Tuesday

Sicko - A Great Film!

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,273875,00.html

I normally wouldn't weigh in on a movie review. (I did see and love "Knocked Up" on Father's Day" - The family played in the Malibu playground while dad went across the street for his holiday treat.. and it was a treat - and in retrospect the 'perfect father's day film' - as it's all about taking you back into the birthing experience; I roared with laughter thruout)

Which brings me to Michael Moore - whom I saw do a Q & A tonight with Ron Howard at the DGA, talking about his film and screening it as well. I didn't attend the free outdoor screening he gave tonight to the homeless folks down on San Pedro street in downtown LA - which is a pretty wild gesture - but despite the polemic that follows Moore around this really is a great film. It has no real political stance, as both Republicans and Democrats have embraced the film (those that have seen it.) It's a really funny, touching look at America in a way - since HMO's didn't come into existence until 1971 - he does a great job of showing both sides of the coin, as per the Fox review above. I can't recommend it higher for a really unusual mirror held up to our country, its health care system, especially in comparison to the rest of the world. Much has been made of his trip to Cuba; I can only say that if I ever have to face a life threatening illness without insurance I'll be on the next plane to England, Canada, France or Cuba.. it's amazing what he reveals. A really terrific film.

xo

R'cardo

Saturday

Immigration Policy revisited

I'm so glad we're finally putting up a fence. I'm so sick of these immigrants showing up illegally at our shores!!! the country used to be a nice place before they started showing up in droves and bringing their stinky, smelly diseases across our shores. but while we're getting rid of the latest gang, can I ask that we get rid of the frickin' irish while we're at it? Belching, farting, full of cabbage - they drive me crazy!! and those obnoxious Italians. Talk about garlic breath. And then those krauts. Man, I've had it up to here with the rules and regulations - acting like a much of anastazis. Let's not forget the slaves they all brought with 'em.. comin' over here and demanding their 40 acres and a mule. Can we talk about the Polee for a minute? Chicago used to be a city of broad shoulders .. and now it's all eastern euros! Those russkies have shown up in record numbers, and now, we're gonna have this huge influx of iraqis showing up wondering why we blasted their country to kingdom come and won't let 'em in the front gate. Speaking of gates, we're not even close to keeping those pesky canadians out of here.. next thing they're going to swamp us with their frickin health care system and their cheap knock off drugs!! It gets my gall! And not to mention the Gauls!! If we had just kept the danged French out of our shores we wouldn't have lost the first revolution!!! Those ridiculous frogs bringing all their china and linen.. did someone say China? If someone had been smart enough, we wouldn't have had the country ripped in half by Chinamen putting up a railway system. We should have known better - it's just so hard to tell them apart when so many of them look like Apaches. So I'm outraged as well.. put up the damned fence and keep the whole lot of them out, which I said we should have done against those freakin' Spaniards.. but no.. everybody told me this Columbus guy was going to bring his 'new world' to our benefit. Some benefit!!! Should shot him through the head with an arrow when I had the frickin' chance!!! signed Chief Kick-In-The-Pants.

Wednesday

Thomas the Tank Engine Recall

For all those parents out there..

I wish this wasn't true - but have checked it out. The people who own Thomas have been letting the Chinese use lead based paint on the red painted wooden train cars. This means James, Fire Engine, etc, etc.

You can get a complete list from www.rc2.com - been checking in to just what to do - the company is requesting that you return the piece IMMEDIATELY for a refund and a gift certificate.

However, some pediatrician websites are recommending that you NOT return the piece if it was a favorite toy of your child - take the piece in to your pediatrician and discuss if your child should be checked for lead poisoning... which as we all know, leads to some pretty creepy side effects. (and if, God forbid, something awful does happen, better to have the evidence in your possession.)

I remember back in the 60's the psychic Jeanne Dixon (who predicted JFK's assassination) said something about a wave of poisonings coming from China.. of course this was the 60's, and she associated it with willful acts - but there's that old Confucious saying "man who lie down with dog wake up with fleas."

