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Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Don’t Call it a Comeback

Posted by AB on January 12, 2010

It has been several weeks since I posted on TarHeelPirate, but I’m making a comeback.  It’s a new year and a new decade, which brings new possibilities to all of us.  I will begin writing more and, hopefully, better.  And I will write about anything that comes to mind, but it will be mostly politics and sports.  Maybe I can expand my writing interests, but we’ll just have to see.

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Posted in Economics, Entertainment, Misc., Politics, Sports, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Media Glee and Tiger Woods

Posted by AB on December 11, 2009

When the news came out that Tiger Woods had been in a car accident, I was watching a college football game on CBS.  During a commercial break, the CBS Sports anchor reported that Tiger Woods had been in a car accident, just outside his home, and was in serious condition.  The news seemed dire.  But a short time later, the same anchor backed off of the report that his condition was so serious.  I later went to my computer to see if there were any additional, more accurate reports.  I had no difficulty finding additional reports, but accuracy was at a premium.  Within about an hour, I must have read or heard a dozen different accounts of the story.  Unfortunately, weeks later, no one seems to know what really happened during that early morning incident, but that has not stopped the media from reporting each and every whisper that it hears.

In recent years, we have been inundated with the flaws of man.  The 24-hour cable news programs, along with the internet has magnified the sensational over the newsworthy.  They cannot be blamed, however, for the sensationalism.  It’s part competition, but it’s mostly because of the demand over an increasingly dumbed-down culture in our country.  What does it say about us that we are more interested in the “Octo-mom” or the “Balloon Boy?”  What does it say about us that we are more interested in the stories told by Tiger Woods’ mistresses than we are of health care reform?

All stories like that of Tiger’s have some journalistic merit, but I have rarely seen anything like the media backlash in this case.  Not since the Bill Clinton impeachment has infidelity received so much media attention–that’s saying a lot.  The thing has surprised and disappointed me is not so much the saturation of coverage, but the apparent glee on part of the media.  It has seemed as if many were just itching to unload on Tiger Woods.  No news or talk show host can refrain from shaking his or her head in response to the latest attention-grabbing rumor about Tiger Woods.  On the other hand, it is great to see that everyone in the media has been perfect throughout their entire lives.

No one can condone the actions of Tiger Woods, and I certainly won’t, but adultery is not a crime.  The relationship difficulties are between Tiger and his family, and no matter the disapproval by the media, he does not have to talk about that relationship with anyone.  So, media, it is okay to report on this story, but let’s just try to be a little less giddy about the fall of one of the world’s great popular entities. 

In hopes that Tiger Woods will have the courage to stand up after being knocked down, I’ll leave on a paragraph from Kahlil Gibran’s, The Prophet:

You have been told that, even like a chain, you are as weak as your weakest link.    This is but half the truth.  You are also as strong as your strongest link.                              To measure you by your smallest deed is to reckon the power of ocean by the frailty of its foam.                                                                                                                                                  To judge you by your failures is to cast blame upon the seasons for their inconsistency.                       

Posted in Entertainment, Misc., Politics, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The White House is Right about Fox News

Posted by AB on October 20, 2009

The White House is right about Fox News.  It is a wing of the Republican Party, masquerading as a news organization.  In the past week or so, the Obama White House has lashed-out at Fox News for being, not a news organization, but a Republican research and propoganda organization.  Members of the President’s staff have taken some heat over commenting, directly, about a news organization.  Pundits from the right and the left have questioned the strategy that may or may not influence Fox News to do actual news, and will most certainly increase their (Fox News) ratings.  The majority of political observers believes that this is a bad move by the Obama Administration, but I strongly disagree.  Not only is it right, but it is already working.

Fox News has been in attack mode since Senator Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination for President.  While other news organizations were focusing, for the most part, on the real issues facing the next President of the United States, Fox News focused on the character of Barack Obama and any person with which he was vaguely associated.  Reverend Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers were daily foils for Fox News and, frankly, they still are, according to Sean Hannity.  During the election, Fox News could muster little criticism toward Obama’s opponent, John McCain, unless of course, you count loving your country just too damn much as criticism.  

