Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

Waiting for Hurricane George

March 11, 2007

So, we just returned from a lovely afternoon walk in our blockaded neighborhood here in Guatemala City. It’s pretty eerie out there and reminds me of when I was growing up in Central Florida. When we had hurricanes, we usually knew they were coming a couple of days ahead of time – enough to put plywood up on the windows, buy extra groceries, and then go for a walk under sunny skies. On our walks, we’d always bump into the neighbors and chat, all while feeling a sense of impending doom/giddiness. It was the same this afternoon here in la Zona Viva…

A few notes on the visit:

I’m frustrated with CNN’s lack of coverage of President Bush’s Latin American trip – instead, it’s every detail about the happy news of the baby from Lubbock, TX being found, the Atlanta bus crash, and the forest fires in California – but nothing on Colombia.

As I posted in the comments below, the Mayan people near Iximche are going to do a purification ritual of the site after Bush’s visit tomorrow. I find this whole purification stuff to be really interesting – from a religious and PR/political statement point of view. Some of you might remember conversations in the past about purifying Gandhi’s tomb after Bush’s visit a few years ago (more about the bomb-sniffing dogs than Bush…).

The graffiti outside of our neighborhood is intense and scary. Although Guatemala has not seen the kind of protests that occurred in Brazil and Uruguay/Argentina, the graffiti is pretty incredible – those people who do want to protest Bush’s visit sure have some nasty things to say/write! It certainly speaks to the growing negative perceptions of the US here in Latin America.

Immigration – not crime, foreign aid, drug trafficking, or Iraq – seems to be the main issue on everyone’s mind here. Many Guatemalans have family and friends in the US and the desire for a fair immigration package is the one issue mentioned by most people I talk to and those quoted in the papers.

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President Bush in Guatemala

March 9, 2007

It’s striking to see how much President Bush is a major part of life outside the US. His upcoming visit to Guatemala is on the front pages here everyday. Bush has never been here before, and will spend his whirlwind 24 hours in meetings in the capital and visiting a town nearby to highlight the benefits of free trade and US aid to Guate. They’ll be shutting down the streets in our Zone for his motorcade, and we’ve been hearing the sounds of security airplanes and helicopters for the past few days since they’ll be shutting down airspace too.

I hope while Bush is here, he will address the recent situation of violence here (the murder of some El Salvadoran congressmen followed by the execution of the confessed policemen/murderers/witnesses in jail). The NY Times has covered the story and so has DailyKos (where you’ll see the historic politics-religion connection…). And, in honor of International Women’s Day, it was interesting to see al-Jazeera (which oddly comes on cable here) cover the Guatemalan femicide… All this should give you pause about criminal justice and impunity everywhere.

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Why is John Edwards so popular?

February 4, 2007

I just don’t get why John Edwards is so popular among those of us on the liberal left… I’m watching him on Meet the Press and it’s just a festival of, “I got it wrong… I’m sorry…” If he got Iraq wrong during a short few years in the Senate, what else is he going to get wrong as President? Look, I admire everything Edwards has to say about the struggles of the middle class and poverty in America as a moral issue. He deserves a lot of credit for that. I’m just not sure why the “experience” question doesn’t haunt him the way it does Obama, and why the “Iraq vote” issue doesn’t haunt him the way it does Hillary.

Other notes: Edwards’s position on trade and outsourcing is isolationist and short-sighted… And, voting to cut off funding for the war is not a good move – it’s easy for Edwards to say since he faces no consequences with his constituents. Our troops need our support – Congress needs to pressure the President in other ways that don’t put our troops in physical danger.

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Paula Zahn’s attack on the Council on American-Islamic Relations

January 23, 2007

Here’s the letter I wrote to CNN’s Paula Zahn just now:

I’ve tried giving your features on racism a chance, but today was the last straw. The way that you attacked the well-spoken representative from CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) was highly objectionable. You also allowed the other two panelists to attack her, sadly leaving the impression that Muslims as a whole should accept “terrorist” stereotypes against them since they are not “vocal” enough in “condemning” terrorism.

CAIR and many other Muslim groups and mosques have done an excellent job of explaining that the vast majority of Muslims are NOT terrorists NOR do they support terrorism. Why should Muslims bear any additional burden in swearing off terrorism than the rest of us? Why shouldn’t all white southerners “be more vocal” about swearing off domestic terrorism because of Timothy McVeigh and Oklahoma City?

I’m sorry to say, Paula, tonight you were as guilty of what you say you are trying to expose. You owe CAIR and all American Muslims an apology. I’m posting this same letter on my blog and will avoid watching your sensationalist and racist show in the future.

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Go Oprah!

