Wednesday, November 29, 2006
The editorial in today's Wall Street Journal regarding President Bush's now ill-fated meeting with Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki is much of what you would expect from the business-friendly rag. The two are there to "show" the terrorists and the region they share a common goal and his lack of realism in terms of Iraq point to a gallant effort to reaffirm the American public and the soldiers that he, himself, believe in this misadventure. The Yale cheerleader apparently can't put down his pom-poms.
The WSJ did make a poignant and snide remark by calling NBC News and the Los Angeles Times "wannabe Walter Cronkites" by beginning to refer to the war in Iraq as, indeed, a civil war.
NBC, in fact, led by the self-appointed neo-Edward R. Murrow, Keith Olbermann seems to more likely to be the culprit of such self-aggrandizing. Aside, from the basic and intuitive penchant for calling attention to yourself in Hollywood, what exactly is news organizations suppose to do in this situation? The war in Iraq has reached the standard of Civil War and may have even reached that lowpoint months ago. NBC News and The L.A. Times can't be expected to ignore this fact.
Inevitably, the use of the word "civil war" will become ubiquitous. With news that al-Maliki publicly snubbed the president today whether he was angered by the leak of a White House memo that severely questioned his ability to act as PM or the catch-22 of dealing with President Bush or risk losing the support of Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr put him in a no-win situation. Either way, tonight, the chances of the worst happening in Iraq for the U.S.--a coup--went up significantly.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Joel Chan the Chinaman
Does anything a computer can
Oh, oh, there goes the Chinaman
I would like to apologize to all people of Chinese descent, whether or not they believe the Taiwan has a right to exist and even Jackie Chan, who makes millions of dollars making movies in America but finds little to time to actually learn how to speak anywhere near passable English. Even that one Chinese lady who brazenly cuts me off in the buffet line and completely acts like she doesn't hear me protesting.
I also send my regrets to Mr. Chan even though from seventh grade on it was revealed that he was not the smartest kid in school but apparently more adept at stealing answers to the test than taking a joke. I pray that you have not risen to the top of the Chinese communist party, Mr. Chan, and have mercy on me and my family when the party recalls it credit to America.
I am deeply sorry,
PS: I should have written a few more stanzas to that song!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
So Kramer said the N-word again, again and again. Is he a racist? Who cares! The fact that comedian Michael Richards melted down in front of comedy club audience doesn't have any bearing on race relations in this country. This is not the O.J. Simpson divide or the L.A. riots of that era.
Richards' rant liberally using the N-word is just an entertainer mouthing off in a place where outrageous things are said. His words have none of the gravitas of a public figure or even the high-profile tabloid figure of Britney Spears. Richards is a has-been unable to come close to replicating one of the greatest TV characters in history.
His tirade was reprehensible or so off the wall that he could not label it borne out of edgy comedy. But, the venue is important in this controversy which, coincidentally or not was breaking in the midst of O.J.'s return to the spotlight. The comedy club just may be the last bastion of 100 percent free speech. I've listened to comedians say the most offensive and outrageous things in the name of comedy. But, when you buy a ticket plus the two drink minimum the chance that a performer will say the N-word or curse profusely is included in the deal.
The need to have shock value is an important tool in a comedian's bag of tricks. I believe Richards was heading this way when he began hurling racial epithets at the balcony and many in the audience laughed at the opening salvos. Unfortunately, Richards went overboard pacing the stage with a surreal calmness and making unmistakable allusions to slavery in his taunts to the hecklers.
When Richards showed up on the Late Show with David Letterman his apology was clumsy and as scategorically intelligible as his rant last Friday night. How did he start talking about hurricane Katrina victims? What was he doing on Letterman other than to save the legacy of Jerry Seinfeld's famed sitcom. Here's Seinfeld, booked to promote the DVD of the seventh season of Seinfeld, giving way to a somber Richards piped in via satellite to say sorry to the obvious. What a way to grind a comedy program to a halt.
The funny thing about the appearance on Letterman is that the man whose reputation had been so badly soiled looked less worried than the co-creator of Seinfeld. Seinfeld was so nervous that the perception of his franchise and its most lovable character would be soiled by the racist comic that he hastily brought Richards with him to his appearance even telling the audience to stop laughing as the uncomfortable Richards tripped over his words like the famous Kosmo Kramer.
Michael Richards is probably no more racist than the average American and Jerry Seinfeld no more greedy than the richest businessman, but if comedians are pressured to say the mundane and quiver from edgy comedy that is the basis of their craft then America is cursed to be entertained by a thousand Dane Cook's and that would make me very, very uncomfortable.
Monday, November 20, 2006
The grasp of the O.J. Simpson murder trial is still firmly clutching the American psyche. O.J.'s acquittal in 1994 was undeniably America's problem with race relation in a microcosm, but it was also a perfect storm of celebrity, power, money, sex and murder. A well-known and well-liked actor and pro football Hall of Famer who gave it all away by killing his estranged wife.
Nearly equal in its peculiar absurdity is Simpson's ill-fated book and television special. It would have been the most apt ending to this real life story seemingly based on the most trashy of pulp fiction. The killer confesses to the murders 12 years later to a still rapt audience. The same people 12 years older who watched the spectacle every morning in robes while buttering their toast still have their ears perk up with mere mention of the trial and its freed star.
