Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Final Top 10

Last night, CBS aired the final Late Show with David Letterman...a bittersweet moment for sure as many of us remember fondly the Late Show as well as NBC's Late Night with David Letterman and before that, the short lived, ill-fated David Letterman (morning) show also on NBC. I was a huge fan, less so now...not so much because of his obvious left leaning political bent of late, but because he strayed from the path of comedy for what appeared to be a quote-unquote, message.


When he started in late night back on February 1, 1982, I wrote a review for my college newspaper and admitted my bias, but I also carefully documented what I believed were attributes Letterman possessed which would propel him to stardom...and ultimately what late night television might hold for this weird former TV weatherman from Indiana. I was well aware of Letterman from the stand-up circuit and (even) his brief stint as a regular on the summer replacement series, the Mary Tyler Moore Variety Show earlier that decade.


Letterman's message toward the end, I believe, was that he believed the world was unfair and by golly, he was going to expose those he felt responsible. Many, including Letterman himself, say he was a victim of the internet age and had an inability to "connect with the kids," as Jimmy Fallon and to a lesser extent Jimmy Kimmel have excelled. Even the recently retired Jon Stewart as well as Stephen Colbert (Letterman's replacement scheduled to take over later this year) were able to form a strong bond with the audience which had eluded Letterman. But no, technology never slowed Johnny Carson.


There were also some who believed Letterman became so bitter after losing Carson's Tonight Show to Jay Leno that he went the curmudgeon route as a defense mechanism...again, not so...Letterman remained brilliant for years, even when he was routinely losing in the ratings to the more popular, Leno. No, it appeared Letterman soon became more concerned with pleasing the social and political elite in this country, often the very same people he used to mock in his former NBC (Late Night) show.


Many of Letterman's routines, while closely resembling bits aired earlier on Your Show of Shows with Sid Caesar or the original Tonight Show with Steve Allen, became cult classics. Although oft-times straying from straight comedy to more "message-oriented" humor, many of these routines remained strong through the end. Obviously the most popular was the Top 10 list...a bit that allowed Letterman to simultaneously get laughs AND promote his message. As a tribute...the Top 10 things I noticed about the Letterman finale...


#10...not to worry, Dave, unless Colbert takes his buffoonish O'Reilly character with him, your legacy is secure...


 #9...you led off the show with a string a presidents, your "all-star" Top 10 had some big names, your wife and son even appeared, but the "studio audience was devoid of special guests...


 #8...I understand being a liberal, you can surround yourself with other like minded (uh, white) folks without incurring media scrutiny (see Jon Stewart), but still...


 #7...they say your finale had the "biggest audience for a Late Show" since 1994...what happened between then and now...


 #6...the "World's Most Dangerous Band," and their leader Paul Shaffer, although they received a brief mention or two, deserved a much more featured role in the finale...


 #5...well, Dave, as Terry Bradshaw might say to Frank Caliendo doing an impression of you, "not funny, Dave, not funny."


 #4...very, very happy to see Biff Henderson...


 #3...where was Chris Elliott?


 #2...really? Foo Fighters? Well, since they cancelled a tour once to appear on your show...


and the #1 thing I noticed about the Letterman finale...


I wasn't on it...bummer...thanks for the laughs Dave...

Thursday, May 14, 2015

This conspiracy is, well, less vast...

The big news this week is Deflategate, the Clintonesque scandal involving underinflated footballs used by the New England Patriots in last year's AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. The sports media has quickly taken sides, the majority calling it another skirting of the rules and embarrassment to the game with a vocal minority quickly rising to the defense of the Patriots and much maligned Quarterback Tom Brady and Head Coach Bill Belichick. The sides are predictable much like those of both the pro and anti-Clinton contingencies.


This certainly isn't the first time the Patriots have gained an advantage from defiance of "loose rules" or even an out-and-out violation of actual rules of the game. A "loose rule" actually propelled the Patriots to their first Super Bowl victory, Super Bowl XXXVI on February 3, 2002...the infamous "Tuck" rule allowed the Patriots to beat the Oakland Raiders in that season's AFC Divisional Game when Raiders' cornerback Charles Woodson sacked Brady, causing him to fumble. The fumble was recovered by Raiders' linebacker Greg Biekert; however, officials reviewed the play and changed the call to an incomplete pass, thus surely changing the game's outcome.


