In My Orbit: Communities Digital News Hour

7 06 2014
Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Girl’s writing as part of Communities Digital News is reaping dividends. My latest column, White House Prevaricator Jay Carney calls it quits, has gotten tremendous response. So tremendous that I was asked to be a guest columnist on the Communities Digital News Hour yesterday to talk about White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s resignation, the role of the White House Press Secretary, his or her relationship to the Washington correspondents, and how technology has altered that role and potentially may bring it to obsolescence.

I am about 15 minutes in, after the discussion on Bowe Bergdahl—which is also well worth your listening:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/communitiesdigitalnewshour/2014/06/06/commdiginews-hour-talking-bowe-berghdale-jay-carney-normandy-and-fathers-day

News Podcasts with Communities Digital News Hours on BlogTalkRadio.

Hope you enjoy your listen, and enjoy your weekend!
Advertisements




In My Orbit: Merry Christmas, Happy Boxing Day, and Happy New Year!

26 12 2013

Electronic Christmas Card 2013

Greetings, fellow turners. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas full of love and good food. I feel a day late and a dollar short over not posting an Advent or a Christmas post, but my sentiments are the same no matter what the time of year–may you be blessed, well, and fulfilling your life’s purpose!

My Washington Times Communities column is humming along swimmingly! I continue to beat the drum on Obamacare, its deficiencies, and its abject failure on delivering little of what it has promised. As a Christmas present(?) to Americans, the Obama administration hacked away at the individual mandate to help out those whose individual policies had been cancelled due to the new Obamacare regulations. Make sense? Didn’t think so, but not much does with this convoluted law. Give it a read: The Obamacare individual mandate death watch.

Over at Examiner.com, the ever-changing world of the film industry continues to stay in focus. I was recently asked by KCET to review a series called Bridge to Iran, and to interview its host Parisa Soultani. I gained insight and an education into a minority group that makes up a huge chunk of the Los Angeles population, yet remains shrouded in mystery. I hope that the review and conversation with Parisa removes a bit of that shroud. Give those a read, if you get a chance: Artist Profile: Parisa Soultani uses media to connect to a higher essence; and, TV Series review: Bridge to Iran spotlights Iranian filmmakers.

My holiday was filled with family concerns and family joys, but I count this as one of the best Christmases we have had in a long time. I pray 2014 brings you renewal and joy to your world.

 

 

 





In My Orbit: Working for the weekend

8 11 2013
Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Girl’s week has been occupied with interviews of fascinating individuals.

Dr. A. David Matian used to be my primary care physician, and he was honored to be interviewed about his philosophy as a medical professional, and how the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare will affect his practice.

Omar Akram is a talented and accomplished New Age musician, who just released a new album called Daytime Dreamer. At his album release party, I got to cover the red carpet and met some accomplished musicians, authors, and fashionistas.

Shyra Sanchez, actress, singer, fitness coach, activist, and humanitarian sat down with me and her publicist at the Mandarette Cafe, and talked about her music, life vision, and why she will always stay connected to a metropolis.

Lance Lindahl and Credere Joseph met me at the Village Bakery and Cafe, and I got to see firsthand how this connected collaboration of old souls, music, and film helped create the delightful comedy, Hay Days.

Omar, Shyra, Lance and Credere will be featured at Examiner.com on my Faith & Community page. Dr. Matian will be profiled on Examiner.com, and some of his quotes may make it into an article on my Washington Times Communities “In My Orbit” column.

Speaking of of the WT Communities column, this week I discuss President Obama’s non-apology Apology.

“In an effort to get ahead of the narrative (too late), Obama did the one thing at which he is proven effective: he decided to talk. Yet this talk which supposedly included an apology did not express any accountability for lying over 29 times, the current mess those lies are producing, nor did he offer any real solutions to fix it.

If you actually listened to the President’s words, he kept emphasizing the “only 5 percent”, or “a small percentage” of the population that are receiving cancellation notices. By his consistent usage of “only” and “small”, Obama delegitimizes the anger and concern of the people whose policies have been cancelled.”

According to Henry Louis Gates, 388,000 Africans actually survived the Middle Passage and arrived in America to be used as slave labor. That’s less than half a million people. Did that make slavery any less heinous because it was such a small number?

Obamacare is fast becoming an albatross around the President’s neck. Give the rest a read over at the WT Communities site.

Hope you have a fun weekend!





The Obamacare Follies

29 10 2013

obama-then-i-said-if-you-like-your-health-plan-you-can-keep-it

The Girl has been covering the Debacle that is the Obamacare rollout over at my Washington Times Communities column. Click the links below and give them a read.

Will America survive Obamacare’s implementation? This was written two weeks before the October 1 implementation, and some of my commenters scoffed at me. One word: Schadenfreude.

