Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Jon Stewart is Definitely a Comedian. Chris Wallace Admits Fox's Bias

In the wake of the now-famous televised showdown between Jon Stewart and Chris Wallace Sunday morning there's lots of chatter from pundits on both the left and right that Stewart, as Wallace charged, is dodging his true role as a 'journalist.' To paraphrase Stewart from the interview, anyone who believes this ridiculous assertion is "insane."

I'm not exactly sure where all the confusion lies. Stewart was a stand-up comic for years and now has a comedy show. On "Comedy Central." And like many a legendary humorist before him--Mark Twain, Will Rogers, Mort Sahl, George Carlin and Lenny Bruce to name a few--his material consists of politics, politicians and American culture. You will never see anything on "The Daily Show," Stewart's nightly program, that is delivered with a serious tone. You will never see Stewart himself analyze and comment on anything unless his set-ups have wickedly funny punchlines. He's a satirist. And probably the best there ever was. But that's all he is. To paraphrase the late Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen's famous smackdown of Sen. Dan Quayle in their 1988 vice presidential debate, "Mr. Stewart, I know journalism. I studied journalism for many years. I have a journalism degree. Mr. Stewart, you're no journalist."

It's pretty sad when, as Rogers said, "People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke." A society which considers Stewart and people like Bill O'Reilly "journalists" is a society that's in deep trouble. To label Stewart a journalist is offensive to journalists and non-journalists alike. I don't get my news from Stewart. I save that for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, MSNBC, The Huffington Post and other outlets. I watch Stewart for the same reason I watched/watch Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Carlin and a zillion other comics: to get a biting, funny take on the days' news. Because Stewart makes us laugh about the news doesn't make him a newsman. That he makes us laugh about politics doesn't make him a political activist. He's simply doing his job as a comedian.

Now on the other hand, as Stewart pointed out to Wallace, there are millions of very "misinformed" people who watch Fox News and actually think they're watching an objective news network. They listen to people like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and think they're getting the truth. They're not. In an astounding admission of his network's true bias, Wallace, while discussing other networks with Stewart, said "I think we're the counterweight. I think that they have a liberal agenda, and I think we tell the other side of the story." Wow. So much for "fair and balanced."

Stewart is a true genius. But he's a comic genius. And without even being a true journalist he brilliantly managed to do what no one else has done: get Fox to admit that it's a politically biased television network. I bet Wallace didn't have that outcome in mind when he invited Stewart on his Fox "News" Sunday program.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Why Blooberg's Taxi Proposal is Unfair

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is attempting to get a bill pushed through Albany, bypassing the City Council, that would in effect allow New York City's livery cabs to legally pick up passengers in certain areas of the city. This type of proposal has come up at other times over the last forty years and was always killed. As it deserves to be again now.

My father was a "hack" for over 50 years. He began in a post-war era when many young Jewish men like himself could make a decent buck behind the wheel if being behind a desk didn't appeal to them. It was an era where you could eke out a living, perhaps buy a starter home, and in some way live the American dream.

There's a certain misguided nomadic glamour that's associated with the job. You're out on the road, your own boss, making your own hours, working if and when you want to, and meeting all sorts of interesting people. You're like jack Karouac with a coin changer, right?

Wrong. Driving a taxi is an utterly miserable way to make a living and don't let anyone tell you differently. The job practically killed my dad. I remember the long, 15 hour days. I remember the robberies at gunpoint. All the accidents and tickets. And the literally backbreaking nature of being sedentary for so long each day. I still have in my head the disturbing image of my dad exiting his cab as I sat eating dinner by the window one night, watching his grossly contorted body clinging to the fence as he made his way toward our building, hunched over so far he looked like he was staring at the ground. He and his brethren were, and remain, some of the least appreciated workers in New York. He was often cursed at, spit at, threatened, tip-stiffed and generally disrespected.

In 2011, gone are the local, home grown Jewish, Irish and Italian drivers. Most of the more than 46,000 cabbies are immigrants from countries such as Pakistan, India and China. The economics of the job are nearly impossible to get around. Medallions, of which there are about 13,200, cost upwards of $700,000 and mostly it's the wealthier investors who can afford them. The average driver leases his medallion for as much as $200 per day from these fleet-operating barons, and whatever they make beyond that, after paying for gas, food, and other expenses, is theirs to keep. It's an untenable situation, which is why these poor guys literally just sleep and work, some even seven days a week. There's no job security, no benefits, no safety and definitely no glory. But it's an honest living.

