Talking Points: The Power of Fake News(-casters)

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Nowadays, we can rarely see and even experience the same kind of journalism that Cronkite and the many masterfully made into what people consider a respectable, noteworthy brand of media. Surely so, we have Larry King who matter greatly in the craft. The people who sat with King for years were construed as not only the people who significantly matter for the world (for us to realize it), but they were seen just like the common people who watch or tune in on the show everyday: hardworking people, teens, and even those who hate King himself. I’m just not so sure.
But sure do, it inspires people. But that’s all but crap right now. In my previous posts, I surely did want to come across the idea that the likes of O’Reilly and the rest of the FOX News anchors and self-proclaimed journalists, in retrospect, lacks that sentimental embrace for fair media. I don’t think these guys even value what Cronkite worked hard for. Even King himself is losing some mojo here. I notice, in several of his shows, the questions he asks, if not most, are awfully and oafishly simplistic. Seriously, it seems that his questions don’t want to be answered with value. Even his comments are quite platitudinous. I mean, come one, Larry King Live is too much a syndication to fall from grace and drop so ruthlessly in shame, especially when I feel disgusted about it. I don’t mean to put some loathe over the craft of King. I don’t. It just that what makes the show so syndicated in the first place is not there! Again, the mojo is losing! And King getting too old (maybe this could explain some numerous fill-ins for the show, including Seacrest and Probst, and by all people, why Behar?). Really, I would admit the show itself becomes more and more parochial, more so banal. There is much absence of adulation or something for the show to be considered “syndicated”. The reason why King became so famous (and so the show) is that the show wants to invoke that kind of journalistic craft that explores personality, events, trends and the like and the people especially that move behind them to be revealed and be known under the light of truth. It may sound dramatic but, really, we know people more than what they are known for – they as themselves people.
Or even talk about our dearly loved talk shows. They too are syndicated. Two things: it’s either they make the best out of ordinary (or even famous) people or they make fun of them. And we know on the top of our head who these people are.
Now we go to what we might call the power of non-journalistic craft. What comes to my mind is....no, not the likes of Chelsea Handler who appears to be too perverted for a talk show or The Dish or The Soup (although I do like these shows)....it’s the always fun (and critical) The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. I know what comes into the minds of some when they hear these people. Two words: FAKE NEWS! The Colbert Report is a parody of.....well......The O’Reilly Factor. The Daily Show is...well...a unique show of its own. But let’s look at how these two FAKE NEWS SHOWS became so influential that America in fact chose Stewart among others the most influential person in the country.
The story goes when these two shows became the voice of the enemies of the FOX News gang. The sanctimony of Conservatism and Republicanism (and unbalanced and unfair news at that) in the channel has scoured so much in our TV sets for their propaganda. Exactly no fair journalism there. But people expected that the other half of the political divide (that, I will passionately stress, has compromised the fundaments of journalism), CNN, would counteract the shoot-and-kills or FOX. Well, CNN never did engage in the war so openly but in the least subtle way. But this one ‘expected role’ the media company tried not to do (I’m relieved then) was taken over by these two brilliant guys. When Colbert went to O’Reilly’s show, O’Reilly asked Colbert if he’s imitating him. Colbert responded so brilliantly, saying that Bill might be mistaking the terms “imitation” and “emulation”, which the latter Colbert chose of what he’s doing in his own show. Yet, over the years, these two guys keeps on becoming (not only Emmy-award winning) visionaries of politics. If the other half has Beck as their visionary, the other got these two guys. But all came so clear that the power of FAKE NEWS become so immense that the craft of these two is not just being fake, but also being the REAL THING. And here’s the catch: President Obama is the first sitting president to be interviewed in a FAKE NEWS SHOW! Yeah, you’re reading this right! You might ask, who does this? A FAKE NEWS, as a guest, a president? Really? Another thing, Colbert and Stewart’s Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear makes things clearer: the power of fake news goes unstoppable!

TALKING POINTS BARNACLE: THINGS THAT MAKE CABLE TV USEFUL TO HUMAN SANITY

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O’Reilly – The View Syndication

