Saturday, November 12, 2005

If you know a young girl who wants a doll

Or for that matter a young boy--see, all those playings of the Free To Be You And Me record when I was six or seven didn't go to waste--may I suggest you get them one of these for Christmas?

Why? I'll let the TGW explain. Egalia?
The anti-feminist fury of the radical right seems to be getting more intense with the efforts to promote a Christmas boycott of American Girl dolls. The Pro Life Action League says it has received "over 500 boycott pledges since announcing the boycott of American Girl."

The rightwing groups spreading the news of a call for a boycott include: The American Family Association, Priests for Life, Operation Rescue, Stand True Ministries, Aid for Women and Illinois Right to Life, Focus on the Family and Concerned Women of America and, of course, the Southern Baptists.

The doll company's sin is that it has partnered with the non-profit Girls Inc., in a campaign to promote high self-esteem among girls. The radical right has a problem with Girls Inc. The nonprofit supports birth control and freedom of choice. Girls Inc., also supports girls who are lesbian or bisexual [gasp].

Kathryn Hooks...director of media and public relations for the American Family Association...charges that Girls Inc., "supports abortion as a 'woman's freedom of choice, a constitutional right' and 'convenient access to safe, effective methods of contraception.'" Girls Inc. offends Ms. Hooks further because it offers books on the subject of sexual orientation.

God forbid that our daughters should have birth control and books too!

Thanks, Egalia. So you see what I'm talking about. It's a chance to do something nice for a child while flipping off the radical right at the same time, and how often does that come up? If it weren't for the fact that he'd only be interested if the dolls were of dinosaur firemen, I'd order one for my nephew.

A happy little picture of a dog

Just 'cos it made me smile. Credit to One Odd Goose.

This is my man

If the next presidential election were next week, I'd want to be voting for John Edwards. I know, big deal, right? No such "endorsement" matters a damn until 2008 when we know who else is involved and what's happened since. God knows, if you'd told me in 2001 that three years later I'd be having to hold my nose and vote for John Kerry...

But I digress. Why have I decided to "come out" so early for Edwards? Here's why. In my old blog, on January 30, 2004 at 4:13 PM, I said:
Senators like John Edwards and John Kerry flatly failed to do their jobs...And the next generation will judge them just as surely as mine did those who got the US into Vietnam, Republican or Democrat. Although, that's easy to say with 20/20 hindsight, and I'm not sure if, at the time, the futility of Vietnam was as evident as Iraq II was. And it was, from the very beginning. Dean's presumptive frontrunner status may have turned out to be greatly exaggerated, but he will always have this over every one of the candidates except Clark and, of course, Kucinich: He was right about Iraq, and they were wrong.

I would love to see which of them will be the first to say it (come on, John Edwards! Confession is good for the soul!).

In the Sunday, November 13, 2005 Washington Post:

The Right Way in Iraq

By John Edwards

I was wrong.

Almost three years ago we went into Iraq to remove what we were told -- and what many of us believed and argued -- was a threat to America. But in fact we now know that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction when our forces invaded Iraq in 2003. The intelligence was deeply flawed and, in some cases, manipulated to fit a political agenda.

It was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002. I take responsibility for that mistake. It has been hard to say these words because those who didn't make a mistake -- the men and women of our armed forces and their families -- have performed heroically and paid a dear price.

In AmericaBlog, John says
This is a very big deal.

Edwards is saying what far too few Democrats are willing to say. They got tricked into voting for the war in Iraq, and now they regret it. Edwards goes one step farther, taking personal responsibility in any case for his vote. He and Kerry should have done this last year, but it's still good he's doing it now, and it sounds very much to me like this is a man running for president in 2008.

I say this is a big deal because top Democrats are finally willing to say publicly that they screwed up, they should have never voted for this fiasco, while at the same acknowledging that Bush hardly played an insignificant role in tricking the Congress and the American people into supporting this war.

Until or unless someone better comes along, that's my man.

The conscience of a conservative

Ah, William Kristol. He's on the very short list of Bush-supporters for whom I can find some respect, sometimes; in spite of himself. This is not one of those times. He responds to recent survey info:

57 percent of Americans endorsed that proposition that the president "deliberately misled people to make the case for war with Iraq," compared to 35 percent who thought he "gave the most accurate information he had." Five months ago, those numbers were 44 percent "misled" versus 47 percent "accurate information." Eight months ago, shortly after Bush's second term began, there were only 41 percent who thought Bush had "misled" them, while 53 percent credited the president with being "accurate."

Now, why have those percentages risen? If I had to speculate, I would say it's at least partially a product of the almost unrelenting bad times Republicans have been having in Bush's second term.

The electorate is unhappy over things like (but by no means limited to) the CIA leak investigation, and it's making them take a long look back at the President. That'd be my best guess, anyway. Does it surprise you to learn that Kristol sees it differently?

No new information has appeared in those eight months. All that has happened is an unanswered assault by Bush's enemies. The White House figured the election was over and didn't recognize that the anti-Bush campaign would continue.

Remember that right-wing blogger last month who responded to President Bush's job approval rating slipping to 39% with 17 surly paragraphs? And only mentioned once, in passing, the issue that, it seems obvious to me, is most responsible for Bush's failing fortunes: Iraq?

This is kind of like that. To Bush's supporters, he can never fail, he can only be assaulted by his political enemies. I'm at a loss to think of anyone who I like that much, in or out of the political arena. I mostly hated the last two Pet Shop Boys albums...

But funnily enough, Kristol himself provides another answer, in the very next paragraph, to the question of why more people trusted Bush a few months ago.

Lies can work when unrefuted. In a healthy democracy, they tend to boomerang when confronted and exposed.

But I don't wish to be mean to Mr. Kristol. I believe he feels pricklings of conscience that lead him sometimes to say the right things, even if he still feels the need to hide them in the wrong ones.

For example, look at his conclusions here. Shy of a couple of rewordings and grammar points, it's something I could say. Only I'd mean it as prediction, and he means it (or so he would tell you) as warning:

If the American people really come to a settled belief that Bush lied us into war, his presidency will be over. He won't have the basic level of trust needed to govern. His initiatives, domestic and foreign, will founder. Support for the war on terror will wane. The lie that Bush lied us into war threatens the Bush presidency in a way no ordinary political charge does.

I think many, if not all of us, can agree that most of that is true. It's just that we disagree on why it's true, and whether or not it's a bad thing.

Lies, Lies, Lies, Yeah

Just a little more on the Nathan Thurm school of defending the President (We're not being defensive! You're the ones who are being defensive!).

ReddHedd made a good entry today quoting a Washington Post analysis. The Post seems to have jumped onto this "competence" fad that's all the rage in the press these days. I'd feel better about this fad if I weren't sure with an almost sickening certainty that if Bush's popularity ever again noses above 50%, we'll see it ("competence") fade. But for now, they're doing a fine job.

Senators on both sides of the aisle failed to do their jobs adequately, and allowed short term political considerations for upcoming elections to trump responsibilities for oversight through advice and consent.
The lawmakers are partly to blame for their ignorance. Congress was entitled to view the 92-page National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq before the October 2002 vote. But, as The Washington Post reported last year, no more than six senators and a handful of House members read beyond the five-page executive summary.

But that in no way excuses the Administration from failing to provide the fullest possible picture of the pros and the cons of the intelligence information.

ETA: Sadly, No! on one of the odder responses by a Republican blogger to the Washington Post article, another little lesson in misrepresentative linking.

It always seemed kind of creepy to me anyway

Feministing on the birth-control "patch:"

The makers of the patch, Ortho McNeil, had previously denied the accusations of serious risks such as blood clots and strokes, claiming that the potential risks in the patch and the pill were more or less the same. Yet new information has found (and added to the label) that women who use the patch will be exposed to 60 percent more estrogen than women on the pill. DAMN.

While the patch and the pill both have the same amount of estrogen in them, hormones from the patch go directly into the blood stream while the pill is digested and loses a significant amount in the process. In result, women die and suffer from blood clots at a rate three times higher than women on the pill.

I never found a sticker on my ass very appealing to begin with, but hopefully now women will think twice before putting this serious amount of hormones into their bodies. Scary stuff.

Something Up With The Stars

The forecast's in and the outlook's calm
There's something up with the stars right now
But fate won't let her be run aground
We're pulling right into the future now

The future is calling
The satellites can see us
The angels are the schemers

Don't let the sky fall down
Or let the wind blow south
The captain's heart give out
The future is calling you down

And fate won't let her be run aground
There's something up with the stars right now
The angels are scheming above the clouds
We're pulling right into the future now

The future is calling
The satellites can see us
The distance that's between us

The moons have designs on you now
Don't let the wind blow out
The captain's heart give out
The future is calling you down

It's pulling right into the future now
The future is calling

~Electric Music Aka

A Karl Rove Thanksgiving

Here's part of the intro to a long, but good article from AmericaBlog:

You know, oftentimes one can be tempted to use hyperbole to challenge one's opponents. Take this sentence for example:

The corrupt cronyism of the Republican Party is utter and complete, encompassing the Executive Branch and both branches of Congress.

