Archive for September, 2011

She Spies Back As Charlie’s Angels

September 28, 2011

“She Spies” was an NBC show that aired from September, 2004, through May, 2004. The show used a similar format to Aaron Spelling’s 70’s ABC series “Charlie’s Angels”.

Like “Charlie’s Angels”, “She Spies” featured three women with a male supervisor who battled evil doers.

There were three major differences. The “Spies” worked for a government spy agency rather than a private detective agency like the “Angels”. The “Angels” had been “good girls” who had become bored with the job duties they had had as police officers. The “Spies” were bad girls who were let out of jail to work for the government. The “Angels” used their wits and feminine charms to outsmart the evil doers. The “Spies” used martial arts much like Emma Peel on the 60’s series “The Avengers”.

Oh, there is one other difference, at least to my eyes. The “Angels” were much better looking than the “Spies”.

The new “Charlie’s Angels” involves the Townsend Detective Agency like the original show and Charlie only communicates with his Angels by phone with a man named Bosley serving as their immediate supervisor. However, the new “Angels” resemble the “She Spies” more than the original “Angels”.

The new “Angels” are bad girls like the “Spies”. One had been a cop, but she was a “dirty cop”. They are martial arts experts like the “Spies”.

The first episodes of the two series have an interesting similarity. One of the “She Spies” was temporarily incapacited and they needed to bring in another “bad girl” from jail as a temporary replacement. On the new “Charlie’s Angels” one of the “Angels” is murdered and they have to hire another bad girl, who was a friend of the woman who was killed, as a replacement.

The first episode begins with the Angels kicking in a door and assaulting the kidnappers to rescue a teen who has been kidnapped by sex traffickers. Then as they are leaving the area one of the Angels is blown up in her car.

The woman who becomes the new Angel is suspected by the Angels of killing their partner. When they go to her boat to ask her about it, the bad guys start firing at the boat with a machine gun from a helicopter. The show ends with them beating up the bad guy in charge of the kidnapping operation.

If the first episode indicates what the rest of the series will be like, ABC needs to switch the show to the last hour of prime time from the first hour. The show is too violent for that time period. The show time is strange considering that the nonviolent “Body of Proof” airs in the third hour of prime time.

The new “Charlie’s Angels” isn’t ABC’s first venture with women who are experts in martial arts. ABC produced “the Avengers” and the short lived “Honey West” series in the 60’s. Both series are available on DVD and would be a better choice for viewers even though “Honey West” was in black and white. The Diana Rigg (Emma Peel) episodes of “the Avengers” are particularly worth watching and not just because TV Guide picked Diana Rigg as the sexiest woman of the first 50 years of television. Even in black and white, Anne Francis is sexier than any of the new “Charlie’s Angels”

Martial arts fans have an opportunity to see the original martial arts master, Bruce Lee, in action as Kato in reruns of “Green Hornet” on YOUTV.

Do Rich Deserve Their Money?

September 23, 2011

I’m getting tired of Republicans crying that the “poor” rich shouldn’t have to pay any more of “their” money in federal taxes. Republicans falsely claim that allowing those with high incomes to pay lower taxes will result in creation of new jobs.

Perhaps that is the case with entrepreneurs like Donald Trump or the owners of small businesses.

However, many, if not most, of those with high incomes, including corporate CEO’s, work for someone else. They aren’t going to use any tax cut money to create new jobs at their employers’ businesses. Many corporate executives look for ways to reduce the number of people working at their companies so more money will be available to pay them.

How many high income people really deserve the income they receive? The Wall Street executives who wrecked the companies they worked for certainly didn’t deserve the large bonuses they received from President Barack Obama.

In 2005, federal prosecutors got a conviction of Westar CEO David Wittig and assistant Douglas Lake for looting the corporation to increase their own income. However, a Supreme Court ruling favorable to corporate executives receiving questionable compensation caused the conviction to be overturned and prevented another successful prosecution. Wittig had been previously convicted of a crooked loan scheme with a Topeka banker who increased Wittig’s line of credit so Wittig could loan him money for a real estate venture.

NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman told Jay Leno recently that the NBA really needed to restructure its labor contract because many teams were paying players $20 million a year just to sit on the bench. Fans sometimes complain that some highly paid athletes don’t play like they deserve what they are being paid.

