Thursday, January 9, 2014

News at 10

This just in...

A sequel to "The Walking Dead" is in the works. It will be called "The Walking Republicans." The plot of TV series is that heroic survivors will have to defend themselves against creepy Republican zombies with old, dead ideas.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has a bridge story he'd like to sell you.

Someone named Mitt Romney showed up at a Republican meeting of sassy and gloomy, rich Republicans and no one knew who he was.

After a history of water fights, Senator Marco Rubio got into a struggle with Sarah Palin over her Big Gulp drink. Rubio was very thirsty.

What does CPAC stand for? Well, how about Conservatives Peek Around Corners. Or, maybe, Conservative People Are Cranky. ???

The Stock Market recently hit record-breaking levels. Rich people were jumping for joy again. Some of them even thought it might be nice if President Obama and Congress focused on helping the middle class now by adding work projects and infrastructure jobs. They even may hire some more workers, after they pay their CEO huge bonuses.

Costco pays good salaries and benefits to workers and let's them unionize. Wal-Mart doesn't. People all over the nation are anxious for a Costco to come to town. In most places, there's a building already big enough to facilitate them--if Wal-Mart will move out it.

Concerning the $2 trillion that the Iraq War cost America, it was estimated that if every American man, woman, and child had to pay an equal share of the war cost America, each person would have to pay thousands of dollars. Said former President George W. Bush, "Well, if they added dogs, then the share would be lower." Said former Dick Cheney, "And if they added cats, it would be even lower."

This week's CBS Sunday Morning "Moment of Nature" was a scene of lobbyists stampeding toward a Congressional hearing.

Hollywood has announced that the fad of reality TV shows may finally come to an end. Apparently, all of the Louisiana swamp people have already been featured. There's nobody left who has long beards and wears bib overalls, unless they hire actors for the role. But the reason they went to reality TV shows in the first place was so they wouldn't have the expense of real actors. It's become the circle of life.

Obamacare (aka Baucuscare, aka Romneycare) apparently had 400 bugs concerning its website debut. Several cans of bug spray were used.

What's the plural of TV series? Serieses or seri? It needs one.

"Baby fingers" is the new name of the latest nano cell phone and texting device because that's what you're going to need to be able to text. It also has a screen for watching movies that's the size of an ant's you-know-what. But, wow, "Lawrence of Arabia" has never looked so epic.

Be aware that a drone the size of an ear wig bug is coming to an ear near you.

Be aware that if a pizza or a book drops on your windshield from the sky, it is still better than a drone dropping on it.

You will want to get one of those driver-less cars so you can watch movies and play video games in the backseat. Teenagers will use the backseat for other activities.

The reality show "Celebrities Chasing Squirrels" has been renewed for another season. This week, former basketball star Dennis Rodman climbs out on a branch of a North Korean tree.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Best of 2013...

Happy New Year, everyone! It's 2014 and I am glad to be writing again, after a long hibernation. A grizzly bear woke me up, so it's time to write again. Hope you are all fine. Here are the Sage Street blog recognition for 2013, as I provide my best and worst categories....

BEST TV SHOWS TO WATCH--"Castle," "Major Crimes," "Longmire," and (because it can get depressing, be sure to have a big bowl of ice cream afterward in order to upswing your mood) "The Walking Dead."

BEST TV NEWS SEGMENTS--CBS Sunday Morning feature stories, CBS "On the Road" segments with Steve Hartman, PBS NewsHour segments, PBS Frontline reports, PBS American Experience programs, Morgan Spurlock's CNN program about guns, and Sanjay Gupta's CNN program about marijuana called "Weed." Honorable mentions: Melissa Harris-Perry Show segments, Ed Schultz Show segments, Rachel Maddow Show segments, 60 Minutes segments particularly featuring Scott Pelley, Fareed Zaharia's GPS show, Anderson Cooper 360 program and later night group discussions, numerous other MSNBC programs, CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, ABC Weekend News with David Muir, NBC Evening News with Lester Holt, and the McLaughlin Group.

DISAPPOINTMENTS: Reality shows (just a continuously awful TV genre), History Channel for too much reality stuff, chatty morning "news" shows that are really about pop culture, and Sunday morning news programs with dull talk by anchors, hacks and pundits, such as Meet the Press, (with the exception of CBS Sunday Morning show and the Melissa Harris-Perry Show). And please no more Wall Street movies with the usual greedy characters, the cynical anti-hero TV shows, anything Star Wars or Hobbit, Fox News, nutty gun culture, anything that has to be "set up" in order to be enjoyed (and that means technological stuff), the informational or promotional crap at the bottom of the TV screen that prevents viewers from seeing the entire picture of what's going on, inane social media, and any more girl singers who think they have to do a Madonna and draw attention through stunts rather than just rely on their talents.

