Leaving Las Vegas; On Hiatus

Greenlee Gazette is on hiatus until the first week of February. New stories may appear, but I'll be mostly offline. Please come back and see me after I make the transition!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Jon Stewart on Sean Hannity's New Hannity Show

Any excuse to post a riff on the ridiculousness of Sean Hannity is a good excuse. When it is from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, even better!

What's a Twitter, Anyway?


I didn't understand, for a long time, what the big deal was with having a cell phone. I'd had one (the size of a telephone lineman's phone) in 1995 for a job. People had them in their cars back in the 80s; heck, we even used to call them "car phones." So, why was it suddenly such a strange thing if you didn't have a cell phone?

Well, after I finally took the plunge, I kind of got it. Now, I feel very strange indeed if I leave my cell phone behind. I still don't actually talk on it much, but am glad to have it in many circumstances. From checking on what The Other Half wants for dinner, to relaying important information when he's out of town, it is a great convenience and sometimes a necessity.

Blogging was another thing that took me a while to grasp. I mean, I'd been participating (or lurking) on bulletin board services (BBS), message boards (at Prodigy, and later, AOL), chat rooms (but not much), and the like. So why was everybody going on about blogs? Online diaries? Say what? Then, I started reading them, and eventually writing one. I get it now.

And I've already written about texting from the "don't get it" to the "I get it now" perspectives. But there is more to learn. Like Twitter. Everybody's atwitter about Twitter. And tweeting on it, apparently. Little bloglets, or some such. I'd hoped this would be a fad that went away, or that I could sample and decide I don't need, like FaceBook or MySpace. But everyone's doing it, so maybe it's time to move into the "I get it" camp, and check it out.

[Excerpt]

To tweet, or not to tweet?

That is the question. The answer? Who knows! In the meantime, anything goes on Twitter. . .

Read more at: ComputerWorld


Weekend Blogging


Oh, dear. I've stayed away from blogging today, mostly because I just wanted a little down time. I watched a couple of movies Superman III, for some reason (worse than I remembered) and The Invasion, which is not the best of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers' many versions. Beyond that, I didn't do much.

So, I decided to sit down and write a couple of posts, to keep the blog current. But I can't find anything! Seriously, did anything happen today? Most of my favorite blogs are apparently off for the weekend. Nothing I have found has yet inspired me to opine about.

I was struck by a personal anniversary, and that got me a little introspective. I realized that in just a couple of weeks, I will have lived in the same house--with The Other Half--for ten solid years. It got me to thinking about other dates. This year,

- I will have been blogging for 2 years.

- I will have driven the same vehicle (1998 Jeep Wrangler) for 9 years.

- I've been with The Other Half for 11 years.

- I'll have had the same job for 12 years.

- I'll have lived in the same town (Las Vegas) for 15 years.

That's a lot of "the same" in a lot of major life areas! Of course, there have been changes along the way, like furnishings, electronics and appliances. We of course have a new President, ending a period of sameness that we are eager to see change dramatically. I got married last year, and while it remains to be seen if the voters of California will be (unbelievably) allowed to revoke it, we intend to keep the anniversary.

Those things that remain the same are a good thing for the most part, even if I sometimes have to struggle to avoid inertia, and getting stuck in a rut. Painting rooms, and moving things around is one way to do that. Taking a day off from blogging is another. And here we are back where we started!

That, dear reader, is what happens when I can't find anything to post about. I just start typing, and you all get a glimpse of how my brain works, where it wanders, and how far afield I get from what I was originally talking about! But somehow, it all ends up in a fairly neat package. I hope you're all having a great weekend, and enjoy the Super Bowl tomorrow. Meanwhile, I intend to find something newsworthy, interesting, entertaining and/or funny to put up on the blog before bedtime. Wish me luck!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Burying the Lede: ExxonMobil's Profits


I found the headline of the excerpted piece below kind of stunning. The big news here, of course, is that ExxonMobil's profits for 2008 were the highest ever recorded in all of human history. But this article highlights the fact that their 4th quarter wasn't quite as big as the rest of the year?

[Excerpt]

Exxon Mobil 4th quarter profit drops by a third

Exxon Mobil again broke its own record for highest annual profits ever by a U.S. company, pulling in $45.2 billion in 2008, an 11 percent jump over 2007’s $40.6 billion.

But the Irving-based oil giant’s lower fourth-quartery profits reflected how lower demand and plummeting oil and gas prices in the last three months of 2008 amid the global recession have siphoned the industry’s record-breaking streak, which became almost routine as crude rose to all-time highs. . .

Read more at: Chron

Karl Rove's Subpoena Date Delayed


Image from source, Raw Story

There are a couple of ways to view this news. The cynic in me says, "Dammit, John Conyers! Why would you afford this scumbag and respect or consideration?" The reluctant optimist in me says, "Oh, hey, Karl Rove might actually be scared if he's trying to reschedule!"