Bloomberg's measure is flat out wrong. It will impact the value of medallions and allow for unfair competition. Sure, there are problems with the taxi system. Ever try hailing a cab between 4pm-5pm? Maybe it'd make more sense to require taxi fleets to change shifts at 8pm and not right smack in the middle of rush hour. But permitting gypsy cabbies to reap the legal and economic benefits of medallion drivers without having to pay into the system the same way is grossly inequitable and not the answer.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Assessing the First GOP Debate

It was a motley cast of characters that would make the 2006 California Gubernatorial hopefuls proud. Monday night's GOP presidential debate in Manchester, NH was also a real snoozer, with more talk of God, gays and Obama than each other. Apparently these folks forgot that before they get to run against Obama they need to battle amongst themselves.

Mitt Romney, the presumptive front-runner, was largely treated with kid gloves. The one time he could've really taken it on the chin was when CNN host John King pressed Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty to address Romney directly over the "ObamneyCare" phrase he coined on Sunday's morning's news programs. "He's right there, ask him about it" King challenged. Pawlenty predictably went into his human Ambien mode and avoided appearing too negative.

Pawlenty also repeatedly touted his blue-collar, union roots. I love when Republicans boast of their blue-collar roots as proof that they'd know how to screw the little guy better than anyone.

Newt Gingrich, whose candidacy recently imploded like a Sicilian volcano, was the angriest, most-defiant and most defensive. He disingenuously described Obama's economy as a "depression" on multiple occasions, and skirted the fact that virtually his entire senior strategy team deserted him last week. Talk about depression. And Gingrich also back-peddled yet again about his comments over Rep. Paul Ryan's MediScare plan. Yet he basically repeated his words of caution--first offered on NBC's "Meet the Press" a few weeks ago--that his party not overreach on health care:

"If you’re dealing with something as big as Medicare and can’t have a conversation with the country where the country thinks what you’re doing is the right thing, you better slow down."

While Michelle Bachmann didn't get into any trouble by inaccurately discussing American history, I must say that she comes off as rather scholarly and substantive when compared to her Tea Party co-Queen Sarah Palin. Although there were a couple of instances where someone really needed to give the Minnesota Congresswoman a civics lesson. Speaking to an audience member she vowed, if elected, to immediately repeal ObamaCare, apparently unaware that it is only Congress, not the president, who has the power to enact such legislation. And on the subject of repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell, Bachmann promised that she'd confer with "our commanders in chief" in the military to hear their opinions.

On the subject of gay marriage, all candidates except Cain and Paul hypocritically said they'd support a Constitutional amendment outlawing it despite all firmly believing in states' rights. I guess when it comes to gays, government knows best.

Probably the most bizarre moment of the debate occurred when former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain, the only black candidate in the race (and apparently the only black person in New Hampshire), tried to explain his past comments that "a lot of Muslims are not totally dedicated to this country" and that he'd refuse to appoint a Muslim to his cabinet without first conducting a loyalty Litmus test based on dedication to the U.S. Constitution. Cain was visibly uncomfortable in his response, lamely explaining that "because you have peaceful Muslims and then you have militant Muslims, those that are trying to kill us." He added, "I was thinking about the ones that are trying to kill us, number one." Like he would really be appointing someone to his cabinet who might actually be a Muslim terrorist?

Cain's ludicrous supposition gave Romney an opportunity to toss some sanity into the conversation. "Obviously I would only be appointing someone to my cabinet who I knew and was comfortable with."

Cain also fear-mongered over the prospect of Sharia, or Muslim law, being applied in U.S. courts, which he and other ignorant conservatives charge is a growing threat to our legal system. "I don’t believe in Sharia law in American courts. I believe in American laws in American courts, period." He continued: "There have been instances in New Jersey, there was an instance in Oklahoma, where Muslims did try to influence court decisions with Sharia law. I was simply saying, very emphatically, American laws in American courts." He happens to be 100% wrong, as Romney, again, took the chance to sanely point out:

"Of course, we're not going to have Sharia law applied in U.S. courts. That's never going to happen. We have a Constitution and we follow the law."

