Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Fox version of Jon Stewart?

"Fox News is always looking for new cutting-edge programming ideas," said Bill Shine, senior vice president, programming at Fox News.

How cutting-edge can they get? Fox is planning a copycat but right wing version of the Jon Stewart "Daily Show".
My jaw drops, so impressed am I with this wild and ground-breaking Foxian concept, not to mention an executive who is impressed by emulation.
Of course it has taken many years for Fox to come up with this idea. Stewart is now an American institution. But, hey, who's counting? The idea is new and now.
They are going to have anchors on a mock news show, just like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. And they will have on-the-street interviews. Er, like Jay Leno?
How many edges can these guys cut?
Clever little Republican possums that they are.

Of course, right wing satire has had a short and inglorious history.
The reason there are so few right wing humour shows is that the right simply is not funny and cannot be funny. Its idea of satire is attack. The right does not laugh. It hates.

So this program is doomed from the start.
The only funny thing about it is the idea that Fox thinks it can be funny.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

US cops a bad rap

More than half 20,011 internationals polled have claimed that America is the most inhospitable country when it comes to passing through immigration, says today's Reuter's report.
That's a pretty tough call - and not altogether fair, I think.
Immigration is a strict business all over the world. Try popping in to Indonesia or England. It is not a barrel of laughs anywhere.
The thing that is wrong with US immigrationn is the volume of people passing through - the terrible queues, often policed by officious martinets in uniforms who snap at the hapless, exhausted travellers telling them to get behind this line or this rope or, in some cases, telling them something completely incomprehensible but definitely not friendly - for it is possible to come across airport officials who don't seem to speak the language.
However, while the queues are hell, it has been my experience that the immigration officials themselves are simply professionals doing their job. The other view of those immense queues is from their side of the process - a stream of zombie-like faces and god knows what paperwork plus endless computer checking. What a wild diversity of people front up to them day in and day out. Talk about a stress job.
And, while I recall some ghastly waits in the queues of LA or San Francisco, I cannot cite a single official who has not been courteous in our encounters - most of them always bidding me a welcome to the US when they have finished processing me.
So I think this report is a nothing but a gratuitous bad rap.
What the hell do these complaining travellers expect? A bloody red carpet?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Poor Albatross

Prince Charles was right.
The albatross is in trouble.
I saw my first one last week. Dead. Dragged in from the ocean by a fisherman and dumped on the boat ramp. Who knows why? To show us that albatross are dying out there?
This poor creature looked to be quite young.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Bush bodyblow

Body language speaks loudly - and for those of us not enamoured of George W. Bush, it was quite a treat to see his state of compromise so beautifully realised in his own body language when he met with new house leader Nancy Pelosi today.
Bush usually sits with his legs splayed - the classic position of animal dominance. Whether it is with his party faithful or with the Pope, it has been the same - Bush seen with legs spread, thus taking up maximum space, displaying masculinity and confidence.
Today? It was a different sight. Sitting beside Pelosi, Bush had retracted those knees. They were just slightly apart. As Pelosi began to speak, Bush's knees came together - and then, most atypically, he crossed his legs, the knee closest to Pelosi crossed away from her, his whole body thus contracting defensively.
An unconscious demonstration of submission.
It was a vision sweet.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mid-term too close

And the world exhales.
It is a huge collective sigh of relief that George W. Bush has been de-powered.
Not he is out of the way. He has a new Defence Secretary, one of his dad's old team, a former head of the CIA which, of course, is highly salient to US defence and foreign policy. This man will husband the status quo and mentor the president, I daresay.

The mid-term elections have been described as a "landslide" but, as I see it, it is just a small earth movement in the grand scale of things. The polls were too close for my comfort. This shows that only some of that massive American population has clued up to the sinister nature of the neocon agenda. Too many stayed in the redneck comfort zone - still conditioned to the steady diet of propaganda which has been the major artform of the Bush administration.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Poor John Kerry

Poor John Kerry is his own worst enemy - in which capacity, he is not a bonus for the Democrats. That such a generally well-informed man with such seasoned political presence could make yet another ill-thought comment at a politically crucial time really makes him a liability - and, sadly, not presidential material.
I had high hopes for him at the last election when I actually had a chance to speak to him at one of those informal primaries. He had grabbed a plastic garden chair, stood perilously upon it, and given an erudite and inspirational speech which showed that here was a politician with a big picture of world and America's place in it. A global view - so rare among Americans. In a president, such a perspective could lift America from the reputational mire into which it has fallen internationally. As I have said before and often, it is hard to be pro-American in the big wide world these days. Love has been lost through the machinations of the Bush administration.

But the hope that was Kerry fell over in that presidential race - and one did not expect to see him rise again. One has to say these candidates have almost pachydermal thick skins. For here he is - looking younger and fitter than before, enhanced cosmetic adjustments to meet that market in which physical appearance is an obsessive priority. He has worked at being ready for the race. And there he is, up on the hustings...putting his bloody foot in his bloody mouth.

One should never snipe at those who are less educated - let alone that less education implies less intelligence. Some of the most brilliant people I know have had little in the way of formal education. How he came to make this a "send to Iraq" line is beyond me - and how he came to think it was a joke also baffles me.

Bottom line is that John Kerry has some wee short circuit in his mechanisms of diplomacy - and it can be dangerous. A president (discounting the present incumbent) must be about to think before he speaks - and to avoid the embarrassment or catastrophe of public gaffes.

Kerry has had his strikes and I think he is out.