Friday, February 21, 2003

I picked up a great CD at the library the other day... Bing Crosby-Radio Days. It was a compilation of songs from Bing's radio show in the 1940s and had him performing a bunch of songs I had not heard before as well as singing with a wide array of guests such as Peggy Lee, Bob Hope, Burle Ives, Judy Garland, Maurice Chevalier, Dennis Day and Nat King Cole. I sure wish I could find more of this stuff.
I'm still reading the Bing Crosby biography "A Pocketful of Dreams" by Gary Giddins. I got on this Bing kick after hearing him on the Ken Burns Jazz CDs that I got last year. You might have missed him if you weren't paying attention. He is certainly not featured and barely even mentioned in the Ken Burns series. But one song they include in the collection by the Paul Whiteman Orchestra "Ain't No Sweet Man Worth the Salt of Your Tears" has a vocal section by The Ryhthm Boys, which included Bing in his earliest incarnation. That little bit of singing in the midst of what was mostly an instrumental piece was enough to set me off on a quest for Bing Crosby music.
Fortunately for me and my pocketbook, I found a four-disc compilation of the Best of Bing Crosby at the library and recorded it. Now Bing is right up there in my pantheon of greatest singers along with Elvis, Bob Dylan and The Beatles.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

"In the last 30 days British Prime Minister Tony Blair has held two formal press conferences during which he answered about 56 war-related questions. Bush’s same tally for that time period? Zero."
One admirable thing about the British parlimentary system is how it forces the PM to go before the House of Commons and make his case on a regular basis while answering questions (or dodging) from the opposition.

I think this laughable color-coded mess of a terror alert system is just the latest scheme by Bush's henchmen to keep our minds off of his disasterous handling of the economy.

Such brilliant and masterful handling of our foreign policy! Bush's mad rush to war is forcing us to resort to arm-twisting and bribery to get crucial allies like Turkey in line. Now Turkey is demanding we pay them $32 billion for use of their space to set up our advance war operations.
Meanwhile, we are watching financially strapped state governments back here in the U.S. toss poor children out of the Medicaid programs.

Turkey is demanding something more than our "word" that we will come through with the payment as well, and who can blame them. We already renegged on a promise to build a nuclear power plant in N.Korea and that is one of the reasons the NKs are going back on their end of the bargain and restarting their nuclear weapons program.

Let's see... Bold foreign policy moves to take our minds off of the domestic disasters... but then what do you do when the foreign policy initiatives start to run afoul? Orange Alert! Quick! Everybody run out and buy duct tape and plastic sheeting!

And then toss out Michael Jackson to the ravenous TV networks during sweeps week and Voila! No one cares anymore.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

President Bush is quoted today saying that the worldwide anti-war protests of the past weekend will not dissuade him on his plans for Iraq. He dismissed the millions of people who attended rallies around the globe by comparing them to a "focus group." Of course, the president is not going to let a "focus group" dictate how he will set U.S. foreign policy, and it is even commendable for a president to go against the tide of opinion to do what is right. But is waging war on Iraq really the right thing to do?

The last time we waged war in Iraq, it was relatively bloodless for our side. I'm one of the few people who actually knew someone who died during that conflict. The reason the battle was so bloodless is become for the most part we sat back and lobbed bombs and missiles at the enemy. When it was time to move in with the ground troops and engage in the house-to-house, type of urban warfare that would have been necessary to totally dislodge Saddam from power (something that would have sent the U.S. bodycount climbing dramatically), that is when Bush Sr. decided to declare victory and go home.
Now Bush Jr. is ready to pick up where his Dad left off and go forward with Part II. Saddam is weaker today than he was back in 1990, but that hasn't deterred the administration and the conservative media propagandists from hyping him into a monstrous beast of Hitlerian proportions. This is the part that most disturbs me. If the administration so desired, they could hype Mohamar Quadaffi in Libya as a threat to rival Saddam. But that does not suit their current purposes, so we hear nothing about him. Past administrations have hyped Fidel Castro as a threat to our well being, all to no avail.
I think the pattern that Bush Jr. is looking at for this conflict is not so much the first Persian Gulf War, as his Dad's incursion into Panama to capture Manuel Noriega. That would be quite a trophy to bring back. A quick raid by U.S. Special Forces surrounding Saddam's palace and blasting him with rock-n-roll music until he surrenders and we haul him back and put him in a jail cell somewhere in Florida. If only it was that simple.

Here is a quote from another president named George (Washington, that is.) Written in 1796, Washington warned future presidents against the dangers of ill-considered foreign entanglements.

"The nation which indulges toward another by habitual hatred, or habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. The nation, prompted by ill will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy."

Monday, February 17, 2003

The folks behind have just been bought out by Google. Read about it here.

Oh goody. The Washington Post today has this to say about the future of Reality TV:

"But there's no sign that reality is going away soon. ABC last week launched "Are You Hot?," a show in which men and women compete solely on the basis of sex appeal. It has scheduled 10 more reality series through the summer. NBC is planning to carry "Around the World in 80 Dates," in which a contestant has romantic escapades with partners from other countries. CBS is readying "Cupid," a series similar to "The Bachelor."

Fox, meanwhile, has bought "Spellbound," a reality show in which three attractive young women are hypnotized to believe that an unattractive man is their perfect mate (the show is produced by Elisabeth Murdoch, the daughter of Rupert Murdoch, who heads Fox's parent company). And Fox will replace "Joe Millionaire" next month with "Married by America," a series in which viewers vote to match-marry contestants.

In all, as many as a dozen reality series of one kind or another could be on the networks' schedules next fall."

Hypnotism!?! Do they really think people are that stupid? I may have to sell my TV due to lack of use...