Monday, February 28, 2005
I was saying Boo-urns
As someone pointed out in the comments section of Think Progress, this particular group of individuals is probably the very folk the Democrats need to target in future elections (or at least not be afraid of). This means engagement, heavy investment in local progressive leadership, and contesting every battle. However, it's also clear that the born again movement and its rightward tilt (one of the Hannidate2005 singles has been born again since the age of 5!) provides some level of non-penetration. So to speak. I mean, most of us find solace in ideological safe zones, whether Sean Hannity or salon.com. But I honestly feel there's a serious disconnect among the religious right, for whom any sort of cognitive dissonance or questioning of beliefs makes them run that much farther to the right, to Rush, to James Dobson, to the Bible. Ultimately the discussions might have to move out of the realm of the political and economic, and into the theological and eschatological.
But not yet. I'm still confident that a Howard Dean approach can stave off that moment - populism, contesting every race, standing up for your principles.
I've seen plays that were better than this. Honest to god PLAYS!
I was very happy that Charlie Kaufman won for Eternal Sunshine, a movie which I found heartfelt and touching, if maybe not directed that well, and confirmed for me that Charlie's skillz are still there. Sideways winning for best adapted screenplay was good too. I wonder about those two awards, because they seem to be accorded equal attention - namely, none - but it strikes me that the original screenplay should be a far more important award, no? I guess part of it depends on how much of an adaptation the non-0riginal screenplays are, which I have no basis of judging because I most certainly haven't read any of the original source materials. But still, if you're working from something that was already a brilliant piece of narrative storytelling then frankly I'm not as impressed. Unless, of course, you're Charlie Kaufman writing Adaptation.
On a completely different note, this week is Davis Cup week, baby! First round, eight ties, 7 of the top 10 players. The U.S. team has a particularly tough task: Ivan Ljubicic, second hottest player in tennis, and Mario Ancic, finalist this week in Scottsdale, and the memory of Croatia's domination of the U.S. a few years ago. Fortunately, this time around we have Agassi, Roddick and the Bryan Brothers - none of whom were around during that series of unfortunate events. Still, it should be the best of the 8 throw-downs around the world. Second best: Slovak Republic hosts defending champ Spain - and Spain won't have Moya, Ferrero, or Robredo (all of whom are at least somewhat healthy). Beck will be tough on the fast indoor court while Hrbaty can beat any player on tour. Should be a barn burner.
There's a really good article by Reuters covering all the ties. More on this at the end of the week!
... UPDATE: As for my thoughts on the merits of the Award winners themselves, I kind of (shockingly) find myself in complete agreeance with controversial sports columnist Skip Bayless, whose espn.com article can be summed up thusly: Million Dollar Baby combined stilted dialogue with stock characters (especially easy to hate hicks) and had serious credibility problems (the idea that she already was on the undercard before she started training; the ludicrous idea that she "lost" the fight where she got injured) but Hilary & Morgan gave great performances. Eastwood isn't one tenth the director Scorcese is. Leo was probably better than Jamie Foxx [although to my mind, Johnny Depp was better than both and of course Paul Giamatti the best]. Cate Blanchett did the impossible admirably. I guess overall, I have to say that this was the first year I saw all 5 Oscar best pic nominees, and it was nice that I didn't have to see any completely crappy movies. So I'd like to the Academy for that!
Friday, February 25, 2005
Friday semen blogging
I know many of you have already seen this little tidbit:
Court: Man can sue over 'surprise' pregnancy
Some of the better quotes:
If a woman performs oral sex on a man, leaves the room, secretly uses that sperm to impregnate herself, then sues the man for child support, is that "extreme and outrageous" conduct?
Yes it is, the Illinois Appellate Court ruled this week.
And then there's this classic:
"he's got to be more careful what he does with his semen"
"She asserts that when plaintiff 'delivered' his sperm, it was a gift -- an absolute and irrevocable transfer of title to property from a donor to a donee," Hartman wrote. "There was no agreement the original deposit would be returned upon request."
You just know Abdon M. Pallasch won some sort of bet over who got to cover this awesomeness for the Sun-Times. WOW!