Bill O’Reilly’s visit to The View that went ugly made me realize some aspects of what makes TV so, so great. One, O’Reilly can really be a total jackass. This simple yet powerful realization had been in front of me ever since Family Guy, Jon Stewart, Colbert and the rest of TV’s great thespians and worthy jackanapes (in an award-winning way) became part of what revolutionizes media today. I had so much respect for O’Reilly before, and up to now I really want to buy his book (not Pinheads and Patriots, the Bold Fresh). [i can’t help but writing something about his new book. I haven’t read it yet. But I have a very strong gut feeling on what it is about. Surely, this is again his namby-pamby attacks on his enemies, the liberals and his hates in writing. If you look at the cover, you can say that the Pinhead whom he’s referring to is Obama, and by all means the Patriot is himself. Really? Ego much? I think the term Pinhead is more suited for him.]
The View fiasco (maybe it was more humiliating to Behar and Goldberg than to Bill himself) touched on an issue which might have its connection to previous uproars against the New York mosque stuff. It’s an issue of Islamophobia, one can tell. But O’Reilly defends, it’s far from the “b-word” that joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg tried to label him. O’Reilly, in his show, strongly disdained the word – but a few instances shed some light on this. Should O’Reilly be called a bigot for airing some sentiments which Behar and Goldberg construed as purely anti-Muslim? On his show, O’Reilly might have slipped on this one. A contention of his in one of his shows is that the problems of terrorism among others is a Muslim problem, meaning, Muslims should in the very first place be doing most of the job in taking care of it. He defended he would never generalize the issue that the Muslims , all of them, are causing these. But what came more interesting on this issue is when obviously O’Reilly was leaning on the side of the NPR guy who was fired for making anti-Muslim remarks. And this, now, makes O’Reilly such a jackass. If he wants to wrestle down issues where he appears to be losing, he would weave outlandish issues along with the case at hand.
Talk about the firing of the NPR guy. This guy commented (on O’Reilly’s show) that he always feels unsecure whenever Muslims wearing burqas and what have you board the same plane he is in. What did he mean? Simple. The same old defense of those who want to ban burqas and the like in some countries like France – because these garments can conceal bombs. This is absolutely nothing new an issue. Here in the Philippines for example, insurgent-terrorists wear burqas, in recorded cases there are men, trying to sneak in public places and conceal bombs in God knows where – basic terroristic strategy. Was the NPR guy right? A Muslim thinks so. In one of the Doha Debates, a Muslim arguing for the ban contended that burqas do really enforece such terroristic image, especially to women – hence, making a bad reputation for Islam. But the problem (the same as O’Reilly’s) with the NPR guy is how he wants to be understood. His remarks would invoke the same element of generalization. One can say that we he said is that whenever you see Muslims wearing these garments, boarding the same flight as you are, expect to be u comfortable with it. Is this bigotry? Were Behar and Goldberg right? Maybe. But let’s see how O’Reilly dealt with this.
The defense is simple (in relation to the firing of the NPR guy): freedom of expression.
This is very common over the news. Some months ago, a CNN newscaster was fired for making remarks against Jon Stewart. Some defended the guy, even Stewart himself. To be truthful, CNN was wrong on this one. O’Reilly on the other hand seemed furious over the firing of the NPR guy. Same defense: freedom of expression. But here’s the twist – he’s making it appear to be a political propaganda. Our dear old Bill drags for example billionaire investor George Soros (he labels far-left) to the issue of the firing. Sounds familiar? He’s making it a blame game – this is all the Liberals’ doing. Period. Is he a jackass? Definitely. But the syndication never ends. O’Reilly never got over The View walk-outs. In several instances, O’Reilly tried to demonize The View hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg in whatever way he wanted it. But to give credit, the game wasn’t played well. Even Behar and Goldberg seemed a little bit unfair. They never gave O’Reilly the chance to defend himself on the show, making it appear as if O’Reilly was the bad guy. Not fair. Even labelling someone ‘bigot’ might be very risky and hasty. Both hosts were hasty. So was O’Reilly. So maybe the score goes to Walters. Rock on! Syndication never let us down!

The Mango Avenue

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 (Tell-tales, the randomness of the writer's minds)

I always tell my friends that the best way to rid of deep-down 'deep-ression' (redundancy intended) is going to a farmer's market every Friday. Why, they ask. It's simple. The people are nice there. The local farmers are kind enough to make you happy and help you with your troubled week, or months sometimes. They could even be your substitute to coffee if you happen to lose your way not finding any nearby cafe - and that makes you awfully sick and more deep-ressed. One farmer, George, is my favorite. He sells so much variety of vegetables freshly-picked from his farm, about three miles from the city. Whenever I see him every Friday (sometimes he's not in his little green stall, and that makes me sad), I tend to spend my day talking to him. Our acquaintances had developed to some sort of privileging over the months since I bumped to this little farmers' fare. My friends are getting worried though that I've been distracted from my work. I'm actually working in a consulting firm. Although my friends entirely know that I hate my job the first day I worked, still, they always make me realize that I'm doing this for my dog, Daisy. I don't know why I even bothered to note such reason, but it kept me from quitting my job for fifteen years. Daisy must be proud of me.

My depression is daily. But the farmer's market fare is just once a week. Adding that up, my week except Friday is hellish. Friday is my escape pod out of a week of being in a hell hole. But it happens that my strolls in the city led me to some interesting new places. More farmers' fare, Turkish toy shops, ridiculously-named candy stores, a variety shop that sells magic wands and hats and of course, a store that features a worldly-variety of apples. I got curious that day. I called my friends to come over, so we can all dive into apple madness (my favorite fruit is apple). It was late in the afternoon when we finished buying baskets of apples representing 25 countries in total. It led me out of the day's dose of depression. The place of wonderful stores is located somewhere in Mango Avenue. My discovery of a bastion of anti-depressants like Mike's Organic Fruits, Susan's Candy Bonanza, Rachel's Cupcake Chowder, Dante's Italian Antiques and Plom's Toy Tower has liberated me from weeks of  depression, sadness, emptiness and whatever that comes to your mind and thank goodness not suicide. My delusion of a wonderland was not at all surreal. I grasped it entirely. It was real and experiential. It was there. Mango Avenue is no illusion.

My fat, stinky boss called me back to office. He noticed I haven't been going to work for a month. I know well for a fact I lost some salary. But Mango Avenue just kept enticing me. I went to the office. My boss, who was divorced by his wife because his fatness and monstrous weight keeps breaking their bed, bad-mouthed me. He said the company lost some clients because of me. I don't why. I work as a janitor there. He kept lambasting me. My patience grew into a total black-hole. I smacked him in the face. I felt a sound of breaking bones. My right hand broke. But my boss's nose bled horribly. He screamed. I cried. I quit and dashed immediately out of the offuce before the security catches me. I felt bad that day. To get rid of some hot temper and bloodstains in my shirt, I planned to go to Mango Avenue and buy some new clothes for myself and for Daisy at Vicky's Cashmere. When I got there, right before the corner, I saw nothing. Deserted, unhappy, barren. No one was there. Not even my friends who begun loving the place minutes after I did. I felt sad again. It's got worse. The worst part is, I saw my friends sitting in a corner where Sally's Frozen Cream Deluxe used to stand up high. It was the first time I saw them cry - in unison. They looked at me, with those unwarranting sad faces, hoping. Hoping for what? For a wonderland. But it was gone forever. The sadness and loneliness were shared. Me and my friends just stayed there until we run out of tears. We left, as dusk begun to fall down, with dismay. That day, we lost Mango Avenue. Mango Avenue lost us. We walked, and walked, and walked, still hoping that any of the wonder stores would come at any moment. We walked unhappily. The feeling was no longer surreal, nor joyful not wonderful. It was nothing buy emptiness. We walked - until - we saw something. People, buying things. I happen to see some carrying paper bags that bear the logo of Holly's Happy Tacos. Right there and then, we realized. Mango Avenue was never lost - and will never be gone. It's life is the people. It's life is us. It's life is the happiness that feeds its own. That day, we were just lost. And my friends kept laughing while I was crying the whole time. I hated them. I was lost.