The Christian Science Monitor reported in 2010 that 30 private college presidents had incomes of over one million. How can anyone justify paying a college president a million a year, particularly considering the high cost of college? Millionaire college presidents aren’t likely to use their “tax cut” money to create jobs. If they were interested in creating new jobs they would take lower salaries.

Some major colleges pay athletic coaches million dollar salaries as if they were profit making businesses rather than charitable organizations. College coaches are unlikely to use any tax cut money to create new jobs. They are in coaching to make as much money as they can.

The sports programs they work for are preoccupied with making money. Schools jump from conference to conference depending upon how much money they can make. Congress needs to consider taxing major college sports programs like professional sports teams. At the very least Congress should eliminate the practice of allowing tax deductible “contributions” to major college sports programs. Tax deductions for payments to organizations should be eliminated to those organizations that exist to help others. College sports programs exist to make a profit in the form of high pay for sports employees.

Colleges aren’t the only “charities” that help their executives and coaches get rich. Some charities pay very high salaries to their top executives. Many environmental organizations pay multiple executives over $200,000 per year.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of America at one time was paying its CEO nearly a million in salary and benefits. The March of Dimes CEO has received over $600,000 a year.

Actor Charlie Sheen might have used some of his tax cut money for some “fun dates” but not to create permanent jobs. A few actors may finance their own movies and touring singers may be responsible for paying band members and “roadies”. How many overpaid actors use tax cut money to hire anyone other than domestic staff for their mansions.

If income were based on one’s contribution to the welfare of society, farm workers would be much better paid than entertainers.

If Republicans want to use the tax system to encourage business owners to add jobs, Congress should allow deduction for any expenses, including equipment purchases, associated with hiring new employees. This approach would reward those who hire new employees. The Republican approach rewards those owners who don’t hire new employees by allowing them to keep more of their incomes. The Republican approach also rewards those who have no interest in using the income they receive from their employers to hire new workers.

Thoughts on 9/11

September 13, 2011

I learned about the 9/11 attack a little later than most people. I worked second shift and usually got up around 10:30.

When the clock radio came on the announcer wasn’t making much sense to a brain that wasn’t completely awake. He was saying something about the Pentagon and Vice President Cheney with the word “unprecedented” being mentioned. I thought at first that something had happened to Cheney.

I went into the living room and turned on the television to one of the news channels. With the frequent replays of the morning’s events it took some time for me to determine what had already happened and what was happening at that time.

I was glad that ABC New Commentator Paul Harvey had returned to work by 9/11. He had been off for an extended period due to a throat problem, but had returned in August. Harvey had a positive attitude and frequently reminded his listeners that whatever the situation was it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. He recognized that emphasizing the negative made the situation seem worse than it was.

I wasn’t surprised that something like the 9/11 attack had happened. I wasn’t expecting anything of that scale, but I was expecting more terrorist attacks such as those that had been happening against American interests elsewhere in the world

The media had been reporting lapses in airline security for some time, so I wasn’t surprised that terrorists might hijack airplanes. There had been movies about terrorists using aircraft in this manner. I wouldn’t have expected President George W. Bush to anticipate such a possibility but the people at the FBI and the CIA should have.

U.S. support for the tyrant known as the Shah of Iran had led to an attack on the American embassy in Tehran after the Iranian people overthrew him.

After I learned the identities of the suspected hijackers I realized I was right that the decision to base American forces in Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War was a very bad idea. Western nations, including the U.S., have been pushing around Middle Eastern countries for too long.

The basing of American forces in what Muslims regard as their Holy Land may have been enough to push some Saudis over the edge and provoke them to commit suicide by flying planes into various American buildings. The U.S. had ignored the significance of a previous attack on American forces in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi government might have welcomed American bases to protect them from Iraq, but may of their citizens viewed the bases as the home of an foreign occupation force.

American leaders often seem ignorant of the fact that members of other cultures sometimes view the world and military conflicts differently from Americans. The failure to recognize this difference in viewpoint hampered the U.S. war effort in Vietnam.

I learned from one of the recent broadcast 9/11 related documentaries that Osama bin Laden had wanted the U.S. to invade Afghanistan because he believed the U.S. would lose. Bin Laden may not have contemplated a traditional military victory. Instead of a traditional victory he may have been thinking in terms of dragging out the fighting until Americans got tired of the battles and left like they did in Vietnam.

