Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Two of my favorite scenes on Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving to all that have, haven't, or will ever read this blog.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thank You Meet the Press

Watched my recorded "Meet the Press" from Sunday last night and saw the following montage celebrating the 60 years of MTP on TV.

Think this was a brilliantly produced piece which shows the importance and gravitas of this show through the years.

MTP has had over 3000 episodes in that 60 year span, and has been the standard for the Sunday Morning Talk Shows during that entire time.

I was struck by the names of people interviewed on the show. All Presidents and Vice Presidents since JFK and LBJ to epic figures like Martin Luther King, Jimmy Hoffa, Newt Gingrich, and foreign leaders both friendly like Tony Blair and adversarial like Fidel Castro.

Now I don't know what MTP's reputation was back in the early years. I may be a geek, but I wasn't watching the show much in the 80's when I was just a young kid. Since the 92 Presidential Campaign I have loved catching the longest tenured host in MTP's History Tim Russert prove himself as the toughest interview in town.

While Russert is humble in the clip attached above he has taken MTP to far and away the 'can't miss' show for politics and news of Sunday morning. With all due respect to fellow short Greek guy George Stephanopoulos and Bob Schaeffer Russert is the man when it comes to Sunday.

While Russert's background is with the Democratic Party working for Pat Moynihan and Mario Cuomo one can hardly tell during his interviews and forums where his partisanship lies. Russert will ask the hard questions of both parties and unlike many does not let candidates away with scripted answers to questions that don't answer any question.

In an era where unbiased news and tough interviewing is far too rare, Tim Russert and Meet the Press provide an outlet for those of us that want to get straight news, talk, and opinion. Happy 60th MTP and here's to 60 more!

Other thoughts and musings:

  • Pissed at Major League Baseball for dicking around with the sale of my beloved Chicago Cubs as it cost the team big time today with the resignation of Team President John McDonough to take over the Chicago Blackhawks. If the Cubs sale had gone through already the new owner would have had the choice to keep John McDonough who in my opinion was the best man for the job.
  • As upset as I am the Cubs no longer have McDonough as President I wish him nothing but the best. Agree with WSCR 670AM's Mike North who said that no man has been more important to the growth of the Cubs than John McDonough.
  • Also think this is a brilliant move for the up and coming Blackhawks. Rocky Wirtz smart moves continue to pile up and impress. While the Hawks will not supplant the Cubs or Bears at the top of the city's sports heap, they may challenge the Bulls and Sox if things continue to go well and with Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and Dale Tallon running the show the NHL and Chicago sports landscape better watch out. The Blackhawks are coming!
  • Think the White Sox/Angels trade yesterday was an odd one for the Sox. While I think Cabrera is a big upgrade over the awful Juan Uribe, I worry about shortstops over 30. Plus hard to replace a pitcher who has thrown for over 191 innings for 6 straight years and 208 innings for the last four years.
  • Heroes was absolutely fantastic last night. The show's writers have some growing to do on some of the one on one dialogue but the story is coming together and the ending was great. While this show has been criticized a lot, think it has had a strong year and has been getting better and better over the past couple weeks

Monday, November 19, 2007

Make More Hybrids!

I have great affection for the US Auto industry. GM, Ford, and Chrysler have employed millions of Americans through the years. Whether it be on the assembly line, at dealerships, or in corporate offices if the US Auto industry suffers, the nation will suffer.

In recent years Japanese and Korean Manufacturers have started making cars in the states and while I wish they would have unionized workers, it is great that there are good paying manufacturing jobs in the United States.

Read the other day that US Auto Sales may hit a 15 year low in 2008. And this means more Americans likely to lose their jobs. (

There is blame of the pending mortgage crisis which is leading to this feared shortfall. I think this is a cop out reason. The manufacturers are being too stubborn in really dealing with the problem that is high gas prices and fleets ill advised to handle this problem.

I remember when the Prius came out there were waiting lists for it. I can't drive the anywhere without seeing a Ford Escape Hybrid which gets 34mpg . So why won't one of the major auto manufacturers commit to making 50+% of their fleet hybrid, fuel cell, electric?

Is there any question that people want these cars? Consumers want their trips to the pump to cost less. Many people wan to be better citizens and stewards of the environment. Whether it be "An Inconvenient Truth" or thoughts about the dependency on the Middle East, many people want to do more to help. I know hybrids are a few thousand dollars more expensive than non hybrid models, but the government now offers tax breaks for hybrids which cancels out some of that difference. Plus the long term gas savings have to be something that could be marketed. Automakers spend as much money marketing as any industry out there. I hear that damn John Mellencamp song every commercial break, can it not be marketed that buying these cars will save consumers money AND be good for the environment? It's an easy sell.

Auto manufacturers who get out in front of this insulate themselves against future energy crunches. It would be good business. It would be responsible business. It would be good for the environment. Don't come out with 2 two new hybrid models every year, come out with 20 and sales will soar!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Democratic Presidential Debate Thoughts and Other Musings

I boycotted most of the debates over the past year because they were simply too early and too many, but with the Iowa Caucuses less than two months away its time for all of us to start paying attention and making decisions on who we support in either party.

Those that know me have heard me say that I was supporting for John Edwards for the past few months. His early performances on Meet the Press and Real Time with Bill Maher made me think that Senator Edwards found his voice after being trapped as number two on the ticket with the dull, spineless candidacy of Senator John Kerry. Edwards admitted mistakes on his Iraq war vote, talked openly that to pay for some of his programs like healthcare that he would have to raise taxes, and sounded early on like the straight talk candidate.

