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Life on the Edge

Over the last 20 or 30 years, we’ve been entertained by those who push the envelope. Whether it is comedy or music or political theater, we continue to look for entertainers who push the envelope and go right up to the edge. We have almost reflexively rejected those who have stayed in the mainstream. Comedians like Chris Rock, Bernie Mac and Bill Maher are more toward our liking. Hell, even mainstream folks like Jeff Foxworthy and Jeff Dunham are pushing the edge. Radio talk show hosts who are simply entertaining aren’t enough. They need to be in-your-face. They need to cause you to recoil, every now and then. They need to be Rush Limbaugh. Sure, you can use the same decorum that was acceptable in the United States back in 1970, but you’re not going to see the kind of riches that Rush Limbaugh is enjoying. You have to push the envelope. You have to be Icarus and fly too close to the sun.

Bill Maher has enjoyed a relatively long career specializing in this type of comedic acrobatics. His film on religion was all about pushing the envelope. His HBO television program, Real-Time, is basically about balance between mainstream comedy and pushing the envelope. Comments that he made about Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann have caused many to throw him in the same bucket as Rush Limbaugh. (Limbaugh’s comments on Sandra Fluke are here.) For the past several days, if not weeks, Bill Maher has been in damage control mode. To try to put out the fire, he wrote an op-ed in the New York Times. The point of the op-ed was not to defend his own actions but instead to “gallantly” come to the rescue of Robert De Niro who got in hot water over a mildly racial “joke” that he told a fundraiser. “Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?”

This joke caused “outrage.” Really? Outrage? I agree with Bill Maher. We have tons of fake outrage in our society. There are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of fringe groups who are looking for just a little bit of leverage so that they can ride a wave of outrage to fame, fortune and riches. In my opinion, the problem isn’t the fake outrage. The problem stems from our desire to see entertainers push the envelope yet again. When they do, though, for some reason we are surprised that they’ve gone “too far.”

My blog has outrage in the title. The purpose of my blog is not to be outraged and upset every single day or at every single issue. Instead, I do believe that there are some things that we should be outraged about and we have yet to figure it out. The fact that we were deceived and went to war in Iraq should cause all of us to really be upset. Thousands died. For what? For reasons that still remain unclear to me, we’ve decided to give up some of our civil liberties so that we can be “safer,” yet we haven’t demanded any sort of measure of our safety. An absence of terrorist attacks cannot be the only end point. What was that stupid color-coded alert system? The fact that we had a huge economic meltdown and have yet to hold Wall Street truly accountable for their fraudulent behavior should cause us to be truly outraged. Then, to compound the confusion and frustration, we have thrown cash at Wall Street and somehow we expect different results? Here’s where our outrage needs to be focused. The fact that Robert DeNiro or Bill Maher or Hank Williams said something stupid just isn’t it. I’m sorry, but it should be obvious that we have bigger problems in this country to focus on. (The anger and frustration directed at Rush Limbaugh was more than justified, in my humble opinion.)

By |2012-03-23T06:17:20-04:00March 23rd, 2012|Media|Comments Off on Life on the Edge

Wednesday Evening News Roundup

The Indianapolis Colts have released Peyton Manning.

There’s lots of speculation as to why the Indianapolis Colts have made this decision. In my opinion, it was an incredibly stupid decision. The big question is whether Peyton Manning can still play football. If he can’t, he should retire. If he can actually play, he should have stayed at Indianapolis for another couple of seasons and schooled the young rookie, Andrew Luck. I’m sorry, but I’m not buying all the hype that is surrounding Andrew Luck. I’m old enough to remember Todd Marinovich and Ryan Leaf. Both quarterbacks were surrounded with all of the accolades that one could ask for; yet, when they got into the NFL, somehow it just didn’t materialize. Thousands of excuses were made. The bottom line is that these guys were paid a lot of money and were a bust. There are no sure things in the NFL. I don’t care how great you were in college, that greatness does not translate into the NFL. Hell, Tom Brady was mediocre in college at best and is now a great NFL quarterback. Personally, I would take a Peyton Manning playing at 80% of his total capability versus any unproven quarterback.

I enjoyed watching this video of a blogger sneaking a metal object through the TSA high-tech scanners. He makes a compelling argument that these high-tech scanners are nothing more than window dressing. Then, he loses me. He talks about how we need to get rid of the scanners and go back to the old metal detectors and how we need to privatize the TSA. What? Privatize? His argument to privatize the TSA undermines the whole video.

Anonymous has taken down the Vatican website. It seems that this group is undeterred by several recent arrests. I wonder if they wrote their protests in Latin. Now, that would have been classy.

Bill Maher has decided to run to the rescue of Rush Limbaugh. Curious. Basically, his argument on Twitter was that Rush Limbaugh apologized and therefore should be forgiven. He also would like intimidation of Limbaugh sponsors to stop. I’m sorry he didn’t like it. Rush Limbaugh’s non-apology apology didn’t start getting heartfelt until yesterday. Yesterday, we saw a real apology.

