The New Democrat Online

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The New Republic: Opinion: Hanif Willis-Abdurraqif- America’s Most Electable Fictional Presidents

This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review: The New Republic: Opinion: Hanif Willis-Abdurraqif- America’s Most Electable Fictional Presidents

Hey, what do you know. The New Republic with an article not only worth sharing, but commenting on and blogging about all in one. Maybe they’re partially only dead and when they’re finally sold and hopefully bought by people who know what they’re doing this time and who aren’t to the left of Bernie Sanders they may come back to life. And return as a great Center-Left liberal magazine that they use to be. And stop doing their impersonation of Salon. And leave socialism and political correctness for Socialists and political correctness warriors. Not people who call themselves Liberals.

I’m going to cover a few of the Hollywood president’s that I’m actually familiar with. I know, why not instead speak about Hollywood characters you know almost nothing about and pretend to be intelligent about them like every other asshole blogger out there who knows so much about nothing. I guess I just have this weakness called character and a conscience that prevents me from talking about people and things I’m simply not familiar with, because I lack interest in them. Anyone born before 1980 might think I’m talking about people from the 19th Century, or something. So you might want to leave this page and get back to your favorite reality TV programs. There’s the asshole in me.

This might sound corny, but I guess my favorite Hollywood president is Andrew Shepard. Who sounds like a Founding Father or something from New England, or some place. But even if Carl Reiner only spent all of two-minutes coming up with the name for Michael Douglas in The American President, this character is a great character. Douglas, plays a president with big progressive goals, but knows how to work with people even in his own party in order to move the ball forward and get a progressive accomplishment. Which is the definition of a pragmatic Progressive, something that I believe Franklin Roosevelt would be proud of. While at the same time he’s also a man and a widower and has needs and falls in love. And hopefully you’re familiar with the rest of the story.

Jack Evans from The Contender from 2000 played by Jeff Bridges. Someone whose determined to nominate and get confirmed a female Vice President after his first Vice President has the nerve to die before his term is up. There’s an unfortunate political correctness slant to this as well. That a President would go out-of-their-way to pick a women as his VP simply because there’s never been a female VP before. But the story is great and the Republican opposition especially in the House of Representatives wants to make Senator Lane Evans personal life especially her sexual history the focal point there. Instead whether she’s qualified for the actual job of both Vice President and President of the United States. Where they never question her credentials. And President Evans and Senator Hanson, never play ball with the House Republicans on her past and nomination.

I would be lax in my duty here if I didn’t mention a character who I spent too much of my life during their seven-year run watching, if I didn’t mention Jeb Bartlett. Who of course is played by the great Martin Sheen in The West Wing. I can’t think of a Hollywood character who was better suited for the job of President of the United States than Jeb Bartlett. Who always knew what was going on what needed to be done and what he needed to do to get it done. That he had his own politics and policies, but who never let the perfect be the enemy of the good. To use a cliché, but who had a Republican Congress his entire time as President. And had to deal with all sorts of horrible issues and a lot tough decisions that yielded him no political benefit. But made them, because they had to be made.

I think if you’re going to do a show or movie about an American president, you should be realistic. Either cover someone who has already had the job, but give your character a different name. But with the same character, personality, intelligence, demeanor, judgement and everything else. And cover similar stories that the real president dealt with. Or come up with your own president that perhaps represents America at its best, or worst and deal with stories that haven’t been dealt with, but arerealistic. I think the problem with a lot of Hollywood political movies especially about the President, is that they look like they come from Hollywood. And they look almost completely make-believe. Like Dave from 1993. The Hollywood president’s that I mentioned are realistic, because the characters are believable and so are the issues that they dealt with.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Reelz Channel: Steve Patterson- The Kennedys in Culture

This piece was oirginally posted at The Daily Review: Reelz Channel: Steve Patterson- The Kennedys in Culture

The Kennedys, which I don’t believe was a great mini-series, but it was a very accurate series about The Kennedys. And showed Jack, Bobby and Jackie, for what they were. Not for how their followers want to view them as, but as they were. Jack Kennedy, as this very intelligent man, with a great sense of humor, whose Center-Left liberal politics which was probably ahead of its time back then, but I believe fits in perfectly where America is now. Who was a very hip and even cool man especially for his time, but still looks great today. But who at times had difficult even walking and physically was a very frail man with a serious back condition. Who was never made to be a husband and could never be happy with just one beautiful women.

