Now that Thanksgiving
Day is over, let's examine some of the things we should be
thankful for in the world of politics, religion, and in general,
as Americans that you may have overlooked.
First of all,
to those of us fortunate enough to have attended the APTRA
Holiday Party at Cafe Tu Tu Tango in Universal City Walk,
a tremendous thank you to Hal Eisner, party coordinator extraordinaire,
for a wonderful night of fun, friends, music, and dance. The
talent he secured was worth a lot more than the price of admission,
especially Jimmy Demers' tremendous singing talent without
a microphone. His voiced carried really well throughout the
L-shaped room, and the songs written by his accompanist brother,
Donny, were wonderful. Linda and Stephen Tavani gave us the
powerful voices and look you only get from the pros. Watching
a bunch of guys in their 50's (FULL THROTTLE) bring the music
of the 60's and 70's back to life in style is always a winner.
Next, of course,
we gave thanks to our troops for spending the holiday in some
of the worst conditions possible in the world, and with the
possibility of death or serious injury always on their mind.
And we should remember to thank their families for their sacrifice
not only on this holiday, but throughout the year.
A special thank
you to the Marines for sticking it out in Fallujah, for driving
out the insurgents, and for finding all those weapons, including
the 168 IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). If those IEDs
had been detonated as roadside mines, they would have killed
perhaps another 100 to 200 American military personnel. Many
of you may know that I am partial to the Air Force because
of my Staff Sergeant Son in Special Forces, but I have to
say that there MUST be a special place in heaven for the Marines!!
Thanks to the
voters who have shown that EVERY vote matters, as evidenced
by the 42-vote victory of margin in the Washington state Governors
race where more than 2.9 million votes were cast. After an
official recount, State Senator Dino Rossi appears to have
defeated Democrat Attorney General Christine Gregoire and
thus, becomes the first Republican governor elected in this
liberal state in more than two decades. You're probably wondering
how small a percentage of victory that is and you'll find
it is an infinitesimal 1.44827586 x 10-05. Yes, EVERY vote
to the voters in Mendocino County, California where retired
firefighter Jim Wattenburger came from behind to oust incumbent
county supervisor Richard Shoemaker by only 5 votes out of
6,200 votes cast, or a razor-thin margin of .0008 percent.
And of course,
we have to again thank the voters in San Diego who turned
out to show their contempt with the status quo in the mayor's
race and propelled a write-in candidate, Donna Frye, to the
edges of winning the race.
Although a lawsuit
filed by the League of Women Voters that challenged a decision
by county election officials NOT to count write-in ballots
on which voters wrote in Frye's name but failed to also fill
in an oval mark next to the name appears to have failed, it
teaches us a lesson. The impact of this write-in campaign
will forever remind us of the fact that thousands of people
made their intentions known by voting with their pen, even
if they failed to mark the oval next to Frye's name. Frye
and the voters showed you CAN make a difference in the world
of government and politics even if you don't win.
go out to the Indiana Pacers for showing us how the highly
overpaid and undisciplined hoodlums they hired to bounce a
basketball round the court can embarrass themselves and give
the National Basketball Association another black eye. Now
that we have all seen that despicable display of vigilantism
by the a few of the Pacers to the unacceptable taunts and
beer tosses from the crowd in the stands, we are reminded
of the truth and accuracy of this loosely paraphrased axiom:
"You can take the gangsters out of the mean streets,
but you can't take the mean streets out of the gangsters."
The world of
sports also gives us a chance to thank former Miami Dolphins
running back Ricky Williams for quitting the NFL because he
wanted to smoke pot without the inconvenience of random drug
testing and because he claimed he didn't need to make any
more big money. At least he was honest about it. What a role
model!! But now he wants to come back and play pro ball again.
I guess he has either decided to give up his cannabis consumption,
OR, it's a lot more expensive to smoke your toke than Ricky
A million thanks
to the techies and nerds who have worked hard to provide an
excellent Internet alternative browser to Bill Gates' Internet
Explorer with the official release of Mozilla's Firefox. WOW!!
What a great tool. And its companion email client, Thunderbird,
is more than Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express EVER dreamed
of becoming. They're both available for free at www.mozilla.org.
It's not only important to thank them, but to support them
as well, so they can continue to provide top-notch products
to enhance our exploration of the Internet.
While the Internet
has become a fairly inexpensive form of entertainment for
many, I still recall with great fondness, the excitement of
both the early days and the latter years of the late Walt
Disney's great and successful experiment, Disneyland. However,
I was later turned off to the Magic Kingdom when CEO Michael
Eisner began his systematic dismantling of what made the place
special. He stopped making timely repairs, he deferred badly-needed
maintenance to save money, and he jacked up the prices beyond
the reach of average Americans, especially those of working
moms with single incomes. And while I am a huge believer and
supporter of capitalism and rewarding business leaders for
doing a great job, I was nauseated by the notion of Michael
Eisner being paid a $200-million annual salary for defiling
the great work of its founder. As a stockholder of Disney
stock at the time, I was also infuriated.