Have a great weekend everyone!
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Me fail English? That's unpossible!
They dug deep for dirt, dredging up things long past and erecting a fantasy world worthy of a Vince Flynn novel. What they found is domain names and sexy pictures from which sprung rumors and conspiracy theories. Based on some of the emails I’ve received, many of these people were conflicted with hatred for my politics and tingling they experienced while viewing pictures said to be me.In my case, Jeff, it was both, but there was no conflict. In case you were wondering.
Is there no place for the man with the 105 IQ?!
You can imagine my affinity for that site to be ironic, or mean-spirited, or even a sign of me questioning my values in the face of an intractable onslaught of right-wing rhetoric (not to mention, win after win after win for the GOP) but unfortunately, it mostly boils down to two things: one, it's a place to have an actual discussion rather than a lovefest, and two, as you know, I think gay Republicans are HOTT.
(Sidenote: I've been posting on several of their discussion threads, but all I can do when presented with the one that enthuses over the possibility that Lynn Swann may be running for the governor of Pennsylvania as a Republican is scratch my head. What is there to say? I didn't even know Lynn Swann had positions on issues. I mean, Charles Barkley in Alabama? Sure. But Lynn Swann? Weird.)
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Marge, it takes two to lie. One to lie, and one to listen.
Here's excerpts from the article, if you're interested.
(Shorter Peter Sarsgaard: I'm the hottest man in the world, and you can't have me.)
Finger pain!? I was expecting gum!
After seeing the extremely hot Homer-on-Homer makeout session, I can honestly say that the image has been burned into my head forever and I may never sleep again.
ANYWAY! Two quick links. One to the Nashua Advocate, blog-cum-newspaper, that has been covering Gannon/Guckert pretty hot & heavy. They have an interview with Daschle's former spokesman that reveals that they knew much more about Gannon before the rest of us did, and that Gannon flat-out lied to them (about his residency) in search of a story, and that the media did nothing. As I wrote in comments:
So what's next: someone from the Thune campaign coming clean.Second, and this is getting to be a little Live Journalesque, but I highly recommend that anyone in the Greater Midwest Area check out the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art's latest exhibit - Universal Experience: Art, Life, and the Tourist's Eye. The exhibit takes over the entire building and is extremely multimedia. The placards next to the pieces are informative without being didactic and pretty much every piece provoked some sort of discussion in my little group of two.
To those from southdakotapolitcs who would make the correlation between Daschle using legitimate newspapers as places to ship oppo research, vs. what the Thune campaign did with Gannon, I say - bring it on. If Daschle were caught PAYING the Argus to print his stories - that would be a massive scandal. So let's find out if Thune was paying Gannon.
The best parts I saw included a series of video monitors with mirrors on the back showing people waking up, and airports and stuff; a huge walk-through display about the war, pornography, and journalism (among other things); a documentary about hijacking; and a 100 foot+ display of photos from around the world. There was lots of other good stuff besides. GO! NOW!!!
Monday, February 21, 2005
"...bloggers are all they will be."
I'm not going to post the entire response I got, except to say that he again dodged the question of why his paper hasn't covered this story yet and to report that he also does not believe that the blogs paid by Thune had any impact on the Senate race. In his words, "But the fact of the matter is they are just bloggers and bloggers is all they will be."
In my words, "SNAP!"
P.S. Check out Thunewatch.com for a great piece on Lauck's postings (Ethically Challenged Thune Paid Operative Defends Gannon).
Friday, February 18, 2005
Argus Leader Speaks!
I'm just wondering when the Argus Leader is going to get around to investigating the ties between John Thune's campaign and "Gannon's" fake journalism. It's seeming more & more like dirty tricks every day! Is there a money trail between Thune and GOPUSA or Guckert/Gannon? After all, there was definitely a lot of interaction between "Gannon" and the two paid-off bloggers. This is potentially a major scandal, is being covered by newspapers all over the country and around the world, and yet SILENCE from the Argus Leader! Can someone please explain this? Does it have anything to do with the intimidation by Gannon during the 2004 campaign? Certainly, the Argus Leader's journalistic ethics are better than that!And very shortly thereafter, got this response:
I suspect the people of South Dakota are getting their fill of Mr. Gannon's predicament. We've researched and written on the role of bloggers in the Senate race. Let me assure you, I, nor any of our reporters, were intimidated by Gannon or any other blogger.