Karl Rove has already said he intends to ignore the Congressional subpoena. That is something--executive privilege or not--that you are not supposed to be able to do. But the Congress allowed him to get away with it before, so why not try it? Unfortunately for Rove, there is a lot more chatter about it this time, and some members of Congress are already threatening jail time. And would a man unconcerned with that, care enough to change the date?

[Excerpt]

Conyers defers subpoena showdown with Rove

House Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers has agreed to a request from Karl Rove's lawyer to delay the deadline by which Rove must appear in response to a subpoena from his committee. . .

Read more at: Raw Story


Here's Your Sign: Warning! Zombies Ahead!!!

Now this is a helpful warning sign! I mean, I've been a fan of zombie movies for decades, but I didn't know that heading for a colder climate could save you from them. You live, and you learn. . .or you die and you eat brains.

Bush's Legacy: A Giant Shoe


Photo from source, AOL News

Hahahaha! Sorry, I couldn't resist.

[Excerpt]

Bush Legacy: Iraqi Orphans

A huge sculpture of the footwear hurled at President Bush in December during a trip to Iraq has been unveiled in a ceremony at the Tikrit Orphanage complex. . .

Read more at: AOL News


Behind the Blogger: Blogging in a New Political World


I started this blog in--what seems like now--the waning years of the Bush Administration. It didn't feel like that at the time. We were 6-1/2 years in at the time, and it felt like a never-ending reality-bending nightmare. But even at the start of this adventure (June 2, 2007), the wheels were starting to come off. Congress was in the (nominal) control of the Democrats, and Karl Rove's alternate-reality spin machine was burning out.

Still, there was so much to rail against, so many frustrations to rant about. Now, things feel less urgent. We do have the financial crisis now, and a Republican minority still--somehow--obstructing things. But I'm willing to give the Barack Obama Administration space and time to put things back together. While there are still conservative outrages to report on, and spin to unspin, my blogging mission has become a little less focused.

What I'm finding is, I'm spending much too many hours in front of a computer. I do that at work all day, and while my hours have been reduced, I still spend a majority of my waking hours in front of a computer monitor. I fear that this may be a detriment to my relationship, and also fear that I might be starting to burn out.

I'm not talking about quitting the blog. It's my only real hobby, and I still enjoy it. But I do think that in the coming weeks and months, I'm going to have to scale it back a bit. I've been here for hours at this writing, and have little to show for it. It would seem that many of my sources are also scaling back, and that presents a problem when trying to find interesting things to post.

The problem is, I'm addicted to the little "SiteMeter" thingy. Even though my readership has plunged in recent weeks, I still long for a wider readership. Failing that, I wonder, "what's the point?" Why write if I can't find anyone to read my words? Then, I think, "you didn't think anyone would read when you started!" Good point, self, thanks.

So for now, I'm going to keep it up. I have three goal posts before deciding to change something. First, I'd like to get 100,000 visits. Second, I'd like to reach 5,000 posts. Third, I'd like to make my 2-year anniversary. Beyond that, who knows? But it has been a fun--if tiring--ride, and I'm not quite ready to get off.

So if you are a regular reader, I'd love to hear from you. And I'd be grateful if you bring your friends along, to pump up that addictive SiteMeter rating for me! Thanks everybody.

Frivolity Break: Segway Fall Down Go Boom!

Why is it that when people fall down, and obviously hurt themselves, it's still so damned funny? I don't know how those Segways stay up anyway.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Virgin Sues a Blogger for an Ad Parody


Image from source, Gawker

Why? It's kind of funny, and the US Airways crash into the Hudson turned out to be a good news story. And why would I risk also getting sued by running the parody? Solidarity. Also, so many people have posted it now. Besides, parodies are allowed. Doesn't Virgin know about the Larry Flynt case?

[Excerpt]

Virgin Sues Blogger Over Fake Ad, Gives Fake Ad Massive Exposure

Virgin is always making those cheeky ads for itself, right? But when a blogger does it in obvious parody style, Virgin sues them. Scrubs. . .

Read more at: Gawker

Jon Stewart on the Economic Simulous Plan

The state of the economy is downright depressing, with new layoffs and more bad news reported every day. So if you want to know just how bad it is, you might as well get the news with a heaping helping of humor--dark humor, but humor just the same.

GOP Warns Senate Not to Seat Franken


First of all, what? They're cute and all, waving their imaginary club around, but what prey tell can Republicans do about it if the Senate does seat Al Franken? Second, it doesn't look like Norm Coleman is going to be able to win this thing, and it has been three months since the election. Shouldn't Minnesota have a Senator, even if it is only an interim appointment?

After the behavior of Republicans in the House yesterday--assuming it is duplicated in the Senate--I'd tell the GOP to go piss up a rope at this point. What's the point of being in power if you don't use it a bit? Sure, we don't need to be quite the butt-holes that Republicans were when they had it all, but we don't have to lay down and take it anymore either.