Now, you might read that and think, oh, that's just a bit excessive, I'm sure that there are good people in the Republican party. Even if I disagree with their methodology, they are trying their best.

This time it's different. This time it's far worse than anything we've seen in quite a while. You judge people in life on the company they keep -- who people choose to associate with tells you a lot about them. In politics, judge people on the leaders that they choose to follow -- the example set by political leadership sets a tone and an agenda.

This struck a chord with me because sometimes I feel twinges of guilt about the sweeping generalizations I sometimes make about the Republican party in this blog. A little of this comes from my old friend Moya, who is pretty, giving and until recently from the "Libertarian wing of the Republican party."

She changed her registration when she just couldn't take it anymore, but I know there are...or were...good people in the Republican party because she was one. The reason the temptation keeps cropping up to say that there aren't is because for a long time now I've been wondering:

Where are they?

Thieves like us

I stole this from JeopardyGirl, who stole it from someone called Babs. If you want to take it, be my guest.
How it works is you name a band or artist, and then the answers to the questions have to be in the form of titles of their songs.

Artist/band: Pet Shop Boys
Are you male or female: Music For Boys pt 3
Describe Yourself: Paninaro
How do some people feel about you: What Have I Done To Deserve This
How do you feel about yourself: If love were all
Describe where you want to be: Se a veda e' (That's the way life is)
Describe what you want to be: (Never) Being Boring
Describe How you Live: Left To My Own Devices/In Denial
Describe how you love: Love Comes Quickly
Share a few words of wisdom: We All Feel Better In The Dark

As usual with these things I've had to cheat a little, nerdishly providing links to lyrics if I don't think the point fully comes across in the song title. I slightly altered the name of another for the same reason. I know, I know. It's A Sin...

Friday, November 11, 2005

This is a great shame

I've just read that a writer from the UK named Harry Thompson has died. He was known over there as a TV writer and producer for shows such as Da Ali G Show. I admit, I've never seen the joke about Ali G.

But I know Thompson as the writer of one of my prized books, his biography of Peter Cook, who coincidentally I mentioned just a few posts ago somewhere around here. I think Eric Idle encapsulated it best in the review that made me buy it, as something like:

"Either the funniest book ever written about a sad man or the saddest book ever written about a funny man."

He'd also written a biography of Tintin's creator, Hergé, that I've never found although I've looked once or twice. According to the death announcement:
[Thompson's]first novel, This Thing Of Darkness, was on the Booker prize's long list, [he] was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer in April. He did not smoke.

He died on Monday night having married Lisa Whadcock, his girlfriend, that day.

Frankly, I can do without that kind of cheap irony in life.

It's pretty. It's so pretty.

From Raw Story via TGW:
According to Friday's Wall Street Journal: "Six in 10, including 43% of Republicans, say there should be a public investigation and hearings into exposure of operative Valerie Plame's identity." The statistic is published in the paper's Washington Wire.

"Fully 69% of Americans hold Cheney personally responsible for the matter; 54% hold Bush responsible.

"Republican congressional leaders don't plan to go along. Among conservatives, 60% say other administration officials aside from Libby may have acted illegally.

For some reason this made me miss Tip O'Neil.

Call me crazy, but I think Tip would have known what to do with polling data like this. I wonder if there are any living Democratic leaders who can put the spotlight on the fact that Republican leaders are blatantly denying the will of the people.

Mr Reid? Mrs. Clinton? Mr. Kerry? Mr. Clinton? You claim to lead us. This would be a good time to step up.

I always saw myself more as Charlie Brown* or Snoopy

You are Rerun!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Or Linus. But I must admit I do fit the profile above in many ways.

*In fact, I even played Charlie Brown years ago, in one of the many thousands of productions of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown. Schulz said it was the most-performed musical in the history of the theater.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha...

On a blog called Crushed by Inertia, Lons has a good post that starts out giving his-or-her reasons for disliking Jay Leno.
I understand that he has to try and appeal to the widest possible audience, and most Americans don't want their post-news fall-asleep hour to be too edgy, outrageous or exciting. But, Jay Leno is just such an unfunny, fawning simp. He wasn't funny even before he had a TV show, when he was free to appeal to any audience he chose.

I disagree about that; there was a time when Jay Leno was coming up in the '80s and was doing Letterman a lot that I thought he was the funniest man in America. However, I think the treadmill of doing the Tonight show night after night has smoothed him out, not that he had that many rough edges in the first place. Men with rough edges don't get network talk shows interviewing sitcom stars.

But more importantly, I agree with Lons' broader point, which is about
not just Jay Leno, but a lot of political comedians of his ilk. I think that sometimes, they take real problems and issues and make them frivolous. I think that sometimes, genuine and truthful observations about our world are turned too quickly into just another cliched punchline.

Bill Maher, to me, would be more chiefly guilty of this today, but that's a matter of opinion. But this is something that I've been thinking about for a while as well. As much as I've loved & love some political comedians from A. Whitney Brown to the late, great Bill Hicks, I also remember what Peter Cook used to say: The peak of satire was 1930's Berlin--and look how much that did to prevent the rise of Hitler.

What bothers me sometimes about political comedy is that it seems to be a way of letting off steam about things that we all know are true--but that nobody's doing anything about. Like, get this...

2,061 Americans have died in Iraq...ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...because our president is a liar...ha ha ha ha ha ha....

"The Hammer." As in "dumb as a box of."

The case against Tom DeLay hinges on whether he knew about and condoned a well-documented conspiracy to circumvent election laws. Earle’s Grand Jury made it clear when they issued indictments that the case against DeLay was practically bombproof. Somebody must have told the Grand Jury about DeLay’s involvement, but who?

As it turns out, Tom DeLay.

--John F. in Balloon Juice

To repeat: Their "defense" is, he's not a liar. he's just an idiot

In fact, just as big an idiot as Bill Clinton! Or John Kerry! Or Harry Reid! So there! Neah!

Boy, wouldn't it be great if we had a president who could defend himself on tbe grounds that he's less of an idiot than his political opponents?

Yeah, I know, that only happens on television.

Today a Bush aide, and then Bush himself, took their new spin out for another drive. This being that because other people may have been wrong about WMDs in Iraq, that makes everything all okay that George W. was "wrong" about WMDs in Iraq.

But as Steve Cobble says, in a longer but recommended post:

The question on the table is not whether Bill Clinton was wrong about WMDs in Iraq; nor is the question whether John Kerry or Harry Reid or other top Dems are hypocrites for supporting the war then and criticizing it now.
The question on the table is whether the Bush Administration lied, distorted, exaggerated, and hyped the supposedly "grave and gathering danger" of Iraq in the run-up to the war.
The question on the table is whether the Bush Administration first decided to go to war--without telling America--and then cherry-picked existing intelligence while Cheney muscled and pressured analysts to "find" new "intelligence" by playing up rumors and downplaying objections.
The question on the table is whether Bush & Cheney & Rice & the WHIG committed impeachable offenses, misleading and tricking their fellow citizens into a war of choice, which they falsely portrayed as a war of necessity.

Elsewhere, Daily Kos points out another hole in Bush's logic:
For the last two major election cycles, 2002 and 2004, Republicans made electoral gains on the assertion that Democrats were weak on defense and only the Big, Bad, Republican Party could save the nation from the evil terrorists and their nefarious dreams of mushroom clouds over American cities.

Now, Bush is saying that he can't be criticized by Democrats because Democrats were with him all along?????

ETA: Think Progress lays out the reasons why the claim that Congress had access to the same information Bush did and thought Iraq was a threat is false. For any of you who need those reasons laid out.

Where you gonna get 'em, John?

Okay, just so you guys know, I've had about four hours of sleep. I couldn't find the new bottle of sleeping pills that I bought just last night (and I may be addicted to sleeping pills, but that's another issue).

My point is that I am in even less of a mood than usual to pretend there is any sanity in the plans of men and women who just will not face the reality of the situation.

In a speech on Thursday that highlighted the growing unease of some Republicans with lack of the progress at defeating the insurgency, Senator John McCain of Arizona said, "There is an undeniable sense that things are slipping in Iraq."

But Mr. McCain warned that proposals for withdrawing forces next year "are exactly wrong" and called for the American military presence to grow by 10,000, to 165,000.

