Berry's World
Saturday, January 03, 2004
 
SOCIETY GETS THE SHAFT

Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel have paid their debt to society. Well, considering that the couple, who kept a pair of Presa Canario dogs which weighed over 100 pounds each and easily mauled Diane Whipple to death, are faced with the annoyance of being on parole, the debt isn't completely paid.

Knoller, who along with Noel raised the dogs in their apartment on behalf of their 'adopted son' and Aryan Brotherhood member Paul "Cornfed" Schneider, will have to serve her parole in Ventura County and told TV station KTVU she was unhappy about being released because she did not know what she would do in Southern California.

Most people with a conscience, however, felt that Knoller's continued ability to breathe is a far better future than Diane Whipple is facing, and in unison invited her to 'shut the hell up'.
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DOES THE MICKSTER HAVE A DEAN FETISH?

Other than curmoudgeounly, and cranky, I don't know how to describe Mickey Kaus. LA Magazine calls him a 'liberal iconoclast'. The LA Times refered to him as 'liberal-bashing liberal Mickey Kaus'. NewsMax.com hailed his weblog as 'the liberal Democrat Web site Kausfiles'.

What struck me, reading through Kausfiles today, is what seems to be his preoccupation with Governor Howard Dean. As a random sample, I looked at the available page at Kausfiles (covering 26 posts and about 6500 words) and noticed something odd. In those 6500 words, Kaus:

---typed the word Bush 11 times.

---typed the word Kerry 13 times.

---typed the word Clark 14 times.

---typed the word Dean 40 times.

Mickey, there's a fine line between interested observer and obsessive freak. Sadly, that line appears to be well behind you.
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A WISE DECISION

Prior to the Tennessee-Baltimore game, ABC showed some pre-game hype with Ray Lewis summarizing:

'This game is about hit or be hit.'

Apparently, ABC felt Lewis' original line ('This game is about stab or be stabbed') was too controversial to air.
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HOW 'BOUT BEATING THEM COWBOYS?

As far as I'm concerned, the NFL playoffs don't really start until next week when the St. Louis Rams begin their quest for the Super Bowl. But, I am pulling for the Carolina Panthers to beat the Dallas Cowboys tonight.

That's because my dad and brother, proud Panther season ticket holders, will be at Erickson Stadium cheering their lungs out for the Cats. If history is any guide, my dad and brother began their tailgate party for the 8 PM (EST) game about 9 AM, each wearing their 'lucky' Panther hats, carrying a boatload of Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits, and. most importantly, toting along a cooler big enough to hold nine cases of beer.

What scares me is the kind of hell my lovely sister in law will have to endure on the ride home should the Panthers lose to the Cowboys. (Again.)
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Friday, January 02, 2004
 
WELL, THAT DIDN'T HELP

SelectSmart.com has a quiz which purportedly tells you which presidential candidate most closely shares your views, you know, for the voter who doesn't want to go through the hassle of thinking for themself.

Frankly, I was a bit suspicious when I noticed several links to pro-Governor Dean sites on the front page. Anyway, after taking the quiz, there was an inexplicable three way tie for first place:

90% General Wesley Clark

90% Reverend Al Sharpton

90% Governor Howard Dean

87% Representative Dennis Kucinich

80% Senator John Edwards

80% Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun

75% Representative Dick Gephardt

74% Senator John Kerry

50% Senator Joe Lieberman

27% Unnamed Liberterian Candidate

10% Howard Phillips-Constitution Party

10% President George W. Bush
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IS OUTTING PLAME FLAMING OUT?

After spending nearly two months on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, the Plame leak case was back at work this week. The week's big news was that Attorney General John Ashcroft had recused himself from the investigation. Deputy Attorney General James Comey got several laughs by taking understatement to staggering heights when he said the Attorney General had decided "in an abundance of caution" to step aside from the investigation.

Of course, bloggers are all over the story. Orcinus, Josh Marshall, Atrios, Calpundit, The Daily Kos, and Talk Left (among many others) all weighed in.

Naturally, nobody is quite ready to say that anybody will be 'frog-marched' out of the White House, which is perfectly understandable. However, considering the pace of the investigation, who is in charge of the investigation, and the complicity of the media in this story, I tend to think, that at the end of the day, nothing much will come from this story.

While I hate to be the dead fly in the raisin pudding, I still believe we are heading towards this type of conclusion.
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IS EVERYTHING COMING OUT OF CBS MERELY BS?

Well now, it looks like we might have conflicting stories coming out. It started with:

Michael Jackson struck a deal with CBS to be paid in effect an additional $1 million for both an entertainment special to be broadcast Friday and his interview on 60 Minutes this past Sunday, part of yearlong negotiations between CBS and Jackson, a business partner of his said Tuesday.

Wow, did CBS fork over some large coin to get an interview with Michael Jackson? CBS fired right back:

CBS said Wednesday that the network did not pay Michael Jackson to give an interview that was seen by nearly 19 million people on "60 Minutes" on Sunday.

And this:

A spokesman for 60 Minutes denied that there was any payment for the interview, saying, "CBS News doesn't pay for interviews."

Hmmm, why does this seem so familiar? Maybe because we've seen it before.

On June 16th, 2003, news broke that CBS was throwing everything up to, and including, the kitchen sink at Jessica Lynch:

The CBS News network is using the lure of a movie, television and book deal to beat rivals to an interview with Private Jessica Lynch - hailed as a hero since her dramatic rescue from an Iraqi hospital.

Apparently, CBS sent a letter to Lynch:

CBS News senior vice-president Betsy West wrote: Attached you will find the outlines of a proposal that includes ideas from CBS News, CBS Entertainment, MTV networks and Simon & Schuster publishers. From the distinguished reporting of CBS News to the youthful reach of MTV, we believe this is a unique combination of projects that will do justice to Jessica's inspiring story.

The story running around was that Lynch would get:

- Two hour interview and documentary, by CBS News
- Made-for-TV movie, by CBS Entertainment
- Book about her journey, by Simon & Schuster Publishing
- News special on MTV2, by MTV Networks
- Show that airs her favorites on MTV2, by MTV Networks
- Host "Total Request Live" on MTV, by MTV Networks

But that couldn't be true. How do I know that? Well, that very same day, CBS told me so:

CBS News denied in a statement that its offer to Lynch tied a news interview to deals with any other divisions at Viacom.

"CBS News does not pay for interviews and it maintains a well-established separation from other parts of Viacom," the statement said.


Well, that certainly cleared that up in no uncertain terms. Of course, the next day, things weren't quite so clear:

CBS News Defends Its Multi-Pronged Pitch to Lynch

Viacom-owned CBS News said it did nothing wrong when it held out the possibility of TV movie, concert special and book deals with other Viacom divisions in its pitch to land an interview with Pfc. Jessica Lynch

The news operation insists it made very clear in its letters to the former prisoner of war in Iraq that "we never tie interview requests to entertainment projects."


