Author Archives: Fred Schneider

About Fred Schneider

I’m a blogger because I like writing about things I’m interested in and knowledgeable about. Which shouldn’t sound surprising, but blogging provides that immediate outlet for me and other bloggers to weigh in on what they’re thinking about and what they’re interested in. To put down on paper or computer words and feelings that they may struggle to get out of their mouths on the spot. To be able think about things and then express them. That is what blogging and writing is about, at least when it comes to commentary. Writing as a reporter or biographer, is a bit different. Because it’s not so much about what the writer feels that is relevant unless they’re being asked about it. But what’s more important is what they know and how they know that based on their reporting. An opportunity for blogger commentators to get things off their chest that perhaps they’re not able to do simply by speaking to people. That is my favorite thing about blogging to be able to immediately get things off my chest that I’m thinking about. Blogging is the perfect form of communication for me, because I’m interested in so many different things and frankly knowledgeable about them. I write mostly about current affairs. Government and politics, public policy, history, but I’m also interested in sports especially sports history, as well as movies especially classic Hollywood and entertainers. Especially entertainers who’ve been around a long time and are from classic Hollywood. Today’s Hollywood and entertainment, not so much, but that is a subject for another piece. And when you’re a blogger and you just read something that got your attention and were really interested in from either a positive or negative standpoint, or perhaps you just saw a movie or saw some story and you’re really interested in and knowledgeable about what you just saw, you can immediately weigh in on what you just saw. I mean to be a blogger all you really need is a computer and have something to say. Being able to write helps as well. That is what blogging and writing is to me. The ability for people to write what they’re thinking and how they feel, as well as what they know. Which is the most important thing here, because even commentators need to know what they’re talking about to be successful and make a living at that. Whether they write or talk on TV or radio, or a combination of all those things. That is what I’m going to do here and if you’re someone who has multiple interests and are interested in things besides who the latest hot celebrity is and who that person is seeing and why they’re in trouble now, or what the latest new technology is, then I hope you check out this blog. Because I cover a lot of different things here and not just government and politics, but history including Hollywood history and to a certain extent what’s going on there today. And you might even see a few pieces about so -called celebrity culture, but just from a a satiric viewpoint.

Turner Classic Movies: TCM Remembers Robert Osborne- 1932-2017

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Source: TCM- Robert Osborne 

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

How I do I talk about Robert Osborne, how do I talk about a man I don’t personally know who wasn’t an actor or a famous celebrity really for anyone who wasn’t an entertainer or an entertainment historian and writer who works with people like Osborne who was of course not just a film and Hollywood historian, but one of the best and most knowledgeable of his generation if not ever. Well, I guess I don’t have to say I can talk about as fan of TCM and Classic Hollywood in general, but that wouldn’t be giving me much credit. I’ll talk about Robert Osborne as someone who loves Classic Hollywood as a blogger who blogs about Classic Hollywood from time to time. And a big reason is because of knowledgeable people and historians like Robert Osborne.

Robert Osborne is not the reason why I love and many other Americans perhaps especially on Google+ that has so many Classic Hollywood communities and communities about old movies, famous entertainers and TV. But he’s one of the biggest reasons. Watching an old movie on TCM is not like watching an old movie on TNT or USA, to use as examples. Its so much better, because instead of one movie ending with the credits and that movie directly being followed by the next movie.

What you get is a backstory from someone like Robert Osborne or Ben Mankiewicz who gives you inside details about the movie you just saw. Where it was shot and why it was shot there. Background about the cast, writers and directors involved and what it took to get those people to work on that project. The chemistry that the cast had with each other, as well as the people they worked for on the project. As well as little information about the people on the project as far as how it affected their career before and after. And then you get a little taste about a documentary about about actors, actresses, and other entertainers short documentary films about Old Hollywood after the last movie had just been completed and before the next movie shows up.