[Excerpt]


. . .Meanwhile, in the GOP’s efforts to see that Coleman repopulate that office, the Senate Republican conference sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid, urging him to not seat Al Franken. . .



Rod R. Blagojevich Impeached, No Longer Governor


Well, thank goodness that is over. Now, will the ever-bizarre Blagojevich continue to give media interviews, a la Sarah Palin? Or will we be mercifully spared the insane ramblings of at least this politician?

[Excerpt]

Impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been removed from office

The Illinois Senate voted to remove Gov. Rod Blagojevich from office Thursday, marking the first time in the state's long history of political corruption that a chief executive has been impeached and convicted. . .

Read more at: Chicago Tribune


More on Karl Rove Subpoena, and Executive Privilege

Karl Rove is still clinging to claims of "Executive Privilege" as a reason to rebuke his most recent Congressional subpoena. Unfortunately for the Turd Blossom, such claims don't seem to survive the transition to a new administration. I'm hopeful that Rove's pledge to not only not testify (or simply claim a faulty memory), but to ignore the subpoena has angered Congress enough that they finally do something.

Rush Limbaugh Sings: I'm a Nazi (He's a Nazi!)

Because Rush Limbaugh is in the news again for making an outrageous statement (and then spinning that story to his advantage, as usual), it is again time for I'm a Nazi (He's a Nazi!). The best thing about this song (besides the fact that it is hilarious/true) is that it is actually "sung" by Rush Limbaugh himself, using audio clips. Brilliant.

My Baby Only Cares for Me (But Might Shoot Me!)


Have you ever been to a psychic? It's amazing how they can read you, isn't it? If you're a skeptic like me, you start looking for their tricks. Like answers that are general, or could apply to anybody. But sometimes it's spooky, and they just nail something--something they couldn't possibly know! And I've been drawn in because of this in the past (the distant past, but still).

But this little email/blogging game will show you that any random question and/or answer can get it right too. This game's rules are as follows:

- Read the question.
- Get out your media player (iPod, computer, CD-Jukebox, whatever), and set it to random.
- Press play.
- Type the name of the song as the answer to the question.
- Repeat.

As you can see, in my list, some of the answers are nonsense. Some can fit with some context (just like when you try to fit the psychic's answer to your circumstance). And sometimes the answers are dead on! I mean, come on, the Cher answer?!?

What is your Motto?
Love Somebody - Rick Springfield
What do your friends think of you?
Better Luck Next Time - Scissor Sisters
What do you think about very often?
Passin' Me By - The Pharcyde
What is 2+2?
Raspberry Beret - Prince
What do you think of your best friend?
What's Left of Me? - Nick Lachey
What do you think of the person you like?
Come Monday - Jimmy Buffett
What is your life story?
Heartless - Heart
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Misled - Kool & the Gang
What do you think of when you see the person you like?
Christopher Robin's Dead - Mas Rapido!
What do your parents think of you?
Heaven & Hell - Vangelis
What will you dance to at your wedding?
Black on Black - Heart
What will they play at your funeral?
Whoop de Do - Jimmy Buffett
What is your hobby/interest?
That Voice Again - Peter Gabriel
What is your biggest secret?
Any Dream Will Do - Andrew Lloyd Webber
What do you think of your friends?
To Be a Lover - Billy Idol
What’s the worst thing that can happen?
I Didn't Mean to Turn You On - Robert Palmer
How will you die?
Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) - Cher
What is the one thing you regret?
Linger - The Cranberries
What makes you laugh?
Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond
What makes you cry?
Storm Keeper - Culture Club
Will you ever get married?
Something to Remember - Madonna
What scares you the most?
Love is Strange - Sylvia & Mickey
Does anyone like you?
Ready to Take a Chance Again - Barry Manilow
If you could go back in time, what would you change?
Look Away - Chicago
What hurts right now?
Ever Since You Told Me You Love Me - Tiny Tim
What will you post this as?
My Baby Only Cares for Me - Brian Setzer Orchestra

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Maddow and Feingold Talk Bush Era Law Breaking

My favorite pundit and my favorite Senator discuss the law breaking of (and possible justice for) the Bush Administration. How could I not post this?

Congressman Grayson Slams Limbaugh


Photo from source, Think Progress

I just couldn't resist posting this most excellent slam of conservative blow-hole, Rush Limbaugh by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL). Of course, any slam of Limbaugh by a Democrat only adds fuel to the fire, and Limbaugh wears it as a badge of honor. But this one is pretty good. . .

[Excerpt]

Freshman Rep. Grayson: ‘Limbaugh actually was more lucid when he was a drug addict.’

“Rush Limbaugh is a has-been hypocrite loser, who craves attention. His right-wing lunacy sounds like Mikhail Gorbachev, extolling the virtues of communism. Limbaugh actually was more lucid when he was a drug addict. If America ever did 1% of what he wanted us to do, then we’d all need pain killers.”

