Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"Be Careful What You Vote For...You Might Just Get It...."

I liked Dr. Phil a lot more before he decided to become Jerry Springer.

And, admittedly, I wasn’t really all that big a fan to begin with because I don’t think you have to be a member of Mensa to figure out that Phil is pop psychology personified.

Donahue with a doctorate.

Frasier without Roz, Niles and Marty.

On the other hand, I do enjoy some of Phil’s fortune cookie one liners.
One in particular.

When he looks the guest/victim/addict/manic depressive/abuser/obsessive compulsive in the eye and asks…

“How’s that workin for ya?”

Can’t think of a better way to put actions into perspective.

Which brings me around to “Recount”.

If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s one of the newest made for cable movies, this one produced by HBO, telling the story of the 2000 Bush v Gore election and the circus disguised as electoral college process that put Dubya in the White House almost eight years ago.

As a TV critic, I imagine that I wouldn’t give the production more than three and a half stars out of five as it surely has some draggy moments.

But it does a pretty good job of painting a picture of a Republican Party that was determined to use, as Malcolm X used to put it, any means necessary to insure that the son of Bush 41 would get his own library some day.

And Katherine Harris, the secretary of state in Florida? Well, if this script is even close to factually correct, she pretty much air headed her way to insuring that every move made down there during the vote recount process would put George II in power.

Laura Dern plays the part brilliantly and deserves an Emmy.
Katherine Harris played her part brilliantly, too.

And she got what she deserves.

Problem is, so did the rest of us.

Sour grapes aside, what struck me as I watched the plot thicken was the fervor, passion, even fanaticism that the Bush supporters, both big ticket and everyman, displayed in their belief that the world was going straight to hell unless Dubya took the oath.

This would have been a moderately entertaining couple of hours if it had been released in, say, 2001.

Seen in the context of 2008, though, it’s quite the tragedy disguised as satire.

The presidency of George W. Bush will be appraised, as are all presidencies, by history’s cool eyed gaze.

And there’s little to be gained by me pointing out that, at this writing, the one thing we can be sure he has accomplished is becoming the first president in American history to ever have more than 70 percent disapproval.

Well, okay, I sort of pointed it out by saying there was little to be gained by pointing it out.
But you get my point.

And as far as the movie, “Recount” is concerned…

During the whole last hour, as I watched the story of how the Bush folks moved heaven, earth and chads to make sure that their guy would get the chance to lead the country to peace and prosperity, all I could think was how I would like to have the opportunity to gather all those people in a room today and, having reminded them of the heart, soul and energy they put into getting the guy “elected”, ask them one simple question.

“How’s that workin for ya?”

I’m guessing there would be a lot of foot shuffling and staring at the floor.

Maybe even some tears and asking for forgiveness.

Sounds like a great Dr. Phil show, don’t you think?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

In God We Trust...Unless, Of Course, We Need To Step In and Fix Things...

Sorry to hear about the latest John McCain divorce.

Missed that headline, you say?

Well, I’m here for you, kids.

CNN) -- Texas televangelist John Hagee said Friday that his political divorce from Sen. John McCain is "best for both of us" and urged reporters to return to "the pressing issues of the day."

McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, renounced Hagee's endorsement Thursday after attention was drawn to remarks by the evangelist suggesting that the acts of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler during the Holocaust were part of God's will.

"God says in Jeremiah 16: 'Behold, I will bring them the Jewish people again unto their land that I gave to their fathers. ... Behold, I will send for many fishers, and after will I send for many hunters. And they the hunters shall hunt them.' That would be the Jews. ... Then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone who comes with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter," Hagee said, according to a transcript of his sermon.

In a statement to CNN on Thursday, McCain said, "Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them. I did not know of them before Rev. Hagee's endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well.

McCain also rejected the endorsement of Ohio televangelist Rod Parsley on Thursday. Parsley angered Muslim groups by saying that Islam "is an anti-Christ religion that intends through violence to conquer the world."

Here’s the thing that I’m having a little trouble understanding.

Why is it that the politicians are finding it necessary to divorce themselves from the clearly incendiary observations of the pulpit dwellers when the two parties that SHOULD be separated seem to be getting closer and closer to each other with each passing political day?

You know the two I’m talking about.

And state.

American Idol Got It Wrong......

First, don’t blame Ryan Seacrest.

All he was doing was reading the card he was handed.

And the card said that out of 90 million votes cast, by a margin of 12 million votes, the winner was David Cook.

Granted, both Cook and Archuleta are world class talents who raised the bar on future competitions.

And both of them were deserving of the crown.

But as far as I’m concerned, neither of them are the new American Idol.