BEST MOVIES: "42" about Jackie Robinson, "Lincoln," "The Impossible," "Jack the Giant Slayer," "World War Z," "Life of Pi," "Argo," and "The Way, Way Back."

ACTORS AND ACTRESSES TO WATCH--Sandra Bullock, Stana Katic, Nathan Fillion, Sam Rockwell, James Franco, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Claire Danes, Andrew Lincoln, Melissa McBride, and Garrett Hedlund.

BEST DOCUMENTARIES: "Blackfish," "Conscientious Objector," "My Flesh and Blood," "A Place at the Table," "The Power of Forgiveness; The Karla Tucker Story," Jeremy Scahill's "Dirty Wars" about use of drones, and "Bridegroom."

BEST BOOKS: Wyoming Almanac (sixth edition), "A Life of Barbara Stanwyck" by Victoria Wilson, "David and Goliath" by Malcolm Gladwell, "Dinner with the Smileys" by Sarah Smiley, "The Bully Pulpit" by Doris Kearns Goodwin, and "Defending Jacob" by William Landay.

PEOPLE TO REMEMBER (who died in 2013): Helen Thomas, Julie Harris, Jean Stapleton, Nelson Mandela, and Peter O'Toole (especially in "Goodbye, Mr. Chips").

PEOPLE OF THE YEAR nominees: Elizabeth Warren (for real progressive leadership), Robert Reich (for progressive insights), Bill de Blasio (for showing liberals how to win on issues), Michael Bloomberg (for his effort in organizing mayors against guns), Pope Francis (for showing churches and politicians that populism and caring about the poor garners popular support), Edward Snowden (for whistleblowing and showing the over-reach and waste of agencies like the NSA and CIA), Jeremy Scahill and Glen Greenwald (for their investigative journalism work), Barack Obama and Joe Biden (when they stay to the progressive left as their voters wanted), Malala Yousafzai (for her courage), Nelson Mandela (for showing leaders how to set "George Washington" leadership examples for democracies, a lesson that Morsi of Egypt failed to understand), Tina Fey (always clever and funny), Dolly Parton (for her gifts of books to children), Malcolm Gladwell (for his interesting insights), Mark Udall (for his progressive stances), and Ralph Nader (for his ongoing progressive stances).

"PERSON OF THE YEAR" winner for 2013: Elizabeth Warren, for giving hope to the middle class and poor with her populist, progressive leadership.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The trouble with guns is that they kill...

There was an interesting and troubling cover story in a recent Time magazine about Olympian Oscar Pistorius and the culture of violence (and guns) in South Africa.

Lots of people in South Africa are fearful of crime, which is likely related to high levels of poverty, as half of the population earns less than $65 per month. So, people there buy guns in hopes that they will be safe. Pistorius lived in a fortified mansion... in a rich, white neighborhood with electrified 8-foot security walls, barbed-wire, and guarded security forces, and still he kept guns and was fearful of burglaries.

South Africa has a high crime rate and is ranked as the fourth most inequitable country. It is sixth in gun homicides, after Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, and the United States.

Pistorius had a lot going for him--inspirationally rising about the obstacle of a disabiity, gained worldwide fame at the Olympics, and had a beautiful model in his bed. And while the details are murky, at guilty worst, Pistorius deliberately and violently killed his girlfriend. And, at guilty least, he fearfully but unintentionally killed his girlfriend.

But, because he had the guns to do it, he was apparently mindset willing and ready to kill whoever was beyond the bathroom door--whether that meant a dangerous criminal out to hurt him and his girlfriend or a foolish teenage burglar with no intent to harm people. Because someone was in the dark (I don't know where light switches play into this story) and on his property and he was fearful and he says he didn't think it was his girlfriend and one major addition--he possessed guns--, he felt the need to kill the intruder, not look first or threaten or even wound them.

And whether an act of guilt or accident, it was still a violent response, a life-changing reaction, a crutch mentality about faith in guns as an answer...and he will have to live with it for the rest of his life.

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year of 2012...

The Sage Street Award recipients for the year 2012 are...

Best Event of the Year: The re-election of President Obama and Vice President Biden. Though Obama sometimes seemed lackluster and likely to lose, especially because of the high unemployment rate, the alternative choice of Mitt Romney and the Republican Party/Tea Party was horrifying and apparently uniting for the 2008 Obama voters who stayed the course. It was a transitional election moment, shifting the nation to the left and reaffirming progressive ideas. Runners-up: The Summer Olympics, the presidential and primary election debates (the debates of the Republican candidates were eye-openers about how extremely conservative--and out-of-touch--those candidates seemed).