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[Feature Article]




Anti-High Society Jockey*

                Gloating, where at some point faces and smiles are overstretched halfway their heads with bean-like brains, is always the initial reflex of the overly-clothed club members of the High Society – the ruling elite of an idiocratic utopia called the fashionably dumb and hijas y hijos de la madre bobilla – when somebody falls to the ground, hitting the pauper (non-carpeted) walk of shame, blood spilling from that somebody’s pathetic face. Overly-clothed, that is, the predicament of their ill will to live in a civilized society while them acting out as if they are the early ancestors of the ridiculous, the un-smart and the regular subject matter of the Theatre of the Absurd of the poorest quality – whereby their proud regalia that girdles their egos and the ornamented persona of so much assumption that they are the better half of humanity, and that they make so much enthusiasm in adoring the apostles of Musca, on such matter, they are wrong and awfully wicked.
                Talk about the delusion of grandeur, and the dumbfounded contention that they deserve to live better highly than the “other” half of humanity, they label the undeserving as the subjects of their gloat and ridicule. At this point, the High Society is awful. High Society, only to label how far their vapid souls can no longer be galvanized by the arsenals of reason or even the simplest type of common sense. At this point, they are not only awful, they are also hopeless. Indeed, they are there in the streets with bullhorns and parades of half-naked, if not, overly-flamboyant display of self-centeredness, announcing to the entire world that they are the anti-modernists, nay, the reformers of the mechanical Earth, hoping to make themselves deities of grandiosity and power. At this point, they are in fact the tormented, rotten, un-intellectual part of humanity that cannot even outsmart a swine.
                But stripping off their mascaras, revealing the neediness to be thematic personifications of a low-class play or poorly-written, poorly-composed opera, and their insatiable thirst for attention and glory that they don’t even understand – the masquerade of the High Society is ended, thus, becoming the victimized scandalized patients of the spoiled context. Deep within the wilderness of never-ending ear-thirst for self-satisfaction of the worst kind and value, brought up in putrid condition of delusions, for them to appreciate the subtlety behind telling them that they have patently grotesque and flatulent sense of understanding (if they have one), they better cut the crap and shut their oafish bearings up. At this point, they are worms. They are worse than the sick male-ghouls that laid me to bed - not my testament - but that of the court's remarkable effort to get me to rest and rot without even making my point across the ill-gottens and ill-breds that make me vomit.

                            - Alexander Pierce


This is Pierce’s speech addressed to his followers prior to his execution, with sixty counts of crime of buggery.
                 

Some thoughts....politico

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I agree with Nick. He was right, that until he formed UK’s new government with the now Prime Minister David Cameron, they were ‘rivals’, but now they are ‘colleagues’. Straight from the words of Cameron himself, the government he formed with the man ‘he barely know’ and ‘haven’t spoken to’ in the last five years is a Liberal Democrat-Conservative administration. A BBC journalist expressed that Cameron’s description of the new government isn’t just semantics. This proves the marriage of two stranger parties is an unprecedented milestone to a new kind of politics.
Watching the two leaders giving conference at the garden of Downing Street that once belonged to the ‘other’ contender in British election race, outrightly impresses that these two are not just products of Britain’s first coalition since Churchill, they are a product of a rising movement and trend of politics bred out of the principles of reform, responsibility, freedom and fairness, as Cameron would put it.
I say it is exciting. Congratulations, Nick and David. 

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                                                                           David Cameron/ Flickr
The New Man of 10 Downing Street
Now that the Tories and the Liberal Democrats form a coalition government , and taking over the Parliament from the thirteen-year rule of the Labour Party, how did Prime Minister David Cameron become the new face of British politics?

[A Column by Emil Angelo C. Martinez]