Barack Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009.  That day marked, not only the inauguration of America’s first minority president, but it marked the day that Fox News became the opposition to the President of the United States.  You want proof?  Here is a quote from Fox News Vice President for Programming, Bill Shine:

 “There were a couple of people who basically wrote about our demise come last November (and) December and were, I guess, rooting for us to go away…With this particular group of people in power right now, and the honeymoon they’ve had from other members of the media, does it make it a little bit easier for us to be the voice of the opposition on some issues?” (March 23, 2009)

That sounds exactly like a Fox News executive telling whoever will listen that they are not interested in reporting the news, but instead being the “voice of the opposition.”  That is Fox News’ V.P. of Programming pushing a point-of-view.

Bill Shine not a big enough player for you?  Here’s a quote by Fox News President, Roger Ailes, via right-wing lunatic, Glenn Beck:

“I see this as the Alamo…If I just had somebody who was willing to sit on the other side of the camera until the last shot is fired, we’d be fine.” (March 6, 2009)

With all of the recent headlines blaring that the White House has started a war with Fox News, you have to wonder if anyone in the media can do their jobs.  Fox News started this “war” a long time ago.

Roger Ailes not big enough, still?  Well, here is the most telling quote of all, from the biggest of big dogs at News Corp., Rupert Murdock.  This is his reaction to a question about the “war” with the White House:

“There were some strong remarks coming out of the White House about one or two of the commentators on Fox News…And all I can tell you is that it’s tremendously increased their ratings.” (October 16, 2009)

There you have it.  News Corp. Chairman, Rupert Murdoch, just told you and me that he is interested in the bottom line–ratings.  Facts?  Integrity?  Who gives a damn about all of that, right.  This is clear-cut evidence that Fox News’ opposition to the President comes from the top.

What everyone needs to understand is that the Obama Administration is not really complaining about the prime-time commentators like O’Reilly, Beck, and Hannity.  We all know what they are about.  They are about destroying the Obama Administration, and the individuals serving in that administration.  They are for the personal destruction of President Obama and those who work for him.  They are now on daily witch-hunts for Obama Administration officials, using fear, misrepresentation, and lies to take them down.

The problems lies with the research and points-of-view of these hate-mongers are the subject of Fox News’ “news” coverage.  Rather than reporting the news, they are pushing the opinions of their pundits.  It’s almost as though Fox News anchors refuse to leave the building.  The news production gets its news from the shows of Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity.  And these clowns get their news from right-wing radio and the Drudge Report.

The decision made by the White House was a good one.  The Obama Administration cannot continue to allow Fox News to attack, without response.   They have just placed Fox News beneath the media’s microscope and, even though the ratings at Fox News might rise in the short term, more people are going to know what they are about.  They are about destruction, not news.  And in its haste, Fox News will prove the White House right, again and again.

Posted in Economics, Entertainment, Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Statuary Hall

Posted by AB on September 17, 2009

I am now reading The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown, author of The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons, and Deception Point.  Early in the book, there is a scene in which Robert Langdon enters National Statuary Hall, inside the US Capitol.  I have only been to our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., once, and I was in the sixth grade.  The George H.W. Bush Administration was long ago, now, and I was really too young to grasp the significance and power of that great city.  In fact, I cannot even remember if I even entered Statuary Hall.  My school group certainly entered the Capitol building, but I would have to find those old photos to refresh my memory.

Also known as the Old Hall of the House, Statuary Hall was the meeting place for the US House of Representatives for over 50 years.  These days, the two-story, semicircular room south of the Rotunda.  The Statuary Hall Collection is a series of 100 statues, given as gifts by the 50 states, but not all are on display in Statuary Hall.  Thirty-Eight of those statues reside in Statuary Hall, while the others are dispersed throughout the Capitol building.

