Saturday, September 30, 2006

NBC's New Problem With Weakening Late Night Ratings

Problems just never seem to go away for NBC. Soft primetime ratings and the recent renewed primetime strength over at ABC have improved JIMMY KIMMEL enough that sometimes DAVID LETTERMAN is more closely within the ratings of JAY LENO than in years. And since the JIMMY KIMMEL show overlaps part of CONAN O'BRIEN after the strong NIGHTLINE lead-in, last Wednesday JIMMY KIMMEL was within just a few thousand viewers of CONAN O'BRIEN. CRAIG FERGUSON, which follows DAVID LETTERMAN is also showing new strength as well.

This is only the latest disappointment over at NBC. The much hoped for STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP has begun to disappoint more than a few viewers who may not care to watch again. And the excellent medical investigator drama, CROSSING JORDAN is being delayed while a second game show by the producers of DEAL OR NO DEAL is being rolled out in an attempt to lure viewers. The plan seems to be, if viewers aren't watching, then offer them money in at-home games to watch.

Up until this year, it seemed like the late night offerings of NBC were immune to the prime time ratings slip over the last few seasons. And since the airing of NFL football games is on Sunday for NBC, there is no carryover to the MOnday -Friday late night talk programs despite excellent monologues and guests on both LENO and CONAN.

For NBC this presents a new problem if the ratings slip becomes a chronic problem, and is not just a new TV season ratings blimb. NBC certainly doesn't need new problems that are difficult to turn around. It seemed funny for both LENO and CONAN to joke about the ratings problems over at NBC, except when your own show may be suffering from part of the audience erosion woes. Time will only tell how serious this new situation may become.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Bush's Latest Sharply Partisan Speech Very Disturbing

Yesterday, Mr. Bush invoked the names of FDR and Harry Truman, claiming that modern Democrats are little more than the party of "cut and run", and even used 9/11 in a patently offensive partisan manner by claiming that Democrats are trying to obstruct his antiterrorism efforts. This is absolutely outrageous. There are certainly a few who merely advocate an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, but they are hardly the majority of all Democrats or even Democratic lawmakers. Most Democrats realize that the army of Iraq must be able to stand on it's own before U.S. soldiers leave, otherwise an even worse sectarian bloodbath will ensue.

It is hoped that Mr. Bush's comments are merely election year nonsense talk. Democrats are not for the most part less concerned with America's security. But there appears to be a strong effort by the White House to resist any policy changes that are not working with Iraq, Afghanistan or the War On Terror. Mr. Bush has created big opposition here in the U.S. to his policies and inspired far more Islamic radicals abroad by years of failure to qiuckly win the situations in both Afghanistan and Iraq. There were 20,000 worldwide Al Qaeda members before the Iraq War and 50,000 today. Afghanistan will now need more NATO soldiers, including Americans, and U.S. forces are rumored to increase by 50,000 after the cover of the election.

Mr. Bush and some of his Republican supporters now seem to increasingly want to revert back to 1950's Joe McCarthyism of calling anyone who disagrees with them some sort of a traitor. This is unproductive for a policy to solve the problems of Iraq, Afghanistan and the War On Terror. And clinging to policies that clearly are not working only begs the question of why not try another plan. Changing the leadership of Congress is also a good new start.

Ashton Kutcher Disgraces The Lincoln Memorial

Ashton Kutcher, the young actor who married Demi Moore, an actress 15 years his senior, is making the rounds on talk shows to promote two new movies. Last night on Jay Leno he found a cery unfortunatw way to self-promote. Last night he displayed a photo of himself "mooning" the Lincoln Memorial.

This has to be one of the most disrepectful ways to conduct oneself outside of this important memorial site. It proves a complete ignorance and disrepect the history of this nation. It is completely unacceptable conduct in a memorial that should command a quiet respect for all that it represents.

Abraham Lincoln was most likely the greatest President in the history of the U.S. He was a religious man raised in a log cabin where he taught himself to read the only book in this home, the Bible. This shaped his entire nature of respect for the equality of all men , as well as prayerful respect for God. The accounts of both Moses and Job greatly reflected the great man who would end the immorality of slavery as well as suffer great personal trials and suffering himself, despite being a very good and righteous man. Abraham Lincoln is the only President in American history whose life story so greatly is similar to that of major figures from the Bible. Lincoln was virtually a living American saint.

The Lincoln Memorial was also represents the location for the historic August 28, 1963, "I Have A Dream" speech by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King at the end of the March On Washington For Jobs And Freedom. The memorial represents American values of opposition to slavery and the equality of all men. And while it is not the official burial site of President Lincoln, it certainly deserves all the respect due a burial site.

Some young people know little of the history of America. Many know little of the terrible war that ended slavery or of the great human cost at Gettysburg. Few know little of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King or his similar struggle to end racism in America and achieve fairness for all people. Ashton Kuthcher owed the Lincoln Memorial far more respect than he offered it. Abraham Lincoln, the civil war, the battle to end both slavery and racism, and the greatest speech ever delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King all have a great historic stake in this important monument.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

61% Of Iraqis In New Poll Feel That Insurgent Atttacks On Americans Are Justified

A disturbing new poll illustrates just how poisoned the views of those in Iraq are becoming towards American involvement in the the nation. Despite the fact that American troops are likely preventing many sectaraian deaths between Shiites and Sunnis, a big 61% majority think that the violent attacks on Americans are justified. It's not clear whether this means both servicepersons and civilian contractors, but this is a disturbing trend that proves just how widespread the antiU.S. sentiments have become since the flare-up of combat between Israel and Hezbollah.