That's why thanks
go out to Disney directors Roy Disney (Walt's nephew) and
Stanley Gold for fighting Michael the Ogre to return the Walt
Disney legend, charm, maintenance, integrity and fun to the
Magic Kingdom. The fight isn't over yet, but a battered Michael
has agreed to retire by2006. Sooner would be better than later
so many of us can end our boycott of Disneyland and return
to relive our precious youthful memories.
Those of us who have spent any significant time in the news
business should give a big thanks to Dan Rather for retiring,
or better put, quitting before he was pushed out. The Texas
wannabe "good old boy" had his best days three decades
ago. More recently, he was an embarrassment to the news profession
with his arrogance and political bias. He made us all look
bad with his obvious anti-Bush stands and the debacle involving
the 60 Minutes piece on Bush's National Guard service. Perhaps
the best example of how off kilter old Dan was on this story
is his comment after the fake documents surfaced. He told
reporters who asked if he regretted the snafu, "Regardless
of the issue of the documents, I KNOW he did it (George Bush
avoiding his military servicecommitment)." Yeah, right.
You NEVER showed us the proof Danny Boy and by the way, don't
let the door hit you in the ass on your way out to pasture.
media, a big thank you to the TV stations across the country
that refused to air "Saving Private Ryan" out of
fear the graphic nature of the film would incur the wrath
of the Federal Communications Commission. Their decision,
criticized by many, made clear the point of the chill the
FCC has created for the TV industry that's just plain WRONG.
It's one thing to try and void any more disgusting situations
like showing Janet Jackson's saggy, pierced teat. But it's
an entirely different matter to create an atmosphere of fear
that causes preemption of a highly acclaimed movie about a
part of our history.
the world of politics, thanks go out to the Los Angeles County
Board of Supervisors for shutting down the King/Drew Medical
Center Trauma Unit before more people die. It's been an on-going
problem and the incompetents running the facility should have
been fired long ago. A few years back, King/Drew had one of
the highest infant mortality rates in the nation, because
it turned out that non-Latino and non-Spanish-speaking midwives'
inability to communicate with birthing mothers was the primary
cause of the baby deaths. At that time, the Board failed to
swiftly addressthe problem. This time, it was a few adults
who had to die before the liberals on the Board provided the
necessary decisive votes to bring about change.
Speaking of liberals, great big thanks go out to the French
for their vehement opposition to the notion that their elementary
school students should be taught English. "Sacré
bleu", they shouted! We CANNOT allow the American language
to permeate our culture and schools. They fear their children
might prefer to speak English and then their culture would
suffer, they complained so vociferously. By the way, the phrase
"Sacré bleu" is derived from the original
"Sacré Dieu", which means "Holy God"
in a swearing-sort-of-way. But because swearing was punishable
in the middle ages by death, such substitutions as "bleu"
became the norm and lasted for centuries. Leave it to the
French to live a lie for so long.
Still, we should
thank the French for their reaction to not teaching English
totheir offspring. Really!! Such vacuous reasoning ensures
that their children will go up in a competitive world and
NOT be able to compete with the rest of the world. Not only
are the French the Kings of Cowardice, they can now become
the Counts of Incompetence in an ever-changing and evolving
You should know
this little factoid to appreciate my reasoning. I have a younger
sister with a law degree who decided teaching high school
Spanish was more productive than playing lawyer. Many people
thought she'd lost her sense of making a difference in the
world. But it's funny how time can reward the kind of long-term
vision my sister possessed.
She has been
involved for a few years with a U.S. State Department program
that employs language experts to teach three languages to
the children of American Embassy executives and diplomats
abroad. The local representatives of the United Nations and
the World Bank in those far-away places also pay for their
children to learn three very valuable tongues: English, Spanish,
The French aversion
to teaching another foreign language to their youngest students
also flies in the face of a Los Angeles-area charter school
that teaches those same three languages plus a fourth tongue
to its students. The Academia Semillas del Pueblo (translated
as Academic Seeds of the Community, it can be found at www.dignidad.org)
in the El Sereno section of East Los Angeles is seen by some
educators as radical because in addition to English, Spanish
and Mandarin, it also teaches Nahuatl-Mexicano, the most spoken
native language in East L.A.
the children from grades Kindergarten through eight grades
are also taught the culture of the languages. It is beyond
words trying to describe the sight of little Latino kids learning
the art of Tai Chi from an elderly Chinese master of the art
in an elementary school setting. They also learn Danza Azteca,
part of the school's goal of furthering their students' preparation
for global citizenry. The presence of this linguistic diversity,
school officials will tell you, adds depth and strength to
the children's learning and to their future, which will be
extremely bright since they can communicate in FOUR languages.
It is amazing
how this charter school and the world's political and governing
elite view the future of the world in those three languages.
Of course, with almost two billion Chinese on this planet,
along with a growing Latino presence, and the ever-dominant
use of English, it is an obvious choice for those in power
to want their heirs to be prepared to rule the future of this
world. Except for the French, of course, who continue to give
new meaning to the words "arrogance" and "cultural
isolation" and will become less and less relevant to
the world in the not-too-distant future.
Viva La France
and viva the difference between us!!