Monthly Archives: October 2012

Breaking News Fail…or How Twitter Became My Source of Real News

How does the saying go?  “I’ve got a dog in this fight”?  My daughter is smack dab at the south end of the landfall of Hurricane Sandy in Washington D.C.  The good news is so far so good…she is safe.  The bad news is tonight is the death of traditional television breaking news coverage as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve been keeping tabs on my college freshman in DC today/tonight via text and phone calls.  But I also wanted to get some objective analysis of the storm and how it might affect…oh, I don’t know…her LIFE.  What I found was what I knew I would find on CNN:

  • Ali Velshi foolishly standing waist deep in water in Atlantic City
  • Erin Burnett and Anderson Cooper attempting to moderate live broadcasts outside in the storm.  Cooper attempts to do an interview with the Governor of New Jersey while he is battered by winds and rain…sophomoric sensationalism at best.
  • Ashley Banfield patting herself on the back for not erroneously reporting the NYSE was underwater while her employer had been doing just that for the previous hour.

It’s amateur hour at the networks folks.  Who can put on the most dramatic live shot?  Who can break the news faster? Who can look more macho/sexy weathering the storm?  What the fuck does this have to do with informing me?  How the hell does this help me understand the potential danger my daughter may be in?

Twitter came through tonight.  It was my source for the most accurate links to the truth.  Yes, it will always contain unsubstantiated reporting, but it also contained the most timely and accurate NEWS.  And that’s what I wanted…news…information.  I didn’t want to see millionaire reporters acting like idiots.

Thank God for the internet.  I can’t imagine a world where my only source of breaking information was television.  If Edward R. Murrow was alive today…well, he would probably be homeless…not sexy enough for T.V…too many pesky facts.

Maybe it will stop when Anderson or Ali or some other fame hungry moron is decapitated on live T.V. by a sharp piece of building facade but, sadly, I know that would only increase ratings and martyr the idiots…

Dunces…and Heroes.

The Donald.  Mourdock.  My buddy the spy.

It’s been an interesting few days.  Trump panders to the willing and announces another fourth grade publicity stunt.  That it’s even reported gives me a headache.

Indiana Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock announces that God endorses rape, drawing a deep sigh of relief from Todd Akin.  Romney scrambles to distance himself…from…oh wait, apparently he will continue to endorse Mourdock.  Hmmm…that one surprised me.  Romney’s a dunce, but I thought he had “people” around him that would advise against continuing to support that guy.  This just in:  His “people” consist of Ann Romney and Ann Coulter.  A Confederacy of Ann’s.

My buddy the spy.  So here’s the most conflicting part of my week.  One of my clients stopped by to talk politics the other day.  He’s an avid Romney supporter.  He spends money with me so I dutifully keep my mouth shut.  No big deal right…easy call?  But the problem is I have a tremendous amount of respect for this guy.  And listening to him repeat the Faux News party line was disturbing…not just because I respect him, but because it caused me to think about other people who swallow their pabulum.

It’s been easy for me to write them off as uneducated dunces or misguided wing-nuts.  But this guy is different.  This guy does work for our government, shall we say, under the radar.  You’ll just have to trust me that he’s the real deal and works off the books for our liberty.  Someone I respect.  So my paradigm shifted.  I need to admit that things got a little grayer.  Not in my core beliefs, but in my characterizations of those with whom I disagree.

Maybe I just grew a little…who knew.

The World of Special Olympics

The following is a guest post in the form of an open letter from Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens to Ann Coulter after this tweet during last night’s Presidential debate.

Dear Ann Coulter,

Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow.  So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?

I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow.  I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you.  In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.

I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child…

View original post 260 more words

Three and Out…

Okay I admit my photo illustration is a cheap shot.  I’m doing what I indict others for doing, but you’ll forgive me for a moment of levity at the expense of Gov. Romney.

Clearly the President “won” the debate tonight and I suspect, absent any campaign gaffes, BO won’t need to change his address.  And that’s a good thing, in my opinion.

I still don’t like the debates and I don’t like the fact that the President maintains a “kill-list” and an apparently unstructured drone program…however I am a supporter of drones in limited use; use with oversight I should say.

