Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I have this theory about life that some of my friends and associates often find amusing. It goes like this: MEN CHEAT. As the years have gone by, I have added an addendum: POWERFUL AND/OR WEALTHY MEN CHEAT EVEN MORE. I don’t know about you, but I am beyond tired of hearing about married politicians having affairs, particularly those who have been so vocal about “family values.” Last week we were let in on Nevada Senator John Ensign’s tawdry tale, which definitely includes an affair, and possibly blackmail, payoffs and, oh well, you can pretty much write the rest, right? Today it’s South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, the married father of four who missed Father’s Day this year because he was in Argentina canoodling with his babe. Oh God, is anybody as over this as I am?

The Mark and John shows of the last couple of weeks are just more of the same in the ongoing drama that is Bill Clinton, John Edwards, et al. Oh, did I mention the most recent et al. includes a Miami priest named Father Alberto Cutie (I promise on all that’s holy that the guy’s last name is “Cutie”). Seems Fr. Cutie (below, left) was caught all cuddly on a public beach with his girlfriend. Oy. Men, in my view, like to see what they can get away with. In middle or post-middle age it gets the juices going, if you will, to have a woman who is willing to snuggle up and keep it on the down low. There is almost a script to which they adhere: First, they come up with multiple reasons to be away from home. At first, they keep their assignations very quiet and private. But as time passes, they become bolder and in some cases begin going out in public. Much more exciting that way, right? Reminder: Men like to see what they can get away with. Then, they get caught. Pretty much every time. The media, you know. Then there is the solemn, sometimes tearful press conference. Then the headlines.

I am not here to pass judgment on the sanctity or lack thereof of marriage. And I’m really not here to pass judgment on how anybody conducts his sex life. Believe me. I’m so not. But I do question the carelessness with which these guys treat their professional responsibilities. Today, it should be noted, a public watchdog group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed formal complaints with the Senate Ethics Committee and the Federal Elections Commission calling for investigations of Sen. Ensign (right).
As has been reported, the woman with whom Ensign had the affair was an employee of his. Why did her salary almost double during the period of their relationship? Her husband also worked for Ensign. It appears both were fired. Why? It has also been reported that Ensign made a handsome severance payment to the woman. That payment was never reported in his campaign finance report. Why not? Her husband received $6,000 when he separated from Ensign’s staff. It was recorded as “vacation time.” That’s quite a payment for vacation time. Some have suggested it was a payoff to get the husband out of the way. Was it?

As for Sanford, (below, left) last week he was reported missing in action. His staff did not know where he was, although they speculated he was hiking in the woods. He did not officially leave anyone in charge of the state of South Carolina while he supposedly communed with nature, but actually communed au naturale with a certain Maria of Argentina. In his absence Lieutenant Gov. Andrew Bauer said, "I cannot take lightly that his staff has not had communication with him for more than four days, and that no one, including his own family, knows his whereabouts." There is good reason for Bauer’s sentiments. Suppose there had been a natural disaster, such as major flooding while the Governor was missing. As Governor, he is in charge of the state’s National Guard. No one else has the authority to deploy the Guard to the affected areas. What would happen? As Governor, Sanford is the only individual legally authorized to commute a death sentence to life imprisonment at the last minute. Suppose his trip coincided with an execution. Then what? I could go on, but you begin to see the irresponsible behavior Sanford exhibited by not putting Bauer in charge while he clandestinely left the country.

The moral of this story goes something like this: If you make a decision to serve the public, your choice comes with certain add-ons: First, you will most likely sacrifice most or all of your privacy, and if you need a little ‘sumpin sumpin’ on the side, we will find out about it. Second, although you are in a rather dishonest business - that of government and legislative management - we are expecting you to tell the truth. And again, if you do not, we will find out about it. And finally, yes, you are being held to a higher moral standard that you might be had you decided to be a cashier at Target. And if you compromise your morality for your own self-indulgent reasons, we will find out about it.