Robert Osborne did not get me into Classic Hollywood, at least by himself. But like I said earlier because of him and TCM watching and old movie on TCM is not like watching an old movie everywhere else. Its more like reading a good book about a movie or good documentary about a movie and then thinking I have to see that movie because its so interesting. Except you get that information for free. Robert Osborne gave his viewers a good book or documentary worth of information about the movie that you’re about to watch in about three minutes. Because he was so knowledgeable about what you were about to see and doing it an interesting way.

Talking about the story without giving up the plot. Talking about the cast and again how they worked with each other and again how that film affected their careers and what they were doing before. I especially loved how Osborne talked about Hitchcock films and and saying how good Cary Grant was with Alfred Hitchcock because they had similar taste in movies, humor, and women. That is what you got with Robert Osborne. The story of the film before you saw it and yet still wanting and seeing that film, because of how interesting he made it sound. And he is one of the best if not the best and will be surely missed.

Turner Classic Movies: TCM Remembers Robert Osborne- 1932-2017

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NFL Films: Randy White- Top 10 Dallas Cowboys of All Time

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Source: NFL Films

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

When you’re talking about the best defensive tackles in NFL history, I believe there really only four you can consider for the best ever. And then argue about which one of those four is the best ever. Not necessarily in this order, but Joe Greene from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bob Lilly from the Dallas Cowboys. Merlin Olsen from the Los Angeles Rams. And last and perhaps not least Randy White also from the Cowboys, the best defensive tackle of the 1980s at least and I would argue probably the best defensive tackle if not defensive lineman of the 1980s and the second half of the 1970s if not that entire decade.

That is how great of a football player Randy White was and I would have a pretty good idea growing up as a Redskins fan in the 1980s and seeing him play at least twice a year for about 7-8 years. The reason why the Doomsday Defense of the Cowboys was so good is because they didn’t have to blitz to pass rush or stop the run. You had Ed Jones and Harvey Martin on the ends and Randy in the middle. Larry Cole was a very good DT as well. And you always had to double team Randy, (except for Russ Grimm with the Redskins) which freed up either Ed Jones or Harvey Martin on the outside, or Larry Cole as the other DT.

Randy White was 6’4 but he only weighed 260-265 pounds and he might have even beefed up to that once Tom Landry finally figured out that Manster wasn’t a linebacker but a defensive lineman. And 260-265 for a defensive tackle in the 1980s and would’ve been small even back then. Especially going up against the Redskins and the big Chicago Bears offensive lines in the 1980s. But he was so strong and quick. He could get into the opponents backfield before the offensive lineman even moved. Or just knock the lineman out-of-the-way.

He reminds me of Dick Butkus (Chicago Bears LB) as far as how quick, strong, athletic, and aggressive he was. He didn’t tackle his opponents, but he pounded them into the ground like pro wrestlers did. But his slams on opponents were real. Randy White was the best Cowboy defensive player of the 1970s and it would be between Randy and Bob Lilly as far as greatest Cowboy defender of all time. The nickname Manster that Randy picked up (half man, half monster) he was exactly that. Because football was like war for him and the goal seemed to be for him to destroy his opponents and not just win the game. Because of his strength, athletic ability, and quickness he’s still one of the best defensive players ever.

NFL Films: Randy White- Top 10 Dallas Cowboys of All Time

NFL Films: Bob Ryan- How The Dallas Cowboys Became Americas Team

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Source: NFL Films

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

At risk of stating the obvious, in a country over 200 million people back in the 1970s and in a major sports league like the NFL with 26 franchises by the time the NFL expanded to Tampa and Seattle in 1976, it’s hard to accurately say there was one Americas team in the NFL. America is not Jamaica or Iceland, we’re a huge country with a huge population.

