Saturday, February 04, 2006

So I Want To Be A Writer?

Found this two-page article that ran two-three years ago in the New York Metro. It's called So You Want To Be A Writer? and runs down the beats for the different species (screenwriter, playwright, ad copywriter, etc) of that rare, noble creature.

This is what they say is "the payoff" to being a screenwriter:
“Remember, you can make an awful lot of money not making movies,” says one local screenwriter, who earned $150,000 on his first four scripts, none of which were produced. “I got fired from one film with Sony and everyone said ‘That’s great!’ because if you’re in the Guild, they have to pay you the full amount anyway, someone else has to finish it—which is the real pain in the ass—and you get credit anyway.”

Let me tell you how that looks to me. "Say, Ben, we're gonna let somebody else fuck around with your characters, but hey, we'll give you a lot of money to shut up about it if we kill them. Oh, and your name's still gonna be on it-so you'll get the blame anyway."

I was so right to start thinking novel.

Great writers steal from them outright, or how I learned to stop worrying and love someone else's story

Personally, I don’t know what to say to people who argue that the N.E.A. is there to support art that nobody wants to pay for in the first place. I don’t know what to tell people when they say Rogers and Hart didn’t need the N.E.A. to write Oklahoma, and Arthur Murray didn’t need the N.E.A. to write Death of a Salesman.

I’d start by telling them that Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote Oklahoma, and Arthur Murray taught ballroom dance, and Arthur Miller did need the N.E.A. to write Death of a Salesman, but it wasn’t called the N.E.A. back then. It was called W.P.A.

--The West Wing, "He Shall From Time to Time," Aaron Sorkin
Broadcast: January 12, 2000

The Speaker looked up at me and said, "You know, Arthur Murray never needed a grant to write a play." Now, from my years of dancing school I know who Arthur Murray is. I even know that he ended all his television programs by advising his viewers to "put a little fun in your life: try dancing." But I kept quiet. I didn't want to jeopardize the funding. On the way out, after his side whispered in his ear, the Speaker turned to me and said, "I'm terribly sorry. I meant Arthur Miller." I replied, "yes. And he did have a grant. It was called the WPA."

--The State of the Arts, essay in "Shiksa Goddess", by Wendy Wasserstein
Published in 2001, but event took place "in the mid-1990s."

I've found no evidence of Wasserstein and Sorkin being friends, but it's certainly possible that's how he heard the story as they both would have run in the same circles as New York playwrights.

You came by just to tell me you liked the speech?

"This is a time for American heroes and we reach for the stars."? I'm weak.

Yeah. I think I stole that from Camelot.

Let me get you home. I don't think you're going to make it.

Yeah. I don't think I'm going to make it, either.

They walk out to the COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE and continue to the HALLWAY.


Good writers borrow from other writers. Great writers steal from them outright.

--The West Wing, 20 Hours in America", Aaron Sorkin (and I think he stole the line)


But hey, "Brokeback Mountain" is doing really well

Pam has a roundup of recent news stories of interest to the gay (and pro-gay) community, including:

  • The guy who went on a rampage in a Massachusetts gay bar with an ax and a gun
  • Anti-gay activist Fred Phelps plan to disrespect Coretta Scott King's funeral
  • The "de-gaying" program in (of course) Tennessee
  • A few marriage amendment battles
  • And the increasingly bizarre Chris Matthews

There is a connection between all these things, and it's not just their interest to those communities. If we let people say that

  • Gay people shouldn't be able to get married
  • A man can interupt a woman's funeral because he doesn't like her position on gays
  • Who they love can be "cured"
  • And otherwise speculate about them like Joss Whedon fans after too much Mountain Dew

Can we really be that surprised when someone decides they're not people who deserve to live?

Jim Henson is dead

Our internet friend Mark links to an article in the Los Angeles Times about how the Disney corporation is trying to bring the Muppet characters back to their former place of greatness (and profitability).