And two thirds in the poll in Iraq also supported immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces. However a rumor is beginning to quietly circulate in Washington that after the election, U.S. troop levels will be increased by 50,000. Mr. Bush and the Republicans don't want to pay a political cost now. And even though Mr. Bush has known since April that there were 20,000 Al Qaeda members before the Iraq War in 2003, there are now 50,000 worldwide and more radical groups with similar views. Mr. Bush has falsely proclaimed for months that the War On Terrorism is being won thanks to the Republicans, although a sharp increase in both terrorism and radicalism is growing in strength since the start of the 2003 Iraq War.

This week the Bush Administration declassified just a four page summary of a 30 page intelligence report culled from 16 agencies about Iraq and terrorism. But some charge this is merely a "cherry picked" summary. Congress this week approved another $70 billion for this war and Americans provide their loved ones for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Administration could merely blank out the information dealing with sources to protect their identity, and then release a fuller report if they really wanted to. Congress and the American people are owed this. Both have the right to know of this policy is going in the right direction or not. The Bush White House should stop playing politics with such important policy.

FOX's HAPPY HOUR Likely The First Cancelled Show Of The New TV Season

It's very likely that both the vultures and flies are waiting to descend on the dead carcass of the first new show of the Fall 2006 TV season to be cancelled. Many thought that the Anne Heche comeback project over on ABC, MEN IN TREES, would be the first DOA series of the season, but instead it looks like the FOX may take this honor with the announcement of yanking HAPPY HOUR from tonight's Thursday night lineup.

As far as a plotline goes, HAPPY HOUR was a complete mess. As far as laughs go, HAPPY HOUR did manage to effortlessly launch more than a few funny if not sometimes tasteless and lusty laughs. Compared to the slowly improving new Brad Garrett program before it that seemed to miss more real laugh opportunites than it captured, HAPPY HOUR at least offered some funny material despite a head scratching premise.

The best that I can determine, the premise of HAPPY HOUR was basicly to offer just about anything to hang some jokes on. And the premise of a young fellow who rents a room in an apartment where his older roommate constantly mixes drinks while everyone including his female boss, who the young roommate has already slept with, walks through the unlocked front door as though it's a revolving door, and has more foot traffic than your average Macy's department store is just about the most confounded mess of a plotline ever for a sitcom. But as vehicle to hang jokes on, this razor thin premise works just about as good as anything.

The funny thing about HAPPY HOUR is that compared to the mean spirited and bone dry humor of the competing NBC program, THE OFFICE, HAPPY HOUR seems both simple and almost wholesome by comparison. THE OFFICE has has already wringed menopause, firing and racism for laughs. Last years Halloween episode featured the cast dressed in costumes, and the man dressed like a HOBO found himself fired by show's end. This left a real bad taste in my mouth. Compared to this, HAPPY HOUR is a relatively harmless comedy.

Last year I liked the now cancelled throwaway comedy on UPN, LOVE INC. ,which wasn't great, but was very watchable. HAPPY HOUR was similarly a disposible comedy, but also very watchable. FOX claims that the show will be back in November, but that's really hard to imagine that during November sweeps FOX will bring back a show with a meager audience of just 4.1 million. Likely HAPPY HOUR is gone for good, while FOX looks for a better replacement vehicle to draw bigger ratings. Any FOX program that draws lowly UPNlike ratings is more than likely gone for good. RIP HAPPY HOUR.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

New York Knicks Point Guard Stephon Marbury Makes A Powerful Point With $14.98 Basketball Shoes

New York Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury has a great interest in both civil rights and poverty issues. This upcoming new NBA season he will be making a strong point by wearing his new line of $14.98 basketball shoes in the games he plays. His shoes are substantial quality, worthy enough to be used in a tough and agressive NBA game. This speaks well for the quality of these shoes despite the very low price.

Poverty unfortunately keeps many families from being able to afford the $100 basketball shoes that way too many NBA greats put their names on. It is highly refreshing that one NBA star has decided that this is immoral and instead is now promotting a line of very affordable $14.98 basketball shoes that should be affordable by nearly any family.

A large portion of democracy deals not with elections, but with the democratic ownership of property. Excessive prices that only enhance the wealthy and keep many goods out of the hands of the poor of America do little just for society. The more that can be done to make the ownership of goods more democratic is a huge benefit for society. Yet at the same time these goods need to be produced as much in the U.S. as possible to offer work to the American people. Little is gained if children in Vietnam make shoes for pennies an hour and live in factories, while millions of Americans cannot find work as more and more manufacturing jobs become exported to labor cheap nations. There needs to be a fair balance of prices and goods made in the U.S. to help provide the poor of the U.S. both the goods for affordable prices and the means to afford these goods through employment opportunities.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bush Claims That Iraq War Will Only Be A "Comma" In The History Books

Mr. Bush made another especially absurd statement within the last few days that really bothers a person the more that they think about it. Bush claimed that the Iraq War will be only remembered as a "comma" in the history books. Well this "comma" has taken 2,700 American lives so far, and left more than 20,000 wounded. Some of them very seriously and in life changing ways. About 3, 500 Iraqis lose their lives to violence each month including sectarian conflict or terrorism. Maybe 100,000 or more Iraqis have already lost their lives.

