www.FamilyEntertainer.com  Joe Gandelman

      The Moderate Voice

A political independent and moderate's irreverent comments,
     analysis and links on important stories in the news.
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- Joe Gandelman -
    who is now a fulltime ventriloquist.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2003  

Northeast Intelligence Network
MORE ON TERRORIST THREATS FROM A WEBSITE THAT SPECIALIZES IN THEM: Northeast Intelligence Network (link above) can be accused of crying "wolf!" quite a lot the past few months...but a lot of what they are covering and contending fits in not only with info on Debka but some of the public pronouncements of US officials. It's not the most uplifting read......but it's worth going to the link above and reading it for yourself. We'll see if it's accurate; hopefully it is NOT.

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:06 PM


My Way News
Sheriff Denies Jackson Abuse Claim (see above link for details)

Gee! How can it be that a videotape of Michael Jackson's arrest is at variance with how he described his hideous, horrible ordeal at the hands of abusive policemen when he did his (in)famous 60 Minutes interview. The tape must be doctored -- that's it. After all, according to the interview, MJ is the victim in this case.
Why is this case important? Because: a)it deals with a troublesome issue (how kids are treated) b)it deals with an ethical problem (who is honest who is not honest) c)it deals with a cultural issue (the late 20th-early 21st century trend to consider celebrity God-like-royalty and take their word for it no matter what may seem to be the case or what facts are presented that cast doubt on their word) d)it deals with a fairness issue (how we're treated is how a celebrity should be treated by the law).

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:31 PM


The Mercury News

ARNOLD MARCHES ON: REVISED JAN. 2, 2004: The story linked above is how park fees in CA are going to reach RECORD HIGHS under Arnold -- and more recent stories detail how he plans to slash state spending. No matter what you hear, the bottom line is: California Governor Arnold Swarzenegger has already changed the mood in CA, creating a sense of guarded optimism.
Arnold is potentially caught in a political pincer: partisan Democratic party members want him to tax to raise revenues, don't want to totally go along with his unfolding plans, and balk at handing him victories that (they feel) could translate into help for President George Bush during the 2004 presidential campaign; hard-core Republican party members are equally irked because he's not following a conservative Republican script. Democrats painted his election as a threat to the Democrat order, as if Bush instigated the recall and Arnold's candidacy (WRONG: the White House did not support the recall early on and they wanted LA's former mayor as governor). Some Republicans have since painted his election as big victory for the GOP, as if he won because people in California just couldn't wait to go into that booth and vote for a Republican and support the GOP agenda (WRONG).
He won because people wanted A CHANGE -- and wanted things done differerently. That's why he got so many Democratic and independent votes. Just look at the breakdown of who voted for him. This bipartisan nature of his victory is predictably shunted aside by many conservative talk show radio hosts...but they are WRONG.
And, now, piece by piece, he's trying to rectify an economy decimated by near-negligence, short-sighted planning, outright incompetence, and political greediness.
His biggest assets: charisma and charm that is not DUE to him being a celebrity, but helped him BECOME a celebrity; a desire not to view politics as partisan football or non-weaponized war but a way to achieve goals by building coalitions with diverse interests; and the strong influence of his wife, newswoman Maria Shriver, who adheres to the Kennedy family's most laudable values and keeps her husband focused on them.
--Joe Gandelman
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:00 AM


Banning Sale of 'Downer' Meat Represents a Change in Policy (washingtonpost.com)

TURNS OUT THE DEMOCRATS WERE RIGHT ON THIS ONE: The Washington Post reports this morning that the administration and meat industry officials earlier scuttled Democratic proposals to better protect our beef. But now that Mad Cow Disease has been discovered the administration (wisely) reversed course. We won't hear this report EVER cited on conservative talk radio shows (it doesn't fit in with the All Democrats Are Evil script) -- nor will we hear the administration given any credit from Democrats for acting swiftly to revise its previous policy once it had evidence that there was a problem (it doesn't fit in with the All Republicans Are Evil script). BOTTOM LINE: the administration balked at protections, then put them firmly in place once it had evidence they were indeed needed. You might want to educate your kids about Mad Cow Disease. Take them down to McDonald's and discuss it with them over a hamburger.......