Just ask John Edwards. Or Eliot Spitzer. Or Bill Clinton. So, what should happen? Ensign and Sanford should resign. Now. It’s not about sex. It’s about responsibility and doing the job we elected you to do. Man up and step down.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


The tenacity of the Iranian people has inspired hundreds of thousands of people in countries all over the world. From France to Brazil to the U.S. demonstrators are standing in support of the Iranian people in their quest for democracy. Watch:

Friday, June 19, 2009


In The 60s there was a TV show called That Was the Week that Was. Such a great title, right? Well, if ever there was a news week that was, it was this week. Here are the stories that filled the week’s headlines:

Iran’s Post-Election Uprising: Even though the Iranian government did everything they could to put the kibosh on media reports, private citizens still managed to get the word out about widespread dissent after the election. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “won” the election, but hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets to dispute the outcome. By taking cell phone videos and photos, and using Twitter to get the word out in 140 characters or less, the whole world has been watching Iran turn upside down. You can follow minute by minute Twitter reports of the upheaval. It is compelling stuff. For a good summary of the election situation published earlier in the week, read Omid Memarian’s “A Coup Manual,” at Fascinating.

New Missile Crisis? It was revealed this week that there is credible evidence to suggest North Korea will fire a missile toward Hawaii around July 4. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says we are prepared to intercept it if it is launched. Both Russia and China have reportedly approached North Korean President Kim Jong-il about retreating from his increasingly aggressive nuclear stance, but to no avail. President Barack Obama calls the situation a “grave threat,” and pledges not to reward the country with any incentives in return for them to back down. It sounds like a standoff.

Of Senators and Sex: The David Vitter Memorial Hall of Senatorial Erections inducted its newest member this week. He is Republican Sen. John Ensign of Nevada. Early this week Ensign came forward to admit that he had an affair with a female staffer last year. Ensign, known for his hard-liner stance on family values, was consistently vocal and outraged at Bill Clinton’s behavior during the Monica Lewinsky debacle. Later in the week more details emerged, such as the fact that the woman in question has a husband who also worked for Ensign, and who was getting ready to go to the media about the affair. There were even allegations that the husband was blackmailing Ensign – so far this is unsubstantiated. And even later in the week it was revealed that the woman’s salary doubled during the time she was on Ensign’s staff. I mean here’s a guy who looks like Ted Baxter from the old Mary Tyler Moore show, a seemingly straight arrow (pardon the pun), who holds a full press conference to reveal his indiscretion. Ensign was chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, the fourth-ranking spot in the leadership, but by week’s end he had resigned that position. He’s still a Senator…but then so is David Vitter, okay? Juicy, juicy, right? We probably haven’t heard the whole story yet, but what has come out so far definitely takes its place in the annals of Washington, D.C. sex scandals.

The Business of Show: Morgan Freeman, 72, had sex (allegedly) with his step-granddaughter, 27, from the time she was 16; Bruce Willis and his new wife had S & M photos published in W Magazine; and Billy Joel, 60, is splitting from his 27-year-old wife of five years. There are whisperings about Katie Joel’s wandering eye and some serious time spent with an Israeli designer named Yigal Azrouel,
not 60. Oy.

Memo to Morgan: So not cool, M. Do the words Woody and Soon-Yi ring a bell?
Note to Bruce: Bruce, at 54 most of us try to keep our shirts ON. That other part’s over now.
And, finally, a few words for Billy: “I've lived long enough to have learned - The closer you get to the fire the more you get burned.” Uh, Billy…you wrote that, remember?

Now, that was quite a week that was, right?