That honor goes to Ricky Nelson.

No, thanks for asking, I’m not living in the past and I didn’t overdo my Splenda ration in the morning coffee.
And yes, thanks for asking, I am fully aware that the handsome, sultry sounding, rock and roll icon, youngest son of Ozzie and Harriet has been dead for over twenty years now.

But Ricky gets my vote anyway.

His brother David would agree with me.

David Nelson says that Rick was incredibly determined. Once, he walked a mile holding two gallons of milk over his head because one of his brothers challenged him to." David also says that Rick used to poke fun at himself to make other people laugh.

And sing?
Well, we don’t really know do we?

Only his brother David would know about that.

Or his widow Kristen.
Wait a second, you say.

Rick and Kristen were divorced years before he died.
You’re right.

But that’s the thing about jumping to conclusions.

Sometimes what you find when you land isn’t what you were expecting when you took the leap.

Because I’m not talking about Eric Hilliard “Ricky” Nelson, the rock and roll icon from Los Angeles, Californnia.

I’m talking about Richard “Ricky” Nelson, the soldier from Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Brother of David Nelson.

Husband of Kristen Nelson.

Who died April 14th in Al Anbar, Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded.

One week before the first anniversary of his wedding to his high school sweetheart.

Ricky Nelson of Los Angeles’ memory will live on for years to come as new generations discover his remarkable singing talent.

Ricky Nelson of Kenosha’s memory will live on in the hearts of his family, having faded out of the headlines in the inevitable sooner or later.

David Cook is officially the new idol of millions.
And there is no denying his talent and humility.

The new American Idol, though, is Ricky Nelson.

And the thousands of Americans who risk their lives every day.

So that we might live another day to vote for our favorite singers.
If you would like to meet Ricky Nelson:

Sunday, May 11, 2008

"Yo...I Do Solemnly Swear.....Dawg....."

This is America.

Where stranger things have happened.

Keep that in mind.

The latest buzz has it that Hillary is trying to figure out how to bow out gracefully, bring her supporters to Obama’s table and cash them in in the form of “forcing” Obama to make her the nominee for VP.

As I write this, I’m sure the Sunday news shows are having a field day talking and talking and talking and talking about this.

And talking.

I’m only assuming because, at the moment, I’m still settling into a new residence/life and don’t have access to TV, having not yet decided whether to get overcharged and underserved by Comcast or Direct TV.

I’ve been watching classic movies and series on DVD.
Don’t feel like I’ve missed all that much, truth be told.

Here’s my layman’s take on the Hillary VP thing.

If Hillary offers to give Obama the keys to the Democratmobile, but only on the condition that O make her the VP, the Senator from Illinois is going to find himself traveled from relative obscurity to between a rock and a hard place.

Because the Senator from New York is in a position to really help.
Or really hinder.

And let’s face it.

The “math” that gives Obama more delegates than Hillary cant blind anybody to the fact that, in terms of sheer numbers of the infamous “popular vote” (defined as the actual expressed preference of people like you and me as opposed to the results of some system that makes about as much sense as calling customer service for your computer and getting somebody who speaks in such a heavy New Delhi accent that you cant understand a damn thing…), Hillary and Barack are, pretty much, equally loved.

My grandkids could figure out that the combination of those two groups of loyalists would be a tough nut for McCain to crack come November.

So, in an election year that already had more than its share of interesting moments, the whole show is about to get even more interesting.

Because regardless of ideological differences, the simple bottom line is that Obama would be hamstringing himself right out of the gate by not putting the second most popular person in the contest in the number two slot on the ticket.


There were another equally popular alternative.
Hear me out.

After all, what’s the goal for the Democrats here?
To get their nominee elected President.

The Vice Presidency, as Herbert Hoover once observed, is no disgrace.
But no distinction either.

And its not like there’s not historical precedent for picking, shall we say, “less than ideal” running mates.


And….we live in a world where a pro wrestler has been governor of Minnesota, a bodybuilding movie star is currently the governor of California…

…and a B movie actor was a very popular two term President of the United States.

So, here’s my idea.

If Obama finds himself painted into the corner of “hey, you won the delegates, but I have millions and millions of votes to bring to the table/ticket and you need to make me the VP nominee unless you want me to take those millions and millions of votes and walk away”, it might appear that he has no practical choice but to resign himself to giving Hillary an office in the West Wing.

And hiring all male interns to keep Bill in line.

Au contrare, mon amis…..

There’s another very popular public figure who would probably not only bring just as many millions of votes to the table as Hillary, but would totally stay out of Obama’s way as he works to create a whole new way of doing things at 1600 Pennsylvania.