Worst Event of the Year: The mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut in December. It shocked the nation. It abruptly altered the seasonal mood of joy to tears and reflection. I think and hope it has awakened sensible people, including hunters, to the need for gun restrictions, including bans on assault rifles and large ammunition magazines, and a need to stop encouraging a gun culture, which includes video games and movies. The runners-up in this category were Hurricane Sandy, which hit New York, New Jersey, and the East Coast and brought a new realization of the concern about climate change and the July mass shooting in an Aurora, Colo. theater, killing 12 people and dozens of others. When two of the worst events in America in a year are mass shootings, it says that America has a gun violence problem.

Best Movies (of the ones I saw, which means they could have been produced in previous years): "A Better Life," "The Artist" (which was the Academy Award best picture of 2011-2012), and "The Three Stooges" (the new version with actors impersonating the original Three Stooges). Runners-up: "Being Flynn," "Prometheus," "I Am Four," "Carnage," "Midnight in Paris," and "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter."

Best TV Shows: "Longmire" and "Falling Skies." Runners-up: "The Walking Dead," "Hell on Wheels," "Saturday Night Live," "Merlin," and "Wipe-Out."

Best News Programs: "The Rachel Maddow Show," "The Melissa Harris Perry Show," "The Ed Schulz Show," "60 Minutes," and "360 with Anderson Cooper."

Best Documentary: "The Dust Bowl" (PBS).

Best Discoveries That I Enjoyed: The writing of journalist/author Sanora Babb, the writing of poet/author Nick Flynn, the music of William Brittelle.

Books Most Enjoyed: "An Owl on Every Post:" by Sanora Babb, "Another Bullshit Night in Suck City" by Nick Flynn, "Hedy's Folly, The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr" by Richard Rhodes about actress Hedy Lamarr and her inventive brilliance in developing "frequency hopping," "Pete Seeger and the Power of Song" by Allan Winkler, and "Cody's Cave" by Phil Roberts.

Best Songs I Heard for the First Time: "The Color of Rain" by William Brittelle, "You Get What You Give" by the New Radicals, and "Tongue Tied" by Grouplove.

Best Website: The Delta at,, Netflix, National Geographic.

Best YouTube Video: "Where the Hell is Matt 2012" about a guy named Matt Harding who dances with groups all around the world.

Leaving a Great Legacy (some amazing people who died this year): Former U.S. Senator George McGovern (the first presidential candidate I ever voted for) for standing consistently for progressive ideas and working to reduce world hunger; actor Andy Griffith for the gentle, quality comedy of "The Andy Griffith Show;" Andy Williams for the song "Moon River" and other standards; Neil Armstrong for being the first man on the moon; U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii; and Donna Summer for "Last Dance" and other disco songs.

Biggest Losers of the Year: Mitt Romney for flip-flopping all over the place; for being pulled like taffy to the right by the Tea Party crowd; spending a billion dollars to lose the election; unable to rationalize Mormonism to the rest of the nation probably because, like numerous religious dogmas put under a microscope, it seems utterly unbelievable; and for the lasting image of a mistreated dog in a carrier on the roof of a car. Runners-up: Actor Clint Eastwood for his embarrassing rant of a conversation with a chair at the Republican National Convention; defrocked bicyclist Lance Armstrong; Donald Trump (not sure what he is but he's on TV too much and is incredibly arrogant); and the NRA for its reckless, selfish advocacy in support of guns without reason and also not thinking about the greater good of the culture.

Person of the Year nominees: Oscar Pistorius (inspirational Olympics runner), Melissa Harris Perry (host of her MSNBC show), Vice President Joe Biden who seems consistent in progressive ways, Ken Burns (for the excellent PBS documentary "The Dust Bowl"), Ralph Nader (consumer activist), Bob Costas (for hosting the Olympics and his statement about the need for gun control that was even prior to the Connecticut school shootings tragedy), record-holding skydiver Felix Baumgartner; statistician Nate Silver who predicted correctly the outcomes of how every state's population would vote in the presidential election, Elizabeth Warren (new U.S. senator from Massachusetts) and Julian Castro (San Antonio, Texas, mayor and Democratic Convention keynote speaker). Note: Biden, Warren and Castro look like potentially great and impressive future U.S. presidents to me.

Person of the Year: President Barack Obama (which was also Time magazine's "Person of the Year") for achieving a second term in office. Stay progressive please.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My praise of George McGovern

   With the death today of George McGovern, the former U.S. senator from South Dakota and a Democratic presidential nominee, I remember fondly that I was one of the 18-year-olds in 1972 who first got the right to vote in a presidential election and I cast my first vote for McGovern. It was a proud moment for me that has never diminished over the years.