So - if your kids (like mine) are Thomas fanatics, double check your red engines.. and go to the site. Here's more details from the CPC:

Thomas & Friends Toy Recall
Thomas Train RecallThe U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and RC2 Corp. have recalled about 1.5 million Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway Toys because 'surface paints on the recalled products contain lead.'

If your kids are at risk and played with Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway Toys that were purchased between January 2005 through June 2007 and may have been involved in this recall, more importantly than simply trying to get your money back or a replacement toy, take them away and contact your pediatrician to see if a lead test should be done on your children. This would be especially important if your kids frequently put the Thomas toys in their mouth and/or you notice chipped or flaking paint on the toys.
Kids who only occasionally played with these toys are likely not at any risk for lead poisoning, but it would be a bigger risk if they were his favorite toy and he played with the trains on most days. If your child always carried one of the Thomas trains around, like a security object, and puts it in his mouth or puts his hands in his mouth a lot, then he could also be at risk for lead poisoning from this exposure and a lead test should likely be done.
Related:

* Lead Poisoning
* Lead Poisoning Risks from Lead Paint
* How do I protect my kids from lead poisoning?
* Lead Poisoning Alert
* Metal Toy Jewelry Recall
* Target Recalls Various Toys Due to Lead and Laceration Hazards

There's a notice at the consumer protection agency (www.cpsc.gov) from jun 13th, and one at the company's home site.

Here's the company link..

http://recalls.rc2.com/recallinfo/RecallPoster_Wood061407.pdf

or visit http://recalls.rc2.com/

Monday

The Sopranos Ending

as to the ending of the sopranos - looks like i'm the only guy who loved it.

like everyone else, i was on the edge of my seat - waiting for a squib fest.. they're all going to get shot - no, meadow is going to miss the bloodbath.. and then... BLANK SCREEN!

my wife and i both had dropped jaws. and it's not easy to get dropped jaws around here. I had heard they shot 'multiple endings' - or maybe wrote multiple endings - and maybe those will show up on the dvd of the season when its released. but what i liked most about it was:

we create the ending. (i saw the slate blog (http://www.slate.com) last night where he quoted the lady and the tiger ending from a book in the 1880's that was popular - where the reader gets to pick the ending). But this show did a lot of that.. remember when Dr. Melfi got raped, and everyone in the country was hoping she'd tell Tony so that he'd rub out the rapist? It was an interactive show to begin with - and all the heat that Chase took from the Italian American community - complaining about the depiction of Italians - or people weighing in on what the Sopranos should be..

and in this case, like the Time magazine cover Man of the Year - (http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,20061225,00.html) YOU are the person who writes the ending. It's whatever you, in your heart of hearts, wants the ending to be. Tony gets arrested by FBI agents. Tony dies in a hailstorm of bullets, Meadow survives because she can't park. Tony takes out a gun and saves his family. You're the author - and that doesn't let us off easy either - because we've been rooting for Tony - and Chase is saying "look what you're rooting for - look which ending you think is going to happen."

It's being reported that Phil Leotardo's son was in the credits as to being in the diner. (Hmm, I don't think the credits tell where someone's scene takes place, but I digress) I think that's great that Phil Leotardo's son was in the diner - and who was the guy who went into the bathroom? (My wife said - he looks russian.. is it that missing russian?) Who were the two black kids coming in at the end, looking like the guys who tried to pop tony in the first episode..? It was like he was having a hit parade of all the hit men who tried to whack him.. it was also a way of saying Tony will never rest easily - every time a door opens, or a guy walks past, he will have to consider - is this the guy sent to kill me? No rest for the wicked.. and no rest for us either - because we're the wicked viewers.

I think killing tony and famiglia would have let us off easily. or pulling back and seeing them dine in their diner would have let us off too easily as well - this way, David Chase (http://www.hbo.com/sopranos) has ratcheted up the tension so that we too - will always be looking up when someone walks through the door - is this a smile for my daughter? or a frown to the guy who's sent to whack us?

anyways, that's what I got out of it.

