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Where I write all things Justin. Call me a Daydream Belieber!
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Shut Down The Daily Show


I love The Daily Show. I’ve always loved The Daily Show. I have been watching it faithfully since Craig Kilborn was smashing heads with his “5 Questions” segment (and I still think that version of the show was pretty funny). I have witnessed the show at its highest highs (when Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell were correspondents) and its lowest lows (the Mo Rocca years, admittedly concurrent the Carell/Colbert years — I just find Mo Rocca painfully unfunny and worse, oddly smug about it. Am I digressing?). It’s had up-cycles and down-cycles and I have stuck with it through them all.

From around the time of the debacle of the 2000 election recount, The Daily Show became an indispensible part of my life, of how I consume news, of how I interpret it. And for several years I became very focused on trying to get a job there as a writer, and it still hurts that I wasn’t able to make it happen.


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Tidal Might Not Be Completely Evil


It was a scene very easy to ridicule: sixteen multiplatinum musicians lined up on a stage, announcing the launch of a new streaming music service that costs twice as much as Spotify, and promising to “change the course of music history” before signing a high-minded Bill of Rights like they were the friggin’ Continental Congress.

Tidal is a streaming music service recently purchased by Jay-Z, who brought in a lot of heavy hitters, including Beyonce, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Madonna, Jack White, Kanye West, Daft Punk, and Alicia Keys, as partners. It purports to be the first artist-owned streaming service, and promises to pay artists more fairly than services like Spotify or Pandora, which famously streamed singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc’s song “Wake Me Up!” 168 million times and paid him a paltry $4,000.

Most people saw that objective as a tone-deaf plea for more money from the people who need it least; indeed, the people on the Tidal stage are just about the last 16 people artists to make real money in the music business. Oh, Madonna and Kanye don’t have enough money, so they want me to pay $20 a month?


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Bootsy Collins Castle, 2001-2015


Bootsy was a good boy. He was a pure-bred border collie. If we had known how neurotic border collies are, we might have chosen a different breed, but I once had a friend whose border collie was a terrific frisbee dog, and I wanted a frisbee dog too — I kind of insisted on it — so Jen bought him from a breeder in Kentucky, not far from where we were living in the fall of 2001.

We had only been married for a year, and we had left our adopted hometown of San Francisco when we both lost our jobs in the dot-com crash. We were broke and had no idea what to do next, so we decided to try Cincinnati, where my parents and my brother live, because we knew it was cheap. We got a crazy cheap apartment across the river in Newport, Kentucky — we moved in on 9/11 — and tried our best to settle into an unfamiliar town. We got Bootsy a couple of months after we got there. He was the cutest little puppy. Jet black and snow white. He loved to play. I remember coming home to that second-floor apartment and seeing him peeking over the top step, waiting to greet me. Jen and I had been a couple for a few years, but Bootsy made us feel like we were starting a family.

Cincinnati didn’t really work out. It was nice being close to my family, but we didn’t really connect with anyone we met there. Bootsy made it a lot easier. Every day I walked him to the elementary school down the street from our apartment and taught him how to catch the frisbee in the baseball field. He could go for hours. I would say “Bootsy! Go deep!” and he would run full speed away from me for 40 feet or so and then curve to the right, and I would throw the frisbee as far as I could. If I could get it within ten feet of him in any direction, he caught it, and I would cheer for him as he brought it back. If it was raining, I threw him tennis balls from the couch. He always caught those too.

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Ted Cruz Can’t Win

The 2016 presidential race has finally, officially, really begun. All those articles and videos and news pieces you’ve been seeing for the last 18 months about 2016? They were just the pregame show. This week the starter gun went off at last with the entry of the first declared candidate in the race: Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz.

Cruz started his campaign off with a bang this week, announcing his candidacy at Jerry Falwell’s (fully accredited, seriously) Liberty University during the morning convocation, which is a compulsory part of the school’s curriculum. The excitement was palpable!

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The Gayes Are Ruining Everything

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 3.03.08 PMJust as the near-universal outrage at the verdict in the “Blurred Lines”/”Got To Give It Up” plagiarism trial seemed to be dying down, the controversy over whether it was a just ruling seems to have morphed into a contest to see who can be the more unsympathetic party: the loathsome Robin Thicke, or the heirs to Marvin Gaye’s estate.

It seems that a $7.4 million judgment — nearly half of “Blurred Lines”’ total earnings — is not enough for the Gayes. Per The Hollywood Reporter:

The Gaye family is now pushing for the judge to “correct” the jury’s verdict to add Universal Music, Interscope Records and Star Trak Entertainment to the list of infringers. Additionally, the judge is also being asked to set aside the jury’s decision to give Clifford Harris, Jr. (aka T.I.) a pass and hold him accountable too.

They are also hitting Thicke with another plagiarism suit for having a superfluous ‘e’ at the end of his surname.

