Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2011 - A Prophecy

I have seen the future. And it is terrifying. It was December 26th, 2:47 AM Eastern Standard Time and I was drowning in eggnog, limping down the last leg of a thirty-six hour peyote trip. I was laughing and crying and vomiting when suddenly…a seismic shockwave put me on my back.

I awoke, my studio apartment awash in a sea of blinding white light. And through the overwhelming luminescence appeared a three-dimensional projection of the future. In a montage of sound bites, newspaper headlines, Tweets and Facebook updates, I saw 2011’s highlights. They were alarming and arresting, occasionally inspiring but usually quite frightening. I started this blog to share my wisdom with the masses; hence I have a moral imperative to share my knowledge of the future with you as well. So brace yourself.

In two week's time, January’s annual aurora borealis phenomena will join forces with a colossal solar flare and the combined radiation emissions will cause the Alaskan moose population to mutate. They will develop the capacity to reason and the ability to breathe fire and in an act of vengeance, a herd of them will break into the Palin residence where they will proceed to slaughter and field dress the entire family. 

Authorities will arrive at the Palin residence weeks after the fact to find the entire family stuffed and mounted on a fleet of snowmobiles. The words “Real niggaz don’t die…and neither do pit bulls with lipstick muthafuckas!” are written on the wall in blood. Forensic analysis reveals that the words are in fact written with moose hooves but the significance of the Ebonic, N.W.A.-inspired phrasing will eternally baffle authorities. 

An atypically harmonious and bi-partisan Congress will pass a litany of groundbreaking legislation. Medicare and Medicaid coverage is doubled but in subsequent efforts to prove Congress’s pragmatic flexibility, it’s funding is halved a month later. The ‘Death Panels’ that would allegedly be formed by Obamacare somehow morph from propaganda phantoms to omnipotent juggernauts and at their peak, deem half the American populous unworthy of continued life and a majority of Congress unworthy of continued service. By year’s end they will enact “The Final Edict.” At its culmination, the American population will be cut in half, the Senate reduced from 100 members to 7 and as a result of the reductions in Medicaid expenditures, the budget deficit will decrease by .06%. Those still alive will laud the accomplishment as “a Darwinist breakthrough of historic proportions” and proof that America’s Two-Party system of government still works.  

In August, the NBA free-agency circus results in the following: Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and Kevin Durant all join the Knicks. The remaining free agents join the Miami Heat and the other twenty-eight teams are euthanized due to poor ticket sales and an inability to attract sponsors. When the Heat meat the Knicks in the finals, NBA President David Stern puts locks and chains on all the doors exiting Madison Square Garden before setting it on fire. Everyone inside dies…except for Spike Lee and the Knicks City Dancers who were fortuitously clad in flame-retardant unitards. Before being executed by a firing squad, Stern remarks, “I just thought it would be better if the NBA started over from scratch.” He is canonized by the Vatican weeks later. A week after that, Mark Cuban buys the Vatican and canonizes himself.

With the NBA eliminated and the WNBA still struggling to find an audience, league executives finally do what they should have done years ago…they lower the rims to nine feet and change the uniforms to lingerie. With thong-clad women posterizing each other on a nightly basis, WNBA games’ ratings are instantaneously quadrupled, becoming the ninth most popular women’s sport, right between jai alai and snooker. Frederick’s of Hollywood replaces Gatorade as the sponsor for the Slam Dunk Contest and in a gripping final round, Candace Parker wins on a dunk during which she hurtles Verne Troyer.

By February, the unemployment rate skyrockets to 38% and in an act of desperation, both houses of Congress pass a mandate requiring the Kardashian sisters and The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Beverly Hills, Washington DC and Atlanta to enter the workforce. But without any job skills to contribute, the economy and unemployment rate remain unchanged. Having nothing else of value to contribute, the women are drained of silicone and collagen. Six hundred gallons are extracted and due to their extraordinary buoyancy, half of it is used to revitalize the slumping life preserver industry. The other half is pumped into developmental laboratories where chemists, aided by billions in federal funding, finally decipher the elusive chemical properties of Flubber.

In early Spring, Justin Beiber shocks the world when he changes his Facebook ‘Relationship Status’ from ‘Single’ to ‘Uber-Gay.’ In a heart-warming display of loyalty to the pop star and his transcendant artistry, Tom Brady and 23,000,000 teenage boys change their sexual orientation. On his eighteenth birthday, Justin joins the Marine Corps and three days into Basic Training, he is killed in an overzealous Code Red orchestrated by Jerry Falwell’s grandson Brutus. Within a month of the tragedy, ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ is tweaked into the flagrantly unconstitutional but effective ‘Don’t Join the Marines if You’re a Pre-Pubecent Gaylord with Feathered Bangs’ policy.

In the heat of summer, after yet another round of failed negotiations, Israel and Palestine decide to quit stalling and annihilate each other in a nuclear blitzkrieg. Without war-torn strife to define them, the world’s remaining Jews and Muslims wander the earth in a state of disillusioned malaise. Then, in a stunning development, the Jews discover Christ and the Muslims discover the joys in booze, cocaine and white women. Al Qaeda’s stock plummets and they declare bankruptcy in September. Abraham Epstein’s Yarmulkes, Inc. follows suit shortly after.

Growing concern over the recent rash of NFL concussions leads to the elimination of violent contact all together. Tackling is replaced with tickling and the NFL finally succeeds in wooing the American homosexual viewing audience, a demographic that had long eluded them. With less contact and no risk of injury, Brett Favre unretires yet again and rejoins the Vikings. In a divisional playoff game against the Bears, Favre is killed suddenly when his diaphragm collapses from excessive laughter. Linebackers Brian Urlacher and Johnny Weir are assessed a ten yard penalty for ‘Illegal Use of Tummy Sticks.’

During the autopsy, Favre is posthumously cleared of the charges stemming from the explicit text messages he allegedly sent a Jets employee after doctors discover that he is a eunuch. Upon hearing this, Wrangler Jeans immediately drops Favre as a sponsor. Wrangler’s revenue stream remains unchanged because, well, it’s Wrangler.

Reality television is ruled to be an illegal and unruly contaminant to American values by a Republican-led Congress and the legislation is upheld by the Supreme Court. In his majority opinion, Judge Roberts states quite eloquently that ‘Freedom of Speech’ protection does not apply to reality TV stars because most of them shouldn’t be allowed to speak in the first place. With all reality programming removed, the burden of carrying prime time falls on the shoulders of Two and a Half Men and Big Bang Theory.