Ever since David Cameron took over the Tory leadership in 2005, his party played a crucial role as Opposition, as the Labour Party ruled the hollowed halls of the Parliament. And that, thanks to Cameron himself. But this was not just the common kind of party opposition, as it may be the usual party competition aiming for political power. Cameron did play this kind of game. He wanted the power back that once belonged to the Tory. But Cameron was exclusively no political nut. He was after all one of UK’s eloquent and charismatic statesman.
          Educated at Eton and Oxford, Cameron’s youthful rise in political spotlight was both surprising and impressive. Not since Churchill rallied his party to power by both predicting and winning the war with Germany and the old Sir Winston becoming the Conservatives’ new face that the young Cameron become the Tory brand. Margaret Thatcher has Thatcherism, David Cameron has the Camerons. To say it, the Conservative MPs to rule the government this time are themselves Camerons. Being the youngest Prime Minister for the last 200 years, I’m sure the Conservatives under Cameron deserved where they are right now. And Cameron deserved it than anybody else.
          But with a new face in Downing Street, there comes a new political environment. The significance of the coalition is how will the system work, now that for thirty years Britain hasn’t experience this kind of government. How will Cameron work with the Liberal Democrats? What will he offer them? What will Clegg offer back? How will Cameron deal with the rise of smaller parties?
          On the first issue of working with the Liberal Democrats, consistent discipline and cooperation are important, much more necessary. At present, there have been appointments already. The Chancellor of Exchequer is a Conservative. The one replacing David Miliband as Foreign Secretary is a Liberal Democrat. Would the levelling up of MPs and Cabinet members in a diverse approach be better for the government? Certainly this is a result of the negotiations between the Tory and the Liberal Democrats. Clegg would disagree if his party members are still in the minority in most government posts.
          The bigger case both Clegg and Cameron must have understood already is compromise. Does this reflect both Cameron’s and Clegg’s political persona? For Clegg, most probably the decisions made by his party have been expressions of compromise already, as apparent as it may be by settling with the Conservatives. And the choice of leaving at hand a hung parliament with a minority government to take over maybe dangerous for the Liberal Democrats. Like in the last hung parliament in 1974 without a coalition formed, the minority government was short-lived, forcing to hold again another election. I would think the 1947 crisis was a bad choice if either Clegg or Cameron or even Brown had had considered. Thankfully, the decisions made were better. And that thanks to Clegg. But in the bigger picture, the Liberal Democrats really had the least to compromise. Cameron and his party had the biggest stake of compromise. For several years in fighting with the Labour, Cameron and the rest of the Conservative Party had enough of the system, and the demand for a Conservative party is imminent. But with the results of the elections, it seemed that Cameron has to deal with what the Liberal Democrats’ policy demands. This new government is after all not a purely Cameronian creation. But then again, this is what really impresses me about Cameron. The value of a pragmatic approach for the purpose of creating a stable and solid government is very heroic. And for sure, the choices left for Cameron are both hard and necessary. Is it in the character of Cameron to compromise?
          He has no choice, nor his party nor Clegg. And really, the result of the elections spelled the outcome of the formation of the coalition. With key issues such as economic recovery, education and political and electoral reform, Cameron as the new Prime Minister is in the crossroads of odds so hard to handle. Talk about the first issue: economy. How did Clegg and Cameron pull it off? Cameron was against transforming pounds to euro. I might say Clegg had agreed on this. I think this choice (and also by the former PM) is rather close enough to save them from further economic damage, considering the Greek economic tragedy that is haunting EU right now. In essence, all three were almost providing the same measures for a positive effect in the British economy. Now, talk about political and electoral reform. This I think is an easy issue for Cameron himself. In the past, Cameron has expressed (but less sentimental or vocal) political reform, but the same centuries-old electoral system that brought him to the Prime Ministerial position might as well is a question whether he would consider the Liberal Democrats’s primary demand for political and electoral reform. On education, Cameron settled on Clegg’s pupil premium. How about in international relations? Cameron seems very open and diplomatic in issues that best serve his country and the rest of the world. With the immense relations between US and UK during the Labour years under Blair and Brown, Cameron might do the same thing as well. Number 10 has a new guy, and Britain must expect something from he himself, Prime Minister David Cameron. 


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Looking at the British elections: What it says about their brand of politics

