The Ostroy Report

The Ostroy Report is a fresh, aggressive voice for Democrats and a watchdog of the GOP/Tea Party. We support President Obama and the Democratic agenda and seek to preserve the Senate majority while taking back the House. But we're also not afraid to criticize the left when necessary.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Lesson to be Learned from Bernie Madoff


So Bernie Madoff got the proverbial book thrown at him with Judge Denny Chin's 150 year sentence. Madoff leaves us the same way he came onto our collective radar screens: quickly and with grandiosity. But make no mistake. There's another Bernie Madoff waiting to take his place, and another after that, and another after that one. As someone whose wife was murdered, I can guarantee you she will not be the last innocent victim to fall prey to a brutal monster. Unfortunately, when it comes to the pathological and the mentally deranged, the specter of a stiff prison sentence serves as zero deterrent. The streets are littered with evil predators searching for their next victims. It's best we know that and not fall into a false sense of security because, "Phew! Bernie's in jail!"

When it comes to our financial health, what we can learn from the Bernie Madoff tragedy is this: live your life with more street smarts than ever. Don't let the bad guys win, and don't be stupid. Or greedy. Greed will get ya every time. So here's a few simple tips:

1. Never put all your eggs in one basket, no matter how tempting
2. Be leery of investments that continually show gains even in a global economic recession
3. Check your monthly account statements. If they look like they were produced by a high school kid, run
4. Never escort a stranger to the ATM machine to deplete your account so that he can invest the money and make you both rich
5. Never send any money to any "nice fellas" in Nigeria who've informed you through a grammatically-challenged unsolicited email that there's millions waiting for you in Abuja if only you wire them $50,000+ to "release the funds"

By following these few simple rules you will most likely preserve your hard-earned life-savings and reduce the likelihood that, because of unscrupulous scumbags like Bernie Madoff, you'll end up working as a 70-year-old greeter at Walmart.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Death of Michael Jackson: Time for Compassion Not Vilification


By now you'd have to be living under a rock not to know that legendary pop icon Michael Jackson has died at the age of 50. So I will skip the details. I know an awful lot about sudden, premature death given that my wife--the actor, writer, director Adrienne Shelly (WAITRESS) was brutally murdered in November 2006. But the tragic irony is that Adrienne died at the absolute happiest point in her entire life. Michael Jackson, like Elvis, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Anna Nicole Smith and countless others before him, were extremely tortured souls. They died miserable. Lonely. Drugged. Hating life. And for this they deserve our compassion, not our scorn. Now is not a time to vilify Jackson for his alleged child molestation crimes. We should have it in our hearts to forgive his past transgressions, no matter how despicable, and simply mourn his passing with dignity and sympathy.

Like so many, I grew up with Michael Jackson, his music serving as the soundtrack to much of my life. Watching the Jackson Five cartoon on Saturday mornings as a young boy. Kissing my first girlfriend as I'LL BE THERE played. College and OFF THE WALL. THRILLER, which carried me as I moved to Los Angeles to begin a new life with my new wife. WE ARE THE WORLD back in New York as our daughter Emily was about to be born. I know I'm not alone when I say I feel as though a little piece of me died Thursday as well. It's ok to feel that way. It doesn't excuse the horrible crimes against children he may have committed. It just means we're human. And we can feel pain and sorrow even under such difficult, incomprehensible, unconscionable circumstances.

My dear late wife gave me many gifts, one of them being an ability to feel compassion for and to forgive those who have said and done hurtful things. "Rather than be mad at them," she'd say, "maybe we can try to understand why they did or said these things." She believed that they acted out because they were in such emotional pain and turmoil that they couldn't help themselves. Feel sorry for them, she'd say, instead of feeling anger. Wise little sage, that Adrienne was. I've since lived my life according to that principle. And it's made me a much kinder, happier individual. Perhaps we could all use a little of this compassion today.

