Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Rosie Live"? Not So Much

The public has spoken about "Rosie Live", the NBC variety show hosted by Rosie O'Donnell, and the word isn't good. Critics and fans alike have panned the show as being boring and painful to watch. Even people who normally support whatever Rosie does weren't thrilled. The ratings for "Rosie Live" equaled that of a show on ABC...that was just canceled.

I must admit that I didn't watch "Rosie Live" because I had something important to do and I just couldn't get away. I think I was scratching myself at the time. I don't remember, but I do remember it was pretty important at the time. This, of course, means I can't comment on the show itself except from what I was able to glean from reviews of the show. And what I read wasn't impressive. Whether it was tasteless sight gags involving Rosie putting a microphone in her cleavage, references to her sexual preference, or the occasional subtle rant against Donald Trump and Republicans, Rosie forgot the first rule of the variety show: the star of the show isn't always the focus of attention.

One of the questions this arouses is whether America wants a prime time variety show these days. Personally, I think we do, especially in these economic times. With shows like "American Idol" and "America's Got Talent" still popular with the viewing public, it's a no-brainer. If a variety show is done right and is family-friendly, I think it would be a ratings smash.

Ah, but there's the rub. A variety show done well, like "The Carol Burnette Show", doesn't need gimmicks to make it work because the work is evident in what is produced. The minute a variety show has to resort to gimmicks to try to get viewers, you might as well slap a pair of water skis on it because it's about to jump the shark.

With the ratings being so low that I could have tied them and I didn't even have a show on at the time, NBC may consider pulling "Rosie Live." If it was a one-shot show to see if people would respond favorably, I would suggest they retool it to make it more like a traditional variety show. If that involves Rosie taking a role behind the scenes more, I think it could work. But if they put on another show like the first "Rosie Live", I guarantee the ratings won't move very far.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year because it gives us all an opportunity to do something we don't usually have time to do: eat turkey while watching a LOT of football. Seriously, it's a time to give thanks for the good things in our lives. That's something we don't always do today when we're thinking about the food, football, and floats, but we should. And so I don't look like a total hypocrite, I'll tell you a few things that I'm thankful for this and every year in no specific order (well, except for the first one).

- My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving me (and all of us) a second chance
- My family for giving me the best support system I could dream of
- My friends for being like a second family to me
- My church for treating a searching soul like a long lost friend
- My government, even when I don't always agree with it, for trying to keep this country working
- My employer for providing strong leadership closer to home
- The American Armed Forces for keeping us safe abroad
- Law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and medical professionals for keeping us safe at home
- My readers for allowing me to share my views with them without them getting a restraining order
- My thoughtful critics of my work for keeping me on my toes
- My thoughtless critics of my work for giving me constant sources of laughter

As you travel or spend time with family and/or friends today, take a moment to count the blessings you have and give thanks for them.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Change You Can Deceive In

When Barack Obama came onto the Presidential scene, he promised that if he was elected he would change the way Washington did business. Yet, when you see a good number of the picks he's made for his Cabinet, it looks like not much has changed. There are a number of familiar faces from the Clinton Administration, like Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, who are returning to the halls of power.

I have a question. How in the heck is this change?

I know how the Obama supporters have tried to spin it. First, they say the change is in how things are done in Washington. They're claiming that bringing in former Clinton staffers will alter the environment in government. The problem? These are the same people who contributed to the current environment in government. Take Emmanuel for example. He's been compared to former House Whip Tom Delay, and with a nickname like "The Hammer," it's a pretty good bet Delay didn't get that nickname for his tact and diplomacy. And what did Obama rail against during the campaign? The negativity of government. Putting Emmanuel as Chief of Staff won't end the negativity, and given his track record in the Clinton Administration, it may continue it or even expand it.

Second, the Obama supporters have said that the reason he's bringing in so many former Clinton staffers is to negate the criticism that Obama was inexperienced. This is valid to a point. Obama isn't as experienced in the intricacies of the Presidency yet, so surrounding himself with experienced people. However, does that require him to choose people from the Clinton Administration? Granted, they have experience in the day-to-day operations of the White House, but there are others with similar experience that could have done the job with only a slight learning curve. And with some high level positions like Secretary of State, a Clinton staffer would not be a requirement. Yet, he's going back to the Clinton well.

