. I usually would not contact you by this method, but the director of my bank has asked me to handle....



Monday, November 09, 2009

A Little Bit of Everything...Blogging by Numbers!!

I learned two things the hard way this Halloween: Parent's didn't appreciate my "naked french guy" costume, and dressing up as a dog does not give you licence to pee on the lawn and bark at your neighbors. Hey! It's blogging by numbers time!!!!

1 - Remember the day you discovered that underneath Robert Penn Warren's breathtaking prose and beautiful writing lies...well, nothing? Today was that day for me. I flipped through my cherished 1st edition hard cover of World Enough and Time (a treasured gift from my wife), and realized that Warren was very much like the big Hollywood directors of today.

Think of Pan's Labyrinth or There Will Be Blood. Fantastic movies - hypnotic, really. They are masterpieces of cinematography and soundtrack, but beneath the shiny surface layers they have very little to say, and fail miserably when they try. In Pan's Labyrinth, Guillermo Del Toro uses neo-realism and existentialist trickery to weave a convoluted tale about Franco's Spain and father-son relationships. It may seem oh so very clever to the hordes of pseudo-intellectuals who buy into such nonsense, but it's audio/visual wizardry that really wins the day - and that is no small feat. It is nearly impossible to tear your eyes and ears away from the astonishing beauty of his camera work, or the sheer perfection of Javier Navarrete's score.

I guess it's the price we pay for living in the age of fancy doodads and whatchamacallits. We can all take comfort in the fact that, every so often, a movie like The Royal Tannenbaums, The Aura, or In Bruges comes along to remind us that there are still a few directors out there who are true masters of their craft. Well, almost - The Aura's young director Fabian Bielinsky died after making only two movies.

2 - Message to the Cohen Brothers - You've lost it. There used to be two types of Cohen Brother movies: Simple morality tales (Fargo), or flashy show pieces with snappy dialogue (The Hudsucker Proxy). Now there is only one type of Cohen Brother movie - overrated nihilism with a few good lines (No Country for Old Men). Take a break guys. It was annoying enough when you started to make movies whose only goal was to showcase your rapidly declining cleverness. Now you're just boring. Go for an ego check and come see us in 2 years.

3 - Spraying cheap vanilla-scented air freshener in the washroom after you've taken a crap makes everything smell like you took a dump in a gingerbread house.

4 - What's on deck? I just finished a piece, which will be the last in a series of articles dealing with this weird sort of cross-pollination I'm seeing that's blurring the lines between reality and cyberspace, a direct result of social networking sites, message boards and texting. It should be up in less than a week.

5 - My wife is more than a decade younger than I am. We actually met during a filming of "To Catch a Predator" - just kidding. She once recounted that when she was in high school, her English assignments sometimes consisted of dissecting songs from the 1960's. One such assignment was to write an essay about the meaning of Simon and Garfunkel's The Sound of Silence. Here's a warning to any current or aspiring teachers: Claire and I have decided that when we have children, if one of our spawn ever comes home with an assignment that involves writing an essay about anti-war nonsense by useless counter-culture icons (or even rock stars from this decade), I swear by the beard of Zeus I will become your worst nightmare. There is not a principal or superintendent who will not burst into tears from an incessant campaign to prevent you from infecting our children with your mindless drivel. Keats, Shelley, Burns, and Chaucer were put on this earth for a reason. Consider yourself warned.



Wednesday, November 04, 2009

CNN - Theatre of the Bizarre

The expression on the faces of CNN's panel of "analysts" were similar to the look my dog gives me when I try to feed her a gummy bear. After suffering a crippling defeat in the first round of voting on the President's Health Care bill in late October, the Democrats were dealt yet another blow Tuesday night, as Republicans soundly won the Governorships of both New Jersey and Virginia. These were no small victories. In Virginia, Robert McDonnell became the first Republican in over a decade to win the state. In New Jersey, Chris Christie defeated Democrat John Corzine in a race that most pundits had written off as a lost cause.

Not even the androgynous bubble gum king of cable news, Anderson Cooper, could deny what was happening. I almost felt a pang of sympathy for John King, whose considerable talents and nifty little pie charts could probably be put to good use, were he not buckling under the weight of CNN's liberal overlords.