Sunday

Bury My Iowa Heart at Wounded Knee

I was doing a channel flip tonight. Bouncing back and forth between 60 Minutes, (http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/60minutes/main3415.shtml) and it's terrific piece on the soldiers from the Iowa National Guard, and HBO's Dick Wolf special; "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee." (http://www.hbo.com/films/burymyheart/?ntrack_para1=feat_main_text)

Watching the Iowa soldier come home and hug his new born infant baby wearing the Santa Hat, watching the wife of the soldier who burst into tears at the thought of her husband's tour being extended another 120 days, or the son of the soldier who stared at his mother when she told him about the 'surge' and his head collapsing in his mother's arms... flashing back to the death of Sitting Bull, the mindless violence perpetrated on the Sioux nation in the name of nation building, the vast amounts of suffering that went on with the native American people, who wanted nothing more than to live out their days on their own property, and the government doing its best to make that not happy.

Do we learn nothing as a nation? Do we learn nothing as human beings? When did war become the first resort instead of the last one? Are we really better off as a nation for attacking a nation that had nothing to do with why we went to war in the first place? Weren't we going over to catch Osama? And then weren't we over there to get rid of Saddam? Well, Saddam is gone. Osama is alive and kicking. What are we doing in Iraq anyways? The same thing we were doing in Wounded Knee.

It was so sad to see the Iowa national guard father, serving with his son in Iraq, whose wife is going crazy back home - but who is angry that people in the US are fed up with the war in Iraq - he explains because after the events of 9/11, how the nation had banded together to go and find those responsible for who perpetrated those events, and how our country has lost interest in doing so - and the 60 minutes reporter not pointing out that the people of Iraq, that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the events of 9/11, and we had no business going into that country, and have no business being there now. And that father standing next to his son, who also puts his life on the line every day, because our leaders sent them there together to hunt down the perpetrators of 9/11 - when it knew full well that they weren't in Iraq, they had nothing to do with Iraq.

The administration argues that Al Qaeda is in Iraq. Well, they certainly weren't there before. And who are they talking about? The radical Saudis who are lining up to fight us in Iraq? That Al Qaeda? The only reason Al Qaeda is in Iraq is because we're in Iraq. And once we're out of Iraq they aren't going to come here - they're going to go after our assets in the middle east. So why aren't we pouring our troops into Afghanistan where the Taliban is regrouping with the help of Al Qaeda? You think the Shia militia are going to tolerate Al Qaeda telling them what to do? Or the Sunni militias? These are the same guys who fought Iran for over a decade. You think they fear Al Qaeda? Al Qaeda will go back to Afghanistan the day we leave Iraq. And they'll plot more attacks on the U.S. because they know that we don't follow up what we say we're going to do. We said we were going after Osama, Zawahiri, even Mullah Omar. Then Bush said "I don't think much about Osama anymore." Then Bush last week said "Osama is trying to regroup in Iraq." Hey! I thought you didn't care much about him? When our dear misguided President makes up his mind, will someone let the nation know?

The War on Terror is such a bumper sticker, a misnomer. Like the War on Poverty or the War on Drugs. If you declare War on something that is shape shifting - something that you can define to your own likes and dislikes - how about "We are a nation of laws, and we have a Constitution, and we will protect it and its citizens ruthlessly, and anyone who attacks us, we will hunt down and bring to justice.. by the laws that have founded our country." Why isn't that just as strong as the "war on terrorists?" Why can't we arrest people who've done a crime and put them on trial? People in England are doing it - they've arrested the terrorists, and have put in a zillion cameras to keep an eye on people, and have figured out how to track down those who might attack their country, and are vigorously stopping them. Their nation doesn't throw out the Magna Carta the day after the subway bombings - my English friends remind me that they lived through the IRA bomb blasts in London for a number of years, and managed to sort that out in the end.

It just strikes me as incredibly stupid that we haven't learned any lessons from our mistakes. Whether they were in Vietnam, or in Wounded Knee. We just don't have a clue about other people's cultures, and we tend to through them all into the same pot. We have this paternalistic attitude about Iraqis where he assume that if we left their country it would go up in smoke - that their 10,000 year old civilization would just dematerialize into a blood bath, over run by Iran on its way to destroy Saudi Arabia. We have got to be the most egocentric nation on the planet. Either that, or the greediest, willing to sacrifice anyone on the altar of oil.