It may not be quite a surprise in general that the three parties competing for a hold of power by securing as much as possible majority seats in the British Parliament are almost at par in terms of their policies and promises for the future UK. Recent happenings involving the country’s biggest parties, the Labour Party led by the economic-crisis saviour Gordon Brown and the Conservative and Unionist Party led by the ever-ardent oppositor of the majority government David Cameron, have created both advantages (to boost the Party’s popular support at the expense of the other’s downfall) and disadvantages (which impaired them in some way) both to the image of the party leader and the credibility of the Party as a whole.
            And on May 6th, the standards the parties set for themselves to portray a “who’s the better party towards a better UK” semblance will speak for themselves. But what really is new in this election? Will the candidates make a game-changer?
            Contrary to what Simon Schama said, a notable professor from Columbia University, in an interview in a CNN program Amanpour., this years election and the end result will be a different direction at the very least and the campaign trail itself is one of a kind. But to give credit to what Schama contends, British politics may be indeed all as it may have been, if one could talk about how Labour and Conservative always beat each other (sometimes with utmost lack of decency and civility), trying to tone down, nay, cause the fall of the other entirely. Well, as a matter of how I see it, this makes British politics strong and governance a clear competition with clear check and balance. A party’s intense political will to, atop its priorities, gain majority rule by criticizing the other ruthlessly amongst its tools has begun to permeate almost everything a Party may or may not have any business about. This means that as long as party competition is a serious business; expect that both sides of the Parliament will better the nation as a whole, or not at all.
            This is not basically new in British politics. Despite Labour’s young origins contrary to the Tories’ centuries-old presence, power-play has been tough. Now this makes a clear ground for real competition in British elections. But what becomes of the present situation compared to the past British governments is that the element of surprise has been deadlier and more cunning for the Parties themselves. For example, if you talk about the Labour-Conservative relationship, despite their most recent bashings, bickering and face-slaps, there is no clear cause to believe that one is inevitably winning. Former British Ambassador to the United States Sir Christopher Meyer on Amanpour. said that this has always been the case. How I see it is that the unpredictability comes before and after. I would say that nobody knows who will win and nobody knows what will happen after a party wins. By going back a little, this trend of unpredictability has haunted British politics for a long time. Churchill’s Conservative leadership brought a major lead and support for the party. The Conservative’s unprecedented political success was amplified by Churchill’s victory during the Second World War (a boost for morale) together with the Allied Forces, seemingly making Churchill the Conservative’s most influential leader and UK’s prime minister with boundless popularity, both local and overseas. In spite of the Conservative win during this time, the parties hold on power and the British’s support waned down in just a matter of few years. Labour and other parties broke the British power dominance of the Conservative. This short-live rule of a party or it’s popularity begotten by its successful marches to make the public believe that what they do is for the nation’s welfare may even presently be there. This is true as I see it in the case of the Labour.
            Thatcher’s rule also led a Conservative swipe in the British politics, almost the same as Churchill’s. But the Iron Lady’s role in keeping in competition with Labour and contributing to the empowerment of her party led to some unexpected downturn. Her resignation as Prime Minister reflected a loophole in party discipline. It seemed that the Conservatives have been turning against each other, making a shaky party less competitive against the Labour. With this, Labour took advantage (which is the trend in the present British election). Tony Blair’s New Labour Party was a game-changer in the political battle mainly fought by the two. Blair’s New Labour created a new standard for the old Labour, signalling a political change and ideology for the Labour Party founded in the 1900s, only that this reinvention of the party strengthened a new politics that the people wants at the very demise of the Conservatives.
            The element of change (due to discontent of the previous governments) has always been a fact of politics, nay, a political leverage at that. Why a leverage? Talk about 21st century and everybody will talk about political shift. This has been the very trend of politics across countries. In the US, the Democrats showed that a Republican government has been a failure – this took an extreme advantage for Obama to win, exploiting the weakness showed by Bush and the unpopular support to the Iraq War and the other in Afghanistan which the Republicans strongly fought for. Across Europe, the rise of countless parties never heard of before calls for social and political change, challenging the age-old parties that have been failing. Reformist and moderate parties are gaining support and power as opposition against fundamentalist governments across Asia. Even US’s Tea Party Movement calls for it. And this demand is CHANGE. Change breeds tough opposition. Like what the Tories experienced during years after Churchill and during Thatcher, Labour spells the same fate. The advent of Blair’s government as a particular case was as I’ve said a major change in British politics. But one mistake said it all. Like the intense outcry against the war in Iraq, Blair’s support for the war damaged the party, so as the interest of the British people, leaving a chance for the Conservatives (Tories) to exploit it. This is however was not done so to their advantage. It may have been that either or both Tony Blair and the Labour as a whole was damaged by their stand on the war, the party’s win ‘again’ under a new government led by Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer during Blair, was an unprecedented turn of events. Did the Conservatives fail to do about the Labour’s disastrous decisions? Did the Conservative fail to exploit the mounting unpopular support for Blair’s New Labour? This happening is indeed a history maker if ever things have gone differently, and this deserves some attention.
            You see, the reinvention of the Labour Party turning into the New Labour supposedly spelled a much better party to compete against the Tory. The mere changing of the party itself posed one thing and one thing only: that the British people had enough already of the countless mistakes of the previous governments including the Tory for a certain amount of time, thus, a new party innovation will change the British politics to its core as what people so desperately demands now and urgent. I might say that this was indeed a very powerful strategy for the Labour to do. If Labour did not make a new game plan, would the Conservatives have done it? I couldn’t say for certain what could have happened but the interesting issues could have been different if the New Labour was short lived. But Brown’s majority government proved a much tougher enemy for the Conservatives to deal with. Their failure to exploit Blair’s mistake led to the Labour’s persistence. Also, this I think had a blow against the Tories themselves. By not finishing off a dying enemy, it will certainly create a backlash whether a party is strong to take over. And the Labour’s role in the recent economic crisis under their man himself Gordon Brown showed a party in momentum for winning another election. But then again, the Opposition has been also strong and has been tougher (but not enough yet) under Cameron’s leadership, balancing the power-politics presently ruled by Brown.
            Now this I say levelled a fair and square competition between the two major parties. What is interesting again is that the unexpected appearance of the Liberal Democrat Party may hold a twist in the political arena. At this point perhaps one could contend and concede that the Tory and the Labour would be competing primarily against each other. However, the game-changer may be the ‘other’ party. Polls show that despite Cameron’s party’s lead, seconded (surprisingly) by the Liberal Democrats’ candidate Nick Clegg and Brown being the third, the Conservatives may not secure a majority win. If neither the Conservative nor the Labour wins a majority with the LD’s breaking role, this could lead to a hung parliament. Brown for one sees (in the final prime ministerial debate) that the LD and the Conservative will make a coalition. But will Clegg or Cameron be unto this? I doubt that Cameron will agree on a power-sharing deal with the LD. But acting out of desperation to once again hold the government, possibility may be spelled out. But still we can doubt whether LD or Nick Clegg will agree. Certainly these parties do not agree on issues at hand, but looking at the debates, the three candidate’s policies are neither different nor the same. Now, if Clegg becomes the majority breaker, he could assume to take a coalition with the party his policies are closest to. However, the LD may even have the chance to win the elections, which is a serious problem for the Conservative who fought long hard to gain the support, but less for the Labour. It will surely be a slap on the face to Cameron if they lose. But who knows? The complexity of the political situation now is different and a case to with most surprises. Think of it, Labour had been popular for quite sometime, but the Conservatives hadn’t waged war enough with them, only at the floors of the Parliament most of the time (didn’t exploit intensively the Iraq war, the misconduct of some Labour government officials, Gordon’s gaffe, Clegg’s experience). Cameron’s leadership is not enough to counter the Labour, even the newbie Clegg who seems to be a rising star, bur Brown is still not out of the picture. Indeed, the 6th of May could be a rethinking of how the British politics plays. 
 

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A Cheapskate's Soliloquy, Man's Weakness

"Wall, Pound, Spectacle" by Lewis Fields | Columbia & Smith

She was there the whole time, staring at me – that catatonic gaze directed right towards my teary, sleepless eyes, as if she was staring right through my soul, as if I even have one. Her persistence, her nihilistic aura, her ethereal presence seem to have captured my sense of reality, my sense of sanity and my rational view of things happening around me. Time fears her. Time, an unencumbered majesty and a formidable fortress of existence, is challenged by her fiery pomp and chivalry – Father Time bows with shame and disgust. Ego sum Ilium, sed meus gladius et vires gladiorum, aer et aqua debilitamant. I conceded, I have given up .

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J.D. Salinger: 1919-2010

A Tribute



There was Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who showed the world the reality behind the Russian Gulag and in general the experience of political oppression and its significance towards pursuit of liberation and freedom that inspires every nation up to this day. There was Walter Cronkite, who revolutionized journalism by making a difference to the conventional pessimism of broadcasting - his influence and empathetic appeal during Vietnam War and the atrocities around the world showed that journalism can be a powerful tool in changing the how the world sees itself. There was John Updike - whose exquisite writing and sense of social criticism favors everyone's interest towards individual struggle in attaining redemption. And there was J.D. Salinger - whose critical portrayal of the social reality inspires many around the world through his book The Cathcher In the Rye. Their writings portray human nature and the world as a whole; how the society makes and creates us and how we relate to it. J.D. Salinger's reclusive character and his broad reach of societal phenomenon and facts of life makes us understand the inevitability of contradictions in life, but despite of such ironies man finds himself in a path chosen to be the right way. J.D. Salinger is somebody worthy of history's memory.