This begs the question as to why. If change was the heart of Obama's Presidential hopes, why stick to people who don't represent it? At the risk of sounding like a partisan hack (as some of my critics have accused me of being), I think I have an answer. Obama needs people who he knows will be loyal to him as he lies to the American people. Let's face facts here. There is no way Obama will be able to deliver on all of his promises, so he's going to need people who can stroke the press and keep the American people from figuring out that Obama lied to them. Who better than members of Bill Clinton's Administration?

There is already a backlash against this approach, however. Obama supporters are starting to question the decision to bring back so many former Clinton staffers because they don't see the change that Obama promised. They're right to think that. Obama talked a great game when it came to change, but he's failing to deliver. And when you've sold a bill of goods like Obama has, it's only a matter of time before people start to realize they've been had.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Why Hillary Would NOT Make a Good Secretary of State

It's the hottest rumor in Washington, DC, right now, and sure enough it involves a Clinton. This time, it's not Bill at the center of it, however. It's Hillary, who has been tapped to be Barack Obama's Secretary of State. If she accepts, she will be the third woman ever to hold that position and the third out of four Secretaries of State to be a woman. On the one hand, it certainly shows that we've evolved as a country. But is Hillary a good candidate for this important position?

If you read the title of this blog, you'd know where I stand on this.

Now for the reasons why...

- Does she actually have foreign policy experience? Sure, she's been First Lady and has had Bill's ear on a number of policy initiatives, but that's not the same thing as having actual foreign policy experience. And, no matter how smart she may be, you can't get that kind of experience through osmosis. If Obama wants to get the world to like us again, he'll need someone who can navagate the tricky diplomatic seas. And when you consider Obama thinks Joe Biden has foreign policy experience, I'm thinking his standards are pretty low.

- Women haven't had that great a track record yet. Madeline Albright and Condoleezza Rice have come before Hillary in this venture, and neither one has been particularly impressive. Albright got tricked by Kim Jong Il, for the love of Pete! And Rice? She's been inconsistent at best. Sometimes she acts like she gets the big picture, and sometimes she doesn't. Granted, going from failure to kinda successful is an improvement, but it would put Hillary in a tough spot where failure or near-success isn't an option. She's going to have to succeed to erase the past.

- The Bill Factor. There's no doubt that Bill Clinton is charismatic. Hillary...not so much. Bill is beloved around the world, which would be helpful to an extent. It might get her foot in the door with some world leaders, but it won't make them all play ball. Eventually, Hillary will have to step up and do something without Bill's influence or utilize it in a way that would not make it look like she was using Bill to make up for any shortcomings she might have. Unless he's going to tag along on every diplomatic junket, Hillary might not be able to use Bill's past to better her future.

- How will this fly with Muslim nations? As Albright and Rice would most likely attest, women aren't seen as highly in Muslim countries as they are here. What we consider to be a big stride for women's rights is considered laughable, even disrespectful, in Muslim countries. Imagine putting Hillary in that kind of environment. Hillary doesn't like to be disrespected or lied to, and Muslims won't respect her and will lie to her more than Bill did. Yeah, that'll end well.

- She's a Clinton. In my years of following politics, I have yet to find two more political people than Bill and Hillary Clinton. If you think Hillary's going to turn that side of her personality off, I have a bridge to sell you. And let me tell you, it won't be cheap. Hillary and Obama went at each other hard and heavy during the primaries, and things were said that I guarantee Bill and Hillary remember. They're not the kind to forgive and forget. Just ask Dick Morris. It wouldn't be outside of the realm of possibility that Hillary would undercut Obama if it would mean she got what she wanted. And that's not a good thing for a Secretary of State.

In short, I would hope Obama would think through this decision a bit more if for no other reason than to make good on his promise to restore America's image around the world. Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State would not do that, I'm afraid.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Bailout Scam

There's been a lot of talk about Bailout Mania that has infected Washington, DC. It seems like everybody is holding their hands out for federal money to shore up problems they've been ignoring for quite some time. For all we know, Carrot Top might be asking for a bailout of his act.

Conservatives have teed off on the bailouts, but not too many have tapped into the real problem with the corporate bailouts. And as you might expect, I'm going to point it out. I know economics can be as exciting as watching Al Gore, but this is important to understand why the Washington bailouts won't work.

When you have a capitalist system like ours, the relationship between a consumer and a producer is at the heart of it. The two are expected to keep each other in check so neither one takes advantage of the other. But the current situation is one where both sides aren't exactly playing honestly. Consumers are in a position where they want to buy as much as they can without having the financial means to buy what they want. Producers are in a position where they are trying to hide losses to appear financially strong and viable. When you have something this dishonest, the system is going to break down.