Come to think of it…there’s two other very popular public figures who would fit the bill and give Barack the cover he needs to send Hillary and Bill back to Hope.

David Cook.
David Archuleta.

Whichever one ends up the gracious loser on “Idol”.

Well, okay, so we’d have to amend the Constitution to lower the minimum age required to be Vice President.

But, like I said at the outset.

This is America.
Where stranger things have happened.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

"What's The Big Deal?....I Hear Judge Judy Has Foot Rubs in HER Contract...."

It’s Saturday and I’m headed out to buy fuzzy covers for my toilet lids.

Just thought I’d tell you that as a way of sharing that when it comes to this life of broadcasting and blogging I do, all that glitters…..

I’m really just one of you.

But, while paying my bills online (still not quite jiggy with the idea of shooting what money I do have off into cyberspace and hoping it pays my cell phone charges and doesn’t accidentally get diverted to pay for some testimonial dinner in DC), I came across this story on and just had to share it with you.

That and my two cents about it.

Well, come on. It’s my blog, after all.

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AP) -- Elizabeth Halverson is a judge. But the way courthouse staffers see it, she expects to be treated like a queen.

Her former bailiff, for example, says Halverson made him feel like a "houseboy."
He says the judge -- who is obese and uses a motorized scooter to get around -- made him put her shoes on her feet, massage her back, cover her with a blanket for naps and make sure her oxygen tank was filled. He says she asked him, "Do you want to worship me from near or afar?"

Halverson also surrounded herself with her own hired guards, saying she did not trust the courthouse security force to protect her. Another time, she allegedly had her husband sworn in so that she could ask him under oath whether he had completed chores at home.

Since then, the 50-year-old Nevada district judge has been locked out of her Las Vegas courtroom, suspended from the bench and brought up on
judicial-misconduct charges that include not only misusing her position and treating her staff like personal valets but also tainting juries and falling asleep on the bench.
Nevada's judicial discipline commission is preparing for a week of open hearings next month that could put an end to Halverson's career..

Halverson denies the allegations.

"We believe the Judicial Discipline Commission has overreached," said her attorney, John Arrascada. "It's apparent that some people believe her physical appearance somehow makes her unable to perform her duties as a judge." He added, "Last time I checked, being a judge doesn't require a beauty contest."
Halverson holds a law degree from the University of Southern California and worked as a law clerk in the state court for nine years before she was elected to the bench in fall 2006. She handled civil and criminal cases alike.

When the bailiff who complained about her, Johnnie Jordan Jr., was reassigned, Halverson hired her own guards and let them bypass security checks at the courthouse. She called 911 when court administrators tried to enter her office.

In May 2007, the chief Clark County District Court judge, Kathy Hardcastle, locked her out of her courtroom. The following July, six months after Halverson was sworn in, the commission suspended her, accusing her among other things of creating a hostile work environment, hiring a technician to try to hack into the courthouse computer system, and causing mistrials in two sexual assault cases by improperly meeting with jurors.

The commission declared that she posed "a substantial threat to the public or to the administration of justice."

The case is laden with subplots. Hardcastle dismissed Halverson as a law clerk in 2004, saying that such a position is typically a short-time job and that it was time Halverson moved on. Halverson then mounted an unsuccessful bid for Family Court judge against Hardcastle's husband.

Hardcastle has insisted her actions against Halverson weren't personal.
Jeffrey Stempel, a law professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said he is troubled by what appears to be an attempt to "micromanage" a judge.

"Judicial removal should generally be reserved for corruption and complete incompetence or inability to do the job," Stempel said. "One question you have to ask is, `Is this judge so bad we have to remove her before the voters have a chance to do so?' "

Amid the hullabaloo, Halverson has filed for re-election in August to a six-year term and is soliciting contributions on her Web site. But she has also filed a request to stop the election, claiming that the Legislature unconstitutionally changed the procedures. She continues to draw her $130,000-a-year salary.

Halverson did not respond to an interview request. A shirtless man who answered the door at her home pointed to a "no trespassing" sign and ordered a reporter off the property. The yard is clean these days, after the city cited Halverson for leaving it strewn with junk and letting the water in her pool grow murky and stagnant.

In documents denying the allegations, Halverson has blamed disgruntled employees and vindictive colleagues.

She has submitted a report from a therapist who diagnosed her with an adjustment disorder, anxiety and depression. And she produced a letter from her physician, Dr. Michael Jacobs, who said she is diabetic, uses a wheelchair because of arthritis in her feet and knees, and needs oxygen to counteract the effects of sleep apnea.

Jacobs said a drop in blood sugar may have caused a brief episode in which she fell asleep in court. But he said there is no physical reason Halverson cannot be an effective judge.

