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.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sorry, Secretary Napolitano, But the System Didn't Work


Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano should make up her mind: did the system work or not? Following the failed terror attack aboard a Northwest Airlines Detroit-bound flight on Christmas day, Napolitano has changed her tune from: "Once the incident occurred, the system worked," to "Our system did not work in this instance." The real question is whether she actually believes the former declaration or the latter, and whether she's playing politics here. Either way, her behavior following Thursday's incident is disturbing.

The truth is, the system did fail, and miserably. And it's horrifying to imagine what would've happened had terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab succeeded with his plan to blow up the jetliner.

Given all we've learned since the 9/11 attacks, and the extensive security measures implemented since, several major questions remain unanswered: How does a suspected terrorist from Nigeria, a country with a growing terrorism problem, who was banned from Britain, somehow manage to get himself on a flight headed for a major U.S. city, with no secondary security screening, with a one-way ticket purchased with cash, with no checked baggage on an international flight, with an explosive substance taped to his leg, after being placed on a watchlist after his own father warned the State Department months ago of his son's increasing Muslim extremist radicalization? And how does this Nigerian terrorist manage to spend 20 minutes in the airplane's lavatory, as he prepared his failed explosive, without attracting the suspicion of flight crew?

To be sure, there is no consolation in Abdulmuttalab's botched skills as a terrorist. That he, like shoe-bomber Richard Reid, is inept shouldn't make us feel any safer. His near-success is a very chilling reminder of just how easy it apparently still is to cause mid-air devastation.

The U.S. government needs to rethink its national security apparatus and its intelligence gathering mechanisms in combating terrorism. We cannot protect America from terrorism using military force. Fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan is a total waste of assets in this mission. We need more money and training for the CIA, FBI, Department of Homeland Security and other intelligence agencies. And the Transportation Security Administration needs to stop squandering precious time, money and overall resources at airports by pulling non-threatening individuals out of the xray line for secondary screening. The old, the sick and the stroller-bound little ones are not the monsters trying to kill Americans. With military intelligence precision and laser-like focus, we must expend all resources and assets on the real potential threats and stop pussy-footing around in politically-correctville.


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.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

So What's Next for Airline Passengers, Adult Diapers?


In the wake of the attempted terrorist attack aboard a Detroit-bound Northwest flight from Amsterdam last week, the Transportation Security Administration has outlined new measures for air travel, including requiring all passengers to remain in their seats for the last hour of the flight. I find this especially troubling, as I have the bladder of a 5-year-old and typically make more trips to the airplane's lavatory than a bleacher bum at Yankee Stadium. And when ya gotta go, ya gotta go...

I'm not exactly sure who makes the "Depends" brand adult diapers, but now might be a great time to buy their stock, for I'm sure I'm not the only traveller contemplating slipping one on for extra peace of mind. I'm not joking. Just consider for a moment all those flights you've had where, just as you thought you were about to land, the pilot announces several rounds of "circling" due to inclement weather, ground traffic or unavailable gates. Startin' to squirm already, aren't ya. Under these situations the "I-ain't-gonna-get-to-pee-for-an-hour" rule turns into something much more problematic. Especially to those of you who like your 30,000 foot hops and barleys. Imagine a whole plane-full of cranky, belligerent grown-ups whining about how badly they have to pee. Or even worse (if ya know what I mean...).

And if that wasn't enough, we won't be able to have personal items in our laps during this last hour either. No laptops? No iPods? Books? Magazines? Portable DVD player? Seriously, if I have to fly with my 6-year-old without the DVD player, well, I ain't flying. I often say Bill Gates, Jonas Salk and the Wright Brothers have nothing on the person who invented that thing. So, now what we do for the last hour, talk the person next to us? You mean we actually have to engage them now in idle chit chat as our bladders are about to explode like water balloons tossed off a roof? Train travel is starting to get infinitely more appealing.

