No, you're not going to find LeBron James on this list. The man did what any self-respecting capitalist would do: Take the money and run.
Curious, isn't it? Throughout the year, James was catching all sorts of shit for his decision to leave Cleveland for more lucrative, and winning ways, in Miami. Meanwhile, people in positions of real power and authority sold out this country at every turn. Where is the outrage?
Call James a sellout all you like, but this sideshow ain't nothing like the real thing.
In the aftermath of the midterm elections, politicians and pundits on either side of the partisan divide urged Democrats and Republicans to stop their bickering and get down to business. Sound advice, to be sure. But if recent history is any guide, such efforts are doomed from the start. As the saying goes, "The water is wide." And when it comes to putting the interests of everyday Americans before those of partisans and private interests, it's a bridge too far.
Saying this, I'm not being cynical, or partisan for that matter. A clear-eyed assessment of our political system reveals a twisted, shortsighted and self-interested logic that represents a far more ominous threat to our democracy -- and our whole way of life -- than any ideological differences we might have.
The election results are in and, as expected, Democrats took it on the chin. It remains to be seen how the historic gains made by Republicans -- and their Tea Party doppelgaengers -- will play out in the next session of Congress. But as one of MTV's memorable characters put it some years ago, "I've got a bad feeling about this Butthead."
In the meantime, it might be worthwhile to consider a few stories that got spun, overlooked, or just plain ignored amid the deluge of news, analysis and opinion coming out of the 2010 midterm elections. Here, then, in no particular order, are five stories that deserve a closer look.
This year’s campaign season has been more bizarre than usual. From the manufactured controversy over the so-called Ground Zero mosque and Christine O’Donnell’s “I am not a witch” ad to Barack Obama’s “Yes we can, but” moment on The Daily Show, it’s been a long, strange trip.
With a tip of the hat to the Tea Party, and the journalists and pundits who love them, here are a few thoughts on the intersection of media, politics and culture on the eve of Decision 2010.
When I reflect on the news habits of college students today, my thoughts can best be summed up in three words: shock and awe. On the one hand, it's shocking how uninformed and uninterested students are in news and current events. Whether its domestic policy debates or international relations, students are routinely "out of the loop" on the major issues of the day.
On the other hand, I'm awed by the impressive array of communication technologies college students have at their disposal. From traditional media like newspapers, magazines, radio and television, to the new media of the Internet, cell phones, PDAs and social networking sites, young people have unprecedented access to local, national and international news.
With the midterm elections just around the corner, wars and corporate excess ruining the economy and environmental calamity all around us, I’ve been doing quite a bit of wishful thinking of late.
I wish Obama was a socialist.
I wish journalists would get out of show business and do some honest reporting for a change.
Here's a news item that caught my eye last week: National Public Radio is changing its name to NPR.
Of course, with economic calamity devastating communities from Maine to California, environmental catastrophe in the Gulf and grinding occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, public radio's decision to re-brand itself is strictly small potatoes.
Still, I can't help thinking that NPR's re-branding efforts are one more indication that the public is being squeezed out of public radio.
For all of our concern with safety and security -- in our homes, at the airport, and on the border -- our way of life is threatened as never before.
According to national security experts, the threat comes from Islamic extremists, and, to a lesser extent, popular democratic movements in Latin America. For the Tea Party movement, Big Government threatens traditional American values and individual liberties. White supremacist and anti-immigration groups perceive undocumented workers from south of the border as threats to American national identity and culture. Meanwhile, U.S. business interests point to labor and environmental regulations that threaten our competitive advantage in the global marketplace.
And that's just the short list -- the one that plays out on a regular basis in the American news media.
INDIANAPOLIS -- On Monday, June 21, just a few days shy of his 66th birthday, guitar legend Jeff Beck played a sold-out show at the Egyptian Room of the Murat Theater.
If the rare Indianapolis performance is any indication of how his world tour is going, it's safe to say that Jeff Beck is having the time of his life. And why not? He's on a roll.
In January, Beck won a Grammy Award for his instrumental version of the Beatle's classic "A Day in the Life." Since that time, he's toured with fellow Yardbirds alumnus Eric Clapton; released his first studio recording in seven years, Emotion & Commotion (Atco); and performed a tribute to Les Paul at New York City's intimate Iridium Room, on what would have been the guitar innovator's 95th birthday.
Beck opened Monday night's 90-minute set with a cover of the Billy Cobham's "Stratus." Propelled by Narada Michael Walden's explosive percussion, this number put the enthusiastic crowd on notice: "Fasten your seat belts; you're in for a wild ride."
In recent weeks, a handful of seemingly unrelated events -- the BP oil disaster in the Gulf, an Israeli commando raid on a Gaza-bound humanitarian flotilla, umpire Jim Joyce's blown call that cost Detroit Tiger's pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game and reporter Helen Thomas's abrupt retirement from the White House press corps over her controversial remarks on Israel-Palestine -- offer valuable lessons about taking responsibility for one's actions.
Call it an index of accountability.
Despite conflicting reports over the amount of oil that is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, there is no doubt this is the worst oil spill in U.S. history. To date, BP's efforts to control the leak have failed. And while the extent of the environmental damage is difficult to assess at this time, it is clear that the Gulf's ecosystem is in crisis -- and likely will be so for years to come.