1. It was a week that began with Krystal Ball (she has gone from anonymous to ubiquitous on NBC/MSNBC this week) and has since devolved to discussion of deflated balls… which sounds painful. Apparently, after Stanford and Arizona let the air out of USC’s BCS bowl dreams, a Trojan student manager acted alone in deflating footballs before the Oregon contest last Saturday night. Slightly deflated footballs are easier to throw and catch, which would have helped the Trojans offset the handicap of having a former Heisman front-runner (Matt Barkley) at quarterback and the likely Biletnikoff Award winner (Marqise Lee) at wide receiver. USC has been fined and reprimanded, and a few people even believe Trojan coach Lane Kiffin when he says that he had no idea this was taking place. The lesson here, as always, is this: never allow your balls to be compromised.
2. As long as we happen to be on the topic of compromised balls….
3. Night on Bullsh__ Mountain: Jon Stewart recovers from a dud live election episode of The Daily Show to confront Fox News with a double-barreled barrage of comic vitriol. Stewart refers to the cable news channel as “Bullsh__ Mountain News” (which sounds to us like something that would air replays of Colorado State-Wyoming games) and dissects the same five minutes of election night coverage that we discussed here yesterday. You can just feel Stewart’s glee. The key quote, from the Stepfordianly lovely Megyn Kelly to Karl Rove, “Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better or is this real?” (at 5:22 mark)
4. The Los Angeles Lakers are 1-4 after last night’s loss at Utah, which gives them the worst record in the Western Conference. Their lone win has come against the Detroit Pistons, who themselves are 0-4. We don’t know about you, but pissed-beyond-belief Kobe is our favorite Kobe.
5. Puerto Ricans endorse, for the first time, a referendum to become the 51st state. Three other referenda in the past 45 years have all been rejected. The proposal would likely have no bearing on Washington D.C.’s decision to grant Puerto Rico statehood, mainly because no one can decide how this would alter the plot of West Side Story.
Is this the proper time to remind everyone that less than two months ago Lane Kiffin told everyone that he did not vote his Trojans No. 1 in the USA Today/Coaches’ preseason poll, a comment that led the USA Today to out Kiffin as a liar by revealing his vote? Is Kiffin lying about the deflated balls? Who outside of the USC football program really knows, but as someone tweeted earlier today, “Lane Kiffin is the reason we all have to pay first before pumping at gas stations.” We wonder how long USC athletic director Pat Haden, who is widely respected for his intelligence, integrity and pure personability both in and outside of southern California, remains staunchly in Kiffin’s corner.
Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis and some Ontological Break SNL promos. Are we weird to be hoping for a “Love and Other Drugs” sequel?
“We’re about to get inundated with hoops games on boats. My take? It’s a lame gimmick that underscores regular season irrelevance.” Pete Thamel, @SIPeteThamel
Will Leitch loved Lincoln. Great, but will it do better at the box office next weekend than Wreck-It Ralph?
And not two minutes after our mention of Pete Thamel’s tweet, Dan Wetzel notes that “a number of ADs privately figure (college football) playoff will expand to 8 teams halfway thru upcoming deal.” So let’s play those round-of-eight games on an aircraft carrier, shall we?
A word or two more on last night’s episode of The Daily Show. One, notice that no correspondents appeared, which is rare. Second, you cannot help but notice that Jon Stewart was genuinely irate about what Fox News attempted to do, at least in his view. Like most artists we have ever come across, Stewart does his best work when he is pissed off. That was the case here.
Why do we find Good Morning, America’s Lara Spencer so darn annoying, narcissistic and phony? This clip sure helps explain why.
Brian Williams, by the way, went after one of NBC’s own when he verbally abused Donald Trump on election night with his “has driven well past the last exit to relevance.” remark. For Williams, who like us is not only a Jersey boy but a Middletown, N.J., boy, exits are meaningful metaphors. And Williams is one of the more diplomatic and personable on-air news types. Kudos to him for speaking from the heart.
A little help, please, on tax rates: Unless we are mistaken, the threshold for the highest tax rate in the United States (35%, according to this information) is annual income of $388,351. Let’s distance ourselves from what the top tax rate should be and ask instead, this question: Why are folks who earn $400,000 per year asked to pay the same rate as those who earn $400,000,000 a year? In places such as Los Angeles and Manhattan there are people who earn both, and everywhere in between those sums (we are not those people), and we can tell you that while $400,000 goes quite some way in New York City, it does not exactly make you obnoxiously wealthy. Comfortable? Yes. But why are these people paying the same tax rate as the Koch brothers?