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Taxing Our Patience: Palin on SNL and Joe the Plumber 

Upfront along with about 17 million other Americans suffered through Gov. Sarah Palin's guest appearance on Saturday Night Live this past week. Like the rest

Upfront along with about 17 million other Americans suffered through Gov. Sarah Palin's guest appearance on Saturday Night Live this past week. Like the rest of the country we had tuned in to see if SNL alum Tina Fey would reprise her Palin bit. She did, but we also got a solid dose of the real Sarah Palin, whose appearance on the show was, we presume, supposed to showcase how she can handle a good natured ribbing. The guest spot, which included appearances with Lorne Michaels and Alec Baldwin at the top of the show and another cameo on Weekend Update, registered an "11" on Upfront's Weird-O-meter. To say it was awkward really doesn't sum up the difficulty of watching Palin throw her arms in the air while Amy Poehler executee a mocking, self-referential rap on the same stage.

It didn't help that the material just wasn't funny.

Pundits have cited the appearance as evidence that McCain and Palin are lacking in some fundamental judgment skills (her for appearing, and him for letting her go on), but Upfront wonders what SNL was thinking. Honestly, did they really think we wanted to see Sarah Palin?

Because if the show does, they've got bigger problems than keeping the Tina Fey cameos coming after Nov. 4.

Say It Ain't So, Joe

Speaking of people who Upfront has heard enough of. Will somebody please muzzle Joe the Plumber and all the media that has trailed around after him since the last presidential debate. Honestly do we really care what some block head from Ohio thinks about the nation's tax code?

It's already been demonstrated that the guy will take home more money under Obama's plan both as an employee and a business owner.

This fact has been pointed out to Joe the Plumber (real name Samuel J. Wurzelbacher) who still says publicly that he prefers the McCain plan because it would result in a lower tax bill for him should he buy and expand his business. (Obama's higher tax rates kick in for those making more than $250,000.)

This is the kind of stuff that Republicans eat up, and one of the reasons why they've been able to hold onto power while working against the economic interests of the majority of working Americans. But, hey, what do we know, we're a long way from $250 grand.

So excuse us while we go buy a Powerball ticket. (It's the best retirement investment you can make these days, don't you know?)

Bush on Broadway

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Away from the campaign trail former SNLer Will Ferrell announced that he will be reprising some of his best George W. Bush bits on Broadway. Ferrell still stands as one of the best Bush impersonators despite essentially giving up the gig when he left the show in 2002 to pursue his screen career. Ferrell's one-man show is titled "You're Welcome America: A Final Night With George W. Bush."

The show opens in January, meantime we're revisiting some of our favorite Ferrell as Bush moments on YouTube, including the timeless spoof political ad he did from the "ranch" in 2004.

Drill Baby, Drill

The Oregonian reported Monday that the Cascade Range is the home to an underground reservoir that is equal to, if not great than, Lake Mead. Hydrologists are currently studying the area and say that the area will probably come in very handy in the future for areas like California and the Southwest who are already experiencing record-setting droughts. While the hydrologists are reportedly staying mum on the location of the huge springs capable of pumping out 43 million gallons of water a day, Southwest states have already shown an interest in piping water from the Columbia, one of the rivers fed by the springs.

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Upfront wonders how long it will take bottled water companies to catch on and how Central Oregon will be affected when the rest of the West comes looking for water. Not that a giant pipeline wouldn't look nice in anyone's backyard. Maybe we could hire Ted Stevens to broker the deal. We hear he might be looking for work soon.

Negative Ads Hit Close to Home

If you're anything like Upfront, you're probably about ready to put a Converse through your television set at the next crazy ass Gordon Smith or Jeff Merkley attack ad. Those two guys have worn out their welcome on the TV screen with their constantly negative and sometimes nonsensical ads directed at each other.

But it seems the attack ad strategy has leaked into at least one local race. The first ad we saw was a 30-second spot claiming that Judy Steigler, who is running for House District 54 against incumbent Chuck Burley, shortchanged local community college students. The ad is paid for by Promote Oregon, which not surprisingly is the name of a PAC supporting Oregon House Republicans.

Steigler's camp isn't totally innocent either, having paid for an ad focusing on the fact that Burley missed some 290 votes in the House last year, which they say is more than 20 percent of the total votes.

If there's a silver lining, it's this: both ads feature pretty sweet animation - hey at least they're well-done ads and we don't look like a bunch of squabbling hicks.


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