Saturday, September 06, 2008
Link should work now, thanks Alan.
Friday, September 05, 2008
we're Americans...And you know what that means? ...That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world.
Well, funny story. Can you guess who the GOP spent a whole convention forgetting to shine a light on?
Not a single bloody word, virtually, was spoken about them over the entire four days of the convention. At least, not about the ones who are fighting and sacrificing in Iraq and Afghanistan now.
As opposed to the one who was in a Vietnamese POW camp, before I was even born.
Have a look at the most recent Iraq casualty* figures. Add to that 569 in Afghanistan.
And ask yourself why the McCain Republican party is willing to use video of the towers falling to try to scare the country into giving them four more years. But not to pay tribute to the American citizens that have suffered and fallen since.
My answer: Because it's their fault.
Actually, there's a case to be made that both are their fault (or at least, their failure), but I guess they figured there were still a few drops of blood to be squeezed from the turnip of at least one of 'em.
*Gil Scott-Heron, I believe it was, remarked upon what an odd word that is. "Casualties.' Nothing casual about dying."
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland used the racially-tinged term "uppity" to describe Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama Thursday.
Westmoreland was discussing vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's speech with reporters outside the House chamber and was asked to compare her with Michelle Obama.
"Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they're a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they're uppity," Westmoreland said.
Asked to clarify that he used the word “uppity,” Westmoreland said, “Uppity, yeah.”
(PS: Yeah, I know...when I saw the link, I was praying the Republican would turn out to be from Tennessee, too. But this is still pretty funny.)
ETA: I take it back. It's not just funny, it's fucking beautiful.
But also, virtually every day, I read something which makes clear her candidacy cannot be treated with indifference. Yesterday it was learning of her book-banning past. Today, it's this, in a well-worth-reading opinion piece by Gloria Steinem, on why Sarah Palin is the wrong woman:
She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling.
Do. Not. Mess. With my. Wolves.
Results of Palin's speech? the RNC raised $1 million. The Obama camp?
$10 million plus.
Gotta love it.
A few years ago, I thought Joe Scarborough was pretty easy to take for a smug Republican pretty-boy...
Much like Karl Rove, he was against someone with Sarah Palin's slim experience and qualifications being number two on the ticket...before he was for it.
They're lying and a lot of people know they're lying.
(I'm not watching much of the Republican convention, except Stewart and Colbert, of course.)
*According to my iGoogle page.
As that obit reminds us,
Melendez's nearly seven decades as a professional animator began in 1938 when he was hired by Walt Disney Studios and worked on Mickey Mouse cartoons and classic animated features such as "Pinocchio" and "Fantasia."
Melendez took part in a strike that led to the unionization of Disney artists in 1941, and later moved to Warner Bros., where he worked on Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Daffy Duck shorts.
At UPA, he helped animate "Gerald McBoing-Boing," which won the 1951 Academy Award for best cartoon short.
Melendez created Emmy-winning specials based on the cartoon characters Cathy and Garfield, and was involved in animated versions of the Babar the elephant books and the C.S. Lewis book, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."
Here's the first eight minutes of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown:
A few years ago, Melendez put up a great-looking website where you can see more clips from his films and specials; A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Snoopy Come Home especially made me smile.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
As such, she's a widely-quoted Republican spokeswoman. So it's worthy of coverage when she lets slip what she really thinks about the choice of Sarah Palin and what it means for the race.
(Y'know...you'd think Noonan would be alert to this kind of thing. As I say she worked for Reagan, who had his own live mic gaffe. Anybody remember "We begin bombing in 5 minutes"?)
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
On Hannity & Colmes, Hannity said, in reference to Internet rumors about Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter, "[T]hey tried to make the attack that she has a young daughter, pregnant and engaged. Is that fair that they would attack that? I mean, I don't remember Chelsea Clinton being attacked.
First of all, if anyone, certainly any prominent liberal blogger, has "attacked" Palin's daughter, I've yet to see it. Everyone I've seen has been cautious, as I was. We want to separate the daughter's situation from the intellectual dishonesty of someone who is in a position to become the most powerful woman in the world.
The one we can all agree is private, the other could not possibly be more a matter of public interest.
But you know what? Forget all that. Say someone has been attacking Palin's daughter.