Like comparing Apple to Obamacare. Week 1 of the rollout went exactly as I suspected, and the administration had the nerve to compare themselves to Apple! Cue the laughter.

This is not the Obamacare exchange you were looking for. No kidding… Two weeks later and still a mess.

The Obamacare exchange’s lack of security. If you’re an identity thief or a fraudster, the HHS has given you an open invitation with Healthcare.gov and the Navigator program to easily steal from people. Low-hanging fruit.

Conservatives on Obamacare: we told you so. Yeah… enough said.

Back in February, Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times reported on the seven million who would lose the employer-based health insurance under Obamacare. That was the CBO’s conservative estimate. Now that the biological waste matter has finally hit the circular wind conductor, liberals are now losing their minds, along with their health insurance.

CBSNews.com of all places is reporting that 2 million people with individual plans (read: self-employed) have been booted from their health insurance thanks to Obamacare:

“There have been estimates about hundreds of thousands of people losing coverage, CBS News’ Jan Crawford reported on ‘CBS This Morning.’ CBS News has reached out to insurance companies across the country to determine some of the real numbers — and this is just the tip of the iceberg, Crawford said. The people who are opening the letters are shocked to learn they can’t keep their insurance policies despite President Obama’s assurances to the contrary.

“The White House is on the defensive trying to explain it, after Mr. Obama repeatedly said, ‘If you like your doctor or health care plan, you can keep it.'”

Obamacare: more than 2 million people being booted from existing health insurance plans.

The New Yorker–another publication that could not be described as conservative, brilliantly mashed up the many times our dear President made this promise. Social media cuts both ways.

If You Like Your Plan-Supercut

You didn’t actually think President Obama meant that, did you? If you did, I have some beachfront property in Death Valley I’d like to sell you.

Debra J. Saunders of the San Francisco Gate reports that the head of Covered California estimates up to 900,000 Californians will lose their health plans on December 31. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

So it’s not just the conservatives and Republicans who are calling the Obama administration on the carpet for the lies, now average Americans who are being adversely affected by the implementation of this nightmare are screeching. Amazingly enough, the mainstream outlets are actually doing what Rush Limbaugh likes to call “Random acts of journalism”. Who would have thunk?

Health and Human Services Secy Kathleen Sebelius is scheduled to testify before the the House Commerce Committee on Wednesday. While she planned to throw the technology contractors under the bus, these contractors stole her thunder by leaking to CNN a confidential report essentially saying that the administration had been warned that Healthcare.gov was not ready for primetime; but they charged ahead anyway. Hubris, thy name is HHS.

The Carney is doing his usual doublespeak and blame, but this time nobody is buying it. He has actually been getting tough questions from the White House press corps. Even the usual shills like Matthews and Co. over at MSNBC seem to be waking from their Kool-Aid hangovers on this one.

The plot thickens, and with Sebelius’ testimony, there will be much to write about. In the meantime, I leave you with two more videos that illustrate the lies, incompetence, and rank arrogance that characterizes this presidency.





In My Orbit: The Long Weekend…

24 05 2013
Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Happy Friday, and Happy Memorial Day weekend! Lots swirling around the universe today, particularly in the political realm. My Washington Times Communities column outlines the Scandalpalooza currently plaguing the Obama administration:

“President Obama continues to deny accountability over the crises affecting three major arms of his administration: the State Department, the Treasury, and the Department of Justice. Either the President is an incompetent leader or a dishonest one.”

Read the rest here: Obama’s incredible shrinking presidency.

Locally, the Mayor election is over, and we will soon swear in Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti. Frankly, I’m relieved–I’m no fan of Garcetti, but the amount of union money poured into Wendy Greuel’s campaign was sickening. If nothing else, the 22 percent of the Los Angeles electorate who bothered to vote (so abysmal) truly understood the stakes and voted accordingly. Bravo to you! To the rest, go live someplace else and take your apathy with you–we have a city that needs to be saved.

Another L.A. election that didn’t cross my radar was for the LAUSD School Board. Apparently Monica Ratliff, a 5th-grade teacher in the school district won, even though she was outspent 42 to 1 by her opponent Antonio Sanchez.

Sanchez was heavily backed by SEIU, LACFL, Villar-itardo’s Coalition for School Reform (What. A. Joke.), and even Nanny Bloomberg of New York to the tune of 2.2 million! The blogger concluded, “One political analyst described the result as proof the ‘allure of the candidates’ can negate the effects of big money.”

Yes, it can! Let’s get some good candidates who stand for something onto the local and national stage–we got lots of hacks with money of which to rid ourselves.

