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Stateside With Rosalea: May Be Almost Here!

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

May Be Almost Here!

::First, the weather::

Well, my little puddings, the weather here in the Bay Area has certainly taken a turn for the better this last weekend in April. She's a cooker out there this Sunday arvo, and all plans to start a tiny vege garden out back are on hold until the sun is low, low, low in the west and a breeze comes up. Anyone with half a brain will be wisely reducing that to a quarter-brain by downing some cool tinnies in the shade somewhere!

::Politics::

Aargh! In my opinion, the Democratic convention in Sacramento this weekend endorsed entirely the wrong person as its official choice to be their candidate for California governor in November. Their choice, Phil Angelides, has based his campaign so far on referencing Arnold Schwarzenegger in every ad. The other main Democratic contender--Steve Westly--has based his campaign on referencing GWB in his ads, and as a result has a significant lead in the polls over Angelides.

Endorsement by the party convention doesn't mean that Angelides will be the only name on the June 6 Democratic voters' ballot to choose who'll be on the November general ballot; it just means that when the door-hangers are printed to be hung on Democratic voters' doorknobs in June, it will be Angelides' name that appears as the choice voters should make. Many folks actually take those door-hangers to the polls and simply vote the entire slate, irrespective of anyone's merits.

If Schwarzenegger looks like the kind of movie character who could strangle you with his bare hands, Angelides looks like the character who'd hire someone to lure you up a back alley and stick you with a stiletto. But he has the backing of the three big unions that have historically had a big influence in the Democratic Party here in California--teachers, firefighters, law enforcement.

Until the Democratic Party can stop looking backwards all the time and doing things the same old, same old way, choosing the same old, same old politicians it is never going to get back into positions of power even with the worst Republican administration in history running the country.

::Foreign affairs::

The battle for the hearts and minds of those commie pinko liberals who watch public service television kicked off in earnest this week with the airing of two documentaries on PBS on Thursday.

Pacific War: They Filmed the War in Color is part 1 of a two-part documentary; Part 2 is France is Free! According to the PBS website, Part 1 "examines the battles in the Pacific during WWII and includes archival footage, newsreels, Hollywood film clips and segments shot by soldiers, who also provide commentary."

According to the website of the distributors of the film, France's 2001Audiovisuel: "More than just striking images, THEY FILMED THE WAR IN COLOR: THE PACIFIC WAR follows the chronology of the conflict as it was played out far from the Old Continent of Europe and highlights the clash of two cultures unable to understand each other."

Indeed, that clash was much more the centrepiece of the film rather than the filming of the war in colour, which PBS's promos had led us to believe was the focal point. At one point the commentary even says about the American soldiers: "Catholics, Protestants, Jews--they simply could not understand" the motivation of the suicide pilots of Japan.

If the parallels with the war in Iraq weren't blunt enough for the PBS audience in that documentary, it was immediately followed by an episode of a BBC Worldwide-sourced doco series called Great Raids of World War II. Thursday's episode was about Hitler's acquisition of all the facilities and raw materials needed to create an atom bomb, including a heavy water manufacturing facility in Norway. Can you say "Iran"?

::Getting up the gander::

If the propaganda for the PBS crowd is somewhat subtle, the constant harping by the news media on the price of gas and how it's ruining the American way of life and those Iranians are all to blame for it is getting up a gander of quite a different kind.

To do the media credit, however, there's probably as many news items about how much profit the oil companies are making even as they raise the price at the pump. One Southern California service station owner went so far as to close his pumps down until the oil companies stopped their gouging. They quickly just took over the station and opened it up for business again.

::Scariest commentary of the week::

The prize would have to go to Geraldo of CBS's evening news roundup Geraldo at Large. Midweek he reminded us all of Israel's 80-second pre-emptive strike on Iraq's nuclear program back in the 80s and opined that the Israeli government is unlikely to hang around waiting for the UN to get things done diplomatically this time around either.

Read his blog post on the subject here: http://www.geraldoatlarge.com/blog.php?where_param=blog_id&blog_id=347

Although in recent years Geraldo Rivera has been associated in the public mind more with the sensational side of the news gathering business, he rose to fame in the 70s for his investigation of the appalling conditions suffered by patients in NY State mental asylums. His investigative journalism forged real changes by making the bureaucracy accountable.

::Photo of the month::

The caption for one of SFGate's "Day in Pictures" images says it all.

"Time for an oil change and lip service: After asking President Bush for a Federal Trade Commission investigation into oil company ‘gouging’ and ‘price fixing,’ House Speaker Dennis Hastert left a Washington press conference in the hydrogen-powered car at left. The Illinois Republican then stopped, got out and climbed into an SUV."

The photo and its original Associated press caption can be seen at Yahoo's news photo site:

http://news.yahoo.com/photo/060427/480/dcpm10904272019

::Audience participation::

Reuters and the BBC will be holding a conference entitled "Do you trust the media?" this week in London. Never mind that you're thousands of miles away--you can still participate through this website:

http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/globalCoverage.aspx?type=wemedia&src=cms

*************

rosalea.barker@gmail.com

--PEACE--

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