Whenever I get a chance to return to Washington, D.C., which will, hopefully, be soon, I will be sure to take in the history and art of the statues in Statuary Hall and the entire US Capitol.  We should all be very appreciative of our nation’s history and art.  All of it is there for us to see, and we should all take advantage of the opportunities we have to view these national treasures.

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9/11, Eight Years Later

Posted by AB on September 11, 2009

American-Flag.jpg america bitch image by FELMZ420

Eight years ago, today, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon burned.  America was attacked, from the sky, by a yet to be identified group of enemies.  It was one of those moments in our history in which everyone can remember where they were and what they were doing.  I always heard my elders telling stories of where they were and what they were doing when they heard that President Kennedy had been killed, or when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, or Bobby Kennedy. 

I never really had that moment until September 11, 2001.  Well, there was the moment of the Challenger explosion.  I remember where I was at that moment, but I was just a child, and that was an accident.  9/11 was something completely different.  The feeling that most Americans had on 9/11 must have been like when the “greatest generation” learned that Pearl Harbor had been attacked.  There were, however, no 24-hour news channels in the 1940’s.  We were inundated with information about the 9/11 attacks.  We lived the attacks. 

The attacks of 9/11 seem like just yesterday.  Unfortunately, the unity that our nation felt in the months following seems like millenia ago.  We survived because we were united.  We will fall if we continue to be divided. 

Let us not forget how we felt on that sad day.  But let us not forget how we came together.  We did not think about Democrats or Republicans, or liberals or conservatives.  We were, trulythe United States of America.

Posted in Economics, Entertainment, Misc., Politics, Sports, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (1932-2009)

Posted by AB on August 26, 2009

We have lost a great American leader.  Senator Edward M. Kennedy lost his 15-month-long battle with brain cancer, early this morning.  He was 77-years-old.  Everyone knew that this day was near, but that fact does not make the loss any more difficult for his family, friends, and this Country.

Kennedy, the “Lion of the Senate,” is considered by many as the greatest, most influential Senator of the last 50-years or more.  He had a hand in every major Congressional legislation that the United States has passed since the mid-1960’s.  His life’s passion, however, hangs in the balance.  He was dedicated to making health care a right, rather than a privilege.  Unfortunately, his illness  has prevented him from leading the Senate through this legislation, and his colleagues have proved themselves incompetent.

All Americans–Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal, of all ages and every race– have been influenced by the actions of Ted Kennedy, and for the better.  He will be missed, but we must attempt to live up to the legacy that he built and left behind.  I can think of no better way to honor Senator Kennedy than to make real health care reform a reality.

God Bless, Sen. Kennedy.  You no longer have to fight, and you can, finally, be reunited with your beloved brothers.

Posted in Economics, Entertainment, Misc., Politics, Sports, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Uncle Sam

Posted by AB on August 20, 2009

View Image

The other day, I heard a reference to “Uncle Sam,” which, as we all know, is the cartoon embodiment of the U.S. Government.  Normally, I wouldn’t think twice about that reference, but I realized that I didn’t know where the character originated, so I decided to look it up.  The most surprising aspect (at least, for me) of “Uncle Sam’s” origins is that the reference goes so far back into our nation’s history.

When the War of 1812 was declared, a man named Samuel Wilson was contracted to supply the meats that was purchased by the U.S. Government.  Mr. Wilson’s nickname was “Uncle” Sam.  On the containers of meat that the Troy, New York resident provided to the U.S. Army, the initials U.S. (Uncle Sam) were prominent.  Apparently, there was some confusion amongst the troops about where the meat came from.  Some knew that “Uncle” Sam Wilson was the provider, but other assumed that the U.S. stood for the United States.  Somewhere along the line, the two entities became one in the same, and the United States began to called “Uncle Sam.”  Political cartoonists began using a male personification of the Government as early as 1852.

The visual of a tall, slender, white-bearded man that we know today became popular during World War I with Army recruiting posters like the one above.  Through the years, this “Uncle Sam” has become a proud symbol of our nation, and I suspect that it will continue to be so.