Edwards is no longer my candidate. Last night I decided to leave one guy who probably won’t win the nomination for another guy who definetly won’t win the nomination. Joe Biden proved to be the smartest, most thoughtful person on the stage. Biden was the clear winner of the debate when it comes to issues.

He was concise, clear, funny and eloquent on actual issues. Biden was passionate talking about education, brilliant in illustrating an Iraq strategy, made sense out of the messy situation that is Pakistan, and flashed his credentials on the Senate Judiciary committee when the story of the next Supreme Court justice came up.

Biden will be almost certainly not win but hey I’m a Cubs fan, I’m used to supporting losing teams. But rest assured put him on stage with Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, or Rudy Giualiani and Joe Biden would destroy any of them.

Debate Musings:
  • 1st 10 minutes of the debate was great theatre was Obama and Edwards brought out their guns to try and attack Hillary. Problem is they didn’t load their guns.
  • Just as it appeared the debate would be interesting Hillary deflected the criticism and shot back at both hard enough that neither Obama or Edwards showed any ability to handle.
  • While some critics were saying Hillary had too many canned lines, she appeared, tougher, smarter and hungrier than her two top rivals clearly whipping them both.
  • Was it just me or did Obama look exhausted? Noone lost more in this debate than Senator Obama, as he was weak, beaten up by Hillary, and couldn't answer a question straight the whole night.
  • Obama proved once again that while he may be one of the most eloquent speakers on the stump or giving a speech he is an awful debater.
  • Obama's low point too many was his 190 word butchery of the question on immigration. I see it differently. Instead Obamas stubbornness and naivety was clear on the question of where to store nuclear waste. He's against storing it in Illinois where, he's against storing it in Yucca Mountain. His answer is some new technnology that we need to find? But in the meantime Senator??????
  • Obama and Edwards did not show the toughness to take on Hillary which is particularly scary as they would go forward to a General Election. To beat the Republicans the Democratic Candidate has to be tough. What I saw out of Obama and Edwards were the 2000 version of Al Gore and the 2004 candidacy of John Kerry.
  • Should there really be crowds at debates? I mean Obama and Edwards got booed and it clearly effected them which again doesn’t show the toughness needed to win, but the campaign that best stacks the audience should not get to set the tone of the debate.
  • The questions from real people were painful. I feel for the mother who’s son served three tours in Iraq, but I don’t think she actually asked a question from the notepad she was reading and the last question of the debate was ‘Diamonds or Pearls’ to Hillary?
  • Checked my DVR and at the 32 minute mark was the 1st time Dennis Kucinich was allowed to speak for longer than 10 seconds. The guys a candidate, represents a never spoken point of view and deserves more than four opportunities to talk in a two plus hour debate.
    o Big negative to Campbell Brown for her Kucinich question as to whether he disagrees with any point of the Teachers Union platform. He gets a UFO question in the last debate and then gets crapped on last night. Though the Congressmans attack on Edwards for his China Free Trade Vote is one of the highlights of the evening. Again another example of Edwards weakness.
  • Chris Dodd showed his ability to speak Spanish, mentioned his time in the Peace Corps, and bragged of his award for being the “Head Start Senator of the Decade”. Was ready to see him break out his Eagle scout badge.
  • Of all the people in the race Dodd brings the least to the table. For Senator Dodd, its time to drop out of the race.
  • The biggest loser of the night other than Obama was the birthday boy, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.
  • BRich cost himself a VP slot by proclaiming “Human Rights are more important than national security”. I’m not even a Republican and I could make a string of commercials to kill any national office tendency.
  • The Governor had more bad canned lines than anyone else on the panel.
  • Hillary was not without canned crap lines too. She said of trade we need a “Trade Timeout”.
  • Suzanne Malveaux is really hot!

Though she must have colored contact lenses because her eyes can not be that brown, but all in all, wow, may be time to get a job with CNN.

Non-Debate Musings:

  • If you’re not watching CBS’s ‘Kid Nation’ you should be, a great social experiment and damn good television.
    o Next week will be great with new council elections. My guess is that they will prove to be more exciting than anything we watch over the next 11 months.
  • Saw American Gangster the other day. A very good movie, but don’t see how people are calling it an ‘all time classic’.
    o Will say that it is be the best role and acting I've seen from the as usual great Denzel Washington
  • Alex Rodriguez resigned with the Yankees and they deserve each other. Hope Yankee fans boo him for the entire contract and he doesn't play in a World Series. ARod is blaming everything on his agent from the timing of the announcement to opting out of his deal. If he really blames his agent he should fire him now.
  • Chicago Bishop Thomas Paprocki recently said at a mass for lawyers that sexual abuse suits undermine "the charitable works and religious freedom of the church" and are functionally attacks against bishops and priests inspired by the devil.
    o Lucky for me I’m not Catholic so insulting this delusional idiot won’t too badly effect my standing in the afterlife.
    o When he says “Inspired by the devil” he is not directing this at the people for whom it should be directed. That would be the seemingly never ending list of pervert, pedophiliac Catholic priests.
    o Not sure what ‘religious freedom’ is being undermined but with any luck the religious reputation of the cover up artists known as Catholic Church leadership will certainly be undermined.
  • Barry Bonds was indicted and count me among those who could care less other than the fact that the coverage of this story will be overbearing and unbearable.