30 Rock Good Bye Tonight – I Will Be Sitting Shiva Afterward

After 30 Rock’s second season (my first) my inclination was to already put it in the pantheon of best TV comedies ever. It never declined from there, only went up. Then when I watched the entire first season back-to-back over a weekend, I knew it to be the truth. Open those hall of comedy fame doors, this group of people, the work they’re doing and their comedic voice is special. That voice, which I presume to be the voice of my second wife presumptive Tina Fey, is one that feels to me like a best friend – we just click, it’s always comfortable and I wish it would never end. I have never laughed so much at a TV show, week after week.  I even laugh at the repeats, and I do not generally watch repeats even of shows I love.

I did not want to love 30 Rock.  Because Tina Fey came from Saturday Night Live, a series of words that evokes scowls in my house, I did not have any intention of watching 30 Rock. When it won the Emmy for best sit-com that first season I chalked it up to the usual TV crap being feted by the usual morons (see Modern Family, yeah I said it)

So when I was turned onto 30 Rock in the middle of season 2 and found myself laughing uncontrollably through the episode, it was a revelation.  The machine gun approach to jokes just works for me, so long as the jokes are smart and well executed and 30 Rock always was. From the theme song on it’s a high energy, percussive rat-a-tat-tat of jokes, hitting a target and moving on, if you missed that arcane reference, wait no more than a few seconds, there’ll be one you do get. I got ’em all, so 22 minutes of 30 Rock could sometimes leave me drained wanting a cigarette and a cuddle like after other enjoyable spiritual acts.

When a show like 30 Rock has it’s farewell I feel it like a real loss. I’ll never see these characters again, hear that voice again in quite the same way. There is a real sense of sadness.  I expect tonight to be hard and I will need a good episode of Workaholics to get through.

So we hereby induct 30 Rock into my own personal (and yes, this is all subjective) TV comedy Hall of Fame along with Monty Python, Kids in the Hall, Bob Newhart (Chicago and Vermont), Get Smart, Mary Tyler Moore, All in the Family, Taxi, Cheers, Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Curb Your Enthusiasm – the friggin’ pantheon of funny for me.

Shout out to Tina Fey (adorable genius extraordinaire)
Alec Baldwin
Jane Krakowski
Tracy Morgan
Jack McBrayer
Judah Friedlander
Scott Adsit

And some of the greatest recurring characters ever
Chris Parnell (Dr. Spaceman is maybe the funniest character ever, ever)
Elaine Stritch (a legend, say no more)
Kristen Schaal
Will Arnett
Rip Torn
Jon Hamm
Dean Winters (the “mayhem like me” guy was the worst boyfriend ever)
Steve Buscemi
Will Farrell (“Bitchhunter”)
Margaret Cho (if you actually recognized her as Kim Jung Il, congrats)

Gun Violence Hearings on Capitol Hill

This is it. Things start moving today, or not. I’m optimistic. They’ve got crazy Wayne LaPierre testifying that it’s all a sham and we’re foolish to do anything about guns. They accept no restrictions, registrations or checks at all, even the ones 90% of the country support.

We have Gabby Giffords, the parents of murdered children, the police chiefs, etc.

Sen. Gillibrand and Sen. Kirk will introduce The Gun Trafficking Prevention Act today. The first bi-partisan gun safety legislation. So important because a lot of gun violence that happens in big cities with strict gun control laws is caused by guns that travel from places like Virginia with lax gun laws. That has to be controlled. And end the straw buyers – individuals who buy multiple guns for other people who couldn’t legally buy those guns. So many insane holes in the system that the NRA has deliberately created, but denies responsibility for the mayhem that ensues.

By the way a 15 year-old from Chicago who performed in inaugural festivities was fatally shot yesterday. The tragedies just keep coming. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/30/hadiya-pendleton-dead-chi_n_2581309.html

Krugman calls out Jindal – GOP only changing masks and language

 http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/28/opinion/krugman-makers-takers-fakers-.html

Jindal said the other day that the GOP “has to stop being the stupid party.” But the stupid is strong, and so is the bullshit.

