16
Oct
07

Guest blogger Steven Weber invites you to debate

There is no doubt we’re on the right when it comes to politics, and this blog serves as our sounding board for our thoughts and ideals. We try to do it with humor and not the anger that seems to dominate the blogosphere, but we don’t always succeed. One topic we’ve railed on from time to time is actors entering the political arena, and we haven’t always It's really him.been very kind to them (see Sean Penn). So when we wrote about the comments on an entry at Huffington Post last week by actor Steven Weber we took a couple of pot-shots at him while ranting about the comments he received over there. Much to our surprise, he found us and started commenting. This led to an idea; why not start talking?

We invited Weber to post for us thinking he would say no, but, much to his credit, he said yes. Below is the first of what we hope will be many posts from him. We do not agree with his opinions on politics, the war, regulation, media ownership or damn near anything, but if you can’t have a debate with your opponent (and that’s what the Left in this country is, our opponent, not our enemy), then we’ll never win. So we choose to take them on, indirectly always and directly when possible. But be we and Weber want your input as well. The comment section is open for you to rebut or agree with him and he will reply there as he sees fit and time allows.

Two simple rules: 1 No matter which side you’re on, don’t be a douchebag. Write whatever you want but this forum is for debate, not being an asshole. 2 We allow you to enter any name you want when you post comments, so you can use any name you want except Steven Weber. We have his email address, you don’t. If you comment under his name and didn’t enter his email address, your comment will be edited to show that you are a fraud and we will enter your email address on every spam list the planet has to offer. This actually falls under rule number one, but we wanted to be clear.

Other than that, have at it! No questions are out of bounds because no one is forced to answer anything they don’t want to. We want a clean fight, but a bloody one. As long as when it’s all over we can sit back and have a drink together at the end of the day, it’s all good.

Politics, shmolitics – by Steven Weber

What the hell is it good for nowadays, anyway?

I mean, since Ted Q. Voter has about as much potency as a crawfish
fart jettisoned in a hurricane and since policy is determined by the
lobbyists doing the special interest slap-and-tickle, the energy
spent by Republicans and Democrats denigrating each other’s symbiotic
doctrines is, quite simply, retarded and might be better spent
providing, say, better lighting in airport men’s rooms. Politics has
become as culturally relevant as obese transvestite prostitutes in
tube-tops arguing over turf on The Jerry Springer Show. But the
political process itself has also taken on the essence of a low-brow
brawl, like Goya’s painting in which two behemoths stuck knee deep in
a quagmire, seemingly unable or unwilling to escape, are doomed to
beat each other with cudgels as the rest of the world watches,
cringing from a safe distance.

While much of the progressive legislation of the last 70 years has
been challenged, derided and in many cases gutted by those who prefer
an “ownership society” to country in which its government judiciously
wields a safety net, there has not been a reasonable reassessment of
America’s needs in the 21st century. Instead, it seems that far from
benefitting individual Americans, it is the corporations that have
reaped the lion’s share of benefits, leaving the poor, the elderly
and the disenfranchised in increasingly precarious positions. The
presumption of an “ownership society” is that people do not need
intervention, that if anything, a person in trouble lacks moral
fortitude, that if they stopped being lazy rabble and detached the
business end of their faces from the government teat, they could
become productive, profitable members of this great country of ours.
But widespread though that attitude is, it is flawed, short-sighted
and dangerously arrogant. It has the same divisive logic that drives
someone to want to eradicate (por ejemplo) all affirmative action
programs because racism no longer exists. The solution to our
country’s (and our world’s) problems lay not in tribal chest thumping
or a reversion to slicker versions of feudalism but in abrogating the
extremist’s hold on power, to make it harder for those with
immoderate doctrines to monopolize the media, the major political
parties and most importantly, people’s attentions. The game’s become
more candy than candor. And candy leads to millions of pyorrhea-
ravaged mouths in search of a decent and affordable dental plan.

All I’m saying is, can’t we all just get along? And if not, can’t the
sex be better?

Update: We’ve been getting emails asking why he hasn’t responded yet from a lot of people.  Just wait, the man works for a living and he doesn’t have a job that has him sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours a day (and if he were sitting in front of one it would probably be a prop).  He will when he can.  Chill out, it’s all good.

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25 Responses to “Guest blogger Steven Weber invites you to debate”


  1. 1 Hambone
    October 16, 2007 at 11:41 am

    Steven – The guest post is appreciated. I agree with your last paragraph; you should come out for a drink next time you’re in DC. I think we’d all get along just fine. No promises on the sex, though…this ain’t Hollywood.