R.I.P. 1986-2011
This burden proves to be too heavy and both series are quickly canceled. Since fictional television writers are now extinct, TV stations are reduced to perpetually recycling re-runs of Alf and Homeboys in Outer Space. In the closest voting in history, Homeboys wins the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series. Alf wins for Outstanding Comedy Series and in one of the most horrific moments captured on live television, Alf is assassinated while on stage accepting the award. A PETA hitman is arrested for the crime moments later and in the celebretory aftermath, catnip sales increase 300%.  

By year’s end, our greatest fear will prove to be accurate…President Obama is in fact a Muslim terrorist. On New Year’s Eve, he will dress Sasha and Malia in matching suicide vests and march them into Time’s Square where they will detonate the devices amidst the crowd of one million partiers. Fortunately, the bombs were manufactured in a converted GM plant in Flint, Michigan by inadequately trained employees so in a lackluster explosion, there is only one casualty…The Naked Cowboy. As his shredded, blood-soaked Fruit of the Looms rain down on the crowd like confetti, onlookers do not know whether to rejoice or mourn the fallen cowboy. I just laugh. 

R.I.P. 1978-2011
I know this is a lot to ingest but it would be neglectful of me to withhold this information. My hope is that the knowledge will fuel your efforts to truly make each day count. So enjoy the Palins while you can; they won't be around forever. If you have not yet been serenaded by The Naked Cowboy, get your ass to Time’s Square or forever live with the regret. Tivo every episode of Two and a Half Men and grow yourself a Beiber hair-do no matter how lame you look. Do whatever you need to do to seize this day and every one in 2011.

Now on a personal note, I am currently in pre-production for my film that will begin shooting in February. This endeavor will demand considerable time and energy so I will inevitably be neglecting my blog for the next few months. Will you miss it? Will its absence create a void and if so, how will you fill this void? Or will you really not give a fuck? I don’t know. But ask questions people. Always ask questions.

Luckily, my blogging absence will be well worth it. Because I also saw myself in 2011. I saw myself at the Sundance Film Festival where my film is accepted into competition and generating quite a buzz. But right before the Jury Awards are announced, I am arrested for humping Mila Kunis’s leg at a press junket. I spend a week in Park City County Jail…and it is worth it. 

Nine months later, her left leg gives birth to a child with a large forehead and a foul mouth. Birth of the mutant leg-child results in the long-overdue end of her relationship with Macaulay Culkin; a cataclysmic event that finally restores order and stability to the Universe. How long with this stability last? Will Mila and I end up together? Will our child possess her ethereal beauty or my unfortunate nose? Will these questions ever cease? Let’s hope not. In the mean time, Happy New Year and God help us all.  

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Vick, James, Love, Hate: These Dichotomies That Plague Us All

There is an old adage claiming that ‘Nobody likes to drink alone.’ Well, I love to. Booze is a reliable friend and we have always been there for each other, within and beyond the presence of others. Furthermore, I have always enjoyed my own company tremendously.

As a writer, I sometimes feel the need to venture beyond the confines of my apartment in search of inspirado so what better option for a sauce-happy wordsmith than to go down to his neighborhood watering hole and cuddle up with a pint, pen and his trusty Moleskin (that’s a notebook…Google it.)

There I sat, nursing a mediocre anejo (that’s a type of tequila…Google it) with a Stella back, sandwiched between a camouflage-clad war vet and a man that looked like Santa Claus if St. Nick were a smackhead with body odor and male pattern baldness.

As I genially fended off their attempts at small talk, I gazed up at a couple televisions to see two games playing simultaneously. One featured LeBron James and his Heat in their much-anticipated first game in Cleveland. The other featured the Philadelphia Eagles and the Lazarus of professional football, Michael Vick.

I suddenly found myself seething with more emotions than I could make sense out of as I attempted to follow both games in unison. The parade of boos cascaded down on James from the opening warm-up and would not cease until he took a seat on the bench after the third quarter ended. Vick, on the other hand, was on his home turf where in half a season, he has gone from divisive, third-string afterthought to the Kevin Colb-slaying personification of redemption and the NFL’s most ubiquitous story line.

So there I sat, watching Vick and James, two of the most famous and preternaturally talented specimens in their respective sports…and a funny thing happened. Santa Claus ordered another pint glass filled with Jack Daniels and a splash of coke and asked me what I was writing. I told him it was a graphic novel about lesbian samurai that save the world from a cataclysmic meteor shower.

But that wasn’t the funny thing that happened. The funny thing was that I found myself rooting for both Michael Vick and LeBron James. Yes, I am as shocked and appalled as you are.

What LeBron pulled over the summer was atrocious and in case you read my blog last week, you may have noticed that I screamed ‘FUCK LEBRON JAMES’ in size twenty-six font. I still feel that way but I admittedly noticed a jolt of exuberation when he sank his first jump shot early in the first quarter. Why? He is a spineless traitor who turned his back on a franchise while bending if not breaking NBA tampering rules.

So what was happening to me? I eventually realized that the overwhelming negativity heaped upon James had turned him into the guy I always root for…the underdog. Maybe since the city of Cleveland, the NBA and the world at large wanted him to fail, I wanted him to, if only for one night, rise above the pressure and become the legend we always thought he’d become.

Maybe. Because, and I’ve said this before, I watch sports to see athletes surmount adversity, even if they themselves are responsible for creating it. And what better example than Vick; a walking case study on the rehabilitory efficiency of American correctional institutions.  

Can prison take an underachieving, uber-talented improviser and turn him into the mature, multi-dimensional pocket passer that Vick has become? One with vision, discipline and surgical precision to go along with his speed? Tom Brady is the only quarterback with a better rating and that is by one tenth of a percentage point so it is quite possible. Could someone who made money killing dogs emerge from a two-year prison sentence not only a better quarterback but also a better man? I don’t know.

I do know that Santa Claus here doesn’t look happy. He’s probably had a tough life and it’s December so he’s probably tired of all the fucking Santa Claus jokes he gets. And I know that the red sweater he’s wearing won’t reduce them.

Anyway…where do all these feelings come from? I’m a curious little monkey so I’m always trying to dig down to the bottom of these quandaries to unearth a little truth. Have I forgiven James for his trespasses? No. I still think he’s a ginormous pussy. But the optimist in me hopes he will learn from his failures in judgment and action and become the leader we all want him to be.