Few of us could truly understand what it must feel like to see the man in the mirror each day and feel such intense disgust and self-hatred. Haunted by terrifying inner demons. So much so that, among so many bizarre acts, you begin a series of surgeries that leave you horribly disfigured and the subject of constant ridicule. Make no mistake, Jackson was a very disturbed, sick man. And no amount of fame and fortune was able to change that.

Today is a day to celebrate Michael Jackson's incredible talents and the many gifts he left as part of his iconic legacy. But it's also time to recognize that a mother lost a son. That children lost the only parent they know and love. We must feel the same compassion for them as we do for the children Jackson allegedly abused.

I listened to Jackson at the gym this morning. As each song played on the iPod, my life literally flashed in my head. Now that he's gone, the appreciation of his gigantic talent, and the tremendous impact it's had on pop culture, inspiring everyone from Justin Timberlake and Usher to Chris Brown and Madonna, has really hit home. Death sucks. Rest in peace MJ. Your painful journey is finally over.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

P.S. on Twitter


Been reading lots of comments from readers and bloggers here and on Huffington Post and elsewhere. Jeez, the self-importance of Twitter and it's loyal Twits is astounding. Do you really think the throngs of Iranian protesters would not know where to go without directions on Twitter? You think that the incredible miles-long mass of revolutionaries got there because of Twitter? I am utterly incredulous as to the credit being taken by Twits regarding their self-proclaimed role in this opposition rebellion.

Also, it's both arrogant and preposterous to claim that without Twitter people around the world would be lost in a news vacuum, unaware of what's going on there. I watch CNN, MSNBC and read the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, HuffPo etc...both print, and online....and feel like I'm pretty darned up to speed as a result. I don't need to know what's going on every 3 minutes. Nor do I need an incessant stream of photos of protesters every three blocks . I get it. What I don't get is the claim by Twitter and its users that they somehow are partly responsible for this incredibly emotional, inspiring and historic series of events transpiring in Iran. I've been writing for months about the mind-numbing narcissism demonstrated by those who post non-stop on Twitter and Facebook. Well, their self-aggrandizing role in the Iranian election upheaval is the ultimate display of this narcissism. Message to Twits: this revolution ain't about YOU!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Revolution Will Not Be Twitterized


What do the American Revolution, the French Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement have in common? They all somehow managed to change history without Facebook and Twitter. But if you listen to our technology-obsessed media this week as post-election unrest unfolds in Iran you'd get the distinct impression that the current opposition rebellion could not exist without these social-networking sites. Even the Obama administration is fueling the hype.

Overnight we're being sold on the critical global relevance of these repositories of heretofore useless information about what the Average Joe is doing, thinking, saying, listening to, watching, reading and eating every 5 minutes. Now they'd like us to believe that Twitter and Facebook are fueling a revolution and serving as the vessel for democracy in Iran. Power to the @People.

On Wednesday, the "I don't think we should meddle" Obama administration decided to meddle and asked Twitter to delay its planned site upgrade so that service would not be interrupted, allowing Tehran's cyber-revolutionaries to continue sending messages and images to their comrades around the world. Think about that. The U.S. government giving so much significance and legitimacy to such a nascent technology, with its utterly self-consumed community, as to imply that without it, somehow the revolution could run out of steam. Talk about self-importance. Needless to say, Twitter complied. It would be nice perhaps if the Blackberry-obsessed Obama actually injected himself into the Iranian election crisis in some truly meaningful capacity. That his boldest intervention was to keep Twitter operating uninterrupted is kind of mind-numbing actually. Where is his outrage? Where is the pressure from the United States, the great democracy and most most powerful nation in the world? Why are we sitting here on the sidelines seemingly afraid to take a harsh stand against such an obvious, colossal crime against humanity?