As Media Matters goes on to report, Chelsea Clinton certainly was attacked when her father was president. For being "ugly." In one case, when she was 13 years old. And not just by conservative bloggers who you could argue most people weren't listening to (certainly at the time), but by big-timers, with big microphones.
People like that.
Of course, if you've read Al Franken's Lies book, you know that Hannity not only refuses to acknowledge Limbaugh's indefensable assault on Chelsea but he also has certain anger management problems.
Rather than accept that the right's Moses gets his jollies from picking on little girls and then blatantly lying about it, Hannity'll get in a shouting match with you. So, to be fair to Hannity and his little, little brain, I don't doubt for a minute he means it when he says he doesn't remember...
If you're stupid, surround yourself with smart people. If you're smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.
Obama and Biden appeared together on 60 Minutes this weekend. That link will lead you to a site where you have a choice of watching a video clip of the appearance, or reading it in an article form. Either way, I especially liked what Obama had to say about (one of) his reasons for choosing Biden:
if I'm in the room making the kinds of tough decisions that the next president's gonna have to make, both on domestic policy and on international policy, then I want the counsel and advice of somebody who's not gonna agree with me a 100 percent of [the] time. In fact, somebody who's independent enough that can push back and give me different perspectives and make sure that I'm catching any blind spots that I have.
"Look there is no choice I could have made where the person's gonna agree with me a 100 percent of the time. And I wouldn't want that person. Michelle doesn't agree with me a 100 percent of the time. You know, in fact with Michelle, if I can get to 50 percent, I'm feeling pretty good.
(I know that's not her official name, but I insist on calling her that because that's what it sounds like Wall-E calls her in the movie...and possibly for another reason I'll get to in a minute).
I can't say much more than Kathy Najimy said. Eve-A is
powerful [and] dedicated to her purpose
warm, funny, caring and sensitive
On a personal note, I would like to add one thing that occurred to me a few days ago.
You who know my work...those descriptions remind anybody of anyone?
Wall-E and Eve-A.
Wall-E and Eva-A.
Coll-Ey and Kei-Tha.
I've also observed that given his knack for giving unimpressive speeches, I would've bet real money that after his concession his speechwriting staff was waiting for him with a baseball bat. I would've been.
Oh yes, and I also like to quote a line from The Daily Show, back in the day:
John Kerry couldn't inspire an ice cube to melt in the small of Halle Berry's back.
I do give him credit, however, for refusing (reportedly) to take the advice of Bill Clinton and sell out gays for votes. But for the most part...well, you can understand why I'm flabbergasted to read these quotes from a recent appearance:
STEPHANOPOULOS: … Howard Wolfson, Senator Clinton’s former communications director, said that this pick [Palin] might just work to draw women to the Republican ticket. Are you worried about that?
KERRY: Well, with all due respect to Howard, you know, I have much more respect for the Clinton supporters than that sort of quick- blush take with — I mean, how stupid do they think the Clinton supporters are, for Heaven sakes?
Do they think Clinton supporters supported Hillary only because she was a woman. For Heaven sakes, they supported Hillary because of all the things she’s fought for, because she fights for health care, which John McCain doesn’t support; she fights for children and children’s health care, which John McCain voted against; she fights for a windfall profits tax on the oil company, which John McCain opposes.
Where in the hell was this man four years ago?
Sarah Palin's daughter is pregnant.
Sarah Palin's 17-year-old, unmarried daughter, is pregnant.
The 17-year-old, unmarried daughter of John McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, is pregnant.
So, for those of you keeping score:
One: John McCain's running mate is, objectively speaking, not letting politics enter into it at all, the least-experienced, worst-qualified VP nominee we've ever had.
Two: She appears to have been "vetted," very little, if at all.
Three: She's under investigation for corruption in office.
Four: She hardly knows John McCain.
Five: She has the parenting skills of Lynne Spears.
What next, we're gonna find out her husband drives drunk?
(Funny you should mention that...)
And what's the McCain campaign's response?
"It's a private family matter. Life happens in families," said Steve Schmidt, chief strategist of the McCain campaign. "If people try to politicize this, the American people will be appalled by it."
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally. A private family matter. Like, say...oh I don't know...having to make the horrible choice to get an abortion. Or wanting to marry a person of your own sex, because you love them. Private family matters such as those?
