Thursday, November 18, 2010

Senator Rockeffer on Media and Public Interest

Senator Rockefeller exploded and verbalized what many of us have been saying for a long, and exhausting time. We all know someone who only uses their television to play games or watch movies. We all know someone who only turns it on to watch sports.

The committee meeting focused on Fox and MSNBC, but it can apply to every network that that turns news pieces into intertainment. Information, positive or negative, is meant to educate, not to entertain. That job should be reserved for networks who do reality shows or focus exclusively on the insipid life of celebrities.

Watch this video and comment below on how it makes you feel. I for one, would like to see better quality programming, journalistic integrity... and a lower cable bill.

John Stewart's rally and discussion with Rachel Maddow may be more relevant in lieu of Senator Rockefeller's remarks.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TSA and Personal Invasion

Travelers are appalled that their private parts are being examined by people without a medical degree in exchange for the privilege of getting from point 'A' to point 'B' in a sardine can filled with aggravated passengers and jaded flight attendants.

Radio talk shows are having fun with the story, while some are clearly in favor of being fondled and equating it with the price you have to pay for freedom,  others are stating that none of this stops anything bad from happening.

Body scanners may not be as safe as they want us to believe.  No one can attest that a frequent flier (think business traveler) who is exposed to these machines a few times a month for the next few years won't develop health problems.

Fact:  Those body scans that are completely private, isolated, no one will ever see..... have made their way to the inter-webs and available for your perusal.  Do you recognize anyone you know?

Fact:  The effect of physical molestation perpetrated by TSA agents on children is something both parents and children will have to deal with for years on end.

Fact:  The radar machines used for fully body scans cost upwards of $150,000 a piece.  Tax payer dollars have made the India manufacturer wealth(ier).

All this TSA intrusion is very profitable.  Some seem to think that crossing the line to "fondle a man's junk" or a woman's nether regions is a very small price to pay for the privilege of allowing wealth to flow freely overseas.

What do you want to do?

Are you willing to forgo Thanksgiving and Christmas travel in order to keep YOUR money in the bank and send those airplanes out with empty seats? Are your willing to make that kind of a stand? or are we going to continue to complain while we forgo our civil rights?

My opinion:  I choose to stop feeding the beast.  I will not allow my children to be man (or woman) handled and we are more than willing to stay home.  No vacation is worth a cavity search or having a pre-teen subjected to a total stranger touching parts they don't even want their mom to see.

Solution:  Bomb sniffing dogs - not intrusive and highly efficient, just ask Israel or read this Israel-American Wordpress account. 

This Washington Post article on hiring perverts for TSA positions is just the tip of the iceberg.

This article from Wired has additional information about TSA illegally saved scans.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Chuckle

A friend sent me this and thought it might make you smile:

News From The Manitoba Herald, Canada
"Reported" by Clive Runnels

Canadians: "Build a Damn Fence!"

The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration. The recent actions of the Tea Party are prompting an exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray, and to agree with Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck.

Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal-rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night.

"I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn," said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota. The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn't have any, he left before I even got a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?"

In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. He then installed loudspeakers that blared Rush Limbaugh across the fields. "Not real effective," he said. "The liberals still got through and Rush annoyed the cows so much that they wouldn't give any milk."

Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons and drive them across the border where they are simply left to fend for themselves." A lot of these people are not prepared for our rugged conditions," an Ontario border patrolman said. "I found one carload without a single bottle of imported drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley Cabernet, though."

When liberals are caught, they're sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumours have been circulating about plans being made to build re-education camps where liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR races.

In recent days, liberals have turned to ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have been disguised as senior citizens taking a bus trip to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching half a dozen young vegans in powdered wig disguises, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior citizens about Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney to prove that they were alive in the '50s. "If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we become very suspicious about their age." an official said.

Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and are renting all the Michael Moore movies.

"I really feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them." an Ottawa resident said. "How many art-history majors does one country need?"

Friday, November 12, 2010

Olivia Emisar: Why Democrats should vote on every election

Olivia Emisar: Why Democrats should vote on every election

Olivia Emisar: Tips For Women: How To Leave An Abusive Relationship

Olivia Emisar: Tips For Women: How To Leave An Abusive Relationship

Olivia Emisar: Musings of a writer

Olivia Emisar: Musings of a writer



Olivia Emisar: Happy Halloween!