The executive in charge of the Muppets says the studio envisions Kermit and Miss Piggy as "evergreen" characters, akin to Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh. Every division at the company is contributing ideas to the renewal project. Among the proposals under consideration: a mock reality TV series and a Broadway musical à la "The Lion King."

Oh, good. When was the last time you saw a great Mickey Mouse cartoon? Come to think of it, have you ever? As for Winnie the Pooh, well, we already know that Disney's latest highbrow idea is to celebrate the bear of very little brain's anniversary by replacing Christopher Robin.

I think Mark puts his flipper on the flaw when he says

The main problem those characters face is that they will never have another person as creative as Jim Henson guiding their fortunes.

Yeah. I loved the Muppets well into my teens, when they were having Muppet Family Christmases on TV (with and without Emmet Otter or John Denver). I constructed lamebrained fannish theories linking the Star Wars universe with The Dark Crystal and Fraggle Rock.

I was seven years old when The Muppet Movie opened. I'm one of the few (apparently) who saw Labyrinth in the theater and I'm part of the "cult" that loves it now. When an art exhibit featuring the real, honest-to-god Muppets (in glass cases, darn it) toured the US when I was 10, I went to see it in San Francisco.

My mother still has in storage somewhere my McDonaldland Great Muppet Caper drinking glasses. So what I'm saying is, the Muppets and me, we go way back. But with only a couple of exceptions, nothing they have done since Henson's death...

Suddenly I'm thinking of something John Lennon said in one of the last interviews before his death. Trying to draw a distiction between his affection for Paul, Ringo and George and his desire not to be drawn into a Beatles reunion, he said,

"I love them, and it's over."

Jim Henson is dead.

The universe makes sense again.

Good morning. Last year, in reference to the Japanese comics and anime-inspired "Boondocks" cartoon series, I wrote:
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.

But last month, I allowed that although I still hated anime, a graphic I'd found from "Spirited Away" was very pretty. I heard in response from two or three of you who assured me that Miyazaki was anime for people who don't like anime. And seeing as I am such a person, a suggestion/wish that I give his movies a try.

Well, "Spirited" was on the Cartoon Network last night, so I resolved to indeed give it a try. Never let it be said that I am not open to new ideas. So, I watched it. Or rather, I tried to.

Let me repeat: Japanese comics and anime suck. They all suck. There are no exceptions and you think there are, you're wrong.

Good morning, and thank you for your attention.

Friday, February 03, 2006

I feel much better (w/semi-related update)

Semi-related update: Here's Ebert's take on the Oscar nominations. I hadn't realized till he pointed it out just how neat a hat trick George Clooney has accomplished:
Clooney scored a personal triumph with three nominations -- for directing, producing and co-writing "Good Night, and Good Luck," and as best supporting actor in "Syriana." Clooney could have been a four-time nominee, tying a record with Orson Welles and Warren Beatty, but he declined a producer's credit on "Good Night, and Good Luck."

Original entry:

Okay. At this point, I think most of you reading this know I've got this "lesbian themed" comic romance I've been working on a while. And that I'm kind of neurotic about similar pieces coming out (so to speak). It's as if I feel they're going to "beat me to it" or something.

What I try to do is keep in mind the example of "Big." You may remember that when that movie came out, it was at the tail-end of a whole slew of "body switching" movies. I remember seeing a quote by James L. Brooks, who was a producer on the film (and is one of my heroes as a writer). What he said was,

"It was our conscious decision not to rush and try to beat everybody, but to just do our movie like the others weren't happening."
And which of those movies is best-remembered (if the others are remembered at all) today? That thought warms me, as does the reassurance that it's not as though we've run out of straight-flavored variations of the comic comedy in the past 70 years.

Still, I twitch when I see ads for things like this new movie, "Imagine Me & You," which comes billed as "a romantic comedy about love hitting people at unexpected moments." Like "April's Shower," this appears to be about at least one woman character "suddenly...realizing" her homosexuality, with hilarious complications ensuing (on her way to the altar, yet).