Holding court in the "fair and diverse" pundit corner was the forever moribund and professional ideological prostitute David Gergen; Pamala Gentry from BET; token conservative Mary Matalin; and her freak of nature husband James Carville, who I suspect is a hybrid version of a Ferret mixed with the DNA of Orville Redenbacher. The panel was rounded off by those faces you see every now and then, but can never put a name to - that skinny white guy in the off the rack suit, and the black dude who has that weird pattern going on in his receding hairline that looks like some kind of Etch-a-Sketch that went terribly awry. Wolf Blitzer popped in now and then, but was frequently interrupted, as if no one really cared what the old man had to say anymore.

This merry cavalcade - still high off the fumes of "Yes We Can" gas soaked bandannas - seemed unable to grasp that these wins, specifically in Virginia, were a clear repudiation of not only beltway Democrats, but the President's laundry list of pet projects. "Hate" was a word that was liberally brandied about as the abracadabra word of the night to explain away the crushing blow delivered to the Democrats a year after such a resounding victory. You see, the American people were filled with hate, or so the CNN intelligentsia would have us believe, running amok in the streets like punch drunk anarchists ready to tear up their driver's licences and burn down the White house - but something doesn't quite add up.

The network had spent the entire month of November declaring the "death of conservatism", and they paraded a never-ending Tonga line of left-of-center "pragmatists" to ensure us of this. The GOP had to "moderate", we were told, or they would be exiled to farthest corners of Mount Doom, never to be seen again. Curious. They said the same thing in 1977 - then along came Reagan. They said the same thing in 1993 when President Clinton soiled the oval office and a few dresses along the way - then came the 1994, 104th Congressional blow out. And now, we have have New Jersey and Virginia solidly in the pockets of not just Republicans, but principled conservatives. I pointed out on the pages of this very site that this media game was nothing but a clever ruse, and American voters demonstrated they were no one's fool.

- but back to CNN.

The cable news network has always been a reliable stage for the theatre of the bizarre. Who can forget the election night interview with WILL-I-AM from the Black Eyed Peas, who was beamed in as a sort of hologram from a cheap episode of Star Trek (Don't believe me? Click here). I have been a media watchdog for over 10 years now, and I have seen a lot of strange things, but nothing in my experience caused as much intracranial combustion as the stunt liberal journalist Soledad O'Brien pulled.

As the night deteriorated, O'Brien bumped poor John King off the set, and produced a computer generated pie chart showing that close to 65% of the American public were dissatisfied with the way the country was being governed. The unhappy folks were displayed in blue. Next she showed the 35% demographic who were happy or unsure with the way things were being handled in Washington - they were displayed in yellow. This was good news, proclaimed O'Brien. It sure didn't sound like good news, but she proceeded to point to a small section of the yellow "happies" that was shaded slightly orange. This, she said, suggested a trend. What trend was that, you ask? With a quick wrinkle of her nose, O'Brien switched to a new chart where the stats were reversed. Apparently, one year from now, the 65% of unhappy folks were going to be completely satisfied with the their elected officials - "a positive sign for the Democrats", declared Soledad. The trend that was alluded to was never explained. My wife and I exchanged the most puzzled glance that has ever crossed between us. Even the Coop seemed confused, and also embarrassed - so embarrassed that he actually mumbled something about possible "...spin from the liberal segment of the media". Anderson will no doubt be going to the Principal's office, and it ain't going to be pretty.

Wednesday morning, if you clicked on CNN's website, you didn't see any mention of the shifting of the electoral tectonic plates that had occurred. It was down in the politics section, hidden underneath a story about a homeless guy who plays the cello. This is shameless, but the administration's weekly Sunday morning finger wagging at FOXNews is meant to convey a not so subtle warning to the folks at CNN: Step out of line, and you'll be sitting in the cheap seats at the next White House press briefing.

Bizzaro hour aside, we should temper our victory with an ounce of prudence. The GOP is notorious for fumbling the ball, and reports of vote tampering and fraud by the Democrats are beginning to trickle in. Had the margins been a little slimmer, Tuesday night's results could have been drastically different. Polls are showing that over 40% of Americans identify themselves as conservatives - Republicans would do well to remember that.

Maybe Soledad's magical political forecast is correct. One year from now, perhaps 65% the population will be happy with the way things are being handled in Washington - right after we send the Democrats packing in the mid-term elections. Pie anyone?