Source: Think Progress

New Attorney General Agrees Not to Pursue Bush Administration?


Photo of Kit Bond from source, Raw Story

I'm still trying to figure out this story. Would the new Attorney General really privately pledge--to a single Republican Congressman--that he would not prosecute Bush Administration officials found to have broken the law? Really? And why would the "rule of law" party seek out such a promise?

The answer to that last one is easy. "Rule of law" is just a slogan to Republicans. Like "freedom," "democracy," or "Constitutional rights." When they say any of those things, it is not meant to be taken literally for goodness' sake! It's to inspire warm, fuzzy thoughts of bald eagles, stars and stripes and fourth-of-July bunting. I mean so what if the Bush Administration broke all kinds of laws, trampled on all kinds of rights, even committed actual war crimes? Let bygones be bygones!

I'll be posting more on this subject, should there be other angles to the story. Until then, read on. . .

[Excerpt]

Republican senator says Obama nominee promised Bush officials wouldn't be prosecuted for torture


. . ."Sen. Christopher 'Kit' Bond, a Republican from Missouri and the vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in an interview with The Washington Times that he will support Eric H. Holder Jr.'s nomination for Attorney General because Mr. Holder assured him privately that Mr. Obama's Justice Department will not prosecute former Bush officials involved in the interrogations program," Eli Lake writes for the Washington Times. . .

And then:

. . ."Eric Holder has not made any commitments about who would or would not be prosecuted," the aide told Huffington Post's Sam Stein. "He explained his position to Senator Bond as he did in the public hearing and in responses to written questions. . ."

Read all of the conflicting bits of this story at: Raw Story


25 Years Ago Today: Karma Chameleon by Culture Club

I'm painfully aware that this year is my 25th high school class reunion. Yes, I'm from the infamous class of 1984, a banner year for music, thanks to MTV. Most of the music of the day is painfully dated today--though not all--but it is recorded in great detail. 1984 may have been the first year that every hit song had a video. MTV (born in 1981) no longer had to take just every video handed to them, they could pick and choose.



And they made a lot of stars far bigger than they ever would have been otherwise. Many acts, like Duran Duran, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and Pat Benatar may never have been quite as big without music video. No group was powered by video more than Culture Club. Boy George's gender-bending antics hit at exactly the right time, and his group's colorful videos set the tone for many videos (and popular trends) for the middle of the decade.

George O'Dowd (Boy's real name) has fallen on hard times of late. So, it is nice to remember the happier days, in fact of exactly 25 years ago, when Boy George and Culture Club hit #1 on the Billboard charts with Karma Chameleon. It is not--in my opinion--the best of his or their songs, but it is likely the most remembered.

Pet Peeve: Fat Ads Everywhere


Arrrgh! I know I could stand to lose a few pounds. In fact, I've been on a diet--Atkins, to be exact--since September. I've even lost 20 pounds, from 180 to 160. For a 5' 8-1/2" guy (don't forget the 1/2"!), that ain't so bad.

But this is a new year, even though the first month of it has almost passed us by. So web ads are everywhere reminding us that we are big fat pigs. I know! Don't remind me!

I see this flab, and these stretch-marked bellies everywhere I go on the internets! Make it stop!

Oh, and now I've done it to you. . . My bad.

Sarah Palin, You Know, Starts a PAC Too, Also


Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!


Octuplets?


Image from ParentsOvernight

I have this image of a lawn sprinkler, squirting out babies. Eight babies in under 10 minutes? That's like a magic trick. Or like the eggs from that lady's mouth in Airplane! I'm glad they're all OK, but there's something a little freaky about this. . .

[Excerpt]

Birth of octuplets rattles fertility experts

Even as the birth of octuplets at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center drew attention and applause from around the country, questions arose Tuesday about whether the mother's doctors did enough to prevent such a risky pregnancy.

The chances that the eight babies born Monday were conceived naturally are infinitesimal, infertility specialists and doctors in maternal-fetal medicine say. Today's reproductive experts have the tools and the know-how to avoid such high-risk pregnancies -- and often try desperately to do so. . .

Read more at: Los Angeles Times

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

More on Karl Rove Subpoena, and What it Means


Image from source, TPM Muckraker

A little while ago, I posted a clip from Countdown Keith Olbermann regarding the re-issued congressional subpoena against Karl Rove. Excuse me for going on about it, but the very thought of Turd Blossom in shackles has me all atwitter. So, sue me.

Anyway, rather than just take Olbermann and John Dean's discussion as the final word, I thought you might appreciate a little background, and a little insight on what it all mean. So, here's more. . .

[Excerpt]

Ball In Obama's Court On Rove's US Attorney Testimony

On the question of whether we'll get to the bottom of the Bush White House's role in the US Attorney firings, it's starting to look more and more like the ball is squarely in President Obama's court. . .