But at the end of the day, I “like” Barack Obama more. I feel that he comes across more as I guy I’d like to have coffee with.  I recognize that he’s a politician, and with that comes a degree of bullshit, but when I watch Romney, and study his record…I just don’t relate.  He has changed his position on so many issues, I don’t know what guy I’d be voting for.  And his demeanor.  He seems like a good man, but I just can’t relate to him on any sort of human level…and for that, or any candidate, I can’t support that.

On a technical note, I really wish BO would have countered Romney’s accusation that he was being attacked with “Gov. Romney, I am not attacking you personally, let’s grow up, I’m attacking your indefensible positions, that’s my job”.

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Breaking News: There Are No Winners in the 2012 Election

The final Presidential debate this evening will likely create a poll-spike for whichever candidate “wins” the contest.  In November, we will be presented with the final “winner” (barring a Florida debacle, as this one may be close too).

I don’t see either party “winning” in November.  I’m hoping President Obama is reelected for reasons previously stated, but if he is, I won’t feel like we or I “won”.  Why not?  If experience is any guide, and recent experience is taken into account (Clinton second term) an Obama second term is sure to be rife with political discord and social ugliness.  I’ll be the first to admit that I am as entrenched in my positions and beliefs as the committed Republican voter.  I’ll also allow that I am willing to listen to reasoned and measured rhetoric from a centrist viewpoint.  I’m willing to vote Republican if they proffered a middle-of-the-road candidate.  Their party appears so fractured I don’t think I have to worry about that happening anytime soon…and therein lies my worry.  The conversation has become so fractured…there is very little compromise, agreement, compassion or empathy on either side of the aisle.

I’d like to think the next four years under President Obama will bring the kind of success, change and hope he promised in 2008.  I deeply believe he’d like to but I’m afraid what he will encounter instead is a widening fissure among the electorate and the elected representatives.  Hang on for four years of political in-fighting and worse.  With the influx of Neanderthal idiots such as Rep. Todd Akin, the landscape isn’t about to do a sudden moral about-face.  We are in for some tough times…politically and socially.

Don’t believe me?  Check out some of the hate speech and nasty rhetoric on the Right.  If their boy Romney isn’t elected, this (okay, I’m going to break a cardinal rule here and generalize) widely uneducated group of neocons will erupt in a media-frenzied cacophony of hate speech and half-truths…and many outright lies that will not be challenged by the (and I really despise this phrase) “mainstream media”.

We saw just a hint of it under Clinton when they latched onto Monicagate and rode that into impeachment proceedings…never mind his sexual pathos had NOTHING to do with his generalship of our nation.  Think that was ugly?  What’s likely to transpire next will make that seem like child’s play.

I believe we are on the cusp of this cultural war because I will feel just as passionate (but hopefully not as immature or reactive) if Romney is given the keys to the kingdom.  I believe that Presidency would ignite the sometimes long forgotten flame of liberalism that is generally relegated to the privacy of the voting booth.  I know I will take appropriate and legal action to make sure he remained a one-term President.

I wish it wasn’t like this.  I wish whoever is elected could garner a consensus of the populace and govern in a bipartisan manner. Those days are over.  We find that we come together as a nation in times of national tragedy, as in 9/11, but we also saw how short-lived that political capital is if it’s used spuriously.  Let’s hope it doesn’t take that kind of event to draw us together, but I sure don’t have a lot of optimism that this chasm will be bridged any time soon…

The Politics of Stupid

I first noticed that it was okay to be stupid at the local level, in my city council during the 90’s. There was a local housewife that had won a seat on the council on the “anti-incumbent” platform and she proceeded to dumb down our local politics for generations to come. What do I mean? I mean the kind of stupid that is stupid for stupid’s sake. Confused? Me too.

This woman would attack the incumbents positions with absolutely no facts, relying solely on fear-mongering and pandering to the lowest common denominator…the base fears of her constituency. The exasperation shown by her fellow council members was “proof” that they were conspiring to bring the apocalypse to our fair city. Every word out of her mouth was incendiary and provocative…utterly devoid of fact. And yet she won another term…and another…and was hailed as the “peoples” candidate.

Enter Sarah Palin and her down-home brand of stupid…her “I can see Russia from my porch” brand of stupid. And it landed in the wheelhouse of that segment of our population that thinks stupid is something to aspire to. They label our medial “elite” because it dares to look beyond the rhetoric and they disenfranchise any opposing voices who strive for truth as “liberals with no family values”.