Thanks for reading.
Assistant managing editor
I wonder how the people of South Dakota are getting their fill of Mr. Gannon's predicament, if the Argus Leader and other leading papers haven't covered it? Is it worth even a side story somewhere, the fact that these two bloggers - already known to be tools of the Thune campaign - were themselves being fed by a fake journalist (also a male prostitute) with possible ties to the White House? And even if there turns out to be no connection between the Thune campaign and Guckert, wouldn't it at least be worth investigating?
You know who else I like, is that Leo Sayer
Okay, this Jeff Gannon, Boy Reporter story is a bizarre kalaidoscope of hooks, so many, in fact, that it's very very hard to pick one and say "This is why this matters." I mean, we've got:
*The escort angle
*The Valerie Plame angle
*The GOPUSA/Bobby Eberle/Texas Republican Party angle
*The possible White House coverup angle, particularly with conflicting Editor & Publisher interview with Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan (and James Guckert himself)
*The Mary Mapes/CBS/fake TANG memo/Rathergate angle
And about a dozen more. However, to me, Joe Conason's article in Salon.com today presents potentially the most fruitful avenue of investigation: Conason's ties to John Thune's successful campaign to oust Sen. Minority Leader Tom Daschle.
Gannon went much further, however, in accusing reporters at the state's most important newspaper, the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader, of shilling for Daschle and, worse still, of colluding with the senator in the intimidation of his political adversaries. Such wild attacks were then played back on the Thune-financed Web logs, which attracted substantial attention in the Senate race and influenced coverage in the South Dakota media. As the National Journal explained in a post-election analysis, the blog assault "opened a new and potentially powerful front in the war over public opinion." The National Journal and local journalists agreed that the blog campaign against Daschle was "crucial." A top Argus Leader editor conceded, "I don't think there's any way to say [the blogs] didn't" affect the paper's coverage.This is the stuff of dirty tricks scandal. The implication that the Thune campaign coordinated with Gannon is almost inescapable. Thune appeared on Gannon's radio show the same day that Gannon reveals the dirt about Daschle's primary residence (D.C. rather than South Dakota). Two blogs in South Dakota - being paid by the Thune campaign - relentlessly flog several "scandals" somehow "uncovered" by this fake journalist/Republican shill/male prostitute.
And yet, there seems to be a conspicuous silence when it comes to South Dakotans following up on this story!
Now, in the case of southdakotapolitics.blogs.com, that makes sense. After all, it was founded by the young Jason Van Beeck - paid by the Thune campaign and later hired by Sen. Thune - and is now operated by history professor Jon Lauck, who was the other blogger paid by the Thune campaign.
The Rapid City Journal doesn't seem to have said anything either. However, their blog does have one mention - that doesn't mention the Thune connection - of Gannon being a dick to a reporter.
But in the case of the Argus Leader, the silence is shocking and highly unprofessional. This man, this fake journalist, who used his fake journalist credentials to try to shame the Argus Leader for being a SHILL for Tom Daschle, now doesn't get any investigation himself? Is there a money trail leading from Thune to Gannon? To GOPUSA?
These are crucial issues, and I hope somebody out there can help.
I'm not not licking toads
[About the Simpsons quotes: if anyone has a favorite they'd like me to use for a future post, please put it in comments. No need to worry about the comments section getting out of control just yet....]
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Judge a pig competition?! But I'm no supergenius! Or are I?
Policeman resigns over suggestive photos
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- A policeman has resigned after 100 photos of barely clad men were found in his home. An investigation of former patrolman Charles Broshous was begun after a gay dancer reported being arrested and forced to strip to a "satin leopard G-string" while Broshous photographed him.
This just goes to show you how bizarre places like Colorado Springs are. I mean, I've lived in LOTS of places, and have been arrested and forced to strip to a "satin leopard G-string" while being photographed by the arresting officer LOTS of times. And not only did I not feel a need to complain about it ... but by writing about it afterwards, I was able to pay off my student loans!