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Brief Conversations at the Town Hall Party in a 


Thunderstorm

By C.L. Sinclair






Rain was pouring heavily. Strong gusts and crushing sounds of thunders frighten everyone in the neighbourhood. Even Mr. Popper never stood a chance, whose ursine physique always scares off hookers for some obvious reasons.
The thunderstorm has never been this violent.
“I don’t understand” says Lucius Jennings, who happens to be the eccentric town mayor of Roseleaf and the man behind the infamous trial of the notorious gay murderer Anselm Wright.
“This town never had a storm before, not as strong as this one.”
Three hours before the storm touched down in Roseleaf, the day was tranquil. There was no news from the local radio station about an approaching bad weather.
T’was January 5th, the town’s annual Cabbage Festival. Every year, the people of Roseleaf commemorates one of the town’s most important date – 5th of January was the only recorded incident of cabbages falling from the sky. A lot of people witnessed the bizarre phenomenon. Although up to this day that nothing and no one has explained such occurrence and that the mystery has created a lot of speculations which are sometimes preposterous and all the time ridiculous, the townspeople are fortunate to even have a reason to celebrate a festival.
“This isn’t right at all!” exclaimed Moody Matthews.
“What do you think is happening, Moody?” asked Lucius Jennings.
“I have no idea at all, Mayor. It’s kind’a weird though, we’ve been stuck here for hours and nobody even called for help.”
“Do you know what’s weirder, Moody? There, there, take a look at her bosom. Every single day her boobies are getting bigger and bigger.”
“Who? Brenda Johnson?”
“No. That woman in an inappropriately short green dress. I don’t know her name but damn she is ample. Imagine how lucky the guy who sleeps with her. Whew, trust me; no one can scale two Mt. Kilimanjaros at the same time! Ha, you must bump this!”  loudly exclaimed Lucius, thrusting his right fist towards Moody. “But I’m sure ‘that guy’ can traverse that woman’s Grand Canyon, repeatedly!”
“But Mayor........”
While Moody Matthews and Lucius Jennings are conversing, an unexpected happening just occurred in front of them. Across the town hall lobby where everyone gathered to calm themselves with booze, an ugly thirty-one year old woman screamed. She saw somebody standing beside Lucius and Moody. She perhaps recognized the man.
“A.....An....Anselm Wright?” uttered Moody in a trembling voice who is shocked by what he is seeing.
Almost seven hours had passed. The storm hadn’t ceased and everyone is still in the town hall, but the boozes and Cheetos that kept a lot of fatty lesbians, desperate hobos, grudging feminists and most of the pretentious elites and social climbers in their youthful hopes had gone out. A lot showed faces of anxiety and horniness. But nobody even dared to call for help.
“Hello, Moody. What gives? Are you surprised I dropped by? You know, you wouldn’t really expect a lot of things as you would assume they would turn out to be!” sardonically exclaimed Anselm. “Now if you excuse me, I’ll have my share of the festival’s blessings. And by blessings, I mean, those captivatingly young lads getting drunk over there.”
As Anselm left the two gentlemen where they were standing the whole time, Moody tapped Lucius back to his senses. He never noticed Anselm was there – he was pervertedly staring at the woman in the inappropriately green dress.
“You know......that woman is really giving me a boner right now.” secretly whispered Lucius.
Moody replied back, “Mayor! For Christ’s sake! Anselm Wright was just beside us a moment ago! How did he even get out of the penitentiary? Aren’t you worried a criminal is wandering around the town? What am I thinking? Anselm died two years ago!
“Just for once, Moody, please listen to me. I’m really serious about hitting that woman. I don’t mean to hit her with my strong, young arms....what I mean is I want to hit her ‘Mariana’s Trench’ rock hard! If you know what I mean!”
While the two were talking, an old man with a very long white beard who looked like Santa Claus only in white robe interrupted their awkward conversation.
“Hey there! Is your night getting cooler? The thunderstorm trick was awesome right?
“What do you mean?”, replied Moody.
“Oh. You know, I got bored up there. Watching you guys all the time, saying the same words over and over again like ‘You’re not in the list. I’m sorry. You’re going down to Hades’ crib.’ or ‘Congratulations! You made it to my kingdom! Enjoy and spend the rest of your eternal life!’ This job of mine can be pretty tough too as you humans might not expect. And the worst part is, there’s no party and getting-drunk sessions up there! Besides, those monkish, bald, virgin saints are not party-people.....even Peter wouldn’t hang out with me.
“What are you talking about?” said Moody with a curious face and very irritating frown.
“Look, Dude, those who work for me are total losers. My angels hated me because I didn’t give them wings. I blame you humans for inventing such idea of ‘winged angels’ to make them beautiful in your awful paintings and frescoes. Well guess what, they don’t even have faces, and they only have two toes and a single foot! But that’s not the point here. What I’m saying is, my immortal life is miserable.”
“What? Angels have no wings?” replied Moody, pretending to mind what the old man has been talking about. He still can’t get over with the fact that Anselm is in the town hall. Who could blame Moody anyway? A dead gay man in a party? That’s interesting.
“You know what, Moody, I’m going over there and bang that woman’s underground tunnel! Wish me luck!”
Lucius walked away, leaving Moody and the old man by themselves. Moody hasn’t been listening to Lucius after Anselm came up to them – which he will regret for the rest of his life.
“That guy just uses a lot of euphemisms. Anyway, where was I?”
Moody has been pretty agitated and uncomfortable.
“So what I did is I came up with two ideas to end my heavenly boredom and miserable disposition. First, I asked myself, ‘What am I going to do? I just can’t go anywhere I want, not in the watchful eyes of Mom and Peter. How can I get everyone busy so that I can sneak out?’ Then, I just knew what I’m going to do! To snap out of my boring state, I need to get to a party or something – to loosen up some grip and get wasted for a while. And to make everybody not notice me going down here, I told them to make apparitions around the world. It was a pretty good idea, right?
A stranger beside them, overhearing them talking, said, “So does that explain Mary Magdalene staring at me the whole time? Nice catch, you creepy old man who looks like an over-aged Jesus! Get a life and don’t fool around, you crazy moron.”
The old man turned his attention to what the stranger said.
“Hey kiddo, I think I didn’t like your tone!” said the old man.
“Oh yeah, mister? What are you going to do? Punch me in the face and beat me? Not with all the people seeing you do that to me! Beat it!”
The old man was bitterly insulted. One can tell he was pretty pissed off. But he didn’t like people witnessing what he does in Purgatory. He considered something better.
“Ok. Let’s get this over with. You know what kid, I got something for you.”
“Ah, Moody, will you please excuse? I’ll be out for a while but don’t go anywhere, we’ll be talking a lot of stuff when I come back from my.......from my.....from my business.”
The old man disappeared in thin air...and the stranger too. Moody’s attention was all along at Anselm who has been doing things unspeakable across the hall.
A few minutes later, the old man returned.
“Whew, I might have gone overboard on that one! So, what was the conversation all about?” said the old man, gasping for air.