Which reinforces for me, again, the determination that my characters are not "suddenly" realizing anything, and are no longer neurotic about being gay (to the extent that either of them ever were). They're neurotic about other things--all the best people are--but not that.

But what really makes me feel better about the film is this two-star review by Roger Ebert, which begins:

Romeo: "I'm straight, and really attracted to you."
Juliet: "Good! I prefer men."

Ever notice how in heterosexual romances the characters rarely talk about how they're heterosexual? There have been a few homosexual romances in which the sexuality of the characters goes without saying, but "Imagine Me & You" is not one of them. Here's a movie that begins with a tired romantic formula, and tries to redeem it with lesbianism. And not merely lesbianism, but responsible lesbianism, in which the more experienced of the two women does everything she can to preserve the marriage of the woman she loves.

You can read the whole thing if you wish (and you should), but as I said: I feel much better.

Slowly it began to dawn on Ben...

...that for the first time in his life, he was actually living in a city that had a team in the Superbowl. Oh my dear god--
LORELAI: What is wrong with you? Why didn't you get me a ticket to the game?

RORY: I was saving you, dummy.

LORELAI: Saving me from what?

RORY: You hate football.

LORELAI: So do you.

RORY: Yeah, I know I hate football, but I couldn't get out of it. You could.

LORELAI: Okay, so I have to go watch a football game. At least I get to hang with you before finals.

RORY: You sure?

LORELAI: Of course. I mean, what's a football game last? Hour, hour and a half? Longer than an hour and a half? Are you kidding me?

Gilmore Girls

Where's Jack Bauer when we need him?

As those of you watching the new day of 24 know, a recent plotline had a conservative "patriot" trying to use dangerous and fraudulent means to justify the invasion of a middle-eastern country.

Good thing it's only a TV series, and not real life, huh? Oh, wait...guess what?

Mr Sands' book says that the meeting focused on the need to identify evidence that Saddam had committed a material breach of his obligations under the existing UN Resolution 1441. There was concern that insufficient evidence had been unearthed by the UN inspection team, led by Dr Hans Blix. Other options were considered.

President Bush said: "The US was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach."....

Speaking to Channel 4 News, Mr Sands said:

"I think no one would be surprised at the idea that the use of spy-planes to review what is going on would be considered. What is surprising is the idea that they would be used painted in the colours of the United Nations in order to provoke an attack which could then be used to justify material breach. Now that plainly looks as if it is deception, and it raises some fundamental questions of legality, both in terms of domestic law and international law."

How true!

Who Is Your Bond Film Alter Ego?
You shake and stir us as Honey Ryder!

Oh James! You're Honey Ryder, the ultimate Bond babe. We just know that you always cause a stir on the beach when you emerge from the surf, exuding refreshing sex appeal. With your glamour and perfect poise you're never going to be short of attention from men who want to get their hands on your shells. However, we wouldn't advise you to strap a knife to your knickers – you may have to use it and the sight of blood underneath the mango tree would be rather distressing. Besides we know you'd prefer to use more subtle tactics to gain your revenges – just make sure you keep your black widow spiders in a safe place. With your magnetic man appeal you expect to be treated like a lady, so doors should be opened and dinners paid for with a minimum of fuss. There's certainly no reason for you to sing for your supper even though we're prepared to bet you have the voice of an angel. Just remember that rich, attractive men don't necessarily make the best partners and be wary of men from the medical profession. If someone says, "Trust me I'm a doctor," just say no!

Point of order-the picture that goes with this result is not Honey Ryder, the "ultimate Bond" babe, it's Stacey Sutton, the "who can we hire who'll be willing to get it on with a tired Roger Moore?" babe.

Other from that, I'd say they're spot-on.

You know what movie looks surprisingly good to me?

...and that I'm actually looking forward to? Curious George. The trailers and TV spots make it look far more awesome than I might have had any reason to expect. They're viewable at the official site, BTW, click on "Enter the site", then on the "CG" at the bottom of the screen, then on "media."