As for Twitter and Facebook, let's keep their relevance, or lack thereof, in their proper perspective. What would we have without these two sites through which to spread information about the massive protests? We'd have cell-phone cameras, Youtube, digital cameras and email. And what would we have before that? Phones, videotapes, 35mm photographs and underground newspapers. And what would we have before that? Well, we'd have the American Revolution, the French Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement, which last time I checked, profoundly changed the course of history without the ubiquitous Twitter and Facebook.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Freedom Cruise, Newt and the Gay Piano Player. Tales From Our Man-on-the-Inside


It's the Freedom Cruise and Conference, and it's been billed as a "10 Night Gems of the Baltic" excursion at sea sponsored by the Freedom Alliance and the National Rifle Association. It left port June 12 in Copenhagen, Denmark and returns to that city June 22 after sailing through various ports in Russia, Estonia, Germany, Finland and Sweden.

Donning their Birkenstocks (yes, believe it or not, conservatives wear sandals too), Bermuda shorts and sailing caps for this Oceanic liberal-bashing orgy are LT. Colonel Oliver North, Founder & Honorary Chairman of the Freedom Alliance; Tom Kilgannon, President of the Freedom Alliance; Newt Gingrich, Former House Speaker; Duncan Hunter, Former Congressman of California; David Kenne, Chairman, American Conservative Union; Ralph Hallow, Senior political correspondent, Washington Times; Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President, National Rifle Association; Edwin Meese, Former U.S. Attorney General & Counselor to President Ronald Reagan; Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee; and Bob McEwen, Former U.S. Congressman from Ohio. What a hodgepodge of narrow-minded right-wing hypocrites, huh? I'm already seasick and I'm sitting in my office.

So who exactly is the Freedom Alliance? On its website, it states that its mission "is to advance the American heritage of freedom by honoring and encouraging military service, defending the sovereignty of the United States and promoting a strong national defense." As for the NRA, well, that's just an organization of he-man wannabes with small dicks who like to shoot shit up.

On the cruise's website, this week-and-a-half of nautical negativism is described as "Moderated panel sessions featuring our esteemed guest speakers...Plenty of chances to meet, schmooze and enjoy personal interaction with our special guest speakers. Exclusive Parties and Dining with our special guest speakers....Numerous private cocktail parties and evening smokers...A fully escorted cruise." I have three initial thoughts: (1) I would rather eat my own snot than shmooze this bunch of rich old myopic white men, and Michael Steele, (but then again, I'm not their target audience); (2) what the hell is an " evening smoker?"; and (3) given all the Republican sex scandals over the past few years, who knows what "fully-escorted" means with this dubious crew.

But we've been able to get a peak inside this very secretive and exclusive little boat ride from our man on the inside. "The Mole," as we'll call him, had this to say:

"There are many regular passengers, but here's the kicker. There's a lot of people on board from the Atlantis Group gay cruise company as well. Newt has been hanging out in the piano bar at night. The funny thing is, he is so anti-gay but he seems to love the piano player in the bar who is GAY!" (for the record, The Mole has not witnessed any actual homosexual behavior between Newt, the piano player or any other seemingly hetero conservative with a penchant for showtunes, but he sure does seem as smitten as Julie on "The Love Boat"). "I was getting some iced-tea yesterday and he came up next to me and got a glass as well. We had some small-talk for about a minute. He seems very uncomfortable in general." Well of course, wouldn't you be? You're as homophobic as they come, but all you really wanna do is belt out "Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend" with a bunch of old queens in a piano bar. "The Vice President of the NRA was in our bar last night dancing to the music." (now if ever there was justification for use of a stun-gun...)

Sounds like our nation's leading conservatives are having a gay old time at sea.....


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Internet Kills Another of My Favorite Spots


The Virgin Megastore in NYC's Union Square is closing. Another record shop bites the dust, having fallen victim to a culture of young people who've fallen in love with pirated music, iTunes and their laptops, which they've turned into their best friends, spending more time with these web-surfing vehicles than with actual human beings.