Olivia Emisar: Happy Halloween!

Olivia Emisar: Politics, Opinions, Facts

Olivia Emisar: Politics, Opinions, Facts

John Stewart at Rachel Maddow

Regarding last night's John Stewart interview, @WendyLefty had an insightful comment on Twitter that summarizes well the intent of today's post "Jon Stewart interview reminds me that TV isn't real, we have to be our own heroes".

Before you continue reading, let's get something straight, today's post will be filled with personal opinions and interpretations based on my untreated addiction to political issues and relentless information overload that I seek like a junkie in a street corner.

*If you want to see the interview, scroll to the bottom of the page*


On November 11, 2010 John Stewart had his first interview on the Rachel Maddow Show.  He was not yelling for government reform but quietly stating his wish and desire for news media to differentiate themselves from what he does for a living: A comedic satire meant to enlighten and laugh.

When Mr. Stewart referred to his recent Washington rally to "Restore Sanity" he made it clear that the rally had been exactly what he wanted it to be.  This has caused much consternation for those on the left who wanted it to be more, much more.

Talking heads on the left were disappointed by the wasted opportunity of over 250,000 people who could have been told to take action on one policy or another.  The wasted opportunity to demonize the Tea Party or the GOP. (heck! he could have done both!).  OMG!  He did not even tell people to go out and vote!.  He "failed"  to promote a progressive agenda and instead, he played excerpts of the bombardment Americans receive from both sides on any given day.

Ed Schultz took offense to being included in the segment's rally and so did Keith Olbermann. Their knee jerk reaction to being included among those they criticize on a daily basis for spreading hate and fear is understandable.  Their passions are directed towards helping real people get much needed and deserved health care, living wages, protecting social infrastructure that helps our seniors live out their lives with dignity while preserving their quality of life.

Most of us have helped raise funds to provide health clinics across the country and would never have raised a dime to help our neighbors in various states if Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz had not directed the light into the shadows of those suffering in silence.  Their intentions, passions and frustrations are well understood by the majority of the population and we are painfully aware that competing networks have never done anything to effectuate changes that will benefit the country or the population.

Keith Olbermann and Ed Schulz are passionate individuals that have chosen to direct their shows to serve the American people, they are fighting on our behalf, not on behalf of the corporations.  It is understandable why they had such a visceral reaction to being included in that segment because they felt that their honorable intentions and justified outraged had been watered down to a level they despise.

"The Rally to Restore Sanity" turned off the noise for 1 day.  That's all, just one day in which like-minded individuals decided to take a break from "noise" and share a beautiful day and a show together without pressure, hatred, or fear.

The rally to restore sanity was reminiscent of those tail-gate parties we had before the football games.  We sat around with a group of friends, we talked, we laughed, we barbecued, we ate, we had drinks and listened to the game on the radio because no one wanted to go into the stadium and break up the camaraderie.  We had, collectively, established our priority for the day without being shouted at or told what to do.


What was John Stewart saying to Rachel Maddow last night?

In a nut shell, he wanted the news to be accurate, stop bombarding people with nasty sound bites, stop repeating the same story over and over, until it becomes "The story".  Much like Balloon Boy which was broadcast on every channel without any facts.

Speaking of "Balloon Boy", that story had my heart on my throat until they said it was a hoax.  I immediately felt anger about being betrayed and my emotions manipulated by the irresponsible networks.  John Stewart made a good point by using this story as an example.  There were other stories going on, but laziness and tabloid sensationalism glued viewers to a non-story increasing the network's ratings exponentially, so why try harder?

When Michael Jackson died, the news should have been that Michael Jackson died.  They should have stated what they knew and moved on.  The historical accounts of Michael Jackson's carreer should have been reserved for those channels whose special niche is entertainment, not for CNN who failed to report any kind of news for about a week.