"Instead of drawing down, we should be ramping up, with more civil-military soldiers, translators and counterinsurgency operations teams," he told a packed audience at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington research institute.

Via The Talent Show

The Defense Department opened its new recruiting year with good news: announcing yesterday that the Army met its goal for October. But officials also said that the Army lowered the October recruiting goal by about a third from last year's.
Via AmericaBlog

This is gonna sound like a bizarre sidebar, but I'm going somewhere. When the indefensible remake of Psycho came out a few years ago, I fantasized about interviewing the "creative" team behind and in front of the camera and asking them only one question:


And no matter what answer they gave, the next question would always be: Why? No matter what bullshit rationalization money-grubbing excuse they had. Next question: Why?

Now I find myself wanting to say to John McCain (and anybody else who favors sending more troops)...where you gonna get 'em, John? Uh-huh, that's great, but where you gonna get 'em, John? Terrific, but where you gonna get 'em, John?

If you're a lawmaker and you support sending more troops to Iraq, I want to see you front and center on the senate floor calling for the re-instituion of the draft. Otherwise, I want you to shut the fuck up.

Where you gonna get 'em, John?

I like to be the ruthless and sarcastic one in my relationships

The Keys to Your Heart

You are attracted to those who are unbridled, untrammeled, and free.

In love, you feel the most alive when things are straight-forward, and you're told that you're loved.

You'd like to your lover to think you are stylish and alluring.

You would be forced to break up with someone who was ruthless, cold-blooded, and sarcastic.

Your ideal relationship is lasting. You want a relationship that looks to the future... one you can grow with.

Your risk of cheating is zero. You care about society and morality. You would never break a commitment.

You think of marriage something you've always wanted... though you haven't really thought about it.

In this moment, you think of love as commitment. Love only works when both people are totally devoted.

Not so sure about this "caring about society and morality" bit, though...

"The Phantom Spear?" Well sure, if you believe that lying ex-girlfriend of mine.

Your Superhero Profile

Your Superhero Name is The Phantom Spear
Your Superpower is Mutant
Your Weakness is Kittens
Your Weapon is Your Electro Lasso
Your Mode of Transportation is Stilts

How'd they know about my Electro Lasso, though?

Great. I'm the color of a homosexual dinosaur.

Your Hair Should Be Purple

Intense, thoughtful, and unconventional.
You're always philosophizing and inspiring others with your insights.

I demand a recount

You Are 40% Weird

Normal enough to know that you're weird...
But too damn weird to do anything about it!

Ink 19 Update

Piney Gir.

(My second review in six months! Proud as a peacock!)

Memo to San Francisco

You know, I'll bet if you each put up say $75, you could raise a bounty and have O'Reilly taken out for good.
O'Reilly to San Francisco: "[I]f Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. ... You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead"

Criticizing a ballot measure passed by 60 percent of San Francisco voters urging public high schools and colleges to prohibit on-campus military recruiting, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly declared on the November 8 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, "[I]f Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off-limits to you, except San Francisco."

I'm not telling you to do that, of course, because that would be wrong.

From Media Matters For America.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

For once, you must not try to shirk the facts

You know, I'm guilty of it. When I click over to Yahoo! to search for something, which I do at least once a day, I always glance over at the little "In The News" box. And every day I see things like this:

• Jordan's King Abdullah vows to hunt bombers
• Blasts targeting Iraqi police kill more than 40
• Mental trauma widespread in Asia quake zone
• Riots seen hitting France's image abroad

I'm ashamed to say it's stopped registering sometimes. I know some of that is necessary for my sanity--one of the trickiest paths we all have to walk as humans involves answering this question: How much of others pain can we really let ourselves feel?

You want to feel for your fellow man, you want to be compassionate (I mean, unless you're a conservative, right-wing "Christian"). Yet at the same time Brecht & Weill were not wrong when they wrote:

Mankind can keep alive, thanks to its brilliance
At keeping its humanity repressed
For once, you must not try to shirk the facts:
Mankind is kept alive by bestial acts

If you felt for everything and anybody, you'd quite simply go mad.

Nevertheless, there are times when I think it's important to really look "beneath the headlines," especially when the story is told by somebody who knows how to capture it. This is what's happening in Iraq every damn day. And we're fighting for freedom.

Suicide Bomber Kills at Least 29 in Crowded Baghdad Restaurant


...By late morning, the restaurant had become quiet. A small boy, the son of a Christian man who sold soda near the restaurant, walked on the sidewalk, repeating, "Oh daddy, oh daddy."

A man asked a police officer if his brother was among the dead, and walked off without a word when the officer answered yes.

Details seemed not to fit together. A man in a crisp yellow shirt and dress pants used a shovel to pick up pieces of flesh. A hand clutching a cloth lay just beyond a shoeshine- polish box on the sidewalk.

A small group of workers and police officers discussed the identity of a human face, ears and scalp shorn of its skull that had been hanging from a piece of plaster from the ceiling.

On the wall inside, the only two things left hanging were a small sprig of fake red flowers, and a medallion that had the word "God" in gold letters....

Every day. Every damn day.

Cel-e-brate good times, come on!

That's right,'s new numbers time! According to a new NBC News/WSJ poll, only 35% of Americans now believe the case for was was based upon the most accurate information availble at the time. And 57% believe Bush deliberately misled us into it.

"Deliberately misled" of course, is a nicer way of saying "lied." And I'm sure I don't have to remind you that a majority of this country already thinks that if Bush lied, he should be impeached.

While trying not to overly hype that idea--if it happens, it's not gonna happen until/unless the Democrats retake congress and the senate--here's a few more nuggets for us to hug to our collective bosoms.

With the midterms a year away, these numbers could spell trouble for the GOP. “These are not good times for Republicans,” says Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart. “This is a very unhappy electorate that’s going to be unstable, and they are terrifically unstable numbers for a Republican majority.”

The CIA leak investigation also seems to be dogging the Bush administration. Seventy-nine percent think that Libby’s indictment is a serious matter. (Libby has since resigned from the administration.) Moreover, only 33 percent give Bush positive ratings for being honest and straightforward — a drop of 17 points since January, when Bush held a 50-to-36 percent score on this question.

And Libby’s former boss, Cheney, also hasn’t emerged unscathed. Just 27 percent view him positively. That’s a significant shift since January, when he was viewed positively by a 42-to 41-percent margin.

Democratic pollster Jay Campbell of Hart Research notes that Americans are paying attention to this CIA leak investigation. “They think there is something real here,” he says. “This is a really big deal.”

There is, finally, this to be said for the Bush administration. When they screw up, they screw up big. A lot of mistakes in Washington can be covered up with a lot of smoke. But they blew it so big that the rights-and-wrongs are obvious.

Lying us into a war, wrong, leaking the name of a CIA operative, also wrong. That's so basic, even people from Kansas can understand it, and they don't even understand basic science. But that's another post.

All the kings horses and all the kings men

...won't be able to put the Republican party back together again. As you may be aware, today the Republican-controlled house dropped a provision for oil drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve.

How are the conservatives taking it, you ask? Let's ask commentator Clayton Cramer.
Michelle Malkin has a nice collection of upset letters from readers, who wish that there were a few conservatives in the Republican Party. I fear that quite a few House Republicans believe that if they make environmentalists happy, that instead of writing $1000 checks to the Democratic Party, or voting Green or Democrat, that they will suddenly turn Republican. Yeah, and if Republicans embraced gay marriage and partial-birth abortion vast numbers of hard-left Democrats will vote Republican in the next election. (Let me sell you this bridge, too.)

"Wish that there were a few conservatives in the Republican party." Wow. Apparently, George W. Bush, leader of that party, not a conservative. Dennis Hastert, House Speaker, not a conservative. Bill Frist, Senate majority leader, not a conservative.

This is why everything's coming up roses for liberals at the moment. Because the Republican party has its back against the wall. They're like drug addicts scared to go cold turkey; the far-right is the drug and they need rehab.

They're reeling from blow after blow coming from their own people. And the rest of us just get to watch the brawl. However, sweet as that is to see, I feel the need to warn some of you. This is a note of caution.

Hey, Libertarians! Look out! The conservatives are coming! On tapscottscopydesk, we find this reaction to the House GOP dropping the provision.
This one is going to spark more conservatives to throw up their hands and say "that's it, how do I change my registration to the Libertarian or Constitution party?"

That's right, friends. The people who think the Republican party isn't conservative enough to satisfy them have decided it's time for a change. Like vampires moving on to their next victim, leaving the last a puddle on the floor.