Maybe he will fail miserably in Miami, take his immense talents elsewhere and secure a championship he can truly call his own. Maybe Vick will win a Superbowl this year and become the official spokesman for the Humane Society. Maybe Santa Claus is real and he has figured out that I’m not really writing a graphic novel about lesbian samurai. Maybe he’s pissed I lied to him and is not going to give me the blowjob I asked him for for Christmas. I asked him for one last year too and I got a fucking Snuggie instead so it stands to reason that I will get shafted this year as well. Okay, poor choice of words.

But you have to be curious about these feelings when they come up. At least I do. I have to wonder why the camo-clad army vet is rooting so vehemently against the Eagles. He’s a Jets fan (I asked) so it’s not driven by a desire for the Giants to climb in the standings. Does he have a dog at home? If so, he probably, and justifiably, hates Vick for being a dog killer and most likely will never forgive him.

But despite his heinous past, part of me has forgiven him. And as a die-hard Giants fan who loves animals, this is difficult to accept. I can’t readily root for the dog-killing quarterback of my second most hated NFC East rival, can I? (Yes, Dallas, you will always be first…even though that Tony Romo is so goddamn dreamy.)

But I find myself rooting for Vick. And unlike those who have not had the luxury of psychotherapy…lots and lots and lots of psychotherapy…I know why I cheer for him. I know why I hated him for letting me down four years ago. Like anyone else, I too have been betrayed by those I once held in unreasonably high esteem. It stung. And Vick’s downfall triggered that sting.

I also know why I now hope for his success. Because Michael Vick and I have a great deal in common. We both run a 4.29 second 40-yard dash, we both have three children and we’re both hung like dinosaurs.

Additionally, we both have pasts we are not particularly proud of. And as another Vick touchdown propelled the Eagles to a fourth quarter lead they would not relinquish, he got one step closer to what anyone who has ever fucked up strives for…redemption.

But does he deserve it? The man regularly speaks at schools, telling kids how heartbroken he is that he is legally prohibited from giving his own children the puppy they want so badly. Is he telling the truth?

The angry vet (war veteran, not animal doctor-a very relevant distinction) doesn’t think so. Santa doesn’t really give a shit. He seems indifferent, though he may just be high or generally confused about the world. It’s hard to tell.

But I like to believe that Vick does mean what he says. Because I need to believe that people can change. I believe I have and hope that I can continue to do so. One’s inherent ability to grow, to improve, to self-actualize; it comes up frequently in my writing and I am very cognizant of it. But most normal people (and I’m not knocking them, in fact I envy them) do not share this clarity. Most normal people do not spend their days investigating their feelings and their nights toiling in insomniatic introspection.

So ask yourself…do you hate Michael Vick because you love dogs? Do you cheer for him because of his other worldly athleticism or because you too capitalized on a second chance that someone was generous enough to give you? Do you hate James because someone you loved once betrayed you? Or because you are too ashamed to admit that Cleveland sucks and it’s the last city you would ever want to build a life in?

As a Knicks and Giants fan, I have all the reason in the world to hate both these men…Vick for the threat he poses and James for the promise unfulfilled. So what is going on with this cognitive dissonance that plagues me? Could it be a sign of maturity? Uncompromising hatred is easy and there is something oddly comforting about clinging to a nice, cozy grudge.

But forgiving people is hard. Sifting through faults in search of virtue requires effort and ethical flexibility. So maybe I’m finally growing up. Or maybe that’s just the tequila talking and if it is, still…tal vez estoy creciendo.

Both games ended and the final tallies were impressive. James scored a season high thirty-eight points in only three quarters despite the booing, heckling and multiple skirmishes that erupted in the crowd. Vick threw for over three hundred yards with three total touchdowns and both their teams won easily. How do you feel about this? How do you feel about them? And what do you want from them?

I’ll tell you what I want. I want Michael Vick to become the greatest quarterback in the NFL, exemplifying the prototype of the 21st Century that his potentially holds, thus confirming man’s capacity for growth and the ability to utilize the full extent of one’s limitless faculties. And I also want the Eagles to lose every fucking game they play for the rest of all time. Why? Fuck them and GO BLUE! That’s why.

I want LeBron James to fail in Miami. In a clash of superstar egos, I want Dwayne Wade to kick the shit out of James in the middle of a prime time televised game; a fight that results in their both being ejected and the Heat losing the final game of the year, leaving them one victory shy of the eighth playoff seed. Then I want James to leave Miami, eat some peyote, do some soul-searching in the desert and find another team to play for. Once there, I want him to realize what it takes to be a champion, I want him to dig down deep and I want him to become one.

I want Santa to stop sucking down JD at a record clip and get to work on my blowjob because I really need one. And I need to believe that Vick, James, myself…we can all rise from rubble that we ourselves created and reach our full potential.

And that is what we should all strive for. Because, seriously, what the fuck else are we supposed to do with ourselves while we’re here?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dude, Where's My Role Model?

Peyton Manning throws a really good football. I.M. Pei designed some damn cool buildings and that Eminem guy sure can flow. We all have our aptitudes. I am an incredibly talented curmudgeon. Misanthropy is my gift and one that comes to me easily and prolifically. Simply put, I just love to hate.

I hate without prejudice or partiality. I hate The Real Housewives of (insert whatever city here-it really doesn’t matter) just as much as I hate the Kardashians and the entire cast of The Jersey Shore. I hate the Israelis for continuously building settlements and I hate the Palestinians for continuously launching rockets into them. I hate the N.R.A. for being so strong and I hate anti-gun advocates for being so weak.

Now, what is one to do with all this hate? You would think that the well of abhorration would run dry from time to time but alas, it is perpetually replenished by the knuckleheads that regularly appear on television. Long ago, the term ‘Boob Tube’ was coined but the people addictively watching it were considered the boobs, not the people on it. But televolution has changed all that.

Televolution noun (2010) 1. the ever-morphing landscape of television that encapsulates all macro and microscopic changes in the zeitgeist. Okay, so, yeah, I just made that up. You don’t like it, too fucking bad. Get your own blog and make up as many words as you want.

If I were to list and rant about every person I hate that appears on television, we would be here for a very long time so I will focus on those I truly relish loathing. I will start with the easiest target and anyone with half a brain’s favorite, the Queen twit of Wasilla herself, Sarah Palin.

Yes, I watched the debut episode of Sarah Palin’s Alaska. I had to. My hatred for her is an addiction and like any other, it must be fed regularly or crippling withdrawal symptoms ensue and my anger receptor sites might be filled with noxious emotions like joy or gratitude.