I'm sorry, but I'm distressed. This is just another example of our youth turning more and more inward. I can't begin to calculate all the time I've spent in my life either at lower Broadway's now-closed Tower Records and the Virgin store. So many hours spent cruising for the latest cool music to buy. So many beautiful women to look at during my single periods, some of whom I actually had the balls to approach. The feeling of being around other people who shared my love of music. The sensory overload of seeing the thousands and thousands of CD's to choose from, listening to samples on the headphones. A place to gather and inhale this incredible art form. So therapeutic, almost Zen-like. The warmth of the store on a frigid Manhattan Winter night. These places are suffering a rapid death, and it's a damned shame.

I am not a fan of modern technology, at least that which is bankrupting many of the things in life I love. It's stripping us of the interpersonal experiences from our daily lives that seem to be fading faster than Steve Jobs' hairline. To be sure, there are no people at the iTunes "store." No one to talk with. No eccentric clerks. No cute women. No racks of discs to flick through my fingers in rapid-fire succession. No energy that comes from being around other like-minded music-lovers. There's no cool NYC experience there whatsoever. No place to go to to simply get lost in the music and bask in the sweet smell of its packaging. Music lovers are now trapped in lifeless, impersonal computer screens. Bazillions of people have traded in true social-networking for the ease and convenience of purchasing music online. Today's kids really have no clue what they've lost. It's just not the same to sit alone in some over-priced coffeehouse with little plugs jammed into your ears as you download the latest Killers CD. It's pretty sad, actually.

Now go ahead and make all the "cranky grandpa" jokes you want. I'm ready. But what I'm not ready for is a culture that will eventually do everything from the comfort of home except have real socialization and intimacy with real live actual people. If this is progress, I'd rather be old school.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Republicans Gone Wild!


It began in November with the stunning and historic presidential victory of Barack Obama and the sweeping democratic landslides in both the House and Senate. Ever since, Republicans have been acting like a bunch of jilted lovers hanging around the water-cooler disparaging their ex's in ways ranging from the vile and vitriolic to the sophomoric and absurd. In both cases, lies and deception have been at the core. I'm embarrassed for these pathetic cry-babies. Grown men and women acting like desperate fools; political chickens-without-heads grasping at any straw they can find, no matter how ridiculous, hypocritical or untrue, to take down Obama and his nascent administration. They're not just "The Party of No," they're "The Party of Nasty, Mean-Spirited Pricks."

The right-wing attack machine is in high-gear, throwing all sorts of inflammatory rhetoric around like it was the '08 campaign all over again. According to these shameless sore-losers, Obama's a socialist who's nationalizing everything. Obama's destroying the economy. Obama's more dangerous to America than al Qaeda. Obama's Supreme Court pick, Sonia Sotomayor, is a racist. Obama's responsible for Rev. Jeremiah Wright's latest round of anti-Semitic hate-speak. Obama's spending too much taxpayer money on helicopters. Obama can't speak without a teleprompter. Obama's got his feet up on the Oval Office desk.

And check out this cesspool of lies masquerading as righteous indignation from conservative talking head Sean Hannity last Friday:

"Obama is all doom and gloom, doom and gloom, doom and gloom." (Kind of like Bush/Cheney's WMD mushroom clouds, Sean?)

"They're fear-mongers." (Wow, if that ain't the pot calling the kettle black, huh Sean?)

"He's flying off to Europe to dump on America. He's flying off to the Middle East to dump on America." (Or maybe, Sean, he's flying abroad to repair America's image which has been significantly damaged by Bush/Cheney's mind-numbing arrogance and reckless foreign policy?)

"He's too busy playing golf every weekend. Too busy going to New York to go out with his wife. Too busy flying his whole family to Europe...to France." (Really Sean? Golf every weekend? That's an outright lie. And, there was one night out in New York and one trip to France to honor America's fallen soldiers on D-Day. Did it bother you when Bush spent more time in Crawford, TX than in the White House?)