Lock your doors and windows tight...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Knotty schoolgirl

I just want to say to you, my vast reading audience, that if you are not watching Veronica Mars you are missing one of the greatest dramas on television. And as much as I enjoy having the scoop on most of you (and the country, and the television academy)...

I'd feel better if we were all in on it together.

Seriously guys, Veronica Mars is the best. Well acted, smartly written...and as glad as I am that it's making more of a dent in the ratings this year, that is a relative term.

Don't make me start emailing you individually; I'm just fool enough to do it. I'll be honest, besides wanting to share this wonderful show with you, I also want enough of you to watch it to ensure three more seasons after this one. Then you can go back to your shows about doctors who vanish without a trace playing football on monday night in Guatemala and their case remains cold for eight years before they're picked up in New York, I promise.

But come on, do you want to be the sort of person who watches the same shows that everone else is watching, or do you want to be the sort of a person who stands out in a crowd?

Funny you should ask.

In the interests of equal time...

This afternoon I wrote about a heated bra. JeopardyGirl commented, "What will they think of next?"

Take it, Sister...
Seriously, how much do some dudes hate condoms?

Men in Serbia are lining up to have electric shocks delivered to their testicles as part of a new contraceptive treatment.

Serbian fertility expert Dr Sava Bojovic, who runs one of the clinics offering the service, said the small electric shock makes men temporarily infertile by stunning their sperm into a state of immobility.

He said: "We attach electrodes to either side of the testicles and send low electricity currents flowing through them.

"This stuns the sperm, effectively putting them to sleep for up to 10 days, which means couples can have sex without fear of getting pregnant.

"The method does not kill the sperm permanently and it does not affect the patient's health."

Oh, I don't know about that...

behind that cynic’s steady gaze...

So far so extreme
If I’m jaded, you’re naive
But behind that cynic’s steady gaze
There’s a wide-eyed lover drink for days
Oh I don’t want to be
One of those guys who only sees
The joke behind the lie
Too much city life
Maybe I don’t know wrong from right
But baby I ain’t too cool to believe

I wasn’t born yesterday
I don’t die for love
Just let the record speak
Then I carry on

~Daryl Hall

They sure know how to package a war

Okay. There's a commentary piece out today by Norman Podhoretz called Who Is Lying About Iraq? Its claim is that "the charge that George W. Bush misled us into an immoral and/or unnecessary war in Iraq" is a "distortion, misrepresentation, and outright falsification."

Now, as usual, there's some difference in opinion between the liberal and conservative bloggers on this. To Roger L. Simon, for example, the article is "required reading." Tapped, meanwhile, points out:

a suspiciously large number of conservative pundits have been offering out-of-context quotations from [a] Kenneth Pollack article to "prove" that Bush in no sense manipulated intelligence data when selling the Iraq War. Norm Podhoretz is the latest to join this party...Near the end, Pollack concludes:
For the most part, the problems discussed so far have more to do with the methods of Administration officials than with their motives, which were often misguided and dangerous, but were essentially well-intentioned. The one action for which I cannot hold Administration officials blameless is their distortion of intelligence estimates when making the public case for going to war.

And in The Washington Monthly, Kevin Drum says

The problem Podhoretz doesn't bother wrestling with, however, is that after the war concluded we discovered that there were also a fair number of people who had been skeptical about Iraqi WMD...None of these dissents was acknowledged by the Bush administration.

Nor does Podhoretz apply himself to the entire period before the war. He stops his investigation at the end of 2002. But that's not when we went to war. We went to war in March 2003, and by that time UN inspectors had been combing Iraq for months with the help of U.S. intelligence. They found nothing, and an increasing chorus of informed minds was starting to wonder if perhaps there was nothing there.

But you know what? Let's ignore all that. Let's assume for the moment that the war was started in all good faith and intentions, that no one reasonably could have been expected to be skeptical about Iraqi WMD.

Let's assume, too, that all the problems since the war "ended" could not possibly have been forseen. Even though we know that people who had actually fought in wars forsaw them, and the Bush administration--none of whom, IIRC, did-chose to ignore them.

But like I say, forget that. Because something just hit me. The basic case of those conservatives who still wish to defend Bush and his war has now been reduced to: "He's not a liar, he's just an idiot." Seriously. That's all they've got.

Their biggest, loudest claim right now is that a president who takes his countrymen to war on a mistake is somehow better than one who takes his countrymen to war on a lie. I'm gonna go out on a limb here, and say that either way, he probably ought not to be president any more.

Yes ladies, now you can have a great rack and be enviromentally responsible at the same time!

A leading lingerie company has joined Japan's fight against high fuel use, unveiling a heated bra for winter.
The fluffy creation contains special pads filled with an eco-friendly gel that can be easily heated in a microwave or with a hot water bottle.

The design also includes a furry boa designed to double as a winter scarf.

Being padded, the new bra packs a little more bulk than most regular designs, but the Japanese arm of Triumph insisted the look was more chic than sheep.

"We hope this will not only help prevent global warming but also provide a little fashion chic to the office," the company said in a statement.

Via Jessica at Feministing, who adds,
I’m all down for eco-friendly clothing, but this freaks me out a bit. Partly because I don’t like idea of my breasts bursting into flames due to some kind of malfunction.

See, this is exactly how I see women (and exactly how I'm convinced they see me)

Credit to STRAIGHT OUTTA BENONI. Via Cartoon Brew.

It's stupid, I know

But things like this make me tear up a little:
"After 28 years, it's over, you guys. We won," Pat Peard, a longtime champion of gay rights, told supporters in Portland at 11 p.m. She was referring to the initial introduction of a gay rights bill in the Legislature in the 1970s, launching a struggle that has continued ever since.

The vote reversed a trend that dates back to 1998, when voters narrowly rejected a gay rights law in a special election. Voters again opposed a gay rights law in a follow-up referendum two years later.

Tuesday's referendum was held because opponents of the law used the so-called "people's veto" provision in the state Constitution to give voters a chance to repeal the law.

Annabel: Colley, you're taking us fishing.

Colley: I don't know how to fish, Annabel.

Keitha: Learn! You're a boy!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

talk to me now, talk to me slow

I’m very close to far away
And I can’t hear a word you say
So take what you can, take what you find
Take it all into your mind

I’m very close to letting go
Even closer than you know
I need what you have, need what you give
I need your love to make me live

So talk to me now talk to me slow
Say the words I told you so

I know you don’t believe me
Or all the things I say
But if you'll just receive me
I'm very close to far away


Balls to the wall

From whatever already:

The Democratic Senate leadership today sent a letter to President Bush urging that he vow not to pardon I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, if he is convicted in the CIA leak case.

Below are excerpts from the text of the letter:

Dear Mr. President:
The indictment of I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, marks the first time in 131 years that a senior White House official has been charged with a crime while still serving in the White House. The charges, while not yet proven, are extraordinarily serious and deeply disturbing.

Although it is too early to judge Mr. Libby guilty or innocent of these particular charges, it is not too early for you to reassure the American people that you understand the enormous gravity of the allegations. To this end, we urge you to pledge that if Mr. Libby or anyone else is found guilty of a crime in connection with Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation, you will not exercise your authority to issue a Presidential pardon.

The letter was signed by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, and other ranking Democrats in the Senate.

What I love about this is actually close to what I love about Cindy Sheehan. The point about Sheehan is not that I or anyone really thinks Bush was or is ever going to give her a satisfactory answer to her question. The point is that she drew the attention of the country to the fact that he can't.

Here, I doubt Reid or the other ranking Democrats expect Bush to make such a pledge. But the point is, they're publicizing the fact that he won't. And they're putting him on notice that if he pardons Libby or anyone else, they have a dandy talking point for the '06 and/or '08 elections.

Man. That makes two Tuesdays in a row that Harry Reid has made me feel, kind of, well, proud to be a Democrat. Can he keep it up?

Like the fellow once said, ain't that a kick in the head?

You know, along with many of my fellow Democrat-sympathizing bloggers (and indeed most of the country if not the world), I've had my fun smacking around FEMA. And let there be no question that it deserves it.

The unforgivable foot-dragging in response to a natural disaster, the rampant, murderous cronyism and the attempt to restore its battered reputation by playing to the religious right. All have rightly come in for their share of scorn here.

But I know what you're saying. You're saying they couldn't possibly make any...I mean, what more big mistakes could they possibly make?

Oh, I don't know...maybe if, somehow...they linked themselves to the torture scandal. Or if they were to, somehow, be connected with spying against the United States. Or bribery. What if they endorsed a company that was linked, connected or admitted to all those things and more?

Why, that would be terrible, wouldn't it?

Well, guess what.

Fox News asks the important questions.

Like this.