  2. 2 LongTimeReaderFirstTimePoster
    October 16, 2007 at 11:58 am

    I’m really happy to discover that there is a Hollywood liberal who is willing to engage the right (or, at least, as it is represented by the drunks at FF) in an intellectual discussion about the issues. And one with a real sense of humor, too! I’d be willing to say a lot more nice stuff about Steven Weber – using more exclamation points, if necessary – but first I’m going to need to get the 3rd season of Once and Again on DVD.

  3. 3 Jason
    October 16, 2007 at 11:59 am

    Steven, great to have you on board. Let me just say that I was the guy who actually watched and loved Studio 60. What the heck happened? My wife and I made it required viewing. Why that show dies when shows like Dancing with the Stars thrive is an epic mystery.

  4. 4 James B
    October 16, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Steven,

    First of all, I want to thank you for joining the discussion. In the name of full disclosure, can you tell us where you stand in supporting a presidential candidate for the democratic primary? It seems to me that your angst against the “ownership society” probably taggs you as a Hillary supporter.

    JBD

  5. 5 Tom K
    October 16, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    Steven,
    I don’t want to kiss your butt, nor do I want to debate just for the sake of debate. But I do want to add to these comments in the hopes it brings you back to blogging for another week. I will say I agree with your judgement of the extreme on both sides. Anyone with half a brain should realize anything extreme is bad, if not downright dangerous.

    Now for my thoughts on the teat. I probably enjoy a good teat more than the next guy. But if you lay at home all day sucking on the teat (as fun as that is) you won’t be motivated to go out and do your job. Teat, job. Teat. Job. I’d have to say if those were my only two options I’d have to choose the teat. I guess it’s a good thing I can’t get laid more often, or I’d never show up at work. Thanks for the blog.

  6. October 16, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    I think you’ve identified a real problem: politicians who come to Washington and never leave.
    For example, last year, everybody talked about the political landslide here in DC. But, while it’s true that control of congress changed hands, how many seats actually did? 25 or 30?
    Suppose if, in your high school class of 435 people, 30 moved one summer and were replaced by 30 new people. You’d certainly notice a few different faces, but for the most part your life would go on very much as before. Well, that’s what’s happened in congress.
    The fact is that 90% of congressional seats are rock solid. The officeholder gets 65% OR MORE of the vote every year. Some get into the 90% range.
    Very few of us live in a competitive district. The political process has passed us by, because the politicians would prefer not to face the competition.
    We’d all benefit from real redistricting that would make more House members vulnerable.

  7. 7 Hambone
    October 16, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Rich, that’s why we need term limits.

  8. 8 Military Industrial Complex
    October 16, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    Steven,

    Thanks for joining the conversation. What do you think about bringing back the draft? Wouldn’t that solve two problems at once? One, give individuals from a dysfunctional background the discipline and skills to succeed, and two, provide a larger Armed Forces to meet the needs of the coming conflicts in the 21st Century.

  9. 9 firstfriday
    October 16, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    Steven,
    Thanks for agreeing to do this, let’s hope it’s as fun and informative as we’d like it to be. As a contributor to the FF blog I just found out about this deal this morning and was very excited. I’m sure we will all have a lot more questions once the conversation gets going and the star struck factor passes.
    Welcome.
    I also think it’s pretty cool and funny that the only person who posts with a name on a conservative blog is a not a conservative.
    Sincerely,
    I have no name on here

  10. 10 Allen W
    October 16, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    Out of curiosity, what are you personally willing to give up to help the less fortunate? If you rail against individualism and the ownership society, should you not lead by example or would you prefer everyone be forced by government into a system that takes care of what you seem to see as a responsibilty?
    Just curious. And welcome.

  11. 11 Jennifer
    October 16, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    I don’t think anyone is saying racism doesn’t exist any more, but that affirmative action is the wrong way to address it. I would be in favor of an affirmative action policy that was based upon economics, not race (or gender, for that matter, even though I would personally benefit from it) and only for college admission. A poor kid of any color is more deserving of special consideration than a wealthy one no matter what color. And education is the best way out of poverty, aside from the lottery it’s really the only way out. After college everyone is on their own but a shot at an education should consider where someone is from and the circumstances they grew up in, not the amount of pigment their skin has or which sex organs they have.

