Friday, July 27, 2007

TV's All New For Fall!

Hi from Hollywood, where you drive your hybrid in the daytime to the tart frozen yogurt shop (Pinkberry), then get picked up at night in a Hummer limo. Then, it’s out onto the freeways to play Glamourland’s favorite slalom competition, “Dodge the Starlet!”

The networks are letting us all get a sneak peak at their exciting new lineups, all hoping to improve their “metrics,” an exciting new way of saying “numbers.”

ABC, already ruling the nighttime soap ratings with “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Desperate Housewives,” rolls out a new one, “Correct Change”-- Passions and power-grabs jeopardize the careers of Newport Beach, California’s young, hot professional highway toll collectors.

CBS has yet another heartwarming comedy, this one called “Fresh Start”—When an industrial spill at a hand sanitizer plant destroys all life forms within a 20-mile radius, ex-con Max Cantwell, and his long suffering wife Peg, are the first couple to move into the rebuilt neighborhood, vowing to give their marriage one more try. Inspector Taylor: Jeff Foxworthy.

FOX, whose best shows are two-dimensional has a 9:30 Sunday show to follow “American Dad.” The new series, “Unprecedented,” is all about the lives of twin teenage girls, one conservative, one reactionary, who join the Supreme Court. The first rate cast includes Glenn Close, Ron Silver, John Goodman and introducing Kikki and Sasha Velasco as Justices Harmony and Julia Crystal.

FOX is revamping its reality lineup as well. Wednesday nights, “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” will have two powerful new lead-ins. Steve Harvey hosts “Million Dollar Hopscotch,” at 8, 7 central, then Denise Richards pilots the all new “Celebrity So You Think You Can Pull My Finger!”

NBC’s Law & Order franchise is the gift that keeps on giving. This fall, a new reality show: “The Next Law & Order Star.” Twenty contestants compete for one slot on the spring replacement series, “Law & Order: Logan’s Run.”
Episode 1: The ten men and ten women show their creativity with this line—
“Can you think of any reason why anyone would want to do this to your husband/ wife/ cousin/ ficus plant?”

The Peacock network also hopes to strengthen its Sunday night lineup with “Tim Russert Theater”—The “Meet the Press” host and Washington Bureau chief presents weekly hourlong dramas which begin by raising controversial topics and end by reminding us that nothing will ever change, which is all for the best.

The Sundance Channel, delighted with the results of its vodka-powered “Iconoclasts” series, has a spin-off from that show, called “Clash,” where legendary talents rumored to be at odds with each other are brought together for an exchange of views. Episode 1: Max Baer, Jr. beats the living hell out of “Cinderella Man” director Ron Howard.

Animal Planet has something out of the ordinary planned: “International Crim-animals,” a new series based on real life crimes perpetrated, sadly, with the help of the suspects’ animal friends. In Episode 1, “When the pet Persian of a suspected terrorist coughs up a furless furball, Pokriefke and Harvey drop their plans for a romantic getaway, and pull out their tweezers.”

Disney Channel’s “Happy Hillside Lane” features Mike and Jenny Kramer and their five kids, living on the same street as his parents, and around the corner from hers! In the premiere, Mike’s carry permit passes the background check.

Other cinches to be fan favorites include MSNBC’s “That’s Sooo Stone Phillips”; VH1’s “The Stuff,” a show that lists some stuff; FX’s “The Fling,” where each week, a catapult hurls contestants at an historic American brick wall; Survivors win big cash prizes and a staff job at FoxNews. Episode 1: Independence Hall, Philadelphia; and E!’s Celebrity Scavenger Hunt which kicks off with a five hour premiere episode: “Paris Hilton needs to find a stapler.”
Whether you watch on your iPhone, online, in HD, or just on a plain old television, there’s plenty of excitement coming your way this fall from Hollywood! Enjoy!

McCain Campaign Solves Finance Problem

(Portsmouth NH) Presidential hopeful Senator John McCain (R-AZ) told a crowd of 500 in downtown Portsmouth today, “America’s future is secure because Americans are willing to pay the price to make it secure. My friends, we’ve always told each other the truth. And the truth is, right now, I could go for a frosty mug of Hires Root Beer.”

It’s the first of a series of product placements designed to bolster McCain’s close-to-bankrupt Presidential campaign, according to finance director Jill Bostwick. “People know that Senator McCain believes in core American values, like democracy and free enterprise. This is a way for us to demonstrate that, unlike some wily politicians, the Senator will, through the private sector, earn back the funds to conduct this historic campaign.”