And when it breaks down, people suffer.

Now, imagine if that relationship gets further altered by the government stepping in and infusing te producers with money, but doesn't do anything for the consumers. That removes the element of risk, which also removes an incentive for the producers to do anything differently. If there's no risk for failure due to being able to rely on government to bail you out, what's the incentive to change and improve the relationship between consumer and producer? For those of you who don't know and for the Democrats reading this, there is no incentive anymore. Government's attempts to "fix" the problem have wound up ripping apart the fabric of our economy. And in the immortal words of Egon Spengler, that would be bad.

Now that we have the auto industry and several banks asking for handouts, we've opened Pandora's box and let out everyone who has made a bad financial decision looking to get some green from the government. Of course, government itself doesn't have any money...until we give it to them in the form of taxes. As long as producers keep lining up for our money, they'll keep being artificially propped up, while the consumers keep extending themselves out further. And once the consumers get to a point where they can't buy any more, those producers will fail. The bailouts only delay the inevitable and reward incompetence.

And in the end, it will destroy both producers and consumers.

The current economic situation is like a leaky boat. If you keep bailing water out of the bottom of it without fixing the holes, you're wasting time and energy while not making headway in getting the water out of the boat. Throwing good money at companies that have made bad financial decisions won't suddenly make them fiscally responsible. All it will teach them is what they need to do to get more money from government. In fact, the only people more fiscally irresponsible than some of the nozzleheads who are begging for bailout money are the morons in Washington who think the bailouts help.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Simple Request

I have a simple request, one that will make America a lot better overnight if enough people do it.

Can we stop calling people not involved with the performance of rock music "rock stars"? Seriously, it's getting on my nerves more than "Gigli: The Musical."

Here's what I mean. Washington insiders are calling former Clinton Administration staffer John Podesta a "rock star" because he's working on Barack Obama's transition team. Have you seen a picture of this guy? He makes Pee Wee Herman look like George Clooney, for the love of Pete! Calling him a "rock star" is seriously devaluing the term. Well, except for Bon Jovi.

When you really think about it, calling someone a "rock star" in today's culture is damning with false praise. We're a celebrity-obsessed culture. We consider any celebrity sighting to be a major news event, so why wouldn't we start elevating people to "rock star" status over relatively mundane things? After all, it strokes our egos and we don't have to get off our duffs to do anything worthy of real praise.

So, in the name of all that is sane, stop calling people "rock stars" if they aren't rock stars. It's pathetic, it's getting boring, and it's nothing that requires any real effort to earn it.

Not to mention, I haven't been called a "rock star" yet.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Unite Behind Obama?

Hearing some Obama supporters talk, now that he's President-Elect, Republicans and conservatives need to stop the partisanship and unite behind him to heal the country. That's a nice sentiment, one I'd normally agree with, but there are a few things that are presenting me from jumping on the bandwagon.

- After spending close to 2 years talking about trying to get past the politics of the past, in his first press conference since Election Day, Barack Obama took a swipe at Nancy Reagan, saying she held seances at the White House. One tiny problem: she didn't. What she's alleged to have done is consult astrologers to help make decisions. Last time I checked, astrology didn't involve dead spirits. Ah, but Obama called Nancy Reagan to apologize, so everything's okay, right? Well, when you consider that Obama's attempt at a bad ad libbed joke was being covered by an international press corps and Obama's apology was by phone...not so much.

- California voters approved a gay marriage ban on the same day they voted for Obama. ABC News reported of a Los Angeles protest against the gay marriage ban and interviewed one of the gay protestors who said that church groups "bought Californians' rights" because they spent so much to get the ban approved. How can I put this delicately? THERE IS NO RIGHT TO MARRIAGE! The people spoke, and they voted for the ban. But because the vote didn't come out the way some people wanted, we have to challenge the will of the people (but not when it goes the way they want it to)?

- Rahm Emanuel was named to be Obama's Chief of Staff. To the average person, Emanuel is an unknown entity, but to people who have followed politics, he's the Tom Delay of the Left. He has a scorched earth approach to politics and he doesn't care who gets hurt. Unity between Democrats and Republicans? I'm going to go out on a limb and say Emanuel probably doesn't agree with that.