Granted, the Dallas Cowboys were probably the most popular team in the NFL in the 1970s and a lot of that I believe had to do with their Hollywood pop culture appeal. Where a lot of their players looked like professional celebrities and entertainers perhaps as much or more as they looked like professional football players. But as one guy in this video said a lot of the promotion that was about the Cowboys in putting together the Americas Team film that was about the Cowboys was based on lies.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were the team of the 1970s in the NFL and I would argue the team of pro sports in that decade. They won 4-6 Super Bowls from 1974-79. Had never been done before and hasn’t been done since and perhaps never will be done again with all the parity in the league today. And if you just look at personal and the fact that the Oakland Raiders are also in the AFC along with the Steelers and had to play the Steelers three times in the AFC Championship just to get to the Super Bowl and lost 2-3 of those games, you could certainly argue that the Oakland Raiders were just as good as the Cowboys in the 1970s.

Sure, the Cowboys won 2 Super Bowls and the Raiders only 1. And the Cowboys won five conference championships and the Raiders only 1. But who was the other great NFC franchise in the 1970s? The Minnesota Vikings who lost three Super Bowls? The Los Angeles Rams who only won one conference championship? The Rams, Vikings, and Redskins, were pretty good in the 1970s. But the Cowboys were the only great NFC team in the decade. Which is one reason why they won 5 NFC Championship’s. The Steelers had the Raiders and Dolphins that they had to worry about every year and probably beat in the AFC Playoffs just to get to the Super Bowl.

The Dallas Cowboys on paper were probably just as good or about as good as the Pittsburgh Steelers and you could argue they had a better team in 1978 than the Steelers and should have won Super Bowl 13, which I believe is still the best Super Bowl ever. But they didn’t and to be the best, you have to beat the best and be your best when it counts the most. Like not dropping TD passes when you’re wide-open in the end zone. Being the most popular team and being Americas Team are two different things. Which is why Dallas Cowboys came up short in the 1970s.

NFL Films: Bob Ryan- How The Dallas Cowboys Became Americas Team

HBO: Real Time With Bill Maher- New Rule: What if Barack Obama Said It?

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Real Time With Bill Maher 

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

Just to at least sound serious for a minute. The reasons why the Republican Party are holding Donald Trump to a lower standard and perhaps low standard is not the right term and no standard at all would be more accurate, is because they weren’t expecting Donald Trump to be President.

And having to deal with President Trump’s narcissism, inexperience, immaturity, irresponsibility, lack of intelligence (at least when it comes to public affairs) , etc, and I could go on but it’s Saturday and I don’t want to spend my whole day on this. But having to deal with all of Donald Trump’s personal weaknesses like they were producers of a so-called reality TV show having to deal with an inexperienced, irresponsible cast that believes the whole world revolves around them and they are now the latest hot pop culture celebrity.

The GOP was expecting to Hillary Clinton to not only be the next President right now, but for her to defeat Donald Trump going away not just in the popular vote, but in the Electoral College as well. And that the GOP would hold the House, but perhaps Democrats would win back the Senate. And that the GOP would be spending the next two years trying to obstruct and investigate the Clinton Administration, but not having to actually govern themselves.

The other reason except for the Russia investigation where there’s a consensus both in the House and Senate with both parties, that this is a real investigation and that Congress and Special Counsel Robert Mueller should be investigating this and that President Trump shouldn’t be able to fire Bob Mueller simply simply because he might be investigating not just the 2016 Trump Campaign but the White House as well, is because they’re now in bed with Donald Trump and his administration politically. I realize the Washington GOP and Donald Trump are not natural bedmates. Sort of like a top model trying to sleep with a serial killer with hair all over his back and chest who belches as a form of communication.

But for the Republican Party to accomplish anything politically and on policy in 2017-18 before the Congressional mid-terms, they’re going to need a functioning Trump White House and administration to accomplish those things. That is at least popular enough for them pass their agenda. Both the GOP Congress and the Trump Administration, have similar policy agendas and are close enough to work together. For the GOP to at least hold the House and have no real risk of losing the Senate next year, they’re going to have to govern and govern successfully. And they’re going to have to work with the Trump White House to do that.