Courtesy of Think Progress, which also supplies an explaination by Marc Jacobson, who served on the Defense Department Prisoner Policy Team from 2002-2003:

[The problem is] the perception that we tossed off [the Geneva Convention] and said, “We’re going to have nothing to do with this; we’re going to create our own set of rules,” that not only created a perception to the world that we are not going to adhere to the rule of law, but from a functional standpoint, I think it may have put our own troops in danger. You have a situation now where other nations can say: “Because of the different nature of this war, we are not going to treat U.S. troops as prisoners of war. They are enemy combatants. I’m sorry — military necessity. We’re following the precedent you’re setting.”

I'm having another one of those moments now when I really wish I could say to a Bushie: Is this really what we've come to? Really? Is this what our troops are fighting and dying for? Really?

ETA via War and Piece:
Tapped's Sam Rosenfeld points to my friend Jason Vest's important July Prospect feature story on the fight between the FBI and the CIA over who would interrogate Al-Libi, and the crappy information the CIA got when it won because it sent al-Libi to Cairo to be tortured...What's the important point that hardened field agents told Vest from literally decades of experience interrogating suspects? Torture doesn't work. It produces bad information.

Reach out and touch faith

It's hard to argue with the actions of a Jimmy Carter, whose faith has caused him to try to serve his fellow man, both in politics, and more recently in his work with the Habitat For Humanity project.

Here is clearly someone whose faith is a positve aspect of his life, and has made a positive difference in others. I've had close friends and girlfriends whose faith was important to them, and we got on because I didn't try to change them, and they didn't try to change me.

But there is the other side to christianity too, a side obsessed with it's own infalibility even when all logic has shown that it has failed (read a biography of Galileo sometime).

Oddly, the people and works that have had the most effect on what I think of Christianity and Christians were (in no particular order): John Lennon, the Monty Python team and their Life of Brian, Rice and Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar and John-Michael Tebelak & Steven Schwartz's Godspell.

What John Lennon said during the "bigger than Jesus" thing. "Christ was all right, but his apostles were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."

Or when the Monty Python team had the idea that they wanted to do a biblical parody.
Each went away and read the bible, and found that they didn't really want to ridicule Jesus, but as for those around him...and they made Life Of Brian. Which is a funny and potent film about the dangers of mindlessly following. And ooh, did it piss some of the christians off...

As for Jesus Christ Superstar & Godspell I don't know quite what to say other than that I'm an unabashed fan of the drama, the performances (especially in the films) and the music.

Oh, you want to know what brought all this on? Via Egalia at TGW:
Despite numerous complaints about the overtly political nature of conservative churches, including Nashville's own Two River's Baptist Church, of Justice II fame, the IRS is not threatening to revoke their tax exempt status.

However, churches that preach the apparently radical values of peace are not so lucky. There you go.

Diane at MoJo Blog reports:

After Justice Sunday passed this year, some of us were wondering whether the Internal Revenue Service would ever investigate blatantly political churches like Two Rivers Baptist in Nashville.

Now, we learn that the IRS is indeed going after a church for political involvement: All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena may lose its tax-exempt status because its rector, J. Edwin Bacon, preached an anti-war sermon two days before the 2004 election.

Unlike many conservative churches, the Rev. George F. Regas did not mail out voting guides, nor did he explicitly promote one candidate over another. He did criticize the Bush War and the tax breaks for Bush's wealthy family and friends.

So yeah, that got me thinking again about what I consider "Christian values" to be--which is basically, being caring and compassionate to others. And how it seems to be at odds with so many (so, so many) with those who call themselves "Christians."

You know, for a party out of power, the Democrats sure seem to have a lot of power

According to lying fink Matt Drudge,
Sources tell Drudge that early this afternoon House Speaker Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Frist will announce a bicameral investigation into the leak of classified information to the WASHINGTON POST regarding the “black sites” where high value al Qaeda terrorists are being held and interrogated.

Yeah, it's time for another one of my posts about the different ways the Republican and Democratic blogs see the world. Most of the Democratic blogs (that I have read) response to this is to note two things, with some irony.

One, that Republicans seem just fine with leaks when it serves their agenda. And two, that they're more concerned with finding out who told anyone that we're torturing people than they are with the fact that WE'RE TORTURING PEOPLE.

The Republican blog reaction, however, is something else entirely. The Media Blog on National Review writes:
This is what Joe Wilson and the Democrats and all the major newspaper editorial boards that called for an investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame's identity have wrought — a crackdown on classified information leaked to the press, akin to a de facto Official Secrets Act.

Oh. So it's our fault. Joe Wilson shouldn't have wanted to know who ruined his wife's career, and quite possibly endangered her life and those of her fellow agents. Democrats shouldn't have wanted to know whether a Republican White House lied the country into a war.

Newspaper editorial boards shouldn't have wanted to know any of that either. In fact, nobody should. NEVER, EVER, QUESTION US!

Granted, that last line is just implied in MBoNR's post. Fortunately, our old friend, the gratuitously sexist protein wisdom, makes it explicit when he says:
Republicans to the intelligence establishment: "Who's your daddy NOW, bitches?"

Leaks from the CIA or the State Department meant to damage Bush’s foreign policy should be treated with no less a degree of seriousness as those coming from White House aides and staffers.

And once you set the bar so low, as was the case with the Libby indictments, you are bound to find yourself in a war over who controls the narrative by way of controlling how information is disseminated to the press.

So now I'm coming to what I meant by the headline up top there. Has anyone ever noticed that for a party that controls the White House, the Senate, and the Congress, conservative Republicans sure seem to able to find a reason to blame Democrats when things go wrong?

Oh, and one more thing. As firedoglake reports:
CNN is reporting that Trent Lott says the leak on the black ops CIA detention and torture facilities came from....erm...a GOP Senator.

CNN confirming that it may have been Republican Senator and perhaps Republican staffers as well. Cheney was on Hill last Tuesday -- "everything in the story was said by Cheney" in the meeting. Blitzer calling it a "bombshell" story -- that the GOP may be investigating themselves. Lott saying that it could be an ethics investigation, "we can't keep our mouths shut" according to Lott. Reporting that Lott walked into a roomful of reporters and made the statements and left reporters "stunned."

Now besides enjoying the fact that the Republican bloggers were so quick to blame "us," when it was "them", this leaves me thinking. I grant that this is a pet theory of mine. I'm not quite sure why I want to believe it.

But I think there are Republicans who are-finally-realizing that people like Dick Cheney and Trent Lott are killing their party. Not to mention uh, you know. This doesn't get them any points. As I've said before, the people who get points are those who stood up and told the truth when it was unpopular.

But it does give me at least a small glimmer of hope that we as a country will pass through this.

ETA: Laura has a nice update on this.
Word on the Hill is a name of a Senator who voted against McCain's anti-torture amendment. How fast do you expect this investigation is going to end? More from the Post:

...Lawmakers from both parties immediately expressed misgivings about the request. ... Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said: "Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees. The real story is those jails." ...

That sound you hear is a whooole lot of Republicans saying "oopsie." And don't you just know that they thought this was gonna be their backlash for the Dems finding their balls a week ago today?

I love it, I love it, I love it.

Well, this is just silly.

From the LA Times:
SACRAMENTO — Police arrested two members of an organization called Breasts Not Bombs after they removed their tops during a protest on the steps of the state Capitol on Monday afternoon.

The women, who were protesting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's ballot measures for today's special election, took off their shirts despite warnings from the California Highway Patrol last week that doing so would lead to their arrests — and possibly their inclusion on the state's list of sex offenders. A federal judge Friday refused to grant a request from Breasts Not Bombs to block the police from arresting topless protesters.

Now, while I obviously support the right of women to take off their tops wheresoever they choose, I have to say that I don't quite see how this affects change. When protests involve nudity, I almost always assume it is as much if not more about the protesters own narcissim as it is whatever they are protesting.

But as Media Girl points out, the thing to take note of here is:
Officials at the Sacramento County district attorney's office said they have not decided whether to prosecute the protesters, and if they do, whether to seek to have them listed as sex offenders.
Breasts in a nonsexual context is a sex offense? My god. This really is John Ashcroft's America...

Monday, November 07, 2005

How many chick flicks would an artistic politic with a dick pick if an artistic politic with a dick picked chick flicks?

Sparked by Feena's comment on the Princess Diaries 2 post, I've decided that it's time to come clean about just how many "chick flicks" I have seen and liked. For definition of "chick flick" I will be using this site and list:

Often considered an all-encompassing sub-genre, they mostly include dialogue-laden, formulated romantic comedies (with mis-matched lovers or female relationships), tearjerkers and gal-pal films, movies about family crises and emotional catharsis, some traditional 'weepies' and fantasy-action adventures, sometimes with foul-mouthed and empowered females, and female bonding situations...Compared to the earlier "woman's film," film critic Molly Haskell has written that the:

"chick flick", chirrupy and upbeat, sings a different tune, more defiant and ironic, postmodern and post-feminist, like the growling braggadocio of "grrrl power". Where "grrrl power" says "I can be cute and assertive too", "chick flick" says: "I'm emancipated but it's OK to long for romance, to get hung up on a guy..."