*The links contain much better explanations of “Uncle Sam’s” origins.  

  

Posted in Entertainment, Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Breaking Into Your Own Home

Posted by AB on July 23, 2009

Last night, the President held a prime-time press conference at the White House.  The hour-long press conference was focused on health care reform, but the very last question of the night is what everyone in the media is talking about. 

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times asked the President to comment on the arrest of African-American Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr., who was arrested in his own home on suspicion of breaking and entering.  The President, thoughtfully, answered by saying that he was biased because Professor Gates is a friend and that he didn’t know what role race played in the incident, but it seemed that the situation was handled “stupidly.”

It’s amazing that one word could be so controversial, especially when the statement is not arguable.  The police were called to investigate a break-in at Gates’ home on the afternoon of July 16.  Understandably, Gates was miffed that he was being questioned in his own home, and after proving that he was, in fact, the owner of the home, something happened.  The 58-year old, Gates was, in his words, “lured,” outside, where he was promptly handcuffed and taken to police headquarters for booking.  The charges of obstruction were later dropped.

Hiding from the health care debate, the GOP and conservative pundits promptly attacked the President for using the word, “stupidly.”  During the attack on the integrity of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the GOP dragged white firefighter, Frank Ricci, into the middle of the politicization of the Supreme Court.  The message?  Sotomayor hates white people.  The President says the arrest of a man in his own home was handled “stupidly,” and here come the attacks.  The arresting officer was white.  So, what’s the message?  The President hates white police officers.

It’s a shame, really, that arresting a man for breaking into his own home wouldn’t be universally disdained, no matter the race of the homeowner or the officer.  I know that I would be angry.  It should also be pointed out that Dr. Gates walks with the aid of a cane; hardly a threat of physical violence or flight.  Just Saying.

One good thing came from this, for me at least.  It reminded me of a Dave Chappelle stand-up comedy special, “Killing Them Softly.”  If you get an opportunity to see the entire routine, you won’t be sorry.  The beginning of the following clip is eerily reminiscent of Gates’ troubles.

Posted in Entertainment, Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Walter Cronkite (1916-2009)

Posted by AB on July 17, 2009

Once voted as the “Most Trusted Man in a America,” legendary newsman Walter Cronkite has died at the age of 92.  He hosted the “CBS Evening News” from 1962-1981.  At a time when there were no 24-hour news network, Americans looked to trusted newsmen, like Cronkite, for news stories that Americans wanted and needed.  As I listen to, and read the glowing remembrances, I cannot help but despair at the thought that passes as news today.

Walter Cronkite announced that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.  Today, CNN’s Lou Dobbs suggested that the current President of the United States might be “undocumented,” and what was his proof?  A caller to his radio show told him. 

Walter Cronkite was with Americans as man landed on the moon.  Fox News Channel promotes and endorses anti-government “tea parties.”

Walter Cronkite investigated and reported about the Vietnam War.  During our most recent war in Iraq, Geraldo Rivera drew a map of US Military positions in the sand, risking soldier’s lives.

Walter Cronkite told Americans the truth about the crimes of the Nixon Administration.  One of Nixon’s cronies, and abject racist, Pat Buchanan is employed by MSNBC, and allowed face-time to spread his hate for minorities.

We, the consumers of the news, always want more.  More does not mean better, and nothing can be more clear on this day.  The 24-hour news networks compared with Walter Cronkite; I’ll take quality over quantity.  But these are different days, and “that’s the way it is.”

Posted in Economics, Entertainment, Misc., Politics, Sports, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The War Has Begun…Against Mutants

Posted by AB on July 13, 2009

Well, I was checking out Politico.com this evening, and much to my surprise, I came across this bit of brilliance by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS).  Apparently, he and other United States Senators have been watching too many movies.

One piece of advice for Sen. Brownback and the co-sponsors of this bill:  WATCH OUT FOR THE ROBOTS!  Haven’t you seen Transformers?

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