Now that sounds like CBS might be waffling. Four days later, CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves made a comment that sounded dangerously close to an admission:

"Maybe that went over the line. That was not respecting, possibly, the sanctity of CBS News," Moonves said on Sunday.

OK, big deal. CBS got caught playing a little fast and loose with the truth once. Once in 76 years, ain't bad, right?

Except, it's not just once. In November, CBS threw together the special, Michael Jackson's Number Ones, in hopes of closing out the sweeps period. However, when child molestation charges were filed against Jackson, CBS shelved the show:

At the time, CBS said it would wait for Jackson's day in court before rescheduling.

Well, that seems smart. Wait until the charges have been resolved until putting the special on the air. However:

But when Jackson agreed to be interviewed by 60 Minutes' Ed Bradley last week, CBS resurrected the special, for which Jackson---as executive producer---reportedly was paid at least $1 million.

OK, now I'll admit, that looks bad. Even with CBS denying payment for the interview, they were less than forthcoming about waiting until Jackson had 'his day in court.' But, surely, we got the truth from CBS concerning the infamous miniseries The Reagans, right? Let's take a look:

August, 2003-Hallmark Entertainment Distribution issues a press release describing The Reagans:

First Family: The Reagans---From the bright lights of tinsel town to the Oval Office and the U.S. presidency this true story follows Ronald Reagan's (Emmy and Golden Globe winner James Brolin) rise to notoriety, celebrity and world power. The four-hour dramatic miniseries chronicles Reagan's years as a Hollywood movie star, his marriage to his devoted wife Nancy (played by Emmy and Golden Globe winner Judy Davis), his tumultuous role as a father of two, and the political controversies that plunged him into the darkest chapter of his presidential life.

Well, that sounds good, doesn't it?

10-20-03 Matt Drudge puts a story up on his website:

CONTROVERSY SWIRLS AROUND CBS REAGAN FILM; SCRIPT REVEALED

In the upcoming CBS telefilm on President Ronald Reagan producer fail to mention the economic recovery or the creation of wealth during his administration, nor does it show him delivering the nation from the malaise of the Jimmy Carter years.


10-20-03 Michael Paranzino reads about The Reagans on The Drudge Report. Drudge's report is based upon upcoming story from Jim Rutenberg. Paranzino spends $8.95 to purchase boycottCBS.com. (Site no longer active), and begins boycott of CBS.

Hold on a second, how did Rutenberg get ahold of the script? You think he stole it?

When CBS Chairman Les Moonves gave the nod to the studio to release the first publicity snippets of "The Reagans" to the media, the PR Department at CBS chose leftist New York Times columnist Jim Rutenberg as their conduit to the "small screen" audience. Rutenberg, who is something of a history buff in his own right, immediately noticed the "slant" of the script, and the fact that it offered an extremely twisted view of history.

10-23-03 Ronald Reagan: a target for Hollywood? By Jim Rutenberg is published in NY Times:

CBS officials and the filmmakers said the miniseries would ultimately be judged as fair when it is shown on Nov. 16 and 18. They said they were simply trying to tell a historically accurate story that included the good along with the ugly, all from respected biographies and other source material.

"This was very important for me, to document everything and give a very fair point of view," said Leslie Moonves, the CBS chairman.


OK, Moonves is on the record as saying The Reagans was going to be fair to President and Mrs. Reagan. We can trust him, right?

10-23-03 Michael Reagan, who has not seen the movie, attempts to keep his temper in check by not overstating his case in a story for Front Page Magazine:

Ronald Reagan, about to be portrayed as an unfeeling, forgetful conservative, had the biggest heart of any President in America's history---so big that CBS had no trouble finding it when they decided to plunge a dagger into it.

OK, maybe Mike went a little over the top, but apparently he got CBS' attention, because that same day they released a statement:

"A great deal of discussion is taking place about a film that no one as yet has seen. As broadcasters, it is our job to put forth programming that informs, entertains, and hopefully stirs meaningful discourse about the events of our time in a responsible and truthful manner. We encourage our viewers to judge the Reagans miniseries on these merits."

Now we have CBS saying the movie is fair, but, when people watch it, they can decide for themselves. And even though conservatives are collectively blowing a gasket over The Reagans, CBS is standing firm.

Well, maybe not that firm.

10-30-03 Leslie Moonves is interviewed by Tina Brown:

"Nobody's seen the film," CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves told the cable show "CNBC's Topic A with Tina Brown." "So any criticism now, in the middle of October for a film that isn't finished, is rather odd, we think."

But he added that the rough cut was undergoing some editing "to present a fair picture of the Reagans."
"There are there are things we like about the movie, there are things we don't like about the movie, there are things we think go too far," he said in the CNBC interview.


Uh oh, maybe old Leslie is up to his old tricks again. First he says that it was very important to him to make sure the film was fair. Now, after some complaints come in, some changes will be made.

10-31-03 The RNC decides to get involved:

The Republican National Committee Friday asked CBS to allow a team of historians and friends of former President Ronald Reagan and his wife to review a miniseries about the couple before it airs.

Republicans have expressed concern that the miniseries, titled "The Reagans," may inaccurately portray the couple.


(To be honest, something must be wrong with Google, because I couldn't find the RNC's request to allow historians to review DC 9/11: Time of Crisis.)

11-2-03 Of course, when the leaks started, I should have known something was up:

In the past two weeks, CBS has made 18 changes to the completed film, enraging its producers, says a person knowledgeable about the production.

Come on, they have to be satisfied now, right? Leslie Moonves has given us his word of honor that he made sure the movie was fair, and then even made more changes to the movie.

11-4-03 Sadly, much like everything else coming out of CBS, Moonves word of honor concerning The Reagans turns out to be less than rock solid.

Capping an extraordinary conservative furor over a movie virtually no one has seen, CBS said Tuesday it will not air "The Reagans" and shunt it off to the Showtime cable network instead.

Unbelievable! Moonves assures us the movie is fair. Then he makes a whole lot of changes to make The Reagans more Republican-friendly. And he makes the point that NOBODY has seen the movie. Good gosh, those complaints really must have gotten to him, right?

Well...

CBS will not broadcast THE REAGANS on November 16 and 18. This decision is based solely on our reaction to seeing the final film, not the controversy that erupted around a draft of the script.

Although the mini-series features impressive production values and acting performances, and although the producers have sources to verify each scene in the script, we believe it does not present a balanced portrayal of the Reagans for CBS and its audience.
(Emphasis added)

Nothing to do with the controversy? Well, certainly that was just the company spin, and Moonves would still show some loyalty to the people who worked so hard on the project, right?