North Vietnam never won a major battle in Vietnam until two years after American forces left. The Tet offensive was not a communist victory because they couldn’t keep any places they took and much of the Viet Cong was destroyed. When the U.S. left Vietnam its allies were in charge of the government that controlled South Vietnam which was the American goal in Vietnam. However, the American media had previously decided the war was lost because it lasted so long.

Bin Laden may have been hoping for a similar outcome. Dragging out the fighting until Americans decided they couldn’t “win” would allow him, or his successors, to claim they had defeated the “Great Satan” and use the “victory” as a recruiting tool.

The 9/11 attack was the start of a war that is continuing. We cannot afford to abandon the war effort just because the war appears to be endless. Americans often mistakenly claim that the Vietnam War was the nation’s longest war. Actually Vietnam was merely a conflict within the long running Cold War, as was the Korean War. America stood firm in the Cold War and eventually the enemy quit.

We must continue to stand up to the terrorists because if we don’t take the war to them, they may bring the war back to us. One of the reasons the terrorists haven’t launched another major attack on the U.S. is because they are busy fighting our army.

Reminding Americans of 9/11

September 5, 2011

I suspect that many Americans will ignore the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks unless they are reminded in a way they cannot ignore.

When people know they are in a war they often use sirens to warn when the enemy is attacking. No sirens were sounded to warn of 9/11 because Americans didn’t realize they were under attack until the attacks were over. The only plane for which a warning was given was brought down by its heroic passengers before it could reach its target.

The anniversary of the 9/11 attacks provides an opportunity to remind Americans that the fact 9/11 happened means not only that such an attack can happen, but it could happen again if we become as complacent as we were ten years ago.

No sirens sounded on 9/11/2001, but we could sound sirens this year to remind Americans that we are still in danger of a potential attack.

For those in the Eastern time zone, storm sirens would sound at the exact time of each plane crash. In the Central time zone, cities might do like they do with television and sound the sirens while they are sounding in the Eastern time zone. Due to the early hour of the first attacks, sirens in the Mountain time zone and farther west, particularly in Alaska and Hawaii, might sound at the same time of day as the attacks. The Central time zone might want to consider a similar approach.

In communities without storm sirens, emergency vehicle sirens might be used. Truck air horns could be used in place in rural areas where there aren’t any emergency vehicles. Church bells were often used to warn of danger in the past and could be used along with sirens or instead of sirens. This action would be particularly appropriate considering the anniversary will be on Sunday.

In addition to, or instead of, the sirens, the emergency alert system for radio and television might transmit a reminder at the time of each attack. There were four crashes and we have four living former presidents. Perhaps each of them could remind people of one of the attacks.

I’ve been watching 9/11 documentaries the last week. Some of them have mentioned the failure to recognize the significance of information indicating the attack threat even among those whose profession was to watch for such threats. A national feeling that the continental U.S. was some how immune from any significant foreign attack may have prevented people at the FBI and CIA from recognizing the threat.

These professionals had forgotten that a similar failure to recognize a potential threat had allowed the Japanese to pull off a highly successful surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. There is a theory that President Franklin Roosevelt withheld intelligence information from Pearl Harbor commanders. Commanders at Pearl Harbor should have recognized there was a threat of attack without inside information because there was a war on.

Terrorist attacks had occurred in other parts of the world before 9/11. People at the FBI and CIA should have been watching for any signs that someone might attack America itself.

The fact that no major attack has happened since 2001 may be causing some to feel the problem of terrorist attacks has been solved. Those who feel this way are ignoring the fact that the terrorists most likely to get away with such an attack have been busy fighting our military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Those attempting terrorist acts in the U.S. have been individuals who don’t have the ability of the 9/11 hijackers or those who have conducted terrorist acts outside the U.S. Some would be local terrorists have been so careless they have made the mistake of letting undercover officers become a part of their conspiracies.

There are a couple of interesting 9/11 series currently running. “Inside 9/11” on the National Geographic Channel is an investigative series. “Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero” on the Discovery and Science channels deals with replacing the World Trade Center. The episodes “Reclaiming the Skyline” follows construction of the tallest new building. One of the iron workers the show focuses on had a father who was injured building the original World Trade Center.