Anyways, I feel bad for those poor National Guardsmen who signed up to seek revenge for 9/11, and were sent in completely the wrong direction. And now they and their families have to suffer another 3 months fighting this ridiculous civil war. It's the equivalent of us attacking China after Pearl Harbor. We assume they must all be on the same wavelength, because after all, they're Asians. And here we are, fighting a war in the wrong country, making families suffer here and abroad, whether it's the world accepted number of 650K dead in Iraq from all the devastation of War, or if it's the US figure about 'oh, about 60K' or so. Thousands of our soldiers are dead fighting in the absolute wrong theater, and many thousands are wounded, and many more will be psychologically damaged by the time they get back. So my final thought for this Memorial Day; For those veterans who now make up something around 70% of the homeless people in America - move over, there's a whole new generation of soldiers who will be denied treatment, ignored by the government, and will wind up joining you on the streets.

my two cents.

Saturday

Happy Memorial Day

Just taking time out to say "Thank you for serving."

There's alot of people who have served in the US military. My brother is one of them. He was lucky - while in boot camp, he was bitten by red ants and died on an operating table. But he was brought back to life by the doctor there with a shot of adrenaline. The doc knew there weren't red ants in Vietnam, but declared that my brother might die if he was bitten by a red ant in Vietnam, and signed medical dox that kept him from going there. My brother spent his time in the Army at the DMZ in Korea. Out of the 21 guys that were in his unit that served in Vietnam... something like three of them survived.

I was walking near the Vietnam memorial once some years ago - I wasn't aware that I was walking near it, I had just left the Lincoln Memorial and was heading up towards the Capitol, talking to a friend from college - and I was pretty focused on what we were talking about, and suddenly I was overcome with emotion. I had to stop to keep from sobbing. It was then I turned around and realized I was standing near a panel from the names on the Memorial. Mind you, I didn't know I was near the panels, I just had this overwhelming feeling of sadness.

Some years later, I was covering the inauguration for Variety - I had somehow talked the Editors of that mag into letting me cover the "music of the inaugural" for Clinton's first.. and had some great times - met Bob Dylan, scammed my way into seeing Streisand, sneaking into seats a few rows back from the just inaugurated Pres.. but I digress. While I was there, I took my video camera with me and walked along the wall again.. this time just filming the names on the wall. And when I came to that panel again, I was again overwhelmed by sadness. I walked a few feet past the panel and the feeling went away - then I walked back and it came back - stronger than ever. Like I should just burst into tears, and wrenching sadness overwhelming me. So I scanned the wall of names - I didn't recognize any of them - I don't know anyone who died in Vietnam. I know people who served, I know people who were shot, I know people whose lives were dramatically changed forever by that conflict.. but none that died, or who were named on that panel.

And the only logical conclusion I could come to is that people who had prayed in front of that panel - or people who came and cried in front of that panel, had somehow left behind an 'imprint' of their sadness. (Two other times I've had this effect happen to me - once in Dallas at the book depository, and the other was in Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam). I don't know how the physics might work for something like that to happen - but all I know is, I did an experiment, and the experiment proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt, that some kind of emotion was remaining in that wall. Maybe because it's marble - I don't know - maybe because of this one panel - I don't know. I know that no one is buried there, so it can't be some left over spirit calling out for emotion - the only reasonable explanation I have is that the sadness from those who've come and cried and prayed in front of the wall, left some of that emotion behind.

