Amici:Stranglehold … Ed Gorman’s political thriller couldn’t come at a better time. What with the sleaze and craziness that has taken hold of our political system, what better than a little murder and mayhem (with underpinnings of what life must be like for those inclined to become public servants). The boss and I were talking about this tonight; how anybody desiring to serve in the government has to first think about just what kind of laundry will be aired and at who’s expense. A shame really. As if people who’ve had affairs or illegitimate children or a few too many one night when they got behind the wheel of a car, etc. can't learn from their mistakes and or govern inspite of them. Not to mention how they will have to relive those experiences over and over and over in the worst possible light (television).
The thing I enjoy most about Gorman’s novel is the fairness with which he treats his characters and their particular preferences, political, social, ethical and religious. There are jocks who can speak the mother tongue, walk and chew gum at the same time. There are Republicans who aren’t to be assumed racist, homophobes and/or kings and queens looking down upon their serfs. There are some of those, make no mistake, but there are also Democrats (Dev, for one) who can cringe at similar aspects of his own party (Democrats). When a reader finds fairness, I believe, they are inclined to keep reading. I’ve often (in my late 40’s early 50’s) been put off by some of the more obvious slants in all forms of entertainment. Ultimately, when I’m confronted with FOX or MSNBC-like agendas, I tend to switch channels (or put down a book). Not so with Ed Gorman’s work. While the title, Stranglehold, refers to the grip money has on too many of us, especially those around the aging, yet beautiful starlet, Natalie Byrnes; it also refers to what too many of us (especially those around Ms. Byrnes) will do for it as they stoop pretty low to seize the day.
No spoilers, but this one involves what you’d expect in a political campaign these days (blackmail, sleaze tactics) plus a touch of murder (or two) ... Gorman is smooth and clever and this book’s release is perfectly timed for our upcoming fiasco next Tuesday (where, it seems yet again, no matter who wins/we all lose).
President Obama was on the Jon Stewart show last night and did about as good as he could under the current political circumstances (spinning, spinning, spinning). Stewart was obviously playing nice (nicer than when that idiot from MSNBC - Cramer(?)) was on a year or so ago, but he didn’t follow-up the way TK would have, that’s for sure.
A few questions we would have liked to ask President Obama:
You saw it fit to bail out Wall Street with our money, yet you didn’t protect our jobs in the process; bailed out companies continued and still continue to outsource OUR jobs while they reward themselves with OUR money. Why?
Why weren’t there stipulations to management of the firms that drove our economy (and our 401k’s) into “the ditch” that precluded them from bonuses of any kind?
You let bailed out companies ignore $38 billion in taxes. Why?
And why couldn’t we the people (who paid for the bailouts) borrow our own money (what was left of our 401k’s) without penalty while Wall Street walked away from not only their debt, but also the taxes mentioned above?
To be fair, Stewart did ask Obama why there weren’t any stipulations to preclude insurance companies from increasing their rates 10-40% BEFORE his so-called health reform took place and when the President tried to dodge that one, Stewart was quick to point out that stoppages in increases only came in at absurd increases like 30% but were not in place at 29%.
Well, I guess we’ll know next Tuesday how much further to the right President Obama can go once he loses his majority in the house. Something tells me that if he wants to win in 2012 and Sarah Palin doesn’t run (because that woman can only insure his victory), he may well switch parties.
Oy vey ...
While we’re on politics … here’s why the Tea Party looks so bad … this crap:
Tough guys, eh? I often crack wise about the lack of balls liberal democrats show (and they do) by refusing to demand anything from their party. This is worse. If the Republicans had any balls (and they don’t), they’d refute this party wholesale for acts like the above. What a bunch of punks.
Fascinating video of a murder confession (Colonel Russell Williams) discussed over at Do Some Damage by the Canadian Elmore Leonard, John McFetridge. Watch all the videos on Youtube. Truly fascinating … and handled with what appears to be absolute professionalism by Detective Sergeant Jim Smyth.
What the hell is going on out here!
Lombardi on Broadway … Dustin and the phat Dad and Coach Billy Luisi (my wife’s nephew coaches at Port Richmond high school) will be seeing the play tomorrow night. It’s a beautiful thing.
Meet the team ...