"Folks, he's destroying America as we know it." (Hey Sean, the economy's starting to recover and the stock markets have been on a 3-month tear. The credit markets have loosened; construction spending is up; foreclosures have declined; retail sales are at a 3-month high; almost a third of the banking industry's TARP funds have been re-paid with interest; and consumner confidence is up. Yup, America's really in bad shape under Obama)

"He's more radical than we even thought he could be." (Nice try, Sean. Many of his most ardent supporters are upset with his centrist policies)

"He's emboldening enemies like North Korea." (Care to give us some actual, factual specifics Sean?)

"Obama's pushing for Soviet-style health care." (More like British, French and Canadian, Sparky)

(Coughing) "Sorry, I got something caught in my throat." (Yeah Sean, it's called bullshit. You're coughing on your own bullshit, Hannity).

Ok, I just have one thing to say about Sean Hannity, the man his loyal Kool-Aid-drunken listeners greet with "You're a great American" every time they call his right-wing-ragefest of a radio program: He is anything but a great American. He is a despicable human being who spews lies and deception with reckless abandon and with no regard for America's health, welfare or security. He is as unpatriotic as they come.

Another thing that's gotten Republicans' collective panties in a snit this past week was the Sarah Palin/David Letterman "scandal." The host of "CBS's Late Night" made some off-color jokes about the Alaska Governor and her daughter (he didn't specify which one, 18-year-old Bristol or 14-year-old Willow). Funny how a party that's offered the American public absolutely nothing to improve education, health care, the environment or the economy can spend so much fucking time and energy on Letterman's Top Ten List.

The Conservative Army came out in force to defend Palin, the gal they call "the future" of their diseased party. In her syndicated column Saturday, pundit Michelle Malkin skewered Letterman for "sexist and sick" jokes, closing with "Letterman reminds me of the lecher at the school bus stop. Or the aging creep lurking in the dirty magazine section at the 7-Eleven." Regardless of whether Letterman was offbase or not--and one could argue his only crime was of joking in poor taste--he certainly doesn't deserve Malkin's not-so-thinly-veiled pervert and pedophile references. Malkin needs to be reminded that it's hard to cry foul when, in her harsh criticism, she resorts to the same sort of personal attacks for which she crucifies Letterman. But why should we be surprised at Malkin's hypocrisy? She's a card-carrying member of the Republicans' "Do as I say, not as I do" club.

And here's a little message for Palin: If you're gonna parade your daughter around the campaign trail, touting her unwed pregnancy as an admirable teenage virtue, then you deserve whatever mockery comes your way, from Letterman or elsewhere.

Now there was one breath of fresh conservative air this week, and it surprisingly came in the form of satirist/writer/journalist P.J. O'Rourke on Friday's "Real Time with Bill Maher" on HBO. O'Rourke was challenged by fellow guest and host of MSNBC's "Hardball," Chris Matthews, who noted that Obama gets criticized by conservatives no matter what he does. "If he bails out GM and Chrysler you guys say he's a socialist. If he let's them fail, you're gonna criticize him for that too." Replied O'Rourke incredulously, "Of course we are, we're Republicans! What do you want us to do, praise the guy?!" Bravo! At least O'Rourke has the balls and the humor to tell it like it is.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Holocaust Museum Shooting: Another Right-Wing Psycho Turns to Murder. Maybe Now Conservatives Will Listen to Janet Napolitano


On Wednesday, 88-year old WWII veteran, rabid anti-Semite and racist James von Brunn walked into the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC and opened fire, shooting to death a heroic 39-year-old security guard. Nine days earlier Abdulhakim Muhammad, a Muslim convert, fatally shot army recruiter Pvt. William Andrew Long, 23, in Little Rock, AR. The day before that, controversial abortion Dr. George Tiller was shot dead in his Wichita, KS clinic. And ten days prior to that the FBI arrested a four-man homegrown terror cell that planned to blow up two Bronx synagogues while simultaneously shooting down a commercial jet airliner. There's something crazy and violent in the air lately, with much of it rooted in an alarming increase in intense right-white hate.