Why? First of all, I think it's because it's (apparently) fully animated. I was afraid it would be a let's-stick-a-comic-in-a-furry-suit-and-give-them-licence-to-bray-like-a-jackass-and-tramp-on-childhood-fave movie. See The Cat in the Hat or The Grinch. Or a dumb hybrid of of a family/SNL/guy comedy with George as a CGI creature.

But it's apparently fully (and 2-D) animated, though it wouldn't surprise me if some computers were used as an assist, and there hasn't been a great 2-D animated movie since The Iron Giant. It really looks fun; George is enchanting, he and The Man in the Yellow Hat look pretty much the way I remember them, and the colors are amazing.

I haven't seen any reviews yet and I suppose it's still possible that they messed it up. But as it is I'm trying to decide if I want to wait for DVD/cable, or use my four-year-old nephew as an excuse to go to a movie that I want to see.

However, I guess I still have much to learn about seeing everything in terms in of politics. Y'see, a couple of bloggers with too much irony in their diets are choosing to see the film's poster--

--as an unintended comment on our leader's recently exposed authorization of domestic spying, to say nothing of his oft-remarked resemblance to a smirking chimp. Folks, this is what comes of spending too many hours hunched over computer screens cackling to themselves "We've got him now!" rather than reading for pleasure.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

We don't even care that we don't care, but...

...Wal-Mart is being sued by women in Massachusetts for failing to carry the morning-after pill.

A rant and replies to a "response"

Mark Evanier has one of his periodic political "rants" here. This is one of those posts I agree with virtually every word of.

That's one of the problems I have with Bush: He rarely means anything literally. When he said during the 2000 elections that he was against "nation-building," he didn't mean it literally. When he pledged money to rebuild Manhattan after 9/11 or New Orleans after Katrina, he didn't mean it literally. Not long ago, when he said that wiretaps require a warrant, he didn't mean it literally and when he signed a bill that outlawed torture, he immediately issued a "signing statement" that asserted his right not to follow the bill he'd just signed. He even hides behind the tactic. At one point, he and his administration very much wanted us all to believe, as they apparently did, that there was a provable link between Saddam Hussein and the guys who hit us on 9/11. When this turned not to be provable, the administration fallback was that they really didn't mean it.

Here's where the "virtually" comes in. Nowhere in any of his "rant" does Mark mention the word liar. It's not just Mark, of course, and I hope this post doesn't come across as an expression of pique at him. As David Mamet wrote in that terrific op-ed last September,

The press, quiescent during five years of aggressive behavior by the White House, has, perhaps, begun to recover its pride. In speaking of Karl Rove, Scott McClellan and the White House's Valerie Plame disgrace, they have begun to use words such as "other than true," "fabricated." The word that they circle, still, is "lie."

It's true of Mark's post, but more importantly, it's even more true of the press and (god help us) our Democratic "leaders." For some reason, the traditonal or mainstream voices are dominated by those who would rather cut their throats than say what would be clear to an innocent child:

Bush is a liar. That's what he is, that's what he does, and to expect anything else from him, ever, is to mark yourself a credulous fool. To coin a phrase, the emperor is strutting around butt-ass nekkid and is lying to us about how well-dressed he is.

I may well be wrong (and probably am). But there remains a part of me that will always believe that if John Kerry, in one (or pereferably all) of the debates, had pointed at Bush and said in a loud, clear, ringing voice, "Liar"...he'd be president today.

ETA: In a semi-related post, a fella named Bob Burnett has a good reply to the Democrats' "response" to the SotU. As a side note, I hope you saw The Daily Show's coverage of them (both the response and the speech itself) last night. It was one of those "thank god for TDS" moments.

Here's Mr. Burnett on the first rule of Being a Democratic Speaker:
Never, never reveal what the Democratic Party stands for. Apparently, since the end of the Clinton Administration, Party insiders have decided that speakers should under no circumstance say what the Dems stand for. They believe that it is sufficient to state, "We're not Republicans."

