Monday, March 28, 2011
It's becoming painfully clear that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is so desperate either for attention or the Oval Office, or both, that he'll do and say anything to further his cause. A few months back he made outlandish, racist comments about President Obama's heritage and "Kenyan, anti-colonial" worldview. He's recently blamed his extramarital affairs on long work days and love of country. He's flip-flopped on the no-fly-zone in Libya. And this past weekend his sanctimonious, self-righteous arrogance was on full display in Iowa, where he preached morality to a bunch of preachers.
At the Rediscovering God in America gathering, Gingrich said he ranked values as the the top U.S. priority above the economy and national security.
"Some people may say we should stay away from values, stay away from social issues. I'm here to tell you that if you don't start with values, if you don't start by saying who we are as Americans. the rest of it doesn't matter."
Seriously, is he kidding? Here's a guy with a despicable record of cheating on his first two wives (when they were quite ill, no less) and cavorting around D.C. like a horny drunken sailor with a weekend pass, and he's lecturing us on morality? I'm not sure what I'm most incredulous of: that he has the balls to stand before a a group of clergymen and preach about values, or that they actually take him seriously.
The audacity of people like Gingrich to indiscriminately cheat and hurt people and then hide under the cloak of God or, more ludicrously, patriotism, is both astounding and reprehensible. Even Fox News' Chris Wallace said to Gingrich on his Sunday morning program that his excuses for his infidelity were "lame" and "hypocritical," especially given how Gingrich vehemently targeted Bill Clinton back in the 1990's over his marital indiscretions. "You love your country and you’re working hard and so you strayed. That wouldn’t work with my wife!," Wallace quipped sarcastically.
Wallace then asked Gingrich, more rhetorically than not, if he ever thought to himself back then about Clinton, "I’m living in a really glass house, maybe I shouldn’t be throwing stones?" Bravo Wallace. I knew there's a reason I liked this guy.
I'm convinced that there's something pathological to Gingrich's lying and delusional perceptions of self. He's ruthless and cunning and devoid of reality. He personifies the Richard Pryor character who says to his wife as he's literally caught in bed with another woman, "You gonna believe me or your lyin' eyes?" As for potential-candidate Gingrich, I suggest he heed his own words and "stay away from values." That's a giant skeleton-crammed closet door he'd be smart not to open.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
By now mostly everyone in America has seen or heard of the reprehensible and racist video a female UCLA student made recently in which she disparaged and mocked Asians.
The video, which was released on YouTube and targeted against Asian students following the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, not only has angered millions of people the world over, but it's raised the typical First Amendment questions, even prompting a NY Times editorial last week which both condemned it and defended it on free speech grounds. The student, Alexandra Wallace, has since issued an apology for her "inappropriate" behavior. "I cannot explain what possessed me to approach the subject as I did, and if I could undo it, I would," she said.
Wallace, who has since decided she will leave UCLA despite the school's decision not to discipline her, said she's leaving because of the "the harassment of my family, the publishing of my personal information, death threats and being ostracized from an entire community." All because she was trying to be "humorous," she said regretfully.
But Wallace's infamous video points to the bigger problem in our country today, and one which explains why she and countless others do irreparable damage to themselves and others with their humiliating, virally-spread diatribes. The answer is simple: young people today are so seduced by the power of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in giving them an outlet through which to share every dumb thought, ignorant rant and embarrassing photo. Give them a webcam and all hell can and will break loose. They're desperate-for-attention show-offs who want to be perceived as funny, cool and relevant. Instead, they appear stupid, foolish and irresponsible.
What's most troubling is that the Internet has created a generation of reckless cowboys and cowgirls. They post constantly, nonsensically and without any concern for the future. They never stop to think about those who might one day see their moronic rantings, photos and videos, i.e college admissions counselors, potential employers, future business associates. These days, when we can search Google and get an instant window into a person's entire public profile, this sort of behavior is very dangerous and can have lasting impact.
To be sure, Wallace has likely screwed herself out of further college opportunities, future jobs and probably lost some friends, her dignity and brought shame on herself and her family. All because that cigar-chompin' webcam was bellowing, 'Kid, I'm gonna make you a star!'
To be sure, kids will be kids, and they will do dumb things and actually need to be a little reckless and irresponsible. It's a part of growing up and learning how to eventually behave like adults. But the problem today is that, unlike a generation ago, when we could make our mistakes in relative private with only our close pals and family knowing it, the Internet creates a 24/7 worldwide stage where every misstep can be viewed by millions in a matter of seconds. Young people today live in a goldfish bowl, and when they fall, as Wallace has, it spirals out of control and there's no place to hide. The Internet is a very unforgiving place. Once you land there, there's no going back.
So I say to our nation's youth, be very careful about what you say, write and post on these sites. And that includes pictures. No future college admissions department or future employer will be impressed with your drunken pics and your filthy language. Rather, they'll want to see you as smart, mature and responsible. But if you must exercise your freedom of immature expression without having to worry about self-censorship, then at least minimize your risk by being less public. Change your Facebook and Twitter names so that your last name is not included, and therefore won't appear in Google searches. Also, don't use your Facebook email address on resumes or school and work applications. You can be searched that way as well. Create a separate email address just for "official" business. And for God's sake, the next time you to find the urge to act out foolishly on YouTube, grab a few friends and play Charades instead.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Call me a cynic, but I've never bought into the public love-fest between
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama. I think their pairing was borne out of mutual need: For Obama, it was clearly all about, "keep your friends close and your enemies closer." And for Hillary, taking the top diplomatic job would serve to repair her election-loss image and quickly make her appear presidential again. It was and is a marriage of convenience, and one that is likely full of residual contention and resentment from 2008.