The Patriots had already been engaging in ignorance of or (even) defiance of rules as early as 2000, more specifically the Spygate controversy, whereby they would videotape (steal) other teams' signals giving their own players clear advantages during games. Although documented cases of these infractions date back more than several years, the Patriots weren't actually caught until the 2007 season and penalized prior to the 2008 season (fine and loss of draft choice). It is further noted the Patriots last won a Super Bowl in 2005, a possible motive for their involvement in the current controversy and subsequent victory in Super Bowl XLIX earlier this year.


The parallels between "Deflategate" and (your choice of) Clinton controversy are striking. Both are clearly scandalous and contain aspects of cover-up. Both involve a basic lack of respect for others and a slap in the face of tradition. Although "Deflategate" didn't involve violation of the law, even if the Patriots broke the law, it feels as if the media would give them a pass anyway. If nothing else, the media has been able to easily change the narrative (much like any Clinton scandal). For instance, the clear engagement in systematic cheating (playing with underinflated footballs) has been altered through media manipulation to "11 of 12 footballs measured in the second half of the Patriots-Colts AFC Championship game were underinflated."


We went from a clear pattern of cheating (Tuckgate, Spygate, Deflategate) to "11 or 12 footballs in the second half of one game"...much the same as Monicagate, Benghazi, or something as nefarious as "selling nuclear secrets to the Chinese," becoming simply "the GOP attacking the good work of the Clinton Foundation." No one but the media (and kudos to the sports media) could minimize a pattern of bad behavior, even lawlessness, and turn it into a simple annoyance. Still, if I'm Brady, I go ahead and delete all those texts and phone calls...

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Do you really want the answer?

Recently, there has been much talk of police brutality, and the notion that police agencies are targeting young black men and other people of color. There is anger on both sides of the issue, one side maintaining the majority of officers are racist and out to deny the civil rights of all citizens, but more so on the poor and minority...and the other side claims officer involved incidents, those where a person of color is victimized, are relatively rare. I believe it's somewhere in the middle.


Are these incidents indicative of a systemic problem within the entire judicial system? An argument could be made for this position...sentencing laws are still biased against the poor and minority...even before they appear in a Court of law, they are far more likely to encounter law enforcement. Once in a Court of law, these "offenders" are also more likely to be denied reasonable bail or (even) provided a suitable defense.


However, does this problem continue outside the Courtroom? As stated above, there is certainly an argument to be made that it does. A poor or minority individual is far more likely to encounter police or sheriff's officers simply due to demographics, or the density of population in their communities. But do police agencies specifically target poor and minority individuals, seeking to incarcerate, even eliminate these folks from (even) remaining in their communities?


If you believe media reports, the answer is a resounding, "yes." According to most reports, police officers have as a rule decided to "shoot and ask questions later." It really doesn't matter if, in these same reports, they ignore statistics showing otherwise, or even at times backtracking (indicating that there is no statistical significance to the claims they are making)...once they have "thrown it against the wall, it's pretty much stuck."


And many who believe it is a systemic problem acknowledge that little can be done to change it; that, the police must regain the public's trust (they never say how except to simply stop shooting people). Still, whether you believe it is systemic or a rarity, we can all agree that even one bad shooting, like the recent incident where an officer shot Walter Scott in the back FOR NO REASON...is one too many. For that reason alone, something must be done.


I therefore call for the immediate federalization of ALL police agencies in the United States. There are many reasons for doing this aside from the recent developments. There are municipal codes, state laws, federal statutes...there are laws in some states and not others...there are County Jails, State Prisons, Federal Institutions, multiple levels of Justice Courts, Appellate Courts, even Supreme Courts. It's way past time to consolidate them. Police agencies are no exception...only one problem. What if a Republican (ever) gets elected president again?
















Saturday, April 18, 2015

What's a hero?

A columnist in one of the (free) weekly tabloids here was lamenting, as usual, how tragic policing is in the United States...and how "we" kill people at a rate which far exceeds any other (real) country. As most leftist columnists, he used what I now call "skew-tistics" to back up his claims, one such claim being that this country has killed more civilians in the last month than the UK has in the past 115 years. Wow...


He has been on this diatribe for numerous weeks, traversing between Trayvon, Michael, and now Walter...I haven't checked their on-line edition (yet) but I fear it's running a loop of the officer shooting Walter Scott in the back, oh probably going on 100,000 times now (and that's not counting the nightly news, which has run the video no fewer than 10,000 times themselves). Our neighborhood columnist even went so far as label the young man who videotaped the shooting as a hero. Double wow...