  12. 12 Steven Weber
    October 16, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    Wow! I’m standing in the midst of actual Red Staters! I feel a tingling, visceral thrill, as though I slathered myself with ground chuck and walked into a den of ravenous marsupials (don’t read too much into my choice of species. It’s just what popped up on my cyber-thesaurus).

    First, thanks for welcoming me. Second, I will endeavor to answer as many comments as I can, in as witty a fashion as I am capable. Watch this:

    Comment #1: Hollywood does not have as much sex as people assume, unless you count masturbation, in which case it’s a miracle you can get anyone on the phone.

    Comment #2: I enjoy engaging in intellectual discussions, except where I have to prove any of the points I am making. Also, while many of my friends think I have a decent sense of humor, I don’t take it for granted and still respect people’s right to disagree on that matter.

    Comment #3: Studio 60’s death had to do with the vast corporate right wing conspiracy that has a stranglehold on all things creative, no matter how pompous or unrealistic some art might actually be. While it actually had reasonably good ratings, it didn’t generate advertsining revenue sufficient to feed the machine. Shows like “Dancing With the Stars”, however, do. They cost a lot less to produce and do not contain provocative content (unless you consider Marie Osmond doing the tango provocative which, after a few shots, might very well be the case). I think the show had a lot to offer but it would be hard for anything to survive under such intense scrutiny. And there was no sex.

    Comment #4: While I am more or less a Liberal, I am not a Hillary supporter—at this time. I don’t see her as patently evil or a lesbian (as if that would be bad!) or anything else negative the more shrill sections of the Right likes to paint her as being. I do think she is intelligent and would be more than able to govern. That said, I do think that she is as much a tool of special interests as Bush is, and has to kiss ass and make deals as much as any politician ever has. I do like the fact that she’d bring a woman’s touch to the table, something long overdue. And while we are on the same side ideolgically, I like my leaders a little more artful, a little more accessible. Not just the pseudo-folksy “gonna clear brush while Rome burns” kind of thing that, shockingly, still appeals to some. They don’t have to be charismatic whirlwinds but they should possess qualities of leadership that compliment their intelligence and enhance their ability to articulate policy clearly. You know, like the editors of First Friday.

    Comment #5: You mentioned “teat” and “can’t get laid” a lot. I think that speaks for itself.

    Comment #6: You might be right. But what about shouts of there having been a “Republican mandate” after the 2000 and 2004 elections? If there is only a slight tip in the balance then all the semantic bullcrap in the world can’t change reality for those who actually have to live it. It’s either a case of people unable to face the truth about their actual status or a desperate attempt to convince others. How about accurate assessments? We’re all grown ups (or will be eventually).

    Comment#7: Um…yeah, what he said. I think.

    Comment #8: Hmm. As a guy who respects and believes in the pacifist approach, I also tear up quite a bit when I watch “Saving Private Ryan”. But don’t you think that if the war had much wider support there would be no shortage of people ready to sign up? There must be a reason as to why enlistment is so low, why troop strength is barely adequate and why we need shady firms like Blackwater to shore up the ranks. To me, stemming any potential conflicts that may arise in the coming century have more hope of succeeding if the root causes are addressed: poverty, hunger, inadequate education. There is no glory in war, there never has nor ever will. And as a father of two boys, it would take a goddam lot for me to want them to fight in a war, a lot more than what this administration is telling me are the reasons for doing so. As a Liberal, it would be easy to take sides against a Conservative on this or most other political theatre issues. But as a citizen, as a person, as a parent who, like everyone else, has a limited time on this earth, why would the pursuit of any policy where war would be necessary make sense? However, as to helping disenfranchised or dysfunctional people find structure and discipline and skills and a sense of satisfaction that will lead to their becoming good, productive human beings? I’m all for it. How about the Peace Corps?

    Well, FF’er’s, I’m (ironically) bushed. I hope you had fun. I know I did.

  13. October 16, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    Steven, your #8 comment does good for the anti-war cause. Having a good friend just return from Bagdhad, and being friends of his family, I vividly recall the conversations we had about his reservations once he was deployed. The family members loaded me up with questions due to my opposition to the Bush Crime Family’s policies. Oddly, most of the war supporters are men and women realistically within the age requirements, yet are usually found at the Heritage Foundation, or the local bar cheerleading the trail of carnage we are leaving in Iraq. I believe the reguritation of reasons (the thousands of them) by the crowd here at FF is lock step with RNC talking points, it’s truly a shame. Look forward to you on Stephanie Miller soon.

