Category Archives: Culture

What Have We Learned from The Nelson Mandela Memorial?

So what have we learned from the memorial service/celebration of the iconic global leader Nelson Mandela? Let’s see now, President Obama shook the hand of Cuban president Raul Castro.



For some, this is proof our president is a commie loving Kenyan socialist traitor. Whatever. What’s in a handshake? A change in US policy toward Cuba? He’s already relaxed some strictures from an embargo against the country that’s better than a half century old. There’s no word from the White House that the handshake means he’ll eliminate the embargo.

Oh yeah, and while we’re at it, why don’t we ask ourselves just what it’s accomplished. The end of the Castros? Nope. What people won’t say about Cuba is that they stood with the liberation movements in southern Africa when American lawmakers were calling freedom fighters terrorists.


Style over substance number two is Barack Obama’s selfie with the Prime Ministers of Britain and Denmark. For all the media coverage, you’d never even know David Cameron was in the picture. It was all about the “flirty” Obama and the Danish “tart”. Oh, and I forgot the reaction of the first lady, which journalists across the country, thousands of miles from the scene chose to interpret. While it may not have been the smartest thing in the world for the president to do, it’s nowhere near the sexualized encounter some in the tabloid press here in New York have made it out to be.

Issue number three is the non signing of the sign language interpreter who stood for hours gesticulating without actually translating what was going on at the podium. Thamsanga Jantjie maintains he was suffering from a ” schizophrenic episode, and now fears the his safety, as well as that of his family. Should be a tempest in a teapot, like the rest of this stuff.


So these three things are the “takeaways” from a memorial service that drew tens of thousands of people to a soccer stadium to pay their respects to a man who transcended hate and oppression to forge a free South Africa?

For shame!

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Sex & Lies. Can a Scorned Husband Bring Down a US Senator?

In the television series “The Good Wife”, a woman has to deal with her politically powerful husband going to jail for sexual impropriety. But what happens when in real life the shoe is on the other foot?

Some of you may remember the tawdry affair involving Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign and his dalliance with a staffer. Well, the staffer’s husband in on the warpath, apparently in an effort to shame him into resigning.

Darlene Ensign and Senator John Ensign
Darlene Ensign and Senator John Ensign

Doug Hampton has been interviewed by, among others, the New York Times and ABC’s “Nightline”, and he shows no sign on slowing down. I’m not sure you can blame him. His wife Cindy carried on the affair with Ensign despite the fact that they were family friends. Both worked for him, even as he was a member of “The Promise Keepers”, that group of ultra-religious conservative men who purport tolive more pious lives than the rest of us.

Hampton alleges that Ensign may have engaged in illegal conduct in paying his wife $25,000 in severance after the affair ended. If that money wasn’t properly reported to the Federal Election Commission, Ensign could face a felony charge. Beyond that, it must be downright embarrassing to have this guy dogging your every move.

It also creates a bit of a problem for the Republican Party. Five months after the Ensign affair was exposed, the GOP thought the whole thing was pretty much done with. They’ve since trained their sights on deposing Ensign’s Democratic counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. It looks like they think if they don’t say anything about Ensign, the whole thing will just blow over.

Some will argue Doug Hampton’s crusade is nothing ore than that of a cuckolded husband getting even. After all, he and Cindy (or is it Cynthia?) remain married, as do Ensign and his wife. However, John Ensign was the guy who led the charge after fellow Republican Larry Craig was caught up in that bathroom sex sting. Craig stuck around as well.

Funny, you don’t hear the same chest thumping about John Ensign that you hear about Charles Rangel. Like Rangel, Ensign is being investigated by his body’s ethics committee. Almost no one is demanding he step down from the Finance or Homeland Security committees. In fact, the only person making a fuss is Doug Hampton. The question now is whether the Republicans’ wall of silence will make his quest a moot point.

What do you think? Will Doug Hampton, husband scorned, have any impact on the career of Sen. john Ensign? You tell me.
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How Badly Do You Want to be on TV?

For a while there, I was going to studiously avoid writing (and hopefully reading) anything about the “Balloon Boy” story that seemed to capture the nation’s attention for a time last week. Silly me. This thing has turned into a choreographed train wreck that now threatens to engulf the Heene family of Colorado just like they allegedly suckered the media. And for what? A shot at reality television? Pullleeeeze!!!

In coverage best resembling the OJ car crawl of days gone by, the media and law enforcement conducted a gigantic aerial and ground pursuit of a balloon supposedly containing six year old Falcon Heene. Anyone who followed that coverage saw and heard breathless anchorpeople speculating whether the child was still alive, and at the same time interviewing various authorities and “experts”, most of whom were as clueless as they were.

Before getting back to the substance of this story, let me vent a little about the cable news networks’ increasingly common practice of talking to people who admit they don’t know what they’re talking about. Everybody from Wolf Blitzer on down is doing it, and it’s a colossal waste of time, not to mention an insult to the intelligence of viewers. It became a hallmark of the Heene story, and somebody with half a brain in these cable newsrooms ought to learn a lesson from it and stop already. But they won’t.

Okay, back to the Heene saga. The cops are now saying that family patriarch Richard used his own child to further his bid to score a reality television show. But wait, his family was already on one, some program called “Wife Swap”, weren’t they? Maybe the plethora of these programs (By way of full disclosure, the only reality show I watch is “Jerry Springer”. Why not head straight for the bottom?) gives just about everyone the hope they can cash in like Jon and Kate, or the winners of “So You Think You Can Dance”.

My question is this. Is reality show fame worth being charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor? And, while we’re at it, cynically taking advantage of your own kids? As some in the media have proclaimed, the Heene family has already given the nation a reality television episode, and I’m not talking about “Wife Swap”. Here was this balloon, floating through the air like a prop from an Ed Wood movie, with questions about whether a six year old tragically fell out of the thing before it landed.

And now we’re being told the whole thing was a hoax. Which brings up the question, how far would you go for a shot at TV fame and fortune? You tell me.
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