I read a survey today. It says most Americans think torture is OK. I’m in the minority, again. It makes me sad.

By a margin of almost 2 to 1 — 59 percent to 31 percent — those interviewed said that they support the CIA’s brutal methods, with the vast majority of supporters saying that they produced valuable intelligence.

In general, 58 percent say the torture of suspected terrorists can be justified “often” or “sometimes.” – Washington Post

Everything I know and believe says torture is wrong, producing few results. Former POWs, like John McCain say it’s wrong. We have even signed agreements saying there are no circumstances under which we would use torture.

I watch Dick Cheney, General Hayden and the others on TV and get sick to my stomach. My enemies don’t influence my moral compass.

My Folks Go Back To Florida

My parents are both significantly older than they look or act. That’s no small compliment


The phone just rang… or whatever it is they do nowadays. “I’m sorry. Did I wake you?” It was my mom calling from Atlanta. They are halfway home. She knew after we dropped them off at the airport I’d head back to bed. I am much more easily predicted than the weather!

It was a successful trip. They got to watch their last grandchild graduate college. They were in the studio for my 25th anniversary. We spent lots of time together.

My mom had back problems this past winter. She could hardly walk. Yesterday she went to Manhattan with Helaine and Stef. “I walked 8,000,000 steps,” she said. Later it became, “I walked 9,000,000 steps.”

My parents are both significantly older than they look or act. That’s no small compliment.

My dad who had his own back problems yesterday and doesn’t match up well against a hot New York day stayed home with me. This is what is meant when the words “quality time” are used.

What we did wasn’t as important as the fact we did it together! I’m saying that because I think we watched MSNBC for 12 or 13 hours straight. If I saw Dick Cheney one more time I was going to waterboard myself!

My dad and I went to the diner for dinner. Just two guys going for omelets.

It’s a place I’ve been going to for 25 years so as we left I started to talk to the boss and then a few of the waitresses. The conversation got around to Las Vegas and my dad took out “the picture.”

Holy crap, he carries it around!

We joked around at how lucky we were to have the wives we have. He said he couldn’t figure out why Helaine settled for me when she could have done so much better. He was joking–right?

After a full week my parents were ready to return to Florida. Their friends are there. It’s in their comfort zone. There’s BINGO tonight (which they play though both claim they hate it). Now they can rest.

There’s another trip in store for them before this year is out. They’re going to Milwaukee. This winter they’ll become great-grandparents! My niece Jessica, their first grandchild, is expecting.

Where they live in Florida becoming a great-grandparent is equal to winning an Olympic medal.

We Call Him Carmine

Like Howard Hughes in the 70s or Dick Cheney today, recent photos of Carmine are tough to come by.

carmine.jpg“Stef, it’s Carmine,” I yelled out to my one-foot-out-the-bathroom-door, blowdrying child. She walked toward the steps and looked through the tall, thin window on the right side of the front door. Carmine was totally still, deep in thought.

While Stef gawked, I sprinted back to my office to get “Clicky” and take a photo. Carmine is never around long. Like Howard Hughes in the 70s or Dick Cheney today, recent photos of Carmine are tough to come by. This is my best shot, taken through the glare on this sunny summer’s day.

We live in the exurbs. It’s a countrified area with Jepps Brook babbling no more than a hundred yards away and all sorts of critters running around day and night. We had a red fox walk down our driveway as dusk set in just last Sunday. I often see deer, rabbits, raccoons and moles (ugh) on my way home from work.

In this home, all chipmunks are named Carmine. I don’t know how that happened. It sounds very “Steffiesque.”

When, around my birthday, chipmunks mysteriously stopped showing up on our trips up the mountain, Helaine wondered, “Where’s Carmine?” Does he have a next-of-kin we can check with?

I’m sure there’s some reason I should be upset seeing chipmunks brazenly climb my front stairs. Right now it’s just nice seeing Carmine. I’m sure he looks more cuddly and friendly than he really is.

