Saturday, July 28, 2012

Weekend Open Thread, Plus Olympics

The best part of the Olympics Opening Ceremony for me was the skit on the National Health Service. Sure, it was on the bizarre side, what with the blow-up space alien baby in the cot, and the nightmare-scape, and the hopped-up kiddies and the hopped-up docs and nurses. No, it was good because it celebrated health care for all in spite of Britain's  economic hard times. The glories of Single Payer streamed into millions of American living rooms, was shoved in austere American political faces. And Mitt Romney had to sit there and watch, creepy rictus frozen on his face. I'm surprised that he didn't jump right up and try to repeal it.

Next best part: the Queen "doing" her nails as the British athletes marched by her, confetti flowing, crowds cheering. She was not amused, apparently.

Another good part -- the skit on the Industrial Revolution and the toll it took on the working classes. And Mitt had to sit there and watch it.

Yet another good part -- Britain is not really the WASP bastion of the Romney campaign's Anglo-Saxon imagination. All races and ethnicities were on full gala display last night. And Mitt had to sit there and watch it.

Worst part: NBC's coverage. It was time-delayed by four hours. Too many BMW commercials and commercials in general. Matt Lauer had to make stupid political remarks every time one of the countries we have invaded and occupied and bombed marched by. Millionaire Meredith Vieira tried to sing along with "I Can't Get No Satisfaction." And Mitt didn't have to sit there and listen to them.  


mac gordon said...

Danny Boyle did a brilliant job of devising a spectacularly quirky, and peculiarly british opening ceremony for the olympics.
His left wing credentials were magnificently on display. My favorite 'skit' was undoubtedly the tribute to the National Health Service.
I hadn't planned to watch, but found myself, kleenex in hand, watching anyway. I've lived in New England for most of my adult life, but my old english heritage is still strong. Particularly now.
And, the highlight, politically of this week was definitely the screaming british tabloid headline:
Mitt The Twit. Indeed!

Denis Neville said...

I wasn’t going to watch the Olympic opening ceremony either, but I am glad that I did. It wasn’t what I had expected.

Danny Boyle’s tribute to the National Health Service, as one of Britain's proudest achievements, was amazing. Nurses, physicians, and patients from the world-renowned children's hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), volunteered to take part in this NHS tribute.

Boyle said:

"One of the reasons we put the NHS in the show is that everyone is aware of how important the NHS is to everybody in this country. We believe, as a nation, in universal healthcare. It doesn't matter how poor you are, how rich you are, you will get treated.”

"We are almost unique in having universal healthcare. It is something that is very dear to people's hearts. All types of government fight like billy-o, to control it, to cut it, to deal with it. But there is something about it. It is so embedded in us that we have decided to keep it. It is an amazing thing to celebrate."

The celebration of children's literature as a part of the NHS tribute was most enjoyable.

JM Barrie gave all the rights to and royalties from his novel and play “Peter Pan” to Great Ormond Street Hospital in 1929.

Not only Mittens, but also David Cameron had to sit there and watch it.

Alas, Britain’s NHS is being slowly downsized with the intent of dismantling it under Cameron’s financial austerity program.

“I think there’s a very deliberate policy across all of the public sector to roll back the achievements that have been made in this country since the second world war — including the NHS — and that financial austerity is being used to pursue an agenda aimed at dismantling the state.” - Dr. Gabriel Scally, former NHS public health director, who resigned in order to speak out against "the circling birds of prey of the private sector seeking to make big profits out of healthcare"

Scally said, “The NHS will only be destroyed if the people of this country let it be destroyed." He doesn’t intend to let that happen.

Neither does Danny Boyle and GOSH.

Will said...

Didn't watch last night, but I did read this article at Deadspin this morning: "Here's The Opening Ceremony Tribute To Terrorism Victims NBC Doesn't Want You To See."

mac gordon said...

I'm sure NBC was being very careful not to upset its corporate sponsors. After all, an injection of reality would be too unseemly!

Denis Neville said...

