Tag Archives: Doubletake

DOUBLETAKE: Strong in the fundamentals

Doubletakethe summer sensation, is back for the new fall season. Join Tribune correspondents Jim Tankersley and Jim Oliphant every day as they tackle the mysteries of the political universe and, well, breed alpacas to make a little cash on the side, because face it, this gig doesn’t pay all that great.

Jim Tankersley: Good afternoon. Once again, we are unnervingly face to face. This must stop.       

Jim Oliphant: I know. Talk about ignoring the man behind the curtain. Our mojo, such at is, derives from the fact that we never have to be accountable to each other. In a sense, it’s like a long-distance relationship.


Tankersley: You mean, like the Fed’s new marriage to AIG?

Oliphant: Yeah, suddenly Big Government is everybody’s friend. Funny how that happens.

Oliphant: Do you realize that during the Bush administration, we have had three catastrophic events (four, if you count Iraq, five, if you count Katie Couric) and with each there has been a corresponding increase in federal spending, influence and bureaucracy? That is staggering for an eight-year stretch.

Tankersley: It’s not like we’ve never been here before. Astute Doubletake readers will recall the Chrysler bailout of the late 70s/early 80s, as the New York Times’ David Leonhart notes today.

Oliphant: The Chrysler comparison is a good one because again we are protecting a company from its own bad judgment. If only the government would do that for me. I never would have bought that guitar. And then there was that Internet date. . . . Continue reading


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DOUBLETAKE: The race goes up the creek

Doubletake, the summer sensation, is back for the new fall season. Every day, Tribune correspondents Jim Oliphant and Jim Tankersley take you around the Moon and back, metaphorically-speaking. Doubletake is also a floor wax and a dessert topping.

Jim Oliphant: So this is a little strange. For the benefit of those reading (that’s you, Dad), Tankersley and I never do this when we are actually face to face. But today both of us are here at the Tribune’s Washington bureau.

Jim Tankersley: It’s like a very special episode of Doubletake— a gimmick to celebrate our return from brief hiatus. Tomorrow, Shannen Doherty will guest star.

Oliphant: Hmm. I’ve heard she’s difficult to work with.

Tankersley: Tori Spelling was unavailable.

Oliphant: If there is one thing Tori Spelling is, it’s available. But I don’t know what is freaking me out more. Sitting here next to you or the fact that you are wearing a tie.

Tankersley: Huh. And here I thought that second sentence was going to be “the potentially imminent collapse of global financial markets or the possibility that Tina Fey won’t cameo on every SNL episode through Election Day.”

Oliphant: All in good time, my friend. It takes time to weave a tapestry. I would rather note that you are wearing a tie, with jeans. Which seems to me very Dustin Hoffman in All the President’s Men, even though I’m not sure whether he actually dressed like that. But we can talk about the, you know, collapse of the American economy too, I guess. Not that I can tell you what credit swap derivatives are–except that they are derivative of something. Continue reading

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DOUBLETAKE: Is Mac thumpin’ PC?

Welcome to Doubletake, your morning mash-up with Tribune correspondents Jim Tankersley and Jim Oliphant. Now in new Extreme Arctic Blast flavor.

Jim Oliphant: So, get your text message yet?

Jim Tankersley: No. And my new rule is, no text, no veepstakes in the chat. This is non-negotiable.
Oliphant: I haven’t gotten mine yet either. But this I am pret-ty sure this art student in Denmark has me confused with someone else.

As for the veep, the guessing game has reached critical mass. I’ve read LeBron James is “confident” it’s going to be Tim Kaine, but he’s also hearing Bayh’s name again.

Tankersley: And your streak of mentioning Ohio sports reaches an unprecedented 12 days! Quick, tell me something about your hair. What I’m saying is, I’m not taking your running-mate bait. I refuse.

Oliphant: Sebelius up? Biden down? Hillary in an “October Surprise”?

Tankersley: Say, what do you make of that situation in Pakistan with Musharraf leaving?

Oliphant: Uh, unstable? A tinder box. Yes, a geopolitical tinder box. I think that is always the safe answer.

Do you think he would make a good veep? Build that bridge to the Muslim community?

And–do I have to say it?

Tankersley: You might as well.

Oliphant: Pretty decent head o’ hair for a deposed head of state.

Tankersley: And there it is.



Yes, I took over in a military coup, fired the Supreme Court, and

couldn’t find Osama if he came equipped with a Lojack, but check

out this head of hair. All mine, baby!


Oliphant Here is an excerpt from a recent story on Musharraf by our colleague Kim Barker. Gotta love the introductory graf to the quote.

Many insiders said his resignation was part of a deal allowing him to avoid the humiliation of a public impeachment in Parliament and perhaps avoid criminal charges for actions during his almost nine years as president, including seizing power while army chief in 1999, declaring emergency rule in November, and firing the country’s top judges, also in November.
“I am leaving with satisfaction that whatever I could do for this country, I did that with honesty,” Musharraf told the nation in a televised speech.