They showed Bobby Kennedy as the tough bulldog who would have jumped out of an airplane without a parachute for his brother Jack. Who was a bit idealistic compared with Jack’s realism, but who also bring Jack back when he was lacking in confidence and not sure what the right course was to take. The Bay of Pigs fiasco is a perfect example of that where he encourages the President to admit he was wrong and to apologize for it. They showed Jackie as a beautiful adorable stylish women that she was, as if Cutie, I mean Katie Holmes is capable of playing anyone else. Who wanted Jack to be her full-time husband and hated his cheating. They showed Joe Sr. as the tough champion for his family who would do anything for his kids other than let them fail and succeed on their own.

At least one of these episodes is somewhat slow and almost wants at least me to turn the channel. Like the episode involving Rose and her mental retardation. Rose, was the Kennedy daughter who doesn’t have much if any impact on American culture, or politics at all. But that episode gives you an idea what Joe would do for any of his kids. But still, she’s not even a minor player compared with the rest of the Kennedy kids. The 1960 presidential election, the 1946 House election, the 1952 Senate election, the Bay of Pigs episode, the civil rights story, the days leading up to the assassination, President Kennedy’s womanizing, these are all the good stories. In a very good mini-series about the Kennedy Family.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Marmar: Cliff Michel Moore Interviewing Ginger Rogers in 1968

This post was originally posted at The Daily Review: Marmar: Cliff Michel Moore Interviewing Ginger Rogers in 1968

I've always thought at least since I started becoming pretty familiar with her career, that Ginger Rogers is one of the cutest and funniest actress's and perhaps women of all-time. She was so quick-witted and always had perfect comedic timing whether she was off script, like in this interview, or on script. And even when she was on script she was very adept at adding her own humor to lines and scenes. If you ever see the movie Monkey Business from Howard Hawkes where she plays Cary Grant's wife in that movie, they were an incredible comedy team in that movie. And I believe a lot of that had to do with them always being on the same page when it came to the wisecracks and physical comedy. She was the cutest women in that movie that had Marilyn Monroe in it.

I love women who can make me go, 'aw! You're so cute!' But who can also make me laugh and she was very adept at both. She was an actress who was a hell of a dancer, who could sing, but also give a great comedic performance all in the same role. Had Marilyn Monroe lived a natural life in years, maybe we're talking about her the same way we're talking about Ginger today. Someone who could sing, dance, act, make you laugh, looked great and everything else. That was Ginger Rogers, but she did it for a whole career. She was always as cute as baby physically, but always had the intelligence and maturity of a great women. Someone who didn't need money to be happy, but made a lot of it anyway, because she so good at what she did. And is one of the best entertainers we've ever produced.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Vicki Dahl: The Marilyn Monroe Story- A Life of Love, Glamour and Darkness Autobiography

This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review: Vicki Dahl: The Marilyn Monroe Story- A Life of Love, Glamour and Darkness Autobiography

Had Marilyn Monroe been mentally as strong as she was physically, or even mentally half as strong as she was physically, she’s probably still alive today. Unless some jealous disturbed women murdered her, because she could no longer handle how much better looking Marilyn was over her. If Marilyn was strong mentally, to go with her appearance and body, we might be talking about the goddess of all-time. I would still be leaning towards Sophia Loren and perhaps a few other women. Imagine had Marilyn’s brain matched her face. Imagine if mentally she wasn’t as adorable and immature as she was physically. That she didn’t look at life from the standpoint of a 16-year-old girl, but instead as an early middle-age 36-year-old women. Which is how old she was when she died.

Forget about the great legs, the butt, the body that was perfectly designed and perhaps purposely designed for the skinny jeans in boots look today. The long strong legs and round butt, that of course she had. She was a hell of an actress, as well as a great comedian and when she was happy she was about as funny as anyone in Hollywood and probably could have written her own humorous scripts for TV and the movies in her forties had she just lived in a natural life in years. She was an excellent singer, she had great moves, she could act very well and probably ends up winning awards as an actress and not just as a comedic actress. But these were her talents and you don’t last in Hollywood simply on talent. You have to work and hold it together personally as well.