Little could be said about the other candidates on stage--Rick Santorum and Ron Paul--who provided voters a further glimpse into their Christian fundamentalist and Libertarian views respectively. Neither has any more of a chance of winning the nomination than I do.

As far as picking a winner, Romney was the only candidate to appear presidential. He was intelligent, rational and highly confident and composed. The only adult in the room. Did he shamefully run from his own RomneyCare program while governor of Massachusetts? Absolutely. But that was expected. It's his albatross, and he needs to distance himself from his own policy, which is essentially the same health care program Obama pushed through Congress. But just as Romney injected some levity into the evening by announcing that the Boston Bruins were up by four goals in the Stanley Cup Hockey game, I suspect come the GOP convention he'll lead the pack by at least that many delegates....assuming that pack stays the same and doesn't include any of the party's rock stars like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What is Palin Hiding in the 2000 Missing Emails?

Back in early April Sarah Palin was interviewed on Fox News about the then-mounting controversy over President Obama's refusal to show his long-form birth certificate. The Wasilla Wonder applauded Donald Trump's "investigation" into it, cagily reinforcing the charge that Obama's citizenship was in question:

"Obviously if there's something there that the president doesn't want us to see on that birth certificate that he...ya know, he's going to great lengths to make sure that it isn't shown and that's kind of perplexing for a lot of people. But, ya know, again, Donald Trump, he may get to the bottom of it because he's spending the resources that probably will be necessary to do some investigation."

Trump's persistent attacks continued unabated until Obama released the document later that month, finally killing the Birther movement and, ultimately, Trump's own candidacy.

And now the focus is on Palin herself, as journalists sift through over 24,000 pages of Mama Grizzly's emails released Friday from about the first twenty-one months of her term as Alaska governor. But she's refused to release 2000 remaining emails from September 2008, while she served as Sen. John McCain's vice presidential running-mate, through her resignation the following July.

But let's remember Palin's arrogant charge that Obama's "going to great lengths" to conceal his birth certificate from the public. Well it sure seems like she's going to great lengths to keep her emails from the public. Where's her respect and appreciation for full-disclosure and transparency now? Where's The Donald's "investigation" of Palin?

Palin's decision to withhold these emails raises several critical questions, especially as she's apparently contemplating a run for the White House: what's contained in those emails? Do they expose unethical or illegal activity? What is she hiding? And why won't she release them if there's nothing questionable in there? Isn't this as important as demanding to see Obama's birth certificate? If she expects to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate, don't Americans have a right to know what's in those 2000 emails?

Until the emails are released, it's fair to assume that there's possibly something very incriminating in there that Palin's running from. The public owes her no less scrutiny than she afforded our nation's president.

Friday, June 10, 2011

What Advice Would Rangel Give Weiner?

Given embattled Congressman Anthony Weiner's Custer-like stand on Capitol Hill, I wonder if the randy Representative's refusal to resign might be inspired by the plight of his fellow Congressman from New York, Charlie Rangel, who dug his own scandal-plagued heels into the ground and went on to win re-election in 2010:

Rangel: Weiner, it's Rangel.

Weiner: Oh, hey Charlie, what's up?

Rangel: Weiner, I feel for ya, brother. I know what it feels like to have your world come crashing down on you so unjustly after dedicating your life as a public servant. It's just so wrong.

Weiner: Yeah, it's pretty rough right now. I feel like my world's falling apart and I've lost control.

Rangel: You know I love ya, but I think you lost control the first time you sent pictures of your johnson over the Internet. But that's something different. Something for you and your shrink to work out. I wanna talk business. Politics. And nobody knows more about NY politics than I do.

Weiner: Get to the point Charlie. In case you haven't noticed, I got a lot on my plate right now. Plus, I gotta head to Best Buy to get a new digital camera...so I'm in a bit of a hurry.

Rangel: Ok, here's the thing. Guys like you and me...we're warriors. We fight to make America a better place. So, we're entitled to a few little treats now and then, right? The public even wants us to have that stuff. Except you and I do it in different ways. I like to amass lots of real estate, skip taxes, park my car for free, and take Caribbean trips. You like to act like a horny 16-year-old on Twitter. Jeez, man, I gotta say as an aside, you didn't even get laid in this mess! All this hullaboo and no booty?! You're pathetic! If I'm gonna possibly lose my job over a sex scandal it's because I'm bangin' Halle Berry!

