Friday night, June 19, 2009 President Obama spoke at the Radio and Television Correspondents Annual dinner. He noted that it gave him a chance to use some of the jokes that weren’t funny enough to be used at the recent Correspondents dinner. The Comedian-in-Chief has a decided bent for comedy, and his talk made us realize once again how lucky we are to have him at the helm in these troubled times. Starting the evening off was the latest JibJab parody, below, which features the President as a Super Hero. It’s pretty funny too, which you can check out by putting your cursor below and clicking on the arrow.§
President Barack Obama saw this video for the first time Friday night at the Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner. Depending on when you access our page you may be seeing it shortly after the President as we upload our blog early Saturday morning.§
Republicans this week, including ex-presidential candidate John McCain, were critical of President Obama for “not injecting himself, and America, into the Iranian conflict on the side of the dissenters. What wishful thinking on the part of the Republicans. For the truth is that Barack Obama has more leadership in his little finger than the entire Republican leadership has in their totality. Ever since our wonderful CIA overturned a democratically run Iranian election and set up the hated Shah in power, the Iranian people have held a quite understandable mile high grudge against the hidden powers that be in the United States, as President Jimmie Carter was unfortunate enough to find out the hard way.
And so the very last thing that an American leader should do is to take any position at all in the turmoil that is sweeping Iran. To state otherwise it to make one wonder whether what is left of the Republican Party’s leaders power of reason? Can they get anything at all right? And it continues to make us thankful that the American people finally had the courage to resist the Republican electioneering lies and scare tactics, and vote into office a man of brilliant intellect whose sole purpose is to put into effect those changes that the American people have indicated they want.
What is happening in Iran is a purely homegrown phenomenon that no one predicted, but whose crowds are stretching impressively across our television screens. And if not a single Republican chooses to go along with Obama’s policy of hands off, then so be it! To each his own, as the song goes. Of course, Republican who are really in the know like Senator Lugar, support President Obama’s approach to the problem of Iran. The real reason those Republicans who are snapping their criticism are doing it is the dichotomy, they do not admit to the CIA’s original interference with the Iranian elections, and so see nothing wrong with an American president taking sides in the current conflict. Fortunately for America and the world those people are not running our government. McCain made a good case for his foreign policy expertise during the run up to the election, and he lost soundly. Enough said.
But Democrats, in the skewered name of bipartisanship please do not allow Republicans to water down your legislations for change. And especially not that in the field of health care. Nothing short of a government sponsored alternative can possibly make a dent in breaking this hold over our healthcare by the insurance companies and HMOs presently exercise. For-profit companies must make a profit at any cost. Executives and stock holders demand it. And the only way insurance companies can turn a profit in health care is by denying service when expensive medical procedures are called for.
A government option will change that. For once there will be real competition, and the established companies will either change their ways in their quest to be competitive, or else they will lose membership to a government spawned entity which has no profit motive, and thereby no interest in curtailing choice of medical procedures. One of these days, will someone please present to me a logical argument as to why we Americans ought to support a for-profit program which restricts services over an all-inclusive program which does not restrict services. Only an idiot or a Republican on the take from the health care establishment would fall for a line like that.§
This week’s blog is dedicated to the world wide web, a most amazing tool that empowers each of us in a way that no other tool has ever done before. Many of you will know much of what I am celebrating this week, for this blog is being written as an introduction for any of you out there who have yet to really dip you feet into this remarkable pool of knowledge and applications.
Is Iran on the edge of revolution, or will those in charge manage to strong arm the opposition once again? Stay tuned to CNN on cable, or if you’re on the web go to Twitter to monitor events in real time. And just in time Google is offering a tool to translate Persian (Farsi) into English, and vice versa. Isn’t it amazing how quickly new web forces can challenge established political structure? Why, because the web is the most democratizing force on the face of the earth, as it empowers people one on one. Just as the survivors of that flight which crash landed into the Hudson River, stood on the airship’s wings waiting for rescue and Twittered their plight to a waiting world, so in Iran dissidents are busy twittering their friends and others announcing protest meetings, etc. Of course, the government is quick to block access to social networking sites like Twitter, but those with the knowledge can easily get around the government’s attempts to block.