Back in April, the Department of Homeland Security issued a report citing right-wing extremism and warned that "White supremacist lone wolves pose the most significant domestic terrorist threat because of their low profile and autonomy — separate from any formalized group — which hampers warning efforts." The 9-page document erupted into a political shitstorm, and unleashed a torrent of harsh criticism of DHS Chief Janet Napolitano, who was vilified over her suggestion that returning war veterans in particular might be susceptible to these violent radical groups who could turn them into homegrown terrorists. Those piling on the Napolitano-bashing-wagon included leading conservatives such as House Minority Leader John Boehner, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh. The attack on Napolitano was so vicious, so partisan and so premature but now she and DHS appear quite prescient, don't they? Funny how two months and back-to-back murders by right-wing wackjobs can shine a whole new light on things.

Earlier in the day Wednesday I appeared on FoxNews' Strategy Room, where a lengthy panel discussion took place about the Little Rock army murder. This was hours before ethe D.C. shooting news broke. Some in the group asked "where's the (media) outrage," and were incredulous as to the lack of coverage of Pvt. Lang's killing versus that of Dr. Tiller's. There was also great concern expressed that not enough attention was being placed on this type of violent crime by extremists. I reminded the panel of the April DHS report, but more importantly, of the beating Napolitano took over it. I suppose conservatives will be giving Napolitano and the security report another look after Wednesday's shooting death at the Holocaust Museum.

So why the recent spate of deadly right-wing hate crimes? As Salon.com's Joan Walsh cited, it could be in no small part due to the incendiary rhetoric of talking heads like Bill O'Reilly and Limbaugh, who've been accused of fanning the flames of hate with their inciteful on-air rabble-rousing. O'Reilly relentlessly attacked Dr. Tiller for years, over two dozen times in fact, calling him a "Baby Killer" and accusing him of doing "Nazi stuff," while warning of "Judgement Day." Over on the radio, Limbaugh told his audience last week that President Obama is more harmful to America than our terrorist enemies. Said Walsh on MSNBC's Hardball Wednesday night: "When you say that our president is more dangerous than al Qaeda, you've gone off into crazy nutjobland. You are off the charts crazy, and you are whipping people up."

Is it any wonder then that these right-wing lunatic freaks feel a sense of duty, of obligation, to 'right the wrongs' that these instigators in the media hammer into their psychotic heads day after day? Perhaps law enforcement authorities should begin investigating the role conservative commentators like O'Reilly and Limbaugh play in the death of innocent people. Maybe then these despicable hate-mongering loudmouths will shut up once and for all.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Ostroy on Fox News' "Strategy Room" Today


I'll be on FoxNews.com's Strategy room again this morning (June 10) at 10am. Join us for a lively roundtable discussion of the hot political topics of the day. Watch it live at www.foxnews.com/strategyroom.

Monday, June 08, 2009

I Love Obama!


As the Alfred Lord Tennyson poem goes, "In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love." Well, it's almost five months since Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, the trees and flowers are blooming, and this young man is indeed smitten (in that utterly heterosexual way). Yes, after eight miserable, depressing, regressive, oppressive years under President George W. Bush, and as the 1955 William Holden hit film gushed, "Love is a Many Splendored Thing."

Full disclosure, I am a recent convert. I am not an Obamaton, nor am I an original member of the Obama Nation, whose members the right wing attack machine vilify as a bunch of kool-aid drunken hero-worshippers who blindly follow their "Messiah." I was a Hillary Clinton supporter. Readers of this blog know that I actually had several major reservations about the relatively young unknown politician who sought the most powerful job in the world.

I worried if the great orator with the big, electrifying stadium speeches could actually connect with the little guy in a small coffee shop in Tulsa given his cool, aloof demeanor. I worried that he was too cerebral and not enough of a fighter, and feared that he could not beat the dirty-playing GOP the way I believed the Clintons would. I worried that America, which had come so far since the civil rights movement began, might not be ready yet for a black president. I worried that the "Hope and Change" candidate didn't have the chops to make it to the finish line. But I was wrong. Since he took office, I get it. I understand now what I didn't then. That this man is a transcendent leader. Someone who comes around like the political equivalent of Haley's Comet.

