Welcome to 2006

Now go home

Just kidding, of course. We are home. That's even worse.

The handful of people who follow this blob--I mean blog--have probably noticed it has languished for a while. Yes, I am still boycotting CNN. I don't even want to--but it is just so full of dramatics now, I can't watch it. And I felt like I shouldn't harangue about the state of the nation over the holidays. But the holiday season is over, and we have entered the months where we actually look forward to Martin Luther King Day to save us from the work week. Holidays don't start in earnest until the summer, so we are, as Tom Snyder used to say (I miss his Web site, which he closed down, and I hope he is doing well) rolling the rock up the hill for the first half of the year.

Sigh-Back to Politics
Politics seems hopeless and depressing to me. About the best I can say is that John Kerry apparently had some work done (see Jan 4 entry on that site) and, if god forbid, he is the Democratic nominee again (I can't believe anyone would let that happen), he won't look as Frankensteinien. Now if we could do something about Teresa's capes.

With the Abramoff scandal out in the open, it is clear that corruption is more rampant than ever in this government. And anyone who thinks it is merely Republican is naive. Yes, the Republicans are "better and well-versed" at it than the Dems, but recent polls (CNN/USA Today/Gallup; AP/Ipsos) indicate that the bulk of the U.S. public believes our entire Congress is corrupt; and they/we are probably not far off in that assessment. The quandary is how to solve that when the corrupt officials are the same people that would vote to make laws to stop that. Ain't gonna happen. That's how they got into power in the first place. I continue to contend that our government is drifting closer and closer to what the Soviets used to be--or what we say the Soviets used to be. Except our government is underwritten by oil companies, insurance companies, drug companies and the like.

Not to mention the recent domestic spying revelations. The other night, Bill O'Reilly was on David Letterman whining about how "liberals" (and Sears/K-Mart--oh yes, a very liberal corporation!) are denying freedoms because they're not allowing people to say "Christmas" any more (see my Merry Intolerance entry of 12/14). First of all, this--to me--is horsecrap. I don't know ONE "liberal"--or even non-Christian, including Jews or atheists--who has stopped anyone from saying Merry Christmas. At the worst, they will return "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays."

No, that whole campaign about "religious freedom" is, I believe, to distract people from all the other basic freedoms that are being taken away subversively but on a large scale. The freedom of privacy (eavesdropping and spying by the NSA and FBI), the freedom of dissent, to protest, to travel freely (I realize freedom and freely is somewhat redundant), of the right to a speedy public trial by our peers (instead of some secret military tribunal), of being innocent until proven guilty, and of not being held without just cause. All these very basic American freedoms have been abridged under the reign of this administration. So of course their mouthpieces are out trying to focus people's attention on issues like what to say at holiday time.

O'Reilly vs. Letterman
O'Reilly was on Dave Letterman the other night, and, I thought, it was quite a shocking interchange. I have watched Letterman since the 80s--since he premiered in the slot after Johnny Carson to replace the aforementioned Tom Snyder. I have enjoyed Letterman's' quirkiness and irreverence, though after 25 years, I think everyone gets a bit stale. Dave, at least, admits that and it has become part of his routine.

The conservative contingent has said (see profusion of blog entries out there this week about this topic) Letterman is a liberal or flaming liberal, or whatever terms they want to spew to cast someone as a subversive who actually uses their brain. After watching Dave for a generation, I don't think he's much of a liberal. He is an Indiana boy, and remains true to that. He owns a Nascar team; he and his staff have been to Iraq a number of times to entertain the soldiers there. He is a heartland guy and I think he falls right down the middle. Or he seems to on his show. Sure he makes fun of George Bush. How can you not--is this guy really one of the best and the brightest? But Dave also makes fun of John Kerry, Howard Dean, and especially Bill Clinton. Five years after Clinton has left office, he still remains one of the biggest butts (so to speak) of Letterman humor. Letterman's job is to be a comedian, and he lampoons anyone who he thinks deserves it. I do not see it cutting down party lines. In fact, I almost think Johnny Carson was more clearly "liberal" than David Letterman is!

Letterman generally keeps his politics to himself---sometimes frustratingly so, for this viewer. But he sure came unglued with Bill O'Reilly the other night. The disdain and contempt rolled out after O'Reilly proclaimed "Happy Solstice" and many blogs have recounted the exchange. It escalated after O'Reilly derided Cindy Sheehan. The entire interview is up on the Late Show Web site (if this link expires, look for the 1/3/06 Bill O'Reilly entry on the site's DTV page) for you to see for yourself. Unfortunately, Letterman, at one point, retreated to saying something like "I don't know enough to argue with you," which the conservative bloggers have jumped on. He should not have said that because he is obviously an informed, literate, well-read man who has probably been to Iraq and talked to more of our fighting people than O'Reilly has.

I was conversing with a friend the other night, and we both agreed that this country has turned partisan, divided, and, in many ways, mean (although I don't know we exactly said it that way). It will be interesting to see what 2006 brings. Often it takes a large-scale event to unite people, but we have had many large-scale events over the last five or six years, and, if anything, the fallout of each has divided this country more than ever. I think it's time for the space aliens to get into the act. :-) (Be careful what you wish for...)

Happy new year.

Posted: Thu - January 5, 2006 at 11:00 AM