I mean if the House GOP and the Senate GOP abandons President Donald Trump and says they can’t work with the White House for laundry’s list worth of reasons and I’ve already mentioned several of them and being a potential puppet that was bought by President Vladimir Putin and Russia, would be another one and instead tries to work with House Democrats and Senate Democrats on issues like health care, infrastructure, tax reform, and tells the White House if President Donald Trump that if he vetoes their legislation they’ll just override his vetoes with help of House Democrats and Senate Democrats, because now the House and Senate have these huge majorities on their legislation, because everything they’re doing now has bipartisan support, what incentive would Trump voters and the Tea Party have to vote for Congressional Republican and candidates next year? Republicans would be labeled as RINOS. (Republicans in name only)

The Republican Party is now in a damned if they do, damned if they don’t situation. They’re damned if they stick with Trump (sounds like a campaign sticker) because if he goes down and has no popularity that he can use to govern and Americans aren’t listening to him, Republicans won’t be able to pass anything meaningful out of Congress, at least on their own. And as a result will depress their base and ignite the Democratic base and at the very least lose the House next year and might lose north of 40 seats as well. And perhaps lose the Senate as well.

If the GOP sticks with Trump and his popularity continues to slides or even holds between 33-38%, but because of his bad behavior and what comes out of the Russian investigation, that the Republican Congress is also divided and can’t work with each other and Congressional Democrats have no political incentive to work with Republicans, because they want to at least win back the House in 2018, the Congressional GOP will go down and we’ll have a new Congress in 2019 with Democrats controlling at least the House.

I agree with Bill Maher about the Republican hypocrisy when it comes to Donald Trump.

Had Barack Obama said that John McCain a Vietnam POW wasn’t a war hero, they would’ve called him an agent of the Communist Party of Vietnam. And perhaps the Birthers would then say that Barack Obama is from Vietnam instead of Kenya.

Had Barack said that he openly grabbed women’s pussies in public, Sean Hannity and many others on the Tea Party right would have said that Barack belongs in prison and called him a serial rapist from the ghetto or someplace.

If President Obama had taken as much time off for vacation at this point in his administration, the Tea Party and others would have labeled President Obama as a lazy bum from the hood who wasn’t raised right. And I could go on but I’ll spare you.

And I’m not trying to excuse the GOP’s double standard for Donald Trump, because their hypocrisy is obvious and disgusting. And just trying to explain it in political terms and what they believe they can achieve with a Donald Trump in the White House and how bad a hand they have with him. And they’ve decided that sticking with him at all costs is the best decision they can make right now.

HBO: Real Time With Bill Maher- New Rule: What If Barack Obama Said It?

NFL Films: Donald Trump-Decline of The NFL & The Rise of The USFL

img_9651Source: NFL Films: Donald Trump- The Decline of The NFL & The Rise of The USFL

There was a time in the 1980s when Donald Trump wanted to be an NFL owner. He could see the popularity and growth of the National Football League which by that time had become the most popular professional sports league in America, with the most popular championship in the Super Bowl. And The Donald or perhaps Big Don (does anyone call Donald Trump Don) decided he wanted a piece of that action. The problem that he had which was great for the NFL, is that the New York Giants, already had a solid ownership and management group. Same thing with the New York Jets, the Philadelphia Eagles, so The Donald was shut out of his own territory as far as having any opportunity to own and run his own NFL franchise. But this was a great thing for the NFL, because Big Don was a big reason why the USFL failed.

Again to Don’s credit he saw the growth potential of the upstart United States Football League that kickoff in 1983. And the USFL wanted a franchise in the New York market and they were a spring league and played their games in the spring and summer. When the Giants and Jets weren’t playing and that meant that Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, or Shea Stadium in Queens over on Long Island, would both be available in the spring and summer as far as not having a pro football franchise occupying it during that time of year. And the potential New Jersey USFL franchise didn’t have an owner and management group yet and that is how Don became part of the USFL. Because he had the money and to a certain extent (as small as that might be) the vision for how the USFL could succeed.

Originally the USFL had the right vision. Playing in the spring and summer when the NFL was in their offseason. Drafting and singing high quality NFL caliber players. Guys like Reggie White, Bobby Hebert, Gary Clark, Jim Kelly, Herschel Walker and many others. They had the money as far as investors in the USFL. They were playing exclusively in major media markets and big cities. Including markets that weren’t currently occupied by the NFL. Jacksonville, Orlando, Memphis, San Antonio, Phoenix, Portland, and Oakland. But a big problem that they had is that they listened too much to Donald Trump and he owning and running the New Jersey Generals. They expanded too fast having like 18 franchises by 1985 and probably their worst mistake and perhaps the death penalty of the USFL, was deciding to move from the spring and summer which is what they did from 1983-85, to trying to go right up against the NFL and try to play their games in the fall of 1986.

One of the best decisions that at the time NFL Commissioner Pete Roselle and the broader NFL made in 1983 and for the rest of the 1980s and ever since, was not getting involved with Donald Trump. Which is how The Donald ends up as part of the failed USFL, instead of becoming part of the NFL and making that league weaker or perhaps ruining a quality franchise, because of how much he would have tried to make his club and the NFL about him. Instead of what was the best thing for his club and the NFL. Because outside of Don’t beautiful family and I give him credit for how his kids turned out, the only thing that Don cares about when it comes to business is The Donald. If it was popular for Don’s club to fail as far as their record, but it would have been profitable for Don, that is how he would have run an NFL franchise. And the NFL doesn’t need another owner like that.

 

David Brin: Greed, Oligarchy & Marx

img_9631Source: David Brin: Greed, Oligarchy & Marx

I’m going to quote Milton Friedman here in his 1979 interview on the Phil Donahue Show that you can see here as well. But Phil asked Professor Friedman essentially, what is greed and tried to explain why he believed greed was a bad thing. With Milton replying by saying, “what is greed? Do you think China, Japan, Russia and Europe don’t run on greed? Do you believe we as Americans aren’t greedy?” And he jokingly said which got a laugh from the audience, “it’s only the other guy whose greedy.” I would’ve added while everyone else is selfless. But Milton’s point there was perfect. Greed according to Webster’s, “is a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed.” Which could cover a whole lot of territory. I mean all we really only need to be able to move around, have enough food, a place to stay, security and health care, in order to survive and keep living.

I’m not making the case for excess and for people to make money off  of others in an unfair manner by essentially stealing what others worked for to collect for themselves. I’m saying that greed in of itself is not a bad thing and when managed properly is a very effective and necessary tool to have a strong economy where economic freedom is available for others. Because you have a society where everyone is incentivized to get educated, work hard, be very productive and then yes collect the fruits of their labor. Because government isn’t taxing people to excess and being greedy with other people’s money. Even if they want to help the less-fortunate. But instead everyone has the opportunity to live well and be successful. To be able to take care of themselves economically and create those opportunities for their kids as well.

What we shouldn’t be doing from the Far-Left is to say that rich people have a lot of money and the poor and the lower middle class (Donald Trump voters) are struggling just to keep their jobs and pay their bills. So the answer here to take heavily from the rich and have government take care of everyone else. Which is what Phil Donahue advocated for in the 1970s and 1980s and what Senator Bernie Sanders and other Democratic Socialists, advocate today. Because then you would create an economy where no one is wealthy and no one can be greedy, because everyone is poor. Unless they have a sweet job with the central government. Because now you’re punishing success and wealth and subsidizing poverty. With people thinking they can just live off of government. But no one left to pay those bills.

Again, greed by itself is not a bad thing. Like anything else when there’s too much of stand when it goes uncheck, when power becomes unbalanced and absolute with one group of people with no checks and balances, is when greed becomes a problem. When you allow people to not only get real wealthy, which by itself is not a problem, but then when you let them essentially write off all of their tax burden and stick the middle class with the taxes for the rich, is when greed becomes bad. As much as Gordon Gecko believes greed is good. (Great Wall Street 1987 line) Greed is good, but so is water, but with too much water you can drown and with too much greed you could drown the economy leaving very little opportunity for anyone who isn’t real rich which will be most of the population.

I’m not a Socialist, especially not a Marxist and I’m not an Randian (named for Ayn Rand) When it comes to economics. But a Liberal in the Jack Kennedy sense (the real sense of liberal) who believes in individual freedom economic and personal, but for everyone. That yes you want wealthy people and you want an upper class. But not just for the privileged few, but for a lot of the country. With a strong middle class that isn’t lower, but able to not just pay their bills,but to  live in a nice home, put their kids through college, put money away, health insurance for their whole family, retirement security, even be able to take a nice vacation with the money to finance that.

And instead of a country with lot of poor people and people one pay check and a lost job away from poverty, with very few rich people, you instead reverse that. With a country that has a strong middle class with people able to move up even from that, yes wealthy people but more wealthy people. And instead very few poor people with them having the ability to move up as well. With things like education, job training, infrastructure and economic development. You don’t get there by punishing wealth and subsidizing poverty. But instead encouraging wealth and subsidizing people and empowering people who need it to climb the economic ladder. So they too can be part of a strong middle class and ever do better than and become very rich themselves.

Mear Bhrach: Milton Friedman on Greed

 

 

 

NFL Films: Tom Landry- Cowboys & America’s Team Coach

img_9550Source: NFL Films: Tom Landry- Cowboys & America’s Team Coach

I know I’m a Redskins fan, but I’ve always hated the term America’s Team and not just because it’s been associated with the Dallas Cowboys. I would hate that term if it were associated with the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles as well. Actually, I would hate it if it were associated with any team in the NFL. Why, because it assumes that America is so small that we only have one team. The New York Yankees are treat in Major League Baseball, because of the success that they’ve had and the fact that they represent New York City and people there like to refer to New York as the big great city of America as if we only have one. Tom Landry didn’t built America’s Team. He built the Dallas Cowboys and made them the great franchise that they are today.

When you look at Tom Landry, you need to think about head coaches and executives like Vince Lombardi, Don Shula, Chuck Noll, Bill Walsh, because he’s in the same class as all of those guys as far as the success he had over a twenty-year period. From 1966-85, the Dallas Cowboys had 20 consecutive winning seasons. Think about that for a moment. Twenty straight seasons of winning more games than you loss. And here’s another record, 19 playoff appearances in those 20 seasons. Two records that will probably never be passed, but the New England Patriots under Bill Belichick could come close. This is also before free agency and where you had to build your team through the draft and trades. And finding player that other teams didn’t want that could fit for you.

How many other head coaches did you know that could run both the offense and defense for their teams, or did that? Don Shula, Bill Parcells, Chuck Noll, Jimmy Johnson , were smart enough to do that as well and all had defensive backgrounds, but tended to leave both their offense and defense to their coordinators. Landry ran his own offense even though he was a defensive head coach and a brilliant defensive mind, but put together both the offensive and defensive game plans and systems together for his team each week. He was a mastermind when it came to football as well as personal and who to get the best out of all his players. I don’t believe we’ve seen a head coach as smart as Tom Landry, other than perhaps Bill Walsh since.

The Cowboys of the 1970s were labeled America’s team, because of the success that they had and winning five conference championships, 2 Super Bowls and 9 divisional titles in that decade. As well as the popularity of their uniforms, merchandise and cheerleaders. But whether you believe the Cowboys were ever America’s Team or not and I definitely don’t and have already made that case, Tom Landry as well as Tex Schramm the President of the Dallas Cowboys with Tom Landry, deserve all the credit for that. For putting those teams together and having the success that they had. And that is the legacy of Tom Landry and what he gave the Cowboys and the NFL.