One debate, two famous Larrys

I went to the Democratic presidential debate Thursday night at USC. I was one of the few lucky students to get a seat, since I’m in a politics class this semester. Larry King was the moderator. Before the broadcast began he came out to introduce the candidates to the audience. The candidates weren’t quite ready, so Larry stretched by cracking jokes (“Is Kucinich in the bathroom?”) and pretending to be mad at the floor director (“Don’t say ‘one more minute’ or I’ll kill you.”).

Among the students and faculty and Democratic elite (ex-guv Gray Davis, for example) in the audience, I saw another famous Larry: Larry Flynt, in his gold wheelchair. This was particularly funny to me, since I’d just passed the Hustler publisher and recent gubernatorial candidate two days earlier in the hall at Annenberg. Should I be concerned that I am suddenly moving in the same circles as Larry Flynt?

The actual debate went off without incident, and the candidates all got a chance to get in a good line or two. (Al Sharpton on gay marriage: “The issue is not who you go to bed with. The issue is whether you have a job when you get up in the morning.”)

Germans hit the brakes

If you’ve always dreamed of accelerating your Benz to 200 km/h on one of Germany’s autobahns (and doing it legally), you might want to start making your travel plans. Because, from the looks of it, the days of the speed demons’ reign over the road there may be numbered.

My uncle Klaus is no doubt disappointed by this news.

A poll by the German newsmagazine Focus shows that a majority of Germans supports setting a blanket speed limit for drivers on the country’s expressways, where speeds are currently capped only in high-traffic areas. The greatest number of respondents (40%) wants to set the limit at 130 km/h (80 mph). Only 38% oppose any universal speed limit on autobahns, where speeds of over 200 km/h (125 mph) are common. Predictably, more men (50%) than women (26%) are against the speed limit.

Originality gap

A quick google on the phrase “credibility gap” yields about 32,000 results in the past three months, most frequently in reference to the president. (To be fair, though, the term is applied to the media in a few instances.)

This reminds me of the epidemic spread of the words “lurid” and “salacious” during the previous president’s intern troubles.

Can’t anybody think of another way to say it? Come to think of it, what does “credibility gap” mean anyway? Credible by what standards? In whose judgment?

California, here I come!

I’m starting the new year with a new adventure… Tomorrow (New Year’s Day) I’ll set out on a road trip to Los Angeles, where I’m entering grad school in communication management at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication. If all goes well, I’ll be in Lala-land Sunday night.