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Archive for the ‘News’

MoveOn.org Does It Again

September 09, 2009 By: admin Category: Health, News, Obama, Politics

For those who haven’t yet seen this incredible video, here ya go… Just in time for the president’s healthcare speech tonight…

Diary of a News Cycle

March 23, 2009 By: admin Category: General, News, Obama, Politics

It’s times like these that make me angry at my siblings in the media… The attempted crucifixion of treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, is what we in programming call “filler.” Nobody really feels Secretary Geithner has done anything terribly wrong. The republicans just want a reason to stand at the podium, and the “news media” wants something to report because Darfur, Burma, global poverty, water shortages, and soldiers suffering dramatically from PTSD isn’t sexy. In fact, it’s gross. We’d prefer to hang a politician, and, of course, not really hang cuz that’d be gross, and Americans don’t want to see anything gross unless it’s packaged and served up as fiction.

There was a series on Salon.com in mid-February, called “Coming Home.” “Coming Home” is gross. It’s a bunch of graphic stories about the neglect our soldiers returning from Iraq are suffering from. Some are being killed by Army doctors through seemingly deliberate drug overdoses, more are killing themselves. PTSD is slowly flaying a section of a tender generation and no one other than Salon, it seems, is writing about it. And we want to lynch Tim Geithner for something we’re not even sure he did?

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that he and the President really did miss a line item when reviewing the AIG relief package. What’s to be done about that, really? Well, a) determine whether it’s true. How, in fact, were those AIG bonuses allowed to be paid? b) If a line-item was missed, how should we proceed knowing that? The answer is that, with exception of actually offering a name–like Geithner’s or the President’s–for execution, the administration is already doing everything it can within the confines of the law. This was a simple, if awful, mistake, and the administration has already said that if a solution can’t be found right now, then the bonus funds will be deducted from AIG’s bailout cash for next year. Problem solved.

How do tax-payers deal in the meantime? Well, THAT’s the discussion worth having. If I were this administration I would immediately divert some cash from the TARP to anyone who makes less than $100k and was directly affected by the mistake. For example, would that TARP money have gone to Head Start programs and now it’s not gonna cuz the AIG assholes are going to charter a ship to the Caribbean? Is there a school lunch program that’s going to suffer? Families on welfare who won’t get checks? This is the conversation worth having, not some annoying time-waster of a “broadcast” designed only to peak the morbid curiosity of a privileged society who would actually look at the gory Iraq pictures taken by returning damaged soldiers if you put’em in a movie starring Brad Pitt!

Fuck… the moral? Timothy Geithner isn’t to blame, we are. It sounds cliche, but think about it–Suze Orman has a career because most Americans (and I’m including my debt-layden self here, fyi…) are stupid. We can’t count, and we’re married to our luxuries. Part of the reason I’m taking the time to write this morning is because my Direct TV account just ended and I don’t have The Box to numb out on while I have my morning coffee. I have a lot to do and the TV allows me to avoid it for a while. But if you live in a place where there’s a water shortage you can’t afford to avoid getting up early to make the 7-mile walk to the closest public well. Your kids will die if you don’t. Do you still want to fire Tim Geithner? Will that make you feel better?

The President is doing an incredible job. He juggles the enormous tasks at hand while appeasing the media at the same time. The media doesn’t even know it’s played, they just know that they “booked the President.” Why else would a sitting President go on a late-night talk show?

We need to get off Geithner. Now.

Finally, TV Looks Like My Life

November 25, 2008 By: admin Category: Campaign 2008, Family, Living, News, Politics

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I always tell people (cuz it’s true) that the thing that got me into television production was that I didn’t ever see my own life represented on screen. With an immigrant mother and international scientist father, and living, as we did, in a university town, my youth was spent exposed to many, many cultures all the time. But all I saw on TV was Tom Selleck, Charlie’s (caucasian) Angels, and Walter Cronkite.

Today, thanks, in part, to the 2-year presidential campaign starring Barack Obama, we now see all cultures, and WOMEN!, featured all over CNN – one of the most watched networks in the country. There’s Kiran Chetry, Soledad O’Brien, and Betty Nguyen to name just a few!

If the next four years offer us anything it’s a window of opportunity. Only the truly stupid, self-absorbed and unmotivated will fail to succeed in their endeavors in the coming presidential term, because more than blazing a trail in the political sector, President-Elect Obama’s election throws open the doors of precedence. And I, for one, intend to set some.

