Monday, October 12, 2009
Now if I can only locate a time machine...
Dear Myself of 2004:
About that crazy blog you just started... Well, here I am exactly five years later, and wouldn't you know it? It's still here, stronger than ever, and celebrating its fifth birthday today, October 12, 2009. Yeah, no joke.
The readership is growing by leaps and bounds. Okay, small leaps and bounds, but a lot more than on this day in 2004. The various articles posted here (over 900 so far!) have been read, cited, lauded, criticized and quoted by blogs both big and little, websites, print publications and even mainstream media sources covering all sides of the ideological spectrum. Things have gotten so prosperous here that I have become a multi-millionaire, and am preparing to retire to my new villa on Italy's Lake Como.
Okay, just kidding about that last one. Gotta give you hope, right?
In fact, the economy just plain stinks right now. We're in the middle of perhaps the worst recession in recent memory. Things got so bad that the government had to step in last year and bail out Wall Street, the banking industry and the country's big automakers. Jobs are tough to come by, credit is tight, and health care costs are through the roof. Yes, the Bush Administration really drove this great country into the ground during his second term.
Oh, did I mention that Bush won in 2004? Crazy, huh? Especially since we all had such high hopes that Kerry would prevail (though he was a pretty milquetoast candidate). Needless to say, Bush was even worse in his second term. And one would think that he would have learned after terrorists used our own planes to kill 3000 people on American soil, right? Wrong! In 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast and almost wiped New Orleans right off the map. What was our president doing while that was going on? Goofing off in Arizona while he and his inept FEMA crew watched people drown. Yes, for a time it looked as if the Republicans were going to turn our country into a third world basket case.
To answer your question, yes, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are still plodding along. Still doesn't look like either will end soon. And just last week, we even shot a missile at the moon (don't ask...). To answer your next hypothetical question, no, we still haven't found Osama bin Laden, though it looks like Roman Polanski will finally be brought to justice. Oh, and we also locked up Phil Spector, Martha Stewart and Paris Hilton. Yes, we are just a little bit safer.
Well, people grew tired of the Republicans' elephant and pony show in 2006, and voted to turn over Congress to the Democrats, who elected the first female House Speaker in American history (Nancy Pelosi). And finally, Republicans had people to blame for all the problems facing the country.
The 2008 election was one of the most fascinating in history. The Republicans were hauling water uphill after two disastrous Bush terms. Nonetheless, they all rallied begrudgingly around John McCain (yeah, I know he's old). And the McCain campaign essentially defeated itself, with a candidate that was clueless as the economy completely fell apart in September 2008. And his choice of running mate, the ditzy governor from Alaska, Sarah Palin, was a disaster. She actually bragged that she had strong foreign policy experience due to the fact that, if one were to stand at the western-most point of her home state and squint really hard, they could actually see the part of Russia where nobody lives.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton couldn't quite pull it all together. And neither could John McCain. Because you see, the one person who finally grabbed that brass ring, and the presidency, and won with more votes than any other person in U.S. history, was a man named... Barack Obama. Barack Hussein Obama.
Needless to say, this didn't sit well with those white suburban Republicans. They were no doubt horrified at the idea of a black liberal Democrat, and his black family, living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And remember back in your day when the 'tighty-righties' (as I/you like to call them in 2009) got all heated whenever anyone tried to compare Bush to Adolf Hitler? Well, guess what they're calling President Obama. Pretty silly, really. Things have gotten so ridiculous that these same so-called 'patriots' (or hatriots) are actually rooting for America to fail, if only to spite the president. How's that for patriotism?
We're getting closer and closer to something resembling health care reform, along with something called the 'public option'. The wingnuts have called this idea everything from Marxist to socialist to Nazi. Funny, I didn't realize Stalin and Hitler were known specifically for their health care plans.
But enough about politics. What about the state of liberal media. After all, that's why you started this silly thing, right? Believe it or not, Air America is indeed still around. Yeah, I know -- shocking, isn't it? Granted, they have gone through quite a few ownership changes, and even a bankruptcy, but they're still alive and kicking. Granted, they're quite different now on the air. People like Randi Rhodes, Janeane Garafalo and Mike Malloy are no longer there. There has been a little internal turmoil, and quite a few people went elsewhere. Rhodes, in fact, is now syndicated by Clear Channel. Crazy, huh? But Air America has regrouped, with people like Lionel (yes, you heard that right), Montel Williams (yes, the TV guy), Ron Reagan and others. What about Al Franken? Oh, you mean Senator Al Franken from Minnesota. Yeah, he's really kicking ass so far. Just passed his first amendment last week, as a matter of fact.
Shows and stations have come and gone. People like Malloy, Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann and Stephanie Miller are still around, and doing better than ever. Clear Channel flipped a bunch of their libtalk stations to sports talk over the past few years (the new AM format du jour), but a few others have risen in their place. MSNBC has experienced a renaissance of sorts, building around the popular Keith Olbermann, and added shows featuring Schultz and their hottest new star, Rachel Maddow (yes, the same one from "Unfiltered" back in the day). FOX is still the right-wing paranoia channel. That much hasn't changed.
Speaking of television, that's changed quite a bit now. For one, there's no more static. All the channels are digital now. And good luck finding one of those big tube television sets. Everything's flat-panel, and they are getting cheaper and cheaper. As a result, all Americans can see really terrible 'reality' shows in hi-definition.
As for radio, it still sucks, and even more than before. Clear Channel sold itself to private investors, and had to dump a ton of stations in the process. And the radio dial nowadays sounds crappier than ever. Most music formats and disc jockeys are piped in from other cities. No diversity. No innovative music. And it's obviously pissing off the record labels. So much that they're biting the hands that feed them, by first trying to extort money from webcasters, and now, from the stations themselves. No wonder why so many FM stations are flipping to talk and sports formats. My advice? Buy an iPod. They're getting cheaper and better anyway.
Yeah, the music industry is suffering too. Perhaps it's because there isn't a whole lot of compelling new music out there, at least the stuff that's being promoted. Pretty sad when today's hottest musical talent is the teenage daughter of the guy who sang "Achy Breaky Heart". In 2009, so far, the biggest selling acts are Michael Jackson (who died - yeah, really!) and the Beatles (who just last month re-released their entire catalog in beautifully remastered form with very attractive packaging).
So, what else is going on in the world? Well-known business entities such as Circuit City, Knight Ridder and Pontiac are no more. I can no longer use Radio & Records as a reference. That's gone. And I can't go to the store and pick up a copy of the Weekly World News at the checkout. That's gone too.
But at least there's always sports. Believe it or not, the National Hockey League is still around, though nobody really cares. And would you believe that the Chicago White Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies have both won World Series in the past five years? Yeah, right, you say, and Brett Favre is the quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings. Well, funny you should mention that...
All in all, that's what's been going on the past five years (or, five years into your future leading up to October 12, 2009). It's been a crazy five years. And it almost makes me wonder what's going to happen in the next five.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I just got an email. Looks like it's from myself in 2014. Hmm....
Your 2009 self