And, later:
Bush also strongly defended his eavesdropping initiative, "To prevent another attack -- based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute -- I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al Qaeda operatives and affiliates to and from America. Previous Presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have, and federal courts have approved the use of that authority. Appropriate members of Congress have been kept informed. The terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America." Dems might have pushed back by saying "None of this is true: the President doesn't have the authority and the courts haven't approved it. Congress hasn't been informed and the program hasn't helped prevent attacks." Governor Kaine chose not to respond at all.

Emphasis mine.

ETA, again: Before the Dems decided to send out "Eyebrow" Kaine (if you saw any of it, you know why I call him that) to respond to the president, one or two of the bloggers had a fine and interesting idea.

Send John Murtha instead. I don't know why they thought this would do any good, I mean CNN had him on one of their programs to rebut Bush, and all he said were things like
“There’s only 750 to 1,000 al Qaeda in Iraq. Now for him to mischaracterize what’s going on in Iraq – and he continues to do this – the fight in Iraq is a civil war. The terrorism is in Afghanistan, it’s a worldwide fight. My argument is that we have to redivert our funds. We’ve been spending $234 billion in Iraq during the civil war where our troops are the targets.

“I admire the people who are serving. They’re doing a tremendous service for this great country. But I personally would not enlist now. What is damaging to the morale of the troops, what’s damaging to recruiting is when they’ve being deployed four times… When they go into a battle without the battle armor. When they don’t have the upper-armored Humvees… When they’re misled and don’t have a clear mission and don’t have an exit strategy – that’s what’s demoralizing. They had a recruitment problem long before I said this.”

Yeah, I can see why Democrats thought "Eyebrow" Kaine was their best bet.

Quotes via Bob Geiger, who adds,
Now, if we could only get Congressman Murtha to quit being polite and using terms like “mischaracterizing” for Bush’s statements and call them what they are – lies.

Joe Lieberman needs to be waylaid and bitchslapped

Guess who was the very first person out of his seat to applaud Bush at the SotU? Not the first Democrat. The very first person. Talk about being a DiNO...

Good graphic comment on Disney-Pixar

Courtesy of the Cartoon Brew.

You have got to be friggin' kidding me

So there's this fella named Tom Toles. He's a political cartoonist whose work appears in the Washington Post and online, among other places. Recently, he drew this:

His point being, according to an Editor & Publisher story,
recent remarks by Rumsfeld about "battle-hardened" troops and "what came soon to mind was the catastrophic level of injuries the Army and members of the armed services have sustained...

So: Maybe not the funniest or most wickedly unerring satire ever published, but really nothing you'd think anyone needs to censor here in America, where at least we know we're free. So naive.

The Pentagon as respresented by The Joint Chiefs Of Staff has sent a letter to the Post complaining about the cartoon. I'm going to say that again, slowly. The Pentagon. Represented by The Joint Chiefs Of Staff. Apparently has nothing better to do than take umbrage at something which, like most political cartoons, would have been glanced and maybe smiled at ruefully, then forgotten.

As John A. says in the AmericaBlog post quoted above,

I have no problem with citizens speaking out about political cartoons they find offensive - hell, we've done it recently with the anti-gay cartoon in the Post. But when the government does it, that's a whole other story that smacks of censorship, especially when that government is the Pentagon threatening you during wartime.

Hey, here's a thought. Now that the Joint Chiefs have addressed the insidious threat cartoons pose to our troops, perhaps they can move on to less pressing issues like getting them their damn body armor.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

"Gosh, but wouldn't things be better if everyone just played really nice?" a myth believed only by "left-wing" fools. Via House Blend, the Rude Pundit's response to Alito's confirmation.
Today, Senators who voted for cloture are going to vote against the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. And when Lincoln Chafee, Maria Cantwell, Herbert Kohl, Blanche Lincoln, and Jay Rockefeller, as well as all the others run for re-election, they can say, "Look, I said 'No.'" But that "no" matters so little as the very issues they say caused them to vote that way - the power of the presidency, abortion rights, the right to privacy, the favoring of corporations - are turned against them time and again. Yeah, they voted against Alito, but there's a starving, beaten prisoner in Gitmo, a pregnant teenage girl in Nebraska, a coal mining family in West Virginia who are all gonna be the ones f*cked because of such cowardly courage. And when they say they voted against Alito, someone's gonna be smart enough to say, "Hey, Maria, if it's such a big f*ckin' deal, why didn't you join the filibuster?"

