This Day in History. "A country without a memory is a country of madmen." - George Santayana

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bad News #1: Another Rapper Shot

*Bad News is going to be an ongoing series exposing the idiotic and non-newsworthy stories that the cable news networks report on to keep their 24-hour news cycles going.*

You ever heard the colloquial phrase "No News is Good News"? Well, depending on your disposition, perhaps that phrase is true, but I would argue that not all news is created equal.

Now, I never got a degree in journalism nor have I ever worked at a newspaper or in the newsroom of a local or national news station, so I have never had to deal with the pressure to "make news." A recent CNN article (which, at the moment I am writing, is the #1 "Most Popular on CNN" news story), reporting on the shooting death of some no name rapper, Dolla, deserves to be singled out my first focus on Bad News.

So you may ask, what makes this Bad News?

1) Who the hell is this rapper Dolla and why is he making headlines? This is the first I have EVER heard of this guy. So he was garnering some interest from Akon, big whoop; a superstar that does not make him.

2) This article upholds commonly held stereotypes. Go into any largely white community and I'm sure you'll hear grumblings about another young black male being shot and the belief that it goes on ALL the time. Now, I am not trying to underscore the fact that it does unnecessarily happen frequently, but an article such as this only adds fuel to the fire that is being fed by TI going to jail and Mike Vick coming out. To top it all off, this is coming from the news network (CNN) that broadcasted "Black in America," exposing some of the perception problems black people often face in society, and then they go and join in the smearing. If this was a big name rapper, I think it would be another story, but this kid was barely on the scene. Do better work, CNN.

3) Amidst all that is going in the world, THIS is news?! C'mon CNN, just in America we are in economic dire straits, we have two wars still occuring, an upcoming healthcare announcement from the Obama administration, Pelosi saying that the CIA supposedly did not provide her with all the facts and a boatload of other stories that I would claim are GROSSLY more newsworthy this puff piece. That is just national news, let alone many goings-on internationally.

4) You are giving the public what they want and not dictating what the public should want. I think that I am going to find this to be a recurring theme in this series. Rather than elevate the public discourse and leave entertainment or unnecessary news to Entertainment Tonight and the tabloids, CNN and the other cable news networks puff in these pieces that pass for news and, in my honest opinion, help in the dumbing down of America. I do not care who Britney Spears or Lindsey Lohan is fucking and if I did, I do not expect to find it on a news network that appears to take itself seriously. This piece on Dolla belonged on MTV at best, if that network ever took time out from it's reality series to talk about, you know, music and music news.

There's a little bit of Bad News for you, enjoy!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Gingrich Insists Investigation of Pelosi is an "Absolute Obligation"

In this recent CNN piece, Republicans old and new alike, Gingrich included, are starting to come out of the wordwork against Pelosi (and perhaps, rightfully so). The larger point here is that Gingrich suggests she be investigated citing that she will either look incompetent or dishonest. Fair enough, investigate her - we could use one less "spend/vote-first, ask questions later" politician, a very liberal one at that - but do not think for one second that we can have a one-sided, singled out investigation. If we are going to investigate for mold, we cannot just cut a 1-inch-by-1-inch square out of the drywall, we need to tear the whole wall down. And Republicans may not be happy with what the entire wall shows. So, by all means, investigate at will, but do not be surprised if a calculated political move comes back to bite you in your ass as well.

Sidebar: I like the use of "despicable, dishonest and vicious political effort," Newt. Kind of like the investigation into Blowjob-gate? How short politicians' memories seem to be.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Why I Am Not A Republican (But Not A Democrat Either) - Part I

This recent CNN blog article in which Cheney essentially "outs" Colin Powell as not being a true Republican prompted me to pause and give thought to why I am not a Republican in the party's present incarnation. I am not opposed to fiscal restraint, and in fact, I believe we ought to be much more vigilant in trying to practice it while keeping the frothing Democrats from spending every last dime China has lent to us. Furthermore, I am not so socially liberal that I could be considered a TRUE "lib'rul" (liberal, in the words of many in the GOP).

What Cheney has shown, in his double-talk about inclusiveness for moderates, is that the GOP actually does not have room for moderate thought. Extremism, of any stripe, makes me uncomfortable. The simple idea that there is no room for compromise makes me uneasy. The GOP has gone from a broad-ranged, inclusive party in the 1980s to the party of closed-minded, fake-Christians, who talk about states' rights out of one side of their mouth, while talking about federal constitutional amendments defining marriage out of the other side. They talk all day about "politically correct" double standards and yet they more frequently become the ones who institute double standards. How about a little consistency?!

On top of that, many in the Republican Party seemed to give Arlen Specter a swift kick in the rear on his way out, giving very little thought to the fact that they were shoving another nail into their coffin by not trying to court him into staying. Many suggest that the two other Republican supporters of the "stimulus" bill in the Senate ought to leave the party as well. This purity cleansing is disheartening because it only seems to marginalize the Republican party while allowing the Democrats to essentially get away with anything. The Republican party has been minimized to a party of "No!", offering very little in the way of alternative approaches, ideas, or compromises. This scares me because I can envision that their (risky) strategy is to oppose all legislation, sit back and let the Democrats spend frivolously, and then get back in power eventually after we've spent too much. This is risky on two counts: 1) It gives carte blanche to the Democrats who will surely find a way to mess things up (come on, they're politicians), and 2) If somehow the Democrats do not mess up, the Republicans are doomed in the next election. It shows me that Republicans are more concerned with regaining power to push through their outdated social and fiscal agenda. This is the party that has claimed to have the monopoly on patriotism and love for country in the past few years. How about a little oversight! How about a little care for what actually happens to this country rather than your next election! And how about caring for the millions in the "middle class" who have very little to benefit from your tax policies except to go to bed at night and dream about the day they win the lottery, upon which they will be in the top 1% tax bracket for whom you fight.

I think it is safe to say "trickle-down", supply-side economics have not benefitted the middle class as the GOP claimed it would. A greater disparity in wages between the top and the bottom has continued to increase. The middle class is almost essentially becoming a lower-class block. CEO wages have grossly increased with little to no increase (and in fact some decreases) in wages indexed to inflation for common blue collar and white collar workers. Moderation is key and essential. We have a mixed/managed economy (not pure capitalism) and have had one for quite some time. The Republicans act like "socialist" activities are suddenly new to our economy, as if roads, bridges, etc. were privately funded before Obama.

I am just done, and have been done for quite some time, with the double-talk, the closed-mindedness, and desire for political purity that seems to plague the GOP as I am sure many people are these days. Until they open their minds, they are going to sink into irrelevancy as a new generation of people my age side with the Democrats on social issues and elect economic moderates. I could go on and on, but I think I will stop here and just call this Part I... more to follow.