Read more at: TPM Muckraker


Keith Olbermann and John Dean Discuss Karl Rove Subpoena

I apologize for the slim number of posts lately. In addition to lots of household projects, I also have an increased workload at my real job. It's a welcome development, especially in this economy. But it do make a blogger tired! Still, there are things going on.

And the one news item that gets my political juices flowing is John Conyers re-subpoenaing of Karl Rove. I still worry that I'm getting my hopes up, only to see them dashed again. But hope, I do. Here is a discussion on the subject by Keith Olbermann and John Dean. And if they're right, this could set up a "domino effect" of other Bush Administration officials being forced to testify. Oh please, oh please. . .


Frivolity Break: Cadbury Eyebrow Kids

This is a freaky little commercial, with little relevance to the product. What these kids are doing isn't all that rare. I can do that with my eyebrows, after having practiced Mr. Spock's expressions endlessly as a kid. But what does it have to do with chocolate candy? I have no idea.

We used to ask "is it live, or is it Memorex?" Now, we can ask, "is it real, or is it CGI?"

Will Obama Administration Prosecute War Crimes of Bush Administration?

It is unusual for an incoming administration to actively pursue and aggressively prosecute the misdeeds of an outgoing administration. Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon rather than go after him. Liberals howled about that, and Ford lost re-election.

But Nixon's crimes were so paltry compared to Bush's. They were also far less numerous. In fact, I sort of feel sorry for Nixon (and Bill Clinton too) for all the heat they took over relatively bupkis charges.

For his part, Barack Obama is playing the gentleman, not wishing to appear to be going on a witch hunt. But since when is forgiving torture gentlemanly? How about warrantless wiretaps? Spying on ordinary Americans--apparently all Americans? Jonathan Turley doesn't think so, and he has a much bigger brain than I do, so take a look.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Movies I Can't Wait to See: Friday the 13th!

Yes, really! I was 14 years old when the original came out. I snuck into the drive-in with some friends, we met up with some girls (a trend that would not continue!), and watched the original Friday the 13th from the front row in lawn chairs. At the climactic scene, I jumped up out of my chair, dumped the girl off my lap, hit my head on the speaker, fell back down into the chair, and then the speaker conked me on the head!

It has been a very long time since I got a scare like that from a movie. But it started an affair with cheesy horror films, including all of the sequels, the Halloween series, the Nightmare on Elm Street series, and many other clones, imitators and also-rans. Video stores blossomed in the early eighties, and the horror genre was highly represented. I watched them all.



But the Friday series was easily the weakest of the big franchises. I've seen every one multiple times, but none was truly a classic. The first and second were the best, but neither would wow audiences today. So, as is the trend in Hollywood these days, the series is getting a reboot. It's hard to tell by the trailer--which looks fantastic--because they can often be misleading.

But it looks like they got all of the cues, all of the nostalgic referrences, but with a seriously amped up fear factor, and a wicked-fast Jason Voorhees! So, I guess I'm in for another round of $18 popcorn and soda come February, Friday the 13th!

Visit the official site here.

John Conyers Subpoenas Karl Rove Again!


Image from source, Raw Story

Every time I'm ready to believe that the whole Bush Administration is just going to bloody well get away with everything, I get a new glimmer of hope that justice is going to be served. John Conyers has once again provided that hope, but he's been known to pull the rug out from under me before.

Dare I hope?

[Excerpt]

Invoking Obama, House Judiciary Chairman subpoenas Rove

Invoking President Barack Obama, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) has subpoenaed former Bush Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove about his alleged involved in the political prosecution of an Alabama governor and the firings of nine US Attorneys. . .


Read more at: Raw Story


Al Gore's Climate Change Event Postponed


Photo from source, The Drudge Report

I suppose that global climate change could still possibly be open to debate. Certainly the specifics are. But outside of oil company-funded science, I don't think any credible scientific body claims it isn't happening. I think it's ridiculous to think that with all of the pollution and chemical engineering that humans have created in the last 120 or so years couldn't possibly have any effect. Of course it could.

But because the phenomenon was originally christened "global warming," every time we have a cold snap somewhere, conservatives gloat as though they've won or something. "Global warming, huh?" they'll squawk, "then what is all of this white powdery stuff?" It's a silly argument, and I have a feeling that they know it. And what are we going to do, wait until Florida is under water and then say "Told you so!" Well, at least Rush Limbaugh lives in Florida.

[Excerpt]

GORE HEARING ON WARMING MAY BE PUT ON ICE

Al Gore is scheduled before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday morning to once again testify on the 'urgent need' to combat global warming. But Mother Nature seems ready to freeze the proceedings. . .

Read more at: The Drudge Report

Milk Mini Movie Review

I saw my first theatrical movie in a very long time yesterday, Milk, starring Sean Penn. I went with my friend, Mrs. Lesto, who had acquired "free" tickets from a DVD promotion. The movie turned out to not be free for either one of us.