Update: The vote was 58 to 42. Enough to have sustained a filibuster even without Chafee if 16 Senators believed in more than empty gestures. And Olympia Snowe voted for Alito. There is no middle in the Republican Party. There is only Democratic capitulation masking as moderation.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Proof the only thing deader than "Will & Grace"... Britney, who'll be guest starring on the long-creatively bankrupt sitcom. "Will & Grace" is infamous for using stunt casting like this as a way of avoiding giving their core characters any sense of depth or reality as people whatsoever.

Is it wrong that I think Lisa Loeb looks really good in a thong?

I mean really, really, really, really....

General Jesus claims my Senator's uterus

Well, nobody else was using it...

I'd just like to take this moment to apologize... all pre-menopausal, straight women in America. Which is kind of a switch for me-normally I just feel the need to apologize to the ones who have actually slept with me. Ha ha, ha ha, ha.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Another list with which I find fault

According to a new poll, men want Jessica Alba as their girlfriend more than any other woman. My first reaction was: Why?

James Bassil, editor-in-chief of, told The Associated Press the list was determined by the rankings of 2.5 million readers and by the site's staff.

"We encouraged readers not to go on looks alone," Bassil said. "I don't believe it's an entirely accurate reflection of what a reader strives for in their long-term relationships, but at the same time, it's not a sheerly surface appreciation."

Right. But seriously, maybe I'm officially an old man now, because Alba wouldn't even make, much less top, my list. Nor for that matter would runners-up Sienna Miller, Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Jessica Biel, Natalie Portman and Eva Longoria.

(Not that I'm saying I don't want any of them...I'm just saying...I don't think we'd have that much to say to each know, afterwards)

Fortunately, I can rely upon my love for Anne Hathaway, which is pure and true and good and unlikely to be deterred by surface concerns.
Oh. Well, let me rephrase that. Fortunately, I can rely upon my love for Virginia Madsen, which...

I'm terribly sorry to hear about this

The playwright and screenwriter Wendy Wasserstein has died. I won't claim she was one of my favorite writers, but I liked The Heidi Chronicles a lot. Looking back, I think it may have been a little influential on me starting to write my own dramas with strong women characters.

On the other hand, she also wrote the screenplay for The Object of my Affection, which for me was a big part of the reason why that film didn't work. But a good writer is a good writer, and I'm always sorry to hear when the good writers go.

Oscar speaks

Newsweek has a good (but lengthy) roundtable discussion with five directors considered prime contenders for the Best Director Oscar this year: Bennett Miller ("Capote"), Steven Spielberg ("Munich"), George Clooney ("Good Night, and Good Luck"), Ang Lee ("Brokeback Mountain") and Paul Haggis ("Crash").

And do you feel scared - I do...

Some good news via TGW. I have a feeling we're gonna need it this week.
The new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds: "Americans — by a 16-point margin, 51 to 35 percent — now say the country should go in the direction in which the Democrats want to lead, rather than follow Bush. That's a 10-point drop for the president from a year ago, and the Democrats' first head-to-head majority of his presidency."

Furthermore, "[T]he Democrats hold a 16-point lead in 2006 congressional election preferences, 54 to 38 percent among registered voters, their best since 1984." [via Political Wire]

And Bushie's numbers are just as miserable. Only "42 percent of Americans approve of his work, 56 percent disapprove." Not since Nixon has a pResident done so poorly at the outset of his sixth year in office.

At least, it would be good news, if we actually had an opposition party instead of a bunch of cowering, whipped dogs.