Fueling speculation is the fact that last week Clinton abruptly announced that she would not serve in a second Obama administration. Is that because she intends to pursue a Clinton administration in 2012? Her announcement comes amid the violence and political turmoil in Libya in which the United States, Britain and France have begun a massive air strike, following the passage of a United Nations resolution authorizing a no-fly zone and the use of military force designed to end Col. Muammar Gaddafi's brutal repression of opposition protesters.
It was Clinton, not Obama, who's been front and center through this crisis, swiftly threatening Gaddafi with military action if he didn't stop the killing. To the contrary, the president's been criticized for not taking a strong enough stand against the Libyan dictator. To be sure, it was Hillary, not Obama, who had the bigger cajones. And that's no great surprise to this blogger, who wrote many pieces during the 2008 campaign that questioned Obama's inability to fight the tough fight, unlike his former rival.
It's no secret that Obama, the much heralded 'Agent of Change', has hugely disappointed those who euphorically supported him and whose mantra is now "change we can't believe in." Progressives and mainstream Democrats alike seethe over his move to the center and for failing to deliver on the issues on which he campaigned and were important to them, from the public option to repealing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, and for caving to Republicans.
So with his base disenchanted, his approval rating hovering near 50, and the
economy and job growth still stuck in a painfully slow recovery, do these domestic challenges, especially when combined with questions over his handling of world crises, create fertile ground for Clinton to toss her pantsuit into the ring?
It's rare for a prominent member of a sitting president's party to challenge him in the primaries for the nomination. In fact, the last time it was done was 1968 when Minnesota Sen. Eugene McCarthy took on a weakened, unpopular Lyndon B. Johnson. But the Clintons are not your typical deferential, passive politicians. If anyone could trade protocol for self-interest it's the uber-ambitious Hillary and her rock star hubby Bill. Both would like nothing more than to be back in the White House. And if for a second they smell Obama's vulnerability and a potential defeat by the GOP, don't be surprised if she pulls a McCarthy. It's a longshot, but these days in politics anything can and will happen. I can tell you one thing though: I've spoken to many Democrats who'd drop Obama and vote for Hillary in a heartbeat.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Michele Bachmann. You know her, you love her, hell...some even want her to be president, for Pete's Sake. That she thinks slavery was abolished by John Quincy Adams and "our Founding Fathers" 89 years before it actually was, or that she thinks the Revolutionary War started in Concord, N.H., doesn't matter to her loyal groupies. To them she's the modern version of what a Republican candidate should look like. To the rest of us, she's the dumbed-down candidate for the Tea Party masses: arrogant, combative and woefully ignorant of history and world affairs. So what would her first major 2012 campaign speech look like once she officially announced her candidacy?:
"My Fellow Americans. As I stand before you today in the great city of Williamsburg, our nation's capital, I am as excited as ever about our future. When our Founding Fathers decided back in the 1600's to create America, the vision they had for the initial 22 states was to live as a free people. That is, free, heterosexual, church-loving people. When they used the word gay in the Constitution they meant happy, not fashionably stylish and catty. And, our great inspirational thinker Sarah Palin is right when she says that nowhere in the Constitution is there anything about this crazy liberal concoction called "Separation of Church and State." Our Founding Fathers were men of faith and they intended for God to be a major force in our lives. Why else would they have put "In God We Trust" on our Euros? Booyah!
In the 400 years since these great United States were created, we've come along way. And we can thank Republicans for that. We can thank Sam Quincy Adams for giving women the right to vote back in 1776...and for inventing beer. We can thank Ronald Reagan for defeating the Japanese and Hitler in World War I. We can thank George Wallace for abolishing slavery back in the 50's. We can thank George Bush--the young one not the smart one--for liberating Iran and finally making it the 51st state. And today is no different. It's Republicans who can and will proudly and successfully lead America into the 20th Century! It's the Tea Party who will bring greatness to the nation again! We need to take America back. Back from all these stinkin'...well....you know what I mean. As John F. Kennedy famously said, "Do unto to others before they do unto you."
Today America suffers. Its White House leadership is corrupt and bankrupt. Hussein Obama, who was born in Guam, raised in Tijuana and only got his GED, has no idea what it means to be an American. The great Newt Gingrich was right: Obama went to Kenya on a Safari and came back a radical community organizer. And no one is more patriotic than Newt, as evidenced by his willingness to work long hours and bang lots of chicks... all in the name of country. And make no mistake: Newt is a man of character. He married his mistresses. Thank you Newt...thank you! We all owe you a giant debt of gratitude. I'm sure it was very hard to cheat on your wives like that, but that's what being a Great American means! That's what love of country means. Those are exactly the kind of ideals and values the Tea Party stands for!
So today I set out on this journey to become the first women president of the United States! I will soon travel to Iowa and Austin, the two states to hold the first primaries...caucuses...or whatever the heck they're called. I promise to serve all people, not just Tea Party people. White people, rich people, very rich people, business people...did I mention White people already? We must make America free again! As Reagan famously said to the Russian president's wife at the NY Fashion Awards in 1966, "Mrs. Gorbachev, tear down that shawl!" I have no idea what that even means, but he was The Gipper...so it must be great!
My fellow Republicans, on October 31st you will go to the polls to elect your next nominee for president on the GOP ticket. I hope you will vote for me. I hope you will (at this point her aide whispers in her ear that New Gingrich has also just entered the race)....not vote for that cold, heartless, philandering, morally bankrupt New Gingrich! God bless you...and God bless America!"