Unlike his predecessor, who inherited a strong economy and a nation at peace, Obama stepped into the fire with two wars, the fight against terrorism and the worst economy since The Great Depression, in which he's had the banking, housing and auto industry crises dumped in his lap. To his credit, he's implemented policies which have unlocked the credit markets, stabilized Wall Street and resulted in a huge upswing in consumer confidence.

We've also seen Obama tackle tough wedge issues--race, abortion, U.S./Muslim relations--head on with brilliance, passion, sincerity and unparalleled oratory skills. Issues that most other politicians either avoided or exploited. No one before him has simply rolled up his sleeves and said, "Hold on a second, people. What are we fighting over? This is crazy. Why can't we address these issues, our differences, like mature adults striving for a common ground, and do so with mutual respect, humility and tolerance?" The right can mock it as a typical liberal "Kumbayah" moment all they want, but isn't this how real change begins? By opening up a dialogue and bridging social gaps?

How refreshing to have a president who's wickedly smart. Whose intelligence, curiosity and diplomacy--not narrow mindedness, arrogance and disengagement--drives his thought process and decision-making. A leader who thinks before he speaks. Who absorbs information. Obsesses over details. Understands the facts. A president who keeps his emotions in check and exercises incredible judgement and self-control. Someone at the controls who's not impulsive, petulant, smug, cocky. It's nice to have a fucking grown-up in the White House for a change.

To be sure, in the first five months of his nascent presidency, Obama has shown incredible tenacity, resolve, vision and statesmanship. He's truly the right guy for these troubled times, and I suspect the history books will judge him accordingly many years from now. Let's just say he's won me over.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Obama's Speech to Muslims: More Humility and Statesmanship in Two Hours than in the Eight Years of Bushevik Arrogance and Bullying


President Barack Obama traveled to Egypt Thursday and delivered an historic speech to the Muslim world at the University of Cairo. For nearly two hours Obama spoke of the region's various unsolved crises--such as U.S./Islamic relations, the Arab/Israeli conflict, and terrorism--while extending an olive branch to both America's friends and enemies alike. It was a brilliant dissertation on accepting difference, overcoming challenges and achieving a lasting peace. And it was a much welcome departure from the Bush administration's eight years of reckless cowboy arrogance and bullying.

A few select highlights from the president's speech:

"I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings...."

"There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground."

..."America is not – and never will be – at war with Islam. We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security. Because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children. And it is my first duty as President to protect the American people."

..."Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible."

"So America will defend itself respectful of the sovereignty of nations and the rule of law. And we will do so in partnership with Muslim communities which are also threatened. The sooner the extremists are isolated and unwelcome in Muslim communities, the sooner we will all be safer."

..."No system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other."

"It is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward; to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There is also one rule that lies at the heart of every religion – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us."

Pretty incredible stuff, much as his now-famous 2008 campaign speech on race relations tackled a tough subject head-on and moved an entire nation. So, while the Cairo speech garnered much praise throughout the world, especially from the Arab community, the reaction here at home from the ravenous right was anything but laudatory:

"What President Obama did today was unconscionable," said the blathering Republican radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh, echoing similar sentiments from other conservatives in the media, Congress and in Washington political circles. Sure, when for eight years you're used to a daily dose of derogatory name-calling and inflammatory rhetoric, I suppose diplomacy and statesmanship sure do seem like despicable acts. And it surely makes for better partisan politicking to turn every Muslim into the enemy and use John Wayne tough-talk while hiding behind the American flag.

The truth is, we're not at war with Islam. We're at war with al Qaeda and other extremist groups. Yet Bush & Company shamelessly and relentlessly exploited the September 11th attacks to their political advantage and lumped the entire Muslim world into it's all-encompassing "evil doe'ers" bucket. Doing so certainly aided in the conflation of Saddam and Osama bin Laden. Of Iraq and al Qaeda. Of the world's 1-billion Muslims and the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. And it's going to take a while for the world's Muslim population to trust America again and be our partner in the fight against terrorism. Which is precisely the goal of Obama. His speech Thursday was designed to repair the damage caused by the Busheviks' one-stop-defaming, Axis-of-Evil mentality.