And the Iraq War has seriously damaged the financial stability of the U.S. The government of the U.S. is for all intentions and purpose bankrupt and broke. It does not take in as money as is needed to pay it's bills so must sell massive amounts of bonds to foreign creditors. Japan holds $635.3 in U.S. bonds. China holds $327.7 billion. The U.K. holds $201.4 billion. Oil exporter states hold $101.5 billion. South Korea holds $68.9 billion. Yet the U.S. has already spent $500 billion on the Iraq War.

Mr. Bush constantly play the Iraq War for all sides of political exploitation. Some days this war is made into a vital part of the "War On Terrorism" when attempting to boost his party for the November elections, but when the news is bad from Iraq, then Bush claims that this war will be nothing more than a "comma " in the history books. Which day you catch Mr. Bush on is the version of the story that you will get.

Words Of Wisdom From Actor Chris Noth

Today on REGIS & KELLY, the discussion was especially deep and profound. Regis asked actor Chris Noth what the intent of NBC'S LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT was. Noth replied, "When the intent is to commit a crime".

Oprah Pulls Back Her Attorneys

Oprah Winfrey expects her attorneys to fiercely defend her billion dollar empire by fighting any copyright or licensing violations, however when they ovetstepped their mission by strongarming a well intentioned 69 year old former math teacher who runs an Oprah for president website, asking him with a "cease and desist" letter to immediately stop his efforts, then Ms. Winfrey risked a negative public relations fiasco. For the most popular talkshow host in America, the actions of her attorneys had the potential to harm her good public image.

This is just part of the price of fame. You need to always be kind to your public, and sign autographs or else risk a negative public image. The public idolizes you. For Winfrey her massive popularity and public image is an imprtant asset. The retired school teacher so idolozes her, that to him Oprah Winfrey seems like the best choice for president. To him she's honest, hardworking, and one of the average citizens who made good. She knows how to take the disadvatages of being born both Black and female, in a society still dominated by White men, and making herself immensely successful. To this school teacher, Oprah understands far more than most politicians and could really help to right America.

Although there is great deal to say for all of this great achievement, Oprah is not currently interested in running for president. But the fact that some of her fans so idolize her is reason enough to invite this schoool teacher on her program and treat him with all due respect, while making the point that she is not currently seeking the presidency. Celebrities need to recognize that their fan base is their life blood. Even the scandal sheets keep their name out there for the public to digest. For a celebrity the worst thing is to be ignored. When that happens, then the job calls usually stop.

There are far worst things than being one of the most loved and admired celebrities, and that's unemployment. Many once popular and washed up celebrities couldn't get a new acting gig of their life depended on it. Celebrities need to be always mindful of this and always treat their loyal fans with respect.

Oprah needs to always be thought of as the wonderful person who gave cars away to her studio audience or the great humanitarian. Part of her skill as a celebrity is being very kind to people. She needs to quickly make the best of the mess her attorneys have created.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The FOX Ambush Interview

I normally have a great deal of respect for Chris Wallace, the son of Mike Wallace, who are both very fine journalists. But on FOX NEWS SUNDAY it was deeply regrettable that FOX News did not live up to their side of an agreement that half of all questions in an interview granted by former President Bill Clinton were to be about his charitable Clinton Foundation which just last week raised $7.3 billion to fight aids, global warming and poverty. Instead the interview was used as an absurd right wing ambush to promote the absurd notion that because Clinton failed to kill Osama Bin Laden during his administration, then somehow he left this problem for the current President Bush.

Clinton was not interested in promotting politics on Sunday, only charity. Jimmy Carter set the standard for good works by expresidents, and raised the public expectation that expresidents should use their clout long after leaving office for good works. It was absolutely inappropriate that FOX News abused this interview to promote the absurd notion that because Clinton failed, then Bush is failing as president.

Islamic terrorism didn't begin during the Clinton Administration. During the 1960's radical acts by the PLO were increasing until in 1972, the first dramatic act of Islamic terrorism took place outside of the MidEast at the 1972 Munich Olympics, when Israeli athletes were killed by these terrorists. Islamic radicalism continued to grow through the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Bush and Reagan Administrations. During the Reagan Administation despite some terrorism connected with Libya, the Reagan Adminstration expanded on the 1979 Carter Administration support for a covert and illegal war to fund Mujahadeen fighters to battle the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia helped to find Islamic radicals such as Osama Bin Laden and others to establish terrorist training camps to battle the Soviet soldiers.

While in Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden met Egyptian born radical, Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri, who encouraged him to give him his personal fortune to promote world terrorism against the Western world once the Mujahadeen and eventually the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. The new Al Qaeda organization grew out of this. Most of the Iraqi Al Qaeda leaders are former Reagan era CIA supported fighters, who all too well learned the fine arts of killing from the CIA.

About the same time, the Reagan Administration illegally used Agriculture Department CCC funds intended food relief to disaster stricken states to help Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein , spend billions to build up the largest MidEast military during the 1980's Iran-Iraq War. On both cases of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, the Reagan Administration built up two "Frankenstein's Monsters" that have caused the U.S. and world community nothing but problems since about 1990.