Mr. Jindal posed the problem in a way that would, I believe, have been unthinkable for a leading Republican even a year ago. “We must not,” he declared, “be the party that simply protects the well off so they can keep their toys. We have to be the party that shows all Americans how they can thrive.” After a campaign in which Mitt Romney denounced any attempt to talk about class divisions as an “attack on success,” this represents a major rhetorical shift.       

Meanwhile, back in Louisiana Mr. Jindal is pushing a plan to eliminate the state’s income tax, which falls most heavily on the affluent, and make up for the lost revenue by raising sales taxes, which fall much more heavily on the poor and the middle class. The result would be big gains for the top 1 percent, substantial losses for the bottom 60 percent. Similar plans are being pushed by a number of other Republican governors as well.

To replace progressive income taxes with regressive sales taxes is the most transparent effort to engineer reverse Robin Hoodism and transfer funds from the bottom to the top.  The guy who wants to stop the stupid has been one of the biggest proponants of same and worse. Think Progress noted five reasons Jindal himself is responsible for the GOP’s stupid streak. Just to name one:

1. He permits Louisiana schools to teach creationism. Thanks to Jindal’s educational voucher system in Louisiana, students will be attending private or parochial schools on the taxpayer’s dime. But those schools don’t necessarily meet the standards of the state’s public schools, and may teach students creationism instead of standard science curricula.

http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2013/01/25/1495721/jindal-stupid-party/

I, for one, do not worry about the Republicans becoming a mainstream party anytime soon. 30 years of RWNJ indoctrination has rendered the average self-identifying Republican incapable of smelling the bullshit their leaders are selling. A legitimate grass roots movement of Republicans (like they said the tea party was) is absolutely not possible at this point. Democrats are the devil. Moderation is the devil. Taxes are the devil. Government is the devil. Evolution is the devil (“a lie straight from the pit of hell”). Women aren’t the devil, but they’re susceptible to his charms and need to be protected from their sinful nature. Black people are the devil, descended from Ham http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/nation02.htm (no kidding). They have invented an entire reality for themselves and internalized it to such a point that they deny anything that isn’t bona fide conservative orthodoxy.  They are constitutionally incapable of moving to the middle or changing their fundamental beliefs.

Some of them may go along with common sense immigration reform or gun reform, enough to enact these things with the majority votes of Democrats. But there will be a larger contingent that will not go along and will distance themselves from the collaborators as if this was Vichy France and anybody who consorts with Democrats is a nazi. The extreme right will concoct primary challenges in order to drive candidates back into the fold, and it will work. We’re very likely to get more extreme candidates nominated which will, in some places, help to elect Democrats ala Donnelley, McCaskill, Reid, Coons etc.

So keep it up Jindal. Keep it up Reince. Keep arguing that the GOP just has to change tactics and get the message out better. Like the idiot speaking to someone who doesn’t speak their language and is sure they just have to talk louder to break through the language barrier. It would be embarrassing, if they could see themselves. But they can’t.

Headlines – Stuff to put in your knowledge hole

Think Progress – California has a budget surplus. Yeah, California. After being pointed to as a lost cause of dysfunctional government.  How?  They got rid of the damn Republicans. It’s that simple.

Progressive Democratic activists … transformed the electorate and sidelined Republican obstructionists.

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/112257/california-balances-its-budget-how-progressives-balanced-books#

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China Online Daily (which I usually only read for the sudoku)

Wind power now no. 3 energy resource.  Passed nuclear.

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90778/8109836.html

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The New Republic – Chris Christie (R-Hindenberg) vetoes an increase in minimum wage. A reminder that he’s a useless turd, Sandy notwithstanding. Just FYI- there’s not one state in these United States (50 total in case you forgot) in which a person earning minimum wage could afford a 2-bedroom apartment. You can not live on the minimum wage.  And the cost of living in NJ is 30% higher than the national average.

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/01/28/1505761/new-jersey-governor-vetos-minimum-wage-increase/