Okay, onward:
The Women (1939)
It's all about men!
"There's a name for you ladies, but it isn't used in high society, outside of a kennel."
"I've had two years to grow claws, mother. Jungle red."

Never saw the movie, but I would have watched the PBS-broadcast of the recent stage revival if they hadn't selfishly cut Jennifer Tilly's nude scene. See, I'm still a guy.

The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Broadway's howling year-run comedy hit of the snooty society beauty who slipped and fell - IN LOVE!
"Put me in your pocket, Mike."

Haven't seen this one either. Big fan of the Cole Porter score for the musical adaptation, High Society, though-does that count?

Grease (1978)
Grease is the word.
"Men are rats. Listen to me, they're fleas on rats. Worse than that, they're amoebas on fleas on rats."

I hate to think how many times I've seen this movie, in whole or in part. Mostly I just like the Barry Gibb-written opening song, though. I'm an even-bigger sucker for the sequel, which has much better songs ("Re-pro-duction...")

Nine to Five (1980)
The power behind the throne.
"...Up until now I've been forgiving and forgetting because of the way I was brought up, but I'll tell you one thing. If you say another word about me or make another indecent proposal, I'm gonna get that gun of mine and I'm gonna change you from a rooster to a hen with one shot! And don't think I can't do it."

I was like nine when this came out, and I've a feeling it doesn't hold up.

The Big Chill (1983)
In a cold world, you need your friends to keep you warm!
"They're either married or gay. And if they're not gay, they've just broken up with the most wonderful woman in the world, or they've just broken up with a bitch who looks exactly like me. They're in transition from a monogamous relationship and they need more space. Or they're tired of space, but they just can't commit. Or they want to commit, but they're afraid to get close. They want to get close, you don't want to get near them."

Now we're talking. One of my all-time favorites, despite my dislike of almost all other forms of boomer culture, of which this film is a supreme example.

Electric Dreams (1984)
The most unusual triangle in the history of love: a boy, a girl, and a computer.

I wouldn't say I liked it exactly, but, hey, young Virgina Madsen, Phil Oakey and Culture Club on the soundtrack...can't be bad.

Footloose (1984)
The music is on his side.
"I'll sing to you of silver swans, of kingdoms and carrilons, I'll sing of bodies intertwined, underneath an innocent sky."

It is embarassing how much I liked this movie (and Kenny Loggins) back in the day.

Romancing the Stone (1984)
She's a girl from the big city. He's a reckless soldier of fortune. For a fabulous treasure, they share an adventure no one could imagine... or survive.
"What did you do, wake up this morning and say, 'Today, I'm going to ruin a man's life'"?

A naked Kathleen Turner lying under an (unfortunately) also-naked Michael Douglas. Very big moment in a 12-year-old boy's life.

Splash (1984)
She Was The Woman Of His Dreams - She Had Large Dark Eyes, A Beautiful Smile And A Great Pair Of Fins.
"I don't understand. All my life I've been waiting for someone and when I find her, she's... she's a fish."

Actually caught this again on cable a few months back and in my opinion, it still holds up.

Pretty in Pink (1986)
Blane's a pretty cool guy. Andie's pretty in pink. And Duckie's pretty crazy.
"May I admire you again today?"

I'm still a bigger fan of Some Kind Of Wonderful. BTW, this season Boston Legal has started slipping in references to its stars' past. In a recent episode when James Spader and William Shatner are on a fishing trip, Spader tells him about a book that "mentions fish called...cling ons." Shatner of course replies, "Did you say...Klingons?"

And even more recently in the Halloween episode, when Spader and Shatner are dressed as flamingos, Spader looks at him and says "You look Pretty In Pink." Just thought you'd like to know.

Dirty Dancing (1987)
First dance. First love. The time of your life.
"Me? I'm scared of everything. I'm scared of what I saw, I'm scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I'm with you."

I've seen it. I hated it. I don't get the whole thing.

The Princess Bride (1987)
Scaling the Cliffs of Insanity, Battling Rodents of Unusual Size, Facing torture in the Pit of Despair. - True love has never been a snap.
"You can't hurt me. Westley and I are joined by the bonds of love. And you cannot track that, not with a thousand bloodhounds, and you cannot break it, not with a thousand swords."

Well, already discussed recently. I like it, but I think the book is a thousand times better.

Roxanne (1987)
Roxanne dreamed of a handsome, intelligent, romantic man. C.D. Bales is two out of three... but looks aren't everything!
"He made me feel romantic, intelligent, feminine. But it wasn't him doing that, was it? It was you. You and your nose. Charlie, you have a big nose! You have a beautiful, great big, flesh-and-bone nose! I love your nose! I love your nose, Charlie. I love you, Charlie."

Sigh. Also recently discussed. Another of my all-time favorites.

Beaches (1988)
Friends come and go but there's always one you're stuck with for life.
"I was jealous. I was so jealous of you I couldn't see straight! You did everything you said you were going to do, everything! And your talent, this incredible talent! I can't even yodel!"

It's been a while since I've seen this, but I remember liking it surprisingly well. Could've done without hearing "Wind Beneath My Wings" every minute of every hour for a year, though...

Working Girl (1988)
For anyone who's ever won. For anyone who's ever lost. And for everyone who's still in there trying.
"You're the first woman I've seen in one of these things that dresses like a woman, not like a woman thinks a man would dress if he was a woman."

Another one of those movies the appeal of which escapes me.

Always (1989)
They couldn't hear him. They couldn't see him. But he was there when they needed him... Even after he was gone.
"I know now, that the love we hold back is the only pain that follows us here."

I'm actually kind of fond of this movie, mostly because of the performances by Richard Dreyfuss and Holly Hunter, who I find very sexy. Holly, not Richard. Nothing against him, but...

Say Anything... (1989)
To know Lloyd Dobler is to love him. Diane Court is about to know Lloyd Dobler.
"She's gone. She gave me a pen. I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen."

Never seen it. Never will. Love of my life loved it. That's why.

When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
Can two friends sleep together and still love each other in the morning?
"...And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."

If you know my work you'd be prefectly within your rights to think I'd love this movie. You'd be wrong.

Ghost (1990)
You will believe.
Molly Jensen: "I love you."
Sam Wheat: "Ditto."
Sam: "I love you, Molly. I always have."
Molly: "Ditto."

I'm not sure, but I think this was the last blockbuster "chick flick" hit I liked until My Best Friend's Wedding.

Pretty Woman (1990)
She walked off the street, into his life and stole his heart.
"I appreciate this whole seduction thing you've got going on here, but let me give you a tip: I'm a sure thing."

Listen. The theme of Pretty Woman is: A woman is a whore until a rich man validates her. That's not my idea of a fairy tale, but hey, knock yourselves out.

Thelma & Louise (1991)
Somebody said get a life... so they did.
"You shoot off a guy's head with his pants down, believe me, Texas ain't the place you want to get caught."

Saw it. Kind of get it, kind of don't. Good movie, but I didn't relate to the supressed rage it seemed to tap into for a lot of women, being an oppressor male and all.

Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
"Friendship is constant in all other things, save in the office and affairs of love."

I like this movie a lot, especially the soundtrack and just the way it looks.

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
Five good reasons to stay single
"I always just hoped that, that I'd meet some nice friendly girl, like the look of her, hope the look of me didn't make her physically sick, then pop the question and, um, settle down and be happy. It worked for my parents. Well, apart from the divorce and all that."

Still haven't seen it. I was going through an anti-Hugh Grant stage.

It Could Happen to You (1994)
A cop. A waitress. A lottery ticket.

A trial scene that drove my ex-roommate, the son of two lawyers, utterly mad.

Muriel's Wedding (1994)
She's not just getting married, she's getting even.
Muriel Heslop: "I can't stay married to you, David. I have to stop lying now. I've told so many lies... I don't love you."
David Van Arckle: "I don't love you either, but I think I could like having you around."

Like it, don't love it.

The American President (1995)
Why can't the most powerful man in the world have the one thing he wants most?
"You're attracted to me, but the idea of physical intimacy is uncomfortable because you only know me as the President. But it's not always going to be that way, and the reason I know that is there was a moment last night when you were with ME, not the President."

Again, now we're talking. Third film on this list to be among my all-time favorites, and if you've been paying attention, you know why. Two words. Rhymes with "Aaron Sorkin."