Ironically, McCain, who has sponsored campaign finance reform over the years, now relies on these commercial underwriters to keep his own campaign afloat.

Sources say, Bostwick hopes to lock up deals with an insulation company, a detergent, a breakfast cereal, and an official beer, within the month. A greater challenge is an official car company. Industry leaders Toyota and Honda were ruled out, lest the public think the Japanese have Mr. McCain in their pocket. GM and Ford were also non-starters, for fear that the Arizona senator’s name be associated with a loser.

For now, the product placement plan is bringing in cash, and just hitting its stride. Later this week, at a stop in Des Moines, IA, McCain is scheduled to say, “I’ll shake everyone’s hands today…and you can rest easy, knowing I use Purell Brand Hand Sanitizer.”

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

In America, Soldiers Don’t Get to Decide

On this Fourth of July, it’s natural to think about, and pray for, the soldiers who fight for our country all around the world.

The United States is a country founded on ideas. Courageous Americans have always put themselves in harm’s way so that this country can exist.

But the ideas behind America also transformed the relationship between a nation and its military. For thousands of years, fighters went out in search of treasure, or profit; many fought with the idea that they’d gain land or other property, and attain greater power in their own country when they returned.

Then, along comes the Declaration of Independence, and the Revolutionary War. The Declaration says, “all men are created equal.” Which not only punctures the Divine Right of Kings idea, it also means that our rights are not apportioned according to our military service. You fight to defend this country, not to rule it.

The greatest irony might be that, here you are, in 1776, going to war on behalf of a new breakthrough in freedom in the history of the world, but first, by joining the military, you are offering to relinquish the great blessing promised by that Declaration: your life, your liberty, and your pursuit of happiness.

Because war brings the tragedies of injury and death, we spend little time thinking about the other two promises—liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
But a soldier has no freedom. A soldier doesn’t even get to decide where or why we fight. And a soldier has one pursuit—the success of the mission.

America’s fighting men and women pioneered this idea—namely, that they will do battle, face the enemy, do what must be done, and then, when they return, they will return and again become, not the Baron or Dutchess of the new region they’ve conquered, not a member of the elite voting bloc that decides the country’s future, but as just another U.S. citizen.

Which makes their sacrifice even more admirable and remarkable.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Which one was Nixon? What’s a “wall”? Can you really make them out of “stone”?

Maybe it’s all those 7 A.M. guest spots on the “Today Show.” Maybe he’s afraid of making the Bush enemies list. For whatever reason, a tidbit at a time, Tim Russert’s been losing his mind, or his spine, for quite a while.

The latest evidence came from this exchange during Sunday’s (7/1/07) “Meet the Press,” when Russert was talking with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat:

MR. RUSSERT: Let me ask you about two words that you used on a statement you put out on Thursday. I’m “even more disappointed now by this Nixonian stonewalling.” What is Nixonian stonewalling?

SEN. LEAHY: They have taken the attitude at the, at the White House that somehow they’re above the law. They—if they make a decision that there’s something they want to do, nobody should question them on it. The vice president’s even been quoted as saying, “The courts can’t question it. The Congress can’t question it.” That’s a Nixonian attitude, and it’s wrong.

Patrick Leahy’s a better man than I am, that’s for sure. If Tim Russert had asked me the same question, it would have gone more like this:

MR. RUSSERT: “What is Nixonian stonewalling?”,

ME: “You know, Tim, he came and went so quickly that I’m not surprised that you don’t remember that there was a President named ‘Richard Nixon.’ This Nixon fellow, while he had many fine points, mind you, used to do whatever he could to prevent any flow of documents, testimony, or any kind of information to the Congress, or prosecutors, or anyone whose loyalty he questioned.

“In fact, and I know you’ll find this part particulary adorable, he had a group of people he called ‘plumbers’ because they were assigned to seal any leaks of information from the White House, by any means necessary, a strategy called ‘stonewalling.’ What can I say? It was the 70’s, the Godfather movies were all the rage, when we weren’t boogie-ing down to K.C. and the Sunshine Band. Oh, how we loved our zany organized crime family in the White House!

“But wait Tim, you were in law school at the time. Surely his name must have come up from time to time? As in ‘People v. Nixon’? ‘US v. Nixon’? A commercial break? Okay... gee, I just got here!”