ETA: From Bob Geiger, more potentially good news, if only Democrats knew (had known) what to do with it:
A Fox News poll taken last week shows that 53 percent of Americans believe either that Alito should not be confirmed (32 percent) or have no opinion (21 percent).

In a CBS News/New York Times poll, taken January 20-25, 16 percent of respondents had an unfavorable view of Alito. But most people didn’t have much of an opinion at all, with 23 percent undecided and one-third of all Americans saying they hadn’t heard enough to have an opinion. (But I’d wager a month’s pay that this same 33 percent has very firm opinions on the Natalee Holloway disappearance or the breakup of Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt.)

And the rubber really meets the road with questions like this one asked in a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll taken 10 days ago: "Suppose all or most of the Democrats in the Senate oppose Alito's nomination. Do you think they would be justified or not justified in using Senate procedures, such as the filibuster, to prevent an up-or-down vote on his nomination?"

That question showed us that 53 percent of Americans either flat-out support a filibuster or are unsure.

In early January, the same poll asked respondents what they thought of the political philosophy of the current Supreme Court. Only six percent said they thought the Court was “too liberal” while 29 percent said it’s too conservative.

Finally, a CBS News poll in early 2006 showed that 61 percent of Americans believe Senators voting on a Supreme Court Justice should “...also consider that nominee's personal views on major issues the Supreme Court decides."

They could have gotten it done. If the Democrats had shown up to play (you see how upset I am? I'm stooping to sports metaphors), they could have won a major victory, one that matters more than almost anything else Bush is going to do in his entire misadministration.

But they didn't. And they're about to be humiliated. And they're going to lose the support of the "netroots" (and crab grass like me). Because goddamnit, they could have gotten it done. Fuck every single last one of 'em.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Things I've Found In Books, part III (in 3-D!)

Just now, between pages 86 and 87 of the Seattle Public Library's copy of Revision, by Kit Reed, a torn-in-half index card with the word "Solar Sattelites" (sic)written in penciled cursive on one side and a one-armed monster drawn in pen on the other.

This means something.

Jes' killing time

The Picto-Personality Test

You are a person who is very ambitious, and constantly thinking of ways to further your own goals.

When alone, you appreciate being able to do nothing if you want to, and setting your own pace for things.

You are intelligent. You use your time to its fullest potential and will go very far in life.

In the future you will have a good family life and lots of friends.

Take this Test at

Y'gotta have fun

Fun is most important in your life.

Having a high focus on fun indicates that you value your own enjoyment over anything else. And there is nothing wrong with that. Your motto is we're here for a good time - not a long time.

Life Piechart -

Take this quiz at

Which do you suppose I should be more concerned about-that apparently money is just as important to me as love, or the fact that (what I laughably call my) career is just as important to me as family or (what I even more laughably call my) health?

Where the fuck is Kirsty MacColl?

What we have here is an (alleged) list of the
"160 Greatest Female Vocalist in Rock "N" Rock
Criteria: - Vocalists were chosen for Power, Range, Ability to Convey Emotion, Versatility, Uniqueness and Lasting Popularity. (All styles of Rock 'n' Roll are included.)

Now, I wouldn't piss and moan because Kirsty didn't make the top 15 or anything. I love her, of course, and I'm right, but I accept the reality that (due to most people being morons-fact), she never quite made it big, especially in this country.

But you're telling me that in a grouping of 160 female vocalists who are supposed to have great range, ability to convey emotion, versatility and "uniqueness"-which doesn't seem like it should be a word but is-Kirsty doesn't even make the list?

Oh. I see. All right, who does then?
5. Mariah Carey (My All)
Yes, because Mariah Carey made it on the basis of her talent.
16. Grace Slick (Somebody To Love)
Didn't she forefit her right to appear on any such list ever again with the whole "We Built This City" unpleasantness?
23. Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac) (Rhiannon)
Hey, if the bleats of the love-child of Bob Dylan and a nanny goat get you hard, be my guest.
127. Gwen Stefani (No Doubt/Solo) (Don't Speak)
Words once written about Kirsty MacColl (by Billy Bragg) that will never, ever be written about Gwen Stefani:
"All those expensive gadgets that make us mere mortals sound good in the studio, she can do it all naturally. And usually in the first take."