Monday, June 15, 2009


The murder of United States Memorial Holocaust Museum guard Steven Tyrone Johns once again shines a cultural spotlight on anti-Semitism. It is a true portrait of public resistance to multi-culturalism and social change. Consider it: James Von Brunn, an 88-year-old white anti-Semite murders a black American in cold blood at the doorstep of the world’s most comprehensive museum about the extermination of six million Jewish people. Here are the details:
Just across town, the U.S. Congress (still mostly white and male-dominated) is set to consider the appointment of a Hispanic woman to the U.S. Supreme Court, who has been nominated by the country’s first black President. Approximately 6,328 miles from the U.S. Capital, the extremist President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, poised for a questionable re-election, continues to assert his belief that the Holocaust never really occurred. Meanwhile, 2,171 miles from Tehran, an alleged Nazi sadist nicknamed Ivan the Terrible, 89, is set to stand trial from the annihilation of tens of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.

Anti-Semitism, once blatant and highly visible in this country, continues to exist, albeit in a more underground fashion than, say, 50 years ago. To mainstream media, anti-Semitism is almost considered old news. Consider the fact that after the shooting at the Holocaust Museum, there was nothing about it on the front page of the New York Times.

Then there is the case of Dennis Ross, the U.S. State Department envoy to Iran. In case you haven’t heard, Ross was relieved of his duties this week. No one seems to be able to point to any wrongdoing on his part. The buzz in Washington is that Ross is being replaced because Iranian officials never accepted him as a representative of the U.S. Ross is Jewish.

Then there is the Reverend Jeremiah Wright,(below, left) who caused such a stink during the 2008 Presidential campaign. Just last week, Wright commented about his lack of access to President Obama: "Them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me.” Once outed in the press for making the comment, Wright tried to backpedal. He issued an apology in which he explained he didn’t mean to say “Jews.” Instead, he meant to say “Zionists.” I think somebody forgot to tell the Rev that Zionists are Jews. All of this comes just a couple of years after actor Mel Gibson went on his much-publicized rant about Jews during a drunken traffic stop. From Hollywood to Washington D.C. to Tehran to Berlin, anti-Semitism is alive.

There seems to be some kind of crazy misconception in this country that when a minority population assimilates into the mainstream culture, prejudice and discrimination against that population dissipates. False. Let me break that down: Chances are, in whatever media market you live, you probably have one or more black news anchors on your local stations. I dare you to try and find a black executive with that same station. In our culture, the emphasis on diversity has largely turned into an effort to show an organization is diversified, rather than to truly diversify the decision-making team at the core of the organization. Hispanic reporters are hired by news organizations and then assigned the Hispanic community as their beat. True diversity would be to hire the Hispanic reporter because he or she is highly capable, and then allow the person to report on all aspects of society.

That being said, try not to mistake visible success within the Jewish American population as widespread acceptance of Jews in America. You can choose to think of James Von Brunn as a fringe-element, extremist nut job who just opened fire one day at the Holocaust Museum. Or, you can dig deeper and see that Von Brunn is really just a reminder of deep-rooted hatred that permeates the American culture. I can’t help wondering if the history books will mark this period in our culture as one where technology intersected with economic doldrums to galvanize haters to act out. Von Brunn maintained a hate-filled web site, just as he had been cut off from Social Security. No longer able to maintain the web site, since he was going to have to sell or pawn his computer, Von Brunn was apparently driven to make a more public statement of his hatred.

The moral of this story? Do not get too comfortable in 21st century America. Hate is still widespread, and technology offers a platform for the haters to express themselves.

Von Brunn, shot twice in the head, is expected to survive and stand trial for the murder of Steven Tyrone Johns (right). Meanwhile, the American Jewish Committee has established a memorial fund for Johns’ family. The Committee pledges that all of the funds collected will be donated to the family. Click here to donate.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


During the Bush years – come on you remember those long, loooonnnng Bush years – chances are you heard the name Mary Cheney a few times. The irony of the ultra-conservative Vice-President of the United States fathering a gay daughter was so delicious. Less visible was her older sister, Elizabeth. That’s odd, since “Liz” held high-ranking positions in the state department throughout the Bush years. That is, except for a break in 2004 when she interrupted her duties to work on her father’s re-election campaign. It was Liz’s job to gather the female vote, and by all accounts she did a stellar job. Still, if you ask the average American voter about Dick Cheney’s daughter, you’re likely to hear about Mary. Liz perfected the art of anonymity.