  14. 14 firstfriday
    October 16, 2007 at 7:16 pm

    Wellstone, been a while. Been in jail or something?
    Anyway, your mind is as open as ever, which is to say it’s a blackhole without the mass or interstellar charm. You served in the military, right? You must have because there is no way you would be a double standard douchebag, right? The chickenhawk garbage is getting old. The President is Commander in Chief and is a civilian, not a military position (read the Constitution). There is no requirement of military service, not even if you read it as a living document. By your logic no President who didn’t serve could ever engage in military action, not even if attacked. So we would have to elect generals.

    Also, by your “logic” you are not allowed to speak on matter of war and peace, in fact, no one who hasn’t served could, no matter which side of the issue you’re on.

    We’d gladly made that deal with your side so the “leaders” of the anti-war movement would be forced to shut up and stop demoralizing our troops and undercutting their efforts. And the Left would finally stop trying to score political points with the lives of our soldiers.

    Sure, you’d have a few and they would get a lot of face-time in the media because they fit the mold. But that’s a trade we’d take, too.

    Unless, naturally, you’ve served in the military. Just curious since that seems to be the yardstick by which you measure an American’s ability to use their First Amendment right on certain issues. Silly us, we assumed it meant anyone was able to speak on any thing they wanted, even topics about which they know nothing. If we’re wrong we’re sorry to know that you’ll have to delete your blog.

  15. October 16, 2007 at 10:21 pm

    I have never said in order to take military a President must have served. The continued rhetoric of “I am gonna listen to my Generals” is crap. Those said Generals that told thhis White House what would be needed, or a stradegy is in order wind up fired or handed early retirment. As recent as this week returning captains from Iraq say a withdrawl or a draft are in order. Regional short term success is not a stradegy. Holding on to flawed concepts will not stop a civil war, and that is an opinion of a soldier who just came home to Michigan a week ago. And no, he is not a phony soldier. With the refusal to actually listen to those who have served, and those retired,fired or swiftboated the Republican’s clouded idea of victory is just flawed. We have over 3,800 dead, and close to 25,000 wounded for life. I have to side with Mr. Weber on the practice of pacifism. To answer your question, no I have not served, yet I value the opinion of those who are currently serving or veterans of war. While many of those opinions vary, they come from experience. I read recently, I cannot remember who wrote it, but it said “killing people who kill people to show them that killing is bad is awfully primitive”. I agree. I also find it funny that Bush can say to Maliki you need to listen to your people…he does not even listen to his. If you choose to want to cheerlead failed policies, I suggest you get your collective complicit asses to the recruitment office and go do battle. Otherwise, promote something constuctive like ending this debacle and protecting our borders from a future attack.

  16. 16 firstfriday
    October 16, 2007 at 10:26 pm

    You value the opinion of those who have served who agree with you and dismiss, ignore or undercut the opinions of those who serve and think differently. Don’t fool yourself into thinking otherwise. The readers and those who leave comments with Iraq centcom emails disagree with you. They are wrong, pressured, bought off or not worth listening to in your book. Not fair-minded.

  17. October 16, 2007 at 11:25 pm

    Did you happen to see in comment that “many of those opinions vary”. Whether or not I agree with every soldier is irrelevant. I am told stories by friends that have served, and read conflicting reports. I do however wish them all home, and in one piece and alive. Answer me this, why are we there? How about this one “O.peration I.raqi L.iberation, oh yeah, that one was already chosen. WMDS, darn that was spoken as well. I think General Abizaid has it correct, “we are treating the Arab countries like giant gas stations”

  18. 18 firstfriday
    October 16, 2007 at 11:34 pm

    What you don’t remember about the build up to war we could just about cram into the Grand Canyon. We suggest you go back and read the President’s speech to Congress on the reasons for war. Yes, we pluralized it purposefully because there were more than the one you always site. And you never fail to find quotes that fit your agenda and always ignore or undercut those that do not. General Patraeus is wrong in your opinion because he disagrees with your opinion, he’s a tool of the White House, right? Who knows more about Iraq and what’s going on there, not just in one area, but the whole country, you or him? It is impossible and pointless to debate someone who selects their “experts” according to whether or not they agree with the conclusion they’ve already reached.