“I notice you have some bruises in your fists. You might have taken care of some guys out there pretty seriously.” replied Moody, still pretending he cares about the old man’s ‘business’ – but his teary eyes are pointed to Anselm, this time he is quite unwilling to see more of Anselm’s abomination in a group of teenagers. He was secretly crying.
“Ah....ah.....you know, just manning up for a while.”
Three-thousand miles from Roseleaf, a 32-year old man was found lifeless, frozen and badly beaten in the Siberian winter. Local authorities are still investigating how the man got there and how the man died.
“Anyway, back to the usual business of ours, if you mind. What I did next is to find some place where there is party. Luckily, every place on the planet, there are people getting drunk and laid, partying. There were bitches everywhere, beer and pot – you can’t just imagine how much people could party to death! But then, after going to all parties in the world, I felt unsatisfied!”
“What happened next?”, Moody replied, to keep the man not noticing him not listening to most of what he’d been talking.
“To make room for more parties to go on, why not I “make” the party. Cool idea, right? Then what I did is, while stopping by your town noticing you’re in a festivity or something, I created a thunderstorm so you people would be here stuck in this town hall! With all the hard drinks and women, I’m sure this will make a party! And I wasn’t wrong at all! Not with Anselm with me to make the party wicked! Nice, right? Bringing him here wasn’t a mistake at all!
Moody’s attention was caught with what the old man just said.
“I’m sorry? Did you just say something about Anselm? Did you just say you ‘brought’ him here?
“Yes! Why? Take a look Dude, everybody is having fun! Look at what Anselm is doing, over the---.....’
The old man cut himself short. He can’t believe what he just saw.
“Oh myself! Is that....what the.....is he......is that Anselm?” asked the old man, terrified.
“Oh yes, Mister, you’re seeing what you’re seeing.” sarcastically exclaimed Moody.
“How come nobody notice it? That’s....that’s awful!” said the old man, pointing towards Anselm.
“Wait a minute, Mister. You said a while ago something about ‘bringing’ Anselm here. What does that even mean? Anselm has been dead for two years!”
“Oh! About that....I fetched him from hell before I get here. He was with me the whole time. I considered he might be a good company along the way!”
“I’m confused. Wait. How could you get somebody back to life?”
“No, no, no, no. Anselm is just a spir---...”
The old man soon realized he was talking too much for the last few minutes. He wasn’t supposed to say some things he would regret. He realized he was really, really drunk....which might have caused him to spill ‘a lot of beans’. He almost blew up his cover. But it’s pretty obvious he already did with his ill-thought choice of clothing and appearance.
“Oh....oh....bullocks. I was just kidding, Dude. I’m British! We Britons do make a lot of lies, you know!” exclaimed the old man, tapping his forehead to appear he was just really kidding. But his face looked as if he wasn’t telling the truth. He was nervous about something.
“How come you don’t have that British accent?”
“Oh boy....You know, don’t want to be different from the group. Want some chocolate bar?” said the old man who is obviously lying and is trying to change the topic so he won’t get caught.
“Huh?” replied Moody, who was even more confused for the last ten minutes.
“Want some Cheetos?” asked the old man, reaching out a pack of Cheetos to Moody.
“You know what, I’m pretty tired right now. I’m just-----........”
“Howdy, Gentlemen! D’ya having fun? If you ask me, I’d say ‘I’m totally “rocking” the boat, baby!’ But oh wait, it isn’t just a boat! It’s a fleet of ships! Who can beat that?” said Anselm in a slutty, drunk way.
“Your bottom must be pretty sore right now!” shouted a teenager whom Anselm had flirted with.
“Hey Moody! Check this out! I hooked up with that woman! I told you I can venture her pillowy mountains and that luscious passageway of chocolate!” exclaimed Lucius!
“What?” replied Moody.
“Good grief, Moody! What’s up with you? I’ve just been gone for a while!” Lucius checked his watch. “Oh, sorry about that, I must have been lost ‘wandering the wilderness’ without noticing the time, if ya know what I mean!”, Lucius replied, giggling.
“I’m terribly sorry for leaving you behind, Pal. The ‘plane’ left early and ‘landed on the runway’ pretty well! And boom goes the dynamite! The ‘pilot’ just had his shift!”, said Lucius, nodding as if victorious of his quest for debauchery.
“You know what, she told me her name, something like Jenna. You know what’s even shocking? She told me she’s married! At first, I was hesitant to go for it.....I mean, I don’t want to sleep with somebody else’s wife or something!”
“Really, Lucius? Really? exclaimed Moody angrily.
“What’s up with the angry face, Pal? You look like you want to strangle me! Ok, I admit it’s not good to hook up with a married woman, and I’m sorry about that. But for Pete’s sake, she’s irresistibly hot! So anyway, I decided I’ll do it. She said her husband might catch him. And I said, ‘Babe, look, you’re married and you’re lonely. Your husband must be a total fool to let you be like this. I mean, if you’re married, you would never go this far.....you’re still young and beautiful! Is your husband bad in bed? He could be gay, you know.”
“You bastard!”, shouted Moody, whose shaking knuckles can knock out anybody, not even Mr. Popper can handle it – who has been sitting beside the main door of the hall as a bouncer.
“Sorry, ok.....sorry. I might have insulted that girl and her loser husband but who cares? Do you Pal? So, going back to the story, after making her feel vulnerable so I can take control of her, we finally did it! We did in the toilet stall and there it was..... the night’s main event! After that, I asked her what her name was and asked for her number so that....you know....we could do it again. She said she can’t because she’s afraid her husband might know she’s cheating. I asked who her husband is and she said she’s married to something like Moody Matthews------.......”
Lucius Jennings stopped point-blank, realizing what he just did. He gathered his thoughts carefully.
“Oh my God!”, shouted Lucius, anxious, agitated, in shock. He couldn’t believe what he just did tonight.
“Son, don’t use my name for some stupid interjection”, said the old man.
“You know, you don’t get to heaven when you do that, am I right, God?, exclaimed Anselm.
“Don’t push it, Anselm. You’re blowing up everything here,” said the old man in return.
“Oh my! I didn’t realize she’s......that she’s.....she’s your----......”
“Wife. My wife, for Christ’s sake!”
“There! There it is again! Why do you keep on mentioning my name for interjection? It’s annoying! You know what, I’m out of here. You Anselm, you’re going back down there. And you.....you...what’s your name again? Lucius. Yes, Lucius. You’re going with me....you ass fornicator. I’ll punish you first in Purgatory and throw you to hell. And you, Moody...what am I going to do with you? Hmmmmmm. I’ll replace you’re wife with a new one. Jenna is coming with me too, you know, she might do some favour for me.......”
“Oh my God!”, said Moody.
“I’m just kidding, you...you....somebody!”
“And oh, just a note, the rain of cabbage thing was just a fluke. Peter and I had a bet that I can do it without anybody attributing the event to me. It was supposed to be a rain of fireballs, not cabbages. So thank you, me right?
“Oh well, we should better be going!” said God.
The thunderstorm continued for the next three weeks. Nobody knew what happened to the townspeople of Roseleaf.
While in heaven,
“Whoops. My bad! I forgot to clear the storm. Sorry about that!” said God.
“You know, you’re responsible for that.” replied Peter.
“I know, Pete. I know. And I can see that they’re just outside the Gate. Oh well, this would be a tiresome day. And those angry, vengeful faces? It creeps me out!”