How did we become okay with this kind of stupid. One word: lazy. That’s right, we looked the other way as these neocons bull-rushed their way into national prominence and gained actual political traction. We have only ourselves to blame for our inaction. That “Honey Boo Boo” is a popular television program in my country is an indictment of not only our culture, but a reflection of our collective political intelligence. It’s okay to be stupid…we’ve allowed it to fester, and now that it’s metastasizing, we shake our heads in disbelief.

The Vice Presidential debate was a great example of the new and improved stupid. Biden was attacked for displaying incredulity at the bald-faced lies spewed by Ryan and moderator Martha Raddatz was eviscerated for daring to be a “journalist” and asking probing questions. And we were okay with these criticisms.

I say enough is enough. It’s time to call stupid what it is…stupid. It’s time to stop being lazy and call out those pols and commentators who continue to spread the politics of stupid. Really, let’s enhance our national debate, let’s bring some intelligence, thoughtfulness and critical thinking back to the table. Let’s just say no when the easy way, the stupid way, is to blindly accept the sound bites from all parties. Let’s end the politics of stupid before it ends us…

Presidential Debate, Part Deux (and the new guy)…

(photo courtesy

Entering the debate tonight, I started to suspect that my guy, President Barack Obama, was a man defeated.

I’m not suggesting the guy is giving up, I’m suggesting that through the circumstances of his presidency, this man has lost his spark.  He’s lost the perhaps naive belief that REAL change is possible.  He’s been on the job for almost four years now and he found out that the entrenched bureaucracy in the beltway did not necessarily share his views in 2008.  What may have really pissed  him off was the nascent opposition from his own party.  Nancy Pelosi did not turn into the partner he had hoped.

I can’t say that I blame him, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the old Obama.  I think a lot of us miss that guy.  The question started to circulate after the last debate:  does this guy want this job?

I think he answered that question tonight.  I think he found a little of the old mojo tonight.  Not the same guy for sure.  Not the Obama of 2008 but the man wants the job.  I think he deeply believes in his ideology.  I think he believes he’s the right man for our country and I also believe, whether deep down he wants the job or not, he knows that a Romney administration would lead to disaster.  So maybe it’s a defensive reflex that is driving him now, but whatever…I’ll take it.

Whoever the new guy is that showed up at the debate tonight, I like him. I like the way he thinks, I like the way he acts.  I truly believe the President is a decent guy that strives to do the right thing…to build consensus where he can and to help as many people as he can. Perhaps a bit jaded, but compassionate and honest nonetheless.  I cannot say that about Romney without laughing out loud.  Those ideas simply do not equate with this man.  The man has proven to be a hula hoop of policy…spinning round and round and willing to change his positions, and play loose with the truth as it suits his needs and the polls.  The President was spot-on when he called him out on it and said it’s simply not true.

At the end of the day (night) I felt that President Obama did an admirable job of expressing his position in as truthful a manner as possible.  The fact checkers will record that Romney did not…again.

Liar, Liar, Rant on Fire…

O.J. Simpson

Jerry Sandusky

Lance Armstrong

Three individuals who committed (allegedly) crimes and steadfastly continue to maintain their innocence.  Here we have three folks who most people can agree are liars.  To various degrees for sure, but liars nonetheless.

It got me thinking about the culture of lies in our country.  O.J. was the original liar-extraordinaire for my generation. Here’s a dude that butchers, and I mean butchers, his ex-wife and her friend, is nearly completely indicted by the evidence, and yet walks free (well, Karma caught up to him, but that’s another post).

Then there’s that piece of waste, Jerry Sandusky, who so completely took advantage of the cult of personality that was Joe Paterno that his crimes were unreported for over a decade.  Multiple victims have come forth to corroborate the original accusers and yet this guy completely denies…and I mean on a wholesale basis, his horrific actions.

Finally, there’s the golden boy, Lance Armstrong.  Yes, his crimes pale in comparison to the first two, but the clinical psychology remains the same.  Deny at all costs, indict your accusers, mount a well funded campaign of misinformation.  Are these guys psychopaths or just well-to-do liars with the means to continue the ruse in the media?

