April 4, 2008
Ladies and Gentlemen - I'm only going to talk to you just for a minute or so this evening. Because...
I have some very sad news for all of you, and I think sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.
Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it's perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in.
For those of you who are black - considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible - you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.
We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization - black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion and love.
For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.
But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond these rather difficult times.
My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: "Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."
What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.
So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, yeah that's true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love - a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke. We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We've had difficult times in the past. And we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it's not the end of disorder.
But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.
Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.
Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people. Thank you very much.
You can literally say anything and be called a journalist
I've got an exclusive campaign trail report for ABC that I ran into Jake Tapper the other day and, because I'm known to have a very keen sense of smell, I could tell that his breath reeked of goat semen. This completely contradicts the response from his representatives when I called earlier asking if he indeed, does blow goats in the back alley behind his office, to which their hanging up on me I interpreted as a response in the negative.
I'm a journalist now! Where's my check?
April 3, 2008
I will never, ever understand Libertarians, pt. 4,513
I just watched the latest episode of South Park, which was basically 22 minutes of Trey Parker and Matt Stone making fun of the Hollywood writer's strike and mocking the concept of wanting to ensure securing revenue from the internet.
This would be the same Trey Parker and Matt Stone who, seven months ago, signed a $75 million digital distribution deal with Comedy Central network parent Viacom to create the ad-laden SouthParkStudios.com that distributes full episodes of their show over the internet.
I will leave the fact that, right now, you can visit this new website and, after viewing a short ad, watch the 22-minute cartoon talking about how you can't make money for content on the internet completely to your own analysis.
So now you want news
I'm not coming out in defense of MSNBC on this. I've already gone after their treatment of Hillary Clinton, and next week's strip will probably remove any ideas that I've got some fawning love for the so-called "liberal" news network.
But that all said, it's a tad bit late for a Democratic presidential campaign to be whining about the rise of partisan viewpoints in so-called "news" programming, isn't it? By, shall we say, eleven years or so?
Liberals realized a few years back that the idea of non-partisan prime-time news coverage on cable was not coming back, and we adjusted to the concept of at the very minimum demanding some viewpoints from someone who didn't want to marry George W. Bush and have like five thousand of his babies. And the suits realized that perhaps there was money to be made catering to the 70% of the country that wasn't stupid. And so left-leaning pundits we received.
Fox News is blatantly right-wing. This is why smart Democrats don't bother going on any of their shows. Countdown is blatantly left-wing. This is why Keith casts a positive light on left-wing politicians. Americans have resigned themselves to cable news programs being classified as "debate" programs rather than "news" programs thus allowing everyone from Keith Olbermann to Sean Hannity to have a partisan viewpoint without it being an affront to the Sacred Institution We Call Journalism. So why the Hillary Clinton campaign is surprised that the liberal host displays favoritism toward the liberal candidate, well, surprises me. You would have thought that of all people Hillary Clinton has heard about Fox News.
Now, I, like many people, would love to see the Sacred Institution We Call Journalism restored to actual journalists doing actual journalism. But as I already said in the introduction to a rather fantastic book that everyone should be buying and reading repeatedly, we currently allow Michelle Malkin to be called a journalist so I imagine the art of the medium will remain total shit for quite some time.
Is this a live webcam for a nest of owls? Why, yes. Yes it is.
Watching them bake the bread for the circuses
I've been meaning to ask this for a while now, but I was watching the preview the other night for the (good lord, fourth?) season premiere of Hell's Kitchen, and I honestly need to know- why the hell do you watch this show? I mean, I know that's sort of a general question about "reality" TV in general, but specifically this show- what do you get from it?
If I understand the premise correctly, the host of the show is a belligerent maniac who verbally (and apparently as close to physically as the law allows) assaults the contestants to the point of physically and emotionally crippling them, and then the "winner" gets the honor of working for him permanently.
So, here's the deal- the only thing I would possibly want to see from this show is one of the contestants snapping and caving in the guy's skull with a cast iron pan. Except we quite clearly know that's not going to happen, since we'd probably have heard the news report a few weeks back that filming was halted after a contestant put the host in a coma.
I've written about this before, but that's pretty much my overall problem with "reality" TV as a whole- amazingly, I actually don't enjoy watching complete strangers being abused for no reason. In a way, it's why I hate hunting shows, too- not as much because I'm against sport hunting (though I am), but because you're never going to see the deer win. This is a one-sided contest, and the contest you're watching isn't even real. It's like saying there's a "competition" in watching twelve cows in a slaughterhouse fight over which one's the last to get dumped in a meat grinder.
April 1, 2008
Today's L.A. Times and a look at the next generation of political discourse
Ezra Klein: the widespread tolerance, and in the worst cases outright glorification, of sexual abuse in America's prison system is offensive to our culture and detrimental to the country's safety and prosperity as a whole.
Jonah Goldberg: those Darwin Fish really piss me off.
March 31, 2008
There's a lot of people who support Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton who are getting mad at people who support Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for saying that if Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama aren't the Democratic Party nominee then they'll vote for John McCain. And the only thing that surprises me about that is that people are surprised by that.
The John Adams miniseries on HBO is doing a good job providing some historical context for this- America is pretty much founded on a platform of fear, bitterness, petty rivalry, and self-righteous indignation over the idea that someone might have a better idea about something than you. I've written many times that Hillary Clinton had a unique advantage of inspiring Democrats to vote for her out of spite- just to piss off Repubicans. There's no doubt in my mind a lot of Hillary supporters (and vice-versa, I'm just using the analogy here because reality currently has an anti-Hillary bias) are willing to invoke that grand trait of spite passed on by our Founding Fathers to us if (aka when) they don't get their way. There is not a single instance of political discourse in the history of this nation in which the participants did not want to simply kick their opponent in the balls.