CBS' decision not to air "The Reagans" came after weeks of complaints by fans of the former president. CBS President Leslie Moonves said Monday that the movie was politically pointed, and that he would have canceled it even if there had been no outcry.

"I was told it was going to be a love story, that the politics would be in the background," Moonves said. "I didn't feel that was the case, and I didn't think it was balanced."


Oh, they pulled a fast one on Leslie Moonves. They tricked him! He didn't know that there would be politics in the story of the President and his wife, although that press release in August did mention something about 'and the political controversies that plunged him into the darkest chapter of his presidential life.'

I guess that's kind of believable.

Robert Greenblatt, Showtime's entertainment president, disagreed, saying that Moonves' "JFK" example was "ludicrous and specious."

Greenblatt noted that Moonves had paid for the movie, and had full access to the script and film as it was being made.

"If he didn't know what movie he was getting, it was not the fault of the producers, the director or anybody else associated with this film," Greenblatt said.


Hey, wait a second! I'm starting to get the sneaky suspicion that we can't believe a word that comes out of the mouth of Leslie Moonves, or the PR department at CBS. You know, what kind of world are we living in when you can't rely on the word of a TV executive?
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Thursday, January 01, 2004
 
THE PERIL OF PREDICTIONS

Although I am tooting my own horn for naming the National Champion two months in advance, ordinarily I try to steer clear of predictions. The reason is that it doesn't matter how many you get right, there is always going to be some smart-ass blogger who never accomplished anything laughing it up when you get one wrong. Like the guy who had the nerve to recently refer to me as:

'...some idiotic blogger who clearly knows nothing about football...'

simply because he thought I had put my foot in my mouth for publicly calling for the St. Louis Rams to fire head coach Mike Martz. Clearly bottom feeders like that should be banned from having a weblog.

However, until the internet is rid of people who will actually throw your own words in your face, hows about we take a look at some predictions from 2003, huh?

John McCain will be the Democratic nominee for President.

Laurence Simon of Amish Tech Support
RESULT: Senator McCain, inexplicably, stayed with the Republican Party.


Weapons inspection in Iraq proves inconclusive. The Bush administration initiates targeted bombing of suspected weapons sites, but holds off invasion.

Susan Eldred, John Parker & Norman Birnbach of Birnbach Communications
RESULT: Invasion.


Pamela Anderson Lee-Fatal Car Accident

Nikki - "Psychic To The Stars"
RESULT: Pamela Anderson Lee is reportedly alive and well.


Dick Cheney will announce in late 2003 that he will not run for Vice-President again.

Jay of Classless Warfare
RESULT: Vice President Cheney has yet to announce he won't run in November.


Janklow resigns his office within a fortnight.

Keith Berry of Berry's World, August 19, 2003
RESULT: Representative Bill Janklow was still working as a Congressman two weeks later.


I have to believe that Representative Bill Janklow (R.-S.D.) will resign his office within a fortnight.

Keith Berry of Berry's World, Decemember 8th, 2003
RESULT: Proving the old adage that a stopped clock is right twice a day, Berry lucked into one when Representative Janklow resigned the same day
.

There will be two retirements from the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003: Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice O'Connor.

Hugh Hewitt of HughHewitt.com
RESULT: Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice O'Connor have not retired.


By year-end, the price of a barrel of oil will fall below $20 — good news for the stock market, bad news for the House of Saud.

David Frum of National Review Online
RESULT: As of 12-17-03, a barrel of oil was going for $33.75, the highest price since before we invaded Iraq. For 2003, the average price of oil was $31, the highest yearly average in over 20 years.


"There will be no recall."

Martin Sheen of The West Wing August 22, 2003
RESULT: There was, indeed a recall election, and Arnold Schwarzenegger became Governor of California.


The U.S. leads a mighty coalition and Saddam is toppled, but not before he attempts to use chemical weapons on his own soil.

Osama bin Laden's death will be confirmed.


Jonah Goldberg of The Goldberg File
RESULTS: The coalition was generally considered a two country affair, Saddam Hussein didn’t unleash chemical weapons, and Osama bin Laden’s death has not been confirmed.


Rehnquist and O'Connor both will leave the Court and will be replaced by Al Gonzalez and Janice Brown. There will be a substantial terrorist attack on American soil. Saddam Hussein will be out of power in Iraq by the end of February. Dick Cheney no longer will be vice president.

Philippe de Croy of The Volokh Conspiracy
RESULTS: Ouch. de Croy goes 0-4. No changes on the court, Hussein hung on until March, no substantial attacks on American soil, and Vice President Cheney is still raising money for the GOP.


President Bush will continue his downward slide in the polls. He will be at or below the levels he was at on September 10 of 2001, that was 51 percent. A year from today, George W. Bush, 51 percent or less.

Paul Begala of Crossfire 12-30-02
RESULT: Most polls have President Bush’s approval rating between 54-60, although The Harris Poll has him at 50.
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I HATE TO SAY I TOLD YOU SO...OH, WHO AM I KIDDING?

As anybody who knows me will attest, I hate to brag…OK, I can’t even type that with a straight face. I love to brag. And, on the rare occasion that I actually have something to brag about, well, I'd rather brag than breathe. That being said, I am pleased to report that back on November 1st, I posted:

The Sooners won again today, pounding Oklahoma State 52-9, causing a lot of college football experts to wonder if anybody can stop Oklahoma from another National Championship.

It says right here that yes, somebody can.

The next National Champion will be USC.


History will show that the Number 1 team in the land, the USC Trojans won The Rose Bowl, beating Michigan like they stole something, to unquestionably win the National Championship.

Now you may hear some talk about a game being played Sunday night. Pay it no mind! The Sugar Bowl is now, irrevocably, irrelevant. I mean, you have Oklahoma, who a few weeks ago was being talked about as, possibly, the greatest team in college football history, but couldn't even win their own conference. And you have LSU, a team who's record was puffed up by playing Louisiana-Monroe (1-11), Arizona (2-10), Louisiana Tech (5-7) and Western Illinois who is a Division I-AA team. Apparently there was a scheduling conflict with the Washington Junior High School girls team, or LSU would have had them on the schedule.

Forget the computers. Forget the BCS. Forget Sunday. We have a new National Champion, and it is The University of Southern California!
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WE, THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, BEING OF SOUND MIND AND BODY...

BuzzFlash steers us to a story advising Democrats to, bascially, start making out our will, as we are in for an ass-whupping come the general election. Some excerpts:

'This is a year of turmoil and terror in the Democratic Party: Their likely presidential nominee battered, bloodied, and ridiculed even before the general election has begun...'