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:20 AM

Tuesday, December 30, 2003  

Michael Jackson�s $1 Million Interview Deal

No matter how CBS spins it there is an unsavory link between Michael Jackson's "I-am-a-victim-the-police-put-me-in-a-room-with-doo-doo-and-I-only-love-kids-the-way-Jesus-asked-us-to-did-you-know-the-police-were-rough-with-me" interview and the upcoming tribute to Michael Jackson that this FORMERLY respectable network is soon to air. How do you separate the big bucks from the year's biggest "get?" You can't. Without the big bucks there would have been no interview. CBS needs a new PR man. HEY! Michael Jackson's PR man just quit: CBS can hire him! (See our Dec. 29 commentary on the Michael Jackson controversy below)

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:05 PM


MSNBC - Caution to color New Year’s celebrations

High security is again the norm. Planes are flying repeatedly over my city, all times of night and day and it feels -- and sounds -- very much like 911's immediate aftermath... I said "A pox on both your houses!" and was questioned by the FBI... William Safire in today's New York Times has a prediction quizz and he predicts a terrorist attack before the next election. If they're looking for symbolic timing, New Year's or right near election day would certainly fit the bill.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:54 PM


Yahoo! News - Dean Labels Bush 'Reckless'


Once again Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean is saying what some of his party's disgruntled base is saying and the other Democratic candidates may be thinking when he told the Washington Post he considers the Bush Administration is "the most dangerous administration in my lifetime" (see the link above).
So what about the Howard Dean bandwagon? To some it's a political bandwagon, heading towards a revival of core Democratic Party ideals embarrassingly shunted into the backroom by Bill Clinton and Democratic centrists. To others, it's more like a car tumbling off a cliff with the ear-shattering crash to be heard on election day. Dean follows in the footsteps of past insurgents such as John Anderson and John McCain...and may be fated for the same unsuccessful ending. Some say he's the new McGovern and will suffer a massive defeat that will destroy the Democratic party. Others say he's going to "take this country back" and get people to the polls who've been waiting for him and foster a new Democratic party where the word "liberal" is proudly used once more.
If I look at Dean from my perspective as someone not aligned with any political party or ideology here is what I see:
1. A brilliant and hard-nosed politico who let his associates harness the power of the Internet to amass a huge war chest. No one has matched this Internet accomplishment on the political front to date.
2. A brilliant and blunt-spoken candidate who has excited a lot of young people and run a good campaign so far and said what some Democrats and not just activists have not wanted to say in public. He does this repeatedly. These folks are extremely upset that even though GWB did not win by a landslide (they believe he did not win at all) he has governed as if he did, ushering in what they contend is the most radically conservative government in modern times. They want someone who'll say it. Dean does. He leaves no charge unanswered. And he answers it forcefully.
3. One of the DUMBEST CANDIDATES in modern history, who is handing his foes enough political ammunition to use in three presidential campaigns against him. YES: there are many who can make the case that extracting a bearded and smelly Sadaam from the bowels of the earth did not make things safer for American citizens..but there are others who can say it did make things safer (Sadaam is not around to help out the terrorists). YES: there are some who articulate unproven theories that GWB knew about 911 from the Saudis, but it was unwise to say it. YES: if we have a trial bin Laden has to go through the process, but you didn't have to suggest he's innocent until proven guilty; even Michael Jackson's lawyer couldn't help OBL on this one.
And then there is the issue of gay marriage. This "wedge issue" (one the Republicans will fully use) will cost him the election. Polls repeatedly indicate the bulk of Americans don't want gay marriage or even understand why this has become an issue. Unless he comes out against it he's 100 percent toast.
4. He can reactivate a disgruntled Democratic base, but he will scare some centrists who are leaning towards Bush. Meanwhile, the Bush administration's catastrophic environmental record, policies tilted almost totally towards big business, etc. are not as much a concern for most people as STAYING ALIVE (with apologies to the Bee Gees) -- being protected from terrorists here and abroad. Dean is losing bigtime on this issue by making ill-advised comments.
5. Another terrorist attack could help or hurt the Democrats. The government is giving all kinds of warnings so officials can say they were on the alert and "we told you so.". But if something happens and it appears to have been mishandled, Bush's biggest plus would be gone.
6. All academic and political indicators right now point to a Bush victory: the economy is improving (but not to the large number of unemployed), the President does not face an insurgency from his own party, he is a wartime president, Bush right now presents the more optimistic vision. By these traditional indicators it's hard to see Bush losing. Dean doesn't seem to fit any of the academic trends used to predict presidential campaign winners.
7. Bush and/or the GOP can stumble by overreaching and angering left-leaning centrists.
8. All predictions about his landslide defeat could be WRONG since America in the 21st century is a different world. What do we see? Angry athletes, road rage, school killings, talk radio that on BOTH SIDES qualifies as "hate radio" where callers and hosts demonize those with whom they disagree and overlook the flaws of their always-defended political soul mates. Principles mean little; venting anger and maximizing political expediency are paramount and if anything IN STYLE. If today's America puts a premium on rage and anger then perhaps swing voters will be turned on by a tough-talking candidate who breaks the unwritten rules of political verbiage. Is this supposedly bad trait that the windbag talking tv and radio heads constantly point to one that would actually work IN HIS FAVOR? (FOOTNOTE: All the talk about unprecedented "Bush haters" is so much baloney; even someone who just had a lobotomy will recall the STILL UNABATED Bill and Hillary hatred among Republican partisans. This is the new political style and it's not going to go away).
9. He could be helped if the emerging liberal counterpart to the increasingly powerful and professionally skilled conservative media machine is in place. In recent months books by liberal pundits as angry as their conservative counterparts have hit the best seller charts. Bill O'Reilly nemesis comedian Al Franken reportedly may have a three hour radio talk show by the spring. Conservatives were shut out of the mainstream culture in the 60s, but today rule the talk show airwaves and cable news (via Fox) today. This could change by Spring 2004. In recent years conservative talk radio got the troops out to vote, to picket Al Gore, even picket poor Joe Lieberman in Connecticut. Some people get all of their (highly spun) news from talk radio. Will liberals have a mechanism to do the same by the spring? If so, what impact will that have?
10. Americans have liked straight talkers such as John McCain and John Anderson. But they ultimately flopped and Barry Goldwater's candor destroyed him nationally. Harry Truman's helped him -- to a point.
CONCLUSION: Right now it seems like he'd lose in a landslide...but future events, trends and cultural shifts could give him a chance.
But as of today he is a huge target, sitting in a political limo, as it slowly drives under the triple underpass of primaries while the big political guns -- overwhelmingly conservative talk radio, Democratic opponents, the mainstream press, and the White House -- get him in their political-attack-mode sharp shooting sites. As they do, he stops to give them a better and easier aim. Hard to see how he can triumph.....but these are unpredictable times...
--Joe Gandelman