- Obama came out with an idea that would mandate the American people to do community service. He's just changed his website to make it non-mandatory, but the point is already made: you will submit. Speaking personally, I volunteer for two non-profit organizations, as I'm sure many others do. These activities take time, but it's for causes I support, so I don't mind it. Government-mandated community service I mind because it removes an important element of true charity: the ability to choose. No word yet on whether this non-mandatory mandatory community service will apply to Washington politicians...

So conservatives and Republicans have to unite behind Obama now that he's President-Elect? I have one thing to say to Democrats, Leftists, and even Republicans who say this.

When Obama shows me that he's serious about uniting the country by telling his own side to unite to heal the country, then I'll unite behind him. But the way it looks right now, it's just words.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

We Hold On

I know there are a lot of conservatives out there who are still feeling down about the results of the elections on Tuesday. At times like these, sometimes the right song will help. Looking through my CD collection, I came across a song from the Canadian rock trio Rush that fits.

From their CD "Snakes and Arrows" I humbly present "We Hold On."

How many times
Do we tire of all the little battles
Threaten to call it quits
Tempted to cut and run
How many times
Do we weather out the stormy evenings
Long to slam the front door
Drive away into the setting sun

Keep going on till dawn
How many times must another line be drawn
We could be down and gone
But we hold on

How many times
Do we chaff against the repetition
Straining against the faith
Measured out in coffee breaks
How many times
Do we swallow our ambition
Long to give up the same old way
Find another road to take

Keep going on till dawn
How many times must another line be drawn
We could be down and gone
But we hold on

Keep holding on so long
Cause theres a chance that we might not be so wrong
We could be down and gone
But we hold on

How many times
Do we wonder if it's even worth it
Theres got to be some other way
Way to get me through the day

Keep going on till dawn
How many times must another line be drawn
We could be down and gone
But we hold on

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Few Words...

I'm going to let the multitude of other conservative bloggers, columnists, and commentators ponder over the "what went wrong" question. I'm pretty much past that and am ready to accept Barack Obama as President-Elect. But before I do, I have a few words.

To Barack Obama, I wish you the best of luck. I didn't vote for you, and if the choice came up again, I still wouldn't. Having said that, you're about to enter the toughest job you'll ever have. If you're true to your word, you will unite this country. If not, you will have a lot of people who will not follow you, even if you're right.

To Joe Biden, you'd better be hitting your knees tonight and thanking God for bringing you as close to the Oval Office as you will ever get.

To John McCain, words cannot express how disappointed I am for you and in you. You ran a bad campaign by trying to be a good guy. The Left treated you like they treated any Republican, and you didn't even try to fight back as hard as you could have. I respect your sacrifices for this country and your service, but as a politician, you, sir, are a wuss. Next time you're up for reelection, retire.

To Sarah Palin, you were a breath of fresh air in this campaign. You were funny, honest, articulate, showed you had more brains than your media critics, and handled yourself with grace against some outrageous crap. I don't blame you if you decide not to run for President in 2012. America right now isn't worthy of you.

To Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, you both dodged a bullet yesterday. If the American voters were even one-tenth as aware as they should be, you two would be out of your jobs, and rightly so. But you won't have to worry about that just yet. But if Obama does poorly, you'll be out of excuses, and hopefully out of jobs.

To John Murtha, you should be in leg irons, not in the House. In spite of everything you've said that would have ruined a normal politician most years, you won. But your luck won't hold out forever, and I think you'll find a few legal problems in your future stemming from your stupid comments about the Haditha Marines.

To the Democrats for McCain, you guys and gals are the heart and soul of the old Democratic Party. Unfortunately, you're also going to be targeted by the Leftist scum who have taken over your party. You will be treated like Joe Lieberman, Zell Miller, and any other Democrat who dared to think for themselves and not drink the Kool Aid. But, for the sake of your party and this country, hang tough.

To the Republicans for Obama, sorry, kids, but I'm going to have to revoke your membership in the Republican Party. A good number of people who voted for Obama got sucked in by his "hope" and "change" talk. You should have known better. And by the way, it's people like you who gave us McCain.

To the mainstream media, you can remove your lips from Obama's ass now. And you owe us an apology for being in Obama's back pocket since it prevented you from doing your jobs. Oh, except when it came to Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. You guys were all over that crap.

To our allies around the world, we're sorry. I hope Obama doesn't screw up too badly when he tries to "restore America's image around the world," but I can't guarantee he won't.

And finally...

To the American people, in a year, I'll bet you'll be asking for a mulligan for electing Obama. Sorry, but there are no "do-overs" in Presidential politics. You bought him, you're stuck with him.