Friday, December 28, 2007

Letterman is the King

A strike bearded David Letterman took the stage last night amidst dancing Writer's Guild Strikers and read his monologue. That's right he read it. The show was the first show to be written "by union writers!" since the Writers Guild of America went on strike two months ago. Letterman's production company Worldwide Pants accepted "the very same proposals that the guild was prepared to present to the media conglomerates when they walked out of negotiations." Dave was is old self, happy to be back, though it was tough for him to get a word in with Robin Williams as a guest. The Top Ten List of Writers's demands was read by striking writers from "The Daily Show", "The Colbert Report", and else where and one skit was cut short for "A message from the WGA". His "employee" Craig Ferguson was also back with a show solely written by union writers. There were no guests. It was all scripted sketches to maximize the residuals his, until last night unemployeed, writing staff would get for their first show back in two months.

Other late night shows were back without their writers, because the major studios that own and run them still won't pay writers residuals for internet material that they have written. Jimmy Kimmel showed previously scripted "Great Moments For Which Residual Payments Are Made To Our Unemployed Writers". The strike bearded WGA member, Conan O'Brian, awkwardly wasted time showing off pictures of himself in his office and spinning his wedding ring, in lieu, of comedy. And Leno, who some claim broke the rules of the WGA strike, which he Is a member of, had the candidate for president who recently shot a shotgun directly over the heads of the press come on to play politician and bass. The Baptist preacher and "populist" crossed picket lines to do it. I'm sure Jesus would have done the same.

I normally don't Write about television, except to admonish it, but this a labor action. These are working people who deserve compensation for their work. The billionaire production corporations, that run what we see, refuse to cut into profits to give them their just due. I will not watch leno or conan or kimmel or any of the new slew of un"reality" they put out, but hey, I don't really watch much anyway.

David Letterman showed how it can be done. Negotiation is possible.

David Letterman is the King of Late Night!

Lists of 7 for 2007

7 "Biggest" news stories of 2007 (in no particular order)
1. Homophobe Senator Larry Craig in gay bathroom sex scandal
2. Tony Blair resigns/New PM Brown starts pulling English troops out of Iraq.
3. Democrats take control of the House and Senate (look for "Dems find the
their balls" in 2008)

4. Subprime Mortgage bubble bursts.
5. The Virginia Tech shootings
6. The wildfires in California
7. US ally Pakistan's State of Emergency/Top challenger, of US backed
Benazir Bhutto MURDERED.

7 news stories receiving Honorary Mention to the 7 "biggest" stories of 2007 :
1. US Military temporarily misplaces 6 nucLEar warheads.
2. The Chinese toy recall.
3. "Family Values" Senator David Vitter in D.C. Madam's little black book.
4. Buddhist Monks protest in Myanmar (previously known as Thailand)
5. Al Gore and UN Scientists get the Nobel Prize for climate crisis work and

6. US contractors (Blackwater) murder Iraqi civilians and have their
immunity revoked.

7. karl rove and alberto gonzales join the droves of resigning bush appointees.

7 "Biggest" NON-stories of 2007
1. Britney shaves her head.
2. The cost of John Edwards hair cut.
3. Don Imus says "nappy headed hoes"
4. Anna Nicole Smith dies.
5. Amy Whinehouse does drugs.
6. The last Harry Potter book.
7. O.J. gets busted for trying to steal his stuff back.

