Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Kanye West vs. George W. Bush: The saga continues (on the Today Show)

Kanye West famously said "George Bush doesn't care about black people" during a charity television special in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, responding to perceived failures in the government response to the disaster.

Former President George W. Bush returned to the public spotlight recently as he promotes his new biography, "Decision Points." He sat down for interviews with NBC's Matt Lauer, where he said that Kanye West implying that he was a racist was the lowest moment of his presidency. West responded in his own interview with Matt Lauer.

West said that he empathized with Bush after being called a racist himself when he interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards and said that Beyonce should have won the Best Female Video award instead. However, West got upset when NBC played the clip during the interview while West was talking about Bush.


Former President George W. Bush speaks for 1st time since leaving office

Former President George W. Bush spoke with NBC's Matt Lauer in an interview that aired on NBC last night. It's Bush's first one-on-one TV interview since leaving office.

The interview included two separate sessions, one recorded in the church where he started Bible study and married his wife Laura Bush. It was recorded last month, before the midterm elections.

You can watch the interview below, including Web extras such as Bush talking about almost losing Vice President Cheney's friendship for not pardoning "Scooter" Libby:

Some of the notable points from the interview:

  • Bush talks about going to the hospital with his mother after she had a miscarriage and seeing the fetus in a jar. Bush said he put that story in to show the trust his mother had for him, but Lauer also pressed him on how this led him to develop a pro-life view.
  • When Bush asked Dick Cheney to be his vice president, Cheney said that he has health issues and also told Bush that his daughter Mary is gay. Bush said that Cheney was testing Bush's tolerance. Bush said that choosing Cheney was a "very good" decision.
  • On September 11, 2001, Bush had given the order to shoot down any plane that didn't respond, and when United 93 went down, Bush was initially worried that it had been shot down due to that order before receiving word that this wasn't the case.
  • Cheney offered to let Bush run with a different vice president when running for re-election, but Bush rejected Cheney's offer and ultimately kept him on.
  • Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld offered his resignation twice after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, but Bush didn't think there was someone else ready to step into that position.
  • Bush said that the worst moment of his presidency was when rapper Kanye West said he didn't care about black people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. While he cited this as the worst moment, he said that the worst period in his presidency was the summer of 2006, when he thought for the first time that the war in Iraq might be lost.
  • Bush said that he still has a sickening feeling when he thinks about weapons of mass destruction not being found in Iraq.
  • Bush defended the TARP program. He said that he had been told there would likely be a depression if he didn't do something, and that he had to abandon his free market values to save the free market system.
  • He reiterated that he wouldn't criticize President Barack Obama. Bush said that he doesn't think it's good for the presidency for a former president to be opining about his successor. "President Obama's got plenty of critics, and I'm not gonna be one."


Jimmy Kimmel announces 'National Unfriend Day' for Facebook

On last night's "Jimmy Kimmel Live," Jimmy Kimmel presented the idea of National Unfriend Day. He said that he thinks Facebook is cheapening the concept of friendship. "A friend is someone you have a special relationship with."

As opposed to Facebook friendship. "I mean, remember five years ago when no one was on Facebook and you didn't know what the guy you took high school biology with was having for lunch? Remember how that was... fine? Let's go back to that."

William Shatner appeared in a faux PSA, shaking his head. "Hello, I'm William Shatner. These people on Facebook... they're not your friends. That's all." Kimmel made clear afterward that Shatner is not his friend.

Personally, I'm always complaining that I'm following too many people on Twitter and can't decide who to unfollow. I think I'm going to take Kimmel up on his offer and trim both some friends and some folks on Twitter that I follow from my life.


San Diego Comic-Con 2011 ticket system fails, nerds outraged

The moment had finally arrived. Tickets for Comic-Con 2011 were scheduled to go on sale this morning at 9 a.m. The floodgates opened, and then... well, not so much. The ticket system apparently couldn't handle the massive amount of traffic of the eager masses (myself included) and left fans across the Internet looking at spinning icons letting them know that they weren't getting their tickets anytime soon. Twitter exploded in geek rage.

Eventually, the servers for the registration system wouldn't even pretend to load anymore. Comic-Con posted a notice to check back on November 8, not to register, but for an announcement of when the new registration date would be. They also posted the following message:


We are really sorry for the problems with registration today. We do not know what the technical issues are, so we have temporarily closed registration.

We will announce on Monday, November 8th, the new date and time that registration will reopen. This down-time will allow us to determine and address the issues.

Only a handful of badges were actually sold today.

Thank you for your patience, and again, we all are truly sorry for this inconvenience.


Whack those little links

Hark, oh neophyte Tweeters! Is that link to another video of a cat on a Roomba just a few letters over the 140-character limit? There is hope, young Twits: a website called TinyURL will shorten your horrifically long, Lovecraftian string of letters, symbols and numerics to a fraction of its former girth.

Essentially, it redirects that short link on its directory to the original long link's destination. Other link-shortening sites, like bit.ly (not to be confused with mitt.ly), have increased in use, but TinyURL has been around since January 2002. After eight years, there's a deluge of TinyURLs, and like all Internet innovations, somebody got bored.

Thus was TinyURL Whacking born.

All TinyURL short links start with the service's website - http://tinyurl.com/ - followed by random letters and numbers assigned when the long link is shortened. Since the database is solvent, if someone tries to make a new short link to a site someone had submitted before, the short link will be identical to when it was first made.