Friday, March 11, 2005

TV theme show countdown update

Time for an update on the countdown of greatest TV theme music over at retroCRUSH: The World's Finest Pop Culture Site.

Since my last post on this topic they have added 23 shows to the list.

The new additions include:
Star Trek The Next Generation
The Partidge Family
Miami Vice
The Rockford Files
Get Smart
The Flintstones
Beverly Hillbillies
Andy Griffith Show
Spider Man
Six Feet Under
The Munsters
The Young and the Restless
Twilight Zone
The Monkees
Good Times
Hawaii Five-0
Doctor Who
ABC’s Wide World of Sports
All In the Family
Fat Albert and The Cosby Kids
Spongebob Squarepants
Twin Peaks

That means they are down to the final six selections.

Here are the guesses I made a few weeks ago as to the shows that would fill out the remaining slots with correct answers (so far) in bold:

Star Trek, Twilight Zone, Friends, Danger Mouse, Scooby Doo, Gilligan’s Island, The Beverly Hillbillies, ER, Spider Man, Miami Vice, Hawaii Five-0, Batman, Bonanza, Baretta, Mission: Impossible, All In the Family, The Andy Griffith Show, Gomer Pyle, The Brady Bunch, The Flintstones, The Monkees...

And here are the guesses that were made in comments:

Commando - Transformers and Monk

Joe Johnson - I Love Lucy, The Greatest American Hero and Starsky & Hutch

Me - ABC's Wide World of Sports.

TxBubba - Dallas and Fat Albert and Cosby Kids, Carol Burnett. My Three Sons. American Bandstand. The Jeffersons. Paladin. Davy Crockett. Doris Day Show.
Wonder Woman, Charlie's Angels, Space Ghost, Spongebob Squarepants, Monty Python's Flying Circus, The Waltons, Love, American Style, McNeil/Lehrer Newshour

With only six slots left I would have to say Star Trek, Gilligan’s Island and Scoobee Doo are definitely going to fill half of them. As for the other three I would guess that Brady Bunch and Friends are still in the running and maybe Mission:Impossible.
I don’t think it looks good for Danger Mouse, ER, Batman, Baretta or Gomer Pyle

Stay tuned...


The suspense is over. The final six (seven) shows in the countdown have been revealed
and I can say I predicted all but two of them. They kind of cheated by creating a two-way tie for second place.

6. Star Trek
5. Mission Impossible
4. The Jeffersons
3. Batman
2. Gilligan's Island/The Brady Bunch
1. Sanford and Son

I have to say I had overlooked The Jeffersons and completely forgot about Sanford and Son (though I would never have considered it a Top 10 much less for No. 1).
I'm shocked that Scoobee Doo did not make the list and I think the exclusion of Friends was also a surprise.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Right-wing radio monopoly

While some folks are concerned about alleged liberal bias in our local newspaper. I rarely hear about the overwhelmingly one-sidedness of San Antonio’s talk radio stations. We currently have four stations on the AM dial that are devoted almost strictly to the talk radio format including one religious talk station - 1200 WOAI, owned by Clear Channel Communications which is headquartered here in San Antonio; 930 KLUP; 550 KTSA; and 630 KSLR.

The programming lineups on these stations are downright scary. There is not a liberal voice to be found anywhere as best I can tell. I suppose there could be someone on KTSA with a slightly moderate view now and again because they have a lot of local people on the air who I have not listened to. However, all of the major syndicated shows and primetime slots are all right-wing all the time.

Here is the lineup so you can see for yourself:

The Glenn Beck Program
The Schnitt Show
Jeff Bolton
Sean Hannity

Bill Bennett
Laura Ingraham
Dennis Prager
Michael Medved
Mike Gallagher

Bill O’Reilly
Michael Reagan

James Dobson's Focus on the Family
Chuck Colson’s BreakPoint
Take A Stand with Adam McManus - Talk Radio with Guts!

There was a lot of fuss a while back about the launch of the liberal radio station Air America featuring Al Franken, but you can’t listen to it here.

I was curious whether there were any right-wing yakkers that aren’t on the air in San Antonio. It turns out there are still quite a few that the local stations can fall back on to keep their 24-7 right-wing propaganda mill running indefinitely. In the docks we have G. Gordon Liddy, Ollie North, Cal Thomas, Beverly LaHaye, Laura Schlessinger, Bob Grant, Bob Barr, Ken Hamblin, Larry Elder, Neal Boortz, and many, many more.

He’s Baaaaack!