No doubt it took some bravery to film this incident...I mean, the cop just shot (and killed) an unarmed black man in the back and then tossed a taser at his feet so as to attempt some sort of justification for his criminal act. The young man was rightfully hesitant to pull out his phone and record this act because what's to stop this "thug" from turning his gun on the young man. I get it. Bad cop. Bad deed. He deserves the death penalty. I'll even pull the switch (or whatever). But then appearing on national television and saying he thought of erasing the tape to avoid harassment? I don't think so...avoid being a hero, maybe...


But I'll tell you MY definition of hero...my definition of a hero is a young woman I spoke to this morning. I travel to my local fitness center most mornings to attempt to give myself the impression that I haven't totally given up just yet...and as I was leaving, there was a young woman at the front desk and she had a copy of a police exam booklet. I couldn't help myself. I had to ask her what she could possibly be thinking, considering the bad press, etc.


She couldn't have been more charming...she told me she was a single mom and needed some security for herself and her 2-year old son. She said working as a personal trainer here in our small community wasn't quite as profitable as where she had lived most recently (Southern California). I again queried, "why law enforcement?" She revealed her father is a Sergeant in Riverside County which might be an indication...although she said her father won't talk very much about what he does (fearing as I do, I imagine, that his daughter much like my own might try to enter this most unappreciated line of work)...


During our discussion, she also mentioned attending college for several years and being a semester or two away from a Bachelor's Degree, but that she felt she needed to work hard toward a career in law enforcement for the betterment of (both) her family and society as well. We talked about what I had experienced during my 26-plus years with multiple agencies and what I felt were needed attributes for any entry level officer. I stayed away from the "thankless" aspects of the field although I would have probably done her a huge favor if I'd steered her away from ever attempting to wear a badge...


But after ALL the media ravings (and even painting all cops with the same scarlet paint brush they accuse officers of using every day)...and all the bemoaning and lamenting about bad cops and racist institutions and murdering poor black men under the color of authority, she is STILL studying during the wee hours of Saturday morning in order to attain of one of the most hated jobs in the history of this, ahem, Democracy? Just for her family and, oh yeah, society? THAT, my friends, is a hero...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Thank you...and good night!

For regular readers of this blog, both of you, I have been a regular critic of the state of California and their inability to embrace the entire population...in other words, while Governor (Jerry) Brown has placed out the welcome mat for the world's disadvantaged or disaffected, he simultaneously tossed aside the core population who've actually made California work.


Granted, these are changing times...we've gone from a production-based society to one that is essentially consumer driven. Even when it comes to Silicon Valley and the tech sector, the collective eye has most definitely been on the consumer...even the product, at least the hardware, is produced in other countries, specifically China, Singapore, and (even) Mexico...


But, have no fear, the agricultural base in California is still strong and produces over half of the food consumed in the US and nearly a quarter of the entire world's food source...but wait a minute, aren't we in the midst of a 30-year "man-made" drought, the result of our polluting the planet ever since the industrial age started? Well, of course "man" has contributed...


Which brings us to Carly Fiorina, the one time failed candidate for California governor (figures) and future contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination (fat chance)...Fiorina, ironically (or not)  the one time CEO of Hewlett Packard, based in the Silicon Valley, agrees that the super-drought in California is the result of man's actions, however she attributes it to the environmental activists who have "made a bad situation worse."


According to Fiorina, the "liberal environmentalists have prevented the building of a single new reservoir or a single water conveyance system over decades during which time the population of California has more than doubled." The plain speaking Fiorina (after all she IS a Republican) also cited that due to the lack of proper rainfall storage systems, the vast majority of rainfall, especially in Southern California, goes straight into the Pacific Ocean.


So, what to do, what to do? Seeing that I was more part of the problem than solution (well, at least that's what the media keeps hammering home), I have relocated to Nevada...in fact, after selling our California home and divesting ourselves of most contents, we have now purchased a home here (the Washoe Valley). No, we haven't totally removed ourselves from the drought-affected region of the country, nor will we be able to avoid the increased costs, restrictions, regulations, etc. brought forth by the powers in Sacramento because as the saying goes..."as California goes, so goes the nation."\


But, California, you've managed to do what many, many others have tried (to do) and failed...shown me the door and held it open wide...and it appears I'm not alone...although it's been happening for years (many people here call it the "Gray Train," and no, they're not happy about the arrival of many Californians who attempt to bring the Golden State with them here upon arrival in the Silver State).