Building Islamic terrorism has existed long before Bill Clinton was either President, or even Governor of Arkansas. It is only because Hillary Clinton is running for the Senate this year or possiby President in 2008, that some on the political right feel obligated to use every opportunity to prove some political point, no matter how historically or factually ignorant these views actually are. Certainly Bill Clinton got made and lost it. He wasn't there to talk about politics, but to promote his charity which took in over $3 billion from British billionaire Sir Richard Branson alone last week. Bill Clinton expected the questions to revolve around his charity work on AIDS, global warming, ending poverty or other worthy goals, not some absurd right wing political ambush that is historically and factually ignorant on the subject of terrorism. According to some very juvenile minds on the right, Islamic terrorism some how started during the Clinton Administration. Nothing could be more ignorant of the history of growing Islamic terrorism since the late 1960's. Even the 1968 murder of Senator Robert Kennedy was likely an early act of MidEast terrorism by a radical Jordanian. Shame on FOX News for their participation in this type of political garbage and helping tp spread ignorance about the growing history of MidEast terrorism since the 1960's. The political right seems willing to blame Bill Clinton for developing problems with MidEast terrorism back when he was just a college student, and not a world leader. No right wing arument could possiby be more absurd than this argument.

NBC's HEROES Faces An Uphill Climb

As good as any network TV Sci Fi program is, it has nearly always faced an uphill effort to grab a decent ratings share. Just last season alone, ABC failed with INVASION. THRESHOLD on CBS was promptly cancelled after airing their best episode ever after being moved to the old CLOSE TO HOME slot in an effort to improve ratings, and drew only a small audience share. And the very good SURFACE over at NBC failed despite some breathtaking sets and underwater photography scenes. Even the great oringinal STAR TREK program of the 60's was a ratings challenged program that only became a cult classic in reruns after being cancelled from a short run on TV.

Network SciFi just hasn't drawn the audience that it should. Only a specialty cable TV network such as the SCI FI CHANNEL, has Sci Fi been really able to hold it's own. So you might ask why NBC is back with a new SciFi program this season, which looks like a cross between the FANTASTIC FOUR and some sort of regular TV drama. While this may provide for some dramatic rescue sequences, the long drama bits could well tire out any hardcore Sci Fi fans, who may be quick to claim that SPIDERMAN, BATMAN, SUPERMAN, X-MEN or even the critically panned, FANTASTIC FOUR, all did fantastic rescue scenes much better.

And the network viewing audience seems unlikely to veer far from a few police, courtroom or medical dramas as recent history has shown. Few programs such as comedies, some reality programs, AMERICAN IDOL or DEAL OR NO DEAL scene to find an audience beyond the limited drama genre that the network viewers seem willing to accept.

But the good news is that the critics like HEROES. But then again last season, THRESHOLD, INVASION, and SURFACE often made the top ten favorite new shows of TV critics.

It will an interesting challenge for HEROES to excite the viewing public as much as some critics. No matter how good HEROES is, it still faces the historical climb that recent sci fi has faced. Both HEROES and the ratings challenge it faces will fascinating to watch in the coming weeks.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Another Side Of Condoleezza Rice

For a few brief moments on the Sunday night episode of 60 MINUTES, the public got to see another side of Condoleezza Rice. This was someone who loves Led Zeppelin and had very heartfelt sadness at the neighborhood racist bombing of a local church that took the lives of at least two little girls that young Condoleezza Rice grew up with. Young Rice played with one girl in kindergarten, and knew another girl very well. The racist bombing really had a huge impact on her.

It was indeed a very fine interview for Katie Couric, the only 60 MINUTES reporter who is less than the age of a Smithsonian Institute dinosaur. But as the interview turned to questions about Iraq, Rice once again turned to the familar role of "company man" in her typical questionable sincerity in defending the Bush White House.

I liked the heartfelt sincerity of the Condoleezza Rice who related the experiences of growing up in a racist South. It was deeply moving that two of her little friends were victims of racist terrorism. But when Rice turns back to the familar "company man" who was a former Chevron Oil Director, and the apologist for anything the Bush Administration does, not matter how hackneyed, misdirected, or even a complete failure, then she loses me completely.

If anything, Rice should learn from history that administrations are never well served by mere "yes men" unwilling to challenge absurd or even illegal notions. Kennedy surrounded himself with the same sort of "yes man " environment and the "Bay Of Pigs" fiasco and Vietnam resulted. Nixon surrounded himself with others who went along with the many crimes of Watergate. The groupthink that surrounded Reagan built up Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists with the illegal covert CIA war against the Soviets after their invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Many of the same Al Qaeda leaders we face in Iraq are veterans of the the illegal Reagan foreign policy that his cabinet refused not to prevent. And Reagan illegally used Agriculture Department CCC funds intended for food aid to a disaster striken nation to help Saddam Hussein build up his military during the Iran-Iraq War. This freed up billions for Saddam Hussein to buy arms from France and Brazil. In both cases, the Reagan Admiministration built up two "Frankenstein's Monsters" that turned on their creator thanks to the role of "yes men".

The current role of Condoleezza Rice is to play the role of a "yes man" in an administration that has created serious foreign policy problems for generations to come. Iran is now the Middle East "strongman", and will become far more dangerous once it acquires nuclear arms. North Korea knows full well that both Iraq and Afghanistan have bogged down the U.S. in currently unwinnable conflicts, and it only enboldens them. And Hugo Chavez, rather than bulding the fair and equitable socialist economy that he promised when first elected to office eight years, is now squandering his country's oil rich economy on Russian arms such as fighter jets and attemting to form world alliances with the worst regimes in the world.

Rice may feel that she is being intensely loyal to the interests of the Bush Administration. But what is politically good for this administration and the public good are not necessarily the same as history has well proven. In this regard, being a "yes man" is no better than a lemming who leads others to fall off the same cliff.

