Cornfed Comedy

[The Shield]

Tonight at 8:30, NBC will premiere a new comedy, Parks and Recreation, which is ostensibly set in Indiana. This show comes from the people behind The Office, but where that show takes place in the real-life locale of Scranton, Pennsylvania, Parks and Recreation will occur in the fictional town of “Pawnee.”

Believe it or not, this might actually matter, and I try to explain why in an op-ed for my old college paper, The Shield.

(Hint: it has to do with Elkhart—and with my hope that the city will one day be known for more than being the birthplace of that modern-day Abraham, Shawn Kemp.)

Obama’s Ayers Problem

[Gelf]

Nobody knows if/when/how the Republicans will bring up Obama’s tenuous link to Bill Ayers, but that hasn’t stopped everybody from speculating. One thing getting overlooked, though, is The Weather Underground, an Oscar-nominated documentary on Ayers’s days as a ’60s radical. I reconsider the film, and what it might say about the Obama connection and the Obama campaign, in a new essay for Gelf Magazine .