'Rarely, in contemporary American politics, has a prospective Democratic presidential standard-bearer emerged successfully from his early primaries burdened by so many deep public doubts about his character within his own party.'

'In over three decades of political reporting, I cannot recall a time when some of the Democratic Party's senior strategists and adviser have spoken with such brutal candor about their likely nominee and his perceived weaknesses.'

'Indeed, many Democrats fear that their primaries are about to deliver to them "the worst of all worlds, a bleeding front-runner stumbling over the finish line" to receive the Democratic presidential nomination. (Democratic consultant David) Sawyer said.'

Gosh, are things really so gloomy? Is all hope lost?

Not when you consider the story was written by Donald Lambro in June of 1992, and the hopeless Democratic candidate was a fella by the name of Bill Clinton.
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HERE'S HOPING FOR A BETTER YEAR AHEAD

Personally, 2003 was an entirely forgetable year, and I am glad it's over with. Let's make a deal, huh? Let's make 2004 the best year we've ever had. Whatta ya say? Are you with me? Can I get a witness?
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Wednesday, December 31, 2003
 
I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE

While I have met several people who have the last name BARRY, I have never met, outside of my family, anybody who has the last name BERRY. Frankly, I kind of harbored the sneaky suspicion that I might be the only Keith Berry walking the planet. But, after seeing numerous Google searches for Keith Berry bringing visitors into Berry's World, I began to think there might be more than one Keith Berry wandering around. Turns out, there are plenty of of us.

There's Keith Berry, who is the Club Pro at Riverside Golf Course in Fresno, and who won the 2003 Club Championship.

There's Keith Berry, from Greencastle, Indiana, who is a hog farmer and President-Elect of the National Pork Producers Council.

There's Keith Berry, who will be showcasing his hand-carved walking sticks at the Springfield-Greene County Library in Springfield, Missouri. (The show is set for February 4th, 2004 at 7PM. Call 417-874-8150 for details.)

There's Keith Berry, who fought in SuperBrawl 9, which is Hawaii’s premier mixed martial arts event. Although he lost to Matt Hamilton in the first round, (Hamilton pulled a sneaky Rear Naked Choke forcing Berry into submission) I’m quite sure that this Keith Berry could beat me like a baby seal.

There's Keith Berry, the president of the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation, and an expert on the 81-year-old Caldor Co.'s Shay Locomotive.

There's Keith Berry, of Southern Illinois University, who reviewed the book Applied Organizational Communication: Principles and Pragmatics for Future Practice (2nd Ed.) for the American Communication Journal. (He liked it, although I got bored before finishing the title.)

Of course, not all Keith Berry’s cause me to brag, which seems fair as I’m sure they aren’t running around bragging about me.

There's the Reverend Keith Berry, who is a registered sex offender and not allowed within 100 feet of a school.

And there's Keith Berry, who was accused of assaulting his Hispanic neighbor, leading to the possibility of his family being evicted from public housing in Boston.

So, beware. Someday, and it may be someday soon, the Keith Berry's will be taking over the world. (Except for the aforementioned Reverend Berry. We Keith Berry's have our standards, you know.)
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PRESENTING THE 2003 BERRY AWARDS!!

Welcome to Berry’s World 7th annual year-end awards, where we will present the highly coveted and sought after Berry Awards. Established in 1996, The Berrys have quickly become the benchmark of achievement in America. Remember, if you are scoring at home, The Berrys are strictly honorary titles and do not entitle the winners to ANY financial consideration whatsoever. And, thanks to that whining Charlie Sheen and his attorney, we are required to point out that The Berrys are completely and absolutely NON-RETURNABLE.

Now, on to the awards!

WORST DECISION OF THE YEAR: The President invading Iraq? Nah, at least he could claim, with a straight face (he had to practice, right?), that his decision was necessary. The BCS, on the other hand, had absolutely no justification for keeping USC out of the National Championship Game.

STUPIDEST PERSON OF THE YEAR: Beautiful? Sure. A good singer? All right. A Rhodes Scholar? Not even close. Rather than explain why Jessica Simpson is the stupidest person of the year, let’s let her do it:

When asked if has tried buffalo wings: “I don't eat buffalo.”

"Is this chicken or is this fish? I know it's tuna. But it says chicken. By the sea."

"Is there, like, maids for, like, celebrities?"

"Platypus? I thought it was pronounced platymapus. Has it always been pronounced Platypus?"

"Is that weird, taking my Louis Vuitton bag camping?"

I know, Simpson was the obvious choice, but really, she was simply heads and shoulders above the field.

MOST TALENTED PERSON TO LEAVE US: A tie between Johnny Cash and Katharine Hepburn. Both were giants in their respective fields and will be talked about 50 years from now. We’re worse off without them.

BIGGEST MISTAKE MADE BY PRESIDENT BUSH: Again, it’s not the invasion of Iraq. The war with Iraq, at worst, could cost him reelection. However, at the end of the day, not coming clean on the Plame disclosure could cost him his legacy. It’s one thing to be a one-term president, while it’s a whole other thing to be viewed as the guy covered up an immoral and illegal act all in the name of party politics. (Note: This award becomes inoperable if the Washington journalists continue to act like their job is to protect the president rather than uncover the truth.)

MOST SHAMELESS EXPLOTATION OF A DEATH: ABC’s pathetic and perverse milking of the death of John Ritter. For the month after his untimely death, Ritter was getting more face time on ABC than Peter Jennings. One would think that the TV executives at ABC should be ashamed of themselves, but, we are talking about TV executives here.

MOST PLAUSIBLE CONSPIRACY THEORY: Osama bin Laden had Princess Diana whacked.

LEAST PLAUSIBLE CONSPIRACY THEORY: President Kennedy was assassinated by the Canadians.

MOST INEXPLICABLE PHENOMENON TO GENERATE OVER A BILLION DOLLARS: For the fourth year in a row, The Berry goes to NASCAR. Come on folks, its cars going around in circles. That’s it, cars going around in circles.

MOST INEXPLICABLE SEX GOD: He’s fat, a pill popper, and the girlies can’t get enough of him. Naturally, we’re talking about Jack Osbourne, the completely talent-less son of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. Jack’s success with the ladies is even more proof of the power of television, and certainly explains why Oliver Willis is begging for his own MSNBC show.

WORST ‘JOURNALIST’ OF THE YEAR: In a year that saw most journalists coerced, bullied and tricked into swallowing whatever the administration was selling, this alleged ‘reporter’ not only wolfed down the White House’s offerings, but happily lined up for seconds. For asking not simply the stupidest question of the year, but possibly the stupidest question in the history of journalism, The Berry goes to April Ryan, of the American Urban Radio Networks, for asking:

"Mr. President, as the nation is at odds over war, with many organizations like the Congressional Black Caucus pushing for continued diplomacy through the UN, how is your faith guiding you?"