So, it begs the question: Why is Liz Cheney suddenly all over the airwaves, Internet news and information sites, and print publications? Her non-stop interviews running parallel with her father’s inexplicable media mongering is slightly suspect. Sometimes they even appear together and their clothing seems oddly color coordinated. It's slightly creepy. If I had the opportunity to ask Ms. Liz one question, I would just ask “Liz, what is it you want?” Really. What does Liz Cheney want from all of this media exposure? I mean there are already enough talking heads and pundits critiquing and countering every word the President says. The anti-Obama machine is oiled and running, and Liz has not come forward with anything new or revelatory. Even with her impressive credentials and substantial background in matters of State, Mr. & Mrs. America know very little of her and are not likely to offer her their full attention. So…what is Liz Cheney's motive with all of this sudden, chatty media exposure?

Liz is clearly (painfully?) her father’s daughter, as evidenced by some of the positions she espouses on the issues. On waterboarding, Liz says it is not torture; that current administration officials should assess whether the techniques used were effective in gathering intelligence information. The problem with this argument, which she is parroting from umpteen conservative pundits and columnists, is that it negates any other methods of gathering information. Liz, et al, never consider a less neanderthal approach. Also like some of her counterparts, Liz interrupts a lot and has little tolerance for viewpoints other than hers…and dad’s. Watch:

What Liz Cheney was not counting on when she embarked on her current media blitz was the intense scrutiny under which she would operate. It has become a favorite pastime/obsession with some media types to monitor every point she makes. Jason Linkins, who you may have read about here the other day in “Are You The Future of Journalism,” poked so many holes in Liz’s recent verbal spar with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, that it seems the empress has no clothes. Watch the exchange, and then click here to read Linkins’ rebuttal:
If Liz Cheney wants to enter the national conversation, for whatever reasons or with whatever agenda she has, I say, 'Come on down,' Liz. But we citizens have a few ground rules and I’m more than a little surprised that you didn’t know about them. I just think I better lay them out for you:
1. When you commit to an interview during which you’re going to talk about what has or hasn’t been said publicly by officials, make sure you know what has or hasn’t been said by public officials. Otherwise, we citizens have a name for that: “Rewriting History.”
2. An interview is a con – ver – sa – tion. Both people get to speak, and in the best of times both people get to complete sentences before the other person speaks.
3. Experienced journalists like those with whom you have spoken lately, do their homework. We are in the information business. It is what we do. If we convey inaccurate information, it compromises our credibility. So, you may want to think twice before you condescend to the questioner. Chances are, we’re not saying something we haven’t checked, double-checked and re-checked before we say it. Can you say the same about yourself? Liz? Come on now….can you?
Liz Cheney appears to be a very self-assured woman. She expresses herself earnestly and assertively. She just seems to have forsaken the key element to undertaking a media tour that relies on knowledge of the issues – preparation. And she seems to have forgotten that the manner in which you earnestly assert yourself has a lot to do with how it is received by the masses. Say it with a sincere commitment to the truth and we’re probably listening, Liz. But say it with nothing more or less than disdain for those who don’t share your worldview, and we’re tuning out.

Cheney, Part II is getting on our collective nerves. And once that happens, we can’t really remember what the hell she said.

Friday, June 5, 2009


I went to journalism school way back when, when we still used manual typewriters and carbon paper (I swear!). Newsrooms were defined by three things: the sound of the typewriters, the smell of cigarettes and really bad coffee. The journalistic holy trinity. By then, journalism, as a discipline and profession had not really changed much for a very long time. It went kind of like this: Editor would say, “Go to 9th and Elm and cover the fire.” Reporter would grab a tablet and a pencil and rush downtown, talk to people/cops/bystanders/witnesses/victims at the scene, hurry back to his manual typewriter with carbon paper, light up and write up the story. Sometime that night or even the next day the story would appear in the newspaper and the public would gasp and then wait another 24 hours for updates.

