Thursday, December 30, 2010
Perhaps no other in recent memory, however, has ingrained himself in various aspects of modern culture the way that retired U.S. Marine Corps drill instructor R. Lee Ermey has.
Ermey, who burst onto the scene as the hectoring drill sergeant in the 1987 Vietnam pic, “Full Metal Jacket,” has carried that persona into nearly every role he’s played. And that’s OK. Ermey isn’t supposed to be a cookie-cutter method actor, drawing on the deep well of raw emotional memories. His job, which he always does pitch-perfect, is to be the gruff drill sergeant/leader.
In short, he’s a no-nonsense guy who is supposed to shape “weak and worthless (fill in with your favorite adjective and/or expletive)” into “fine-tuned killing machines.” That stare, that voice, that ramrod-straight posture and those eyes that burn laser-like into the skulls of his charges does all that...and more.
Ermey was at a Toys for Tots event recently. Beyond asking those in the audience to aid the charity, the world’s most famous drill sergeant lights into the current administration. (He starts about 2:19 into the clip immediately below.)
It would behoove certain politicians to listen to the sergeant...
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
SACRAMENTO, CA - An airline pilot is being disciplined by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for posting video on YouTube pointing out what he believes are serious flaws in airport security. The 50-year-old pilot, who lives outside Sacramento, asked that neither he nor his airline be identified. He has worked for the airline for more than a decade and was deputized by the TSA to carry a gun in the cockpit.
Three days after he posted a series of six video clips recorded with a cell phone camera at San Francisco International Airport, four federal air marshals and two sheriff's deputies arrived at his house to confiscate his federally-issued firearm. The pilot recorded that event as well and provided all the video to News10.
At the same time as the federal marshals took the pilot's gun, a deputy sheriff asked him to surrender his state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon.
A follow-up letter from the sheriff's department said the CCW permit would be reevaluated following the outcome of the federal investigation.
The YouTube videos, posted Nov. 28, show what the pilot calls the irony of flight crews being forced to go through TSA screening while ground crew who service the aircraft are able to access secure areas simply by swiping a card.
"As you can see, airport security is kind of a farce. It's only smoke and mirrors so you people believe there is actually something going on here," the pilot narrates.
Video shot in the cockpit shows a medieval-looking rescue ax available on the flight deck after the pilots have gone through the metal detectors. "This looks a little more formidable than a box cutter, doesn't it?" the pilot asks rhetorically.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Thank goodness the really bright ones are in Washington...running things. (At least we know where they are so we can keep an eye on them.)
Monday, December 20, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
While stumping for Obama’s maligned tax deal at a White House presser Friday, the master triangulator taught his successor a lesson in the art of persuasion. Let’s hope the president was taking notes. Once Barack Obama ceded the podium, there was no stopping him. Bill Clinton, back in the building he called home for eight years, offered a tutorial in how to sell a legislative package in simple terms. Obama watched intently as his predecessor rambled on, perhaps convincing him there was no point in continuing, and that he’d better hustle off to a Christmas party. (The Daily Beast)
The Washington Post saw it this way: "If not a transfer of power, the whole show seemed at least a temporary hand-off. An embattled president, fresh off an electoral shellacking and struggling to sell a controversial tax deal to members of his own party, turned to a former president who, exactly 16 years ago, was struggling to right his own presidency after a defeat of almost similar magnitude. President Obama had invited former president Bill Clinton to the White House for a private talk, the details of which neither man chose to describe. But their public appearance will be long remembered. The sight and sound of Clinton going solo in the White House briefing room, as Obama slipped away to a holiday party, was certainly a head-turner on a slow Friday afternoon. After brief remarks by Obama, Clinton slid behind the lectern as if he'd never left the building. For a time it looked like he might never leave, as he fielded questions from a White House press corps eager to keep him as long as it could. He stroked his chin. He folded his arms and looked pensive. He gesticulated expansively. He was part professor and full politician enjoying the spotlight. After a few minutes, Obama seemed to conclude that he would be better served by being out of the picture than as a bystander. "I've been keeping the first lady waiting for about half an hour, so I'm going to take off," he said. Clinton responded, "Well, I - I don't want to make her mad. Please go." And with that, Clinton had the stage to himself.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
Joseph R. Cerrell, "a legendary political consultant and consummate schmoozer whose unrelenting but principled style won respect from allies and opponents, died of complications related to pneumonia at St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo, Calif. He was 75."
Cerrell’s roster of clients and friends read like an almanac of U.S., California and Los Angeles politics: "from the 1950s forward — [including] John F. Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, Al Gore, Dianne Feinstein, Willie Brown, Jesse Unruh and both Pat Brown and his son, Gov.-elect Jerry Brown."
I was fortunate to have interacted a number of occasions with Joe and his colleagues at Cerrell Associates - the vaunted political consulting and public relations firm he founded in 1967. During the times I worked with Cerrell, I was lucky enough to not only hear his stories of great historical/political figures and events, but I also had numerous opportunities to learn from one of the best.
In a LA Daily News obituary for Cerrell, remarks from two prominent California politicians said it all:
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, called him a "true California legend. He was the indefatigable wise man of California politics. You could always count on Joe to give it to you straight."
- County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said Cerrell was "a legend and giant in the world of politics and public affairs...Joe gave politics a good name. He loved the game and we has a master of it."
Cerrell, with his hands on the car's windshield, was a force behind many major politicians' campaigns. Cerrell served as the youngest-ever chairman of the California Democratic Party. That experience caught the eye of John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1960, and he became Kennedy’s California campaign manager.