What a monster is this that has been unleashed on a world so desperately in need of it. This tool of instant communication, combined with the always available cell phone, and especially the new smart phones which can both simultaneously surf the internet and text your message to the world, these are certainly the most empowering tools for democracy in my lifetime.
The web, or to call it by its full name, the world wide web, is a phenomenon which has not existed before, well, before the early 1900’s. It was then that the internet’s first web browser, Mosaic, was developed to actually allow access to the web which linked the Unix based computers of the time together. Mosaic was a college developed program, developed so that the browser could be used on Unix based systems to access the web of computers that Tim Berniers-Lee had linked together. And thanks to the phenomenon of the web the story of the birth of the browser may be found here!
The commercial evolution of the web browser happened when Jim Clark recruited Marc Andreesseen and many of the college developers of Mosaic, to develop a commercial version of their browser, whose first incarnation was named Mosaic Netscape 0.9. Later at the insistence of the college Mosaic was removed from the name. For the full story go here!
What has resulted has been this ever growing presence which has changed the way content, including news, is accessed and assimilated. The vast majority of web content is free beyond whatever charges your internet service provider tacks on.
We hereby suggest prayer for Creationists, which I am absolutely sure they will deliver with conviction. It goes like this: “God Bless Evolution, and for the maturation which is yet to come.” For as surely as evolution has guided the development of all life on this planet the same phenomenon has guided all developments of computing and of the web. Newspapers and magazines first appeared on the web during the middle 1900’s as online equivalents of their paper antecedents. But as html was being developed, soon news stories and articles began using html’s unique ability to link content. This is what the web does that did not exist before its invention.
In the days before the development of the web, in order to research something you went to the public library and checked out books which you felt might explain what you were seeking. A tedious, hit or miss process at best. Now the internet has replaced the local library, and the search engine, in most of our cases Google, has replaced library cards. You type your inquiry into Google, hit return, and chances are somewhere in the results will be the very information you are seeking.
Storied newspapers such as the New York Times and the Washington Post are available to you without cost in addition to your monthly internet service provider fee which keeps you connected. And they offer guidance and opinion which compel your attention. Take these words by Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman, discussing the Sotomayor nomination for Supreme Court Justice.
The hearings begin on July 13. The very fact that she has to prove her impartiality to a Senate that is more than three-fourths white and male is a bit bizarre. But let us dedicate these hearings to the memory of Ginger Rogers. As the late Ann Richards once said, Ginger had to do everything Fred Astaire did, only she had to do it backward and in high heels. Sonia Sotomayor is going to have to do this dance forward and on crutches.
And of course html can offer you full access to Ms. Goodman’s words on the Sotomayor nomination by pointing your cursor and clicking here! And another click will bring you Ms Goodman’s excellent article on the murder of Dr. Tiller here!
In addition to conventional newspapers which are offering their content, there is a brand new evolution of websites which are known as aggregators, sites which pull in news and opinion from all over. Examples of this are, of course, the Drudge Report (which covers the right wing), The Huffington Post, which covers a broad field of news with a more liberal bent, and Tina Brown’s The Daily Beast, which is our favorite aggregator (which you had undoubtedly noticed by the prevalence of material we aggregate from her site. Including the frightful sight below:
The GOP’s living dead won’t stop haunting their party, says lifelong Republican John Batchelor. Now Rush, Newt, and Dick are doing what zombies do best: laying waste to everyone’s brains.
In a Daily Beast blog titled Attack of the Zombie Republicans, John Batchelor, a lifelong Republicans, takes a sharp look at dead of brain spokesmen for the Republican Party today, Limbaugh, Cheney, Gingrich, Cantor. He calls them Zombie Republicans. His last paragraph goes as follows:
None of these mewling half-measures speak to the fact that a once idealistic, decent political party of all the states and all demographics for 150 years has now become a cruel cadre that defines itself like a jihad by what it is against. Now and again, I want to shout at them that the city on a hill that is America was not built by four centuries of honest strife to be a gated-community of vain whiners. But then I relax and let them do the talking. “Fail” is a word that ties together Limbaugh, Gingrich, Cheney, and Cantor, and they use the word like a curse routinely. “Fail, Obama.” “Fail, Powell.” “Fail, Pelosi.” “Fail, liberals.” “Fail, Moslems.” “Fail, health care.” “Fail, moderates.” “Fail, city on a hill.” The zombies hurl the word at whoever does not look like them or listen to them or need them. They are speaking into the looking glass. “Who’s the fairest of them all?”
