December 17, 2008

Because good reporting isn’t about facts, it’s about knowing in your heart of hearts that Barack Obama is a good guy.  You just know.  There would be no reason to investigate a raising politcian coming from the most corrupt city in the nation.  None.  Sarah Palin’s tanning bed?  Now that’s something you could devote a good seven/eight pages to or maybe even a month long investigative series:

SCARBOROUGH: OK, then tell me this–yeah, Lizza’s the only one that wrote about it and he got kicked off the campaign plane. So here’s my question for you: if we know so much about this, answer this question. Did Barack Obama, was Barack Obama intimately involved in Blagojevich’s 2002 campaign?

HARWOOD: He was involved, I don’t know how intimately.

SCARBOROUGH: Why? Why don’t you know that?

HARWOOD: I’m not sure how to factor out the BS quotient in that quote you were talking about.

SCARBOROUGH: Why can’t you factor that out?

HARWOOD: Well, because it’s not a story I personally covered.

SCARBOROUGH: I know, but why didn’t somebody investigate this six months ago when Ryan Lizza wrote it? It’s pretty fascinating, because in 2008 we knew he was the most corrupt governor in America.

MIKE BARNICLE: Let me put my newspaper columnist/newspaper editor hat on for you to answer your question about Wasilla, Alaska as opposed to the Blagojevich administration.

SCARBOROUGH: Not Blagojevich–Barack Obama.

BARNICLE: Whatever. She was the next, new face. No one had ever heard of her. So you’re going to send as many people as you can afford up to Alaska to explain to the reading public who she is. You’re sitting there, you know Obama, you know the governor of Illinois –

SCARBOROUGH: You don’t know Obama. You can’t even tell me whether he ran the 2002 campaign of the most corrupt governor in America.

BARNICLE: I can tell you this much: he was a state senator then, and he ran that campaign about as much as I did.

SCARBOROUGH: Oh really? How do you know that?

BARNICLE: Just instinct.



SCARBOROUGH [at moment of screencap]: Newspaper editor: shouldn’t we have facts instead of instinct? That’s what everybody’s working on: instinct! You know what? I like him! So I expect that he’s a really good guy. I hope if I ever run for politics again, I am given this much benefit of the doubt.

And for the record, I believe Obama to be clean in this whole Blagojevich scandal, but it is truly amazing how badly the press failed the American people this compaign.


CBB Music: Chinese Democracy Album Review

December 3, 2008

200px-gnrchinesedemocracySo far there have been two kinds of reviews for Guns N’ Roses new album Chinese Democracy: sarcastic and positive.  Believe me, I breathe sarcasm but it has no place in a music review if it is not backed up by facts or additional insight.  Of course there is a wealth of humor in the fact that Axl Rose’s new opus has been fourteen years in the making, but spare me the lame, sad music reviewer jokes.  We’ve heard the one-liners before and most likely with a better delivery than coming from a snarky LA Times journalist.  If you have been reading this blog for any length you already know my opinion on Chinese Democracy, but let me state clearly for the record that it’s amazing.  

The title track starts the album off strong with a light political commentary that has caused more outrage from the Chinese government in one week than an army of television crews did in the two weeks they covered 2008 Summer Olympic.  Otherwise known as the NBC Chinese orgy.  Luckily the song rocks hard, because I don’t really need political insight coming from the likes of Axl Rose.  In fact the first three tracks start the album off strong (with Chinese Democracy, Shackler’s Revenge, Better) only to slightly taper afterwards, but not enough to derail the entire effort.  Out of 14 songs, I count only two as weak: Scrapped and Catcher in the Rye

The album is a little heavy on the slower songs, but when those songs are There Was A Time, Sorry, and This I Love it’s forgivable.  Intermix a couple of unique sounding tracks like If The World and Riad and the Bedouins and it clear Rose had a grandiose vision of where Chinese Democracy was headed.  The album ends on a clear high note with Prostitute, which crescendos which just enough power rock to make you want to start listening to the entire album again.  Right away and before the final note fades.  

Metallica and Kirk Hammett could take several pages of notes on the apparently lost art of the guitar solo from Buckethead and Bumblefoot.  If Axl was self indulged during the recording of Chinese Democracy, someone forgot to clue Buckethead in that his searing solos might take some of the spotlight away from reclusive lead singer.  Very few albums (heavy on the very and few) have guitar solos so perfectly woven into the overall sound of a song.  These so-called hired gun musicians clearly spent a lot of time working with Axl to fit the solo within the context of the song. In a word: awesome.  Then factor in the countless fill solos and layered solos and album becomes a richly layered masterpiece.  

The music of Guns N’ Roses has never been such that you would listen once to the lyrics and then the next time you would listen to the drums, bass or guitar lines as it needed to be taken as a whole.  However Chinese Democracy may change that.  The drums, while admittedly influenced by ProTools, are the deepest, hardest hitting and technically challenging in the history of GnR.  Not exactly a long history of great drumming, but Matt Sorum does a decent job on Use Your Illusion however Bryan “Brain” Manti takes it to another level.  The musicianship is so good that you can pick apart each instrument and they will stand on their own merit.  Chinese Democracy is far from the EP Lies.     