We had exactly one theater to choose from, and the earliest showing was 4:10 pm--ten minutes after the last "matinee" showing. We found out that the matinee price would have been $7.75 each, and our "free" tickets were valued at $7.50. No big whoop, except that the evening price--and since when is 4:10 pm "evening?"--was $10.50. So, we paid it, who cares, right? But I must have popcorn at a movie. And the cost for a large popcorn and two drinks was $18.00. Which I paid, for some reason. But I think they've reached the absolute ceiling on the amount of money I'll pay for such an indulgence. If you're keeping score, at full price, that would be $39.00 total. Crazy. I don't think I'll be going back any time soon.

But the movie was great. I didn't know much about Harvey Milk back in the 70s. I was in my "tween" years, and gay rights and politics was far off of my radar. But in the ensuing years, I have gleaned a little about the story. From the historical importance of an openly gay politician, to the infamous "Twinkie" defense, to the ludicrously light sentence of Dan White for murdering two people, I knew the basic story. I even remember a docudrama on the story, starring Tim Daly as Dan White, told mostly from White's perspective.

But this movie was better, far better. Every actor was incredible, but Sean Penn's performance was spectacular. I actually forgot it was Penn at times, he was so immersed in the character. The story has particular resonance after the passage of Proposition 8 in California, and shows how far--and how not so far--we have come. The interweaving of contemporary video of Walter Cronkite, Diane Feinstein, Tom Brokaw and Anita Bryant were very well done, and actually produced an occasional gasp.

If overt gay (or any) sex gives you a wiggins, you need not worry here. There were sex scenes, but they were fleeting, and no more graphic than anything you might see on Nip/Tuck. In fact, the movie could play on broadcast television with only the barest of cuts. If, on the other hand, two guys kissing freaks you out, you might be well advised to stay away. And why would you see this film anyway, if that was the case?

Actually, the squeamish audience might be best served to watch this film, whatever their reservations. You might finally see what the gay rights movement is all about, and why it is important.

My score: Highly Recommended

Daily Show Slams FOX "News" on Obama Adminstration

Barack Obama and his adminstration have only been in office for a few days. But tha hasn't stopped FOX "News" from slamming them for. . .well. . .everything. Fortunately, we have Jon Stewart to point out their tactics.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

MSNBC vs. FOX "News": Media Bias from Both Sides


Image from source, NewsBusters

Liberals like me tend to watch MSNBC for our cable news. With Countdown with Keith Olbermann and The Rachel Maddow Show, we have news commentary shows that tackle the daily news with a liberal viewpoint. Whether or not Hardball with Chris Matthews is liberal or conservative is open to interpretation, depending upon the news of the day, and the viewers' take on the show. But classifying the channel as liberal isn't exactly accurate.

For starters, the channel has employed quite a few conservatives over the years, including Alan Keyes, Bay Buchanan, Tucker Carlson and the still-on-the-air Joe Scarborough. Their news updates and programming outside of the prime time lineup is--as far as I can tell--objective. And while Olbermann can be as bombastic as Bill O'Reilly sometimes, I don't believe that Maddow has the same flaw.

FOX "News" on the other hand, is conservative-slanted, through and through. This is my blog, and my opinion, you understand. You might disagree. But consider the people involved, particularly Roger Ailes. Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan confirmed that they sent out talking points to the channel. Hosts like Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, and Mike Huckabee are unabashedly conservative. Bill O'Reilly claims not to be, but the facts show otherwise.

So it is amusing to see conservative blogs lamenting the liberal bias of MSNBC, and it's supposed new role as a mouthpiece for Barack Obama. FOX "News" has provided this service for the last eight years, and where was NewsBusters then? And have these critics ever watched Olbermann's or Maddow's shows? It is not uncommon for either one of them to blast Democrats in power when they disagree with their policies. Maddow in particular will wave a flag of concern over the policies of anyone that concerns her, and has done so even in the last week.

And one more thing. If the media in general is so gosh-darned liberally biased, why is it that it is only now that MSNBC is drawing such derision? Supposedly, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and the rest are already in the tank for the liberal/socialist/Marxist/evil demon agenda. So what is the big shift now?

I'll tell you. It's that by and large, the media isn't liberally biased. Conservatives see news sources that don't present stories from a conservative viewpoint to be by definition liberally biased. Even if it is centrist. But when faced with a genuine liberal viewpoint, they really get irritated. Thus, the "concern" focused on Olbermann and Maddow. For an example, read the excerpt below.

[Excerpt]

Rachel Maddow & Keith Olbermann Lonely, Look for New Friend

Building on the relative popularity of their 8pm and 9pm slots--Olbermann & Maddow, respectively--MSNBC has begun the search for a personality to fill the currently unfilled 10pm slot. 10pm is currently devoted to a replay of Olbermann's "Countdown. . ."

Read more at: Newsbusters


New Computer: Adapting to Windows Vista


My new computer has been wonderful, and also a headache. Getting all of my software, and all of my hardware to work with Windows Vista has been a challange. I haven't figured out why everyone hates Vista yet, but I am discovering a few of my own limitations.