Before Sunrise (1995)
...When love can come as a complete surprise
"If there's any kind of magic in this world, it must be in the attempt of understanding someone, sharing something. I know, it's almost impossible to succeed, but... who cares, really? The answer must be in the attempt."

Liked it so much it made me wish I could get one of my scripts to Richard Linklater. Thought the sequel, which everybody else seems to love, was surprisingly bad, though, and put the blame on Ethan "voice of a generation" Hawke.

Boys on the Side (1995)
A motion picture that celebrates the art of survival, the gift of laughter and the miracle of friendship.
"I do the best I can, honey. I know it's not enough, and I'm sorry. But that's what you get in life, you know? You get whoever you end up with. Whoever is willing to stick by you, and fight for you, when everyone else is gone. And it ain't always who you expect. But you just have to make do."

Never seen it. My aversion to Whoopi Goldberg (yeah, I got over it for Ghost) is not outweighed by my desire to see Drew Barrymore naked.

Clueless (1995)
Sex. Clothes. Popularity. Is there a problem here?
"Sometimes you have to show a little skin. This reminds boys of being naked, and then they think of sex."
"I feel like such a heifer. I had two bowls of Special K, 3 pieces of turkey bacon, a handful of popcorn, 5 peanut butter M&M's and like 3 pieces of licorice."

This is one of those movies that, like Bring It On (which is actually an even better example) is so much better than it had to be.

Forget Paris (1995)
A comedy about love... after marriage.
"Marriages don't work when one partner is happy and the other is miserable. They only work when both are miserable."

Seen it. It doesn't work. Maybe I just don't buy Billy Crystal in romatic comedies...

Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Lose your heart and come to your senses.
"Can he love her? Can the soul be really be satisfied with such polite affections? To love is to burn - to be on fire, like Juliet or Guinevere or Heloise..."

It's got Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson and I was still bored out of my mind. Next!

Beautiful Girls (1996)
good times never seemed so good
"Remember guys, no matter how perfect the nipple, how supple the thigh, unless there's some other stuff going on in the relationship besides physical, it's going to get old, okay? And you guys, as a gender, have got to get a grip, otherwise the future of the human race is in jeopardy."

Never seen it, but I have a feeling I could really like it if not for my aversion to Rosie O'Donell. Maybe I'll watch it on On Demand and fast-forward through her scenes.

Jerry Maguire (1996)
Everybody loved him... Everybody disappeared.
"I love him! I love him for the man he wants to be. And I love him for the man he almost is."

I like this movie. For my money, Cameron Crowe remains the only director/writer who can make Tom Cruise look like an actor and not a movie star.

As Good As It Gets (1997)
A comedy from the heart that goes for the throat.
"I might be the only person on the face of the earth that knows you're the greatest woman on earth. I might be the only one who appreciates how amazing you are in every single thing that you do..."

Jim Brooks, baby. One of my favorite writer/directors (The Simpsons, Broadcast News).

My Best Friend's Wedding (1997)
A comedy about finding your heart and losing your head.
"Michael... I love you. I've loved you for nine years, I've just been too arrogant and scared to realize it, and... well, now I'm just scared. So, I realize this comes at a very inopportune time but I really have this gigantic favor to ask of you. Choose me. Marry me. Let me make you happy. Oh, that sounds like three favors, doesn't it?"

As aforementioned.

Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (1997)
The Blonde Leading The Blonde.
"You know, even though we've watched Pretty Woman like thirty-six times, I never get tired of making fun of it."

It's as though somebody wanted to make a movie just for me. "Let's put a couple of pretty women who can do comedy in low-cut tops and mini-skirts and set it all to a soundtrack of '80s classics."

I mean...hello!

Titanic (1997)
Collide With Destiny.
"They've got you trapped Rose, and you're gonna die if you don't break free. Maybe not right away because you're strong, but soon, that fire that I love much about you, Rose, that fire's going to burn out."

Well, everybody knows the poop on this by now, right? You have to tune out everything before the ship starts to sink. Oh, except for Kate Winslet stripping butt-ass naked, of course.

City of Angels (1998)
She didn't believe in angels until she fell in love with one.
"I would rather have had one breath of her hair, one kiss from her mouth, one touch of her hand, than eternity without it. One."

Haven't seen it but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that the German original, Wings of Desire (which I have seen) is better.

What Dreams May Come (1998)
After life there is more. The end is just the beginning.
"Thank you for every kindness. Thank you for our children. For the first time I saw them. Thank you for being someone I was always proud to be with. For your guts, for your sweetness. For how you always looked, for how I always wanted to touch you. God, you were my life. I apologize for everytime I ever failed you. Especially this one..."

I was a big fan of the Richard Matheson book on which this film is based, but although it looks amazing, it fails in the casting. What I mean by that is for it to work, I have to believe that Robin Williams has this all-emcompassing passion for his wife...and I just didn't.

Notting Hill (1999)
Can the most famous film star in the world fall for just an ordinary guy?
"After all... I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her."

I'd gotten over my Hugh Grant thing by now, and I liked this movie. I liked Love, Actually, by the same writer, even more.

Erin Brockovich (2000)
She brought a small town to its feet and a huge corporation to its knees.
Ed Masry: "What makes you think you can just walk in there and take whatever you want?"
Erin Brockovich: "They're called boobs, Ed."

Good. Academy-Award-Worthy good? That's another subject.

What Women Want (2000)
He has the power to hear everything women are thinking. Finally... a man is listening.
"What kind of knight in shining armor would I be if the man I love needs rescuing and I just let him walk out my door?"

Great idea. Tried to watch it. Hated the script. Next!

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
Who Is Lara Croft?
"To see your world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower. To hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour. William Blake."

Never seen it, but one of my proofs positive that Hollywood creates unrealistic expectations for young women was reading that Angelina Jolie had to wear a padded bra for it.

I mean, if there's anything wrong with the size of her breasts I certianly hadn't noticed...

Okay, that's all I got. Ladies? Gentlemen? Any comments?

All right!

Via Yahoo!
Cheerleaders Had Sex in Bar, Witnesses Say

TAMPA, Fla. - Two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders were charged after their arrest at a bar where witnesses told police the women had sex in a restroom.

Renee Thomas, 20, of Pittsboro, N.C., and Angela Keathley, 26, of Belmont, N.C., were taken to Hillsborough County Jail early Sunday.

Witnesses said the women were having sex in a stall with each other, angering patrons waiting in line to get into the restroom at the club in the Channelside district.

Keitha: Finally, a news story with everything, and a reason for me to care about sports!

ETA: And I just noticed that the last name of one of them is "Keathley."

Demented, and sad, but social

Paul the Spud gets a tip o'the flowerpot hat for imagining the Bush team's response to being sent back to high school to take ethics 101:
Dear Leader: We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it is we did wrong, but we think you're crazy for making us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a criminal, and a liar, and a criminal, a liar, and a criminal. It just keeps going on like that. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, The Bush Club.

...and for just generally being all about the Devo references.

It's a riot

Shakespeare's Sister has another good entry about the French riots.
This is a simplification, but basically, Chirac is a conservative (you can tell he’s a conservative since he waited a week before even commenting on the riots, ho ho), and his administration treats immigrants like shit, especially Muslim immigrants, which is a huge demographic in France (and, in fact, the biggest in Europe). So there is an Islamic angle to this story, but it’s not what many of the rightwingers would have us believe. It’s an immigration and equality issue, not a religious issue. The immigrants struggling for societal inclusion are Muslims, and part of the problem is Muslim-specific legislation (such as Muslim dress in schools), but the bigger conflict surrounds prejudice, poverty, unemployment, and the resulting despair and frustration that accompanies such circumstances.

In terms of historical reference, it’s more useful to think Watts Riots or the 12th Street Riot in Detroit than 9/11 or the London bombings. This isn’t al-Qaida; it’s lots of very unhappy, long mistreated people reacting violently to a precipitating event that quite likely began with a confrontation with police. That’s not intended to serve as a justification for what’s happening, but just an explanation to put it in some kind of realistic perspective.

You have got to be motherfucking kidding me

Via Glenn Greenwald at Unclaimed Territory , we find our friend HindRocket from the Republican PowerLine blog arguing that Bush should not face impeachment because that would be undemocratic.

Let's review the apparent Republican arguments, as laid out by Greenwald:

(1) It is an honorable and legitimate exercise of Constitutional power to impeach an overwhelmingly popular, twice-elected President because he lied in an ultimately-dismissed civil lawsuit about whether he had an extra marital affair, but . . .