7 favorite 2007 lists
1. Time Magazine
2. Mad Magazine's 20 Dumbest people, places, and things of 2007
3. Bill Maher's Dickheads of the Year
4. Popular Science's Innovation's of the Year
5. Best of 2007 by David Cross
6. Best viral vidoes of 2007
7. List of lists of 2007

7 too be remembered
1. Kurt Vonnegut, author and satorist the world hasn't
seen since Mark Twain
2. Norman Mailer, Journalist, bad ass, masculinist
Luciano Pavarotti, The greatest voice I've ever heard
4. Molly Ivins, A liberal columnist, and coiner of "shrub"
5. Phil Rizzuto, The Scooter, Baseball hall of famer, sports
commentator without peer

Merv Griffin, TV Icon, talk show host, producer
7. Evel Knievel, Death defying dare devil

Other notable deaths in 2007:
899 American troops in Iraq. 2007 was the deadliest year of
the war so far.
Max Roach, crazy bebop jazz drummer
Kurt Waldheim, Austrian politician and alleged nazi
Joel Siegel, movie critic, and great mustache

Bill Walsh, Legendary head coach of the San Francisco 49'ers
Tom Snyder, Talk show host extraordinaire
Lee Hazelwood, Legendary songwriter/producer
Jerry Falwell, Major evangelist preacher
Ranters note: I don't have to like them for their passing to
be important.(See Waldheim)

Oscar Peterson, crazy jazz pianist
Leona Helmsley, "Big" news making, mean, rich lady who left
all hermoney to her dog.
Robert Goulet, An entertainer in that old Vegas style
Ike Turner, A major music maker in his own rite, better as
an abusive husband
Dan Fogelberg, singer/sonwriter
Benazir Bhutto, former Pakistani prime minister, whose
death further illustrates the turmoil that is that region
of the world.

Now go out and Have a Great New Year's Eve!

08's gonna be Great!


Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

I'm allowed to say Christmas, because that's what my family celebrates, right? And because Hanukkah and Ramadan are over and Kwanzaa doesn't start until the 26th. I'm not really sure about the other winter solstice holidays out there. I'm sure there all very nice. Okay.
Onto the airing of the grievances!

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go. Vice dick is burning a CIA scandal file yule log in his "ceremonial" office. The president is saying "happy holidays" to a pesky press that thinks the president is some how supposed to know what his executive branch is doing. The elfin failure-in-chief did get a present from the recently "gone shopping" Congress with both their capitulation on $70,000,000,000.00 more to a war that has long since lost any actual definition for victory and adding to the Federal Deficit that lil' bush's economic policies created from the surplus we were stuck with from President Clinton's. To be fair, those of us who have been yelling for someone in Congress to show some balls, aside from the usual marginalized suspects (wexler, conyers, byrd, etc.) got a gift this week. Senator and Presidential candidate Christopher Dodd threatened to filibuster a CIA wiretapping bill that gave immunity to telecommunications companies (like Verizon and AT&T) that may have given the Private information of American Citizens to the US Government for its Illegal domestic Spying program. Senator Dodd left his campaign in Iowa and stood up on the floor of the United States Senate and said No to "holiday" push over Senate Majority leader harry reid. Truly a Christmas miracle!

The "holiday season" in New Orleans has the police decking the halls with stun guns and pepper spray as residents protested the demolition of the city's four largest housing "projects" to build nice new "mixed" income housing. I wonder what's going to happen when the Federal Government evicts the rest of the Katrina refugees they've housed in trailer parks out. And speaking of miserable failures by this president's administration, Iraqis are once again saying they'll be better off without Our friends. Why do they want Iraq to fail? Is it because of the torture chambers? Is it because the contractors representing Us are brutally attacking female employees, like they're Saudi women? Maybe it's the bombs they now feel from their neighbor Turkey? Or maybe they just hate Our Freedom? But New Orleans and Iraq aren't the only reasons the jack ass-in-chief should get coal in his stocking. Afghanistan is getting worse. Some say it may be worse, long term, than Iraq. And let's not even get into the latest "bush era" scandal with the destruction of videotapes of the CIA "interrogating" prisoners. I hope for the president's sake he is one day tried in New Jersey, where the government has had the good "moral" sense to abolish the death penalty.

Well Happy Holidays!

And one more thing. Today is Frank Zappa's Birthday. Back in 1993, the world lost this true American voice of dissent, composer, and guitar hero . One can only imagine what that man would be singing about today.

