You’re Going to Have a Time Out, No Access, and No Xbox!

The Times may have blown it by spending so much time pussy-footing around with the infidelity innuendo–the real story is the lobbyist entanglements McCain has apparently decided to lie about. Because of the shoddy sex scandal lens through which the Times has focused, McCain may not have to account for himself.

Still and all, I’m raising a glass of this week’s favored beverage hoping for some permanent damange to McCain’s previously cushy relationship with the press. I’m also loving the image of McCain’s staff sending the press to sit in the corner.

Before McCain boarded his plane, reporters were asked to sit farther back than usual on the plane.

But wait, there’s more!

Near the end of the flight, Schmidt came back to the press cabin, where, with cameras off, he railed against the New York Times for publishing its story. “The Times in a post-Jayson Blair, post-Judith Miller world… went through a painful period of self-evaluation,” Schmidt said. “That went out the window yesterday with this piece on John McCain…This is much more a story about journalism than a story about John McCain.” When reminded that the Washington Post also published a story today, Schmidt shrugged. “The Washington Post piled on (but) the Washington Post didn’t instigate the story,” Schmidt said.

Instigators? Has the McCain campaign decided on a strategy of isolating the Times from its peers? Trying, perhaps, to act as the stern authority figure to transform the Times into the [Warning: Possibly NSFW Video] Private Pyle of the press corps? Before they push this too far, McCain’s people may want to think about how well that worked out.

If McCain makes them feel less special, the press might stop fluffing his aura of Maverickness and start pursuing stories about his actual record. If we get really lucky, CNN will set up an Internet poll asking if viewers think that McCain isn’t vengeful enough.


Huckabee was funny but . . . self-referential humor is not really Presidential . . . or even Vice Presidential. And I say this as someone who is into that kind of thing. (Yeah, Adaptation was great. No, wait — brilliant.)

And, hey, Tina Fey — it’s over for Hillary. Get the fuck over it. She sucks.

All Aboard

Iraqis fall in love with the Lionel-Industrial Complex:

The service between Baghdad and Basra resumed with little fanfare in December after a hiatus of 18 months. Few dared use it at first, but word has spread of a safe and cheap journey, and railway officials are scrambling for funds for more carriages.

“There’s been a great acceptance of the service … People do not feel anxious. They’re coming with their families,” said Abdul-Ameen Mahmoud, the railway company’s head of passenger transport.

The Iraqi General Railways Company halted the service in 2006 after killings, bombings and kidnappings intensified in the infamous “Triangle of Death”, an area south of the capital through which the line passes.

Built by imperial German and British engineers in the first two decades of the 20th century in a race between Berlin and London to control the region, Iraq’s railways were once a vital link between Europe and the Middle East.

There was a great video — I think on YouTube — that I saw once of a time-lapse journey along the rail line, but I can’t find it now.

Is Barack Obama the Blu-Ray of Democrats?

Blu-ray officially won the hi-def format war with HD-DVD this week. This odd for two reasons. One, HD-DVD was the backward-compatible format, and two, Blu-ray was backed by Sony. If you ever have to bet in a format war, there’s one rule of thumb (besides, of course, never getting into a format war in Asia): always bet against Sony.

Similarly, one would have been smart to bet that Hillary, who had a lock on endorsements and fundraising through most of 2007, was going to be the Democratic nominee.

But something resembling a tipping point seems to have occured in the last few weeks. First it was the trickle of a few superdelegates moving into the Obama camp, then the SEIU, and then the Teamsters. Then all of a sudden he’s tied in Texas polls.

There’s been a shocking lack of momentum in this campaign season. Huckabee got no bounce out of Iowa, Romney got none from Michigan, Hillary got only the smallest, survivalist bounce out of NH.

But maybe here at the end we’re reaching a tipping point — similar to the one we reached recently in GOP race — where it all starts to topple in one direction.