After watching the show, I must reluctantly admit the following: Alaska is a fascinating wilderness and I couldn’t help but admire Sarah’s moxie in rock-climbing, glacier-stomping and fishing within casting distance of wrestling bears. And dare I say it but Sarah Palin is just the most delightfully folksy, quirky, nutty little thing. She is just weird enough to be telegenically engaging.

And this assemblage of personality traits (or defects) does make her an above average reality TV star. But these same traits also make her a political punch line. Scaling one of the gentler faces of Mt. McKinley does not endow one with the courage necessary to win wars. And Salmon-catching proficiency will not help reign in Iran’s nuclear program or create a few million jobs.

But is the average disgruntled voter smart enough to make these distinctions? Or is liking her show just enough to sway an undecided independent come November 2012? It has already swayed the voters on Dancing with the Stars, who, despite her mediocre scores and lackluster rhythm, kept Bristol Palin in the running for far longer than she deserved. Or so I hear. I would sooner castrate myself with a spork than watch that fucking show.

Speaking of dogshit reality TV shows, I’m gonna lay off The Jersey Shore because picking on that program is kind of like beating up a nine-year-old girl in a wheelchair. So instead I will direct my ire at two of the NFL’s most decorated self-promoters, Terrell Owens and Chad-I still can’t believe he actually legally changed his fucking name to-Ochocinco.

Never in the history of sport have two bigger spotlight-humping parasites worn the same team’s jersey. Between them they have two TV programs, twelve Pro Bowl selections, 218 touchdowns, dozens of endorsement contracts, countless end zone celebrations and, the only stat that really matters in sports, ZERO championships.

I was watching Monday Night Football a few days ago and saw Ochocinco in a commercial for, wait for it, pistachios. That’s right. The man is selling nuts. I really don’t know what else I can say about this. It’s...I can’t believe...is he really...ja3e*&^hUI98yg&7Guhi&TGu

Sorry, I just had an aneurysm and shat myself.

I remember watching Lawrence Taylor annihilate quarterbacks in the pre-concussion-pandemic era like a man who simply enjoyed doing his job. Barry Sanders would score touchdown upon touchdown and every time he crossed the goal line, he acted like he’d been there before. No celebrations, no dancing, no popcorn, no cell phones or Sharpies, just six points and poise. What the fuck happened man?

These days athletes who quietly do their job well are anomalous. Players who don’t bitch in the locker room are exceptions, not the norm. Players who don’t Tweet, promote and blow themselves at every opportunity are becoming increasingly rare and soon they may be extinct all together. It used to be performance first, pomp and circumstance second or sometimes never. Now, it is the other way around. And nothing exemplifies this more flagrantly than “The Decision.”

As a lifelong Knick fan and ardent follower of the NBA, allow me to scream what has already been spoken ad nauseum:


Fuck him long and hard and good.

“The Decision,” James' repugnant free agency special that was aided, abetted and enabled by ESPN (not to mention The Boys & Girls Club) was a self-aggrandizing embarrassment. It was a public bitchslap to a Cavalier franchise that all but anointed and apotheosized ‘The Chosen One’ and it spat in the face of everything I love about competitive sports. I grew up watching Magic versus Bird, Jordan versus everyone and it was these rivalries that shaped and sculpted the NBA that exists today. Why do we watch sports? Have you ever asked yourself that?

I watch them to see mortals defy adversity to become champions and then legends and then gods. I watch them to bare witness to bitter rivals battling; shedding sweat, blood and tears on turf, grass and hard-court.

We do not watch sports to watch weak-willed canoodlers manufacture championships because they lack the heart and balls to earn them the hard way. The NBA deserves better and so do its fans.

There is much I detest about the Republican party; their insistently pumping God into politics, their resistance to perceiving minorities and gays as equals, their fear-mongering, false-patriotic proclivities, their flagrant tendency to cater to the needs of corporations instead of the average American. But despite all my harbored animus, they still deserve better than Sarah Palin.

Our democracy welcomes debate amongst two parties with different ideals but it should not welcome airheads who are just quirky enough to sell books and get decent ratings on The Learning Channel. People have limitations and our culture should not allow them to transcend them.

Keanu Reeves should have stopped at Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Lindsay Lohan should have stopped at Herbie Fully Loaded. Sarah Palin should have stopped at Alaska. And she should have stayed there.

Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens should not be given endorsements, TV programs and multi-million dollar contracts. They should be shunned until they can behave like grown-ups. They should be underpaid until they can prove themselves as worthy teammates. Team mates.

Lebron James should lock himself in a room and figure out what he’s really made of. Though, maybe he already did that and conclded he did not have the character required to win his own championship and carve out his own legacy. Maybe ‘we are all witnesses’ to the best wingman in the game, nothing more than a finely tuned second fiddle.

But when will we demand more from our politicians, athletes and entertainers? When will selfishness be punished by professional sports teams and the companies that endorse athletes? How many more W’s and Palin’s will America have to suffer before it realizes that 'the guy you want to have a beer with' or 'the folksy gal you want to field dress a moose with' should not be placed in positions of power? When will we start demanding values, character, competence and courage from our role models?

I don’t fucking know. But ask questions people. Always ask questions. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Waiting for Superman: Reflecting on a Film and the Problem Behind It

Films like Waiting for Superman are dangerous if you let them in. They are inspiring and debilitating, uplifting and crippling.  All in all, they are as overwhelming as life itself.

For the greater part, most of us can drift through life deflecting the potency of it all but once in a while something comes along, grabs you by the short hairs, sticks a microscope in your face and shoves some truth up your ass. It forces you to open your eyes and your heart and despite your greatest efforts, to let it in. It screams, ‘I AM A PROBLEM! STOP IGNORING ME, PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS AND LOOK AT ME!’

An Inconvenient Truth, one of Davis Guggenheim’s earlier efforts, accomplished this even though Washington's progress on the matter suggests otherwise. And even though Al Gore was a surprisingly effective conduit for his message, he was not nearly as persuasive as the children in Waiting for Superman.

Blogger’s Warning: You will fall in love with the children in this film. Your heart will swell and break with their triumphs and failures. They will get under your skin…and they will stay there.   

I went into this film with preconceived albeit incomplete notions about the imperfections plaguing education in this country. I knew that America was falling behind the rest of the world in a big, big way. I knew that ‘No Child Left Behind’ was, in fact, leaving millions of children behind. I knew that teachers unions were a force in politics and that tenure was enabling complacency if not incompetence in our public schools.

