What's All This Then?

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Does it sound right to you? CBS Evening News with Katie Couric? Will she at least drop the second syllable of her first name? I mean would it have sounded O.K. to you to have had Wally Cronkite or Danny Rather or Tommy Brokaw or Petey Jennings bringing you the watershed moments of history as they delivered the evening news?

The one thing you want from a news anchor is some degree of gravitas. You want him or her to look and sound knowledgeable. Katie doesn’t look too bad - though I’m not sure it’s a good "news anchor" look. But when it comes to network news, Shakespeare’s disdain of name importance does not apply. "That which we call a Katie by any other name would carry more weight." If it was a one syllable name that is.

A background in the news business might help offset that un-news like given name - if indeed someone actually gave it to her - but comparing her background with all of the aforementioned male predecessors - she seems to have played in a different league.

There’s a lot of hullabaloo about her becoming the first woman to become a solo anchor of a network newscast. Maybe they don’t count the BBC which has a number of female solo anchors. They don’t hold permanent sway over a time slot, but when they anchor, they anchor alone. They’re all good and none of them could be described as "perky."

I might take a peek at Katie when she starts and from time to time thereafter. I have nothing against female anchors. I’ve been watching Elizabeth Vargas regularly. That might be partially due to my watching Peter Jennings regularly for years and I’m just used to watching ABC at 5.30 Central time. But Elizabeth does a good job. I hope Katie does half as good.

She’ll have to do something about the name though. And that "perky" business.

A tail of two kinds of bankruptcy… If you’re an "executive" at United Airlines….or just an ordinary Joe in financial trouble……

I like the United Airlines commercials. I’m nor sure what they call that visual technique that they use, but it’s impressive. And the last time we flew United round trip to England was at the time of 9/11 - and it was reasonably comfortable - the food was O.K. and the personnel - from the ticket agents to the on board help couldn’t have been nicer.

I'm pretty sure we've flown United since then - but right now I’m not sure that I could bring myself to take one of their flights if there was another airline available. The company emerged from bankruptcy a while ago - after being in that condition for what seems like forever. It’s like an ancient history that we teach out kids as they’re growing up. About the days when United Airlines wasn’t in bankruptcy. And about how they finally came out of bankruptcy on the backs of its employees - pilots, mechanics, flight attendants, ticket agents - all the "non-suit" workers - even though pilots and flight attendants wore recognizable uniforms. But "workers" know the difference between themselves and "suits" - even if the "suits don’t!! The suits, all the way up to the King of All Suits, Glenn Tilton, who got a signing bonus to come aboard and squeeze the life’s blood out of thousands of employees - and has a post bankruptcy package of around fifteen million

And now we have other suits standing in line with their hands out waiting for their turn to collect millions for all that they did to "save" the company.

I want to see this or any other company employing thousands of workers on whose salaries thousands of families rely for survival - to succeed. Absolutely. But the thought of any part of my ticket price going towards the ridiculous payouts that these executives arrange for each other sticks in my craw.

In a rational society, you’d think that our elected officials would step in and try to protect the rights of ordinary workers - or at least to try to push for some sort of financial or moral equivalency between the sacrifices that workers are asked to absorb when their employer files for bankruptcy and the benefits that accrue to company executives during and because of the bankruptcy filing.

But you shouldn’t take away from this stated hope the thought that our elected officials have altogether ignored the subject of how bankruptcy affects the working individual. Far from it. We have a Republican Congress remember? They have re-visited the bankruptcy laws. And they have given us THIS!!

Anti-Semites as "Stooges?"

I was watching part of a re-run of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" a few nights ago - "part" because I can never stay more than a few minutes whenever I light upon this program. At the moment that I hit, the question was about how many different actors had played the roles of The Three Stooges. I went past the station before the contestant tried to answer - but I think the answer was six with Shemp taking over from Curly and then two others who succeeded Shemp.

The Stooges - and their number - come to mind because of a recent story in The Chicago Tribune about two professors - one from the University of Chicago and one from Harvard - who had written a piece for the London Review of Books about the problems of US foreign policy. It can all be traced - they say - to the influence of "The Israel Lobby." That’s right. Professorially speaking, Israel - and more specifically, Jews - are dictating American foreign policy. The tail is wagging the dog.

So how does this tie in with The Three Stooges - aside from the fact that these two may be as nutty as Larry, Curly and Moe? Well, the numbers are beginning to add up. There’s Arthur Butz of course - another University Professor, he of the No Such Thing As The Holocaust infamy - that makes three. And we can almost close our eyes and reach out over the Internet to find numbers four through six. How about Mahathir Mohamad -the Former Malaysian Prime Minister who told an audience of so called world leaders that Jews rule the world by proxy?

I’ll let you pick two more to catch up to the number of actors who brought us the Three Stooges - all of whom, with one possible exception - were Jews!! Hey, maybe Mahathir was on to something. What the hell. We elected George W Bush to run this country. Twice!!!