Unbelievable, right? Today, if there’s a fire at 9th and Elm, we see it happening live, and not necessarily through the eyes of a professional journalist. Today, your average man/woman on the street might be the conveyer of critical information. It’s called Citizen Journalism, and I may be one of the few professional journalists who truly like it. A lot of my colleagues are very bummed out about Citizen Journalism, tossing about words like “amateur,” “untrained,” and even “dangerous.” I disagree. Technology has made it possible for anybody to communicate anything at any time. What irks the pros in this field is the idea that a guy who never went to journalism school can scoop the professional journalists. Think about it: If you are a Twitterer or a Facebooker and you just happen to be at 9th and Elm when the fire breaks out, you can show and tell the whole world about it way before any editor can dispatch a reporter to the scene. And the reason journalists find this “dangerous” is that they believe you will put too much of a spin on the event, or inject too much perspective, rather than straight, objective reporting.

Newsflash: Every story you have ever read in a newspaper or seen on a broadcast news report has perspective/opinion/spin – call it what you will – already. It is next to impossible for a human being to report anything to anybody without conveying some perspective on the event. So, to the pros, I say, “Chill.” Citizen journalism is a democratic alteration in the social structure of information conveyance that enables all people to contribute to the mix of ideas.

Enter Jason Linkins, a Huffington Post political and media reporter who has been put in charge of a new project called the “Media Monitoring Project.” In a nutshell, the project encourages readers – like you – to monitor television news and information shows that you typically watch, and then report to the Post anything noteworthy. This could include gaffes, highly incendiary content, great in-depth reporting that you would like more people to see, or whatever you think is relevant to spread to the masses. This is citizen journalism at work. And you are invited to participate. I like it. A lot. I want to hear more voices from the crowd out there, and some of you have been itching to get in on the national conversation. Maybe you just didn’t know how.

Right now, this project is innovative. I predict that in short order solicitation of content from viewers/users/listeners/consumers will be the norm, rather than the exception. To date, most of those opportunities have been limited to feedback and comments at the end of a story. Going forward, I have a feeling many of you will be generating ideas for the stories, and ultimately contributing your own stories. It is, in my opinion, the biggest paradigm shift in the journalism business that has ever happened. Naysayers will use the same argument that researchers use when they badmouth Wikipedia, the online “encyclopedia” that allows anybody to contribute anything about anyone or anything. They will say the information may be flawed or inaccurate. Agreed. So, smart consumers will cross reference and check information for accuracy. Consumers will have to do what reporters have been doing since…well, since we used manual typewriters and carbon paper. Oh wait, I forgot…you have already learned that. After all, who among you does not know that news you get from, for example, will be skewed conservative? Or, that news you get from Huffington Post may lean heavily to the left. You have to get your information from more than once source. That’s a given.

So, the moral to this story? Speak up. And do it to a large audience that is increasingly hungry for information. Why should your perspective on current events carry any less weight than the ladies on “The View,” or Oprah or Diane Sawyer or Bill O’Reiley or Geraldo or Brian Williams? It’s like I have always said – everybody has a story. It may just be time for you to tell yours.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I was on a plane around 1985 or so when I read a feature in PEOPLE Magazine about a Chicago talk show host named Oprah Winfrey. She was reportedly taking Chicago by storm with her daily WLS-TV gab fest. At the time, the daytime talk show genre was inarguably ruled by Phil Donahue (below left), who also rose to national fame out of Chicago. A few years earlier, in my first job out of college, I worked for a St. Louis TV station. We had a TV in every office, and we were not allowed to turn the channel to any station other than our own. Still, every morning at 10AM, I locked my office door and switched the channel to Donahue. To me, he had the best job in the world. By the mid-1980s, Donahue was still going strong, but several others were vying for his top spot.

