Iran Offers To Return To Nuclear Talks

Read the article here

Here we go again.

Maybe Iran finally is feeling some sting from the sanctions, so how it reluctant is suggesting new talks. But must likely it’ll just be talks in the short run.

ABC Invites Andrew Breitbart… what?

Read the HuffPost article here: ABC Taps Andrew Breitbart For Election Night Analysis

I think that Breitbart is a brilliant man. He deliberately created the whole Shirley Sherrod controversy to get the country to once again talk about the issue of race. And in the process, he exposes the timidness of the Obama administration.

… nah.

Stewart not getting too political

The Huffpost’s Jason Linkins talks about an article in Politico that claims that Jon Stewart is stepping onto new territory with his (and Stephen Colbert’s) Rally To Restore Sanity.
Read Linins’ article here: “Politico Has Concerns About Rally To Restore Sanity For Some Reason”

Politico is too political. Go figure.

“…there is no “bright line” between “commentary” and “political participation” — political commentary is political participation.”

Brilliantly said. And it is really what distinguishes political discourse from other types. Political commentary can be serious, hateful, hilarious, or boring, but as long as one is talking about politics, he is being political.

One’s political opinions, however reasonable (or sane) or far-fetched, always influences the political beliefs of others, one way or another. This is what makes for good political discourse, and, for that matter, good television.

Like Linkins says, Stewart is not moving into a new territory. He is, however, literally taking his show and commentary on stage, outdoors, with a lot more people watching than usual.

Glenn Beck Condemns Anti-Gay Bronx Attacks: ‘A Whole New Level Of Evil’ (VIDEO)

Watch the video here

Never thought I’d recommend anyone to watch anything by Glenn Beck… because it’s GOOD. But I was quite moved. You probably would be, too.

Like Andrew Sullivan says, Beck is a genuine clown. I think Beck knows (and he kind of says it here) it’s true, to some extent. He is perhaps best viewed as a great TV personality, a good ‘talker’ of issues. When I watch Beck, the truth becomes irrelevant (in addition to because he is often factually incorrect) because I watch it for his theatrics, and sometimes you get something that’s actually pretty good, like this.

In addition to condemning of the anti-gay and ‘anti-human’ gang attacks, Beck devoted the last few minutes of the segment discussing the deterioration of ‘the human connection’. Here, Beck echoes my sentiments almost perfectly in believing that the advent of communication technologies has slowly disarmed us of abilities to interact with each other in the most fundamental way: face to face.

Facebook Co-Founder Speaks Publicly: What I Learned From Watching “The Social Network” – CNBC

Facebook Co-Founder Speaks Publicly: What I Learned From Watching “The Social Network” – CNBC.

In the article, Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook, writes that above all else, “The Social Network” truly highlights the ingenuity of American entrepreneurship.

Sad thing is, American entrepreneurship is decreasing, for several reasons that have only recently (the past few years) been discussed as a major issue of concern.  The first is the level of American education, which branches out into several factors, namely the level of math and scientific knowledge students receive in high school, high school dropout rates, the percentage of students studying math and science in college, etc.

This connects with the other factor, which is the high percentage of students who are studying business, believing that ‘that’s where the money is’.  While this might be true, because such a disgustingly large sum of money being made in America is from the financial sector, which does practically nothing constructive to the country.

America cannot keep dreaming about making money ‘fast’, and achieving the American dream by gambling in the financial markets.  Americans need to stop borrowing, going on credit and then falling into debt.  Americans need to put their feet on the ground, get to work, and, once again, become the greatest entrepreneurial nation in the world.

TV Talk: I still love “Mad Men”, but… (Part 1)

I did not catch the “Mad Men” wave and watch it right when it came out in 2007, in spite of unanimous praise from critics and viewers alike. Eventually, after seeing the line “the best show on television” in ad after ad (slightly ironically), review after review, and win one major award after another, I rented season 1 and began watching.

It totally blew my mind. In a time when the most popular shows are usually the most ‘in-your-face’ with its plot and visuals, the most prominent examples being “True Blood” and “Dexter”, “Mad Men” stands out as a show where subtlety is everything. It doesn’t dazzle / shock the audience with violence, gore, overly-dramatic acting, an over the top score, etc. The show does its job with the fundamental ingredients that makes a show great, brilliant script writing and terrific acting.