A dozen Fox affiliates said they would not air the controversial two-part program where Simpson would discuss how he would have killed Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown-Simpson with publisher Judith Regan. The Brown and Goldman family protested because they feared Simpson--the killer according to the civil suit he lost--would be profitting from the venture.
This reason is justified. According to many sources, Simpson has yet to pay a penny of the $30 million judgement against him. One report said Simpson collects $25,000 per month from a pension fund that is exempt from the judgement as is property in Florida.
But, what if the public was assured that Simpson would not receive a single penny from this book deal or its profits donated to charity? What would the public want in this case? Denise Brown, the sister of Nicole, appeared on Today and literally applauded the American people for pressuring Fox to nix the Simpson book. If O.J. doesn't gain monetarily from this book, why shouldn't we hear what he has to say?
This is the angle nobody dares to tackle. The American people, the same viewers who stood through hundred of hours of mundane cross-examination 12 years ago, wouldn't want to know exactly how the famous murder went down? You have to kidding yourself or too wrapped up in saying exactly what's politically correct not to indulge this curiosity.
I want to know why O.J. killed Nicole Simpson, with what weapons, where he got it and where he put it. Most importantly, I want to know how a person who had everything lost it all with a slash of a knife. To me, this is the essence of this Greek tragedy. I want O.J. to add the post-mortem to this story that is nearly as strong as it was more than a decade ago. The end will not occur until we hear his story and with the power of the internet we will somwhere, somehow
Monday, November 06, 2006
U.S. SENATE: Dianne Feinstein
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Pete Stark
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: John Garamendi
SECRETARY OF STATE: Debra Bowen
STATE CONTROLLER: John Chiang
STATE TREASURER: Bill Lockyer
ATTORNEY GENERAL: Jerry Brown
INSURANCE COMMISSIONER: Larry Cafiero
STATE SENATOR (10TH DIST.) Ellen Corbett
MAYOR SAN LEANDRO: Tony Santos
The Senate is different. There's very little leeway either way. Conceivably, the number is between four and six. Go right down the middle, which would mean a 50-50 split and a steady job for Vice President Cheney breaking ties on Capitol Hill.
The night may not be the revolution that Democrats were hoping for but nevermind the thin majority of the inane ramifications for 2008, the Democratic Party was flirting with extinction just two years ago and with the help of a ridiculous operation in the White House and some very smartly run campaigns the party will be in control of the House and a voice in the direction of this country.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
According the article, a Pelosi-led House would quickly get to work on this agenda:
- Pay-as-you-go budgeting
- Adopt recommendations of the 9/11 Commission
- Increase the minimum wage to $7.25
- Broaden stem cell research allowed with federal money
- Cut the interest rate on student loans
- End tax giveaways to Big Oil
The Pelosi agenda is both welcomed, warranted and ambitious, but it leaves out one major point: the impeachment of President Bush.
What are the odds that this happens despite Pelosi's protestations the last few months? Extremely high I'd say.
What would be the advantage of Pelosi and the Democrats gleefully threatening neverending hearings into the dishonesty and graft of the Bush administration. One day before the election, talk of about catching those crooks in Washington seems like a waste of time and more of the same do-nothing Congress that so many Americans detest.
I'm in agreement, even if a majority of its constituents crave a "payback is a bitch" moment against the Bush administration, holding back would be for the better of the republic. But, that's today talking.
What if Pelosi takes over the House next year and hopefully the Senate and in the midst of pushing through their Democratic agenda find the foundation the Congress rotting far more than the previous owners let on. Do they let it go or proceed with finding the truth and hold the GOP to the light after six years of operating in the shadows?
This scenario is likely to happen because the modus operandi of the GOP is to hide and with a full majority for nearly six years accountability has never been on the table. Starting the morning of November 8th it will.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
The New York Times' website reports that tomorrow's edition will lead with news that the President approved a website dedicated to the archives of Saddam Hussein's attempts at building nuclear weapons and its contents could be dangerous in the wrong hands. The public site was urged by Republicans to "leverage the internet" to reveal the Iraqi dictator's criminal intent.
Unfortunately, many experts in the field tell the Times the information is highly secret and could lead nation's with nuclear aspirations to improve upon their knowledge.
With only five days until a likely Democratic landslide in Congress could there be a worst story for the Republicans? It has all the hallmarks of one of those transcendental news items that seem to encompass all that we think about the folly of this administration.
Who, but mere amateurs at national security and governance, would freely post the blueprints to building the bomb? These are the people that say they can protect this country better than Democrats. This embarrassing disclosure certainly destroys the argument that a vote for Democrats is a vote for the terrorists, doesn't it?
Why did this happened? Nobody knows, but the GOP is going to have a hard time pinning the blame on Democrats when it was two leading Republicans in Congress who pushed its existence earlier this year.
How much more do the American people need to know? Here's a brief primer: whatever the Bush administration says believe the opposite. When they tell you that they'll protect your family, believe the opposite. When they say vote Republican, vote Democrat.