Women can’t be denied in the same way – the old “old boy” arguments will fall short and sound silly, and any racism will immediately identify a person as backward and uneducated outside of their home town. The retort to a racist comment could be: “You go ahead and say what you want to say, I’m going to go over here and run for President.” Beat that with a stick.

Americathon, Part 2

September 26, 2008 By: admin Category: Americathon, Campaign 2008, News, Politics, Video

My last post–Americathon, Part 1–was supposed to be something completely different. It was supposed to be this post. But I was on a roll and clearly needed to get that stuff out, so now I’m picking up where the first sentence left off in “Part 1,” “For years I’ve felt it coming…”

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There’s this movie Michael and I loved in the late 70s. It was called “Americathon.” This was the tagline…

 “In a story told in narrative flashbacks, a young TV consultant is hired by the President of a bankrupt USA to organize a telethon in order to prevent the country from being repossessed by wealthy Native Americans.”

Isn’t that alone enough to make you want to see the movie? Well, let me tell you about the other parts that might have you hugging your loved ones, and your assets, closer…

In the movie, set in 1998, people are living in their cars and riding bikes to work. Let that sink in… It’s not so funny during a looming 1929-style economic crisis, is it?  The ironic twist that Native Americans are the wealthiest folks in the land is terrific, but the rest of the movie is chilling in it’s prediction of a future we are living right now…

In the telethon that is developed and hosted by the amazing Harvey Corman, entertainers are booked furiously to keep the telethon going and going. As the time passes, the producers and host realize that the phones ring more if the acts on stage are more extreme, edgy, violent. By the end, the Harvey Corman character realizes that what the people really want is a public execution–they want him to get shot and die onstage.

Sound familiar?

Today’s reality shows have arrived at being only ONE STEP away from this very thing. “Survivor” started us off by showing us how ugly we can be to each other when stressed to the limits, then came Big Brother with it’s camera-in-every-room format. For me, that format jumped the shark of ethics when, in one episode, a young man threatens a young woman with a knife and no one on the production staff of the show came out from behind the cameras to the young woman’s aid. Sure, the young man was fired from the show the next day, but that was the next day, and it’s not even really the problem. The problem was that the environment of the show didn’t suppress that kind of behavior from the get-go, and “anything goes” became, truly, “anything goes” rather than the same with a wink and a nod that this was just television and we should all just perform so the ratings will go up. Was there no history of volatility in this young man’s background that would have indicated in the vetting process that he was unsuitable for the show? Or did the producers just not check deep enough?

A current show on A&E called “Intervention” follows addicts as they abuse drugs and alcohol ON CAMERA and then are forced to face their families in an intervention. Interventions are hard enough, but to have America watching you in your most vulnerable hour…??? And still that’s not the part that gets me, it’s the shooting up and the smoking and the drinking of a liter of vodka and getting into a car ON CAMERA and the field producers doing nothing to stop it that gets me.

A few articles have been written about the legality and ethics of the show, and particularly the role of the show’s field producers and crew who must keep rolling no matter what. Only once did I notice the voice of a producer stepping in to caution the addict against a certain behavior. The alcoholic who at 9:00am had downed the liter of vodka and was getting into her car was asked timidly by the off-camera producer if she really thought it was a good idea that she be driving. In that one moment, the fourth wall was gone and television as we know it was gone with it, forever.

On the one hand, I say good riddance. I hate the fourth wall. I love that television can be this incredible way for us to see each other clearly (if, like anything else, it isn’t abused). On the other hand I say shame on the field producers. This is why launch codes are kept by HUMANS–there are some decisions you don’t want a machine to make.

My feeling is that if this show is going to exist–and, truly, I don’t think it can or should–the field producers have an obligation to become part of the story. They MUST intervene, and THAT is the next evolution of television “entertainment.” “Voyeur TV (VTV): You watch because you can’t turn away.”

How do we go back from that? How do we put that genie back in the bottle? It’s funny, it feels like the evolution of television content is following the technology and real estate sectors–there’s a bubble. And it’s still expanding. When the alcoholic lady from “Intervention” hits a kid with her car and the show gets it on camera, we’ll know that the bubble has burst.

Even though it’s a comedy, “Americathon” was a cautionary tale who’s chickens have come home to roost. Many of us might end up living in our cars. My house isn’t paid off, I just bought it. If I lose my job and my brother looses his and his wife looses hers we’ll all move in my father and will start begging the farmer next door for food. I find myself really wondering what could happen and wanting to prepare but not knowing how the hell to do it.