The same day that Michael Jackson died, so did Farrah Faucet.  She died of cancer and she became a blurb at the bottom of the screen that news organizations could not be bothered with.  There was also a bombing on Baghdad that killed 61 people. Peru's indigenous people claimed a victory over land developers. There were roadside bombs in Russia. Five people in the Sudan were sentenced to death for killing an American diplomat.

There were many other stories that day and through the ensuing week, but we heard nothing except speculation and relentless analysis of a story that was going nowhere.  Once again, we were assaulted by every network covering what was easy, not what was important.

This was John Stewart's point last night.  News should do news, not entertainment.  Networks should not cumulatively transition the same stories from one segment to the next with a different host.  There are more news than that, there is more to choose from, there is a lot that is not being said because one story snowballs into "the only story".   That, we all have to agree, this is noise.

John Stewart's rally to restore sanity gave all of us addicted junkies a much needed mental health break from the noise.  For having the courage to not politicize and let the rally be what is was meant to be; a day to relax in the company of new friends, I feel a debt of gratitude that should have been expressed a lot sooner.  I needed to detox and see friendly and likable people for a change.


Obama said "We are the one we have been waiting for" and frankly, he is right.  No one is going to fix the mess we are in but us.  We have to be our own Superman, our own Superwoman.   We have to do it together in the same manner we all agreed it was time to restore sanity.  As @WendyLefty stated, "... We have to be our own heroes".

PEACE to you all and thank you for indulging my addiction, see ya in "Da Twitter".


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Politics, Opinions, Facts

It is unfortunate that people can't differentiate opinions from facts and base major decisions, such as voting, on bumper sticker slogans and the consistent repetition of lies.

We all have opinions, but there is only one set of facts. If I say that "George Bush was the worst president Americans ever had" some may take offense to it and use the force of their convictions to dispute my opinion. Even Democrats may balk at such a strong statement and immediately look for a president worse that Bush to prove that there are others out there that did not fare well. Someone might even bring up Nixon as an example or Ronald Reagan with a failed "trickle down economics" platform that never worked.

However, If I clearly delineate facts with figures and results that affected our lives in a negative manner such as cost of living, foreclosures, outsourcing jobs, Bank Bailouts, unpaid wars, mandates without funding, Katrina fiasco, 9/11 inaction, job loses, family incomes shrinking, the rich getter wealthier and the middle class shrinking, I may have a reasonable point in stating the above opinion.

Unchallenged Statements Should Bother You
When the son of Dan Quayle stands in front of a camera and states "President Obama is the worst president we ever had" and wins an election, it should trouble Americans that no facts are required to back up that position.

When someone blames the past 10 years economic failures on Obama, it should bother you that we remain unusually silent. When we don't challenge the vitriolic contents of the statements, nor do we go beyond the surface to understand who is pushing what agenda, it should bother you.

What should really bother you the most, is having the facts and doing nothing about it.

Reactions to Facts and Opinions

It is my opinion that Democrats don't like to fight. Once the facts have been established and opinions validated, they shake their collective heads and move on with their business.

It is my opinion that Republicans like to fight. They don't necessarily fight democrats but their own party. In this past mid-term election, rational thinking republicans decided that democrats could have pulled the car out of the ditch a lot faster and their republican representatives could have helped things along instead of playing up to the corporate masters.


Democrats stayed home hoping that their disgust with the situation was evident (that'll show'em!).

Republicans went out to vote against both parties by endorsing 3rd party lunatics that will make it even harder for their own party to work effectively. (that'll show'em!)


Mitchell Bard wrote a very good article on the Huffington Post titled "Three Good things for Progressives to take from the midterm elections". One section of the article resonated with me when I read it and it has to deal with my very own feelings of frustration at our collective short memory, our need for instant gratification and our visceral need to punish someone, anyone, just to feel better about ourselves.

... it's frustrating that Americans have such short memories. It was George W. Bush and a Republican congress who, over the course of most of the last decade, plunged the United States into the worst economic situation since the Great Depression, widening the gap between the wealthy and middle class to levels not seen for nearly a century. And it was traditionally conservative principles of deregulation and unfettered corporate power that created the housing bubble and nearly brought down the financial system.

