I struggled all last week to compose one of my occasional political cris de couer, this one motivated by the nonsense currently going on in Wisconsin. If you've been in a cave for the last month -- and I know at least one of my Loyal Readers whose circumstances could be described as such -- Wisconsin's Republican governor is using a budgetary crisis, which he seems to have engineered himself, as a pretense to try and force his state's public-sector labor unions into giving up their collective bargaining rights. In shorter words, he's union-busting. But he's not busting all the public-sector unions. No, he's only after the ones whose members tend to vote Democratic. The Republican-leaning police and firefighter unions are safe. Which means this whole exercise is transparently partisan and blatantly ideological. I'm not interested in debating the pros and cons of unions -- Kevin Drum pretty much sums up my opinion here, and says it better than I could anyhow -- but the more unsavory political truth of the Wisconsin deal makes me mad. It is only the most obvious example of how Republicans nationwide are trying to take advantage of a shaky economy to ram through a radical right-wing social agenda that they haven't managed to accomplish in decades of trying. In other words, they're trying to kill things Republicans hate on principle anyway, while saying they have to do it to get the economy going.
Here's the thing: if you really care about cutting the deficit, then you've got to be willing to at least consider letting the Bush tax cuts expire. The tax rates during the Clinton years were hardly onerous -- they were lower than the taxes in the prosperous 1950s -- and they'd go a long ways toward balancing the books. And you also ought to be trying to find a way to convince the wealthy -- who seem to think they're above paying taxes -- that they are still part of this country, even if they live behind locked gates, and it's immoral of them not to contribute to the common good. Oh, and you'd get serious about making corporations pay their fair share too. And while I'm pipe-dreaming anyhow, how about re-regulating the financial industry that caused this mess anyhow? And sending a few CEOs to jail? Or at least taking their solid-gold parachutes away from them and giving the money to the employees who got laid off to bolster the stockholders' dividends last quarter... but noooo, that's class warfare and we can't have that. Not unless it's being waged on the middle-class people who actually do the work in this country and are fast on their way to becoming vassals of a new feudalism. The sad thing is, a lot of them seem to actually want that...
Yeah, anyhow that's the gist of what I've been trying to write, but the damn thing just hasn't wanted to come together in a satisfying way, so tonight I decided "Screw it, let's do a nice harmless meme." And as fate would have it, SamuraiFrog recently provided one...
Back in the Day: Five TV Shows You Loved As A Kid
(For this one, I chose to try and remember the shows I loved in my very early childhood, rather than my early adolescent and teenage years, which is the time frame I usually wax nostalgic about.)
- Sesame Street
- Land of the Lost
- The Six Million Dollar Man
- The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams
Who Would You Do?: Five TV Characters You Would… Well, It’s Self-Explanatory
- Col. Wilma Deering, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
(Oh come on, like you didn't see that one coming. What sort of self-respecting sci-fi-lovin' kid of the late '70s/early '80s would I be if I didn't have an enduring crush on Erin Grey?)
- Kate Beckett, Castle
- Cordelia Chase, Angel
- Samantha Stephens, Bewitched
(An oldie, but a goodie...)
- Catherine Willows, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Wow: Five TV Moments You Still Remember (And Probably Won’t Forget)
- Radar announcing Henry Blake's death on M*A*S*H
- The revelation of Picard's transformation into Locutus of Borg, Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Crockett and Tubbs speeding toward a showdown with "In the Air Tonight" as their soundtrack, Miami Vice
- Diana eating a guinea pig, V (1983 miniseries version)
- The destruction of Caprica, Battlestar Galactica (1978 version)
"Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs": Five TV Theme Songs You Know (and Love) By Heart
- Theme from WKRP in Cincinnati
- "Believe It or Not" from The Greatest American Hero
- The Muppet Show Theme
- "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" from Cheers
- "Princes of the Universe" from Highlander: The Series
Eh: Five Shows You Just Can’t Get Into
- The Office
- Battlestar Galactica(2003-2009 version)
- Curb Your Enthusiasm
- Anything built on the American Idol template of three judges nitpicking a talent competition that will be decided by someone else anyhow
The Starting Line-Up: Five Channels You Go To First When You Sit Down to Watch TV
I don't quite get this question. I assume it's based on the idea that people flip on the tube and surf around to see what's on, but they surf to specific channels first before checking out the others. Do people actually do this? I myself do not... and most of the time, I already know what's on when I sit down -- that's why I'm turning on the tube, because one of my shows is on -- so I don't do a lot of surfing. Maybe that's just me, though.
This Is An Environment of Welcoming, and You Should Just Get the Hell Out Of Here: Five TV Characters You Could Do Without
Hm. Again, this question doesn't really make a lot of sense to me, because I'm not the sort who says, "I love this show, all except for that guy, who totally ruins everything and shouldn't be allowed on television in any capacity, let alone on this show." Like the way many people went bonkers over Wesley Crusher, as if that poor teenage kid was the biggest problem with Star Trek: The Next Generation in its early days. No, if I like a TV series, I tend to like everyone on it. I don't mean I necessarily I like-like everyone on the series. For example, Benjamin Linus on Lost was one of the most infuriating characters I've ever encountered, and many an episode ended with me wanting nothing more than to strangle him until those beady little eyes popped from his skull and flew across the room like ping-pong balls. But that's how I was supposed to feel about him. He was functioning in the way that he needed to, to make the show work.
Anyhow, I'll pass on this question.
That’s What She Said: Five Quotes That Still Resonate
- "Look, all I know is what they taught me at command school. There are certain rules about a war and rule number one is young men die. And rule number two is, doctors can't change rule number one." (Henry Blake, M*A*S*H)
- "It never fails to astonish me. You're alive, you're dead. No drums, no flashing lights, no fanfare. You're just dead." (Margaret Houlihan, M*A*S*H
- "As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly." (Arthur Carlson, WKRP in Cincinnati)
- "You may find after a time that having a thing is not so satisfying as wanting it. It is not logical. But it is often true." (Spock, Star Trek)
- "Five thousand street corners in Greater Miami and Gumby here has to pick ours." (Sonny Crockett, observing a break dancer in the pilot episode of Miami Vice)
Gimme More: Five Shows You Can Never Get Enough Of
Another one that doesn't quite apply to me, depending on how you interpret it, because I'm not one of these types who is constantly agitating for a canceled or concluded series to come back. For example, I am quite content with a half-season of Firefly, to name one show that people are constantly trying to revive. In fact, I wish American television producers had the courage to end shows when the story calls for it, instead of stretching them out as long as people are watching. Be a little more literary and make the story mean something, guys.
That said, there are shows I don't tire of watching, even though there's only a finite supply of episodes, and I've seen them all a million times:
- Star Trek
- Battlestar Galactica(1978 version)
- Magnum, PI
Only four, I know, but I did the best I could on that one.
And there you have it... from public-sector unions to my love of outdated TV, all in one entry. Hope you didn't get whiplash...