To be sure, there's gotta be a better way of keeping our citizens safe from terrorists and their attempts to blow shit up. (By the way, these Muslim extremist virgin-seekers aren't exactly the brightest bulbs in the Jihad. Between shoe-bomber Richard Reid and Thursday's genius Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (who had the highly explosive substance PETN taped to his leg), these guys are so inept they often can't seem to blow up anything but themselves. And the guys who actually did cause catastrophic death and disaster--the 9/11 attackers--likely wouldn't have succeeded either with their highly sophisticated box-cutters had it not been for an America and an airline industry that was asleep at the wheel). How about spending more time and money screening the bastards who are actually trying to kill us and leave the 2-year-olds and blue-haired grannies alone? I swear, if I see one more 90-year-old being frisked like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed I think I'm gonna scream. Especially when monsters like Abdulmutallab, who are on government watchlists for being known or suspected terrorists, are not pulled out of the security lines, subjected to thorough searches and interrogations, and yanked off flights.

One thing's certain: we need to stop being so damned politically correct in this country and stop wasting time on old white people and little kids just so we can't be accused of racial profiling. America can learn a lesson from the Israelis, who only care about keeping its citizens safe, even if they have to hurt a few feelings in the process.


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.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

"Please Remove Your Jackets, Sweaters and Pants, and Place All Laptops and Electronics...."


There was a time when airilne travelers could leisurely approach the security checkpoints at airports, drop their bags on the conveyor belt, and stroll through the x-ray machine without much fanfare. Ah, the good old days....

Then the horrific 9/11 attacks occurred and the rest is history. Coats, sweaters, shoes and belts had to be stripped off--babies and blue-haired old ladies included--and toiletries needed to be placed in clear separate bags and in a bin, along with laptops and other electronics. By the time you'd get to the other side you needed a scotch, a massage and a nap. But after eight years of getting used to these frustrating, time-consuming and often humiliating safeguards we thought, it can't get any worse, right? Ah, the good old days...

Well guess again. On Friday a Nigerian terrorist with possible al Qaeda ties attempted to blow up an Amsterdam-to-Detroit Northwest Airlines jet as it descended for landing. In what was initially thought to be firecrackers, Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, ignited an incendiary device which, thankfully, failed to fully detonate and instead inflicted severe burns on his body. And how did he manage to get the device on board? By taping explosive powder to his leg and mixing it with chemicals contained in a syringe.

So what does this mean in the future for U.S. airline passengers? Will the Department of Homeland Security now require that we remove our pants too, leaving us standing there even more humiliated in our underwear and tees? Or will we be forced to wear clear plastic pants and shirts and expose ourselves much the same we do our toothpaste and shampoo? Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse...


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.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I Slept with Tiger Woods


I slept with Tiger Woods. And I'm not ashamed to admit it. It was about to come out anyway, so I figured I'd make like David Letterman and get in front of the scandal and take control. America, I am the 18th hole. There, I've said it. And it feels damn good. I've remained silent these past 2 weeks as skank after cheap-perfume-smelling salacious skank has crawled out of the whorish woodwork to claim their piece of the world's greatest golfer as his once mighty career and wholesome persona have come crashing down like a house of ill-reputed cards. But I've kept quiet long enough.

Let's set the record straight on something: these tabloid bimbos are not the real secret in Tiger's closet. While everyone's supposed to believe it's lusty, busty dim-witted ho's that Tiger's addicted to, the truth is Woods (btw, could he have a more appropriate name right now?) would much rather share his 9-iron and golfer's balls with gray-haired 50-year-old Jewish guys. I'm living proof of that. The hot chicks with the 46" double D's? Nothing more than beards while he's out rippin' up Vegas with every Larry, Barry and Harry in town.