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:52 PM


www.AndrewSullivan.com - Daily Dish..

Great Andrew Sullivan comment today on Howard Dean suggesting that he and his supporters might display sour grapes if he doesn't get the nomination.
Sullivan's blog is one of the very best on the web and the former New Republic editor's writings in political magazines should be shown to students in journalism schools.
As for Dean, saying his supporters might not support someone else might scare some Democratic bigwigs into ensuring he gets what he presumably will have coming to him after some primary victories.....but it does turn off some people in the political center and political independents who are not intellectually married to any ideology. On the other hand, it also shows Dean is one of the few (if not the only) Democrats in this primary season willing to play hardball....and take his ball away if the umpire makes a big call against him. FOOTNOTE: Sullivan is worth reading every day even if you don't totally agree with him.
--Joe Gandelman

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:39 AM


Wired News | FDA Expected to Announce Ban on Ephedra, Report Says

BAD NEWS FOR ALL US FATTIES ("Hey, Joe...Speak for yourself!"). As you can see from above, the Bush adminstration is ready to ban Ephedra, which has been used in many diet products and is responsible for some deaths.
Two things on this: 1) some of the deaths apparently were caused by people inadvertantly taking more than the recommended dose. 2)Once again a supposedly conservative administration (and no I am not a liberal OR a conservative) is using government to diminish the choices of its citizenry. A stronger disclaimer on the label would have been enough. HEY WAIT: aren't cigarettes still legal? Well, they certainly could not have been responsible for as many deaths as this weight pill ingredient. They were? MORE deaths? How can that be??