But I was shortsighted as to the scope of these problems. They are immense. And they are threatening our country’s future in ways I did not fully realize until I saw this film.

The extent to which children’s academic aptitude drops off from elementary school to middle school is nothing short of appalling. Merely one third of middle school children possess math and reading skills appropriate for their age levels. By high school, a large portion of these children will be, and I’ll be saying this a lot so get used to it, left behind.

Academically, they will slip between the cracks of a system that pays more attention to the students that need less of it and then they will drop out. With no degree, no job skills, no self esteem and no hope, they will wander the streets of America, predominantly its inner cities, and they will waste away. Many will have no choice but to resort to crime and most of them will spend at least a portion of their lives in prison.

Although the film points out that the problem does not only affect minorities, it does predominantly. Poorer families are simply less equipped to deal with the problems that arise with their children. They cannot afford to send their kids to private schools. They cannot afford to send their children to specialists to test for learning disabilities and they cannot afford tutors on the off chance that their tenured teachers are not doing their jobs. They are far more reliant on public schools and far more vulnerable to the detriments of their shortcomings.

Bad teachers = bad schools = bad neighborhoods.

This is a fairly obvious equation but changing the variables is not so simple.

Over the years, teachers’ unions have grown in size, muscle and political prominence. The two largest unions, when combined, are the single largest contributor to political campaigns in the United States, directing most of their efforts towards Democrats. Their clout is stronger than the pharmaceutical lobby, stronger than oil and stronger than my gun-toting cronies at the N.R.A.

I don’t know about you but I was not aware of this. And it is this fact that has made significant education reform difficult. These unions exist to protect the teachers from, among other things, employers’ audacious insistence that they do their jobs well. These unions have failed for two primary reasons; the first being that it has created an occupational vacuum that is impervious to internal or external forces…a vacuum that does not reward good teachers or punish bad ones. Not financially and not disciplinarily.

The second failure is tenure, which in many public schools is granted after only three years, at which point all motivation to improve or maintain performance levels are removed and the teacher is rendered all but unfirable. Outside of fucking or beating their students or setting their schools on fire, the odds of tenured teachers getting fired are remote.

I have had three teachers who have touched my life. One talked me through the aftermath of my parents’ divorce, the second let me smoke cigarettes outside her classroom while I vented about the maelstrom that accompanied adolescence and the third has been my best friend for the past thirty years.

Having attended three different high schools in my tour of Long Island’s educational institutions, I experienced the entire spectrum; great teachers, terrible ones, passionate and also indifferent, teachers that could connect with their students and teachers so detached from humanity that they should be studied in a fucking laboratory.

I have experienced firsthand how a good teacher cannot only teach their students but they can also reach them. I have watched kids treat my friend like a rock star because he has the rare ability to entertain while he educates, to empathize while he disciplines, to exert the effort to be original in his methodology. But my friend, a private school employee who makes roughly what I make bartending, is an exception, not the norm.

The film points out several other exceptions who are passionate, innovative and dedicated. But they are not the norm. The norm is a clusterfuck of ineptitude sheltered by an impenetrable wall of bureaucracy that the film refers to as ‘The Blob.’

This ‘Blob’ is the overlapping, interwoven web of laws, standards and people that is constructed out of school boards, superintendents, city, state and federal officials…all of which have different laws, protocols and political agendas.

The ‘Blob’s’ lack of a unifying set of standards and a single gauge by which to rate the performance of both students, as well as teachers, is an enormous problem. Communists are evil, yes. Socialism is the personification of mortal sin, we know. But socialized education has advantages; among them its ability to sidestep ‘The Blob’ and the fact that it has one measuring stick and one government body to answer to…not a multitude of unions, officials and bureaucrats that prevent this broken system from repairing itself.

The side effects of this systemic disintegration are widespread and we are feeling the sting from its backlash. There is considerable animosity about the growing outsourcing trend but, as Superman points out, this trend has become less of a choice and more of a necessity. Why? Because America can no longer provide enough adequately educated people to meet the demands of the global workforce. Although we have the brainpower and the brawn, we simply do not have the skills necessary to keep up with the rest of the world.

So all this animus towards the treasonous virtues of outsourcing needs to be directed at the real villain, our own inability to educate our children.

The Status Quo is basically me at the age of sixteen. It is petulant, it doesn’t want to be fucked with in any way and if challenged, it will fight back with everything it has. It’s got raggedy clothes and a shitty haircut but it just doesn’t care. Even if you send the Status Quo to a nuthouse, it will violently defend its sanity. Arrest and convict the Status Quo and it will insist upon its innocence, no matter how much evidence you have against it.

The Status Quo, as it applies to education is, as I was at sixteen, in dire need of an intervention. Without one, it runs the risk of annihilating itself in a whirlwind of self-destructive dysfunction. It needs to go to rehab and it needs to realize that it is hurting itself and everyone it comes into contact with.

The stakes could not be any higher. Our country’s ability to compete in fields like I.T. and renewable energy is lacking. We are…wait for it…falling behind. And if we do not pick up the pace…we will be left behind. As Superman illustrates, we have the means to do just that and the film points out the potential to universally implementing these means as well as the challenges.

Charter Schools work. But there are simply not enough of them and the lottery system employed by them is cruel. So another way must be found because, and suppress the uprising bile as I say this, our children truly are our future; socially, politically, occupationally. The fate of our future can not be tied to the occasional lottery ball. So go see Waiting for Superman and fall in love with these children. 

Look at her. Open your eyes, take a deep breath, relax your colon and allow the truth to be crammed up your ass. You want this truth and even though you may not realize it, YOU FUCKING NEED IT!

And what the children need is our help. They need us to mend this broken institution because if we don’t, and this is the last time I'm gonna say this, they will get left behind.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This Congress We Will Have Tomorrow

I was bartending a week ago when a partially sloshed, completely abrasive woman grabbed my hand and without consent, starting studying its contours. She looked me in the eyes and with unyielding certainty, told me that A) the relationship I was in at the moment was not working, B) I had recently given up on a very successful career and was now bartending while I searched for my future vocation, and C) I was so sick and tired of people questioning my sexual orientation that for the first time in my life, I was considering changing it.

She said this with the type of unflappable conviction that can only come from someone that is completely and utterly full of shit. So I looked at her, smiled warmly and then told her that I had not had a girlfriend for over three years. And that even though I have always been a fairly good writer and actor, I was an abject failure at it when gauged by monetary measuring sticks and despite this, had no desire to abandon it in search of something else. Furthermore, I told her pointedly that the only time in my life that I had to defend my sexual orientation was when I was in rehab and a cokewhore insisted that I was gay because I wouldn’t fuck her on a ping-pong table with two Russian alcoholics watching us.