I love stories like this.

Because it pretty much writes the whole blog for me.

I will add this, though.

I totally loved the bit about putting the husband under oath.

I totally loved the shirtless guy showing up at the front door.

And I totally loved the report from the therapist citing that this judge has an adjustment disorder, anxiety, depression, diabetes and sleep apnea.

Hey! It’s not like she’s playing a major part in the lives of everyday Americans like you and…..
Oh. Wait.

She is.

Nevertheless, I hope she beats the rap.
And stays on the bench.

First, it wont affect me or you.

Because, as we all know…what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
And, more importantly…

As screwed up as this woman seems/appears to be, if she gets bounced off the bench, we both know the only viable career option she’s going to have left.

And that won’t do any of us any good.

Running for Congress.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Where No Man Has Gone Before.....

I was wrong about Hillary.

I said a few months back that she should get out of the race because she seemed to have a “sense of entitlement” to the office.

Truth be told, I’m not entirely sure that she, in fact, doesn’t have said sense.

But, at this point, I’ve decided that it’s beside the point.

The point, kids, is that whatever else she does or does not represent, stand for, believe in or offer as a candidate, woman and/or human being, she has come to symbolize one of the more noble qualities that we all like to think we instill in our children as they find their way in life.

Believing in themselves.
Even, and especially, when no one else does.

And, it’s not like she doesn’t have a following, for heaven’s sake.

Literally millions of people prefer her to Obama.
And the latest polls say that she has a massive lead over Barack in the forthcoming West Virginia primary.

Which means that no matter how much the Democratic Party, let alone Obama supporters, want this thing settled, the “jury is still out” on who is going to be the party nominee.

The “experts” are all saying that the “math” simply doesn’t allow for the possibility that Clinton can pull it out of her hat.

Or pantsuit.

Tell you what, though.

For my money, that right there is reason enough for her to stay in.

Because, while I cant speak for you, I have a suspicion that you, like me, are tired of being told what we think by “experts” and are tired of being “victimized” by a political system that is designed to benefit almost everything and everyone except those it was supposedly designed to benefit in the first place.


So, feel free to disagree with anything and everything that she has to say about any and every issue that matters to you.

That’s your right.

But, at the same time, give credit where it’s due and hold her up to your kids as a living example of that quality that you’re hoping to ingrain in them.

Believe in yourself.
Even, and especially, when others don’t.

Because, at the end of the day, the only voice you can really trust and believe is the voice you hear inside your own head and heart.

And that’s the voice you have to ultimately listen to.

And don’t think for a second that it doesn’t take a lot of courage to stick it out when others suggest, hell, insist that you walk away.

Love her, hate her, it’s your call.

But respect the fact that she isn’t quitting.

Because she is listening to her own voice.

Well, her own and Tim Allen’s.
From that movie, Galaxy Quest.

Never give up.

Never surrender.

"I Now Pronounce You....Out of Harm's Way...."

Happy times for the Bush family this weekend.

Jenna is getting married.

One of the wits here at the music factory told me this morning that they were going and that my invitation must have “gotten lost in the mail.”


Actually, I never expected to get an invitation.
First of all, the Bushes don’t know me from Adam.

Or Eve, for that matter.

But, if they did, I probably blew the chance for attending the nuptials by constantly referring to the twins on the air with my personal favorite (cause I wrote it) sobriquet.

Jenna and Tequila.

Snide references aside, I really do wish the young couple a long and happy life together.
Lord knows, I do enjoy seeing someone, anyone, succeed at a long term relationship.

We always want for others what we cant have for ourselves, I’m thinking.

And the odds are in the young couple’s favor, if for no other reason, the young groom has a good chance of living for a long time to come.

Here, from, is a little bio blurb on the kid.

Jenna is marrying Henry Hager, a 30-year-old native of Richmond, Virginia, who once worked for Karl Rove, her father's former deputy chief of staff. Hager is the son of tobacco executive John Hager, chairman of the Virginia Republican Party and a former lieutenant governor.

So, my guess is that Henry and Jenna will start out their lives together with a nice bank account, a pretty extensive network of friends, not to mention business associates and a couple of pedigrees that will take them a long way in life.

And, given his age, I assume young Mr. Hager won’t have to worry about any health issues in particular.

Like heart disease.
Or cancer.

And given his background, I assume young Mr. Hagar wont have to worry about that other health issue.

Getting killed in Iraq.

Because I’m guessing that this is one young Republican who will never see the inside of a Humvee.

Unless it’s the shiny one he drives off the dealer’s lot.

As opposed, of course, to those young folks who are being shipped over there.

Over and over.

Like your daughter.
Or your son.

Or mine.