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:05 AM


Flap over department Jackson spokesman

New controversy now over Michael Jackson's PR person resigning (see earlier stories and commentary below). He says he resigned in earlier AP story. Now Jackson's lawyer says that's not true he fired him earlier. The PR person says that's not true, he resigned. Why, how could either of these people be telling an untruth? Who ever heard of a lawyer or a PR person telling a lie? It is somewhat interesting that the news about the PR person leaving didn't come until AFTER the 60 Minutes interview aired. Just a tiny thought...... (See our Dec. 29 commentary on the Michael Jackson controversy below)
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:50 AM


Pop Star Michael Jackson's Spokesman Resigns

Sounds like the 60 Minutes interview was too much for Michael Jackson's spokesman, who must have been considering how it would look on his resume being PR advisor for someone who went on national TV to again contend it's perfectly OK to sleep with boys. Jumping ship on this one is a smart career move..... (See our Dec. 29 commentary on the Michael Jackson controversy below)
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:36 AM

Monday, December 29, 2003  

MSNBC - '60 Minutes' not Jackson's finest hour

GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE DEPARTMENT: Bravo for the Washington Post for telling it like it is on the Michael Jackson 60 Minutes interview. Of course, their comments echo my pithy comments on the interview and Michael Jackson controversy in general. (See our Dec. 29 commentary on the Michael Jackson controversy below.)
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:06 PM



Yes, he was amazlingly sympathetic, all right.
Michael Jackson on 60 Minutes oozed a (seemingly) childlike innocence.
He said he felt "hurt." He said he would "slit my wrists" before ever hurting a child. And he made it clear that he thinks there is nothing wrong about sleeping in the same bed with young boys.
People may (and will) debate his guilt or innocence long after the upcoming trial is over, even if there is a ton of evidence to support the allegations. The reason: there is a clear belief in America that if you are famous somehow the rules that would apply to your unfamous and unrich neighbor Sidney Schmecklebaum down the street would not apply to you. We don't have royalty; we have celebrities.
And that's CORRECT: no matter what, if your neighbor or my neighbor had kids over his house and slept with them, no matter how pristine he insisted it was he would likely be behind bars a bit longer than Michael Joe Jackson was. There would also be very little sentiment in favor of your poor (literally and figuratively) neighbor Sidney if he repeatedly and loudly insisted there was nothing wrong about having the boys in bed with him.
But then he isn't anyone famous, whose music people loved (even if the love is in past tense). No one can play the "race card" for Sidney (I am amazed it's being played for Michael Jackson. The prototype of an African-American male in the 21st century he ain't).
OH DID I FORGET? CBS did this interview as a condition for airing the Jackson "hits" special that had been put on hold after the allegations surfaced. Could Sidney have had such a high profile (in any job or situation) after the allegations? I doubt it.
Let's face it: celebrity brings power and money and a whole legion of fans with it who will overlook their hero's/heroine's frailities and go through all kinds of mental gymnastics to defend them (much like political partisans on BOTH SIDES these days defend their friends, overlook their frailities and failures, but demonize all their opponents. Both sides throw out standards to defend "their" people when they screw up)l
Michael also told of being locked in a jail bathroom peppered with "doo-doo" (big deal; then it's like any high school restroom) and being treated roughly by police. The POLICE treating anyone roughly? How can that be?
Actually, from his constant talk about "hurting" to his protestations of purely innocent intentions, to his contention that he views children as the "face of God" (he has obviously never baby sat or worked as substitute teacher) this interview would have been PERFECT PR -- except that Jackson is STILL insisting its OK for him to sleep with young boys.
In other words, folks, if he gets off the sleepovers will continue and we will have lowered the bar morally AGAIN in this country. Indeed, the bar will have been lowered so much that the bar will be resting squarely on the floor.
Meanwhile, Sidney will have a court case he can point to. All he'll have to say is "I love children." And, under this new standard, he will also be right...
---Joe Gandelman
Go to this link for news story:

Scotsman.com News - International - Jackson goes on offensive as child abuse trial looms

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:58 PM


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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:17 PM


Greetings!! Welcome to THE MODERATE VOICE which...we hope....will be a different kind of "blog." I'm not a Democrat, I'm not a Republican. I'm not a Liberal, I'm not a Conservative. I'm a moderate...but I'm ALWAYS right. I threw that one in to make sure you're awake. Those are the jokes, folks.
This is a "blog" uninfluenced by left or right talk-radio, unmoved by suggestions that commentary should fit an ideology or be lockstep-loyal to or lockstep-opposed to any political leader. It's by an authentic registered Independent who sees great merit and flaws in both political parties.....so hopefully here you'll get a slightly different perspective. As the solidiers in Iraq recently said to the captured Sadaam Hussein as they pulled him out of his spiderhole and handed him a bottle of mouthwash: "Enjoy!"

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:04 PM