Category Archives: buzz

Congress Gets a DD–Rating From us Standard Poor

Congress gets DD-Rating

According to our U.S. Constitution, only Congress can spend money and only Congress can set policy. Even the veto power of the President of the United States, is at the mercy of Congress–as they can override his veto power. They can override a presidential veto for political gain (or games), or because they just don’t like him, or because they are self-centered-greedy-drunk-with-power elected officials who want it “their way,” or no way at all.

I only point this out to show that no matter what our President tried-or as some think, didn’t try to do in the month-long debt crisis fiasco–it wouldn’t have mattered. The Republicans had control of the ball and they dropped it right on us. Not just we the people but we the standard poor people. The people who have no jobs, or two jobs, or low wage jobs. The people who don’t get the tax breaks of the rich and can’t afford off-shore accounts. The people upside down on their homes and sinking fast or in default. The people who Congress can’t possibly relate to and therefore refuses to help with anything more than rhetoric.

The fact that Standard & Poor’s  has downgraded the U.S. credit rating a notch is not nearly as important as why? S&P said the downgrade reflected their opinion of our political situation and said the Republicans are not likely to let the Bush tax cuts (for the rich) expire in 2012– so no new money coming in. It is a totally separate issue that S&P is grading on some kind-of fortune teller-astrological-voodoo curve, whereby they predict the future political situation rather than assessing the financial situation as it stands.

Yes, the Republicans got their “deal” and us standard poor people got to watch elected officials play one-upmanship, not play well with others, and sell us down the river so they can report back to the lobbyists, big banks, big pharma, and other big entities that make big political donations. In the meantime the real American crisis of jobs, wages and growth is once again taking a back seat so that the rich can get richer and the middle and lower class can become obsolete.

We can only hope that anyone in Congress that helped create this mess is heavily invested in the big companies that they are supporting with their votes, the “too big to fail” companies that were tanking today in the stock market.  This Congress deserves a DD–rating, from all the standard poor people in America.

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Difference between news analyst, commentator and pundit? None

Danse Macabre: The Pundits.

Image by quirkybird via Flickr

I decided just yesterday for no reason in particular, to throw my hat into the pundit ring. I’ve heard through other reliable pundits (pretty funny huh, using reliable and pundit in same sentence) that all you need is an opinion and a forum. I figure I have both.  My forum might be small by Fox or CNN standards but never-the-less a blog is a blog and you just never know who drops by.

I was in the newspaper business for many years, and the only words we ever used to describe who we were and what we did were typically reporter, correspondent, columnist and of course editor.  The editorial was the newspaper version of opinion along with columns, which were the express opinion of the writer who wrote them. As reporters or correspondents (which were our part-time reporters) we wrote news backed up with plenty of facts and sources or it didn’t fly. Pretty cut and dried.  But,  people even then,  expressed confusion about what exactly an editorial  was,  no matter that I once wrote an editorial explaining to readers exactly what an editorial was.  So evidently, opinion and fact and how they are packaged  has always been confusing for some. Myself included.

Today of course, we have been enlightened with so much opinion in our news, especially TV news, that the lines seem especially  blurred between pundit, commentator and news analyst. I have been researching these three terms for quite a while and have come to the conclusion that pundits, commentators and news analysts are completely interchangeable.  For a while, I thought a news analyst was not supposed to have a personal opinion. That he/she was supposed to gather the facts, have some extra deep knowledge to add to those facts that us dummies don’t know and present same to us in an unbiased manner.

But, my new pundit opinion thinking cap got in the way. If you are analyzing a situation how do you do that without bringing your own bias into the mix? How is an analyst going to analyze without coming to some conclusion? And you can’t come to a conclusion and be unbiased. If you just throw out the facts and don’t analyze then you aren’t an analyst anymore just a reporter or a correspondent or someone who just reads the news on TV with no comments whats-so-ever (an unheard of phenomenon). Even interpreting the news, which is something news analysts do often, is still interpreting the news by the standards of the analysts themselves or who ever they work for. So they still have a point of view.  A point of view cannot be void of opinion.

This is certainly not think-tank stuff but since a commentator is an opinion person, and a pundit is most definitely an opinion person (think Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck) and since I have personally dropped the status of news analyst to mere opinion person I think a new word to describe all three interchangeable words is in order.  Maybe something like anal-puntator or…I’m sure you come can up with plenty of your own.

(If you are a news junkie like I am you might want to pick up a copy of this; http://amzn.to/1rIhuzD “The News: A Users Manual.” It definitely shows how the 24hr. news cycle affects our lives. Now, the author does analyze in this book but maybe I like it because I agree with most of it.)  I bought it in hardcover rather than digital just because I find it easier to skim.  I am an Amazon affiliate so I do get a small commission If you purchase through my link.

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The Kardashian We Dare You To Have A Merry Christmas Card

I’m still waiting for my Kardashian family Christmas card.  After all, I do occasionally watch their show and I would think that alone should put me on their list. I saw their card all over the internet yesterday and it certainly is a unique card. But judging from their attire and the look on all their faces , it shows anything but “merry.” Take a look here and see for yourself: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20450926,00.html

When I first saw the Kardashian Christmas card  I thought it was a promo for their reality show. On second glance it reminded me of the decadent, glamorous, and fictionalized TV shows like Dynasty, Dallas and Falcon Crest of the 1980’s. People on those shows also dressed to the nines for breakfast and stood on winding staircases not smiling. The card looks a little heavy on the Photo Shop and light on the merry mood. A little too Stepford family for me.