The show doesn’t have things blown up or blast music at you when something dramatic plot-wise happens because it knows that you’ll feel the impact without those shenanigans. It takes a lot of wit, and courage, to be able to pull this off.

Another quality that I love about the show is: you know a show is great when you can discuss it with your friends for hours on end, because there are so many implied plot developments that the characters do not say out loud on screen but are occurring, and the combination of dialogue and the actors’ expressions gives us plenty of clues as to what is actually going on.

So, as a result of how much I fell in love with the show, I watched the first three seasons of “Mad Men” in a span of a few months.

The first three seasons have been great. I have absolutely no complaints about them. The episodes trigger all of our emotions; they make us laugh, tear up, angry, frustrated (in a good way), feel enlightened, and much more.

While season four got on to a great start, the recent episodes (8-11) have taken a slightly different tone, one that I’m fine with, but that I’m not sure if it’s best for the show’s longevity, because this certain direction usually occurs when shows stop being as great as they were.

To be continued on Part two…

Don’t Forget About Haiti – A Look at Humanitarianism

Bill Clinton visited the earthquake-striken Haiti, check out this article for more.

Clinton, the co-chair of the commission overseeing Haiti’s reconstruction, has been frustrated at the glacial pace of international aid flowing into the country. And it isn’t that nobody has donated to help the victims of the devastating earthquake, it’s just that the money has been stuck in governments, held up by a certain government maneuvers. In the case of the United States, it is a senatorial hold put in place by Senator Tom Coburn (R – Oklahoma), that is preventing the money from reaching the Haitians.

A representative from Coburn’s office claims that the Senator has been wrongfully criticized for holding the money because he is concerned about what the money would do to America’s deficits. But the thing is, America made a pledge, a pledge to send 1.15 billion dollars in aid to help victims of a horrible natural disaster. This pledge should not be broken because of (maybe) a small dent into the already ridiculous deficit. Maybe Coburn will change his mind if he leaves the comforts of America and see for himself what the Haitians are going through.

People often forget the most fundamental element of what it means to be a humanitarian, or join a humanitarian cause. It is simply to help other human beings who are in need. But this cause is often lost amidst all the media mumbo-jumbo, where petty politics and celebrity appearances eat away at the humanitarian nature of a specific cause.

The first two examples that comes to mind are the two big music hits that came about as a result of the Haiti Earthquake, which are new renditions to the “We are the World”, performed by the most popular musicians in North America today, and K’Naan’s “Waving Flag”, performed by the Young Artists of Canada.

Both songs are moving and brilliantly executed, but seem to miss the bigger picture. Singing a song and raising money is a great way to provide aid and raise awareness to the cause, but it only tells half the story, if that.

At some point in our generation, charity has become something that we do to be recognized as a loving, giving, caring people. While many people, including celebrities and business millionaires, do not receive anything in return for their work / donations, they do gain publicity, which, really, is what they want. This is one kind of charity. The other, more pure kind of charity entails that you give a part of you and expect no personal gains in return, only the betterment of those you are helping. This acts as a personal fulfillment in an abstract sense, and it should be all a charitable person should ask for.

Look no further than Angelina Jolie, an UNHCR ambassador who’s visited Pakistan in September (read the article here) to look into the flood disaster, Bosnia-Herzegovina to work on a plan to bring war-displaced kids back to school in August, and has participated in many humanitarian causes before that. She’s hasn’t gotten a lot of public exposure as a result of her work as a humanitarian; rather, the tabloid media is only interested in digging into her personal life, as if to see when she will snap at a report and create a scandal of some sorts.

George Clooney is another example of a ‘quiet’ humanitarian. Last week, Clooney visited Juba, a little known region in Southern Sudan, to inquire about the region’s independence vote on January 9, and, if the region successfully secedes, the possibility of a civil war breaking out between the North and the South.

The the mainstream news reporting didn’t cover any of this. I wouldn’t have known about it had I not gone on Huffpost and caught a small article about it.

There are subtle differences between the two kinds of humanitarianism I mentioned above, one of which is that the latter kind often actually goes to the area the cause is concerned with and really looks into the problem. I’d very much like to see Miley Cyrus go check things out in Haiti or Justin Bieber to go visit Pakistan.

Selflessness is not easy to achieve, and humanitarianism is a concept ought not to be abused for fame and glory.