So now it's time to tell my story. And I don't want anything in return, except the truth to be known. I met "The Cheetah" at a "Family Matters" convention on a chilly Vegas night about a decade ago. We were both huge fans of Steve Urkel. I thought Urkel was very funny, and Tiger, well, I think we all know why he liked him. We were on line together to get a Jaleel White autograph, and simply started talking about the show and how much we identified with the uber-nerdy Urkel character (actually, I really didn't, but I pretended to so Tiger wouldn't feel self-conscious). We immediately hit it off and later went to dinner, and then he invited me to his hotel suite...which I thought a bit odd, but naively went along.

Our "affair" wasn't sexual. In fact, there was no sex at all, just some weird homo-eroticness on his part with a surprising naked rendition of "If you want to do the Steve Urkel dance, all you have to do is hitch up your pants, bend your knees, and stick out your pelvis...I'm telling you, baby, it's better than Elvis!" I know...pretty kinky. The whole affair lasted about an hour. And then I fell asleep. Literally. Out cold. On the bed. When I awoke, Woods' was sound asleep next to me. We were both fully clothed, but spooning (for the record, I was on the outside). After I shrieked a horrified John Candy-like "You see that Bears game last week!"..Woods replied "What a game! What a game! Bears gonna go all the way!" and we awkwardly jumped out of bed and quite hastily said our goodbyes. So yes America, I slept with Tiger Woods. And I have absolutely no regrets.

Friday, December 18, 2009

God Doesn't Like the Sick, the Hungry, the Poor, the Homeless?


An interesting thing happened on the Sean Hannity radio show Friday. The right-wing talking-head, while discussing health-care reform and U.S. aid overseas, accused liberals of playing the religion card to impose their belief that it's Americans' moral obligation, and the work of God, to help those less fortunate. He mocked the liberal ideal that it's wrong for one nation to be so wealthy while children the world over go hungry. Feigning righteous indignation, Hannity preached to his 'great-American,' God-fearing listeners how wrong it is to hide behind the cloak of religion for political purposes.

Funny how we never hear any self-righteous criticisms from Hannity when the Republican Party exploits God and religion ad nauseam in order to indoctrinate Americans on its anti-abortion, school prayer, assisted suicide, life support, Christmas celebration and anti-gay propaganda. But those pesky poor folk? The hungry? The Sick? The homeless? Well, according to Hannity's logic, God doesn't care about these people...unless of course they're trying to get an abortion, marry their same-sex partner or committing some other blasphemous act. But use religion to feed, house and care for people less-fortunate? Shame on liberals.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Why is My Party So Spineless?


What is wrong with this picture: when Republicans controlled the presidency and both Houses of Congress they pushed through whatever legislation they wanted. Now that Democrats control Washington, Republicans still seem to be calling the shots. WTF?

A look at the new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Wednesday shows that I'm not the only Democrat who's extremely frustrated and disappointed with the overall performance of President Barack Obama and the Democrats who seem to control government in name only. Obama's approval rating has dipped from 60% to 47%, and only 40% believe he has the right goals; 61% of voters believe the country's in decline; while 55% see the nation headed on the wrong track. It's just under one year since Obama's taken office and already everyone from Republicans, Democrats, Independents, the media and political consultants are discussing the possibility of a "1994-like landslide" in next year's mid-term elections. Have Democrats so thoroughly and so quickly blown their unprecedented seat at the controls? Has Obama failed so miserably to deliver on his promise of change? Have Republicans demonstrated once again that in the political equivalent of a street fight they know how to kick the crap out of liberals? Yes, yes, and yes.

I'm not gonna pull any punches here, the Democrats have become a bunch of spineless pussies. Sadly, this is the way it's always been, which is why my party has held power for about 15 minutes over the last 15 years. Democrats now own the White House, 60 Senate seats, and have an 81 seat lead in the House. Yet the party seems so utterly neutered and unable to accomplish anything unless it waters down every measure to the point of being worthless.