That embarrassing moment from President Bush’s alleged press conference should be shown to all journalism students as an example of everything that is wrong with the press in America.

MOST OVERRATED ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR: OK, I’ll grant you, she has a nice ass, but other than that Jennifer Lopez isn’t much more than your average guest on The Jerry Springer Show. Lopez has been married twice, averaging a whopping 13.5 months per marriage, and while single she’s been passed around like a doobie at a Grateful Dead concert, having been linked to Sean Combs, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, Ja Rule, L.L. Cool J, and Ben Affleck. She was fired by Louis Vuitton for stealing too much, wrecked Ben Affleck’s career, and starred in Gigili, which was generously described as “The new gold standard in bad movies.”

MOST UNDERRATED ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR: In a stunning triumph, The Berry Award goes to Mad TV's funniest cast member, Mo Collins. Whether she's doing a dead-on Jenny Jones impression, playing Stuart's mother, or that whacked out woman from Minnesota, Collins is consistently a laugh riot. Combine all that with the fact that she did not appear in Gigili, and you can see why she is our winner.

WORST HABIT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SIMPLY MUST STOP: Watching reality TV shows. Good Lord folks, if you want to be entertained, why not watch an entertainer, rather than a bunch of no-talent hacks who nobody would ever hear of if not for the networks desires to pump out cheap programming? Finally, and this is the best rationale for the award, if you folks didn't watch these mindless shows, we wouldn't have to worry about the pending Ryan Seacrest invasion.

MOST OVERRATED POLITICAL WEBSITE: The Berry Award goes to Media Whores Online. Media Whores Online's award has nothing to do with content, design, or attitude, but simply because the site is updated on a most irregular basis. Man, I thought President Bush took long vacations, but MWO makes him look like a piker.

MOST OVERREPORTED NEWS STORY: Laci Peterson's murder. It's a sad case, to be sure, but it clearly has been over-played by the media. Frankly, in California, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a self-described expert weighing in on the matter. It really is appalling to see Nancy Grace feed her shameless career ambitions with the grief of the Peterson family. I would say that she should be ashamed, but look who I'm talking about.

MOST UNDERREPORTED NEWS STORY: While the Plame disclosure is close, The Berry Award goes to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's failure to address the sexual impropriety charges. Two days before the recall election Governor Schwarzenegger told Tom Brokaw:

'As soon as the campaign is over I will— I can get into all of the specifics and find out what is really going on. But right now I’m just really occupied with the campaign.'

Two days after the recall election, when asked about the charges, Governor Schwarzenegger replied 'Old news'.

Leaving aside the question of how the charges could go from something the Governor wanted to 'find out what is really going on' to 'Old news' in 4 days, it's stunning to see how the press has given Governor Schwarzenegger a free pass. You don't think they are afraid of him, do you?

OK folks, this concludes the 7th Annual Berry Awards. Congratuations to the winners, and better luck next year to the losers. Please, tip your waitresses and drive home safely. Good night.
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REVISIONIST HISTORY LESSONS

History Lessons, is Mary Lynn F. Jones’ recap of the political happenings of 2003, and one of the lessons she learned is to keep repeating a canard that isn’t even a nodding acquaintance of the truth. While counseling the Democratic candidates to hold back on attacking each other, lest they alert the Republicans to something to seize upon in the general election, she writes:

While the campaigns have launched zingers at one another -- such as Gephardt's fake letter from President Bush to Santa Claus, asking that Dean be the Democratic nominee -- none has been fatal to a campaign, and none has reached the level of nastiness displayed by Gore in 1988, when he originated the Willie Horton attack against Michael Dukakis.

This fable is like Jason Voorhees. Every time you think it’s been killed, it comes back from the dead.

The fact is that in 1988, then Senator Al Gore was running for the Democratic nomination for president. In a debate prior to the New York primary, one of 42 Democratic debates during the primary season, Senator Gore questioned then Governor Michael Dukakis about the Massachusetts program which allowed 'weekend passes for convicted criminals.'

In that one question, Jones finds the origin of the ‘Willie Horton attack against Michael Dukakis.’

Never mind that Senator Gore never once mentioned the name Willie Horton.

Never mind that Senator Gore never ran one campaign ad concerning Willie Horton or the furlough program.

Never mind that political consultant Floyd Brown of Americans for Bush said ‘When we're through, people are going to think that Willie Horton is Michael Dukakis' nephew.’

Never mind that Lee Atwater said ‘There is a story about a fellow named Willie Horton who for all I know may end up to be Dukakis' running mate.’

Never mind that Willie Horton himself said that a woman who identified herself as working for 'an organization affiliated with the Bush campaign' phoned him and wrote letters to him up in prison trying to get him to endorse Dukakis.

The story is so ridiculous that even Chris Matthews, noted Gore fan, found himself knocking it down:

I have to say it was not exactly true, what you said, Senator Simpson. It is true that Al Gore brought up the furlough program in Massachusetts, but he never gave it a personality of such ethnic strength as Willie Horton. He didn't do that.

My God, even Governor Dukakis himself was saying it wasn’t true:

SIMPSON: Look at some of the hammers he threw at you in the [1988] debates. He brought up Willie Horton, that's a subject that hurt you badly, and Al Gore brought that up first, not George Bush.

DUKAKIS: That is not true—

SIMPSON: New York primary. There it was—

DUKAKIS: Alan, Al Gore never did what George Bush did on that issue and you know it.


And as for ‘the level of nastiness displayed by Gore', The Daily Howler knocks that one out of the park too:

Indeed, some other hopefuls had criticized Gore for an aggressive debate outing way back in October. The Washington Post editorialized on it. The paper dished out a good scolding:

THE WASHINGTON POST: Sen. Albert Gore Jr. has committed the unpardonable sin of trying to use a debate to debate, and for this he has incurred the quivering, sanctimonious rebuke of his fellow presidential-candidate debaters. How could he? It is not in the interest of the group for him to do this. It is divisive. Boo hoo hoo.


Of course, if this isn't good enough for Jones, she could simply ask one of the candidates she's lecturing about the matter:

"Al Gore made a legitimate criticism," said Dick Gephardt, himself a presidential candidate in 1988, in a statement defending Gore from Bradley's charge. "He never used Horton's name or image, and never resorted to race-baiting."