Around that time, TIME Magazine wrote this about Winfrey: "Few people would have bet on Oprah Winfrey's swift rise to host of the most popular talk show on TV. In a field dominated by white males, she is a black female of ample bulk. As interviewers go, she is no match for, say, Phil Donahue...What she lacks in journalistic toughness, she makes up for in plainspoken curiosity, robust humor and, above all empathy. Guests with sad stories to tell are apt to rouse a tear in Oprah's eye...They, in turn, often find themselves revealing things they would not imagine telling anyone, much less a national TV audience. It is the talk show as a group therapy session." In what seemed the blink of an eye, The Oprah Winfrey Show achieved national syndication. Fast forward to 2009: The show now airs in 140 countries around the world. I doubt anyone would call Oprah’s interviewing skills into question today. Winfrey is said to be the first black female billionaire in the world, has become her own brand, and is widely held to be a lifestyle/spiritual style guru to hundreds of millions of people.

Therein lies the problem. Every time a person achieves unprecedented success and off-the-map notoriety, it seems there is a segment of the population that needs to bring her or him down. (Think Susan Boyle, Martha Stewart, et al). Enter Newsweek Magazine, who only last week introduced their newly revamped periodical, promising a departure from breaking news and a focus on more in depth features, columns, etc. (You can read all about that here on Greenberg Rants [page left] in the blurb titled, “Whither Newsweek?”) This week’s cover story: “CRAZY TALK: Oprah Wacky Cures and You.” Evidently Newsweek is opting for a bit of sensationalism, doing whatever it takes to capture the newsstand crowd. Oprah will do that for you, you know.

The true story of Newsweek’s downhill slide is the content of the cover story. Written by two women who clearly have an agenda, the story is an abominable piece of journalism, and seems somewhat unnecessary. A good portion of the story deals with Oprah’s guest, Suzanne Somers, who appeared on the show to promote bio-identical hormones for menopausal women. The writers were severely critical of Somers, and more so of Oprah for her support of Somers. Admittedly, Oprah probably should have remained more objective on the show. She went so far as to have Somers on stage, but the doctors who disagreed with bio-identicals were seated in the audience and given minimal air time. But then the bomb hits: In parentheses, and evidently in the interest of full disclosure: “NEWSWEEK correspondent Pat Wingert, who worked on this article, and contributor Barbara Kantrowitz are coauthors of a book on menopause.” So, that’s the writers’ agenda. Oprah would call this point in the story an “Aha Moment.”

Where I come from in journalism, we would call that a conflict of interest. I can’t help wondering what they call that where Newsweek’s managing editor Jon Meacham comes from. Most discouraging is how obvious it is that the writers are not regular viewers of the show and have not closely or accurately followed Oprah’s career. I have, so I can see the inaccuracies and flaws in their reporting.

Regular Greenberg Rants readers know I am a big supporter of Oprah Winfrey. She is often kiddingly referred to herein as Our Holy St. Oprah of Chicago. I half-seriously refer to myself as the only middle-aged white guy in America who TIVOS Oprah every single day. (Although anecdotally I have found out that there is a huge, loyal contingent of male Oprah loyalists. They’re a little private society). Oprah and I are about the same age. We have some similar frames of reference. But most of all, I support Oprah because she built an empire entirely on words. She recognized the power of the spoken and written word and she became the pied piper of literacy, dialogue and an expanding mix of ideas in our culture.

Oprah gets people to think about the issues that directly affect them. She has re-energized a love of reading books in this country. She has launched the careers of authors, event planners, restaurateurs, chefs, talk show hosts, interior designers and many others. I can’t find a downside to any of that. And she did it with a positive attitude, great listening skills and a determination to lift people up, rather than pull them down. And really…aren’t there already enough forces in our culture trying to pull people down? Like the writers of the Newsweek cover story, for example. If some of Oprah’s detractors would funnel that negative energy into something akin to what she has done in her life, we would all be the better for it.