And that's basically in a nutshell why I'm anti-war. I'm not anti-service, and I'm not anti-fighting the bad guys where they might live - like in Afghanistan - but when the time came for me to sign up for the draft during the vietnam war era, I was relieved to get a really low number in the draft - something like 320 out of 365, for those of you old enough to remember how that went down. I was relieved, because I had decided that there was no way I was going to go and fight in Vietnam, that I would have gone to Canada instead - and told my father so. He was just as glad that I didn't have to make that decision back then - but in my heart I knew that LBJ was lying about Vietnam, you could hear it in his voice - I knew that Nixon was lying, and I knew that the whole govt. was lying and just plain wrong to be fighting that war - the same way I know the govt is saying the exact same things about the war in Iraq. "If we don't fight them there, they'll come here," "The rest of the countries around it will become our enemies," "if we leave now, it will all become a disaster." As George Santayana put it over a century ago; "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Or perhaps more aptly as Rudyard Kipling said: “If any question why we died, Tell them, because our fathers lied.”

But I honor those who served. My brother. My father. My mother. My grandfather, who at one point was National Commander of the American Legion. His picture is in every American Legion hall in the country, and when I find myself near one of them, I'll usually dip in to say hello. But they're heroes, all of them, and those who are serving and dying in this unjustifiable, contemptous war, are just as heroic.

There's a national cemetery near my home in Santa Monica - it's over in Westwood. And if you take the time to walk the grounds, you'll find that the majority of the dead were part of the Spanish American war. A war that most of us have forgotten, and history doesn't really reflect well upon. These guys signed up to protect the country, were shipped off to the Phillippines, (A war that is widely acknowledged to have been created by yellow journalism courtesy of WR Hearst)- and thousands died of malaria, fever, and other jungle diseases. It's easy for me to say "what a waste" and few would disagree - but it's all a matter of degree. They too signed up to fight for our country - right or wrong, and they deserve credit for doing so.

So when you're flipping burgers and sipping a cold one this weekend, raise a toast to those who've served.

My two cents.

Friday

Michael Moore & "Sicko"

Politics aside, Michael Moore is an incendiary filmmaker, and has changed the market for documentary filmmakers (myself included) worldwide. Just got this email from his mailing list missive, but it sounds like he's going to have a bumpy ride.. which will translate into big B.O. Either way, thought y'all would be amused:

"Sicko" Is Completed and We're Off to Cannes!

May 17, 2007

Friends,

It's a wrap! My new film, "Sicko," is all done and will have its world premiere this Saturday night at the Cannes Film Festival. As with "Bowling for Columbine" and "Fahrenheit 9/11," we are honored to have been chosen by this prestigious festival to screen our work there.

My intention was to keep "Sicko" under wraps and show it to virtually no one before its premiere in Cannes. That is what I have done and, as you may have noticed if you are a recipient of my infrequent Internet letters, I have been very silent about what I've been up to. In part, that's because I was working very hard to complete the film. But my silence was also because I knew that the health care industry -- an industry which makes up more than 15 percent of our GDP -- was not going to like much of what they were going to see in this movie and I thought it best not to upset them any sooner than need be.

Well, going quietly to Cannes, I guess, was not to be. For some strange reason, on May 2nd the Bush administration initiated an action against me over how I obtained some of the content they believe is in my film. As none of them have actually seen the film (or so I hope!), they decided, unlike with "Fahrenheit 9/11," not to wait until the film was out of the gate and too far down the road to begin their attack.

Bush's Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, launched an investigation of a trip I took to Cuba to film scenes for the movie. These scenes involve a group of 9/11 rescue workers who are suffering from illnesses obtained from working down at Ground Zero. They have received little or no help with their health care from the government. I do not want to give away what actually happens in the movie because I don't want to spoil it for you (although I'm sure you'll hear much about it after it unspools Saturday). Plus, our lawyers have advised me to say little at this point, as the film goes somewhere far scarier than "Cuba." Rest assured of one thing: no laws were broken. All I've done is violate the modern-day rule of journalism that says, "ask no questions of those in power or your luncheon privileges will be revoked."

This preemptive action taken by the Bush administration on the eve of the "Sicko" premiere in Cannes led our attorneys to fear for the safety of our film, noting that Secretary Paulson may try to claim that the content of the movie was obtained through a violation of the trade embargo that our country has against Cuba and the travel laws that prohibit average citizens of our free country from traveling to Cuba. (The law does not prohibit anyone from exercising their first amendment right of a free press and documentaries are protected works of journalism.)