Peace on Earth
Goodwill towards men (and women).

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Red, Blue and Write.

The reds are splintering. Man, that felt good to type. But it's more than just empty rhetoric. The recent rise of intolerant, social conservative, preacher turned candidate, mike huckabee in Iowa and else where, is evidence of the red's predicament. Somewhere pat robertson is blaming the ice storm in the central United States on the Midwesterners who are turning away from his boy rudy. But seriously, the reds don't have a candidate with both "the terrorists are coming, the terrorists are coming" fear rhetoric they respond so well to and the "pro-life" until birth, anti-gay, jesus is the only god, Christian extremism that is their "faith". Back when the one term governor/son of a failed president ran in 1999, he ran as a "family values" moral leader, because you know President Bill Clinton cheated on his wife, like Mayor Guiliani did (without the divorces). Lil' napolean did it to two wives and had tax payers pay for his second mistress's police escort to visit her family without him. The inexperienced, in everything but ruining Houston's air and daddy's friends' oil companies, would be president wasn't on his "security over liberty" kick yet. That didn't happen until after the largest attack on US soil occurred on his watch. In the 2003 campaign, george bush jr. was a "uniter", not among Americans nationally, but he enjoyed the full throated (insert red senator craig, red congressmen foley, or red fake press man jeff gannon joke here) support of his party. The fear mongering, rights are secondary wing nuts joined the mega churched, women came from a man's rib "religious right" fanatics. That's not the case this time around. Two of the front runners are (or were, depending on who you're talking to) social liberals from, of all places, Massachusetts and New York City. Mr. 9/11 and flip romney are/were pro-choice, pro-gay rights and pro-gun control elected officials from solid Blue "yankee" states. Hell, if they weren't flip flopping so much to pander to the wack job right, I'd be writing about how great it is to see the republican party moving left (a point I still LOVE to make with my red friends).

On the Democratic side of the aisle, the big news this week was Oprah... Obama.... Obama.... Oprah. The mighty "O", whose influence gave the meat industry reason enough to sue her for stating "It has just stopped me cold from eating another burger!" is now, for the first time in her life, coming out and stumping for a candidate. In her terms, she was "compelled to stand up" for her "personal conviction" about Senator Barack Obama and his "new vision for America". Now, there are those who say "Why is she getting involved?" "Who cares what Hollywood has to say?" I agree with the latter when you are talking about lazy old fred thompson, but Oprah Winfrey is different than your average Dixie Chick. She mainstreams Obama in a way that only the most watched, richest female entertainer could. My Mother is a Democrat. My Mother is an Oprah fan. The doubts that she has about Senator Barack Obama's electability are now further assuaged by Oprah. Oprah believes he can/should be president, and Oprah is no dummy.

All that (and my man crush) aside, on a larger, full Democratic slate point of view, I look at the field of candidates and feel, for the first time in recent memory, like I could vote for any of them without having to completely hold my nose. Sure, Senator Clinton is too much of a Clintonian centrist/hawk for Israel/establishment for me, but it wouldn't even be the lesser of evils (see intellect, the environment and Health Care). The Democrats are smarter, more experienced, and better politicians then the contestants on the other side. It's just that simple. Picture a debate with anyone on the red team against any Democrat. It's not all "flowers and sweets" for the Democratic party. The "Get Us the Hell Out of Iraq Now" contingent of the growing left is pissed enough to start their own strike (on donations) to make the Democratically lead Congress stop funding the war and/or make their obstructionist red "colleagues" actually filibuster and not just threaten to. Why not make them tell the Country why they want us in Iraq, why they don't want to give more children health care, and why they don't want to join the international community and the American public on fighting global warming? And when they are done talking a Democrat can take the floor, right?