But, I'll always have a soft spot for where I grew up (from 3rd grade on)...unfortunately while in CA, the soft spot was on the top of my head and growing everyday...plus, I've always thought I would go home someday (actually, I'm from the state of Washington) and this way, I can go back and forth between Nevada and Washington, depending on how moist I want to be...oh, wait...global warming might cause torrential flooding up north...oh well, no matter...the media will still say it's my fault...




Thursday, March 26, 2015

More Media Madcap Misadventures

The media is at it again...

 keeping alive the University of Virginia "rape" story as reported in Rolling Stone, which led to suspension, restriction and nationwide condemnation of college fraternity life, despite being completely debunked...

 * perpetuating the "hands up, don't shoot," narrative from the Ferguson, MO, shooting, even though found entirely non-existent by the Eric Holder Justice Department...

 * fully supportive of the White House condemnation of the 47 Senators who posted a letter (on a web site) to Iranian leaders all the while applauding the President's similar televised address...

 * condemning those same Senators (i.e. words hurt) while simultaneously saying absolutely nothing about the Ayatollah's "Yes, Death to America," statement shortly thereafter...

 * standing (and applauding) Hillary Clinton as she continues her obfuscation, obstruction and lack of transparency, which they would condemn if practiced by any other politician, Republican or (even some) Democratics (they hate it when you call them Democrats)...

 * not leaving out the sports media, and their condemnation of Pete Rose betting on baseball while simultaneously promoting nationwide betting on Major League Baseball...

 * hypocrisy being nothing new for baseball writers as they are the same entity who turned their collective backs on steroid use in the game when it suited their purpose, only to condemn it years later after the tides turned...

 * and of course, the national media's obsession with Global Warming and calling out those who disagree (even to a degree) as being deniers...as if there can be no varying degrees of Climate Change...

 * and last, but not least, since the media "cause du jour" appears to be Global Warming and how man can only contribute to destruction and not reparation (that is, unless you buy Al Gore's carbon offset scam)...here's my favorite take on the subject...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjmtSkl53h4



Friday, March 20, 2015

Eeeeee-ventually? Sure...but first, another award...

All right, all right...I'll get to it...eventually...that is, my post defining the motives behind the Left's full-speed-ahead charge into this warped Capitalism/Socialism hybrid and MediaCopp's prescription for helping each of us survive this imminent (and what I believe to be detrimental) change...but there's too much happening right now. We have the Republican Party's disrespectful end around the President in order to give Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a political soapbox...and NOW, President Obama's own (I'll show 'em, I show 'em all) speech to the Iranian people.


I know exactly what I would say if Bush (I didn't bring him up, the President himself has blamed Bush for the rise of ISIS)...if Bush did something like this to a Democrat-controlled Congress...I would say, "stop crying and start leading." Of course I can't say that today, lest I be labeled a racist hater. So instead, I will again, tell the GOP to take the high road. If...and that's a big IF...if your way is the correct way, it'll be known (to all) sooner rather than later if...another big IF...if you stop your obstructionist ways. GIVE THE PRESIDENT WHAT HE WANTS!!!


"What the hell are you talking about? He wants to give Iran the bomb! You know, a nuclear bomb...and the Iranians have said more than once they want to fly their flag over the White House." Buck? Is that you? Come on, Mr. Conservative, even you understand hyperbole...the Iranians would be bombed back to the Stone Age if they set off a nuke on ANYONE. We would never allow that to happen...you know it, they know it, and the world knows it...


"Yeah, but the president himself said there are factions in each country (US and Iran) who don't want negotiation and would rather have war." Wait a minute, Buck? Wait, Norm, is that you? Norm, you should crawl back in your UC Davis classroom...I don't know about Iran, but I don't think you'd find too many people opting for war over trying to negotiate a good deal, including sanctions, etc., should the Iranians not negotiate in good faith.


"So that's it? That's your brilliant post for the week? Support our president? What are you, some sort of commie-sympathizer?" Norm? Buck? No? Goldberg...it's my old friend Goldberg. I know you believe the President is leaving you hanging out there...but come on, you were born in Queens, not Tel Aviv...our President and newly re-elected PM Netanyahu will find a peaceful two-state solution to end all mid east problems. No, no...don't say it, Goldberg...don't say it...


All right...I will...a Nobel Peace Prize for everyone!




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