But in uptight Colorado Springs, the gay dancers feel a moral obligation to turn the guy in.
The best part of the article is the end:
Investigators said that, among other things, Broshous issued an unusually high number of tickets for underage drinking. He would order offenders to remove their shirts, saying he was looking for tattoos.
Hey! Whatever works.
Note: this is part two of my "make the titles of all posts Simpsons quotes." We'll see how long it lasts.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
That's it, kids. Suckle on daddy's sugar ball...
Anyway, this post is actually about Bill Hemmer, some stupid American official, and the Ambassador from Syria. So, I was watching CNN this morning, and all I can say is - thank god that America-hating Eason Jordan is gone! Now they can be a REAL news organization. Hemmer was interviewing this Syrian dude, and showed a clip of some official (maybe our recalled ambassador to Syria? I don't know, it was early) and the American dude said something like "Syria is trying to have it's cake and eat it too. They say they need 17,000 troops to keep the peace in Lebanon, and yet they can't even stop a bombing in a wealthy, hotel-filled area!"
I am not making this up.
And Bill Hemmer - who, I suppose it could be argued, possibly knew this was the most horrifically stupid thing to ever have been uttered in the history of the universe, and just wanted to lob a softball at the Syrian dude - actually turned to the Syrian dude and asked him whether or not Syria was trying indeed to have it both ways.
The Syrian guy basically knocked the question out of the ballpark, of course. I mean, THIS is the U.S. policy now? That if an act of violence takes place during the occupation of another country, it proves that the occupier isn't doing it's job and perhaps has ulterior motives? Good to know.
UPDATE! Better deets in the Village Voice.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
God I love the Internet
Remember ... for that special someone ... Passover is just around the corner!
(just kidding, they're all sold out)
Rudeness is next to godliness
Except for Rudepundit.
The reason Gannon/Guckert matters is because this administration has mainstreamed evil, has made it a dull hum in the background. Oh, sure, sure, we were appalled, so goddamn outraged when Abu Ghraib happened, but now, even as story after story comes out that we, the American public, elected a government that thinks it's simply part of the post-9/11 game to abuse and torture suspects, we care less and less. And like a rickety old house with termites gnawing at its foundation, we are being undermined and won't know it until the whole thing comes crashing down around us. We are draining away law and ethics through the "extraordinary renditions" of "terror suspects," as well as our own torturing. Like city dwellers who can sleep through sirens, car alarms, and street construction, we just tune it all out. But it'll crash, finally. Then we'll think, oh, shit, should've killed those termites.Rudepundit goes on to say that if this story takes down the current cabal in charge, that's good enough for him. It's not that the ends justify the means ... it's that the ends in this case are good and the means in this case are fair.
oh boy oh boy oh boy OH BOY OH BOY!!!!!
My natural restraint and calm nature takes a back seat today.
Strangers With Candy movie (featuring Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker) debuts in Utah:
No date has been set at this time for the Fall release (I didn't say "full release"), but after the film debuted on January 24, 2005 at Sundance it was picked up by Warner Independent Pictures for distribution. They're planning the premiere for after the Summer blockbuster season and it will probably be limited to a few major cities at first. If the movie does well it should then be coming to a theater near you. Check here periodically for more updates.Hee hee hee!
P.S. It better not suck.
Monday, February 14, 2005
Maya Keyes has courage; James Guckert has gall
As for dad Alan, you are a freak show, but it seems you did a fine job in raising your daughter. Please figure your shit out soon. Oh, and thanks for the "selfish hedonist" line. I'm really loving it.
[Thanks to Val at Uppity Negro for calling this to my attention, and I'm sorry I missed the memorial in my hood - stupid conference!]