Michele Bachmann continues her delusional assault on ObamaCare. Earlier today she said, “Going with that logic, according to our own Health and Human Services Secretary, it isn’t far-fetched to think that the President of the United States could say, we need to save health care expenses – the federal government will only pay for one baby to be born in the hospital per family, or two babies to be born per family. That could happen. We think it couldn’t?” Pigs could fly. Beggars could ride. I could go on.

Mitt Romney

If you think that the media is manipulating this election, I think you’re right. I think there are too many incentives for the media NOT to try to pump up Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. The bottom line is that the GOP field is the weakest in over 30 years. Bob Dole, former Sen. and former GOP nominee for president, would mop the floor with these guys. Last night’s suspense-less piece of theater was mind numbingly awful. Anyone following the selection knew how was it going to go before anyone went to the ballot box. Newt Gingrich was going to win Georgia. Ron Paul was going to win around 9% of the vote. Rick Santorum would take a couple of states. Mitt Romney would win Massachusetts and a couple of northern states. The icing on the cake was the small margin of victory that Mitt Romney was going to have in Ohio. Please do not tell me you were surprised. We’ve seen the saga many times before in this election season. Mitt Romney, going into Florida, had a huge deficit. He spent a ton of money and squeaked out a victory against a suddenly bewildered and unfocused Newt Gingrich. (Remember him talking about moon bases? How is that message disciplined?) Then, just last week, we had the nailbiter in Michigan. Mitt Romney was going to lose his home state, remember? Then, Rick Santorum launched into his Obama is an education snob routine and talked about the famous speech by JFK which made him puke. Mitt Romney opened up the cash register and somehow, just barely, each got a victory. How many times are we going to fall for this Charlie Brown, Lucy and the football routine.

By |2012-03-08T01:16:34-04:00March 8th, 2012|Healthcare, NFL, Party Politics|Comments Off on Wednesday Evening News Roundup

Monday Morning Grab Bag

I’ve been staring at the computer trying to get motivated for the last couple of hours. I need some more caffeine.

  • I love basketball. The game is so simple yet so hard to play. I played basketball in high school and played intramurals in college. I played a lot at medical school and then, as my workload increased in residency and my free time decreased, I played less and less basketball. This brings me to the NCAA tournament nicknamed, “March Madness.” For the most part, I find watching college basketball to be frustrating. Frequently, ego and moxie override common sense and prudence and actually hurt the team. The University of North Carolina lost to the University of Kentucky because they didn’t play as a team. The University of Kentucky only sort of played as a team and that is probably why they won. There was more than one occasion when I was yelling at the television screen for a player not to take some ill-advised shot. This is one of the reasons why I do enjoy watching Butler play. They really play together as a team. Each member seems to understand their role and is willing to make the extra pass to get a high percentage shot. Anyway, I’ll try to watch the Final Four this weekend. Maybe if I pre-medicate myself with an antipsychotic…
  • The New York Times has a nice editorial on financial reform. The fact that financial reform needs rescue is somewhat disturbing. Conservatives have turned the whole financial debacle into a need for more deregulation. To even the most casual observer, deregulation can be said to be the reason for the Great Recession. We need more thoughtful regulation in order to rein in many of these rogue companies (Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America).
  • Professor William Cronon is under scrutiny. He’s a simple historian at the University of Wisconsin. He made the mistake of speaking out and not agreeing with the governor and the Republican majority. The Republicans are lashing out. They’re requesting a wide range of information from his e-mails. What is the purpose? To embarrass the professor? Or to teach the professor a lesson not to speak out?
  • Libyan rebels appear to be making progress, I think?
  • Just so we don’t forget, Republicans/conservatives have have a long history of voter suppression from poll taxes to the new voter ID laws.
  • I have no idea what to make of the fact that rainwater in Massachusetts appears to contain low levels of radiation. Paranoia?
  • I find it amusing that Lauren Ashburn has written a very nice article emphasizing our need for debate before entering into our Libyan war. I find it amusing because we really didn’t debate before we entered into Iraq. We didn’t really weigh the pros and cons of what was clearly going to be a major undertaking. We simply asked the Bush administration to check several boxes on the checklist and once all the boxes were checked, we proceeded. We have lost the ability to debate in this country. In my opinion, we will be a much better, safer and more responsible country once we learn to debate – honestly debate – with each other again.
  • Geraldine Ferraro is dead at age 75. Gloria Steinem is written a nice tribute to her. She is known as Walter Mondale’s running mate and a extremely ill-fated presidential run in 1984.

Bill Maher on Anti-Obama. Watch the Video –

So, what’s on your mind?

By |2011-03-28T10:13:42-04:00March 28th, 2011|Environment, Foreign Affairs, Obama administration, Party Politics|Comments Off on Monday Morning Grab Bag
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