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The Robin Thicke Verdict Is Wrong

Justice is pretty hard to come by these days. The people who tanked the economy got off scot-free, as did the people who lied us into a devastating war. Cops are killing civilians and not even being charged, much less convicted. Beck won Album of the Year over Beyoncé. So it’s nice to see one of history’s worst douchebags publicly humiliated in a court decision that may very well end his career.

Yesterday a Los Angeles jury found Robin Thicke and his credited “Blurred Lines” cowriter, Pharrell Williams, guilty of plagiarizing Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got To Give It Up,” and awarded Gaye’s heirs $7.3 million in damages.

I am 100% in favor of Robin Thicke suffering for his crimes, which include (but are by no means limited to) publicly cheating on a wife most men would kill for, writing startlingly rapey lyrics, singing into a gold microphone, wearing a Beetlejuice suit in public, wearing aviator sunglasses indoors, and taking half of the credit for a song he now admits Pharrell wrote by himself.

Unfortunately, those crimes do not in my opinion include plagiarizing Marvin Gaye.

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Hillary Rorschach Clinton



With only 20 months to go until the 2016 presidential election, the (as yet unannounced) Hillary Clinton campaign was rocked by the biggest scandal since Abu Ghraib. Or it barely had its hair mussed by a trumped-up charge of something that’s not even illegal. One of the two, depending on where you get your news.

It seems Mrs. Clinton conducted all of her correspondence during her tenure as Secretary of State (2009-2013) through her own private domain,, routed through a private email server, rather than a .gov address routed through government servers, which raises an awful lot of questions about her transparency (it seems it would be very easy to omit anything unflattering or untoward from the public record if you have sole control of those records), her compliance with the law (all government employees are required to conduct business on official .gov accounts), and her competence (if National Security is the first item on your job description, it seems awfully risky to take your own cyber-security into your own hands).

But wait! Democrats are insisting that this is no big deal at all, because all previous Secretaries of State also used their private email accounts to do official business! And the law mandating that all government correspondence go through official servers wasn’t enacted until Clinton was out of office! And she just turned over 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department!

This may or may not affect Clinton’s chances in 2016, but it’s a perfect demonstration of how completely fucked American democracy is in the 21st century and I’m giving up and going to live among island natives and subsist on rainwater and seaweed.

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Patricia Arquette Is Not The Problem


Welcome back to WHEEL OF OUTRAGE, the game where we take the innocuous comments of a public figure, distort their meaning and intent, and turn allies into enemies! Let’s see who was dumb enough to say something into a microphone this week!

Let’s say hello to tonight’s contestant, actress Patricia Arquette! You may remember her as Alabama Worley in TRUE ROMANCE (I certainly do), that lousy CBS show where she was a psychic, or most recently as the struggling single mom in BOYHOOD — a role that just won her a richly deserved Academy Award!

Looks like Ms. Arquette made the mistake of trying to say something in her Oscar acceptance speech, because this week has been full of thinkpieces decrying her appallingly insensitive and racist statements. Let’s see what she said:

“We don’t have equal rights for women in America and we don’t because when they wrote the Constitution, they didn’t intend it for women. So, the truth is, even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, right under the surface, there are huge issues that are applied that really do affect women. It’s time for all the women in America and all the men who love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve fought for, to fight for us now.”

Wait, that’s it? Rewind that, let’s see it again.

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Fire Brian Williams (Or Don’t)


It’s been a rough couple of weeks for NBC News anchor Brian Williams. First he had to weather the indignity of his daughter getting her salad tossed on HBO, and now he faces legitimate questions about his truthfulness and integrity.

It seems that Mr. Williams, in paying tribute to a war veteran he met in 2003 during the Iraq invasion, embellished the story of their shared adventure, claiming that their helicopter had been shot down when in fact no such thing happened; Williams’ helicopter was trailing one hit by RPG fire and landed without incident an hour after the stricken aircraft made an emergency landing.

Veterans quickly took issue with Williams’ story, made worse by the fact that Williams has been telling this story for years, most recently on Late Show with David Letterman two years ago. Williams offered an apology from the anchor chair a couple of nights ago, saying he had somehow accidentally “conflated” the two helicopters (the one that was hit and the one he was riding in) and insisted it was an innocent mistake.

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American Sniping


Remember when Seth Rogen was a hero of free speech and the American way?

It seems like just a couple of weeks ago that THE INTERVIEW, written and directed by Rogen and his partner Evan Goldberg and co-starring James Franco, was the talk of the nation.

THE INTERVIEW, in case you spent the Christmas holiday on the moon, features Rogen and Franco as an entertainment reporter and his producer who get invited to North Korea by Kim Jong-un for an exclusive interview; the pair is then recruited by the CIA to use the opportunity to kill the crazed leader.

The North Korean government, oddly enough, took umbrage at the premise of the film, and promised grave repercussions if Sony Pictures went forward with the release; soon after that Sony’s computer systems were hacked, embarrassing private emails were released, theatrical releases were leaked to the Internet before they could be released, and the party claiming responsibility (the Guardians of Peace, or #GOP) promised more mayhem if the film was released.

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