Weiner: Charlie, please, get to the point, I have to also get over to the Jewelry Exchange to get Huma one of those big ass honkin' Kobe Bryant-style 'I'm sorry' diamond rings.

Rangel: Listen, people said I had to step down. That I was finished. And I said, 'screw that...I ain't goin' nowhere!' And I showed 'em. Won the primary and kicked my Republican opponent's ass with 80% of the vote. And you can do the same, Weeny. I got the blacks, you have the Jews, Italians, Irish and all those Asian, Pakistani, Indian immigrants and such. They love you..just like the blacks love me. You think these folks, these hard working middle class New Yorkers, give a rat's tucchus whether I have a house in the Dominican Republic or whether you Tweet dick shots? They care about their schools, their health care, protecting their self-interests...which is what they know we do for them. You stay in that seat, Weiner, and you refuse to be bullied by Pelosi, Reid, the media or anyone else, and you hang onto your job. I can tell you first hand...it's the voters who will decide your fate. And besides, no one in DC liked you before, so whattya got to lose by staying? It's not like you're gonna lose any friends, ya know! Just stick it out...stay the course. Don't get rattled, no matter how ugly it seems. I'm living proof of that...

Weiner: Ok, thanks Charlie. You're my only friend.

Rangel: Um, not really. Don't really like ya. Never did. Shit, no one does, man! You're an asshole! But I do love underdogs.....

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Explaining Weiner

The rise and ultimate fall of Rep. Anthony Weiner's once-brilliant political career has many elements of a classic Greek tragedy, where the highly ambitious, competent, powerful protagonist suffers a horrible fate. In Weiner's case, there are many avenues through which to explain his self-destructive behavior. Any one of them, or all of them, might shed light on why men like Weiner work so hard to achieve the pinnacle of success yet repeatedly and willfully throw away their spoils through scandalous actions.

Let's start with power. Power corrupts, they say. Do men like Weiner think their unique position in business or government insulates them from the same legal and/or moral standards heaped on the rest of society? Do they think they're above the law? Above reproach or prosecution? Has their power so corrupted them that they don't even think their actions are unethical or illegal, or even subject to scrutiny or criticism? Discussing Watergate with David Frost, Richard M. Nixon infamously claimed "When the President does it, that means it is not illegal." The Bushies also used a variation of this when defending the use of torture.

Dovetailing from power is entitlement. These guys may believe that they deserve to abuse the law and engage in all sorts of illicit activity because of their patriotic service to country. That their dedication and devotion, and myriad personal sacrifices they're making, somehow entitle them to monetary and/or sexual 'treats' as a trade-off. Perhaps these guys think their role in government excuses and//or justifies the extras.

Narcissism plays a key role as well. This behavior, according to FreeDictionary.com, can be defined in several ways: (1) Excessive love or admiration of oneself; (2) A psychological condition characterized by self-preoccupation, lack of empathy, and unconscious deficits in self-esteem; (3) Erotic pleasure derived from contemplation or admiration of one's own body or self, especially as a fixation on or a regression to an infantile stage of development. In Weiner's case, one could argue that all three conditions apply. His wanton disregard for his wife's feelings; his unabashed use of social media websites to transmit sexually charged text and lewd photographs; and his obvious insecurities and clear exaggerated desire to be desired are classic traits of a narcissist. There are even elements of his raging narcissism in his bizarre press conferences this week where he seems so enamored of the mike and camera still, rambling on and on as if he's loving all the attention, whether it's been good or bad.

But Weiner's behavior might simply be the result of an overpowering compulsion. I suspect that over the years he's sexually 'chatted/texted/emailed' with many more than the six women he's confessed to contacting. I suspect that he's probably kissed his wife Huma Abedin goodnight on most nights, and then repaired to his home office to 'work' into the wee hours all the while trolling the Internet for women to cyberplay with. By his own admission, he's been committing e-adultery for years, even before he met and married her. It's hard to believe therefore that his 'virtual' sexual escapades involve just six women. I suspect that Weiner simply couldn't help himself. Like most addicts, he probably hated what he was doing, knew it was highly improper, immoral and possibly illegal and could cost him his family and his career, and that he needed to hit rock-bottom in order to begin contemplating seeking help.