I started using Windows with version 3.0, and have self-taught myself all of the ins and outs. My familiarity with Windows quirks is quite extensive, but ends with Windows XP SP3, unfortunately. I sorta skipped Vista, except for the basic version I have on my notebook computer. So, the newness of Vista to me is a little baffling. Some of the file structure still confuses me, and because it is not compatible with my old (1995) scanner, I had to get a new one.

I bought a Hewlett-Packard OfficeJet J4580, which is an all-in-one fax, scanner and printer. The instructions are opaque to say the least. And though my computer is also an HP, it refuses to recognize that the new machine is family. So the control panel (referred to obliquely in the manual) says that no HP devices are installed. But it is. And it scans and prints. But I can't set any preferences or change the Fax settings. Arrrghhh. I'm far from a newby, but I'm stumped.

So I have my fourth weekend project. I will solve it. I always do. But what do novices do? I can't imagine.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Young Turks Announces "Candidacy" for MSNBC Show

I recently posted a piece on my suggestions for MSNBC's new prime time show host. One that I entirely forgot was The Young Turks, which is actually mostly Cenk Uygur. Cenk didn't forget, and has openly announced his "candidacy" for the job. Good luck, Cenk, you'd be great!

Coleman Campaign Altering Evidence in Election Fight?


Image from source, Talking Points Memo

Listen to any right-wing talk radio show, watch FOX "News" or read conservative blogs, and if the subject of Al Franken comes up, you can be sure that they will at least suggest that Franken cheated. In the Minnesota state-mandated recount of election ballots, Franken surpassed Norm Coleman's lead to become the (apparent) victor. And while no proof of any sort of trickery has emerged, many of the above usual suspects simply cannot believe that such a result could come from an honest recount.

Ironically, it is the Coleman campaign that may be up to some funny business. Unless you believe their lame "dog ate my homework" excuse, that is.

[Excerpt]

Franken Legal Team: Coleman Is Doctoring Evidence

At a pre-trial hearing in the Minnesota election lawsuit just now, Franken attorney Kevin Hamilton made a striking accusation: That the Coleman campaign has been doctoring evidence. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo


Frivolity Break: America the Beautiful on the Kazoo. . .


This was sent to me by my friend and contributor, Stupid Monkey Planet. It's a frivolous little video, with no nudity, no foul language, and nothing "not safe for work (NSFW). So why, you might ask, is it posted "after the fold?"

Well, um, it just is. And if you want to see it, and are not easily offended, by all means, click the link after "CONTINUED." Otherwise, just scroll right on by. . .







Heroes: Fugitives

I've tried mightily to pare down my TV watching to a select group of shows. But, try as I might, they tend to grow again. 24, Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Fringe, Lost. . .even--yes--Survivor. But one of the shows I'm anticipating the most right now is Heroes.

I've followed it since the beginning, and like the pacing of the show. Were it not for the interruption of the writers' strike last year, I think that Heroes would be doing better now. I think the critical drubbing of the last two chapters of the show have been undeserved. I've watched every episode, with no diminishment of satisfaction. Love it. And it is back soon, with a new chapter called Fugitives. Here's a preview:

Who Should Host New MSNBC Show?


Photo of Sam Seder from Radio.About.com

There is buzz that MSNBC is looking to capitalize on the success of Countdown with Keith Olbermann and The Rachel Maddow Show by introducing a third hour, in place of one of their usual reruns. Most suspect that they'll pick another liberal host, though I'd bet they'd be wary of doing that. It might be better to get a more neutral host, or possibly even a conservative (though I doubt that last one--isn't three hours of Joe Scarborough enough?). Still, I'm hoping for another liberal/progressive.

After so many years of conservative dominance in cable news (liberal media bias, my ass), the prospect of one of my favorite pundits/personalities getting their own show is kinda fun. There aren't many famous names to the general public to pick from (again, bias my patootie), but there are some great names out there who could become famous. And there are others that probably wouldn't work so well. Here is my take on a few of the names that pop into my head:

- Bill Maher - Would be a perfect fit, and a ratings hit too, I bet. But why would he? He has a regular gig on HBO that allows for his stand up career. It'll never happen, but it would be great.

- Randi Rhodes - Her appearances on cable news have mostly been a disaster, because she's in a four-square shout-off, usually with at least two conservatives. Randi's voice is already abrasive, and her temper legendary. So that format just comes off badly. But as a host who is in control? It. Just. Might. Work.

- Stephanie Miller - Love, love, love her, and her mooks. But she's had a rocky history on TV, including at MSNBC. I don't think her show would translate well to cable news, unfortunately.

- Arianna Huffington - I love Arianna too, as a guest. But when she subbed for Rachel, she was just dreadful. She was also great with Al Franken on Bill Maher's old show, when she was a conservative. Franken is also ineligible, since he'll likely be busy in the Senate. So, no to both.