But the voters are now trusting the same people responsible for leaving the country in tatters, who are proposing the same failed strategies again, to fix the problem? It makes no sense.
It's unreasonable to think the Democrats could fix this deep mess in less than two years. And it's even more irrational to punish the Democrats, who at least made efforts to start undoing the GOP-inflicted damage, while rewarding the Republicans, who practiced strategic obstruction, putting political gain over finding solutions that would help Americans in need.

Finally, it's frustrating that the dishonest campaign waged by Tea Party-dominated Republicans was funded by a post-Citizens United flood of millions of dollars of anonymous corporate and private money, with figures like Karl Rove, the Koch brothers and the Chamber of Commerce essentially buying the election.

I strongly urge you to read Mr. Bard's article in its entirety not only because it is well written but because it specifically addresses a variety of points that should resonate equally with democrats and republicans.

Final Thoughts:

"Either you are with us, or against us" ~ President Bush.

What if we, the citizens of this country, had united and said: "What you are proposing does not work for us, therefore Sir, YOU are against US".

Do you think we would have slashed the educational system? Do you think we would have 2 unpaid wars? Do you think for a second that the corporate funded tea party would have emerged? Do you think the Supreme Court would have been allowed to rule that corporations are people?

Our Democracy is not a football game!

A clear loser and winner in real life delineates oppression not democracy. It does not matter who the perceived winner is, democracy must work for all people in order to be effective and productive.

Perhaps the next time you hear President Obama wanting to compromise with the opposition, you will not roll your eyes and walk away but will take a moment to realize that he is truly committed to this democracy thing and he clearly understands that games are to be played on the court, not the house or the senate.

To reconstruct President Bush's statement:  Either you are part of this great country or you are not. Pitting citizens against each other only allows the distraction to shine the light away from what must be cleaned up.

This is a game we cannot afford to play.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Keith Olbermann

Is Joe Barton and Comcast responsible for Keith Olbermann's time out?

And who the hell is Joe Barton?

Joe Barton is not only a senator from Texas, but also the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  This in itself is not nearly as memorable as his standing up for BP during the oil spill in the Gulf Coast and apologizing to BP on behalf of the country.

Apparently, we Americans are totally uncouth and forget our manners.  After all, when a guest spills a glass of wine on our white carpet, it is our obligation as good hosts to overlook the event and minimize the situation to make our guest feel comfortable in our home while ensuring its return.

So what's the difference between a glass of wine and a few billion gallons of crude oil and toxic dispersants on our pristine beaches? According to Joe Barton, absolutely nothing.  We are just rude hosts who don't know our place and it is up to him to apologize on our behalf to the British Company soiling our shores and destroying families, health and the financial security of an entire region.

What does this have to do with Keith Olbermann?  Beside making his list as "worst persons", he also called him on the carpet for his apology to BP's Tony Hayward.

The fact that I mentioned when I started that Joe Barton is the Chairman of the Energy and House and Commerce was done on purpose, you see, Commerce includes Broadcasting.

For a detailed account of how much money has been funnelled to Joe Barton from the multi-nationals he is supposedly the watchdog to save us Americans from their greedy and poisonous shenanigans, you can read the report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Comcast has made no bones about being a major Republican supporter raising over $200,000 for George W. Bush and funding the likes of Joe Barton to get whatever they want when it comes to consolidations and monopolies that affect Internet usage and users as well as television programming.

Silencing Keith Olbermann is just the first step in getting rid of the opposition.  If Keith Olbermann is to return to MSNBC it will be under strict rules that will keep him silent in a variety of issues.  Something we see now in terms of Rachel Maddow and Chris Mathews shows where they never speak negatively or report any news that could affect MSNBC, including the Comcast grab of the network they work for.

Even though the deal is not final yet, there has been a shift in management and backroom deals that have a great deal to do with Keith Olbermann's sudden dismissal. 

If you are still following all of this, you may also be aware that Joe Scarborough (of Morning Joe), also a host on MSNBC, has contributed to republican candidates with no adverse effects.

Comcast wants to get rid of Net Neutrality and is pushing for Internet users to pay for contents. (what a sweet deal! I wonder if we will be charged per tweet as well?)