Take health-care reform, for example. The bill, which now appears to be on the verge of collapse, if passed will resemble nothing that either Obama, Democrats or voters initially intended. No public option, no medicare expansion, no provisions for abortion, no meaningful cost-containment measures, no competition. It's little more than a gift of 30-million taxpayer-subsidized new-customers to insurance companies. Just a few months ago about 65% of Americans supported reform, but that number has free-fallen to 32% as the economy continues to struggle, joblessness remains, and Obama's priorities seem oddly misplaced. Throw in Congressional Democrats' spinelessness in caving on all the original key benefits of the measure and it's no surprise why voters have seemingly given up on health-care reform, Obama and the party. Count me in that highly disenchanted group.

The fear over next year's election is well-founded. Obama is losing the faith of his most loyal supporters, and that's a terrible omen for the party. During the 2008 campaign my pal Nathan Dean had been one of Obama's most ardent defenders. While I consistently argued with him, and here on this blog, that Hillary Clinton would be a stronger, tougher fighter against the GOP Nathan, and millions like him, stood firm and preached the Obama kool-aid. There was no moving Nathan, a loyal Obamacon who accused the rest of us of failing to see the magic in this futuristic agent of change. But consider what Nathan wrote to me this week regarding the president's impotence over health-care reform:

..."Seeing how he operates, with the incredible, once in a lifetime opportunity he had to make a difference, he has absolutely blown it.... Again, he let Republicans get the upper hand, seize the argument, scare people and Democratic Senators off. He tried to compromise with them despite knowing that their plan is to vote no on every piece of legislation he presents....Instead of stepping up and being a President that wants to make real change, and being as nasty politically as he needs to for the good of the country, meaning reconciliation, he's going to let Lieberman go down in history as the guy that killed health-care."

Can you hear the anger and frustration in Nathan's voice? Well, he's not alone. Liberals, progressives and independents are abandoning ship because they believe Obama has failed to deliver on his promise of change. From gay marriage to Iraq to Afghanistan to Wall Street reform to a public option for health-care, the president has waivered and/or flip-flopped on some of the most important issues on which he campaigned. He's so quickly morphed from politics' Boy Wonder, the Messiah, the once-in-a-lifetime-candidate, to the standard-model broken-down tired old politician with no fight left in him. While Americans obsess over their next paycheck and the security of their jobs, Obama's disproportionately expended so much political capital on health-care. Why health care? And why now, as the country fights for its economic survival? To many, Obama seems to care more about his own personal legacy than putting Americans back to work. No small wonder then that voters see his goals and theirs on totally opposite ends.

On health-care reform, there is an answer. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) needs to push through the measure under the parliamentary tactic known as reconciliation, which would require he get just 51 votes instead of 60, which he doesn't have now that Sen. Joe Lieberman has joined with Republicans to filibuster the bill. But here again the Democrats are spineless, refusing to do whatever it takes to get the job done, unlike their Republican counterparts, who did everything including play dirty to push through their agenda.

Debating former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews Wednesday night, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu (La) said of the former DNC head, who believes the party is wimping out by not using reconciliation: "He is wrong, we are tough enough, and you are right, Chris, about the process of reconciliation. It is not to be used to create broad additional new federal programs."

Oh...my...God...somebody please stop me from smashing my head into a wall. Did former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) give a shit what anyone thought when he deviously used redistricting as his own personal tool to ensure greater GOP victories? He cared about one thing and one thing only: getting the job done. Imagine if Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had the same balls. Yet here we are watching Democrats again self-righteously over-intellectualize everything as the Republican enemy rams its you-know-what you-know-where. When will Democrats learn who they're battling? When will they finally wise up and fight to the death for what it believes in? Jeez, if the party can't push through its agenda now, when the hell will it?


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, December 14, 2009

"Joe the Bummer:" Lieberman's in the Insurance Industry's Hip Pocket on Health Care Reform


Sen. Joe Lieberman hails from the state of Connecticut, whose capital, Hartford, just so happens to be nicknamed the "Insurance Capital of the World. He's received more than $1-million insurance company campaign contributions since 1998, and during his 2006 re-election bid he ranked second in money received from this special-interest group. This is the same Sen. Lieberman whose flip-flopping on health-care reform this week just might cost the President and the Democrats the most important piece of domestic legislation in modern history. Coincidence?