Okay, for many it’s a Holiday weekend, so I’ll get off the Poli-Junkie soapbox now, and put on my tech-geek hat. I read this great article on TechCrunch, “Why Does Hollywood Hate The Future?“:

“Where is the It’s a Wonderful Life set in 2150? Are a few scenes from Back to the Future Part II really the best we got?

Again, I think the answer is that we already live in a technological utopia of sorts. No, the world isn’t perfect, but the recent advances in technology have given us so much. And people go to the movies to escape reality. It’s just too bad that science fiction films have essentially become horror movies.”

I like his ending, and the rest is equally thought provoking. Give it a read.

I’ll end with my favorite Friday song from The Cure, as well as my favorite John Ondrasik tune in honor of our soldiers. To those who died in service to our country, I honor you this weekend. Freedom isn’t free.

Happy Friday!:

Honor a fallen veteran, and give a kiss to the one’s still leading the charge:

 

 





“In My Orbit” has expanded into new worlds!

10 04 2013
Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“In My Orbit” has expanded into new worlds!

The Girl has been busy with some new projects, one of them has been mounting a new column on Washington Times Communities. This is a wonderfully innovative online community of writers, and their global reach gives an expanded platform for my writing.

I’m very excited! Feel free to click the link and take a read at my column, and the other voices that make up the site.





In My Orbit: my Red Carpet Moment and the 2013 Oscars’ recap

25 02 2013

Farshad Farahat with Jennifer Oliver O'Connell (Formatted)So the Girl got the closest she’s ever been to a Red Carpet a few weeks ago at the 2013 MovieGuide Awards. You can get the skinny from the write-up I did for my Examiner.com column “On the Red Carpet at the 21st Annual MovieGuide® Awards“. Please give it a read, and feel free to comment!

The only thing I’ll rehash from that experience is my photo op with actor Farshad Farahat, whose star turn in Argo was critically acclaimed. Argo won the Best Picture Oscar last night, so I’m sure Mr. Farahat’s currency has risen exponentially. Well deserved, and I wish him all the best. Thanks for the opportunity to say that I met you when!

I enjoyed watching the show with industry friends who gave me the insider take on some of the Oscar guests and other gossip–gives some added color to an already colorful night! Here’s my summation of the evening:

Host Seth MacFarlane. Sue me, but I like Family Guy and American Dad, and I liked Seth MacFarlane as Host. Unlike several of the past Oscar hosts (since Billy Crystal’s first departure), MacFarlane did not desperately try to resurrect Crystal’s mojo (as if anyone could). He simply brought himself, his style, and his humor; and for the most part, it worked. If you have watched an episode of any one of his shows, or saw Ted, then you full well knew what expect. So what exactly is everyone so shocked and disappointed about?

I’m getting quite a chuckle reading the articles (many by women) about how sexist and misogynistic MacFarlane was, ad infinitum. Riddle me this: since when did Buzzfeed, the bastion of testosterone-laden muscle flexing, care about sexism?

And tell me, feminists, how do you rate the women MacFarlane lampooned in the “We Saw Your Boobs” sketch? Where is the commentary on a Hollywood that gives high kudos and awards to the female roles where pretty women ugly themselves (The Hours, Monster), or bare their comely parts (Monster’s BallThe Reader) in order to have their acting prowess recognized and score a big win? MacFarlane did swift work of  the sheer ridiculousness of this machine with just that one number, and I appreciated it. We will see if he is invited back next year; frankly, I hope so. As a musical/variety fan, it was nice to see singing, dancing, and movement incorporated back into the show in a fresh way.

Quentin Tarantino. As I wrote on my Twitter feed, Tarantino is a joke and a fraud who has parlayed video-game style revenge fantasies masquerading as high art to new levels. The same people who screamed about The Help being racist and a detriment to Black people are lauding and applauding a white man’s take on slavery in Django Unchained. More twisted logic and hypocrisy on display in that one. I refuse to see the movie, as being assaulted with the N-Word for two and a half hours is not my idea of a fun time. Suffice to say the fact that Tarantino eked out even two awards from this farcical product is egregious.

Jennifer Lawrence. Not really a fan of her work, although Silver Linings Playbook was watchable, and the roles were well acted. I have no idea whether Jennifer’s particular choice of attire was foisted upon her or if she actively chose it, but it clearly was not well thought out by someone. When Jennifer came up as a presenter before her category was announced, a Facebook friend joked about how many people were under her dress–it truly was a giant moving mass of fabric, and one has to learn to walk in such a contraption. I don’t think anyone gave Jen lessons, poor thing.  So when she took an almost face plant as she walked up the steps to receive her Best Actress award, I wasn’t surprised. I was among some Jennifer Lawrence haters, so they considered it schadenfreude. Interesting….