Given the sudden shock and awe of WeinerGate and its bigger implications politically, about social media and to society in general, there's been a lot of questions raised these past few days. One of them is, how could he be so stupid in doing the same sort of thing Rep. Chris Lee did just months ago? The married Lee resigned immediately after posting a half naked photo of himself on Craigslist to attract women for sex. His behavior cost his party a historically solid Republican seat in his upstate New York district.

But listen, you can take a drug addict down to the morgue and show him 5 other addicts who just OD'd. He'll say, 'wow, that's too bad,' and then walk out and score some more dope. Merely seeing dead addicts won't make him stop. He has to want to stop. He has to want a better life for himself and be willing and committed to taking the necessary steps do so.

To be sure, Weiner is not alone. The list of adulterous politicians, and those who've engaged in risky sexual behavior, is quite long. In recent history alone there's Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Bob Livingston, George H.W. Bush, Bob Barr, Henry Hyde, Mark Foley, David Vitter, Larry Craig, John Ensign, Mark Sanford, Elliot Spitzer, John Edwards, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and others, and there'll certainly be more to come. The internet's become a real game-changer. It's redefining 'adultery.' Sex scandals no longer need actual, physical sex. Will social media and its expansive access unleash a torrent of future scandals as the boundaries and floodgates of cheating have opened wide? Is the temptation from this access so great, and the draw of a perceived comfortable, secure, sit-at-home anonymity while 'cheating' so alluring, that even those who might never stray in traditional ways are now susceptible to 'infidelity'?

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Time to Tuck Weiner Back Into the Nation's Pants and Move On

Let's be very clear: Rep Anthony Weiner's bizarre sexual journey through Cyberspace, and subsequent lies to cover it up, is irresponsible, reprehensible and deserving of all the shame, embarrassment and public humiliation he's now experiencing since his admission of guilt Monday afternoon. Most important, his sleazy behavior is profoundly hurtful to his wife, Huma Abedin, his bride of less than one year. I can't imagine a marriage so new surviving so many adulterous escapades (virtual or other), but that will be for the Weiner's to assess and decide. But the big question is, is what Weiner did unethical as it relates to his job as a Unites States Congressman?

I'm sure this is a point both parties will argue vehemently over the next many months as the 2012 election nears and Republicans wish to take Weiner down and as his fellow Democrats try to get away with a mere wrist slap. To the left, Weiner's been a fierce warrior, full of righteous rage and not afraid to bully his opponents. In fact, he's just the sort of Democrat the party needs. So now he wears a bulls eye on his back as a result. But are the offenses Weiner committed illegal? Worthy of prosecution? Do they merit his resignation?

The right will argue that Rep. Chris Lee, the former Congressman from New York's 26th District, immediately resigned after a photo appeared of him bare-chested as he was trolling for chicks on Craigslist while married. His resignation opened the door for Democrats to win the historically Republican seat in a special election held last month. They'll also point to former Rep. Mark Foley (FL), who immediately resigned in September 2006 over the scandal involving his sexually suggestive emails and texts to underage teenage boys who had served as Congressional pages. They'll be demanding that Weiner and the Democrats live up to these standards.

But what they won't discuss is how David Vitter, the Louisiana Senator, still serves despite his call-girl scandal. Or how South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford served the remaining two years of his term following his admission of an affair with an Argentine woman and his misuse of state funds. Same for former Nevada Sen. John Ensign, who stayed in office until last month following the disclosure in November 2009 of an extramarital affair and possible abuses of power in an attempt to cover it up. And they won't talk of Newt Gingrich's cheating or political scandals.

What it boils down to is that each case is different than the next and has its own distinct characteristics. And each politician has to decide for himself whether or not his offenses are serious enough to merit resignation, and whether or not he can withstand the media scrutiny and public excoriation that may haunt him throughout the remainder of his term and during a re-election campaign.

To be sure, Foley deserved to go. His actions were not only perverse but illegal. He broke the law. But when a man cheats on his spouse, that should be between husband and wife, not Congress. While people like Weiner violate their marriages and abuse the trust they have with their wives, they've broken no laws. Their fates belong to their wives, families and to voters.