To anyone in the cycling world (and I worked in it briefly) the story of Armstrong and his doping/intimidation was well known if not well documented.  The USADA finally put together a comprehensive picture of his activities this year and Armstrong continued the lie by deflecting responsibility and refusing to face the charges…a smart move clearly calculated by his handlers to reduce damage to his cancer foundation.

They all maintain their innocence in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  In O.J.’s case, his continued psychotic behavior landed him, effectively, a life sentence on unrelated charges.  Sandusky continues to molest his victims through his pathetic attempt to rehabilitate his image.  And Armstrong will likely never do the right thing and continue to deny his widespread pattern of doping.  Will this hurt his cancer foundation?  I don’t know and I hope it doesn’t.  Will the continued lies hurt him personally?  Who knows…I can just suspect that if O.J.’s lesson doesn’t teach him anything, nothing will.

In my fifty-one years on this planet, I have personally observed one immutable law: Karma=Bitch.

Welcome to “Idiocracy”

(courtesy Teabonics)

On the eve of the last Presidential debate, I’ve been suffering from a nagging VP debate hangover.  By all accounts, my guy (Biden) “won” the debate.

Before we declare a “winner” tomorrow night, I want to throw this out: let’s wake the fuck up folks…there are NO “winners” in these exercises in demagoguery!  What we witness is a pre-packaged regurgitation of talking points that are as meaningless as the “debates” themselves.

Tomorrow night we will hear President Obama attack Romney’s “flip-flop” vulnerability and counter-attack on the Obamacare issue; he’s also likely to hit on some of the fabrications proffered thus far by the Romney campaign.  Romney will delight in attacking the President on the Libya non-issue (seriously, can we all be grown-ups for a second and agree that not all the information about an incident is immediately available to the parties involved?) and on the slow growth of the economy as if President Obama was the ever powerful economic wizard that the Republican’s would have him be.  I applaud BO’s efforts (GM, stimulus) and am willing to be patient.

The point is this: neither of these guys will talk about anything of any real substance.  And the “winner” will be declared based on who (and I can’t believe I’m about to use this Palinism) had the better “gotcha” moments.  And who walked the fine line of aggressiveness vs. decorum.  These things are a joke and an insult to educated, critical-thinking citizens throughout our land.  I want one of these guys to have the balls to stand up and say so.  Say “Look, our campaign is about more than sound-bites and media created “issues”…here’s where we stand, here’s what our platform is, and here’s how we are different from the other guy”.

Folks, it’s time we started demanding more from this process.  No matter who wins next month, our system if FUBAR and we are in deep shit if we don’t start making some changes.  If you have seen the 2006 Mike Judge movie “Idiocracy” you share my terror that we are moving towards making that a non-fiction movie…

Is There a Better Wingman than Biden?

I think we can all agree V.P. Joe Biden owned Sen. Paul Ryan tonight.  It was a masterful performance, in my view blending common sense with a personal style that engendered him to Main Street throughout the night.

He effectively illustrated the lack of truth that has become a hallmark of the Romney campaign.  Every time Ryan offered up another misstatement, it landed in Biden’s wheelhouse and he used his Louisville slugger to knock it out of the studio.

These debates are generally an exercise in mental masturbation for those of us entrenched in our positions.  I loved Biden tonight and I’m sure the Romney supporters will spin the debate in their favor.  What I think was unique was the clarity with which Biden dismantled the spin machine that Ryan brought to the table.

That Biden’s tone and experience overwhelmed Ryan was apparent and I really do need to give props to Ryan for handling the ass whooping that he received with class and a modicum of composure.  I may have been reduced to tears had I been in Ryan’s position.

If I’m that voter on the fence, with an open mind, I’m pretty sure enough doubt was introduced into the forum to make me question not only Romney’s integrity vis-a-vis his wavering posititions, but his lack of clarity on his budget.  And don’t even get me started on Biden’s experience on foreign policy and military matters.  Ryan simply had no credibility on those issues and his master has none.  This was very apparent tonight.

Biden’s response to the final question on how his Catholic faith informed his political views, was a complex and masterful treatise on the Obama administration’s position on this and other social issues.

I, again am posting this at the termination of the debate before I am completely twisted by the spin machines so consider my opinions as such…

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