The Kardashian Christmas card may have been trying a little too hard for pretentious glamour. So hard in fact, that the kids don’t even look like kids. The two youngest girls are 14 and I think 12. These two look 25. Poor little Mason, the little one, while really cute, looks like a miniature adult.  The steel grey clothing and appearance of the family conjure up a “We dare you to have a Merry Christmas look.”

Just give me the old standing by a green Christmas tree family portrait, with the dog, santa hats, maybe a fireplace, red and green bows, ornaments, tinsel, weird Christmas sweaters, maybe kids in red and green velvet, one person in the photo kind of out -of- sync with the rest. You know-a real family Christmas photo, like the kind taken when “reality” meant something totally different than it does today.

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Are Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert our “real” news media?

What does it say for journalism today when the best and most accurate news is delivered by comedians such as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert? It says a lot, actually. It says that somebody over at Comedy Central does their homework and research. It says that even though their news “bits” are funnier than hell, their opinion based news is actually founded on FACT. Imagine that. Opinion based on fact and not “made-up stuff”.

It’s no wonder that a Time magazine poll last year named Stewart the most trusted man in news. He has literally replaced the deceased Walter Cronkite. And no, that is not a joke but most of our main stream media is. Both Stewart and Colbert (or their staffs) actually go digging for news. They call out our politicians on their absurdity and lies. In the old days they called this “investigative journalism”. Today it is called Comedy Central.

Thanks to the social news website of http://www.reddit.com  Stewart and Colbert will be holding dueling rallies at the Washington D.C. Mall Oct. 30. Stewart’s is called “Rally to Restore Sanity” and Colbert’s dubs his “March to Keep Fear Alive.” While they are obviously both parodies of Glenn Beck’s recent “Restoring Honor Rally” in the same location and on the date of Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech, (which many thought was awful timing) they joke that maybe 400 million people could show up.

Joseph Laughlin, who frequents the Reddit site started the ball rolling recently by putting up a message that said Colbert should hold a satirical rally in response to Becks’s rally. He started the campaign rolling and it took off. He and a handful of other Reddit commentors started sending messages across the country in e-mails, Facebook, Twitter and any other means they could find. They even raised $240,000 for one of Colbert’s favorite charities to entice him. It worked.

It will be more than “funny” to see how Fox, ABC,NBC,CBS,CNN,MSNBC et al, handle this rally. Will they “cover” it like they did Beck’s rally, acting like it was “real” news. Will they distort the number of people who show up in order to downplay the power of people and humor. Will they even understand that although it is satire, the crowd that does show up is among other things, thumbing their noses at the main stream media and its robotic and shallow reporting of what really is going on in America today?

Will there be a politician alive who will understand that this is an outlet for frustrated and unhappy voters to vent, mingle and maybe with a whole lot of humor, decide to vote them out of office? I guess we’ll all have to tune-in and see..

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Hey, main stream mess media; I’m going to burn my press card

I figure a headline like the one above should have Fox, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS and maybe even Geraldo knocking on my door in minutes , for the scoop of a lifetime.  I mean, it worked for that nutcase Florida pastor Terry Jones from the Dove Outreach Church. (What does that mean anyway? Are they all running around catching doves? Call PETA quick).
Anyway, when Jones decided he needed his 15 minutes of fame he grabbed a few Qurans (Muslim holy books) and said he was going to burn them on 9/11. And bingo, the guy was a made-for-TV evangelist.  One day you are a nobody with next to nobody in your cult/church and the next day you are a force to be reckoned with thanks to our main stream  mess media that is having a slow news day, or week or just sitting around with their laptops waiting for the next big non-scoop.

This would be comical if it wasn’t so sad. Can you imagine a real pro newsman like Walter Cronkite, in the face of this nutcase pastor, even giving him the time of day? I mean, this is less important that Paris Hilton thinking that the crack cocaine that fell out of her purse was chewing gum. This is even less important than anything Jon Gosselin ever did, said or wore.  This is more embarrassing than Geraldo Rivera’s opening up that vault years ago on National TV and finding NOTHING. This is more embarrassing than Glenn Beck crying and Sarah Palin whining.

Our enlightened media literally turned a nothing pastor and his idiotic tiny tribe of kool-aid, loser followers into a national comment frenzy as anyone who is running for anything, that could even remotely be construed as political  had to have their voice heard on this “issue”. It’s as if the “balloon boy madness” won’t go away.  The press is so easily duped that it bleeds a non-story until the President of The United States has to get involved.  And I’m pretty sure he should be focusing his attention on the economy, the war,  jobs,  greedy banks, slime-ball insurance companies and well-real issues.

So, I have decided that as a writer that regularly does freelance writing for AOL websites among others, I am up to spreading my wings, as it were. I’ve figured out that If I burn something they (the main stream mess media)  will come and I will become famous just long enough to nab a book publisher or write an article for Oprah magazine.  Since today, September 11, is “No News is Good News Day” I have decided to burn my old press card, which is sure to incite an international something-or-other.  Or, at the very least get me on a talk show.

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