Monthly Archives: March 2016

Radar Recommends: “The West Wing”

 

the-west-wing

In this, a presidential election year, it is highly recommended that you watch “The West Wing” – a mesmerizing inside view of exactly what happens within the White House and during presidential election campaigns. You may respond with: “But it is just a fictional television drama.” No – it is not. It is a television show that was written and produced by former White House employees and staffers, from both parties. And the consultants were former press secretaries and aides – making it the most accurate television show about the White House – ever. The credits themselves are jaw-dropping.  And – there are even former presidents, White House aides, press secretaries, (from both parties), who took the time to provide insight in episodes which provided veracity and credibility to the show. It is no wonder that the show and the actors won numerous awards, Emmys, golden globes, for their work as individual actors, producers,writers, episodes, and as an ensemble as well. It is admittedly one of the stellar shows within television history. There are too many to list here – but this link lists them all:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_awards_and_nominations_received_by_The_West_Wing

It begins with a newly elected president, portrayed by actor Martin  Sheen, during his first year in office. His staff consists of  his chief of staff, John Spencer,(Leo) whose job it is to make sure that everyone else is doing their job – and to act as a filter as to what comes to the President.  The character played by  Bradley Whitford  (‘Josh‘), is the deputy- assistant chief-of-staff, a character who is everywhere that the west-wing-remember-860x442Chief-of-Staff is not. There are the Communications Directors, Rob Lowe (Sam) and Richard Schiff,(Toby) whose job it is to not only write speeches, but provide the press secretary with what can or cannot be said. Then there is Allison Janney , (C.J.), who plays the role of the female press secretary,  who is the voice of the administration to the press, and through her character, (with the input of former press secretaries as consultants) that you understand why it is a position which has a constant change of  press secretaries. Also even staff administrative assistants  such as Janel Moloney, (Donna), and special assistant to the president, Dule Hill, (Charlie), are fleshed out into full human beings – a tribute to excellent writing. And, the First Lady is portrayed as a strong woman in her own right by Stockyard Channing .        It is during the first episode that one starts to wonder why anyone would even want the job – and explains why, American presidents seem to age 10 years for  every year there.  And eventually one might begin to decide that, not only would they not want the job, but would not want to work there in any capacity.  Recently, President Barack Obama said, in response to what he would say to presidential candidates of both parties: “Make sure of why you want this.” Leaving the listener to understand that it is not about ego or power – it is indeed a tough job. The West Wing tells the stories as only people who once worked there could  tell,  but also shows what a well-oiled machine it is that changes the persons who run it every four to eight years, without a public hiccup. 

It is also during the first episode that you become mesmerized and hooked – and begin to binge without even thinking about it.  The insight into the behind the scenes of actual election campaigns  is priceless.

Sam Seaborn and Josh Lyman converse in the hal...

Sam Seaborn and Josh Lyman converse in the hallway in one of The West Wing ‘ s noted tracking shots. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The show provides insight into the hierarchy of the offices of the U.S. Presidency – but the characters are not ‘cookie cutter’ characters. Each character is remarkably fleshed out so that you truly get to know and love, (or hate), each one of them. And it mirrors current events of the time – but does not cross the line between fiction and reality. One does wonder when – and how – anyone who works in the White House gets the time to have a life of their own – or for that matter, even sleep.

It is a show that has a mixture of  mystery, intrigue, intense drama, comedic moments, sadness, exhilaration, and literally runs the gamut of every single human emotion. And a viewer seat belt is required.

As stated above – it is a presidential election year, and this show should be must-watch for those who want to see where their candidate might be headed and for one’s own personal edification. It is not a White House ‘beauty pageant‘ – it is a portrayal of life in the White House – with all of its flaws included.  The office of the President – the Oval Office and the office of his staff – the west wing – never sleep.

The actors and writers should always be proud of the fact, that for one moment in television history, they were part of a shinning moment in that history and contributed to one of the brightest and best moments in television history. It should be required  in high schools, and also required for political science majors in colleges.

All seven seasons are streaming live on Netflix.  Would love your feedback once you watch it.