If what Weiner claims is true, there's been no actual physical sexual contact with any of the six women he's confessed to emailing, texting or calling during the past three years. While his randy acts are certainly despicable, will Weiner be the first politician to lose his job over a sex scandal that had no actual sex involved? Welcome to the age of anti-social media.

Monday, June 06, 2011

"I'm Paul Revere, and You Know Nothing of My Work!"

There's a brilliant scene in Woody Allen's Annie Hall where Allen and girlfriend Diane Keaton are standing in line at a movie theater in front of an arrogant, pompous know-it-all whose misinformed pontifications about the writer Marshall McLuhan's work are driving Allen crazy. He admonishes the blowhard and tells him he doesn't know anything about McLuhan:

Man: "Oh, really? Well, it just so happens I teach a class at Columbia called "TV, Media and Culture." So I think my insights into Mr. McLuhan, well, have a great deal of validity!
Alvy Singer (Allen): Oh, do ya? Well, that's funny, because I happen to have Mr. McLuhan right here, so, so, yeah, just let me...
[pulls McLuhan out from behind a nearby poster]
Alvy Singer: come over here for a second... tell him!
Marshall McLuhan: I heard what you were saying! You know nothing of my work! You mean my whole fallacy is wrong. How you got to teach a course in anything is totally amazing!
Alvy Singer: Boy, if life were only like this!

Well, if only we could present Paul Revere to Tea Party queen Sarah Palin he'd surely echo McLuhan in telling her she knows nothing of his work. And, he'd probably be standing with the Statue of Liberty because she apparently knows nothing about either of them, or of most of our nation's history for that matter.

Up in Boston last Thursday The Wasilla Wonder was asked about Paul Revere’s famed ride and she said he "warned the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms. By ringing those bells and making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free."

Palin's blunder, captured on video, quickly swept through the Internet. Taking a break from her "There's-No-Way-I'm Running-For-President-But-I'm-REALLY-Digging-All-This-Attention" bus tour, she appeared on Fox News Sunday and was asked by host Chris Wallace, "You realized that you messed up about Paul Revere, don’t you?" And as only Sarah Palin could do, given her outsized ego and intellectual denial, she replied in her defense:

"You know what? I didn’t mess up about Paul Revere. "Part of his ride was to warn the British that we’re already there. That, hey, you’re not going to succeed. You’re not going to take American arms....Here is what Paul Revere did. He warned the Americans that the British were coming . . . and they were going to try take our arms and we got to make sure that we were protecting ourselves and shoring up all of ammunitions and our firearms so that they couldn’t take it,’’ Palin said yesterday. But remember that the British had already been there, many soldiers for seven years in that area. And part of Paul Revere’s ride — and it wasn’t just one ride — he was a courier, he was a messenger. Part of his ride was to warn the British that we’re already there. . . . You are not going to beat our own well-armed persons, individual, private militia that we have. He did warn the British."

As my grandmother used to say, oy vey! Too bad the Fox-friendly Wallace let her off the hook too easily and didn't press her on the facts. Had she been on a real network, not the GOP Softball Channel, she would've earned the public embarrassment and humiliation she so rightly deserved.

Will someone please get this poor woman a history book?! Just a week earlier she gave a convoluted explanation of the Statue of Liberty's origin and significance. I'm not sure who's more ignorant of American history, Palin or her Tea Party nemesis Rep. Michelle Bachmann, who a few months ago claimed the "Shot heard round the world" was in New Hampshire, not Massachusetts. What is with these Tea Baggers? Is being dumb a requirement?

To set the record straight for Grizzly Mama, here's what PaulRevereHouse.org has to say about the historic ride: "On the evening of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere was sent... to ride to Lexington, Massachusetts, to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British troops were marching to arrest them... On the way to Lexington, Revere "alarmed" the country-side, stopping at each house, and arrived in Lexington about midnight. As he approached the house where Adams and Hancock were staying, a sentry asked that he not make so much noise. "Noise!" cried Revere, "You'll have noise enough before long. The regulars are coming out!" After delivering his message, Revere was joined by a second rider, William Dawes, who had been sent on the same errand by a different route. Deciding on their own to continue on to Concord, Massachusetts, where weapons and supplies were hidden, Revere and Dawes were joined by a third rider, Dr. Samuel Prescott. Soon after, all three were arrested by a British patrol."