I was floored when our lawyers told me this. "Are you saying they might actually confiscate our movie?" "Yes," was the answer. "These days, anything is possible. Even if there is just a 20 percent chance the government would seize our movie before Cannes, does anyone want to take that risk?"

Certainly not. So there we were last week, spiriting a duplicate master negative out of the country just so no one from the government would take it from us. (Seriously, I can't believe I just typed those words! Did I mention that I'm an American, and this is America and NO ONE should ever have to say they had to do such a thing?)

I mean, folks, I have just about had it. Investigating ME because I'm trying to help some 9/11 rescue workers our government has abandoned? Once again, up is down and black is white. There are only two people in need of an investigation and a trial, and the desire for this across America is so widespread you don't even need to see the one's smirk or hear the other's sneer to know who I am talking about.

But no, I'm the one who now has to hire lawyers and sneak my documentary out of the country just so people can see a friggin' movie. I mean, it's just a movie! What on earth could I have placed on celluloid that would require such a nonsensical action against me?

Ok. Scratch that.

Well, I'm on my way to Cannes right now, a copy of the movie in my bag. Don't feel too bad for me, I'll be in the south of France for a week! But then it's back to the U.S. for a number of premieres and benefits and then, finally, a chance for all of you to see this film that I have made. Circle June 29th on your calendar because that's when it opens in theaters everywhere across the country and Canada (for the rest of the world, it opens in the fall).

I can't wait for you to see it.

Yours,

Michael Moore

P.S. I will write more about what happens from Cannes. Stay tuned on my website, MichaelMoore.com.

Dick Cheney and The DC Madame

According to the Wayne Madsen Report, later backed by Stephanie Miller on Air America Radio, the curmudgeonly Dick Cheney was a frequent client of the DC Madame while he was at Halliburton, not while he was in the White House. (Hopefully no one kept a blue dress with DNA evidence.) But since he's been in the White House, The Shooter's gotten the bulk of his massages at the hands of the mainstream media. That's funny. The Shooter now takes on a different connotation, doesn't it?

Check this article out:

Quote:
May 10, 2007 -- WMR (http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/) has received a third well-placed confirmation that Vice President Dick Cheney, while CEO of Halliburton, was a client of the escort service of DC Madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey. In addition, one of Cheney's closest military advisers and friends was also a client of the DC Madam's Pamela Martin & Associates escort service. Cheney used the escort service while he was a part time resident of the posh Ballantrae section of McLean, Virginia.
....
After intense pressure from the White House and Disney executives, ABC News killed the DC Madam client story after having been given exclusive access to Palfrey's ten years' of phone call records."


Quote:
May 8, 2007 -- Cheney .... reportedly engaged the services of Palfrey's escort firm while he was the CEO and maintained a residence off Chain Bridge Road in the Ballantrae neighborhood in McLean, Virginia, a few blocks from the headquarters of the CIA."

WOAH!

So ABC execs, people throughout the administration - everyone needs a massage now and then, what's the big deal? The truth is, if Bill Clinton had used the service, Al Gore would still be in the White House and we wouldn't be in Iraq. So God bless 'em, I think they could all use a little release now and then.

On the other hand; what's going on here? Is this the "night of the long knives?" Is the administration crumbling around us as we speak?

Our Attorney General Gonzalez is on the bubble. If he doesn't quit, he'll be the least effective AG in the history of the office. He could keep his head in the sand and stays for another 2 years - but his reputation has been shot to smithereens as it is.

Wolfowitz has now gone howling into the night. Terrific article about the reasons behind his downfall, directly tied to his behavior in the Defense department can be found at (http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,482945,00.html) Der Spiegel. The writer uncovered a number of offenses from all the people he brought in with him.