It’s about limits. All of this is about accepting limits and training yourself to recognize them when they’re far enough away for you to take a different path. TV, like investment banking, has been pushing the limits. Every year there’s something riskier and it hasn’t been subtle. It’s been a slow, obvious boil that we all watched happen. And it says volumes–everything–about our culture. We’re not Evolving, we’re DEvolving. And the question that’s begged is how the hell do we put the genie back in the bottle…???

Americathon, Part 1

September 26, 2008 By: admin Category: Americathon, Campaign 2008, Faith, Family, Happiness, News, Politics

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For years I’ve felt it coming. I don’t know anything about the economy, and only a little about how everything is tied to everything and that that is one of the reasons we’re in this financial crisis, cuz the assholes who are supposed to know about it all turned a blind eye for some reason. Was it only greed? That seems too simple even for money-grubbing, self-loathing conservatives. And while we’re on the subject of conservatives…  somebody please introduce me to a real one. Someone show me a conservative who could tell me to my face that my loving Molly impedes their life.

I’ve actually done an informal study myself. I’m the perfect litmus test: white, pretty, educated, charismatic. I make one hell of a first impression and when, really, almost anyone meets me, they like me. So, a few times, I took this power out for a spin when meeting a conservative. I let the initial niceties happen, but then quickly let slip “my girlfriend,” or “gay,” etc. I wanted them to know upfront who they were talking to. The news came naturally enough in the course of the conversation that The Conservative felt I was “opening up” to them. This was all part of the plan, and, without exception, none of them said anything mean to me, ever. They also never brought up their own “views.” Sometimes, when I had occasion to meet with them more than once, the encounters were friendly and energetic. Not fake, just fun.

Wanna know why? Cuz so much middle class homophobia in this country is a smoke screen. It’s the result of mob-behavior, a “safety in numbers” knee-jerk. People don’t actually give a shit who’s fucking who, I think they give a shit that they, themselves, aren’t experiencing the same feelings of freedom in their relationships that it seems like homosexuals are in ours. That’s a false view, of course — all relationships are the same, regardless of sexual orientation, they’re HARD.

Anyway, I truly think that most conservatives suffer from cultural stagnation. They were brought up with the notion that there’s a set of rules that you live by and that’s that. But look at science, technology, hell–look at tall asians! Rules are being broken all the time in every sector! As humans we have to adapt. All the time. And this is what I think is tripping up most middle class conservatives (I’m talking about the ones that vote)–they haven’t been trained/raised to think outside the box. Maybe it’s the God thing… Maybe they were threatened that if they deviated from the rules they’d be smote. Smited. Smitten..??? Anyway…

When I was at the Republican National Convention, the overall feeling was one of grime, ickiness. I felt filthy inside as well as out, and scared for my life because I was trapped in a small building with a SHITLOAD of people who were lying to themselves. And, like a cornered animal, these folks were desperate. They were holding for dear life onto their precious rules even in the face of overwhelming evidence that doing so was screwing their party. Nobody likes John McCain. Not really. And nobody likes Sarah Palin. Not really. They can’t excited about such lacklustre candidates, but the deal is that they have to say they are because those are the rules.

There’s a lot of beauty in the “conservative” ideal… Conservatives are more about family than liberals, more about service than liberals, and more about loyalty than liberals. Look at the Republican party–they fucking stick together (or, well, until about a year ago they did). I wish more liberals felt more of a sense of responsibility to their children, to their marriages, to the country. I don’t ever want to go to war, and I hate regulation, but I would feel proud to serve in the military if our entire culture was about that. Sadly for conservatives, so many of their kids go into the military because, as a group, conservatives don’t believe in education and have too much of a fierce loyalty first to the country and then to their kids. I guess this is the ironic part of my rant: as a mother I would be okay leaving my kids and going to war myself, but it would be over my dead body that they should go to war.

What’s happening in the financial crisis today is like letting the water out of a pool that hasn’t been drained for  a year–there’s a lot of muck down there at the bottom and now everyone can see it.

I know about as much about Jefferson as I do about the economy, but I do know that he advocated for government changing every 19 years. It’s high time, isn’t it? The rules need re-writing.

A Death In Taunton

July 24, 2008 By: admin Category: House, News

I don’t know if you all have heard the terrible story in the news this morning… A woman in Taunton, MA took her life because she couldn’t make her mortgage payments. She was 3 years behind in the payments but no one knew. Her husband said she handled all of the financials for the family and had kept mum about the mortgage issues. Classically, they’d had an adjustable rate mortgage on the home they’ve had for 4 years, and Carlene Balderrama shot herself 90 minutes before the house was to go up for auction.