So, while Mary Lynn F. Jones is busy teaching today’s candidates lessons of the past, she clearly has learned a lesson from the media in the 2000 campaign. If the facts don’t fit the story, just make ‘em up. As long as Al Gore comes off as the bad guy, that is.
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Tuesday, December 30, 2003
 
CLEARLY, I UNDERESTIMATED HER AUDACITY

Early this morning I pointed out that not all of the mean-spirited and disrespectful bloggers were far-right conservatives, and as an example identified a left-ward leaning site called Random Thoughts that gives all bloggers a bad name.

I'm always stunned when I see a blogger with the temerity to call elected officials insulting names, as I'm a graduate of the school of thought that believes it doesn't cost anything extra to show respect to the office, even if you don't respect the office-holder. Susan, at Random Thoughts, feels otherwise as she continually and consistently refers to a Democratic candidate for president as Mouthzilla or Buckshot Butt. Frankly, that type of nerve bewilders me.

Well, you can only imagine my bemusement when I meandered over to Wampum to make my nominations for The Koufax Awards, and saw that the very same Susan from Random Thoughts had made her nominations this very day:


Best blog: Calpundit, when I get around to reading him.

Best new blog: Mine, titled Random Thoughts (snunes.blogspot.com). I am not ashamed to nominate my own blog. I also nominate the John Edwards blog, the best of the candidate blogs.

I think there should be separate categories for blogs by professional writers/journalists, or else they should not be included at all. I don't consider them true bloggers.
Posted by: Susan Nunes at December 30, 2003 12:07 AM



Wow, nominating her own blog leaves the impression that The Koufax Awards are pretty important to Susan. Of course, reading this post from Susan leaves a completely different impression altogether:


I Guess

"they," whoever "they" are, are accepting nominations for the Koufax Awards, some Academy Awards-type thing for the "best" liberal bloggers in the blogosphere or something.

It's all the same names, all the same sites, all the same old, same old.

That's the biggest problem with blogs--too often the blogosphere looks to be little more than a frat club.

Naturally, nobody nominated my blog, but I couldn't care less.



You know, you really can't make this stuff up.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Here are my nominations for The Koufax Awards, which recognize the best of left-ward leaning blogs, and yes, I would be too embarrassed to nominate my own blog:

BEST BLOG: Talking Points Memo

BEST WRITING: David Neiwert-Orcinus

BEST POST: Too many to choose from.

BEST SERIES: David Neiwert-Orcinus---Domestic Terrorism

BEST SINGLE ISSUE BLOG: uggabugga

BEST GROUP BLOG: corrente

MOST HUMOROUS BLOG: Scoobie Davis Online

MOST HUMOROUS POST: Too many to chose from.

BEST DESIGN: Daily Kos

BEST NEW BLOG: Passenger Pachyderms

BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS: BuzzFlash
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ATTACKING SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY CAN

After taking Govenor Dean to task yesterday for throwing what I considered an ill-concieved temper tantrum and, basically, threatening the Democratic Party that if he's not the nominee he might just take his voters and go home, a Dean supporter e-mailed me and claimed that I'm not being fair to the Governor.

You are always quick to jump on Governor Dean when he says something you don't like, but after reading the last three months of your blog, I notice that you have precious few posts that say something good about him. You claim to be considering voting for Governor Dean, so why don't you ever say anything positive about him?

Well, considering that the poor guy went through the mind-numbing chore of reading 3 months of Berry's World, he's really suffered enough, so this seems like a good time to address something that continues to bother me.

It seems to me that Governor Dean has been taking an inordinate amount of attacks lately. While I didn't care for Governor Dean's comments concerning what might happen if he's not the nominee, several other candidates are attempting to tear him down with attacks that are wildly off-base.

Several candidates (that's right, I'm looking in your direction Senator Kerry, Senator Lieberman, and Representitive Gephardt) have charged that Governor Dean is completely bonkers because he said '...the capture of Saddam Hussein has not made America safer...'

Let's see here, through last Friday 12 more American soldiers have been killed, and 105 have been wounded since Saddam was pulled out of his rat-hole. Further, a little over a week ago, the Department of Homeland Security raised the National Threat Level while saying our risk may be 'greater now than at any point' since the 9-11 attacks. And when we did grab up Hussein, the guy didn't even have a cell-phone, meaning he couldn't order a take-out felafel let alone order attacks on our soldiers.

So, tell me, how is it again that we are safer now that we have Hussein in custody?

A lot of people, like James Carville, have jumped on the Governor for saying:

I still have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials.

I don't have a problem with this statement either. We have been raised to believe that everybody, even evil people like Osama Bin Laden and Michael Jackson, are innocent until proven guilty, and I think that is the only way we can assure people a fair trial. I think that the people who got upset about this statement (and there are tons, or the Governor wouldn't have changed his stance the next day) are trying to make something out of nothing. On the whole, I'd much prefer a President who's initial inclination is towards a fair trial prior to condemning somebody to death. Further, outside of misleading voters during debates, crime and punishment are not really areas that a President has to deal with that much.

What really bothers me is that the other campaigns are really throwing anything and everything at Governor Dean, whether they truely believe it or not, and that's beneath contempt. If a candidate has a serious disagreement with another candidate, then he or she should, by all means, address that issue. But the slash and burn tactics we are seeing now is disturbing.
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WOW, HE PLAYS HARDBALL

Back in October, I took umbridge with Kevin McCullough, who wrote a story in World Net Daily claiming, basically, that Ed Asner thought that Joe Stalin was hugely misunderstood, and was just a big, old cuddly teddy bear.

A few days later, I felt vindicated when McCullough recanted his story after listening to the audio tape of the interview with Asner.

Wishing to give McCullough, who writes a weblog for the religious minded website Crosswalk.com, a taste of his own medicine, I wrote this satirical interview with McCullough, only to recant the whole thing at the end based on my listening to an audio tape of the interview. I sent the link to McCullough, and he took it with what I felt was exceptionally good humor. We even exchanged several witty e-mails laughing about the situation.

Case closed, right?

Not by a long shot. McCullough, in a clear attempt to get even with me, has added my name to the Crosswalk.com mailing list, meaning that everytime I open my e-mail I am inundated with offers to buy DVD's, books, and even 'Worship Guitar Lessons'.

OK, Kevin. Now, I see that we're playing for keeps. I don't know how I'm gonna get back at you, but trust me when I tell you:

This time, it's personal.
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IS THE FIRST LADY A LIAR?

In October of 2002 we got this:

"President Bush is a great leader and a husband, but I bet you didn't know he is also quite the poet," she said. "Upon returning home last night from my long trip I found a lovely poem waiting there for me."
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


On Sunday's Meet The Press we got this:

MR. RUSSERT: Now, who could have written that poem, huh? I mean, what...

MRS. BUSH: Well, of course, he didn't really write the poem. But a lot of people really believed that he did. That evening at the dinner, what some woman from across the table said: "You just don't know how great it is to have a husband who would write a poem for you."