I think every administration has its share of dissemblers, liars and charlatans.
I don't think Dick Cheney should be faulted for going to an escort service any more than I think he should be chastised for being a good Republican against gay rights, despite having a gay daughter. What gets my gallstone throbbing is Cheney insisting on WMD's in Iraq, a connection to 9/11, and the myriad of other lies that he's put out to force us into Iraq. I think he (and W) genuinely believes that a democratic Iraq is in the best interests of the U.S. and Israel. I just don't think he has a clue if that's what the Iraqis ever wanted. As MacNamara so aptly put it in "Fog of War;" (to paraphrase) "If we had known that the Vietnam conflict was a civil war and not part of the Cold War, we would have backed the North."

I'm not anti-Republican, or anti-anyone. I'm just for an open air policy - or in this case, and open door policy. Those in office who want to lie, use cronyism, are war profiteers, or use hate, fear and hostility to get their point across - here's the door. Don't let it hit you on the way out. Whatever party your in. I say we take a page out of the European Parliament handbook - if you don't have a mistress or a lover stashed away somewhere, then you aren't working hard enough.

As Claude Rains says in Casablanca; "I'm shocked! shocked! that gambling is going on here."

What's next? Condi and W in a love nest? Heaven forfend!!

Thursday

Chris Albrecht & HBO

Chris Albrecht fell on his sword yesterday.

Here's a guy who has been part of a team that has brought the best television has to offer over the past ten years, and for an incident that happened on a drunken evening, the guy's career is in tatters.

One wonders why Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld weren't all subject to the same kind of corporate relief?

According the LA Times article today, Chris has had a 'history' of this kind of behavior. But if one reads between the lines, the stories become a little odd - in the first instance, Chris is said to have had an affair with a fellow employee, who was also married - and after they broke up when he found out she was seeing someone else, he 'grabbed her by the throat.' $450K later, she had a settlement, which hasn't come out in the media until today.

I'm of the opinion that you can't hit a woman - you can't strangle them either - but I'm also of the opinion that people do stupid things, and since the incident happened in the workplace, I can't imagine Mr. Albrecht was really trying to strangle his former mistress, just acting out in a bad fashion. Is that worth $450K? Well, in light of the recent HBO much hyped bout, the payment is miniscule.

But then may we examine the events from the past weekend? Mr. Albrecht is caught in flagrant delicto - strangling his girlfriend in a parking lot, so badly that 'there were marks on her neck.' The arresting officer quoted Mr. Albrecht as saying "she pissed me off." The victim in the case, whom I won't name, but the LA Times chose to name, even though no crime was committed, because she refuses to press charges - is mute on the point. Why is she mute? Because it wasn't the first time? Or because she really did 'piss him off.' Odds are, she probably admitted to seeing someone else - and hence another neck lock by Mr. Albrecht, who can't help himself in these cases.

Now - lets talk about a matter of degree. In the OJ case, his rage and jealousy led to the results we all know about - for one side of the spectrum - but in the US Administration, when either the head of the World Bank gets his girlfriend a pay raise and a plump job, he refuses to accept responsibility for it. Or in the case of the Attorney General, who when caught lying on the subject of the recent political dismissals, refuses to step down. Why? Was it because "the finger marks" are not visible in either case?

I applaud Mr. Albrecht for doing what must have been a really difficult decision. I don't know him, never met him, but I know there's a long list of people in Hollywood who are making great livings based on his belief and faith in him. Here's a guy who not only hasn't been convicted of anything, but admits that he has a drinking problem, and is seeking help for it. It's not like he went off and called a police officer "sugar tits" or ranted about Jews causing all the wars. He obviously can't drink and hear bad news at the same time.

It may turn out that this is a serious problem for him, and that this was the best thing that could have happened in his life - it will force him to reflect on behavior and how he can turn it around. After all, it's not like he was seducing teenaged boys over the internet while in office in Washington, or profiteering from an illegal war.. but the guy made a mistake, has fessed up to it, and fallen completely on his sword. It's a rare act these days - in fact I can't think of anyone else in recent memory who has done so - and I'm surprised that the parent company didn't give him 30 days to straighten himself out, or go into therapy. However, in a town that has a severe short term memory loss, I'll predict that within a year, he'll have joined another company with media clout, and will continue to bring quality programs into our world.

But will anyone else from Washington follow his lead? My two cents.

Follow by Email