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An Unfortunate Event in 32nd Street


   The New York skyline looked fantastic for a greedy company executive up in the 57th floor, whose spacious yet cluttered, superfluously-designed office overlooks the entire Big Apple.

- "Get me some Starbucks!", yells the wealthy, poorly-clothed New Yorker to his assistant weirdly named Pimpeey Penelope.

- "Hey you! Follow up next week's schedule, sync my files to my BlackBerry. Hurry dumb!"

Evil. Purely mean.

- "After getting my latte, go down over Times Square. Give my manuscript to Roger, my publisher."

A homeless man outside Benjamins Building where the Darth Sith CEO lavishly enjoys corporate privileges and freebies (and ample supply of beluga caviar), bumps into the assistant.

- "Hey there, beauty chick, do 'ya  have some dough there?"

Pimpeey ignored the man, she puked, walked away frantically.

As Pimpeey turned her back, the creepy-crazy douche grabbed her ass tight. It wasn't just a simple pinch, it was his greatest pleasure since hooking up with an 18-year old Las Vegas socialite two months ago.

- "Shit, babe! What an enormous ass!", exclaimed the man.

Just as a lightning strikes, Pimpeey's reflex spares nobody; a hard slap falls to the man's wrinkled face, he fell down the ground, crying in pain.

- "For Christ's sake, lady, violence much?", angrily yelled Bob the hot-dog vendor across the street. "It's an 80-year old man, and he's homeless for Pete's sake!"

The man died.

People gathered around the scene; sandwich, boobies, soda pops everywhere.

- "What is going on in here?", said the greedy CEO.

Pimpeey wonders why her boss is even outside. He rarely goes out alone. Oftentimes, he is escorted by a legion of twenty-five men in black suits - some people mistaken them as the guy's toy boys. Normally, he is enclosed in a protective, bullet-proof, airtight fiber glass box with fancy lights on it. The only way he can breathe from within is a specially-made tube that resembles a human genitalia.

Pimpeey realized that almost 30 minutes had passed - her boss's latte is now cold, she threw it to the dead man's body.

- "Pimpeey, what did you do?"

His assistant was silent.

"That woman killed the man.", whispered a stranger beside the CEO.

- "For Christ's sake, Penelope!"

The CEO turns to the unsuspecting policeman, who was busy flirting with a prostitute  - they were sexing while the situation was going on - beneath an ice cream kiosk.

- "Officer, arrest this woman. And you get rid of that dead body, George will feast on it if still lies there. Give it to the community college down the Pumpkin Street.", said the CEO commandingly.

- "And get me some ice cream! Hey you, my assistant is gone, I'll pay you five bucks, get me a chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips on top. Over there, there from that kiosk where that bastard policeman pumped that bitch's mouth."

The CEO ate his ice cream. It tasted funny ans salty, as he had expected.

"That's why I divorced that crazy woman. She's a psycho. She just kills a lot of people."

The CEO went back to his usual business. He was diagnosed with AIDS the next day.

Ice cream and marriage aren't just the best things in the world.

                                                                                                                                                  - EACM Φ