If you read nothing else on Salon Tuesday, read Tom Schaller's great round table on "The Swing States of 2008." Having read it, I feel like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's choice of New Hampshire for their first joint rally makes more sense (though the hokey selection of Unity, a town in which they tied in January, still makes me gag); I take Obama's chances in Virginia more seriously and Georgia less seriously; I feel validated in my eye rolling whenever MSNBC does a segment about how Obama could win the popular vote but lose the Electoral College, and more than ever, I think McCain has his work cut out for him. (Does Condoleezza Rice help? Read the piece.) But don't stop with the Schaller round table; there's a lot more in today's great issue, including Erin Aubry Kaplan's appreciation of Michelle Obama.
Something that isn't on Salon, but I wish it were: Larry King did a great George Carlin appreciation Monday night -- with clips of Carlin's appearances on the show, but also Lewis Black, Bill Maher, Roseanne Barr and Jerry Seinfeld talking about his comic and political greatness and just looking stricken at his loss, especially Black. It was very moving. Also, Carlin's brother Patrick and daughter Kelly called in; if you've ever thought a professional curmudgeon and shit stirrer might have to be a little bit of an asshole personally, well, it didn't sound like it. Watch it if CNN reruns it this weekend. What I saw on King's show, with all the old clips of Carlin going back to the early '60s, that I'd never gotten before was how he personified the cultural shift of the time. Here was this funny but mainstream Irish Catholic comic my parents loved, changing into this funny, foulmouthed antiauthoritarian midway through my childhood -- and, kind of amazingly, my mainstream Irish Catholic parents went along with him, to the point of dragging three kids to see him get arrested in Milwaukee, Wis., for his legendary "Seven Dirty Words" routine. They were awfully cool in ways I never give them enough credit for. Those were different times, and we could use another cultural awakening like that right about now.