(2) It is horribly un-democratic to impeach an overwhelmingly unpopular President if it is proven that he deliberately lied to American citizens in order to trick them into supporting a war he wanted to wage.

Definitely read the whole thing. I agree with the majority of it. And I think you'll especially find the comments by Hindrocket dating from before the Clinton impeachment to be...oh let's just call them "ironic."

Sometimes I wonder if there are any Republicans anywhere who wake up in the middle of the night. With a knot of bad feeling in their belly, remembering that they supported the Clinton impeachment. And then I read about things like this, and I realize that although Greenwald is right when he says:
...nobody who supported the Clinton impeachment can argue that impeachment itself is undemocratic. At least nobody who wants to be at least a little bit intellectually honest can do that.

After all, the GOP, unable to defeat Clinton in two national elections (or even to dent his popularity among Americans), were the ones who took the impeachment weapon out of the bag. As a result, they cannot be heard to argue that the weapon which they so gleefully fired less than 10 years ago as part of some sex scandal is now some sort of illegitimate anti-democratic tool of tyranny.

...the key phrase there, of course, "intellectually honest." The republicans made a choice in 2000. They could be intellectually honest, and nominate someone up to the job, or they could make a merciless grab for power. They chose power.

So now naked hypocrisy ain't nuthin'. To coin a phrase, "Once you start along the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny."

Unfortunately, by our bad luck, it turned out that what could have been an unpleasant but tolerable caretaker presidency turned out to be one of the most signifigant, and dangerous, in recent memory.

I know similar points have been made before but just try to picture what happens if George W. Bush is in office on December 7, 1941. Imagine if he's in the Constitutional Congress. Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, and Bush.

We all know the answer, but this is one of those days when the question I'd most like to ask a Bush republican is, "Seriously...have you no shame?"

Well that ought to do it, thanks very much Dub

According to the Washington Post:
"Our country is at war, and our government has the obligation to protect the American people," Bush said emphatically. "And we are aggressively doing that. We are finding terrorists and bringing them to justice. We are gathering information about where the terrorists may be hiding. We are trying to disrupt their plots and plans.

"Anything we do . . . to that end in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law," he said. "We do not torture."

Great. Yet, also according to the Washington Post (via firedoglake):
In recent months, Cheney has been the force against adding safeguards to the Defense Department's rules on treatment of military prisoners, putting him at odds with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England. On a trip to Canada last month, Rice interrupted a packed itinerary to hold a secure video-teleconference with Cheney on detainee policy to make sure no decisions were made without her input.

Just last week, Cheney showed up at a Republican senatorial luncheon to lobby lawmakers for a CIA exemption to an amendment by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that would ban torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners. The exemption would cover the CIA's covert "black sites" in several Eastern European democracies and other countries where key al Qaeda captives are being kept.

At this point, though, the question becomes how long can Cheney sustain the support to keep this hidden. He is losing support within the Administration by the day, as his influence over the President wanes in the wake of scandal after scandal emerging from the VPs office. And as other members of the Administration gain their footing and turn around the stab him in the back to advance their own agendas, including Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

At the same time Rice has emerged as an advocate for changing the rules to "get out of the detainee mess," said one senior U.S. official familiar with discussions. Her top advisers, along with their Pentagon counterparts, are working on a package of proposals designed to address all controversial detainee issues at once, instead of dealing with them on a piecemeal basis.

Who will ultimately win on this issue? Not sure yet. But it would be unwise to bet against John McCain and Condi Rice -- especially when both of them may have their sights set on a run for the White House in 2008. Never bet against personal ambition in D.C., I always say.

ETA: Mark Evanier has some thoughts on this too (slightly edited to remove points referenced above):

Here are some snippets from various news stories I've read this morning. See if you can find a logical connect...

"Over White House opposition, the Senate has passed legislation banning torture."
"George W. Bush's administration ordered an internal inquiry into how classified data was leaked to The Washington Post and Human Rights Watch, a New York-based group."
"The Supreme Court agreed Monday to consider a challenge to the administration's handling of military tribunals for foreign terror suspects."
"Bush has urged swift confirmation of his nominee Samuel Alito, an appeals court judge, to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court."
"In his lower court decisions, Alito has generally been deferential to government."

So let me see if I have this straight: We have to find out whoever it was who revealed that we do torture, but of course we don't torture but we still oppose legislation that says we can't torture...

ETA, again: Or, as Shakespeare's Sister put it about Bush's blessed assurance:
And his administration has been nothing but honest, so I’m sure if he says it, it’s true.

Is it wrong that I think this is really, really funny?

From the New York Daily News:
Adults and kids expecting to watch Disney's G-rated animated flick at the AMC Empire 25 theater on 42nd St. were instead presented with a foreign film that opened with a young man committing suicide.

"It's pandemonium," Joshua Gallo, 30, told the Daily News as he rushed out of the theater with his 5-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter. "The kids are crying. The mothers are screaming for the managers to stop the film."

Terrified children didn't know what to do as they watched a young boy hang himself from a tree at the 8:45 p.m. screening.

Going commercial on yo' ass

If you look over to the right there and click the View my complete profile link you'll find, among other things, a link to my Wish List. If you're amazed at the quality of posts on this site (I know I am), please consider making a small donation to the Buy Ben Those Books And CDs He Can't Score Through The Ink 19 Gig Fund. I thank you.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

"The Boondocks' cartoon

I'm a longtime fan of the 'Boondocks' comic strip, but I'm afraid the new cartoon version that premiered on The Cartoon Network tonight did not entertain me. It didn't offend me, which it seems to want to do--it's edgy you know, ooh, it's edgy! It's so edgy!--it just didn't entertain me.

Although I was offended by the bumper before the first commercial suggesting that if I wasn't enjoying it, I might want to turn to Nick at Nite for an Andy Griffith rerun. Yeah. Because the only reason I might not like it is because I'm a milquetoast. Not because I grew up on Bugs Bunny and care about "good animation," "quality voice work" or "scripts."

I admit I was skeptical when I saw in the commercials that it's being drawn in a style inspired by Japanese comics and Anime. I'm gonna let you in on a little secret. Japanese comics and Anime suck. They all suck. There are no exceptions and you think there are, you're wrong.

They suck both in content and in execution. In content, they are for people who value violence and technology over affection, humaneness and people. In execution, they're drawn in unappealing, barely-animated fashion. To paraphrase Chris Rock, if you like full animation, Anime ain't for you.

Nevertheless, I was determined to give the new 'Boondocks' series a try, and encouraged when it got a fistful of good reviews. Unfortunately, the reviewers were wrong. I hated the voices-I know Huey doesn't sound like that.

Worst of all, it never once made me laugh. Bad looking, bad sounding,!

Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement

Okay. You regular readers of this and especially my old blog already know how I feel about Anne Hathaway. For you latecomers: She is the future Mrs. Varkentine, and the Most Beautiful Girl In The World. Everybody caught up? However, because thus far most of her movies have been marketed to teen girls, I'm too embarassed to go see them in a theater, or even rent them on DVD. So I tend to wait and catch them on cable, which seems less icky; however slightly.

Thank god for Starz On Demand, because now I've seen the Princess Diaries sequel. How did I like it? Um...Anne Hathaway is the Most Beautiful Girl In The World. Unfortunately, this movie inexplicably wastes time on people who are not Anne Hathaway. This would have been a big risk to take even if they'd had a script...
As it is, they almost get away with it whenever Julie Andrews is onscreen. Julie Andrews is not the most beautiful girl in the world. But she has my goodwill from My Fair Lady and The Sound Of Music and Mary Poppins and Victor/Victoria and even S.O.B. So I accepted her as a brief respite. But that ended up just pointing out how this movie failed to best serve the both of them.

Ah, but there's good news tonight. While searching for Anne Hathaway pictures, I discovered a review of the movie from a site called Christian Spotlight.

Their reviewer gave it a "moral rating" of good, but expressed disappointment that
There is a feminist message in the conclusion of the film. I know that some parents will want to avoid presenting their children with the message that women are created to rule a nation, with or without a husband.

Personally, I was somewhat disappointed that the reviewer ignored the movies' explicit endorsement of homosexuality. Fortunately, a young reader of the site does not:
there was some stuff I think they could have left out of the movie. For example, when Queen Clarice, Mia and some other girls were looking up the men that she could possibly marry; Mia saw a guy that she liked and said he was handsome. Her security guard said and I quote: "His boy friend thinks he's handsome also" which should moved the rating up from a G to a PG...
--Hannah, age 11

Young Hannah neglects to mention that when Mia and her best friend hear that the man in question is gay, they raise their fists together and say "Right on!" I submit that any movie capable of vexing Christian sexism and putting something like this into a Disney picture cannot possibly be all bad.