If you are looking for Appetite for Destruction, then you should look elsewhere.  Might I suggest you look inside a can of hairspray and breakout your Bugle Boy pants.  Viewed apart from comparisons to Appetite,  then Chinese Democracy is clearly a wonderful rock album.  However I question whether the nation’s music journalists will allow that to happen.  Mainstream reviewers live for being able to list dozens of bands you have never heard before has being the next great thing.  This new Guns N’ Roses is the polar opposite of that type of thinking.  Ironically, Chinese Democracy is unlike most of the new rock music being played on the radio right now.  Perhaps that’s why I like it.  There is only so much Nickelback and Staind one person can take.  My threshold is about 2 or 3 minutes once a year.

CBB: War on the Press

December 1, 2008

As I have said before, the institution that failed the American people in this election was the press.  We may have elected the perfect man for the office of Presidency, as I will not doubt that the majority of Americans believe Obama is the right man for the job.  My problem comes from the fact that the press treated Obama with a hands off approach.  More so, the press can’t seem to help itself from editorializing anymore.  In fact, editorializing has become so prevalent I am not sure anyone in the mainstream press even realizes what they are doing.  For instance take Black Friday.  

Leading into the traditional post Thanksgiving buying frenzy, so-called analysts were everywhere in the press expounding that the day would be red not black.  That was not the case

Day-after-Thanksgiving retail sales alone rose 3% over last year to $10.6 billion, according to early figures released by ShopperTrak RCT Corp., which monitors sales at more than 50,000 stores. 

However that paragraph was buried eight paragraphs deep in an article titled: Black Friday sales gain seen as a one-time gift.  Being a former small business owner I am very aware that one day increase in sales is not a trend, however the press needs to stop the endless ‘but’ stories.  ‘Violence is waining in Iraq, but…’ ‘Tax cuts help the economy, but…’  ‘Lower gas prices relieve strain on pocketbook, but…’  And now, Black Friday better than expect (read: opposite of what the press lead you to believe), but…’

How about this news story: 

Black Friday sales up 3% over last year

And then on the editorial page, they can run: 

Black Friday increase will not lead to a better holiday season for retailers

Because it comes down this, why should believe or care  what an analyst that a beat reporter for the LA Times says?  Where did they find him?  What are her credentials and how does that make her an ‘expert?’   Or more  to a point, an expert in this particular story?   For instance: 

But analysts expressed doubts that a healthy Black Friday signaled a turnaround for the nation’s beleaguered retailers. Many called it a one-time wonder, a bright note in what is expected to be one of the bleakest holiday shopping seasons in decades.  

However nowhere does the article back up these claims or even have a quote for anyone saying something like ‘one-wonder’ or ‘bleakest holiday shopping season in decades.’  Yet this is what gets printed. This is what passes as ‘news.’  It’s not news, it’s the reporter’s opinion.

Wii Rule, You Drool!

November 10, 2008

So about a week and a half ago I won a Wii at work! Totally sweet. I’m a XBox 360 guy myself, but somehow playing Gears of War 2 with my 5 year old daughter just doesn’t seem very responsible. Though she DID walk in on my playing it the other day when I sniped a head off a bad guy and blood when flying. She thought that was pretty neat actually. To be honest, it was a tough shot, so yeah, it was pretty neat.

So I grew up with video games, from an Atari 2600 to a NES, to a Sega Genesis, to a N64, to the original Xbox to my Xbox 360 and now.. my Wii. My wife however, is NOT a gamer at all. She thinks they are a waste of time, while I think that I now have the hand-eye coordination to fend off an alien invasion. Single handed if necessary.

In my younger days I slacked off big time playing too many video games when I should have been studying in school. I am not worried about the kid making that mistake because I’m going to be strict when it comes to time spent gaming.

It’s kinda funny. I’m an IT guy (geek rather) and because of it, I’m probably going to be more strict when it comes to stuff like video games, cell phones, and the Internet because I know how much of time wasters they can be. Poor Dorf kids.

Anyway, I’m trying to find the right amount of time to let the kid play Wii. Any suggestions from the folks who have more experience with it then I do?

Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You, Ask What You Are Required To Do For Your Country

November 7, 2008

It’s almost like we are punishing and sentencing our youth.  Thanks for the vote, now get to work:

The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation’s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.

I Blame Obama

November 7, 2008

Hypothetically speaking anyone want to lay odds on the half-life of the whole ‘blame Bush’ mentality? I say you will still be hearing Democrats whine about Bush being the cause of everything that is wrong in the world even in 2012:

U.S. Stocks Tumble in Market’s Worst Two-Day Slump Since 1987
By Lynn Thomasson

Nov. 6 (Bloomberg) — U.S. stocks slid, sending the market to its biggest two-day slump since 1987, after jobless claims jumped and the shrinking economy crushed earnings at companies from Blackstone Group Inc. to News Corp.

By the way, this has nothing to do with America electing a pro-socialism President.  Word on Wall Street is that consumer confidence is down now that Sarah Palin is no longer buying clothes on the McCain campaign’s dime.

This Change Seems Vaguely Familiar…

November 7, 2008

Reid looking to remove Lieberman as committee head

WASHINGTON (AP) – Sen. Joe Lieberman’s affiliation with Democrats was in question after a meeting Thursday with Majority Leader Harry Reid, steamed over the Connecticut independent’s high-profile support of John McCain for president.

Listen, just so we are clear, this isn’t about red states or blue states. Democrat or Republican.  This is payback, plain and simple.  You can almost feel the change whipping through Washington.  All sarcasm aside, it is entirely possible that Reid doesn’t fully understand Obama’s agenda.  In all fairness he wouldn’t be alone.