I rather admire Diane Keaton, who mostly eschews the pretty Barbie doll attire for a more polished, practical, and personal look. Should the day ever arrive when I get such an invite, I would probably trend in that direction.

In Memoriam: They gave the technical and behind-the-scenes folks some real honor, but they left out the likes of Andy Griffith, Ben Gazzara, Alex Karras, Gore Vidal, Richard Dawson, and Sylvia Kristel. These individuals were also television, literary, stage, and sports figures, so they received commemoration from those respective fields. But what hit home to me is that all the great ones are dying off, and fairly quickly. A fact of life, but still sad to see.

Daniel Day-Lewis. I have great admiration for this man’s talent. I think that appreciation also stems from the fact that he does not overly saturate himself. It’s obvious that he loves and delves deeply into his craft, yet he hasn’t appeared in a ton of movies. But each time he does appear, it screams for Oscar gold. This is a record third Best Actor Oscar: something that has never been accomplished in the 85-year history of the Academy Awards! So hats off to you, Mr. Daniel Day-Lewis, for bringing our 16th President to magnificent life, and being a credit and fine example of your profession.

Singing and Dancing. I love both, especially when they are done well. And all the numbers, from Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum (who knew she could dance?), to Seth himself doing an old soft shoe, and belting out a few tunes, was all great fun.

Unlike my criticism of Bouncey‘s lip-synching the Inauguration National Anthem, I cannot be critical of a 10-years-older Catherine Zeta-Jones doing the same while performing her “All that Jazz” dance number from the movie Chicago. One Facebook friend pointed out that actresses/dancers sing and dance on Broadway six days a week, but Catherine hasn’t been on Broadway (or much of anything for that matter) in quite some time. The fact that she can still dance and look fabulous while doing it, is enough for me.

I can be critical of Barbara Streisand, though. Babs still sings and tours (despite several “Farewell” performances… go figure), so this rendition of “The Way We Were”, though heartfelt, was not very good. Contrast that with the powerhouse performance of Shirley Bassey singing “Goldfinger”, and Streisand’s performance pales even further. Shirley is not a regular performer, but she’s still got her chops–and she looked awesome in that gold dress.

Jennifer Hudson represented as always, delivering an abridged version of “And I’m Telling You” with iron lungs. I recently watched Dreamgirls again, and I will say publicly that Jennifer had a fuller, lusher sound when she had a bit more… substance. My vocal coach agreed with me, though he said he’d never go on the record–but he admires my freedom to do so. Hey, I’m just a lowly writer who also sings–he actually has to work with these people. Enough said.

She’s still Jennifer Hudson, and still fabulous–so do yo’ thang, girl, do yo’ thang.

Adele. What more can I say about Adele? I’m a fangirl, not only because she is an awesome songwriter with pure vocal supremacy, but she’s a big girl and is neither apologetic, nor ashamed about it.  Adele performed with class and polish, despite the technical mess they made of it–who puts their orchestra in another building several blocks down?! Her Best Song win for Skyfall is just another jewel in a tremendously weighty crown.

Steven Spielberg/Lincoln. Well, one thing was glaringly obvious: Spielberg is no longer the favorite son.  Tommy Lee Jones was robbed by Christoph Waltz, who basically reprised his role in Inglorious Basterds with a different accent and costume. Then Tony Kushner, who is a brilliant writer, was trumped by Argo-writer Chris Terrio. So save for the Best Actor prize, folks in the Academy are no longer in paroxyms over Spielberg’s accomplishments: and Lincoln really was a stellar accomplishment all around.  Shame it wasn’t more recognized.

Argo. I must say I was impressed by Argo, and by Ben Affleck as director. I still say Lincoln deserved Best Picture, but I can’t be mad about it. It was predictable that a movie where Hollywood was the hero would receive the biggest film nod of the night, and sometimes the Academy is nothing less than predictable. Over the years, the Academy has picked some stinkers for Best Picture, but thankfully this was not one. Argo was a nicely conceived, historical vignette, weaved  with layers of humor, suspense, and intrigue in presenting its story. It worked for me, and for most audiences.

Michelle Obama’s Bangs. With poorly trimmed bangs and another ugly dress, Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance via satellite, to lecture us about the meaning of films and present the Best Picture Oscar. For me, part of the point of entertainment is to escape the routine and vagaries of life–and that includes politics. So for the Obamas to once again inject themselves some place where they clearly do not belong was jumping the shark. This is not just my conservative bent talking: Read the comments on the Yahoo! and The Hollywood Reporter articles. These publications aren’t exactly right-leaning, so the fact that these viewers were equally mystified or appalled speaks volumes.

Despite the inauspicious ending to the evening, all-in-all, it was one of the better Oscar telecasts. Here’s to more Red Carpets and Oscar brushes In My Orbit!

 








%d bloggers like this: