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A City Called "Destiny"....Florida Indie Movies Review: "The Bite"  by William Moriaty
"Inside Man"  by Mike Smith
Live Evil Update....Congrats to Unearthed  by Mark Terry
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God Bless....We Are Family....My Favorite Films -- Chapter 12: "Smokey and the Bandit"  by Mike Smith
Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2006!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our seventh calendar year!
Number 313  (Vol. 7, No. 12). This edition is for the week of March 20--26, 2006.

Press Conference: No Changes
Communication breakdowns continue to dog
the President

To all of you who are irritated that I occasionally take up valuable space on the PCR with what I consider to be important political talk, I apologize in advance for once again irritating you. It is not intentional. But politics is an important part of American culture. It is not my intention to prosyletize or grandstand, but it is my intention to stimulate conversation and debate, starting with my point of view. I plan to continue to keep it to a relative minimum and absolutely invite any and all of you to get onboard and fire back with your opinions.

I'm hoping all of you caught the President's press conference Tuesday, or at least selected clips from it. Dubya seems to be getting more and more agitated that no one seems to get where he's coming from. That's because many of us still don't know what it is we're supposed to get.

Now before you pummel me with defensive right-wing emails, consider how abysmal the communication from the White House has been regarding Iraq. Still not following me? How about this...

The best (read: funniest) moment of the press conference was when 85-year-old dean of the White House press corps, Helen Thomas, asked Bush, "Why did you really go to war in Iraq?" (There were also some added needling, along the lines of, "yes, we all know you wanted the oil, and you failed to find any weapons of mass destruction, but what did you really want?") As Bush scrambled to find his paint-by-numbers retorts, all familiar stuff, Thomas interrupted, harrumphed, and virtually heckled Bush into near confusion. Great television. But it brings up a disturbing point.

The point I want to make with this is Helen Thomas's question represents what I believe is what the overwhelming majority (i.e., the 70% of the non-approval-rating population surveyed in polls) find so confusing about the Iraq war: the reasons for going there were never consistently explained, nor particularly compelling, and the reasons for staying seem just as vague. The "War on Terror" has lost an immediacy to most voters. Whenever Bush & Co insist we're making progress, the media reports more and more insurgency in Iraq. Bush, unmoved, merely repeats, "sacrifices must be made". But nobody seems quite sure about sacrifices made for what. Here, Dubya, again resorts to his tried-and-true, "we gotta fight them terrorists...," you know, those ugly foreigners we're shown every night on the news, "...and establish a Democracy". But no indications of any benchmarks of progress or what's the quota on how many we're trying to kill or how far along the rebuilding has to go before we can call it a day. It's almost as if the public needs a date of withdrawl to look forward to so we can all forget any of this ever happened, and the sooner the better. In any event, it's a short jump to conclude that since the war doesn't make a lot of sense, Bush must have his own personal agenda we just don't get, or more likely, we're not allowed to know.

"When the Iraqi army is stronger we can consider withdrawl. I don't pay attention to artificial timelines set by Washington bureaucrats, I only listen to the field commanders." Well, that's nice, but we don't have access to the field commanders, so we have to trust you, Mr. Bush, to know what you're doing. All that leaves us with for any clue as to what's going on is "the media" -- you know, those annoying people who pester you at press conferences. The ones you hate because they make you look bad.

OK, back to the press conference. I don't know if he's made this comment before and I simply missed it, but it's the first time it was made clear (to me, anyway) he doesn't expect to be in the White House when the troops start coming home. While I do believe this has got to be a disappointment for him, at the same time, it not only virtually assures the Iraq war will continue for years to come, but also looks for all the world like he's planning to dump this dilemma on his successor's shoulders as, basically, their problem now.

No doubt, the next press conference and the next state of the union will cover this same ground with the same vague generalities over and over again. Hardly any point in tuning in anymore.

This is where the administration must deal with a point of diminishing returns where communication is concerned. Unless and until the grand scheme can be effectively communicated to the public and they can be convinced that this nightmare will all work out for us, there will continue to be derision, confusion, and conspiracy talk.

Anybody remember Osama Bin Laden? Sorry, couldn't resist.

In all fairness: what my opponents say...
Not surprisingly, many readers of the right-wing persuasion (one in particular who did not want to be ID'd) took me to task for what they saw as my biased viewpoint regarding what I see as a smoke-and-mirrors process coming from the White House. Since no one wanted to actually go on record, I will summarize their main points.

