John Hayward

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More top-shelf journalism from MSNBC

Now that we've gotten a couple of apologies and some on-air crying from Melissa Harris-Perry, followed by a characteristically gracious statement from Mitt Romney, the saga of MSNBC's mockery of Romney's adopted grandson appears to be winding down.  I've read some commentary to the effect that Romney isn't doing conservatives any favors by being so understanding; our guys are always expected to exercise the most exquisite discretion and courtesy, while liberals slam knees into their groins.  But aside from my sense that the courtesy extended by the Romney family is sincere, we all know that if he did anything other than accept MHP's weepy apology without reservation, the story would instantly become about him. Jan 6, 2014 8:33 PM PT

Old Spice gets weird

Presented for your approval: an Old Spice ad right out of the Twilight Zone.  It's stirred up a lot of online support, criticism, mockery, and WTF-ness, which means "mission accomplished" for the advertiser. Jan 6, 2014 6:55 AM PT

Obama lectures other people on taking vacations from his luxury Hawaiian retreat

Having destroyed the American health insurance industry, leaving thousands of people uncertain of whether they actually have valid health insurance or not, President Obama jetted off to a luxurious extended Christmas vacation in Hawaii.  You might think the "optics" couldn't possibly be worse - Obama frolicking on the beach while surgeons are spending two hours on hold with the ObamaCare commissars to find out if they can proceed with operations. Jan 5, 2014 9:15 PM PT

Movie review: 'Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones'

I'm a huge fan of the first three "Paranormal Activity" films - even Number 3, which was a prequel, and I usually dislike those.  It's impressive how these movies avoided the usual curse of horror film series: the loss of mystery.  A big part of what makes a movie scary and intriguing is the sense of discovery, as we learn what's really going on, piecing together the puzzle behind disturbing and deadly events.  Once the pieces are in place and the true nature of the horror is fully revealed for the climax of Movie Number One, that sense of discovery is very difficult to regain.  Even if a new set of characters blunders into the monster's clutches without knowing its secrets, we know.  Long-running horror film series become spectator sports.  The audience is practically holding up placards to score the kills like judges at an Olympic event. Jan 4, 2014 9:32 PM PT

Totalitarianism is back in vogue

One of the most disturbing things about Barack Obama's reign of lawless executive power is that it has people fantasizing about outright totalitarian dictatorship, and not in a faculty-lounge-B.S. kind of way.  We've always had to put up with the likes of Thomas Friedman at the New York Times rhapsodizing about the joys of Chinese authoritarianism - provided a duly accredited Democrat gets to be America's temporary dictator, of course - but now we've got Jesse Myerson at Rolling Stone daydreaming about hard-core communism as the solution to America's ills.   Jan 4, 2014 6:55 AM PT

Ballad of the Global Warming Titanic

Now that the crew of global warming alarmists that got stuck in Antarctic ice has been rescued (by a fossil-fuel-burning, carbon-spewing helicopter!) we can really settle in and make fun of them, especially since the mainstream media still largely refuses to report what they were doing in those frozen waters.  (Hint: the waters weren't supposed to be frozen.) Jan 2, 2014 8:37 AM PT

Year of the zombie

2013 was the Year of the Zombie in entertainment media, from one of the most phenomenally successful series on television, "The Walking Dead," to the unexpectedly huge box office of "World War Z" - at one point a train wreck of reshoots that was expected to land in theaters with a thud. Jan 1, 2014 5:22 PM PT

A new year for the Tea Party

As our annual ritual of Best and Worst Lists gets under way, it seems commonplace to declare the Tea Party had a very bad year - as bad as Obama's, maybe even worse - because of the ObamaCare defunding movement and government shutdown debacle.  For example, Tim Carney at the Washington Examiner gave the "defund it or you're for it" effort to push establishment Republicans aboard the ObamaCare defunding train brickbats as one of the "three most irrational arguments in 2013."  (The other two were Obama's "If we can save only one life" argument for gun control, and the Democrats' insistence that ObamaCare cannot be repealed because it's "the settled law of the land.") Dec 30, 2013 2:33 PM PT

Movie review: 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty'

Ben Stiller's remake of the Danny Kaye classic is one of the strangest movies I've seen lately.  A little under halfway through its running time, it simply stops being "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" and becomes an entirely different story - a paint-by-numbers rom-com about an awkward guy getting a bit of adventure into his system, growing a backbone, telling off his jerk boss, and getting the girl.   Dec 29, 2013 4:18 PM PT

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