Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Studio 60

Yeah, I know, "good TV" is an oxymoron. But every now and then something decent appears, and it's worth noting.

Despite the fact that my big-screen TV is on quite a bit, I really don't watch much regular network TV. The major exception in recent years was The West Wing, especially in the original Aaron Sorkin days. Good TV, that -- and occasionally great.

Well, there's a new West Wing on NBC this fall. Not surprisingly, it's by the West Wing team of Aaron Sorkin and Tommy Schlamme, and it's called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The show is a workplace drama set in a fictional SNL-type weekly live comedy show, and judging from the first episode, it's terrific. Terrific Sorkin dialog, terrific characters, terrific everything. Lots of intelligence, lots of realism, lots of heart. I can't say enough about it. If the quality holds (or builds) from the pilot episode, then Sorkin has another winner on his hands -- and I have a new weekly show I have to watch.

But that's just my opinion; reasonable minds may disagree.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


There's been a lot of fuss and bother this week about the Bush administration's push for new legislation defining U.S. obligations under the Geneva Convention. It's good to see some Republican heavyweights, such as John McCain and Colin Powell, coming down on the side of reason and opposing this bill. Pure and simple, Bush is arguing for the right to torture. It's no more complicated than that.

What McCain, Powell, and others rightly point out is that if we get to ignore the Geneva Convention, then our enemies do, too. So we want to torture some suspected terrorist we hold in a secret prison somewhere. If we do so, then that gives other countries the right to torture any of our soldiers or citizens they may be holding. Tit for tat -- or, if you prefer, the Golden Rule applied in reverse. Beware what you do to others, for they may do so onto you.

But, as with most things in the burgeoning Bush/Cheney dictatorship, this issue is about much more than it seems. It isn't just about the right to torture enemy combatants; it's about the administration's right to do anything they want, with no oversight whatsoever. It's all about the power, the enshrining of the executive as the sole branch of power in the U.S. government. Bush talks a lot about Islamic fascism, but he's well on his way in establishing fascist rule here in the United States. In Bush's world, no rules apply -- not the Geneva Convention, not the U.S. Constitution, not anything. The president and his men should be free to do whatever they please, with no restraints.

This vision of dictatorship America is horrifying. The new Bush doctrine should be stopped in its tracks, and its purveyors thrown from office -- and punished for their crimes against country and humanity. Enough is enough.

But that's just my opinion; reasonable minds may disagree.