I think this might become a bit of a trend for me, instead of ranting or raving about one thing I might just hit a few at a time. You know like a Whitman’s Sampler of my random thoughts. Who knows, should be a good thing. Especially in the week that was.
We have lots to work with but I will start with the Pope. Pope Benedict is stepping down. Yes he is leaving the Papacy and going into retirement where he is said he will write. It appears that while the Vatican said this was all a recent decision, it has been talked about since the leader of the church struck his head on a trip to Mexico City. The Vatican has many secrets and I will give them a pass on keeping this one close to the vestments. There were three things about the coverage and social media on this story that struck me. Now here is a confession, I check my Twitter feed upon waking up. My phone is my alarm and it is a simple flick of the thumb. Usually it is just to get the latest headlines or such. So before I left my bed I heard the Pope had stepped down so I quickly checked Google for the last time that happened. Thought it was cool that it hadn’t and went downstairs to turn on Morning Joe to discover that the team at MSNBC was still struggling with the question of whether the pope’s resignation was possible. Seriously, a news organization, owned by COMCAST, can’t get on the net and find this hours after the resignation so they do 10 minutes on TV about it. Wow. I guess they need a one-Ipad man as they are all blind. Second were the questions of what happens next. There have been 4 popes in my lifetime and a new one just seven years ago. I think the process which is almost 2000 is easy to remember. Reporting on it shouldn’t be a huge chore. Yet there we were listening to what would be called banter about it on so-called news programs. It seems journalists have forgotten what reporting means. You gather the information, make it concise and tell the people. Not get on air and ask questions like the answer will be a consensus of the people who Tweet. I was hoping that one guy was going to wonder who Catholics would vote for. And lastly was the social media taking a chance to kick the Pope on his way out the door. The sheer vitriol vomited onto the net since Monday is stunning. Now I know the Pope has a dicey past, he also is part of a movement in the Church that longs for old ways and of course has accomplished little to expand the Church in his tenure, but now is not the time for this. I thought the attacks were mostly cheap and the legitimate questions should have come up when he was in the Chair of St. Peter.
For me, election night is my Superbowl, so Tuesday State of the Union was the All-Star Game. The President headed to Congress and gave a progressive, assertive, and at times rehashed speech to a livelier but more polite body. Though some new Tea Party members tried to make it a circus of fools inviting the likes of Ted Nugget, seriously, the draft dodging nut who has threatened the President and Hillary Clinton and was investigated by the Secret Service. The most memorable moment of the President’s speech was the calling for a vote, just a vote, on gun legislation and highlighting a 102 year old woman who took 6 hours to get the point to vote. With victims of gun violence in the room, including a hero police officer and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the President painted a picture of real Americans the importance that the Congress has on these two fundamental issues. Voting rights and safety. It didn’t take long for the right wing noise machine to mock both but they of course are on the wrong side of history and the President really pointed that out. Oh and they had one other problem. You see the party out of power always responds to the speech of the President as in recent years it has become a political dance. The GOP, once again, couldn’t stay focused and that two responses. One from the newest right wing messiah, Marco Rubio. To call his speech a disaster is kind and not because he was parched throughout and leaned off to the side to get the tiniest bottle of water I have ever seen, but because the speech he delivered was a series of right wing talking points apparently written for the Romney campaign that was just laying around. It was like he hadn’t even read or listened to the President’s speech or the last 4 years of anything. More Invisible Obama stuff but while Fox News in its delicious way of being said the President’s speech was just another attempt to buy votes, the President is never ever running for anything else ever. He doesn’t need to garner any more votes. In fact his speech showed that. But Marco Rubio was apparently running against him already. It was sad and frankly I hate to see Rubio become the next Bobby Jindal, but he’s young and if the politics things don’t work out, Poland Springs will put him on their board. Oh and one more thing. He suggested he was not rich, yet he paid off $100,000 in student loans in a few years and bought a $750,000 house. The only people I know who claim poverty in those situations are swindlers and members of the mob (allegedly). So?
The media took a big hit this week with two stories, one everyone was into and the other was a CNN made for TV drama. The first was the police officer who killed two people and maybe more in California and went on the run. I am still trying to figure out why this was a national story and why there was wall-to-wall coverage of this man on all the networks up to 10 minutes before the State of the Union. I imagine with all the murders in the country going on, this one had something but I just couldn’t follow the story. I must be jaded to the idea that that this is too common to spark my interest. But I have a question, how do you stop a good guy with a gun doing bad things with a gun who is now a bad guy with a gun. Apparently it is fire because the cabin he was in burned and I got to watch it like a Yule log live, for an hour, flipping channels, trying to find anyone who would talk about the future of the country and not the future of a man looking to party with Charlie Sheen.
The other story was horrible but again CNN made it their own. A cruise ship broke down. Now I have never been on a cruise but I use to watch the Love Boat so I think we can call me an expert right? Well for CNN’s purposes. Anyway we were given the graphic details of backed up toilets, lack of real food, the long journey back to the US and of course at one point someone on CNN compared the horrors on the boat to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. While I never want to walk down finely upholstered hallways through a sea of human excrement it wasn’t dead bodies in your livingroom. The people on the boat weren’t abandoned they were without power. It seemed excessive in the coverage and Jon Stewart pointed that out, but so did some of the passengers who basically acted like it was terrible for them but they were going back home. The people of Katrina, not so much. I have toyed with taking a cruise, I always imagine it is Vegas with the same people over and over again so you can’t laugh at them as much. But I balk at it now thanks to CNN’s description, I am just glad I didn’t see a Voyage of the Damned reference though that would have made for good theatre on web. (for those who need Google it, or ask someone at MSNBC).
Lastly I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that in the last couple of days an Asteroid passed remarkably close to Earth, inside the orbits of some of our own satellites. A rock the size of the White House it was described as, gave us a few minutes of concern. But I have to ask, how many people think about size in terms of the White House. Anyway that was punctuated by two meteors actually hitting the earth, one in Russia and one in San Francisco. I think that it was a perfect end to the week as it reminded us that on the grand scheme of things in the universe, we still are at the mercy of random rocks flying around the cosmos running into things. That shouldn’t depress you, it should make you want to dance.