I realize that it's a pretty small thing, but didn't someone once say a lie is a lie?

Oh yeah, somebody did:

The truth is the truth, and a lie is a lie, no matter who says it, and no amount of legal hair splitting can obscure that fact.
Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.

I can only presume that Bill Safire will now be calling Laura Bush a 'congenital liar'.
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FAREWELL TO THE BIG ED

Less than two years after it hosted, possibly, the greatest World Series game in baseball history, Edison International Field of Anaheim is no more. The stadium, known affectionately as 'The Big A' to fans, is changing it's name, again, after the power company Edison International felt owning the naming rights had become overly expensive. The stadium will be renamed Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Of course, considering that Edison International is borrowing every dime they can get their hands on to avoid filing bankruptcy, the question popping into most minds is 'What took them so long?'

Without the benefit of ever working one day in the advertising field, I've often wondered why companies pay out so much money to have their name on a stadium. I've heard the argument that when a sports fan hears a company name over and over (and over) again, they will become predisposed to associating the company with the team, and therefore feel good about it, but, frankly, I don't buy it.

I can't imagine Oakland A's fans rushing out to buy their software simply because they attended a game at Network Associates Coliseum. I doubt that Philadelphia fans rush out to update their life insurance packages simply because their beloved Eagles play in Lincoln Financial Field. And I'm almost positive that New York Giants fans don't pay their loansharks off early because their team plays their home games in John Gotti Memorial Stadium.

And we're not talking chump change here. Edison International was paying the Angels $3 million bucks a year for the stadium's naming rights. Royal Phillips Electronics is paying $9.3 million dollars a year for Phillips Arena, home to the perennial underacheivers Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Thrashers. Reliant Energy is ponying up $10 million dollars a year for Reliant Stadium, home of the newly formed Houston Texans.

Considering all of this, one might feel inclined to feel a bit sorry for the Houston Astros, who sold their park's naming rights to a little company called Enron. Well, you might want to hold on to those tears, as after the Astros had to buy out Enron, they sold the rights to Minute Maid for $3.3 million dollars a year MORE than Enron had been paying.

I just don't get it.
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BLOGGING AT IT'S WORST

Having a weblog is a great way to pontificate about things that are on your mind. However, I'm of the belief that along with the outlet of a weblog comes at least a responsibility to maintain a minimal level of conduct. Of course, while I expect this minimal level of behavior from my fellow bloggers, I am constantly disappointed.

Fortunately, it seems that the worst offenders of my internal expectations come from the far right wing. By far, the absolute worst is The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler. Recently, the person who runs this site (he refers to himself as Emperor Darth Misha I) posted a death threat aimed towards Eric Blumrich, (complete with Blumrich's address, phone number, and a map to his house) who runs BuzzFlash. (Dave Neiwert has a complete recap of the stunning act of cowardice here.)

There are others who cross the line from partisan blogging to vile invective, such as the rather insensible Bill Quick at The Daily Pundit, whose respect for others ends the second he senses the slightest sign of disagreement, and occasionally John Cole over at Balloon Juice, who never met a profanity he couldn't use to describe a Democrat.

Sadly, not all offenders are on the other side of the aisle. For example, there is Random Thoughts, run by somebody only identified as Susan. Apparently, Susan doesn't care for Governor Howard Dean, as she only refers to him, cleverly, as Mouthzilla, except when she is calling him Buckshot Butt.

This kind of disrespect kills me. Like him or not, Governor Dean is a medical doctor who has spent a great deal of his life working in the public sector and, politics aside, that deserves respect. Of course, to Susan, that sort of experience must pale in comparison to somebody who has risen to the lofty title of 'blogger'. Considering that Susan hides behind a pretty poorly written weblog which does not allow comments and does not list her e-mail address, one would think she would be the last person calling others names. Naturally, one would be wrong.

One of the main reasons we Democrats are Democrats is because our personal core values are closely alligned to the Democratic Party's core values. And, to me, those values include the idea that we don't stoop the the Republican's level. Based on her weblog, I have no idea what party Susan thinks she's a part of.
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Monday, December 29, 2003
 
ATRIOS MISSES THE BOAT...AND THE DOCKS...AND THE ENTIRE COASTLINE

Every now and again, even Brooks Robinson booted an easy groundball, so it's no surprise that Atrios isn't perfect either. But the way Atrios booted this easy grounder is astounding.

Atrios takes umbridge with this post from Josh Marshall, who takes Governor Howard Dean to task for his comments that sounded awfully close to a threat to the Democratic Party. While considering what his supporters might do if he doesn't win the Democratic nomination, Governor Dean said this:

I don't know where they're going to go, but they're certainly not going to vote for a conventional Washington politician.

As Marshall correctly points out, Governor Dean is 'playing the defection card. And that crosses the line.' Marshall's stance is that one of the implied duties of any candidate for his party's nomination is to pledge his unconditional support to whoever actually does win the nomination.

Atrios, however, claims that NONE of the Democratic candidates meet that threshold because...wait for it...nobody raised their hand in the Democratic debate when asked if they thought Governor Dean could beat President Bush in the general election. I'm sure there are more mindless comparisons on the internet, but I haven't found one.

First off, the question was beyond stupid. You want a decent comparison to that idiotic question? Why not, just before the NFC Championship game between Philadelphia and St. Louis, ask the Eagles if they think the Rams can beat New England in the Super Bowl? If anybody on the Eagles says yes, you've got a scoop on your hands. The Eagles, just like the candidates, think they are going to win, and haven't even considered the possibility that THEY won't be playing for all the marbles.

Atrios goes on to say that while Governor Dean has consistantly maintained that he will support the eventual nominee, he is the only candidate asked to live up to 'this basic minimum degree of unity'. Oh really? A couple of minutes on Google says otherwise:

I have made it clear that if I do not win the nomination, I will support the Democratic nominee who does.
Reverend Al Sharpton

I will certainly support the Democratic nominee.
Dennis Kucinich

All right. I've said it before and I'll say it again tonight. I will support the Democratic nominee for president 2004. No problem.
Senator Joe Lieberman

It seems pretty obvious that Governor Dean is saying that if Democrats don't nominate him, he and his supporters may stay home, thereby dooming the nation to another 4 years of President Bush. Governor Dean should know better. And so should Atrios.
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FREEPERS INVADE BERRY'S WORLD

I got an e-mail this morning alerting me to the fact that my post concerning the Democrats plot to smear Rush Limbaugh was being discussed on their message board.

Here are the comments that filled me with pride:

Well it is obvious that there is an effort to hang Rush.
12/29/2003 8:18:13 AM PST by JackRyanCIA

Since there are only three catagories that make up the base of the DemocRAT party, which catagory do you think Barry (sic) falls into?