GREY'S ANATOMY Upends Thursday Night Ratings Race With CSI

The biggest news from last Thursday night's ratings race was that GREY's ANATOMY over at ABC was able to upend longtime Thursday night ratings champion, CSI, by 45.4 to 22.9 million viewers. For CSI, this was a sharp ratings decline from last year's season opener that drew 29 million viewers. NBC's DEAL OR NO DEAL, lagged far behind at just 10.2 million viewers, despite a possible $6 million dollar cash prize up for grabs.

Just like politicians who put out "spin", CBS was quick to claim that they are still "America's Most Watched Network". This is still true as with the total viewer numbers for SURVIVOR, CSI and the new courtroom drama, SHARK, added together, CBS did in fact draw the highest number of total network viewers for Thursday night.

The freshman courtroom drama, which is a TV series first for actor James Woods, did fairly well at 15.0 million viewers, although ever so slightly losing to NBC's venerable ER.

Survivor is still a strong program for CBS at 17.3 million viewers despite a controversy involving contestant teams divided along racial lines.

The NBC comedy block of MY NAME IS EARL and THE OFFICE drew just 9 million viewers, not much better the cancelled FRIENDS spinoff, JOEY, from last year. In fact the current 9 million viewers is quite weak compared roughly 20 million who used to view FRIENDS a few seasons ago.

The coming weeks will be an interesting showdown between GREY'S ANATOMY and CSI. It will be interesting whether either begins to draw an increasing audience share from the other and begin to build a ratings momentum. SHARK is likely a safe bet to survive the season if the ratings continue closely begind ER, or begin to edge out this aging medical drama. But likely more than a few surprised programmers over at CBS were shocked at the strength of GRAY'S ANATOMY over the CBS flagship ratings leader, CSI. IT will be interesting to see if Thurday night is entering a viewer realignment once again, with a new ratings leader, or whether opening week viewers were merely flirting with another show for some reason. The coming weeks will likely tell a ratings drama nearly as compelling as the dramas themselves.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

French Newspaper Reports Possible Death Of Osama Bin Laden

A newspaper in France has reported the possible death of Al Qaeda head, Osama Bin Laden. While this report is in some dispute and unconfirmed, it has been well known that Osama Bin Laden has been suffering from some health problems for some time.

Whether this report turns out to be true or not, some facts about the life of this terrorist head have been clear for some time.

After meeting up with ultraradical Egyptian born extremist, Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri, Osama Bin Laden was impressed enough to give up his own immense personal wealth to this extremist in exchange for a life of living in caves on the run after the American military response in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks that they were responsible for. With his Taliban hosts in Afghanistan under American attack, Bin Laden has had to be very careful not to fall victim to the U.S. efforts as the "America's Most Wanted". This is hardly much of a life at all. And when serious medical problems began to develop, the best of medical care was not always easy to obtain while in hiding or on the run.

Bin Laden has needlessly created huge medical suffering for himself as a result of being an international wanted criminal. In reality he never did get away with 9/11 for this reason. Whether he has died or not probably does not matter all that much at this point. His health is so bad that he likely gets little enjoyment from life, and is own personal religious views of ending up in "paradise" by death from fighting with "infidels" is unfulfilled. With not a very good life here on earth, and no hope of "paradise" in the next world, Mr. Bin Laden has to be a very unhappy and broken man. Compared to his numerous other family members who live in great wealth and enjoy the best of life, this has to be very a very sad end and a life totally unfulfilled. Some people do indeed create their own private Hell on Earth.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Bad World Leaders Reap Benefits From Creating An International Crisis

It is an unfortunate fact of life that bad world leaders who do little at home reap poplitical benefits by creating an international crisis atomosphere. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejah has failed terriby at any attempt to improve the economy of Oran as he had promised the lower income, and more poorly educated voters who swept him into office. Because of this terrible failure, he created a crisis atomosphere around the nuclear issue or with his outrageous claims that the Holocaust was a fraud.

Similarly, leftist Venezuelian President Hugo Chavez promised socialistic redistribution of wealth to the poor of his nation, but has largely failed to undertake such efforts. Instead of a sincere challenge to the economic inequity that prevades so many South American economies. Chavez instead invloves himself in near nonstop efforts to stir up antiAmerican sentiments blaming the U.S. for every problem that he has miserably failed to solve for his country as he had promised. Making the U.S. a target of blame, the oil rich economy of Venezuela fails to touch most lives in this nation us a complete absurdity.

And last, but certainly not least, President Bush is resurrecting vague terrorism fears in an effort to propel his party to re-election, although many in his party have miserably failed to govern honestly and not get caught up in the big money lobbyist culture or corruption or rule for the interests of the average person. Perhaps the biggest absurdity is this Administration that has no effective plan for winning the war in Iraq, claiming how vital Iraq is to the "War On Terrorism". Like another tired repeat play from Karl Rove, the hope of this election, just like 2002 and 2004, is to raise vague public paranoia fears of terrorism, and refuse to answer all the failures on nearly all other issues.

The worst world leaders do indeed benefit from creating an international crisis atomosphere to cloak all their terrible leadership failures.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

What Does Hugo Chavez And The Far Right Have In Common?

Yesterday, it seemed like it was not only wacko Venezuelian President Hugo Chavez who made a real attempt to prove himself as radical, without normal human constraints on his behavior, and downright wacky. Some on the far right made a real good attempt at proving themselves to be just as "hooked up wrong". Yesterday on Polipundit the increasingly far right site that purged itself of immigration issue moderates some weeks ago, and lost some respectable conservative writers such as DJ Drummond and Lorie Byrd in the process, posted a feature attacking Rep. Charles Rangel as a "Marxist" because if he becomes head of the Ways & Means Committee in the House, then he'll roll back the some of the Bush tax cuts for big corporations.