QUESTION: I'd like to ask you, Mr. President -- your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is: Why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, your Cabinet officers, former Cabinet officers, intelligence people and so forth -- but what's your real reason? You have said it wasn't oil, the quest for oil. It hasn't been Israel or anything else. What was it?

BUSH'S RESPONSE: I think your premise, in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist -- that I didn't want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong, Helen, in all due respect.


BUSH: Hold on for a second, please. Excuse me. Excuse me. No president wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it's just simply not true.


  • First, that I chose to emphasize the exchange with Helen Thomas when the speech went way beyond that irritated at least one reader. I wasn't trying to summarize the entire speech, my point was that her question, I believe, reflects the uneasy feelings of many Americans.
  • In my original piece above, I didn't specifically refer to the part about "from the moment you stepped into the White House" which one reader thought more pivotal to the argument than anything else: the accusation that Bush went into office planning war. True, I thought this concept was beyond reproach since several former people in his orbit (i.e., Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neill) have come forward with reports of plans to invade Iraq from the earliest days of the Bush administration. I am criticized for putting any credibility in these sources whatsoever and not placing total faith in Dubya.
  • Helen blatantly states that every reason for going to war has "turned out not to be true"....pretty much flat-out calling Bush a liar. I figured this was mainly a reference to the Weapons of Mass Destruction debacle, I am not sure what other reasons she's specifically referring to. Of course Bush denies everything, but adds, in effect, hey, everything you've heard is the opposite of what I'm telling you, but lay all that aside! At no time does Bush address why he thinks the communication breakdown is so pervasive (I mean beyond "partison politics").
  • For the millionth time I'm accused of taking too seriously what's reported on the news and, in this case, placing way too much veracity in the moment with Helen Thomas. OK, fair enough....but for the millionth time I have to ask how is it only Republicans have access to some kind of top-secret insider knowledge that's not reported on the news that reveals what's really going on. Apparently, "the media" is not privy to these sources.

    The following arrived after PCR's normal clsoing time Friday, but due to its date-sensitive nature, I am posting it on Saturday and hoping enough of you see this to make a difference! --Nolan

    Wyatt Earp Rides Again!
    Russell Hess proudly presents the Florida Premiere of A Life on the Frontier, an award-winning, one-man show about the life of Wyatt Earp -- starring Wyatt Earp.

    Check your sidearm at the door and see “The story Hollywood didn’t tell…”

    Ocala, FL, March 31 & April 1, 2006: The real-life Wyatt Earp stars in this entertaining and eye-opening, one-man show about the life and times of an aged Wyatt Earp during the final days of the American Frontier from Arizona to Alaska. Making its Florida debut at the Ocala Jockey Club, “A Life on the Frontier” chronicles the life of the original Tombstone legend Wyatt Earp in his later years after the mid-1920s. The actor, Wyatt Earp is an actual descendent of the original Wyatt Earp and he has toured this production all over the world. Award-winning playwright Terry Earp, who is also the contemporary Mrs. Wyatt Earp, wrote the story. The Scotsman, a major Edinburgh, Scotland newspaper, has called this show “An authoritative cultural phenomenon.”

    Wyatt and Terry Earp reside in Phoenix, Arizona with their two cats, “Doc Holliday” and “Cowboy.” Wyatt serves on the Phoenix Downtown YMCA board of directors and coaches swimming. He is also the director for the YMCA Half-Marathon, which is the oldest foot race in Arizona.

    The Ocala Jockey Club is located at 8720 West Highway 318, Reddick, Florida just north of Ocala (I-75 Exit 318). Show times are Friday evening, March 31st at 7PM, Saturday, April 1st matinee at 2:30PM and Saturday evening at 7PM. Doors open 45 minutes prior. Tickets are $15 in advance and $17 at the door (plus tax). Group rates are available for groups of 10. Seating is limited. To purchase tickets, call the OJC directly at: (352) 591-1212 or visit www.OcalaJC.com. VISA/MC/Amex/Discover accepted.

    Wyatt Earp, Terry Earp and Russell Hess are available for interview. 941-894-0368 or 941-685-9209

    Please consider making a donation to help support Crazed Fanboy! Click on the "donate" link below and give whatever you can. I sincerely thank you for any and all consideration.---Nolan
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    "Mike's Rant" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2006 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "La Floridiana" is ©2006 by William Moriaty     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith    "Couch Potato Confessions" is ©2006 by Vinnie Blesi    "My Middle Toe Is Longer Than Yours" is ©2006 by Mark Terry    "Splash Page" is ©2006 by Brandon Jones      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova    
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