Then there's J.D. Wow. I don't really know where to start. Check out dailykos.com or Americablog for the deets, but basically what you have here is a male escort using his wiles to become a prominant cog in the right-wing machine during the past two years, meanwhile laughably passing himself as a journalist who could count on Scott McClellan to call on him regularly during white house press briefings, but who then basically self-immolated when he decided to ask our fine president a really really stupid question at a press conference. Oh, and when Wolf Blitzer asked what all these sex site rumors (says Wolf, "I don't understand what that is..." because that would take actual RESEARCH) "Jeff Gannon" flat-out lied. It would seem. Even stupider is the idea that people WOULDN'T find out about his escort past (present?) eventually. I mean, the guy had SUCH a wide and deep Internet presence that it was almost inevitable that he'd slip up - and he did, particularly with the AOL profile. However, maybe this was just part of his master plan to drum up more business for the "32 year old" "Jeff" and his $1200 weekends.
Anyway. Here's where the gall comes in. For some weird reasons, although the front page is down, several of the pages from his self-branding effort (The Conservative Guy) are still up (at least as of this posting). There's this Whois page along with weird postings that are clearly just ideas for future articles on "gay" and "black" ... (in the latter, which begins "I WISH I WAS BLACK," he calls Alan Keyes, of all people, a man of "accomplishment and distinction," and speculates that blacks need to "keep you children in school" sic). On the Whois page, the second sentence is this: "Some people don't remember my name because I am an average type guy."
Jeff. James. J.D. ... GANNON! GUCKERT! Maybe the reason "some people" don't remember your name is because you change it more often than Selma Bouvier Terwilliger Hutz McClure!
I don't know if you're gay, straight, bisexual, or just a lonely little boy trapped in a big man's body. But you got served by a young girl who actually has her shit together. Oh, and she doesn't have to wish. She is black.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Hey Bochco: Suck it!
In a backwards but interesting cover story in USA Today (today), talking about how there's lots of war movies & TV shows comin' out, and how people are careful not to "attack the troops," aka, show them as complex and multidimensional beings with agency and responsibility for their actions. My favorite quote is this:
But not any and every angle of war is being depicted. One aspect is glaringly absent from most projects: negativity. The U.S. soldier is the hero; his cause is just. Storylines featuring the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal or war protests are no-nos.
"That gets you into arenas of policy," says Bochco, who has written four episodes of Over There, which is filming in Santa Clarita, Calif. "We'll be telling the story about young people's experience in war. I've always tried to stay off a soap box. I don't think proselytizing is good storytelling."Well, Steve, guess what: the entire Iraq conflict is a question of policy. Wars aren't just inevitable things that make up the day-to-day fabric of our lives. Wars aren't fucking cotton. I can promise you that the story of Lynnie England is 1,000 times more interesting, complex, and harrowing than anything you could ever dream up for "Over There." Her story is part & parcel of the war experience, particularly this war, what with its outsized propaganda and flat-out lies. Thanks for helping everyone simple-mindedly buy into it all. Why don't you go produce a beer commercial where people are clapping for soldiers who are walking through an airport? I love America AND I love beer!!!!
Greatest. Magazine. Cover. Ever.
Monday, February 07, 2005
HumiliatingIt's humiliating to live in a country in which a president and party can pull such an open and obvious switcheroo - cut taxes, destroy the budget, then cut social spending - and not get called on it by every single journalist and opposition politician said country. When cutting social spending was part of the plan all along.
I guess everyone was just so razzled by their $300 check from George W. Bush Himself that they forgot about THIS inevitability.
Meanwhile, most cities and states have lost the ability to pick up the slack, being in budget crises of their own. So for those who don't like the feds being responsible for the health, education, and welfare of their fellow citizens, due to the cumbersome nature of such a large government -- don't expect the lower levels of government to help address the problems any time soon. Which will increase the number of people who just can't pull themselves up by their bootstraps and for whom private charities just won't have the capacity to help. Which will mean more starving kids. But hey! We got $300 checks! Wooooooo!!
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Social Security maybe not so secure!?I certainly don't know much about the issue. I do know that even though we're supposed to call them "personal accounts" instead of "private accounts" (a term Bush used during the freaking presidential debates, by the way), that basically we already HAVE "personal accounts" because it says so in my quarterly Social Security statements. I also know that Social Security is popular in part because it's a compromise between socialist "give everyone the same benefits when they reach 65" and capitalist "don't give anyone anything."