"Marxist"? Marxists support worker ownership of the means of production, etc. This is far different than the former military man, Charles Rangel who may support minor adjustments to the excesses of the Bush giveaways to big oil, big tobacco, and others.

And unlike the classy Rangel, who condemned Chavez for attacking the President in his own home district, over at Polipundit, one shrill poster even declared the site a "Hooson free zone" among other childish or inbred mentality comments when I dared to question just a few of the absurd notions that were put forth. Rangel didn't spend years in the military for enemies of America to attack our way of life in his home district like Chavez. Rangel is right. It's up to the persons living in his district to question their own government, not a enemy from another land.

Rangel proved an important point that some on the lunatic right should take a hint from. You respectfully disagree with others. Not prove your ignorance by absurd and wacko personal attacks like Chavez.

Chavez is diverting attention from the economic reforms he promosed back home in Venezuela by creating conflict with the U.S. This is unfortunately similar to Bush resurrecting the politics of fear once again by raising "War On Terrorism" concerns and his poll numbers by obscuring a rarional debate on real life issues most lokely to impact voters such low wage jobs, high energy costs, plant closings, record trade deficits, record Federal Budget deficits, and other issues of real importance to voters. Never mind that the chances of becoming a terrorist victim here in the U.S. is far less likely than winning the lottery.

Some, but not all Republicans have mastered fear politics to a near art form level. Fear of Osama Bin Laden(whom they have yet to catch 5 years fter 9/11) or gear of an illegal immigrant possiby stealing your laundry off your clothes line as they run past the Southern border of the U.S. to work for a tough low wage job to put food on your table or your lawn.

It would certainly be well if only a few like Hugo Chavez represented shabby politics at it's worst. But unfortunately there are more than a few here in the U.S. who have been taking a page or two from the Hugo Chavez book of low life politics. Only a few of the Republican candidates form offices here in Oregon are waging nasty campaigns for office that raise serious credibility question about themselves more than anything. This is miles from the character of GOP founding father Abraham Lincoln, or even Barry Goldwater, who were best remmbered for their honesty. These folks should remember that if they lose the election, then their return to business or law could be seriously damaged. Who wants to do business with a dishonest lawyer or businessman? "Scorched earth politics" is a terrible notion. Chavez as well as homegrown persons who live by this politically absurd standard should realize this.

Back Again

Recently, I've been having major league computer problems. And unlike a few over on the right who brag about giving $10,000 donations to candidates, I'm not made of money. Any real difficulty hits me hard. So these recent computer problems were a real unwelcome surprise. Today I'm back to using a sickly Windows 98 operating system with only about 2Gb of usable hard drive and an old fashioned form of IE that looks like it was either from the Fred Flintstone era or something. But I hope "Ole Betsy" will get me by to post again for a while before she starts to push up the daisys again. If you enjoy this blog you might consider a small Paypal donation to help me out with my problems. But even if you don't care to, then please enjoy this blog anyway, or spend a little time and post a comment, even if you absolutely disagree with my views.

At any rate, crossing my fingers, I'm back until the next computer crisis hits me. Sometimes being a poor ole member of the poorer class hurts.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Democrats Once Again Allow Themselves To Be Victim To Insincere White House "War On Terrorism" Electioneering

They used to say, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. And once again the Democrats who used to have some hopes of retaking Congress are allowing themselves to fall victim to insincere nonsense "War On Terrorism" rhetoric from the White House. Every year out, like dimestore dummies they fall down to this idiotic nonsense.

In 1960, John Kennedy won a narrow victory by outflanking Vice President Nixon with talk of a "missile gap" to a public worried about national security in a Cold War world. The Democrats fail to take note that the White House claims that Iraq is vital to both MidEast and national security with terrific risks if the mission fails, yet fail to bring up that the White House has no plans to win the Iraq War. The latest Pentagon intelligence report notes that the U.S. military mission in Iraq has only about one third of the needed manpower to contain the insurgency. And corrupt advantaged bidding contract awards to favored military contractors endanger American lives as well. The Democrats have plenty of grounds to call this election year bluff of the White House, but either lack the will or intelligence to do so.

When the Democrats will likely fall short in November of retaking Congress, it will be likely that Howard Dean will be forced out and more pragmatic leaders who know something about how to win an election may finally be allowed to run this party once again.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Tom Delay's Pathetic Return

Ethically challenged Congressman Tom Delay is not running for office, but doesn't prevent his pathetic return to politicing. Almost in true kid's lemonade stand style, Delay is now distributing a letter among former supporters to vote for country music star Sara Evans in ABC's DANCING WITH THE STARS. And Delay uses attack language to rip into "ultraliberal" Jerry Springer, who is also a contestant.

Sara Evans has been a loyal supporter of Republican causes. Tom Delay is treating this dance oriented TV competition with the near passion of any other cause he formerly championed.

Leave it to Tom Delay to ruin the "dignity" of DANCING WITH THE STARS with his brand of caustic partisan politics.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remember 9/11 Prayfully, But America Cannot Be Complacent

While it is very important to remember the 5 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks prayerfully, it is also more important for Americans not to become too complacent. It is hoped that the disrupted London plot to destroy up to 10 aircraft was the big Al Qaeda plot that was planned for this date. But with a recent flurry of new Al Qaeda videos, it is clear that this organization puts as much if not more interest on this date as well. Just this morning yet another video by the #2 in Al Qaeda, the radical Egyptian-born, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahri, offered up yet another threatening video.