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Filed under Opinion, Politics, Radar Opinion, Rayes Radar Recommends, Television

Opinion: About #Flint

Flint water

The dark, murky, poisoned water invaded Flint like an occupying army, with the cries for help going unheeded,  and with no protection offered from their government. Upon hearing  about the tragic water situation in Flint, Michigan, one wonders just how this could happen in the United States of America.  Delving deeper – it becomes quite clear, it happened because Flint was no longer under the true auspices and protection  of the United States of America and its promised Constitutional guarantees.  It happened because there was no democracy in Flint.  It had been legislatively removed from the residents. How? It was taken via a law passed which allowed the state to strip the citizens of their rights to elected representatives. The officials for whom the residents of Flint voted – including the mayor – were stripped of their authority and replaced by an “emergency manager” who literally took over the running of the city – leaving those officials without any authority – and the residents without a voice. That is how this happened in the United States. The result was the poisoned water – the source was changed, approved by the governor and the emergency manager‘.

The ruse was based upon the premise that the ‘emergency manager was to prevent a city from going bankrupt – but it appears that all of those Michigan cities went bankrupt while the ’emergency manager’ was in place – and the water of Flint was allowed to become toxic thereby poisoning its residents. The change of the water source and the pipes produced the lead. The governor still will not order that the pipes be changed. Flint pipes

The mayor and other elected officials were powerless to do anything in response to their constituents – because the ’emergency manager’ had been given all of their authority. And the residents were poisoned. Had it not been for  Doctor  Mona Hanna-Attisha who exposed the problem and   Rachel Maddow taking the issue on and providing needed media coverage – the poisoning would have continued without the public outside of Flint knowing anything about it.  The governor of Michigan knew about it over a year ago – but ignored the problem as children’s brains were destroyed with lead, and  babies of women who drank the water while pregnant, were born with lead damage in their bodies . There is nothing that can be done to undo that damage. No cure. Governor Snyder continued to do nothing  – and – as he testified today, March 17, 2016, in the Congressional hearings,  ( http://www.c-span.org/video/?406540-1/hearing-flint-michigan-water-contamination&live= ), his only actions have been to “talk” with the residents, a response which was dubious and met with not incredulous responses from the congress members, but jeers from the residents of  Flint who were present during the hearing.

As the community still struggles, the elected officials still have no legal authority, but the Mayor of Flint has been taking unilateral steps  to cure the problem – but the governor will not release any funds to cure the problem. Volunteers have come to Flint to provide services, plumbers, etc., have all converged on Flint to work on pipes, free of charge. The state of Michigan has a ‘rainy day fund’ but will not release those funds. During a debate – Hillary Clinton (who made several trips there) and Bernie Sanders condemned the situation in Flint – and, when referencing that ‘rainy day fund’ Secretary Clinton said: “It’s raining lead in Flint!”  The governors lack of action is despicable – yet he refuses to resign.

Many have called for his arrest for what can only be considered as a crime of neglect with predictable results. He may not have actually killed anyone with his own hands, but his refusal to act and save those children from  irreparable brain damage is a form of murder. His knowledge for a lengthy amount of time, ( per his own emails) , and ignoring it – still today refuses to have water delivered – people have to go to the fire department to get bottled water. But if a person is elderly, disabled, or does not have transportation, then that is yet another obstacle. Yes it was and is a crime .

His response that he will have to ‘live with it for the rest of his life‘ – is no comparison to the lives of those children which will become  the ‘lives not lived‘ due to the brain damage they have suffered. He should not only resign but he should live with it for the rest of his life  – behind bars.

Today – Snyder admitted that the emergency manager law failed the residents of Flint: http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/flint-water-crisis/2016/03/17/gov-rick-snyder-admits-emergency-management-failed-flint-water-crisis/81910418/

It is indeed an outrage – and to add insult to injury is that the right of American citizens to elected representation was taking away in light of day via a Republican legislature. The emergency manager‘ law should have been, and should be struck down and never allowed to emerge again anywhere in America.  There is an ‘app’ for that – it is called the Constitution of the United States of America.

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Filed under Injustice, Opinion, Politics, Radar Opinion