Unfortunately Marilyn Monroe fits the old cliché, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, like a glove. As perfect as she was on the outside, she was at times at least just as weak on the inside. With the personality and maturity level of a teenage girl and even the voice of one. She’s a women who never grew up mentally and could never see how great a talent that she was and how great of a future that she had only she was just reached and out grabbed it. Laid off the booze and pills, showed up for work on time and do the work and produce the great films and performances that she was more than capable of doing time after time being rewarded handsomely for her great performances. This is the Marilyn that we would have seen had she just had been mentally strong enough for it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

NBC: Lenny Bruce on The Steve Allen Show in 1959

This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review: NBC: Lenny Bruce on The Steve Allen Show in 1959

Steve Allen, right before he brought on Lenny Bruce, made a great comment and I realize he was being humorous, but he was damn right on it. He said and I'm paraphrasing, 'we should just offend everybody so we don't have worry about offending anyone. And Lenny Bruce is the comedian to do that.' Because that is exactly what they meaning Steve Allen and Lenny Bruce, were talking about back then. Which was censorship and political correctness, but not from the Left, (the Far-Left really) but the Right. Lenny Bruce, had a message and his own act and issues he wanted to talk about. And he also believed in free speech, which all comedians really should. And he couldn't give a damn if his act offended people, especially when it was just entertainment anyway.

Comedy, is not for oversensitive tight asses, who think fat jokes are anti-obesity. Or gay jokes are automatically homophobic, or religious jokes Christian, Muslim, whoever else, that person is some bigot towards that religious group. Comedy, is exactly that, a way to critique life and people in life. Including groups and even talk people and groups and their shortcomings. Not to say that every member of whatever group, has some clear flaw, but to point out humorous flaws about members of certain groups and even flaws that some groups carry as a group. The political correctness movement of the 1950s, didn't want to hear jokes about sex, religion and sure as hell didn't want to hear adult language. Especially since they still saw adults as kids for the most part who needed to be babysat.

The political correctness warriors of the 1950s, didn't want to hear jokes about sex, because they believe sex didn't exist or something. They didn't want to hear jokes about narcotics, because they were on alcohol or marijuana highs and believed narcotics simply didn't exist. Lenny Bruce, challenged the political correctness establishment in America and paid a hell of a price for it. All he was about was free speech and talking about issues and using adult language even that most Americans, at least outside of the Bible Belt used anyway, but did it in public. Did it in a way that simply wasn't done back then for the most part and didn't become mainstream at all, at least until the late 1960s. He was a true American, because he was an individual who felt the freedom to be himself. And express how he felt about issues even in public.

Monday, January 4, 2016

New America Foundation: Double Take- Speaking on Freedom of Speech

This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review: New America Foundation: Double Take- Speaking on Freedom of Speech

At risk of sounding like a nationalist, but people right and left have debated whether America is exceptional or not the last ten years or so and debating what is called American Exceptionalism. Is America an exceptional place or not and if we are, are we exceptional in a positive sense. Do we represent as Americans the right values or not. Our First Amendment which of course is our guaranteed constitutional right to Freedom of Speech, is one example of why we are exceptional. Along with our diversity which is across the board and our other guaranteed civil liberties and constitutional rights.

No constitutional right is absolute and that includes both the First Amendment and the Second Amendment. But what it means is that Americans essentially have unlimited free speech and free expression rights and basically and unlimited ability to express ourselves and how we feel about things, places, issues, culture and even people. Short of inciting violence, violently harassing people, or falsely libeling people. And then others have the same right to express how they feel about us. Which means Donald Trump can run his nonsensical reality show disguised as a presidential campaign and say all sorts of garbage about groups of Americans. And the rest of the country has the same right to express out they feel about The Donald. The Captain of Reality TV.

Free Speech, is not a threat to America. The opposite is the truth, which is fascism in the form of political correctness, whether it comes from the Far-Left or Far-Right. That says the political correctness warriors knows best what is acceptable and unacceptable speech. And they’ll decide what people should think and what we can say. You can’t have a liberal democracy without free speech and a liberal right to free speech. Put all the views out there and then let the people weigh in on what the speakers and thinkers are saying. Correct the falsehoods, reward the truth tellers and critique the liars. That is how liberal democracy and free speech works. Instead of having some Board of Experts deciding what is appropriate and improper speech in a developed society.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Daily Review: The Week in Review: 2015 Holiday Season

This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review: The Week in Review: 2015 Holiday Season

My 2015 holiday season other than not seeing the sun at all until really my last day in Port Ludlow, Washington which is about an hour or so outside of Seattle in Kitsap County just off of Bainbridge Island, was by in large positive. I don’t see my family other than my parents that much to begin with. My family for the most part is now in California, while I’m in Maryland just outside of Washington. So we’re three-thousand miles apart physically, as well as miles apart personally as far as being very different people. I’m talking about my two brothers really. Who both are now married with their own families. So I don’t go out-of-my-way to stay in touch with them.