Even if Al Qaeda cannot manage another major attack in the U.S. very soon, that does not mean that they are not planning new attacks. Terrorism is more active and increasing worldwide, as things are becoming more unsafe. And free-lance acts of terror such as the summer attack at Seattle Jewish Center or the San Francisco car attack on innocent citizens cannot be merely explained away as mere acts of mentally ill persons, but acts of radical Islamic rage. Such acts of lone persons are impossible for law enforcement to prevent in most cases and always remain as threats.

Al Qaeda now feels that their credibility is at stake among the Islamic radicals of the world, and this puts them in a dangerous position of attempting to launch something very soon to prove their relevance. This makes them very dangerous. And any American complacency could only help this dangerous organization to prove their deadly point sometime again in the future. Don't forget 9/11. But also look over your shoulder and be aware always.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

"Financially Troubled" Ford Pays New CEO $20.5 Million

Nothing says more about the nature of things than what's going on at Ford Motor Company these days. New corporate CEO, Allan Mutally, a former Boeing executive is being paid a base salary of $2 million, and an additional $18.5 million in other benefits for coming over to Ford.

United Auto Workers Union President, Ron Gettelfinger has praised Ford huring Mutally, while Ford intends to cut 30,000 jobs and close 14 plants by 2012, and seek expanded buyout for unionized workers, cutting the number of overall UAW members.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Robert Kennedy, Jr. Will Address Organic Festival

At 7:30 Friday, September 8, 2006, environmentalist, Robert Kennedy, Jr. is set to address an organic festival called Muddy Boots Organic Festival at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in S.E. Portland, Oregon. Kennedy has fought to keep the New York City water supply clean and protected from pollution, and is a tireless defender of clean water and environmentalism as a founding member of Riverkeepers. Just like his legendary father, Kennedy is an impassioned advocate for what he believes to be right.

The Muddy Boots Organic Festival also continues a growing trend in SouthEast Portland, Oregon of churches welcoming events that celebrate organic living. By hosting this event, the Catholic Church is helping to forge greater mutual respect from people of faith for good stewartship of God's green earth. And another church, Hinson Baptist has been a sponsor of an organic foods farmer's market for the past few seasons. This normally conservative church has helped to create more community respect after hosting some regressive activity such as antiGay community speakers or activity which has angered local progressives.

More and more, it should be hoped that persons of faith and the organic community can merge and gain better respect for one another. It needs to become part of faith for the religious community to respect nature and God's creation and for many in the organic community and environmental community to welcome religious allies to protect the quality of life and the planet.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fear Of Losing Congress Prompts Big Oil Allies To Act In Panic Mode

The political right is acting in a panic mode that Republicans could be in a position to lose Congress and is pushing for some last minute policies while they remain in the majority. A new push to support antienviromentalist goals of the big oil companies is just one of these goals.

One of these policies is to push for oil exploration in the environmentally sensitive Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. However just this week, a possible vast new oil reserve may have been discovered in the far less environmentally sensitve Gulf Of Mexico. But even with existing oil rigs in the nearby area, it still may be up to 2020 before we see any oil from this new exploration. Conservatives will argue that because liberals in Congress would not allow oil exploration in Alaska is the reason for such high oil prices. Nonsense. It would have taken years and years of buildimg a pipeline through environementally sensitive areas and wildlife would have been greatly impacted. There are far closer and easier reserves such as the Gulf Of Mexico supply which are yet to be discovered as just possibility besides conservation and a move to more alternative energy sources.

BP oil recently found out that their massive pipeline in Alaska has a leak problem, and is now closed for repairs for months. And this also represents just some of the problems with such a project in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

If conservatives were really concerned about the high cost of oil, then they should not have supported the call to war in Iraq which has taken 900,000 barrels of oil off the market a day in lost production and virtually doubled the prices from the 2003 prewar price of $1.59 a gallon.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Pakistan Signs "Peace Treaty" With Taliban And Al Qaeda

In an outrageous surrender to world terrorism forces, the government of Pakistan signed a "peace treaty " with Taliban and Al Qaeda forces in the rugged North Waziristan tribal region that gives both Taliban and Al Qaeda elements a free region to operate without Pakistani government military interference. This is a serious surrender to extremist elements who plot violent acts both in Pakistan, Afghanistan and even worldwide. This outrageous agreement even gives back any confiscated arms to Al Qaeda and Taliban forces.

With their history of violence in worldwide terrorist plots, it is absolutely outrageous that Pakistan now gives Osama bin Laden and his extremist followers a region to freely operate without fear of Pakistani government interference. It also makes it far more difficult for NATO forces to bring peace to Afghanistan or for the U.S. to protect it's citizens worldwide from future Al Qaeda plots.

With growing support for extremist fundamentalist Islam in Pakistan and a fear among government officials of being the target of a revolution, uprising or assassination violence, this give-away to Islamic extremism is absolutely outrageous. In Pakistan a new rape law is advancing that requires a woman to produce four male witnesses or she could face adultry charges which could bring about the death penalty for her. This is another huge setback for women's rights as Taliban style Islamic rule becomes more popular in Pakistan and the country becomes a safer haven for Islamic radicalism and terrorism.