The lamestream media strikes again monumental stupidity:

“I'm a lifelong liberal. I think it would be great if the United States adopted some kind of genuine national healthcare program…Even so, I've got to ask: am I the only one who was a bit gobsmacked at the lengthy tribute to the NHS during the opening ceremonies at the Olympics last night? The NHS? Seriously?”- Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

“For the life of me, though, am still baffled by NHS tribute at opening ceremonies. Like a tribute to United Health Care or something,” Diane Pucin, Los Angeles Times sports writer

“Those kids don't look sick to me,” Meredith Viera, NBC

Lottie Pink, a ten year old treated for a brain tumor two years ago, one of the patients from the Great Ormond Street Hospital who took part in the show said, "I am proud to represent all the great work the hospital does. Without them I would not be here.”

America’s Joe/Jo Six Packs don't get it. And the USA corporate media sure as hell is not going to help them understand.

No USA MSM mention of NBC [Nothing But Crap and No Body Cares] dropping the memorial tribute section for the 7/7 terrorism victims. Victims other than 9/11 have no impact on their primetime advertising revenue? As Digby wrote, “The rest of the world has been forced to endure our wallowing in our victimhood for over a decade. To cut away from that particular portion of the program is in poor taste.”

During the inane interview of Michael Phelps, my mind wandered back to his super big bong story. Did his extraordinary lung capacity help him take monster bong rips? Did that mean he could get extraordinarily stoned?

Here’s to all the athletes who aren’t profile-worthy and never make it to TV. I don’t understand the rules to most of the sports. But I stand back and in wonder, what they have accomplished!

“You came to see a race today. To see someone win. It happened to be me. But I want you to do more than just watch a race. I want you to take part in it. I want to compare faith to running in a race. It's hard. It requires concentration of will, energy of soul. You experience elation when the winner breaks the tape - especially if you've got a bet on it. But how long does that last? You go home. Maybe you're dinner's burnt. Maybe you haven't got a job. So who am I to say, "Believe, have faith," in the face of life's realities? I would like to give you something more permanent, but I can only point the way. I have no formula for winning the race. Everyone runs in her own way, or his own way. And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end? From within. Jesus said, ‘Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. If with all your hearts, you truly seek me, you shall ever surely find me.’ If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race.” – Eric Liddell, Chariots of Fire, “God made me for a purpose. But he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”

The Doktor said...

Greetings everyone! I watched the Opening Ceremony as well... I saw it as quite a statement actually. A bit of a rebuttal to China to point out that the industrial revolution began in the west, bestowing an abundance of wealth upon the entire planet built on the backs of workers and laborers, who need and deserve to be cared for by the society that they helped create! I've been following some of the crap going on politically and couldn't help but toss off a missive to Politifact;

"Dear Politifact, Really.

Mitt Romney evolved significantly in his position on abortion.

I find it rather interesting that you would attribute an example of Romney's pathological pandering to something his current political party of choice doesn't even believe in!

However, I find it disturbing that such pathological pandering would be rewarded by the American media ( including Politifact ) in the form of a free pass on these issues that are so important to so many Americans. By any serious observation it would become apparent quite quickly that Mitt Romney has no firm policy beliefs that couldn't be swayed by some political expediency of current popularity. While all politicians may be guilty of this to some degree, doesn't degree- of necessity- have to come into play if we are to ascertain who is pandering and who has learned something of value and had a true change of heart? Mitt Romney's cynical pandering needs to be called what it really is, not coyly debated as if he has some shred of credibility left on any major policy issue at this point... he doesn't. He been on whatever side of any given issue he needs to be on for political gain. Repeatedly. Americans need to have these people called out for these types of obvious cynical ploys. To have such doggerel debated as if it were substantive dialogue is harmful to our governance and also damaging to the Country as a whole. Furthermore, on this particular issue, why are Romney and all other anti-abortionists allowed to hide behind the euphemism of pro-life? Perhaps we could call Tibetan Buddhists pro-life, but this is outrageous, what percentage of these so-called pro-lifers are pro-death penalty I wonder? Pro-war? Pro-military? For the most part the people in this country who call themselves pro-life are anything but that which they claim. They are certainly anti-abortion, I would never suggest otherwise, but they are pro-death, not pro-life, and to allow this charade of semantics to be perpetrated on the American people is a true dereliction of duty on the part of any and all journalists, writers, reporters and media outlets everywhere.

In closing, I would prefer to see Politifact refer to Mitt Romney as a political opportunist at best and a pathological panderer when necessary. I would prefer to see anti-abortionists called just that, and not ascribe vegetarian motives to people who would never even consider such a lifestyle."

More later,

The Doktor