No more swagger. No more cockiness. No more inciteful hate-speech. It's time for the frothing extremists in our country to tone down the incendiary rhetoric, stereotyping and scapegoating and start supporting the administration's effort to rebuild America's standing not just within Islam, but all over the globe.

After eight dreadful years of George Bush's arrogant, polarizing, isolationist, xenophobic foreign policy, it's quite refreshing to have a president who's smart, thoughtful, engaged and passionate about building a true coalition for making the world a better place. But Republicans hate the fact that the world loves Obama. It's killing them. And they're working feverishly to undermine him and the administration's efforts to spread peace and goodwill rather than war and hatred.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Dick Cheney Does Not Support Gay Marriage. He Supports His Daughter's Gay Marriage


So Dick Cheney has come out in support of gay marriage. Big fucking deal. If anyone thinks that, at his core, Cheney actually cares about homosexuals and their civil rights or lack thereof...I have some cabins in the mountain region of Pakistan they might be interested in buying.

Earlier this week Cheney said he doesn't have "any problems" with same-sex marriages, adding "I think, you know, freedom means freedom for everyone. I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish," and said the issue should be handled at the state level.

Cheney's sudden love and respect for gays is 100% about his daughter Mary, period. Do you honestly think that before she exited the closet, and dating back to his Bush 41 and Nixon days, that he was a passionate proponent of gay rights? If so, I suppose you also think Newt Gingrich and Tom Delay hang out together watching "Project Runway" while feeding each other fondue?

To be sure, what we're witnessing here is classic self-serving, hypocritical, double-standard, Republican "do as I say not as I do" rationalizations:

"I'm against gay marriage until I learn that my kid's gay"

"I'm anti-abortion until my kid needs one"

"I'm against stem-cell research until it's my relative being ravaged by cancer"

I'm a military hawk until my kid dies in battle"

I'm against plug-pulling until it's my loved one who's rotting in a vegetative state"

I'm pro-guns until it's my husband, wife or kid who gets shot by one"

"I'm all about family values until I'm caught cheating on my wife"

Cheney's support for gay-marriage is the most disingenuous advocacy ever. He's a rabid conservative on every single other social, environmental and fiscal issue, and is no more a genuine fan of gay-marriage than I am a proponent of Joey Buttafuoco-style hetero unions.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

"Forget Twitter, I'm on the CB!"


Those were the hilarious words shouted Monday night by the actor Will Ferrell during a silly bit on Conan O'Brien's debut as host of NBC's The Tonight Show (which was a solidly funny and successful debut, btw). But it got me thinking: how cool would it be if instead of typing away in such an impersonal manner on Facebook and Twitter, millions of people used CB radio's and even the phone!

For those of you young people out there who are a bit confused right now, CB radios were a big fad in the 1970's. We had 'em in cars and in our homes, and people would actually shape their lips and tongues into various positions to form words in an effort to communicate through actual spoken language. I know, I know, crazy, right? And that other piece of equipment I mentioned, the phone, is also used for verbal communication purposes. Think of it as sort of a Facebook or Twitter with sound. All those silly "status" comments you make to each other--and to no one in particular--can actually be made live...and get this, the other person on the phone can actually respond right back to you in, like, a conversation! It's really cool! You don't even have to make any additional purchases either. That little gadget you carry around for all that texting, picture-taking, web browsing and music downloads? It has a frickin' phone in it too! I'm serious, you can actually talk on that damned thing. I know...it's insane. It's like getting a whole other "app" for free!

Seriously, kids, talking to someone is actually a lot of fun. You'll get to hear tone, inflection, humor, sarcasm...and can have a solid back and forth which you might just find quite engaging. Now go ahead and try it, and let me know what ya think!


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.