So what's next for Palin as she glides her giant PalinMobile-of-Truthiness across America? Perhaps she's preparing for her next speech entitled The Gettysburg Address: Gen. Robert E. Lee's Finest Virginia Speech.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Here's How/Why Chris Christie Will Enter the Race

Despite his insistence to the contrary, I believe New Jersey Gov. Chris Chris is certain to enter the race for the Republican presidential nomination. And I'm sure it'll go something like this:

GOP Insiders: Gov. Christie, we want you to run. We need you to run. You must run. You're our only hope.

Christie: Guys, I'm flattered. I'm just a kid from Jersey and you're beggin' me
to run for president. I'm speechless. But I'm not your man.

GOP Insiders: Yes, you are.

Christie: Seriously, I'm not. Don't you read what I've been saying for months now? I don't want to run. I don't have any intention of running. I'm happy with the job I have.

GOP Insiders: But you're not going Sherman on us. You haven't said you won't run, nor be drafted to run, under any circumstances. Is that what you're now telling us?

Christie: Like I said, I'm not running. I'm not even qualified for the job. I'm not ready for the job!

GOP Insiders: That's precisely why you should run. Why you need to run. And why you'll win! It's time an 'outsider' fills this job. An everyman who just happens to also be a very successful governor of one of America's largest states. Chris, you're a lean, mean, straight-shootin' cost-cuttin', budget balancin' family-values guy who keeps income and property taxes low...and is funny too! Ok, maybe not so lean, but they'll love you just the same. You'll be the new guy they want to have a beer with. Kinda like a smart Bush. You'll appeal not just to conservatives, but independents and Reagan Democrats too. Not even Obama can score that hat trick!

Christie: Keep talkin'....

GOP Insiders: Forget about what you've said in the past. Everyone knows politicians go back on their word. You'll say you're running because of a love of country. That you've been called to serve. That you're being told that America needs you. That, get this, this is a totally selfless move on your part!

Christie: But I...I

GOP Insiders: You'll win, man! You'll be that kid from Jersey who becomes president...of the United friggin' States! Look us in the eye and tell us you really don't want that!

Christie: Well I....

GOP Insiders: C'mon, you don't think you can beat.......Palin?!

Christie: Of course I can. She's batshit crazy.

GOP Insiders: Bachmann?

Christie: Even crazier.

GOP Insiders: Ron Paul?

Christie: See above...

GOP Insiders: Herman Cain?

Christie: Ok, now you're just wasting my time. But, I do like pizza!

GOP Insiders: Gingrich?

Christie: More skeletons in his closet than in a college anatomy lab.

GOP Insiders: Pawlenty?

Christie: (yawns) Human Ambien.

GOP Insiders: Santorum?

Christie: He's even too right wing for me!

GOP Insiders: Romney?

Christie: You mean Mr. Mormon RomneyCare?

GOP Insiders: Perry?

Christie: C'mon, that rogue cowboy wants Texas to secede from the Union!

GOP Insiders: Huntsmann?

Christie: Who?

GOP Insiders: Exactly! That's what we're trying to tell you! You can kick these losers' asses all the way home from Iowa and New Hampshire!

Christie: You're right. This is the sorriest pack of hopefuls I've ever seen. You guys are making this sound easy.

GOP Insiders: That's because it is. Listen, there's plenty of time till Iowa. Seven months. We'll immediately ready the ground troops, line up the big donors, get Rush, Sean, Beck and O'Reilly on board and start making this happen just as soon as you say Oval Office!

Christie: What about Obama?

GOP Insiders: Seriously? Can you say 'unemployment and housing crisis'?

Christie: Can you say 'Osama bin Laden'?

GOP Insiders: Oh c'mon, Chris! Don't you know how dumb most Americans are? Bush convinced them that Saddam was responsible for 9/11, and Rudy tells 'em that there were no terrorist attacks on Bush's watch. You can't make this shit up! Don't worry, our guys will effectively spin that bin Laden was tracked and killed because of Bush's aggressive policies and tactics....the very same measures Obama and the fairy libs want to dismantle and put America at grave risk again. Hell, maybe we'll even bring old "Turd Blossom" Rove back to lead that charge.