After consistently supporting a provision to expand medicare benefits to millions of people between 55-64 (endorsing it as recently as three months ago), Lieberman has threatened to join with Republicans to filibuster the Democrats' bill at the last freakin' minute. Not only is the timing of his cock-block highly suspicious, but so is the motivation. Lieberman was elected by the people of Connecticut, not the mega-billion dollar insurance companies. But it's become abundantly clear with whom his allegiance resides. Furthermore, his 11th-hour bomb-drop is a big fat giant fuck you to all the progressives and bloggers who joined the "Beat Lieberman" brigade during the last election. Take that, Markos Moulitsas.

So what happens next? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) can bow to this insurance industry stooge and water-down the bill or he can splinter off the public option feature from the non-budgetary components of the measure and preempt a filibuster under reconciliation, a parliamentary tactic whereby Reid could push through a government-run health insurance program with just 51 votes instead of 60. If Reid and the Democrats had any balls, this is what they'd do. For crap's sake, the party controls the White House and both houses of Congress, yet they're still pussyfooting around with self-aggrandizing thorns like Lieberman who threaten to derail its agenda.

Lastly, it's time for Democrats to punish Lieberman for his consistent disloyalty, from supporting Sen. John McCain's bid for the presidency in '08 to this latest self-serving ploy. A new poll shows that 81% of Democratic voters want Lieberman to be stripped of his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Sen. Reid, are you listening?


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.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Economy is Recovering, No Thanks to Republicans


It's the Democrats' economy, stupid.

One year ago the United States economy was on the precipice of catastrophic meltdown. One year later America's financial system, while not thriving, is surely showing signs of surviving and climbing back from its abysmal state, with a broad range of economic indicators signaling the early stages of recovery. The economy is indeed turning, and it's done so with absolutely no assistance from Republicans, who've elected instead to take the calculated political risk of becoming the Party of No as the GOP plots its upcoming election strategy. Not surprisingly, not one Republican voted for President Obama's stimulus plan last Winter; just one voted for Health Care reform; and none voted for last Friday's financial reform bill. In short, they've marched in negative lockstep on every single piece of economic legislation this year, effectively dumping the economic crisis in the laps of Democrats, hoping to loudly lay blame in the event there's little or no improvement. I bet they even have the campaign ads already written. But given the economy's progress to-date and its likely future upward direction, "NO" is probably not the best strategy going into next year's mid-terms.

Ask any Republican leader such as House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va) why the voting is virtually 100% partisan and they'll offer up the standard talking points: Obama and the Democrats are raising taxes, exploding the deficit, over-regulating, stifling job creation and growth, and taking the economy in a direction that's harmful to American business and consumers. In short, they say, the President's economic plan simply isn't working.

But only a disingenuous Republican could view the downward trajectory from last January's 700,000job losses to November's 11,000 and deny the obvious progress and the job creation that's likely to soon follow. Furthermore, we've experienced GDP growth for the first time since Q2 2008; credit and borrowing has eased; businesses are optimistic; corporate earnings are up; inventories are down; orders are rising; November retail sales beat estimates; the housing market has rebounded; consumer confidence has risen appreciably; the stock market is up 50% since March; and Wall Street's about to hand out record bonuses.

Through all this, Republicans continue straight-faced to claim the stimulus plan hasn't worked, Obama's economic policies are a failure, and that the GOP has a better plan for America's economy. Unfortunately for them we've yet to see anything but NO. To be sure, the administration has pulled the nation back from the brink of financial disaster with absolutely no help from Republicans. It's the Democrats' economy, all right, and voters will probably remember that next November if they continue to see marked improvement, especially in the area of job growth. So much for the GOP's calculated risk?


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.