Keith Olbermann has been outspoken about Net Neutrality while Republicans have been strong supporters of the Communications Industry power grab.  If they succeed, consumers will pay for blogs, (hey, you may have to pay me so I can pay them for the right to write).

This new Republican Congress has made it clear that they will support the Telecommunications Industry against an open Internet. (Thank you Tea Party!).

Comcast has been buying up companies and milking consumers for years for slow service.  The United States has the slowest Internet service of any industrialized nation and President Obama has been pushing for equalizing the playing field.  (Guess what happened in this last election? opposition members were assigned to Neutralize any progress that would benefit consumers in the United States).  All together now! "Thank you Tea Party!".

If you want to read in depth what Net Neutrality means to you now and what it will mean later if these corporations keep running our government, please read Free Press most excellent description.

Keith Olbermann does not balk at shinning a light where one is needed and right now Comcast and Joe Barton would like the lights to be turned off, so they sent Keith Olbermann out of the room for a time out while the shift of power in Washington will be scrutinized a lot less by the few remaining hosts with liberal opinions and an excellent research staff.

Keith Olbermann has been made an example of and there will be more to come.

The Center for Public Integrity reports that telecommunications have been heavy contributors to the Political Action Committee (PAC).

From their website (and please notice the last entry):

Top PAC Contributors

■National Cable And Telecommunications Association, the principal trade association for the cable industry — at least $40,000

■Verizon, the telecommunications giant — at least $40,000

■Koch Industries, the energy giant run by Charles and David Koch, both well known GOP backers — $37,500

■Comcast, the cable provider — $37,000

■AT&T, another major telecommunications company — $36,500

■PACs gave at least $3 million to Barton’s campaign account and his Texas Freedom Fund PAC. Barton received over $1.9 million more in contributions from PACs than from individuals
The list below will show you the connections Barton has with lobbyist.  Former staffers are now lobbyist that cuddle Joe Barton and nurse him tenderly to keep doing the industries dirty deeds (courtesy of the Center For Public Integrity and a matter of public record).

■Jeffrey MacKinnon was Barton’s legislative director from 1985-1993 and helped Barton in his role as Deputy Republican Whip. He is now a lobbyist at Ryan, MacKinnon, Vasapoli & Berzok, LLP

■Cynthia Sandherr was Barton’s legislative director for five years. After a stint at Enron and a role in President George W. Bush’s transition team in 2000, Sandherr now works for Deere and Company

■Stephen Craig Sayle worked for Barton from 1989-1992 as legislative counsel, and later spent three years as a staffer on the House Energy Committee. He is now a lobbyist for Dow Lohnes PLLC

■Timothy Day was a legislative assistant from 1987-1991. He is now vice president of Teradata Inc, an analytic technology company, and lobbies on its behalf

■Joseph Fortson worked as Barton’s legislative counsel from 2003-2004 and is now a lobbyist for Apple, Inc

■Jeanne M. Haggerty was policy advisor from 2002-2004 and spent two years as a staffer on the House Committee on Energy & Commerce. She spent the past few years as a lobbyist for the Biotechnology Industry Organization

EDIT 11/07/2010:  MSNBC will re-instate Keith Olbermann on Tuesday November 9 2010.  It will be interesting to find out if MSNBC viewership will go through the roof on this particular day and if so, will they retain those ratings on the long term?

Twitter was abuzz with petitions to re-instastae Keith Olbermann and he broke Twitter silence to thank people for their support.  Shortly after that tweet and over 250,000 petitions and barrage of phone calls to MSNBC, the decision to re-instate Keith Olbermann was made.

Keith Olbermann on Joe Barton:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


As a writer I have a tendency to write volumes, but in this particular case, very few words are needed. 

The videos are part of a documentary made in 2003.  This documentary is split into 5 parts and are best watched when you are not multi-tasking.  I have watched #1 three times and every time I find something else that fills me with gratitude for those who are here, in the moment, making a positive difference in people's lives and with hope for a future that shines a bit brighter. 

It is my fervent hope that these inspire you and allow you to see the better side of humanity to counteract the constant bombardment of negativity we are exposed to on a daily basis.

Please watch and leave your thoughts, share this with others, stay in the moment.

PEACE to you and yours - Olivia