Speaking of strikes, the Broadway stage hands have agreed on the terms for a new contract, thus ending their strike. The Writers' Guild of America, however, is still striking for residuals from the internet (that Al Gore never said he invented). With studio executives saying revenues will "double with digital", you would think they would have enough profit to pay the just royalties to the folks who wrote the material they are displaying for Our entertainment. But don't take my word for it check out what Seth McFarlane and Tenacious D have to say. For more videos and information on the WGA strike go to or my favorite strike site The irony of free internet videos helping these workers get paid for internet viewed material is not lost on me. But let's face it, if they had to depend on the studio owned media to get their side of the story out to the people, they'd be in even worse shape. At least the screenplay for Harold and Kumar Escape from Guatanamo Bay made it out in time.

Some possible topics for the next rant:
Torture: The CIA destroying video of torturing prisoners that the bush White House was court ordered to preserve.
The Death Penalty: New Jersey senators voted 21-16 to get rid of capital punishment (the "death penalty") in favor of life without parole.
His talking action figure sells out at walmart and was he really the devil's "brother".

"A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ."
-part of a full page ad preacher huckabee signed back in the day.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Democracy and the failure-in-chief

Hugo Chavez can not run for his elected office indefinitely, as his recently voted down proposal would have allowed. Our "enemy" in Venezuela loses and it's "Hurray for Democracy" and "the system works". A marked change in the official attitude towards the Venezuelan elections, that have kept President Hugo Chavez in office. If this one was legit so were they, right? In Russia, however, the "enemy" whose "soul" bush once "got a sense of", saw his party make real gains in parliament in their recent elections. Europe (sans Russia, of course) is looking into "foul play". It's a wonder they didn't smell foul play in the land of hanging chads, when the loser of the popular vote was given the winning state, where his brother was the governor and his state campaign co-chair was the secretary of state. I know... USA! USA! We invented democracy. Actually a lot of it came from France. Oh and we're a Republic, not a democracy. But I digress.

The unprovoked war to force democracy on Iraq has produced the third most corrupt nation in the world. Adding thousands of US soldiers has the security situation in Iraq "showing improvement", but how will that improvement be maintained. Lord knows (wait who?) the Iraqi Army, the incompetent-in-chief disbanded isn't up to speed, and the new Iraqi government isn't anywhere near first gear yet. Can anyone say quagmire? Or predicted quagmire? Maybe that's why the "bomb Iran" chant has gotten softer. That and the recent United States National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) which says that Iran stopped it's nuCLEar weapons program in 2003. 2003?!??! Then what has bushco. been talking about (link to An Amazing Obermann!) for the last 4 years. They couldn't been exaggerating or LYING about weapons of mass destruction, could they?

In little over a year, bush will be sitting back on his sugar cane plantation in Paraguay, avoiding prosecution, while a new administration tries to clean up the mess his abysmal failure of a presidency has created with respect to Iraq, the Middle East, Our standing and stature in the world, the environment, the economy, and Our system of three coequal branches of Government. Hopefully, the next regime will be more than just another scare tactic/holier than thou/sound bite regime (see the "my mistress deserves a tax funded security detail" guiliani/"isolate the diseased to get closer to christ" huckabee '08 ticket).

Imagine a president with intelligence. A president with more than their money or that of their contributors on their mind. Imagine a president with the vision to see that government is there to help those who need it. Imagine a president for the common American. Imagine a president who puts Country ahead of party. A president who understands and approves of the US Constitution's freedoms of speech, press, and assembly. A president that understands that "no law [is to be made] respecting an establishment of religion". A president who believes that it is "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures". Imagine a president (and a congress) that put the majority, the Country and the Rule of Law first.

" You may say I'm a dreamer, But I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us, And the world will be as one
-John Lennon

Saturday, December 08, 2007

27 years ago today, John Lennon was shot dead.

Yoko is asking that people download, print out and put up the old John and Yoko ad campaign for peace poster "War is Over! If you want it" It's not a bad idea.

Happy Christmas!