Classic stuff.

Tankersley: OK, here’s a topic more up your alley. We’re about to hit the party conventions – I’m off to Denver in fairly short order, in fact – and polls show the race basically tied.So — who’s position would you rather have at this point in the race? McCain or Obama?

Oliphant: McCain.


Read the rest at the Swamp, the blog of the Tribune’s Washington bureau.

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DOUBLETAKE: The backlash begins here

Welcome to Doubletake, your daily morning mash-up from Tribune correspondents Jim Oliphant and Jim Tankersley. Part of a balanced breakfast.

Jim Oliphant: So, this morning let’s talk about the coming letdown

Jim Tankersley: I’m too tired to make a joke here. So please tell me, oh, law-degreed one, what that means.
Oliphant: Basic concept. Nothing complicated about it. You don’t need a law degree to understand. . . Bigfoot, do you?

Tankersley: I’m sure a psychology degree helps. What is it about his relationship with his mother that makes him not actually exist?

So what’s this basic letdown concept?

Oliphant: Turns out, that Bigfoot they caught in Georgia. Not real. Not the real Bigfoot. The hunters that found “him” and stuffed him in the freezer, they even had the conjones (Spanish accent here) to hold a press conference…..as if, you know, forensic science never existed.

Here’s the story.

Tankersley: Well, they got paid didn’t they. Presumably more than the cost of the gorilla suit. And they ended up live on CNN.

Oliphant: Bigfoot suit, technically, is the term

Tankersley: My mistake.

Oliphant: But you see where I’m going. I’m done waiting for Obama to make his veep choice. I’m sitting around, time on my hands, not sure what to do with myself. Last night, I cleaned my place! Cleaned it. At night! I even cleaned out my refrigerator. You know what my refrigerator has become? Gitmo for vegetables. It’s where awful things happen to vegetables in small chambers.

Read the rest at the Swamp, the Chicago Tribune’s Washington blog.

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DOUBLETAKE: Guilt by association

Welcome to Doubletake, your morning cup of joe with Tribune correspondents Jim Tankersley and Jim Oliphant. They can also been seen starring in a musical version of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” at the Potomac Playhouse through Aug. 29. The pork chops are half-price.

Jim Oliphant: Bonjiourno. Tough night last night

Jim Tankersley: Don’t tell me — you took the red-eye in from the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, and you missed the women’s gymnastics individual events in flight.

Oliphant: Georgia’s always on my-my-my-my-my-my-my-my mind.
No, close. Picture this: Your football team hasn’t been on Monday Night Football for FIVE years. And yeah, it’s preseason, so who cares. But they are playing the world champions and there is a buzz around the team. Maybe a real contender . . .

Tankersley: Is this the part where you admit your team is the Browns?

Oliphant: It’s like a witness protection program, right? Or AA? My name is Jim and I am a Cleveland fan. Hi Jim!

Oliphant: So I sit down to watch the game and almost before I can blink: penalties, fumbles, runback, sacks, safeties…it’s like a blur. I look up and it is literally 30-3 at the end of the first quarter! It felt like the opening scene of Gladiator. Unleash hell!

Tankersley: I am contractually obligated to remind you that the NFL preseason matters less than the Des Moines straw poll.

Oliphant: Hey, it was their first team against ours and it looked like Russia versus Georgia. (In the freestyle war competition) Bottom line: They are simply not ready for prime time.

Tankersley: I will allow you your Cleveland misery. But speaking of all this Georgia stuff: Would you please explain the Joe Biden boomlet to me? I know you trailed him for a week in Iowa. How did he go from almost-zero land to short list?

Oliphant: I think it’s pretty simple. Obama went to Hawaii. The Russians went to South Ossetia. And suddenly John McCain had the field clear to be presidential on a matter perceived to be Obama’s greatest weakness. It might have convinced some in his campaign that they needed someone who could stand up and be taken seriously on world affairs.

Tankersley: But does America take Joe Biden seriously? I know the party faithful do — I saw one of them crash a New Hampshire press conference to ask John Edwards if he’d pick Biden as running mate (ah, the days when John Edwards looked like a contender for … anything).

Oliphant: Biden, despite his tendency to talk until the trees lose their leaves, is a heavy hitter in that regard. Watching him talk (and talk) in the basement of a public library in a small town in Iowa about the origins of Iraq and a Brief History of the Kurds convinced me and the 15 other people there. And then we went outside and the Statue of Liberty was half-sticking out of the ground. It was like Planet of the Apes!

Read the rest at the Swamp.

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DOUBLETAKE: Rock me like a hurricane!

Welcome to Doubletake, your daily spin on the headlines from Tribune correspondents Jim Oliphant and Jim Tankersley. Ask your doctor if Doubletake is right for you. Side effects include blurred vision, disproportionate anger, and moral bankruptcy.