I say yes, but I may mean no

There seems to be a growing chance of an anti-Alito filibuster. A couple of days ago, John at AmericaBlog posted about why he doesn't necessarily support the idea. Not because he think Alito is good, certainly, but because:

I support a filibuster of Alito IF - IF, IF, IF, IF, IF - the multi-million dollar liberal non-profits and the Democratic and moderate Republican Senators organize a true CAMPAIGN to convince the American public that a filibuster is necessary and good.'s possible to remain a Democrat and win, but you can't just vote the right way, you have to create an environment in which the public agrees with and supports your vote.

Unfortunately, that didn't, and isn't, happening with this Alito confirmation. The big non-profits got millions, and what do we have to show for it? The Democratic Senators held a week of hearings, and other than Joe Biden's chance to bloviate as usual in front of the cameras, what did they accomplish?

John's a smart guy and his point is well taken. I wish the "liberal" "Democratic" "Senators" had been handling things differently for a few years now. It's just, I'm afraid, this is our last and chance to stop a man so far out of the mainstream you can't even see him on the shore being appointed.

Egalia at TGW has a good roundup of entries on the chances for an anti-Alito filibuster.

Bob Fertik over at says, the senators are 'freaking out' cause they're getting so many calls for a filibuster. They've "turned off their DC phones and their voicemails are full."

The intensity of the internet response on this has been beyond belief," georgia10 told RAW STORY in an email. "Constituents have raised so much support for the filibuster--Senators' mailboxes are full, inboxes are overflowing, fax machines are running out of paper, and phone lines are ringing off the hook. Considering each internet activist represents not only their own concerns, but the concerns of millions of Americans, the support for a filibuster is astounding."

[D]espite what a few polls have shown, Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas insists that it's not just liberal Democrats backing the effort.

"This is probably the most united I've ever seen the Democratic establishment, that is, Democrats without offices in the U.S. Senate. Even the DLC is calling for a filibuster. Center, left, right -- all corners of the party agree," Kos blogged on Saturday.

Can you believe it? We might actually see some fighting Dems. Yeah, I'm not holding my breath, but I am making the calls.

We have no mouth and we must scream

There's an article in the Washington Post that, once again, confirms what we kind of already knew. Despite--

  • Abramoff
  • Osama being free
  • Alito
  • Wiretapping
  • Iraq
  • The majority of the US thinking Bush is a failure

-all issues on which the most popular lefty blogs have been right early and right often--the dumbass Democratic establishment basically wants them to put out or get out.

"The bloggers and online donors represent an important resource for the party, but they are not representative of the majority you need to win elections," said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist who advised Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. "The trick will be to harness their energy and their money without looking like you are a captive of the activist left."

Jane says:
I'm going to let James field this one (from the comments):
If your name is accompanied by the words "Democratic lobbyist who advised Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign," then you deserve a warm glass of shut-the-hell-up.

It's like quoting Axl Rose for tips on keeping the band together.

And this is one of those "I agree with virtually every word of this entry" posts. What Pam said:
I've been talking about this bullsh*t for a good long time now re: gay rights -- they want our queer bucks and our silence and endless "patience" as they tilt the party rightward. This dishonesty was barely hidden beneath the surface during the 2004 race and as you can see from the above quote, it's out there stark naked before us across the board.

As a progressive, the feeling of being continually used in this manner makes my blood boil because it expands to so many issues we've thought about as core values of the party (e.g reproductive freedom, the environment, the economy, social justice, etc.). The Dems are publicly abandoning (or hiding from) anything resembling novel thinking in their quest to become Republican-lite. They've decided that learning how to frame core issues is just too much work for them. Just water down the GOP playbook a tad and (hopefully) slide into office.

Read the whole thing. And don't vote for a Democrat unless one shows up.