My conservative sparring partner Mark Harden is back from his self-imposed exile from the blogosphere. Mark stopped updating his blog InSane Antonio about a year ago, but now he has teamed up with Alamo City Commando over at S.A. Express-News Watch where he will no doubt be giving the local newspaper a hard time on a regular basis.
As if the poor liberal media didn’t have enough troubles already. Is this even a fair fight?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The limits of volunteerism

It is a common right-wing misconception that we could replace government run social service programs with private faith-based charities. I don’t believe this is realistic or practical.
But rather than trying to point out the obvious - that being the massive scale of the government’s resources and the vast need for them compared to the inadequate resources and infrastructure of private charities - not to mention their unwillingness to take on such a heavy burden.
Instead, I would like to relay an anecdote from my days as a reporter working for the Kerrville Daily Times in the early to mid-’90s. I was covering the Kerr County Commissioners Court back then when an issue arose involving the lack of funding for some of the area’s volunteer fire departments (VFDs).
Now Kerr County has got to be one of the most conservative places on Earth. There were no elected Democrats in any office and the county boasted the highest percentage of Republican voters in the state. And yet here was a group of people coming before the staunchly conservative commissioners court and demanding that they be allowed to set up a new taxing district.
It seems that the surrounding countryside was booming with new housing developments targeting wealthy retirees moving in from Houston and elsewhere. And the local VFDs just weren’t able to keep up with the pace. They needed new equipment. They needed more people. And most of all they needed to replace their old fire engine - a substantial investment.
Every year this particular VFD would hold fundraising drives and do whatever they could to raise the money they needed to do their work. They would go door to door collecting donations and every year it would be the same small group of people who would pony up the bulk of the funding. Now these very same generous people were standing before the commissioners saying they were tired of footing the bill for everyone else. They wanted to establish a taxing district that would require everyone to pay their fair share.
Needless to say, they got their wish. The commissioners conceded that the VFD formula was no longer sufficient, so they cast aside the Republican mantra of “No New Taxes” and set up a new taxing district. I’ll bet that tax is still being collected to this day.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Defining liberalism down

In the previous post’s comments thread my conservative friend Alamo Commando jokingly referred to himself as a superhero fighting crime and liberalism. I understand the joke, of course, but I also know that in some respects he is being serious because Commando, like many other good Americans, works with a definition of liberalism that is radically different from my own.

Ever since Ronald Reagan mocked Democrats for embracing the unspeakable L-word, people have steered clear of the term like it was radioactive. Today when right-wing provocateur Sean Hannity puts out a book with the title “Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism,” most people don’t bat an eye.
Even self-described liberals just shrug it off now because we are used to being insulted on a daily basis. Everywhere you look today - newspapers, TV shows, bookstores, radio - you are constantly barraged with derogatory references to liberals or liberalism.

Liberals today are accused of everything from racism to treason. In the perverse Orwellian logic of some conservative leaders today, anything the government does to help people today is bad. Social welfare programs make people dependent and take away their incentive to improve themselves, the argument goes. Programs aimed at minorities are both condescending and racist because they assume these people need extra help. Meanwhile, these same liberal programs that are hurting the poor are also the cause of our huge budget deficits and are the reason why our taxes are high and our economy is underperforming.
People who question the war in Iraq are providing aide and comfort to our enemies and hurting the morale of our troops. Worse than that, they actually want despots like Saddam Hussein to win just so they can advance their nefarious political schemes.
Some people equate liberalism with immorality - especially the sexual kind. Those Hollywood liberals are responsible for the filth that is polluting the minds of our children and their overly-tolerant anything-goes attitude is lowering the standards that have made this a God-fearing country until now.

But this obviously is not how I view myself. I see liberalism as a good and positive force in our society. My liberal views are strongly based on my religious faith. To me, Jesus Christ was the ultimate bleeding heart liberal. The example he set and the teachings he put forward set a standard much higher than I have been willing to follow. I’ve never visited anyone in prison. I have yet to give away all my possessions to the poor. I have a difficult time forgiving all my enemies and turning the other cheek every time I feel slighted or injured. But I do try to live a Christian life and I don’t see why I shouldn’t support furthering some of those Christian values through our government. If helping poor people is truly a bad thing, as conservatives today insist it is, then start by blaming Jesus.

Anyway, here are a few definitions of a liberal that I found on the web:

Liberal. [n]  a person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties. --

A person who believes it is the duty of government to ameliorate social conditions and create a more equitable society. Liberals favor generous spending on the welfare state; they exhibit a concern for minorities, the poor, and the disadvantaged and often see these conditions as a product of social injustices rather than individual failings. Liberals also tend to be concerned about environmental issues, the defense of civil liberties, and do not favor excessive military spending. -- iAmericanSpirit Political Dictionary

Liberals tend to favor greater federal power to remedy social inequities, and to support freedom of personal choice and behavior. Liberals are described as being left of center on the political spectrum. Of the two major political parties, the Democratic Party is generally regarded as being more liberal. -- Election Glossary, Public Broadcasting System (PBS)

[Liberals] generally believe in some form of income redistribution, a social safety net, universal health care, progressive values, and a multilateral foreign policy. -- Harvard University Institute of Politics Glossary of Political Terms

In today's world, the liberals are the idealists, the people who still believe, in spite of everything that has happened, that they can make the world a better place for everybody. They believe that government is inherently good, that it can make the human condition better. They believe that we have some obligation to our fellow human beings. They believe in personal freedom, in freedom of speech and religion. They believe in the common good, the things people cannot do alone. -- Henrietta Hay, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

Liberalism is not so much a party creed or set of fixed platform promises as it is an attitude of mind and heart, a faith in man's ability through the experiences of his reason and judgment to increase for himself and his fellow men the amount of justice and freedom and brotherhood which all human life deserves. -- Sen. John F. Kennedy, Sept. 14, 1960