I don't want to rip on the daughter--I don't know her situation. But the McCain campaign is starting to make me think it's being run by Jerry Ford. I don't mean the real Jerry Ford, the late president. I mean Chevy Chase's stumbling impersonation of him in the early years of Saturday Night Live.
And--as so often with the republicans--it's the hypocrisy, stupid. To again quote George Carlin, may he rest in peace,
[Right-wingers] were 'going to get government off our backs.' Yeah, but when it comes to abortion they don’t mind government being in a woman’s uterus, do they?
Finally, it's just so fitting. Studies have shown that "abstinence-only" sex education (which Palin supports), doesn't prevent teenagers from having sex...it just prevents them from using birth control if they do. And now we have a great, big, internationally known example.
Hamlet 2 strikes me as being like a very good first draft. It's a good movie, especially if you've ever been, or been around, performers in your life, but it misses being great by a mile.
There's a better movie that could've been had here. It's funny, but more often in a smile, ok-that-was-funny way than laugh-out loud (though there are those as well), and it never quite comes together.
Its biggest problem is that of too-fast transitions. Most prominently (though this is not the only example), it wants to parody the pretensions of bad actors who think they're tortured artists. Fine by me.
But before it's over it also wants us to care about and like them. This is also fine, but you have to give us a reason. I think of the underrated A Midwinter's Tale (AKA In the Bleak Midwinter), which is about a group of not-necessarily bad, but definitely out-of-work, actors putting on a production of Hamlet (the first one).
That movie had its fun with theatrical types and backstage politics too, but it also has sympathetic characters. Hamlet 2 is spare of those.
As we're introduced to the supporting cast in any movie, we think (if only subconsciously), "Who are these people?" Hamlet 2 never really tells us, even though it has a strong cast of both name and no-name actors.
The whole movie's a bit like that: Not enough setup with only slightly more payoff.
A few more things: This is a movie that the trailer is a lot funnier than. There are also a couple of jokes misrepresented in the trailer, and they worked better there.
And incidentally: Has anybody else noticed that that the song "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" is not only not as provocative as it wants to be--annoying Christians is like shooting fish in a barrel--but, musically, is completely ripped off from the title song of Little Shop of Horrors?
(Answer: Yes, somebody else has. Seriously, they're so close enough to identical as to seem actionable. I wonder if Cricket Feldstein--Amy Poehler's ACLU lawyer character in the film--will represent the songwriter.)
Hamlet 2 also has what may be the most obviously tacked-on attempt to give an "up" ending to a movie I've ever seen. You can almost hear the creative process: "OK, let's get Steve Coogan and as many of the name actors as we can, plus a few of the others, and give Steve a chance to do one of his impressions, ready and: Go!"
Sunday, August 31, 2008
George, for helping me fill out my "chicks through the years" posts.
Jason, for including me on his email list to friends and family while he is stationed in Saudi Arabia. We don't know each other that well (hardly at all), but it's a chance to see through his eyes more than one world I've yet to experience.
Corey Klemow, for being a pal, and a friend, and a Doctor Who fan...yeah, in that order.
Jennifer: For liking my writing and caring about me.
PJ for back-and-forth memes and pharmaceutical advice.
You don't even have to get into her politics to make the case, she's clearly the most unqualified nominee we've ever had. So at a certain point you have to wonder: What in god's name were McCain and his advisers thinking?
Well, funny story. Turns out they didn't really think about it very long or hard at all. I mean, I may be jumping to a conclusion, but if you were thinking about it, would you nominate someone as a potential commander-in-chief and not even check what her hometown paper had to say about her?
[The] TV...bloviators ...hadn’t been so surprised since they discovered that Obama was not too black to get white votes, not too white to win black votes, and not too inexperienced to thwart the inevitable triumph of the incomparably well-organized and well-financed Clinton machine.
The main reason McCain knuckled under to the religious right by picking Palin is that he actually believes there’s a large army of embittered Hillary loyalists who will vote for a hard-line conservative simply because she’s a woman. That’s what happens when you listen to the TV news echo chamber. Not only is the whole premise ludicrous, but it is every bit as sexist as the crude joke McCain notoriously told about Janet Reno, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.
After the catastrophic Bush presidency, the troubles that afflict us on nearly every front almost make you nostalgic for the day when America’s gravest problems could still be seen in blacks and whites.