Note: The first episode shown during the First Quarter 2010 was #335 on December 21, 2009.
Episode #528: A Little Misadventure
First Broadcast: 12/28/09
It may still be too early to say, but I feel like the decade that's about to end could be the worst of my lifetime so far. From Y2K scares, to the botched 2000 election, to the reactionaries in the Bush White House, to the events of 9/11, to the questionable invasion of Afghanistan, to Guantanamo Bay, to the illegal invasion of Iraq, to the RNC invading New York for their convention, to the abandonment of New Orleans to the elements, to warrantless wiretapping, to murders by Blackwater, to a lack of impeachment, to the complete tanking of the economy in so many ways, to the rise of the batshit-crazy right wing, to the lack of a true progressive Presidency after progressives did so much to get Obama elected, this decade has sucked in so many ways that I can't count them all. I feel like the infamous Dorando Pietri, the Italian athlete who was so exhausted at the end of the marathon of the 1908 Olympics in London that he had to be helped across the finish line by the officials on the field (which ultimately disqualified him from the race); that's how I feel as I drag myself to the end of this decade. For all those reasons, I agree with Roger Ebert, who has suggested naming this decade The Zeros, as it adequately sums up the feeling I have for how those years have amounted to so many. Maybe the next decade will be better.
Episode #529: Huddled Masses
First Broadcast: 1/4/10
New Year's Eve in Times Square and elsewhere occupy the first part of the show. Dick Cheney's dumb remarks about Barack Obama make up the second part. Great start for the decade, eh?
Episode #530: Speaking of Shake-Ups
First Broadcast: 1/18/10
Before anything else, please donate something to support earthquake relief in Haiti. Don't be an asshole like Pat Robertson, repeating fucked-up urban legends as fact; or a shithead like Rush Limbaugh, who thinks helping earthquake victims is somehow equivalent to boosting President Obama's stature among black Americans. After that? Maybe we can discuss Conan vs. Jay, but there's not enough time for that this week.
Episode #531: Anywhere Else
First Broadcast: 1/25/10
We start off by saying bye-bye to Conan O'Brien, whose tenure at the Tonight Show was prematurely ended by NBC, aided and abetted by Jay Leno. After that, we dive back into news from Haiti, focusing on the amount of American troops now there, the unmentioned Cuban doctors also helping out, and the attempts by activists to turn IMF loans to Haiti into grants. A lot going on with both events.
Episode #532: Refresh, Refresh, Refresh
First Broadcast: 2/1/10
The second part of the show is all iPad, iPad, iPad. The first part, however, is a salute to Howard Zinn: historian, author, and activist extraordinaire. He passed away on January 27 at the age of 87, and left behind a masterpiece in the world of history books, A People's History of the United States, a narrative of American history as told from the point of view of (mostly) ordinary people, using their own words as sources. The opening of the first chapter alone tells more than many lessons in school:
Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island's beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:
They ... brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells. They willingly traded everything they owned. ... They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features. ... They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane. ... They would make fine servants. ... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.
If every American read this book, I think we as a nation might become much less inclined to elect people who favor war and corporate destruction, and much more inclined to elect people who favor humanity and progress for everyone worldwide.
Episode #533: Off Screen
First Broadcast: 2/15/10
Avatar! Disney! Oscars! Violence! There's a theme in there somewhere. Let me know if you find it. P.S: I know, Douglas Fairbanks played "Coke Ennyday" in The Mystery of the Leaping Fish, and not Ben Turpin. It was almost 100 years ago! Mea culpa!
Episode #534: Terror and Cupcakes
First Broadcast: 3/1/10
First, a 25-pound cat gets stuck at Newark Airport. Then we ask: Why can't we hold trials in New York City for so-called terror suspects? They're not super-villains! And how ridiculous is it for the city to ban homemade desserts from public school bake sales, in favor of packaged products? What does these topics have in common? Well, two of them have to do with New York, does that count?
Episode #535: School to Prison Pipeline
First Broadcast: 3/8/10 Video levels appeared to be below 100.
In the midst of protests against education budget cuts at the college and high school levels alike, we make a plea here for the local Department of Education to remove NYPD officers from New York City Public Schools so that they can stop criminalizing students. Isn't it enough that schools look like prisons? Do we have to treat students like prisoners as well?