Mr. Bush has been offering a contradictory message the last few days claiming that one hand the U.S. is more secure because of Republican rule, yet he claims substantial threats still remain. But the message from Pakistan is that the U.S. ability to hold influence with so-called antiterrorism "partners: such as Pakistan is clearly falling apart. Rather than Bush efforts succeeding, they are clearly failing in critical areas that only promise more world violence. Terrorism is unacceptable political or religious violence. There is simply no place for such activity in a world that should seek peaceful resolution of all disputes.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Lockheed Martin Contract To Build Orion Space Project Raises Some Questions

Boeing and Northrop Gruman had traditionally built America's space vehicles until last week when Lockheed Martin was surprisingly granted the multibillion dollar contract. While it can be argued that the safety problems with the Space Shuttle program may have soured both NASA and the public on the traditional builders of America's space vehicles, still there are great questions on why exactly Lockheed with no real experience in space vehicle business was awarded this huge contract.

Part of the answer may be in the fact that eight members of the Bush Administration are either former Lockheed Martin executives or major stockholders. And the wife of Dick Cheney was also a former director of Lockheed and had a large stock portfolio in this company. Once again new questions similar to the "no bid" contract that the Pentagon awarded Halliburton for Iraqi reconstruction when Dick Cheney had been the former CEO of this company are raised.

More than any American government in history, the Bush administration has been like a sort of business concern oligarchy that decides issues based on benefits to these represented corporations. Many of the companies represented in the Bush Administration by former executives or major stockholders have seen massive government contracts come their way since the Iraq War. Now Lockheed gains a huge questionable contract over the far more likely contractors of Boeing or Northrop Gruman. While no wrongdoing has been proven, once again the appearance is not very good.

Steve Irwin Will Be Greatly Missed

Steve Irwin had to be one of the greatest entertainers and conservationists of all time. Part stunt man, part comic, but all respecting of nature. His unique style helped to foster far greater respect for all animal life. His excited nature could make anyone learn to love even unlovable creatures such as reptiles as another great life form that shares God's earth.

There has never been an entertainer like Steve Irwin before. He was totally unique and fun to watch. His daredevil stunts kept an audience interest while a person learned more about nature. He was a great entertainer and teacher both. It is only fitting that Australia is considering a state funeral for this wonderful man. He was one of the greatest Australians ever, presenting both a daring nature and such a friendly personality.

God bless you Steve Irwin and look after your family. You were a wonderful man who increased respect about God's animal kingdom who share the planet with mankind.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Outlines Plans To Retake Congress For Working People

Organized labor has outlined plans to spend $40 million on competitive candidates and an additional $3.5 million on PACs to help candidates favorable to working people issues retake Congress. In a press conference on August 30, John Sweeney. President Of The AFL-CIO and Karen Ackerman, Political Director Of The AFL-CIO fielded reporters questions after a presentation on the importance of offering help to candidates in competitive races who support labor issues.

Karen Ackerman presented information that 70% of labor households who were repeatedly approached with information favorable to 2004 Democratic Presidential Candidate, John Kerry, voted for Kerry, compared to just 30% who voted for Bush. This proved the value of getting out the labor vote.

According to Ackerman and some polling research from the Peter Hart Research Associates, vote totals for prolabor candidates can be greatly improved with targeted "get out the vote" efforts. In Ohio for example, as many as 300,000 more votes from union households are possible. In Pennsylvania, where incumbent Republican Senator Rick Santorum is in great polling trouble, as many as 150,000 more votes from union households can be cast in the November election with this targeted "get out the vote"effort.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Nuclear Proliferation Hypocrisy Of The U.S.

Certainly any move by the radical extremist government of Iran towards developing nuclear arms must be stopped. Given the extremist statements from this radical government makes it wholly unacceptable that this nation develop any nuclear arms. But the U.S. case has been dramaticly weakened by a hypocritical attitude towards nuclear proliferation in India.

During the Clinton Administration some sanctions were declared against India when they developed and conducted some tests of nuclear weapons components. But the Bush Administration has not only rolled back any sanctions, but has actively aided the Indian nuclear program. India may now possess as many as 100 nuclear devices and could develop twice that number or more, thanks to the help of the Bush Administration. And while this government represents a moderate democracy, the Bush Administration has also allowed Pakistan a relatively free hand in the development of their nuclear weapons, especially since Pakistan is seen as a key player against Al Qaeda.

But Canada is also a major player in the Pakistani nuclear program. Canada now needs more cooperation of Pakistan in help fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan as Canadian soldiers are suffering increasing deaths from Taliban forces in Afghanistan in combat as major NATO forces. Canada is expected to help bolster Pakistan's nuclear program in exchange for more cooperation combating the Taliban. Back as far as 1972, Canada supplied a Candu reactor for a nuclear plant near Karachi. This soon helped to lead to Pakistan's nuclear arms development as Dr. Abdul Khan established nuclear testing labs that were able to surpass the threshold point for being able to produce weapons grade uranium in 1985, and Pakistan was able to test nuclear weapons by 1987.

Today, Dr. Khan, who was formerly a national hero in Pakistan remains in house arrest after helping to profit by transferring nuclear technology to other states such as Iran. Iran's development of nuclear weapons not only threatens MidEast peace, but could lead to terrorists getting hold of nuclear weapons.

The world dangers from a rising tide of nuclear weapons only grows as new missiles with longer ranges and more nuclear weapons development takes place in the developing world. As more states, not all of them fully responsible ones acquire nuclear technology, the potential for great danger only increases. Western nations such as the U.S. and Canada are responsible for part of this problem while both also claim to be concerned about the problem. This nuclear proliferation hypocrisy must end if this problem is ever to stop from growing out of hand into a full blown crisis somewhere.