There is a point to this story, I promise you. This knucklehead knew not my past so she could not make sense of my present and surely could not forecast my future. This being said, she would probably have even more difficulty foretelling what will happen if the Republicans gain control of one or maybe even both houses of Congress.

But allow me to prognosticate if I may. And I don’t need The Secret, The Power or the wisdom of the ancients to guide me on my quest. I don’t need bat wing broth, eye of newt or lizards tongue to remember the past. Nor will reading Bill O’Reily’s on-air EKG or Todd Palin’s snowmobiling resume allow me to see the future. 

It was originally my intent to mourn the impending doom of the Republican Tea Party Apocolypse that is drawing nigh but I decided that such negativity would be futile. It was also my intent to cite what Republican-heavy Congresses of the past hath wrought and then attempt to predict what one might do in the future. But this turned out to be a lot more work than I anticipated. And besides, much like my bar patron, I cannot predict the future based on the past. I can only speculate as to what might happen if the Republicans pull off the coup d’ etat grand on Election Day and my conclusions may surprise you, especially if you are a democrat.

Yes some bad things may happen. But maybe some good things will as well.

Exhibit A, Nancy Pelosi will be muzzled and silenced. The world will rejoice, erupting in unified jubilation, especially the Democrats. 

Another potentially good side affect is that the Republican legislation paradigm, which, for the last two years, has been to simply wipe their asses with any piece of paper that comes from the other side of the aisle, will have to change. If in power of one of both houses, they will have no choice but to actually come up with some ideas of their own. Hopefully these ideas will be more creative than cutting taxes even if we can’t afford to and to stop spending money on everything including the construction of a wall that will prevent our economy from plummeting into the Grand Canyon. Playing the role of obstructionist party-pooper will not suffice if they have any aspirations of taking back the White House in 2012. Or if that fails, there’s always Bristol Palin in 2044.

And with the election behind them, the Democrats that actually managed to keep their jobs can stop formulating legislative agendas based on electoral demographics. I’m talking to you Harry Reid. Furthermore, they can start writing and voting for legislation that will create jobs, not merely preserve their own.

Admittedly, I always thought that a filibuster-proof supermajority was the only way to actually achieve any significant legislative victories. This proved true in Health Care Reform and the Financial Reform Bill where Dems needed every inch of their majority to get them passed.

And yes, part of me is petrified that a Republican Congress will successfully slaughter the Health Care Bill, legitimately legalize water-boarding, resurrect Bush’s tax cuts for the rich and start a war with Iceland.

But…perhaps a Congress that is fairly evenly divided might actually be a good thing.

I am probably being helplessly optimistic here but maybe bipartisanship can only be achieved by forcing our elected officials into a position where they have no choice but to work together to save their country, the future of their parties and most importantly, THEIR JOBS!

This round of political cagefighting has crescendoed and will dissipate into nothingness by morning. And if the noxious air left behind is not filtered out of Capital Hill, any bills pertaining to economic growth, climate change and ending both wars will choke to death before they even hit the bottom of the “hopper.”

And this country cannot afford to continue trailing the rest of the world on education, clean energy technology and efforts to curb the effects of global warming which, I assure you, IS ACTUALLY FUCKING HAPPENING!!!

It is time for Congress to govern. Once the last verbal mud-pie has been slung and the last campaign ad featuring dead fetuses has aired and the last vote has been cast, it will be time for politicians and their politicking ways to take a back seat to action.

Congress, no matter how it is stacked, needs to cut the bullshit and get to work.

Fiscal hawks and tax-and-spend gorgers will have to create jobs together. The inaugural Tea Party class and uber-gay, bleeding hearts like Barnie Frank will just have to hate each other on their own time, while working together to get our troops out of that goddamn Middle Eastern desert. 

I watched the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear and after the substandard jokes and sing-alongs, Jon Stewart gave what I though was a very poignant speech. He did not vilify the right as I thought he might, nor did he lambaste the left. He simply made a gentle plea to the roughly quarter-million attendees to “Stop the insanity.” “If you amplify everything, you hear nothing.” He said to great affect.

Well spoken Jon. When too many things get amplified, distortion usually follows. And while it is difficult to intelligently communicate amidst all this distortion, it is impossible to govern.

So…with the campaign circus leaving town, off to wallow in the same limbo where all campaigns go to spend their afterlives, can we now focus on improving our future?

Maybe America is just like me. Maybe, like me and my imaginary girlfriend from Niagara Falls, Congress is also in a troubled relationship. And maybe they can mend what has long-since frayed.

Maybe the left versus right vitriol is a side effect of my own confused sexuality that is teetering on the brink of a systematic overhaul.

Perhaps what was most amusing about my encounter with my apple-martini-guzzling seer was that she gave me her phone number with a wink, a smile and an eye-fuck as if she already knew that I would call her before she even reached the exit.

When she did leave, I immediately began asking questions. Because, remember this, it is always important to ask questions. It is the process during which we illuminate life and self. So if she was a psychic…and she can see the future…why did she give me her phone number if she already knew that the moment she left my bar, I was going to light it on fire?

There are lessons to be learned in this blog. Can you hear them? Can you understand them? If not, they are as follows.

1)    Drinking massive amounts of vodka and Apple Pucker does not instill a person with clairvoyance, it just gives them heartburn and makes them annoying.
2)    Beer muscles have, for the first time, manifested in the form of an inaccurate perception of one’s psychic skills.
3)    Congress is a dysfunctional wasteland where difficult bills go to retire and die, much like northeastern Jews who have relocated to Boca Raton.
4)    I have had a great deal of fun fornicating with women and only women for most of my adult life.

But maybe, just maybe…all of this will change tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow our leaders will actually lead with their hearts and not with the wallets of the hemorrhoids that financed their campaigns.

Maybe tomorrow Jaegermeister will instill mankind with the power to levitate and predict natural disasters. 

Maybe tomorrow the turbulent crosswinds circling Capital Hill will die down just a bit and the very concept of bipartisanship will graduate from ‘fantastical optimism’ to ‘political reality.’

Maybe tomorrow we will draft legislation that creates jobs, improves education and erects an energy philosophy devoid of oil and coal.