I haven’t seen my brothers and sister in-laws, their wives for three years before we saw each other last week. My choice really. I’m fine with my older brother who generally speaking is a great guy with a great and really cute and friendly wife, my older sister in-law. And they have three great kids. My nephew and two of my nieces. But he rarely speaks unless spoken to. He’s pretty aloof, at least in my experience with him. How his wife communicates with him I may never know. Perhaps they just talk about what’s for dinner and whose picking up the kids, some weather we’re having and that sort of thing. But I had a great time with them and the two days I had with them last week. Especially my nephew Nicholas, who reminds me of me as far as his interest in sports and history.

My little brother, is sort of the opposite of Alex, but we don’t get along very well. He’s got an opinion about everything and we’re almost complete opposites when it comes to personality. He can be bit a judgemental prick and that might be an off day for him. As a Liberal, I’m a live and let live person. My attitude on life is basically, “its your life pal, as long as you’re not hurting someone.” And I could care less how someone eats their spaghetti and how they comb their hair. Plus, he can be very stupid, but in an insulting way. Ask really dumb questions as if they’re legitimate, or state the obvious as if he’s being informative. Our father, is very similar, but Kit is much worst and at least Dad won’t be really sensitive when I call him out on his insulting stupidity. Kit, will act like he’s completely not at fault. He and his wife, are perfect for San Francisco and that yuppie snobby universe.

But, it’s not as if I don’t love my family, including my in-laws. It’s just that I don’t feel the need to see and talk to them on a regular basis. But it was three-years and my little brother and his wife, just had their first baby in late 2014, so I was thinking this would be a good opportunity to meet my new niece. And catch up with my other nieces and nephew, as well as my brothers and sister in-laws. Even if it meant spending a week in the Seattle area, where you have a better chance of drowning in a flood, than ever seeing the sun while you are there. Which is why I went out there to hang out with them and see if I could get along with my little brother and little sister in-law. Perhaps hear my baby niece’s first words and try to have a good time.

Another reason why I don’t go to Seattle where my parents have a second home in Port Ludlow, is because it’s basically like flying to Alaska from the East Coast. You literally spend the whole first day traveling, or waiting for your plane, ferry, or ride. I tend to leave early in the morning East Coast time and finally get to the house late at night ECT. So that tends to wear me out. But the first three days that I had with my parents, little bother, sister in-law and brand new niece, were fairly positive. We saw Goodfellas together as a family. A movie the whole family likes. One of my parents friends from that area joined us for Christmas and she’s great and we had a good time with her. We managed to not get on each others nerves. Which is a hell of an accomplishment for the Schneider Family when we’re all together. I took a couple of hikes in between rain storms up there.

The next two days were with my older brother Alex and his wife my older sister in-law Sandra. Had dinner with them their first night in town. Played basketball, hung out with them at their second home in Port Townsend. Threw the football with my nephew Nicholas and talked NFL history. Think about that for a minute. I’m talking about NFL history and the history of the San Francisco 49ers, with a nine-year old boy. Hanging out with him was not like hanging out with a kid. We played basketball together. he knocked down a couple of three-pointers, we played pool together, threw the football around and talked football history. This is a nine-year old boy, who lives in the San Francisco area, that might know more about the Washington Redskins than a lot of Redskins fans. Hanging out with Nick, was like hanging out with myself, or grown man. He’s just a lot more advanced than a lot of kids his age. This coming from his uncle, but its true.

Coming back from Seattle, is really a blog in itself. Seattle, a little more than half the size of the Washington, DC area, is a fairly large community with a lot of tourist attractions, but they only have one big city airport, which is SeaTac. Which might be the worst big city airport in America. The Washington area in contrast, has three great major airports. So getting through SeaTac, plus dealing with TSA, is not fun. And by the time I get to my gate to go to Minneapolis, my stop before Washington, I find out my flight has not only been delayed, but by two-hours. So no I know my trip home has been screwed and what do I do once I get to Minneapolis. Delta, whatever you think of them, are very customer friendly and don’t like losing customers. They put me up for one night at the Raddison in Bloomington, Minnesota. Which is near their airport.

By in large, this was a very positive trip. Still not crazy about going to Seattle especially during their rainy season, which is only twelve months a year and every time I go out there the weather is Washington tends to be warm and beautiful, which makes the experience even worst getting local weather reports back home. But I will make bigger effort in the future to see my brothers and their beautiful families more often and would like to go to San Francisco to visit them. Where they all live now and perhaps avoid Seattle instead.