I’ve been reading a bunch of articles today on the story, as well as the comments associated with the articles. The recurring themes in discussion are that you can’t collect life insurance (something Carlene wrote in her note for her husband and son to do) on a suicide, and that the story reminded a lot of folks about Arthur Miller’s play “Death Of A Salesman.”

About being a reporter, Irene said recently that sometimes she’ll read a story in the newspaper and will instinctively think to herself “someone should follow up on that.” No longer a reporter, though, she takes comfort in knowing that, for the most part, someone probably is. I think for this story there’s a way I can follow up on it that won’t be gross. I won’t barrage the family. I wouldn’t even approach them until a month from now, but there are others to talk to to find out just what happened here. No history of mental illness…

Such a sad, sad story…

A Case for Universal Healthcare in California

August 05, 2007 By: admin Category: Campaign 2008, Health, Living, News, NewsQuake!, Video

 

CaroleLutness

Here’s my latest video from Netscape. Click on the picture above to download the stream.

Since it’s release on July 29th, 2007, Michael’s Moore’s documentary “SiCKO” has created a buzz about universal health care. In the following video I explore one such instance in Santa Clarita, CA where a group of activists lobby for the passage of Senate Bill 840, called “The Universal Health Care Act.”

Ten Days

July 14, 2007 By: admin Category: Campaign 2008, Iraq, News, Politics

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There’s been a whole ‘lot of politicking going on in the last few days. At a recent press conference, President Bush gave an “Interim Report Card” on the progress in Iraq that amounted to nothing more than political arm-flapping meant to distract from the fact that he had nothing to say. It was a tough moment for Bush, but one that couldn’t have been better timed. We’ve all heard the famous Goebbels philosophy of propaganda that, as a government, if you want to control the will of the people you have to be consistent in the lies you tell. The idea being that if you say something enough times with enough conviction, people will eventually believe it. Well, 3,609 dead soliders, a Walter Reade, an Abu Ghraib, a Gitmo and a whole ‘lot of missing emails later it’s clear the American people aren’t buying what Bush is selling any more. Still, the propaganda theory is sound: step up to the microphone and make a speech about patriotism while humbling yourself to your top commander in the field-in this case, General David Petraeus-and you might just convince the people to think twice about relegating your legacy to the trash heap.

In other words, the President is hoping that if the American people think he’s thinking about troops, we won’t–like Helen Thomas did in the press conference–ask the only question that matters: “Mr. President, you started this war, you can end it. Bring in UN peace-keepers. Don’t you understand YOU brought Al-Qaeda into Iraq!”

To be fair, though, the truly unbelievable, head-spinning lack of real solutions for the Iraq debacle can no longer be laid solely in the lap of the President and his bumblingly arrogant administration. Congress is to blame for flapping it’s arms too.

Now, I’m not a lawyer, a policy-maker, or a consultant on foreign relations but I can read and I can think, and it’s clear to me that if we leave Iraq while the insurgency is poised-as it is now–to tip the scales, we will be destroying what is left of that country as well as setting the stage for the already troubled region to be taken over by fanatical elements, as the President has been saying all along. The thing is, as Helen Thomas suggested, we can’t do it alone. We’ve tried for four years and we’ve failed. And now we need help. But first we’re going to have to eat a little crow. We screwed up real bad and, in order to recoup any international confidence, need to apologize to the global community and respectfully, humbly ask for the help of the United Nations. Our troops are exhausted and need relief, and our resources are withering. Only when we, as an international society, share the supporting role will there be any real hope of “success” in Iraq.

And, when you think about it, the outcome will be what both sides currently say they want: politically, the President and Congress will be loved–both nationally and internationally-and socially, the Iraqi people will get their country back after decades of oppression and violence, and have a real shot at creating a stable democratic government.

But, we have to take that first step. In the form of the President and the Congress that voted in favor of this war, we need to apologize. It is the only tactic, and it is the strongest tactic. No one will think we’re weak as a nation, quite the opposite! Think of the bully on the recess field. If he spends his life intimidating others, all anyone will see is the bully. But if he apologizes and admits his mistakes, what we’ll finally see is the man. President Bush has ten days before he has to make a decision on Congress’s troop-withdrawal bill. Imagine what he could do in ten days.

Tricky George

July 12, 2007 By: admin Category: Campaign 2008, News, Politics

Bush has a press conference today at 10:30am EST. Muzzling Harriet Miers will, I think, probably prove to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“Primary Targets”

July 08, 2007 By: admin Category: Campaign 2008, News, NewsQuake!, Politics, Video

Latest NewsQuake Video.

This was actually shot in late April, but a few issues have kept it from coming out to y’all until now. Enjoy!!!