Archive for April, 2010

The One Percent

April 8, 2010

I watched the documentary “The One Percent” today. This is a really powerful documentary about the richest 1% of society in the United States. As a documentary filmmaker Jamie Johnson has greatly improved from his first effort, the documentary “Born Rich” but it seems apparent that he still has some room for improvement. I don’t mean to say that it’s no good (it is good) or that Michael Moore could have done better (he couldn’t, he makes propaganda films not documentaries) but that some of his interviews seemed unprepared.

Let’s take, for instance, his interview of Milton Friedman. Milton Friedman was talking in sound bites and cliches and left himself open for some good questions to really get at the heart of his assertions. Rather than go that route Jamie sounds like a little kid trying to convince a parent they deserve a third helping of dessert.

There are also the scenes when Jamie interviews his father and doesn’t attempt to explain to him what he wants out of the interview, or maybe he does and it isn’t shown. But when his father tries to get out of the interview by saying that he doesn’t have the answers and isn’t a genius (or something along those lines) he lets his father off the hook and lets him get frustrated rather than attempt to explain what he is trying to get out of the interview.

I thought that the best example was the part where they interview the Johnson family economist who comes across as a frenzied sycophant but is never pinned down for specificities when he says things like “you haven’t done your homework” and “you need to think about this”. Why not ask him what needs to be studied and what homework needs to be done and why?

Those quibbles aside I recommend this documentary.


The Crazy Lady Network

April 8, 2010

One of the first things that I do in the morning when I get to work is look at what’s on my Google Reader. One of the first things that I saw was this article about Kate Gosselin getting another show on TLC. Now her getting a new show isn’t so surprising but what is was a combo of a one-two punch of info in the article itself.

  1. [Kate] … has found her new calling: using her role as an ‘example mom’ to help and learn from others”

  2. It’s part of a plan to build on the channel’s growth that also includes Sarah Palin’s Alaska, a travelogue series about the state and its high-profile former governor”

Wait, I’ve seen Kate Gosselin andSarah Palin before and it is almost as if TLC has decided to rename their network something like “The Crazy Lady Network”. They could likely keep the same acronym of TLC if they made it something French like “The Lady de Crazy Network”.

Both of these ladies (and apparently I’m using the word loosely here) have a very difficult time dealing with reality. Palin like to whitewash her past and invents her own reality on-the-fly which is a lot like Gosselin does. It looks like TLC is expecting there to be a market for this but, regardless of one’s politics, I couldn’t imagine who would waste their time watching this.


April 4, 2010

I got most recent issue of Time in the mail yesterday and boy is it a doozy. In addition to the cover article about Steve Jobs and the iPad (what looks like it amounts to the PR equivalent of a hand job for the most popular kid in class) they included a quote from Charles Krauthammer on the Verbatim page for the current issue. ( The whole issue can be found many places all over the Internet.)

The excerpt is:

American liberals have long complained that ours is the only advanced industrial country without universal health care. Well, now we shall have it. And as we approach European levels of entitlements, we will need European levels of taxation.

I have a few issues with this and the first is: it’s not accurate. This is a typical trick of right-wing commentators who try to indicate that universal health care comes in one flavor; the flavor provided by the likes of England and Canada. This is just not true. Go ask Germany and Japan.

Second, What is wrong with making sure that everyone has access to health care? As a nation we don’t charge for basic education or public safeties like fire protection or the law enforcement. Why do we not provide for people to be healthy? What does that say about us as a nation?

Third, why do these ideas have to live in a reality distortion field where neither side will talk honestly and openly about it? I understand that this is not an issue specific to health care but I feel like this is something important for our country. When people are allowed to die and/or go broke because they can’t afford to stay healthy is akin to allowing someone’s house to burn down because they can’t afford to pay the firefighters or allow a child to not learn to read because they can’t afford to pay to go to school.

Morally it is just wrong and now that the law has passed Krautie sounds like one of my kids who didn’t get their way and has decided to mouth off while he’s pouting.


April 1, 2010

I haven’t posted in a while, mainly because I haven’t felt too inspired to write anything so here are a few random items: things that would be classified as “Potpourri” on Jeopardy.

  1. I finally heard back from The Consumerist “moderator” who referred to my remarks as “nasty and mocking”. I thought I was restrained with what I could have said and often do say to people in real life. This only confirms that they are as smug as they look in the “The Consumerist Team” section (except “Roz” who is the “moderator” and apparently broke the camera when they got to her (him?))

  2. It’s a slow day at work today so I’m reading my Time magazine (I don’t know that there will ever be a suitable electronic replacement for reading things on paper) and came across a profile of Andrew Breitbart. I just can’t imagine being this worked up all the time about anything. I pay attention and I find plenty of things I don’t like but I find ti hard to be “outraged” like the bumper stickers say that I should be. Mostly I’m bewildered but more on that later. I know that cooperation doesn’t sell and make you rich of famous but the polarizing of American needs to stop.

  3. I’m really happy that the Health Care reform and accompanying “Fix-It” bill passed. I didn’t think it would and while there are a lot of points in the bill that are good and some that are perplexing I think that Obama opened himself up to a lot of criticism by not framing the argument as a humanitarian need. I think framing this in terms of what we are allowing to happen to fellow citizens would have headed off “death panel” claims (or at least make them sound absurd the moment they were spoken). And while I’m on it, please just stop the “I didn’t get to vote on it” complaints because that’s not how our government runs. I think there are a lot of people that need to go back to High School and re-learn the government civics lessons again.