Jim Oliphant: Good morning! It’s a new week, a new news cycle, and I have a new hair product. I feel good. I feel like Axl Rose judging a junior college beauty pageant.

Jim Tankersley: 90s drugged-out-waif-musical-genius Axl, or bloated, stuck-for-a-decade-on-finishing-the-same-album Axl?

Oliphant: Hey, it’s all about timing, my friend. Have you read the album is actually coming out.

Tankersley: Chinese Democracy. As elusive, at this point, as the lost Cone of Silence at RIck Warren’s church.

Oliphant: I think Axl might be the genius he was supposed to be all along. He just sat and waited–drinking five liters of vodka every day for 10 years—until the whole concept of Chinese democracy was hot.

Tankersley: Which reminds me of the question that’s been nagging me since I overdosed on Olympics and Saddleback Church this weekend: What, in your opinion, was the “greatest moral failing” of Michael Phelps’ record-setting 8 gold-medal performance?

Oliphant: Whoa, Thomas Hobbes. You gonna hit me with that this early on a Monday? I’m just trying to make sure the toothpaste hits the brush with as little blowback as possible. Why dont you tell me?

Read the rest at The Swamp.

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DOUBLETAKE: No. 2 is the new No. 1

Welcome to Doubletake, your daily spin on the headlines by Tribune correspondents Jim Tankersley and Jim Oliphant. Download our cover of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” on itunes.

Jim Oliphant: I am beside myself . . . which isnt easy, by the way

Jim Tankersley: Why?

Oliphant: I go down to the mailbox, pull out the new edition of Sports Illustrated and there’s my bloody football team on the bloody cover.SICover.JPG

Tankersley: The Supreme Court Whizzers? (How’s that for a little Byron White humor early in the morning?)

Oliphant: Yeesh.

Tankersley: The Browns, I assume.

Oliphant: Please. The universe hasn’t gone that insane. No, the Buckeyes of the Ohio State University . . . who are now pariahs in the college football world for losing two straight national championship games. Constitutional amendments have been proposed to keep them from a third title game.

Tankersley: And by virtue of the SI Cover Jinx, will now tumble to a 4-8 record and lose by 50 to Michigan?

Oliphant: Of course! And if the Rest of America hated them before, they double-hate them now. Here is the amazing thing. They aren’t even ranked No. 1! They are No. 2. And I guess that is what we are talking about today.

Tankersley: Indeed. Vice presidents. This is a big couple of weeks for the men and women auditioning for spots on the McCain and Obama tickets. What do you make of the hopefuls?

Oliphant: It sort of seems to be a war of attrition doesnt it? Every time someone’s name rotates to the forefront, there seems to be a collective national yawn, sort of like when this week’s SI hit the newsstands.

Read the rest at The Swamp



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DOUBLETAKE: World Gone Wrong

Good morning. Welcome to Doubletake, your daily spin on the headlines brought to you by Tribune correspondents Jim Oliphant and Jim Tankersley. While our genius is largely ignored in America, we are HUGE in Belgium.latz.jpg

Jim Tankersley: Hello there. Actual news this morning! Cease-fire in Georgia! Mark Warner to keynote the Democratic National Convention . . . 

Jim Oliphant: And, most important, the Burger King employee who took a bath in the restaurant sink! 
(Wait for it.)

Tankersley: (silence)

Oliphant: Don’t you want to talk about Mr. Unstable?

Tankersley: Mr. Unstable?

Oliphant: It’s not Vladimir Putin. That’s who they are calling the employee who took a bath at an Ohio Burger King. 



Say hello to Mr. Unstable. Wonder where he got that name?

Read the rest on the Swamp.

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DOUBLETAKE: A conspiracy of silence?



Welcome to Doubletake, your daily dose of the morning news brought to you by Tribune correspondents Jim (“word to your mother”) Tankersley and James Oliphant. No avatars were harmed in the making of this feature.

Jim Tankersley: A beautiful August morning to you.

Jim Oliphant:  Very unseasonable. I had the windows open last night. I guess those global warming cranks had better find another cause.

Tankersley: It’s the sort of day that makes you wish you were on vacation. You’ve got to hand it to the French — they may fade in the final seconds of a 4 by 100 relay, but they pioneered the art of collectively taking August off. It’s a national tradition there.

Oliphant:  Every August I vow to be out of Washington and every August I’m here. I guess it’s time to find another vow. Or another month.

Tankersley: On the other hand, think of what you’d be missing. You wouldn’t have learned yesterday that the media “cone of silence” around John Edwards’ affair kept Hillary Clinton from winning Iowa, the Democratic nomination and, presumably, the White House.

Oliphant: Howard Wolfson, Clinton’s former spokesman, suggested as much Monday, saying the MSM (that would be us) laid off Edwards in a way of course he implied it never did with Hillary.

The Clinton camp has sure gotten over it, hasn’t it?

Read the rest at The Swamp.

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