To me it comes down to this:
1) I'm suspicious of just about anything GWB proposes.
2) I'm particularly suspicious when he starts doing his little "town hall"-slash-"take the show on the road" photo ops.
3) Don't fuck with anyone's guaranteed benefits. Look, if people (like lots & lots of us workers) want to invest in a 401(k) on our own, let us do it. But as we all know, no private investment is failsafe. I also don't think that the federal government should really be in the business of investing. Too many conflict of interest/corruption possibilities. Way too many.
4) I don't trust the dude, that's all there is to it.
Am I wrong? Help me out here, you economists in the crowd!
Edited to add: 5) While I believe a huge influx of capital into the stock market would seem to have good short-term benefits for business & the economy (giving businesses more money with which to expand capacity, put into research & development, etc.) isn't there a huge risk of OVERSPECULATION? I mean, people aren't supposed to buy stocks just because they have money to do so, they are supposed to buy stocks (in theory) because they think a company is going to grow, right? But if demand isn't able to keep up with the increased supply, couldn't that serve to create massive overcapacity? Should we start thinking about this in terms of a possible built-in bubble? Obviously I'm missing something, and again, economics is my weakest suit, so please, splain. Thanks!
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Julia, just come to Chicago already!!!!Class, shmlass, it's all about the Oscars in Illinois, ya dig? I'll even buy you brunch. HOW CAN YOU PASS THIS UP?!?!?
Just do it.
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
journalistic integrity is Satan's toolWhen you subjugate the truth in order to advance your cause, both will suffer. Nonetheless, the Christian Right, led by World Net Daily, is disseminating this:
MATTERS OF LIFE AND DEATH
Judgment awarded in abortion-breast cancer case
1st of its kind against clinic for failing to inform patient of increased risk
Posted January 27, 2005
Which begins with this stunner:For the first time, an abortion clinic accepted an order of judgment for performing the procedure without informing the patient of psychological risks and increased risk of breast cancer.Reading the various citations of this article around the right side of the Internets, it seems pretty clear that a "court" has "judged" that an "abortion clinic" was found liable for not telling a 15 year old girl (who is now 19 and cancer-free) about one study that links youth abortion with increased rates of breast cancer. This argument is a major part of the anti-abortion rhetoric, so the fact that a court accepted it is simply stunning. MAJOR victory for the right.
The lawsuit against the All Women's Health Services clinic in Portland, Ore., was the second of its kind in the U.S. to be successfully prosecuted but the first to obtain a judgment.
Even the plaintiff's attorney got into the act about the profundity of the moment:
Jonathan Clark, attorney for the 19-year-old plaintiff, told WorldNetDaily he believes the judgment "makes a pretty powerful statement about the science," indicating the clinic was not willing to argue against the claim that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer.
"This case was set to be tried in Multnomah County, which is a very liberal county where folks are inclined to lean towards abortion," he said. "But in the trial setting, the science would have come under close scrutiny."
Well, I was sure there was nothing especially important they left out about this case, the ruling, etc. After all, why would good faithful people want to try to deceive us? Isn't that the work of the devil?
But then, consumed by that same devil's spirit, I decided to Google-News the case. And I'm shocked. Shocked! It turns out, the communist mouthpiece known as the Washington Times also has a story about the case. The only difference is that THEY chose to interview someone on the other side, who trotted out this OBVIOUS lie:David R. Foster, a Portland lawyer who represented the clinic in the case, said the clinic is bankrupt. Asked why it agreed to settle, he said that decision was made by the insurance firm for the defunct business, "based on the [probable] cost of a defense."Sure, sure. Tell that one to your golf buddies in HELL. Oh, wait. The clinic has been closed for two years? The decision to settle was based on a cost/benefit analysis of buying the girl off rather than paying a couple of lawyers to file a brief or two on the off chance that a wacko judge wouldn't throw the case out of court within seconds? I feel somehow ... somehow ... misled? Is it possible?
"I predict we would have won if it had gone to trial," he said.
Oh, D. James Kennedy of the Center for Reclaiming America ... why hast thou forsaken me?
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