[1] Cynical opportunists (running Syndicate/Mafia/criminal-type enterprises)

[2] Useful idiots (vacuous, but sincere, idealistic, emotion-driven types)

[3] Useful idiots (insincere, petty-ante criminal mentalities)

12/29/2003 8:48:32 AM PST by Matchett-PI

I think he falls into all three. He's mainly a cynical oppurtunist though. He's an idiot, but he's useless. Or is he??
12/29/2003 8:50:47 AM PST by ConservativeMan55

"...but he's useless. Or is he??"
He sides with Marxists, so according to Karl he's VERY useful. Hahahaha

12/29/2003 9:02:26 AM PST by Matchett-PI

It's always great to hear from my fans.
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BERRY'S WORLD POLL OF ONE

My current leanings: (Last week's leanings in parenthesis, margin of error 100%)

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK---25 (23)---General Clark gains ground for being the only top-three candidate to act like an adult this weekend.

GOVERNOR HOWARD DEAN---15 (18)---Governor Dean was provoked into a temper tantrum akin to 'I'll take my ball and go home.' He's better than that, or at least he should be.

REPRESENTATIVE DENNIS KUCINICH---11 (10)---I keep saying he can't win, but he keeps moving up in the poll.

SENATOR JOHN KERRY---10 (13)---Senator Kerry, tell us why YOU would be a good president, not why Governor Dean wouldn't. Again, you're better than that, or at least you should be.

SENATOR JOHN EDWARDS---10 (8)---Solid appearance on 60 Minutes has some momentum on his side. Hootie and the Blowfish don't hurt either.

REPRESENTATIVE DICK GEPHARDT---8 (8)---A lackluster week for Representative Gephardt, with the big news being that he's openly started the 'Help Me Beat Dean' campaign.

REVEREND AL SHARPTON---4 (4)---Has anybody seen Reverend Sharpton since the Saturday Night Live performance?

AMBASSADOR CAROL MOSELEY BRAUN---0 (0)---I'm wishing Ambassador Braun would pull out if for no other reason than I wouldn't have to keep putting her name in the poll.

SENATOR JOE LIEBERMAN---0 (0)---Has there ever been a candidate who made a poorer reading of his party before running for the nomination?
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WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY NOW, SMARTGUY?

Back in September, some idiotic blogger who clearly knows nothing about football wrote this about St. Louis Rams head coach Mike Martz:

Mike Martz is simply not a good head football coach. Not only because he fearlessly guided the St. Louis Rams to a loss today, despite carrying a 23-10 lead into the 4th quarter, but a review of his coaching career indicates that Martz is in over his head.

Further, he called on Rams management to fire Martz and hire a new coach.

Well, since this self-described expert pontificated about Martz' abilities as a coach, the Rams went 11-2 and tied for the best record in the NFC. With this turnaround, one would expect the blogger to admit he was wrong, but for some reason, I doubt he will.

On the other hand, if the Rams have to head into Philadelphia in three weeks for the NFC Championship, Martz and the Rams will be regretting the day they blew a 10 point lead over the Detroit Lions that cost them home field advantage.
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Sunday, December 28, 2003
 
AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE OF NOT QUITTING WHEN YOU ARE AHEAD

I'm usually impressed with the political analysis of Hesiod over at Counterspin Central. In fact, I think this piece of advice for Governor Dean is brilliant. However, today Hesiod shows that sometimes, despite the best intentions, a writer should know when to stop typing.

In this post, Hesiod makes the correct point that many of Governor Dean's supporters were drawn to him not because of his stance on the war, but because he was the only Democrat who had the won-tons to stand up to President Bush in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks. Many grassroots Democrats were frustrated with their party leaders for cozying up to President Bush to the point of betraying their core values. Whether these Democratic leaders were reticent to challenge the President out of ambition or for fear of being painted as unpatriotic, we may never know, but Governor Dean was saying things that struck a cord with disgruntled Democrats.

If Hesiod stopped there, his reasoned analysis would have been unquestionably correct. Sadly, he trekked on, and undercut his own credibility. Consider the following observation:

At this point, I think many Dean supporters don't really care if he wins or not. Just so long as he purges these accomodationist losers from the party, and rejuvinates the party with new blood and new energy.

What? Democrats supporting Dean don’t care if he wins as long as he attacks President Bush? I can’t imagine any Democrat being satisfied with a loss in ’04 as long as President Bush gets his nose bloodied. What’s more, if Governor Dean is the nominee in ’04 and gets beat, will that purge the party of the ‘accomodationist losers’? Of course not. That would just reinforce the idea that candidates like Senator Lieberman, who is almost the polar opposite of Governor Dean, were right.

Then Hesiod, possibly due to his ignorance of history, compares the Dean movement to another movement from our political past:

This is not Barry Goldwater in 1964, who represented a vocal minority.

It's Teddy Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party.


While Hesiod does make a point that Governor Dean believes in things a good percentage of American’s believe in, I hardly think that Governor Dean would be comfortable having his movement compared to a political party that garnered 27% of the popular vote in the only presidential election it contested before disappearing from the face of the earth.

Sometimes, less really is more, and had Hesiod taken this adage to heart, his post would have been another intelligent look at Democratic politics, rather than the rambling rant it became.
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WHY CAN'T HE JUST DIE ALREADY?

Remember Super Dave Osborne? Super Dave, who is comedian Bob Einstein's creation from the early '80's, is a daredevil who despite the grandest of intentions continually finds himself being smashed, trashed, and blown up.

It was a pretty funny bit, but that was 20 years ago.

Sadly, a Los Angeles area car dealer has brought Super Dave back in their commercials. Because of the constant airing of the mindless ads, Super Dave has become ubiquitous on Southern California television screens, and let's just say his act hasn't aged well.

Every time I see Super Dave's car get run over by a train, I secretly hope that he's actually dead and never to be seen again. Ruefully, my dream is dashed at the next commercial break.
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RUSSERT TAKES THE DAY OFF

The presidential campaign officially starts in less than three weeks, when Iowa holds it's caucuses on January 19th. So, with that on the horizon, who does Tim Russert have on Meet The Press this morning?

Laura Bush and Caroline Kennedy.

Seriously.
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KERRY STARTS SCORCHED EARTH POLICY

If Senator John Kerry was looking for the fastest way to dampen my affection for his campaign for the Democratic nomination, he hit paydirt tonight. In a 38 minute speech in New Hampshire, Senator Kerry spent nearly half of it assailing Governor Howard Dean for anything and everything.

I wonder, where would Senator Kerry be in the polls if he spent his time explaining why he should be the nominee rather than trashing Governor Dean?
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