  19. October 16, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    Selecting experts? Surely you jest? You guys spend countless hours linking the likes of Michele Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, and the Republican Party. You never chose to type the words of Eric Shinsheki, the vets over at IVAW, or the several retired Generals who are speaking out about these current policies. Talk about cherry picking intelligence…oh wait I forgot, Republicans are quiute effective in that practice. You guys are on the Hill, and I find it astounding that you ignore ignore the “facts on the ground” right in your own backyard. The Hunt Oil agreement reached with Iraq is not suspect of more cronyism? Our brothers and sisters continue to die for oil companies, and it is morally wrong. The stench oozing out of this white house is, as John Dean states “much worse than watergate”. I suggest you guys jump on the Goldwater/Miller 08′ bandwagon and save some of your integrity.

  20. 20 James B
    October 17, 2007 at 12:01 am

    First Friday, thanks for calling out Wellstone. You mentioned Gen David Petraeus in your last response…I would suggest Welstone also refer to the comments and opinions of many other general officers such as: LTG William Caldwell, Admiral mark Fox, BG Jonathan Shaw (British Army, Commander in Basra) and LTG Dempsey all of whom recently left their commands in Iraq. Are the all apart of White House propaganda? Are you, Wellstone, a person that has probaly never even stepped a foot on ground in the entire REGION so arrogant that you are wiling to dismiss the opinions of such highly accomplished, selfless and dutifull patriots? Furthermore, if you really want the opinions of those that have been injured in Iraq or Afganistan, you should take a trip to Walter Reed hospital just outside of Bethesda, MD.

    I respect that you have an opinion (I really do), but please don’t tie our military forces to that same opinion. I can tell you from experience these “anti-war military friends” you have are in an almost statistcally non-existant minority. The only hope they even have at being seen or heard from lies in our liberal press. And yes, press in its very nature when unregulated is infact liberal.
    JBD

  21. 21 firstfriday
    October 17, 2007 at 12:04 am

    It’s there a flag burning you should be at this hour?

    Can’t recall claiming Malkin or Limbaugh an expert on the war, just link to the comments. As for IVAW, everyone knows where they’re coming from, there’s no reason to mention them other than to point out they represent those with whom they agree, the small portion of Vets against the war. And more power to them. As for your conspiracy theories, well, watch out for the black helicopters because the NSA is monitoring every word you type and they’re on to you.

  22. 22 firstfriday
    October 17, 2007 at 12:12 am

    JBD, thank you, sir. Wellstone means well, he really does. Known him a long time and he’s a good guy. He’s just too quick to believe the worst about one side and will see nothing but the best in his. He’s stubborn. But he’s entitled to be and to say what he wants thanks to the sacrifices of people like those the Democratic Leadership and fringe groups like MoveOn attack regularly.

    Everyone knows the military is going to be attacked when they start out with “I support our troops” because there is always a “but” just after it. If someone supports the troops they don’t need to point it out, it’s simply obvious.

    Sort of reminds us of the old Thatcher quote, “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”

  23. October 17, 2007 at 12:25 am

    Arrogant only in my commitment to be a part of a community to end this debacle. And, I have not been to the Middle East. Speaking out against this occupation is purely for humanitarian cause. The idea of invading and occupying a country in my mind is atrocity. I firmly beleive that our military sought this duty with the highest amount of patriotism, and loyalty to their country and commanders. However, by choosing to question their commanders, vets against the war and anti-war folk like myself are told to shut-up? Please, I appreciate your respect shown in your comment, but when we allow our elected officials to put kids in harms way for bogus intelligence it is absurd. This “We support the Troops!”, “No, we support them more” rhetoric is what demoralizes the troops I have spoken with. Not me, and FF lunatics debating the rational and logic of this failed policy. The amount of support that and members that IVAW and VoteVets have show that “minority” you speak to be growing. As for suggesting visiting Walter Reed, I would love to. Donations have I have made to the Hospital were greatly appreciated by letters I recieved back. I take exception to questions of my respect for the men and women who have served. Our opinions have conflicted, and many meshed. I am always thanked for my efforts in protests and for time and commitment to Bring them Home…Now. I found it ironic, that when I speak to vets being redeployed, they all seem to say the same thing…”I gotta go back with my buddies”, not I gotta go back cause of the mission or because I was told to. Go figure. Comraderie is a strong motivator, must be what has kept a conservative hack like the “Dude” here at FF and an anti-war liberal like myself friends for nearly 20+ years.

  24. December 7, 2007 at 12:46 am

    mm.. why your site opening so slow?

  25. 25 Idetrorce
    December 16, 2007 at 3:02 am

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce


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