Newsweek is floundering. I’m sorry to see it happen, but I feel safe in my prediction that when the media dust settles, Newsweek will have a respectable place in the journalism history books, but Oprah will continue speaking and the masses will continue to tune in.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Former Vice-President Dick Cheney’s non-stop media/talk show/interview/please-look-at-me tour continues, with frequent appearances on the FOX network, and scripted sound bites created to cause sensation. Wondering what is going on with Dick? I have a feeling he’s a bit desperate for attention. This is the first time in decades he has not been front and center in something. A brief chronology: Political intern for a Wisconsin Congressman; eventually White House Chief of Staff during the Ford administration, followed by five terms in Congress, and ultimately Secretary of Defense for the senior George Bush. He made his fortune (variously estimated from $30 – 100 million) as CEO of Halliburton – don’t get me started – and then re-upped in government as V.P. to Bush, Jr. Impressive, huh? Well, yes, if you consider the fact that he was barely seen for Bush’s two terms. He was evidently in the secure location that Joe Biden recently revealed.

Well, now Dick is jobless, not terribly relevant to the Republican Party, working with his daughter on a memoir that has yet to be contracted by a major publisher, and gallivanting around the country gamely trying to defend the miserable, failed record of the Bush administration. He is about as unpopular a public figure as one can be – the Spring Gallup poll indicates he barely has a 30% approval rating among American citizens. Still, he’s everywhere: he’s on cable, he’s on network, he’s in major dailies, and he’s even in the Huffington Post, regularly. He's signing autographs outside of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, for God’s sake. Yesterday he even spouted off something that sounds like support for gay marriage: "I think, you know, freedom means freedom for everyone," Cheney said in a speech at the National Press Club. "I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish." Huh? Evidently, if you have a gay daughter, like Dick’s daughter, your neocon brain cells soften on certain issues. Gosh, I wonder what might have happened had he had offspring who had been subject to torture.

Some recent sound bites from our man Dick:
Waterboarding, according to Dick:
“I’m a strong believer in it. I thought it was well done.”

On his desire for Obama to release information on the results of the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” [read: Torture]:
“I would not ordinarily be leading the charge to declassify classified information, otherwise they wouldn't call me Darth Vader for nothing.” (Cheney, widely seen as the most secretive Vice-President in recent U.S. history, recently told FOX News host Greta Van Sustern that the Obama administration has “fallen short” of its promise of transparency).

Guantanamo, according to Dick:
“If you don't have a place where you can hold these people, the only other option is to kill them, and we don't operate that way." (Apparently Dick believes the U.S. prison system is substandard and incapable of holding alleged violent criminals)

On Saddam Hussein and 9/11:
"I do not believe and have never seen any evidence to confirm that [Hussein] was involved in 9/11. We had that reporting for a while, [but] eventually it turned out not to be true." (This, despite the numerous instances throughout the Bush years when Cheney asserted a direct link between Iraq and 9/11)

Dick Cheney is nothing more than the Norma Desmond of the GOP. Can’t give up the spotlight, can’t accept his own irrelevance in the current political conversation and cannot go graciously into that good night. The former Secretary of the Defense who somehow strategized five military deferments for himself during the Vietnam War is underestimating the collective wisdom of the American people. We see Dick as the former CEO of Halliburton who clandestinely saw to it that Halliburton was awarded hundreds of millions of dollars of non-competitive contracts as part of the Gulf War in 2003. We view Dick as the vice-president who illegally strategized a leak to journalists that revealed the identity of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame. We do not respect Dick Cheney and we certainly do not see him as some sort of elder statesman. Instead, he is easily lumped into the same embarrassing category as other noisy types like Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachman.

All we can do is hope and pray that Dick’s current manipulation of the media will soon stop and that he will realize it is way too late for his closeup. The time for him to come forward and express himself was years ago when he chose to hide from the citizenry. We have now grown accustomed to his absence, and no matter how many Sunday morning talk shows he frequents, we’re tuning out. Please, please…say goodnight, Dick.