Christie: You guys really do think we can do this.

GOP Insiders: We do. And we will. This is your chance Chris. We're talking the White House, dude! State dinners! Air Force One! The history books! It's all within your grasp, big man.

Christie: Wow. I gotta say, I do feel like the hot chick at the dance! Ok, I'm in! Say it....

GOP Insiders: Say what?

Christie: 'Mr. President'. I wanna hear it. Call me Mr. President...wanna hear how it sounds.

GOP Insiders: Well of course...Mr...Mr President!

Christie: Sweet...

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Too Drunk to Remember, Not Too Drunk to Be Raped?

Two New York City police officers, Franklin Mata and Kenneth Moreno, were acquitted last week of rape charges brought on by a woman in 2009 who claimed they abused her while on patrol and she was highly intoxicated. The high profile case dominated the news for months. The officers were convicted of three counts of official misconduct for entering the woman's apartment. They were immediately fired by the Police Department and face up to a year in jail on each count when sentenced June 28th.

Afterwards, Moreno stood on the courtroom steps and said the woman, who's suing both cops and the city for $57 million, was "mistaken and confused," and that "she made the whole thing up." And over the weekend Moreno's wife Julia, in a colossal state of denial, expressed outrage at the accuser as well, saying she "should go to jail for this" and should "go to hell....From the beginning of time, this is what girls do -- young girls, inexperienced. They're not mature. They get drunk. They do these things and, you know, they want sympathy. In his case I believe she wanted sympathy from her friends because they threw her out of her own party."

Moreno's wife is obviously standing by her man regardless of how obvious his guilt. But she's angry at the wrong person. It was her husband who admittedly picked up the very drunk woman, took her to her apartment and then over the course of several hours re-entered her apartment three times, using her keys. He "flirted" with her, "snuggled" beside her in bed while she wore only a bra, kissed her head, and sang to her. What's more, there is a recording of a fake 911 call they made to justify returning to the apartment, and, the victim had later confronted Moreno outside his precinct while wearing a recording device. After insisting that nothing had happened, he then admitted that they "had sex" and that he had used a condom. And Ms. Moreno's angry at the victim? (By the way, she started dating Moreno when she was 18 and he was 33. I'll let you draw your own conclusions on that one...)

At the core of the defense was its claim that she was too drunk to be a credible witness, but it is precisely that state of debilitating intoxication that served as the very invitation for the officers to make their highly inappropriate and illegal entry into her apartment where she was supposedly just 'comforted' as opposed to raped. Furthermore, there was no DNA. But if she showered, or if he used a condom, that could explain the lack of physical evidence.

Moreno claimed that, as a recovering alcoholic, he was merely "counseling" her about her drinking. Did you ever watch MSNBC's "Predator" series? It investigates sexual predators as they find their underage victims (as young as 12) in online chat rooms and then travel--often driving for several hours--to meet them. Inevitably, once host Chris Hanson's sting operation nails them, they claim to be there to "mentor" these poor, vulnerable underage teens. It's crazy to think these guys want sex with children just because they engage in very graphic online chats and then show up at the door with alcohol, drugs and condoms, right?. Why is it that the bad guys are always "just there to talk?"

Are we as an intelligent society really expected to believe that Moreno simply lay aside her in her bed, innocently caressing her as he sang Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer" gently in her ear? It's pretty safe and fair to assume that the officers' behavior was anything but altruistic given the highly unethical nature of their presence in the her apartment in the first place. And given this suspicious backdrop, it's easy to accept the accuser's account as the truth. Don't tell me a red-blooded adult male who makes repeated trips into a drunken young woman's apartment does this with the sole intent of taking care of her. If that were the case, and she was so sick that she required professional attention, he could've and should've called paramedics to the scene or driven her straight to a hospital. I'm sorry, but Moreno wasn't there to nurse or croon. It's very unfortunate that there was no physical evidence to conclusively prove what happened.

The verdict just reinforces the ugly truth about what women will face if they accuse a man of sexual assault, especially if they're drunk and the man is a cop and he'll conveniently claim that she was too wasted to remember anything or to be taken seriously.