And true to the web’s ingenuity and ease of use, access to Mr. Batchelor’s entire piece is the proverbial one click away, to be accessed simply by pointing your cursor and clicking here which will allow you to fully score.§
Above we reprint the famous LIFE Magazine photo celebrating the end of World War II. In a moment of celebration two people who did not know each other, joined in spontaneous celebration of the end of America’s longest war up to that time. We have always been fascinated by this uninhibited expression of joy, and googled the story from a nurse’s website. You can access the full page by pointing your cursor and clicking here!
Among the excited crowd was Edith Shain, a nursing school student, along with her roommate who had taken the subway to Times Square when they heard the war was over. “We ran to Times Square because that’s where celebrations happen in New York City,” Shain said.
According to historical documents, the Times news ticker in Times Square went dark at 7 p.m. and then at 7:03 p.m., the crowd roared in jubilation as the words “OFFICIAL — TRUMAN ANNOUNCES JAPANESE SURRENDER” blazed across the news scroll. Elated by the news, people in the crowd were hugging and crying tears of joy, but it was a far different experience for Shain.
“This sailor just grabbed me and kissed me,” she said. “Any female closes her eyes when she’s about to kiss so I never saw the guy, and then I walked away. I was kind of embarrassed. I didn’t say anything about it to anyone.”
What Shain didn’t realize, until a week later, was that her “indiscretion” was caught on film. While browsing a copy of a Life magazine, Shain, then 27-years-old, recognized herself in what has became an iconic photo titled “V-J Day” (Victory over Japan) of a sailor slightly dipping a nurse in a white uniform and kissing her. Of the kiss, Shain said, “It was very nice, and of course, it was in the days before you’d scream and go to an attorney. It was the best of times.”
The famous photo was taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt, a photojournalist for Life Magazine. In his memoirs, Eisenstaedt explained that when he saw a sailor running along kissing any girl in sight, he ran ahead of the sailor while making sure to look back so that he wouldn’t miss anything. “Then suddenly, in a flash, I saw something white being grabbed,” Eisenstaedt said. “I turned around and clicked the moment the sailor kissed the nurse .…. People tell me that when I am in heaven they will remember this picture.”
Though Eisenstaedt died in 1995 at the age of 96, the celebrated picture has not lost its significance. In celebration of the 60th anniversary of V-J Day, Shain flew to New York City where a slightly larger-than-life-size statue titled “Unconditional Soldier” by J. Seward Johnson based on the Life photograph was unveiled on Aug. 11, in Times Square. Though the sailor has never been identified, Carl Muscarello, 78, from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who is one of about 20 men who believes he is the sailor in the famed photo, was also in attendance. He gave Shain a hug and a kiss (this time on the cheek) for nostalgia’s sake.§
The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday morning that Steve Jobs, the mercurial CEO of Apple, Inc., had a liver transplant recently in Tennessee. Jobs has been on a medical leave from Apple for most of the year because of an unspecified health issue, but is reported to be returning to the job sometime this month. Apple’s stock has risen in price since his absence, which seems to indicate that skittish stock holders have retained their confidence in the company.§
As we prepare to wind down Blog #93 we would like to extend our fondest birthday wishes to our youngest grandchild, Sol Dean-Badeaux, who’s family is celebrating the sixth anniversary of his entry into this world on the very afternoon of this posting. His grandmother Anne, his uncle Joel and I have sent our gift, and we one and all wish him a most happy occasion. Which I am quite sure it will be.§
The gigantic clock on our wall has run out on us, leaving us living on borrowed time as it were. If we were a little light in the sails this week, well such is life. Next week you can never tell, we may come up with our “killer” piece which might actually direct a surfer or two to our site. Then again, maybe not. You will never know unless you come back and check us out. Meantime all that is left is to say, “bye now.”§