Who Is Winning The Writer’s Strike

Admission first: I’m a union member. I’m not a strident, by the book kind of guy, but I do participate. I’ve never been on strike and hope I never will be.

I have been watching, with interest, the labor dispute between the Writers Guild and producers. The economics of entertainment are changing rapidly. I really don’t know what the correct solution is.

No conventional broadcasting company is making enough money on the Internet to make up for the money the Internet has siphoned from over-the-air showings.

There is one thing that’s perfectly clear in this dispute. The writers are winning the war of PR and winning it handily.

The problem for the producers is, they’re up against people who can cleverly frame an argument… who are used to doing it for a living.

Here’s an example (see below) I found on These writers from the Daily Show have taken the techniques they were using against politicians and turned them on the producers.

Substitute George Bush and Dick Cheney with Sumner Redstone and Rupert Murdoch and you’ll have the idea.

As with any strike, there is peripheral damage. Lots of non-combatants are out-of-work. The economy in Los Angeles and, to a lesser effect, New York will feel it. And, of course, you and I will suffer when 2&#189 Men runs out of fresh episodes&#185.

&#185 – I’ve never watched the show, but it seems like low hanging comedic fruit to go after them. I have never shied away from a cheap laugh.

Jon Stewart On The Oscars

My friend Farrell has already written me four or five times on this subject. The last time, attaching an article, he wrote the single word, “Ouch!”

Jon Stewart was a major disappointment at the Oscars.

I guess the good news is, he was a disappointment because he’s normally so good. The bad news is, for many people, this is their introduction – and possibly their final impression.

Tom Shales was brutal in today’s Washington Post – but Shales specializes in being brutal&#185.

It’s hard to believe that professional entertainers could have put together a show less entertaining than this year’s Oscars, hosted with a smug humorlessness by comic Jon Stewart, a sad and pale shadow of great hosts gone by.

I wonder what’s going through Stewart’s mind today? Is he having second thoughts about he approached the broadcast? Has he just tossed it off and moved back to his ‘real’ life?

&#185 – After I put this online, Farrell called and questioned my characterization of Shales.

Shales does not specialize in being brutal. He writes better than anyone on the subject of television period. He’s honest, frank. Likes TV and when he sees something good, he praises it. When he sees something bad, he’ll write and say so. And you can quote me, WeatherBoy&#153!

Continue reading “Jon Stewart On The Oscars”

My Presidential Prediction

This blog is non-partisan. I don’t favor one ideology or candidate over another. I work in a newsroom, which is supposed to be balanced and objective. So, even as the weatherman, this seems like a reasonable policy.

On the other hand, I am not blind. I am watching the ‘dance of the candidates’ as the 2004 presidential campaign gets under way – long before either convention. I can’t remember as early a start. With the insatiable appetite of cable TV news, we’ll soon be sick of it all and anxious for November 2nd, so we can just put all the petty sniping behind us.

I’ve been thinking about the candidates and watching poll numbers over the past few days. Who is vulnerable? Why are they vulnerable? Why is Kerry already head and shoulders ahead of the president (though it is so early that poll any numbers are meaningless)?

It won’t be long before President Bush starts looking to work around his negatives. It is my opinion that he will see Vice President Dick Cheney as a liability.

Again, this doesn’t represent my opinion of Vice President Cheney or President Bush. But, I see the vice president’s association with Halliburton as a huge target for the Democrats. They will try and paint Halliburton as representative of everything bad with this Republican administration and use Cheney’s prior association (he was its president) to drive their points home.

Here’s my prediction. When November comes around, the Republican ticket won’t be Bush/Cheney. The Vice President could find any number of reasons, from health on down, to graciously bow out.

There are a number of Republicans with squeaky clean reputations that come to mind… like Colin Powell or Rudolph Guiliani. Either of those two would more benefit the president’s re-election bid.

I mentioned this tonight to a number of people I work with, and most said it sounded reasonable, though not likely. I called my dad in Florida and he said it was an idea he had thought about, and accepted, a few weeks ago.

If it happens, remember today is March 10, 2004. If it doesn’t happen, it was my dad’s idea.