   Well, that was also the year of the Nixon landslide, though two years later Nixon would resign in disgrace. But the initial election victory of the criminal (Nixon) over the decent man (McGovern) taught me a lot at that young age. It taught me that the American majority is not always correct. It taught me that bad can win over good but that good has a greater, longer role which usually leads to vindication (as it did with McGovern). It taught me that I should follow my beliefs, based on a lot of reading and research, which often are contrary to notions of the crowd. And it means, to the woe of some of my friends at places like Facebook who prefer less political and social-issues talk, that if there's a forum, I can't self-impose silence over issues or matters that I care about.

   Look, I went through a time when a criminal defeated an honorable and decent man and my nation was at stake. It would be horrible to not speak up.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

For Father's Day...

There are many great moments I can think of concerning my parents. As this is Father's Day, I think one moment involving my dad would be the traditional aspect of a father steadying and running behind a boy on a bicycle for the first time. I learned to ride a bicycle on my older brother's tall, heavy bike. I was too short, my legs weren't long enough to jump down to secure a stance stop without receiving some male pain because there was a long bar at the top of its frame. So, if I needed to dismounted, I would have to angle it into a stop and often it was so heavy that it would fall and crunch my skinny bones. It was no small banana-seat bike. So, to learn to ride on it posed real threats to pain, but great trust that it was achievable. Thus, support was crucial. I can still see my father running behind me, keeping me balanced until I figured how to do it and took off down the alley in Worland, Wyo., in solo flight. And really, though I only understood it later, that scene was a metaphor for where my father would be for the rest of his life and for decades of my life--supporting me, standing behind me, helping me to get to my destinations. His name: Leslie J. Roberts, 1915-1989. Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 1, 2012

News at 10...

This just in:

"Mitt Happens" is a bumpersticker slogan that the Romney campaign won't be using on the campaign trail. So, also are "Bain Is Our Bane" and "We'll Take You for a Ride Like a Dog in a Cage on the Top of A Car." But "Spit for Mitt" is still being considered, especially for NASCAR and rodeo events.

Democrats are wondering if the Obama Administration has any job creation programs. An Obama spokesman seemed perplexed. "I thought we were part of the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party, with the Clintons and Geithner. I didn't think we had to care about Main Street jobs for regular Americans."

What about the better health care systems in European countries? Republicans say that's socialism. What about the lack of capital punishment in European countries? Republicans say not to be like Europe. What about the failed austerity measures attempted by the conservative European leaders? Republicans say, hey, we need to try that, too.

In the latest attempt of the audacity of austerity, Congress is cutting budgetary assistance for orphans.

Evangelicals got very confused and started protesting against restaurants for serving BLTs. An educational effort is under way to inform them that GLBT means "gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered" while BLT only means "bacon, lettuce and tomato" and refers to sandwiches. Hopefully, they will calm down.

Donald Trump appears to be just as stupid this month as he was months and months ago. And he's still on TV, too.

Mount Rushmore has given inspiration to a group of  business developers who would like to carve a mountain into completely obscene images. It could be a big tourist attraction and really help the economy, said I.M. Rich. "Just ask the French if they'd like to visit the Grand Tetons."

A billionaire is the only donor for a PAC that wants to promote term limits for U.S. Supreme Court members.

What we'd like to hear at least once on TV: "I'm Morley Safer. I'm Lesley Stahl. I'm Steve Croft. I'm Charlie Rose. I'm Bob Simon. I'm Anderson Cooper. I'm Lara Logan. I'm Scott Pelley. I'm Chicken Little and the sky is falling. Those stories tonight on 60 Minutes."

Mitt Romney recently released not only his birth certificate, but also the Mormon Church's baptism certificate for Anne Frank. 

Barack Obama "evolved" on the issue of accepting the idea of gay marriage. However, Joe Biden was heard saying, "But I evolved first." Romney "evolved" when he was governor of Massachusetts, but since he's been running for president, he's reverted to "Neanderthal." Rick Santorum doesn't believe in evolution or birth control.

In agreement with Mitt Romney's statement that "corporations are people," Exxon Corporation and a Texan named Chuck were married in a Las Vegas chapel.

As well as the privatization of the space industry, private companies are also getting into the business of selling drones. "It's fun to watch the neighbors in their backyard from the clouds and then swoop down and scare the crap out of them," one happy customer said.

Las Vegas bookies are taking bets on who has the greater moral authority: the Catholic bishops criticizing nuns for radical feminism or the nuns who actually help people in need. Oh, do you really have to think about it?!

In this week's episode of "Celebrities Chasing Squirrels," football quarterback Tim Tebow tebowed for nuts.