Maybe tomorrow, I will wake up spooning a slim, oiled-up man named Sven. With Streisand serenading us, we will giggle about all they years I wasted penetrating vaginas with my misguided member. We will dream of a world where laws get passed that allow us to get married before we openly join the military together. With Sven wrapped around my torso in a camouflaged baby bjorn, I will feed him MREs and we will giggle some more. We will dream of a world where the best people, through the democratic process, come up with the best ideas…and then those ideas become the laws that insure that every citizen of this country will get their slice of that mirage that is the American Dream.

Mmmmm, what a tomorrow that would be.

But whatever unfolds tomorrow, I hope you vote today.

Article first published as This Congress We Shall Have Tomorrow... on Technorati.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hollywood and the Great Regurgitation

While stumping, politicians regurgitate the same litany of soundbites. Comedians recycle the same jokes in the same manner that Poison still plays “Talk Dirty To Me” at every concert; thirty years after they wrote that substandard and patently ridiculous song.

Why? Because good ideas are hard to come by. So until you come up with something better, you stick with what works. And if all else fails, grab someone else’s idea, rewrite it, repackage it and release it into the world anew. Hollywood has become a big fan of ‘all else failing.’

Remakes have been a dominant force, if not a syndrome, in the last decade. It’s getting worse too…though occasionally better. My initial intent was to slam the remake trend currently gripping the movie industry. And as one of the blogosphere’s top-ranked curmudgeons, this would be easy enough. But it would also be unfair and limited in its cinematic scope. Because sometimes, even in an industry as homogenized and nutless as Hollywood, they actually do it bigger and better the second time around.

Let’s start with Transformers. Michael Bay, love him or hate him, has taken an obscure 80s cartoon about transforming alien robots and turned it into one of the world’s most lucrative franchises. How? Easy. Just take ginormous CGI-generated robots that blow up a lot of shit while a few utilitarian homo sapiens spurt mildly amusing zingers. Throw in a quasi-hunky pseudo-douche named Shia and top it off with a vapid Megan Fox’s perky tits and glossy lips and voila…you’ve got a blockbuster.

A similar equation was employed with The A-Team but to less successful effect. Blow up a lot of shit? Check. Utilitarian homo sapien zingers? Check. Both the hunk and douche quotas were filled by a wonderful Sharlto Copley in the role of Murdock and by a shirtless Bradley Cooper who had me, even as a lifelong heterosexual, re-examining my aversions to penises and back hair.

Hollywood is a perpetually hungry beast that must be fed and sometimes fed the same meal repeatedly. Take The Hulk for example. Ang Lee did such an atrocious job that merely three years later, The Incredible Hulk was already in pre-production. Both grossed roughly of $250 million and both were underwhelming.

Sometimes though, Hollywood prefers to take a salisbury steak TV dinner and repackage it as a spamburger. The Karate Kid of 1984 was delectably terrible; one of those movies that you couldn't help but love at the time but one that has not aged very gracefully. Ralph Macchio was an unprecedented cheesedick. Miyagi rocked as did the soundtrack. Johnny and his Kobra Kai posse made karate both cool and menacing and yes, the crane kick finale was uplifting as hell. So how does one re-make what truly was a staple of 80s Americana?

Well, you’ve got to tweak the variables. Like a Montague to a Capulet, Macchio and Shue were star-crossed lovers. Jersey met Hollywood, sparks flew, emotions ran high, they played mini-golf and fell in love. But in a remake, you’ve got to up the ante. So turn the Jersey schmuck into a black kid and send him to Japan where he falls in love with a Japanese violinist. Gag, yawn, drift into narcoleptic slumber. But don’t hate it too much because it’s starring Will Smith’s offspring…which considerably minimizes the Macchio cheese-dick factor. And properly marketing a non-cheese-dick-laden reboot is enough to create a success, which the film actually was.

The horror genre has seen its three biggest breadwinners made over for the new millennium. Freddy, Jason and Michael Meyers have all had their turn and admittedly, none of their reincarnations were particularly awful. But none of them were particularly good either. And in the world of remakes, mediocrity is usually profitable and always justifies a sequel. Yes, the bar is that low. So crawl into the depths with the rest of us and enjoy the panoramic views and excremental odors that the gutter has to offer. 

Superhero films are perhaps the most successful of the reboots and the bar is consistently being raised, which is refreshing. Spiderman started the trend. Tobey Macquire created a sensitive, sympathetic superdweeb and Sam Raimi did a great job of taking the superhero and turning it into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. And it was so profitable, that only several years after its last incarnation, they are starting from scratch once again with yet another reboot on the horizon.

But the beacon of this trend that all cinefiles should follow is Christopher Nolan. He has elevated a genre, which is not an easy task. Nolan has taken the superhuman and made it empathetically human, presenting the superheroic while translating it into a heroic language that even the unheroic everyman can understand; in the process extracting remarkable performances and painting them with a visual palette never tapped by auteurs of this genre.

There is no end in sight to the industry-wide desire to resurrect and revamp. No matter how many times they mutilate past perfections like they have done with The Pink Panther franchise, they will continue doing so. In the coming years we can expect remakes of Back to the Future, Red Dawn, Robocop, Police Academy and, yes I’m serious about this, Short Circuit. If nothing else, maybe this onslaught will resurrect the hibernating  career of Steve Guttenberg.

Most of these films will suck, some will suffice and a few will actually succeed. Such is the trajectory of the cinematic orbit in which we are all helplessly adrift. It is as ubiquitous as blood and silicone tits in a horror movie. It is as unnecessary as a remake of Bangkok Dangerous. And it is as unavoidable as a piss-drunk LiLo plowing a Volkswagon into a playground in the middle of recess while filming Herbie 2: Relapsed and Reloaded. Until tomorrow provides better or at least respectable ideas, yesterday’s will just have to do. And maybe this isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe Steve Guttenberg does deserve a second chance. And even if he doesn’t deserve one, I think he needs one. Watch the video below and you will have no choice but to agree.

Article first published as Hollywood and the Great Regurgitation on Technorati.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Democratic Communication Breakdown

It's mid-October, which means two things. One, Snuggie weather has officially arrived. And two, the Democratic party has roughly two weeks to pull their heads out of their asses and drive home a message that just might prevent the Republicans from taking over a slew of mayoral and gubernatorial posts as well as both houses of Congress…a feat that will surely result in two years of political quagmire and legislative stagnation.

I am not confident that the Democrats are capable of averting this catastrophe and no folks, ‘catastrophe’ is by no means a hyperbolic expletive on my part. With a budgetary crisis, jobs evaporating and nothing remotely resembling clean energy legislation coming out of the GOP camp, a Republican Congress under a Democratic President would be a fucking disaster. 