October 13, 2006

I just watched Frank Rich on Oprah talking about his new book, the war in Iraq, Katrina, and a host of other issues. The show is part of a series about Truth in America. It was fantastic, balanced, and exactly what the country needs – a healthy airing of opinions and discussion – INCLUDING criticism of the government. Two different soldiers spoke up – one said the media doesn’t report enough good news from Iraq, and the other said that she and alot of other soldiers are questioning the war. I tried going to a bunch of blogs on the episode – and most of them are right-wingers criticizing Oprah for having Frank Rich on the show. Funny how most of them require log-in’s to comment… I imagine they don’t want any critical thinkers on their sites either…

Is it me, or is Oprah finally getting a spine? She took on minimum wage earlier this year, said Obama would make a good President, and now this!  I like how this episode made it clear that you don’t have to be a Bush-supporter to be a good American (hell, with his approval numbers lately, I guess that’s obvious)…

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Life: photos of cells and embryos

October 12, 2006

I just saw a piece on the Today Show about this new book of incredible photographs by the Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson containing pretty stunning photos of human stem cells, blood vessels, and embryos. Two quick thoughts:

1) It annoys me when TV news shows put up subtitles for brown people speaking English with accents (like Pervez Musharraf), but not for white people (like Lennart Nilsson), who can be just as tough to understand as any desi…

2) Although the photos are really amazing, it seems to me that someone on the Today Show should have raised the issue of their use for anti-abortion propoganda. When these types of fetus pictures first came out in Life years ago, they were quickly turned into pro-life emblems. In fact, when I searched on Google for the link to the Today Show website, I couldn’t even find the piece about the new book on MSNBC. Instead, all these pro-life websites came up, encouraging anti-abortion activists to use photos of fetuses as a tool in their protests, on websites, etc. to shame women considering abortions and deny them their constitutional rights.

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Letter to Chris Matthews

July 28, 2006

I’ve always felt ambivalent on Chris Matthews, but usually enjoy his shows for the commentary and interviews. But, after yesterday’s show, I sent this e-mail:


I usually enjoy Hardball and the Sunday Chris Matthews Show, but today I was appalled that you would give airtime to Ann Coulter and her lunatic and homophobic theories about Bill Clinton.

After the way she insulted 9/11 widows, you should not have invited her on your show, let alone say, “You’re great, Ann!” – I was shocked to hear you utter those words when you signed off from the interview with her.

I expect hard talk from you, Chris, not stroking the ego of a vile and hateful woman like Ann Coulter, who has no respect for the suffering of others. If you won’t speak out, who will???

I’m not sure I can watch your show in good conscience anymore.”

Gay Marriage Amendment – Call your Senators

June 6, 2006

Just a reminder to call your Senators and encourage them to vote NO on the gay marriage amendment (including a vote on cloture). Here’s where you get the number for your Senator. [I wrote to my senators, and already heard back from Sen. Feinstein – almost immediately.]

Gavin Newsom kicked Charlie Gibson’s ass on Good Morning America – we should all be so eloquent about the fact that this is all stale rhetoric and nothing but a pandering move by the President. To write discrimination into the Constitution is morally wrong and it will go nowhere. To remind ourselves what a colossal waste of time this is, here is a top ten list of other things I think the President could be focusing on instead of gay-bashing and enshrining discrimination in the Constitution:

  1. Getting us out of Iraq
  2. Lowering gas prices
  3. Stopping global warming
  4. True immigration reform
  5. Improving the public schools
  6. Making health care more affordable
  7. Homeland security
  8. Preparing for hurricane season
  9. The AIDS crisis in Africa
  10. Taking care of our veterans when they come home

And that’s just the top ten! I bet we could come up with a lot more – feel free to share…

The American people will recognize this gay-marriage-silliness for what it really is – a political stunt by an incompetent president whose poll numbers are tanking and who is about to drag his whole party down with him. Here are some more links about the debate today:

Desis at the Spelling Bee

June 2, 2006

Besides all the Indian contestants at last night's Scripps National Spelling Bee, there was another South Asian angle – the words themselves!  We were tickled to see izzat and kundalini featured among the top 25 championship words!   Congratulations, Kerry Close!

LOVED the Oscars!

March 6, 2006

LOVED the Academy Awards last night!  LOVED Jon Stewart!  LOVED Three 6 Mafia!  LOVED Crash!

Did you realize that the woman who wrote and sang the song from Crash was Congresswoman Andrea Wyatt from West Wing (Toby’s ex-wife)?  We were all thinking, “God, she looks familiar…”  And Danny from my other favorite show, “Related,” was nominated for best adapted screenplay – who knew???

As far as dresses go, I thought Jennifer Aniston’s was classic-gorgeous, and Salma Hayek looked amazing.  Ludacris won best-dressed male in my book.  Worst dress – Charlize Theron.

Jon was definitely a little tense through the beginning, but got funnier as he loosened up. Those fake Swift-Boat ads were hilarious – great to see the whole Daily Show crew get in on the action. 

Bringing it back to what this blog’s all about – I thought George Clooney’s acceptance speech was where it’s at.  It’s fine for Hollywood and its fans to be “out of touch,” if that means that we’re not a part of the Bush administration’s ridiculous incompetence, cover-ups, and corruption.  The slate of best picture nominees shows that Hollywood and discerning movie audiences are not afraid to stand up and address some of the major social concerns of our day.  I recommend that all of us watch (or re-watch) “Crash” in honor of last night…