To decipher why the Dems are such significant underdogs, one need look no further than its leadership. Nancy Pelosi is a hag; encapsulating all the shortcomings of post-feminist America. Her brashness and ‘my dick is bigger than yours’ pulpit demeanor are nothing more than attempts to overcompensate for her lack of vision and variagated deficiencies as House Leader. I don’t like her and if asked off the record, most Democrats in Congress would concur. She’s like that elementary school principle that smells like cat piss that nobody can stand but because of the position she holds, the entire teaching staff fears or at the very least tolerates.

Harry Reid, accomplished as he is, would sell his own grandchildren to get re-elected. An attribute he displayed in April by selling out his energy bill to focus on immigration; a blatant attempt to cater to the Latino electorate in the face of plummeting pole numbers. 

But tragically, the person most responsible for the Democrats' predicament is Obama himself. I say this not because I feel he has done a poor job but because a man once lauded for his oratorical prowess has continuously done a piss-poor job of communicating his agenda to the American public. And this failure has trickled down the ranks; mucking up every gear, screw and ball-bearing in the Democratic machine.

Obama/Reid/Pelosi: A Triumvirate of Ineffeiciency

With skyrocketing premiums and plummeting quality, Health Care reform was a necessity and from a legislative perspective, a monumental and historic achievement. This should have been a slam-dunk. But Republicans dominated the debate by pumping misinformation through every outlet from Fox News to the Tea Party circus. They did it so relentlessly that “death panels” and the fear of socialists kidnapping our doctors became more newsworthy than the fact that over fifty million Americans did not have any health care or that premiums had increased 78 % over the last decade while stagflation (stagnant wages and high unemployment amidst inflation) surged. 

Obama should have bought an hour on every network the day after the vote was cast and broadcast a Health Care infomercial that outlined in simple bullet points why this bill was in fact, a very good thing. Yes, the bill is 2,400 pages long but Democrats failed to simplify it and illuminate the positives in a way that the public could not only understand but get behind.

This proposed infomercial should have been followed by a continuous informational outreach initiative perpetrated by the President himself along with every senator, congressman, councilman, mayor and governor in the Democratic Party. The law was a victory for the average American and should have been marketed as such.

Leaflets, websites and commercials should have been deployed with the following ten bullet points:

-       The new Health Care Bill will provide healthcare to 32 million uninsured Americans.
-       It will also prevent healthcare providers from dropping their customers after they get sick.
-       It will prevent healthcare providers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.
-       It will prevent providers from raising premiums to unreasonable rates.
-       It will provide subsidies to help cover premiums for individuals making less than $43,000 a year and families of four with incomes under $88,000.
-       It will actually reduce the National Deficit by $143 billion over the first ten years and by $1.2 trillion in the next ten years.
-       It will force large businesses to provide coverage for employees and small businesses will receive tax credits covering up to 50% of employee premiums.
-       It will allow young adults up to the age of 27 to be covered by their parents’ policies.
-       It will expand Medicaid to cover more poor Americans.
-       It will establish a board to reduce excessive Medicare expenditures.

You see, these are all good things. And they are only some of the good things this bill does. And if one were bombarded with all these good things to the same extent they were bombarded with rumors of the ‘Viagra for sex offenders’ clauses that allegedly peppered the bill, one would have to conclude that the bill was in actuality, a very good thing. Yes, I’m using simple, mildly condescending verbiage but I’m being condescending towards Democratic leadership for failing to convince America of these facts.

The Dems have long since lost the propaganda battle on that issue and I am merely playing Monday morning cornerback here. But I am doing so because the Dems still have two weeks in which to not duplicate that misstep and adequately convey the information that just might sway voters back into their corners by November 2nd

They need to remind voters of how we got here. Why is unemployment so high? Why is the national debt so high? Where are these jobs Obama and his Federal Stimulus Package promised us? The answer to these questions could be provided in a very simple informational barnstorm that should have been employed by the entire Democratic Party throughout their campaigns. From day one, they should have reminded voters of the following eight fairly indisputable facts.

1)    The deficit is so high because Bush and a Republican Congress turned a budget surplus into a deficit by, among other things, cutting taxes for the rich during wartime, which, as any economist will tell you, is a big no-no. I have a Communications Degree and even I know this.  Republicans want to make those same tax cuts permanent, thus denying the Treasury $4 trillion in revenue over the next decade. The Stimulus Package that has added to this deficit was necessary and has only failed because it was not large enough to sustain long-term job growth.
2)    The financial universe imploded because of a lack of regulation and government oversight. Even after this happened, the Republicans did everything in their power to prevent passing of the Financial Reform Bill which aimed to, that’s right, prevent ANOTHER implosion of the financial universe because of a lack of regulation and government oversight.
3)    The equally debilitating decimation of the housing market could have possibly been averted by, and I know I’m a broken record player here, more regulation and government oversight. Yet in the wake of all this, what is the Republican Party still championing? Smaller government and less regulation.
4)    Republicans did and continue to do everything in their power to prevent the manifestation of the Health Care Bill, which does, among other good things, the ten good things on the list above. 
5)    Republicans oppose spending money on anything including stimulating the economy. A key to resuscitating a hemorrhaging economy is creating jobs, the biggest necessity facing our country. One great way to achieve this is infrastructural investments. Expanding high-speed internet access and improving our nations roads, bridges and schools would create considerable jobs but more stimulus expenditures are needed to facilitate this.
6)    Republicans continue to block any legislative efforts that would create clean energy and wane us off our reliance on foreign oil. Global Warming is not a myth and America cannot afford to be at the end of the pack in creating new, renewable sources of energy. We should be leading it.
7)    The last Republican congress also gave us the Iraq war, sanctioned terrorism and the violation of a multitude of civil liberties.
8)    The best idea the Republican Party has had since George W. Bush is Sarah Louise Palin. END OF FUCKING STORY.

This message should be pounded out incessantly through the upcoming weeks. Voters cannot be allowed to forget what Republican leadership has gotten them in the past. They are pissed off and they are scared. They are angry they lost their jobs and they want them back. They need to be reminded that Republican policy is the reason they lost them. If they still have their jobs, they are scared of losing them. They need to be reminded that the Republican Party will sooner protect corporate interests than those of the average working American. They need to remember. And it is up to Democratic incumbents and challengers across the country to remind them. They've got two weeks to do just that.   

Now get your asses to a booth people!

Article first published as A Democratic Communication Breakdown on Technorati.