- Ed Schultz - Don't like him much. . .too much like a liberal Rush Limbaugh.

- Sam Seder - My pick. He's funny, kind of nerdy-cute, self-deprecating, smart, and a little twisted. He's been knocked around by Air America Radio, as has his co-host, Marc Maron. Maybe they could do a two-man show. Nobody sets up and takes apart conservatives like Seder. And Maron might be able to squash Seder's occasional tantrums.

And now, a little of Sam & Marc from YouTube, with Sam expressing his sorrow over the departure of George W. Bush:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Totally the Worst Computer Attack Ever!!!


Image from PublicRadio.org

Have you ever gotten one of those emails from a well-meaning friend that says something like:

"I usually do NOT send out Virus Alerts because so many are Hoaxes This One appears to be True and its best to be safe!"

They often follow with "I checked it out on Snopes, and it's for real!" They'll say that Microsoft calls it the worst attack ever, and that it will melt your hard drive, turn your monitor into an amber-on-black terminal, and delete all of your porn. Well, maybe not, but you get the idea.

They're almost always either hoaxes, or are blown all out of proportion. But this story--which reads very much like one of those emails--appears to actually be legit. So, update your Windows Update downloads, stay away from Internet Explorer, or get a Mac. And I say this as a Mac-phobe!

[Excerpt]

Worm Infects Millions of Computers Worldwide

A new digital plague has hit the Internet, infecting millions of personal and business computers in what seems to be the first step of a multistage attack. The world’s leading computer security experts do not yet know who programmed the infection, or what the next stage will be. . .

Read more at: New York Times


Journalist Sure He Was Wiretapped

Yes, I'm double-dipping into the Countdown with Keith Olbermann clips tonight, but it ties together neatly with the previous post about un-Constitutional surveillance conducted by the Bush Administration. Here, Olbermann talks to journalist James Risen, who is certain the he himself was wiretapped. Check it out.

Ex-NSA Russell Tice Spills More to Keith Olbermann

This is scary stuff. We suspected that there was more going on with the whole "warrantless wiretapping" and data mining activities of the Bush Administration than they were letting on. Hell, we knew it, we just couldn't prove it. At last, we have a whistle-blower in ex-NSA agent, Russell Tice. Even he won't tell us everything, but what he says is quite disquieting, and damning of Bush Administration policies.

Tice spoke to Keith Olbermann last night about this, and tonight we have part 2. Pleasent dreams. . .

Limbaugh Criticizing the Commander in Chief in Time of War?

How many times did you hear that we liberals were un-American, unpatriotic, and many other insults for daring to criticize George W. Bush in a time of war? Never mind that it was Bush that started those wars (and left them unfinished). Never mind that during ongoing military operations, they felt free to attack Bill Clinton. And now that a Democrat is in the Oval Office again, you can better believe that their old line will be quickly forgotten.

Rush Limbaugh is a prime example. Barack Obama has only been President for two and a half days, and Rush has already come up with a couple of crazy statements about him. Here's just a bit of it. . .

[Excerpt]

Limbaugh Claims He’s Being Told ‘To Bend Over, Grab The Ankles’ Because Obama’s ‘Father Was Black’



LIMBAUGH: We are being told that we have to hope he succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this is the first black president.

Read more at: Think Progress

No Jacket Required: The Oval Office Rule?

You may have heard whining from conservatives about Barack Obama's abandonment of George W. Bush's "jacket required" rule for the Oval Office. And while Bush may have always worn a jacket there, there is at least one photograph which shows that the rule was not always followed. I'm sure there will be many more discovered, should this continue to be an issue.

But, honestly, is this an issue? And while Bush may have been dressed in his rumpled, ill-fitting suit jackets every time he was there, is that even in the top 100 things that should happen there?

[Excerpt]

So much for the lie that Bush always required a jacket in the Oval Office

"The lies are subtle, but they're still meant to rewrite history, and make failed Republican politicians seem grander than they actually were."

Source: AmericaBlog

The World is "In the Tank" for Barack Obama


Photo from source, Reuters

One of the most over-used, and usually unprovable allegations during the primaries and presidential campaign was that the media was "in the tank" for Barack Obama. Positive and negative stories about each candidate were weighted and tabulated, and when Obama would have a higher "positive" score, charges of bias were lobbed.

It's not exactly a scientific theory. John McCain and Sarah Palin generated many negative stories by saying and doing negative things. But that isn't factored in. So the media (particularly MSNBC, if the theory is to be believed) were "in the tank." The story excerpted below does not try--at least I don't see it--to make such charges. But the way the headline was listed on The Drudge Report makes it seem that way. And I have no doubt that the rabid right sees it that way too.

But the fact is, George W. Bush's 2005 inauguration was not a major news making event. Half the country (and possibly more than half of the world) were seriously bummed about the event. It presented no particular change, and made no history. So it is no surprise that Obama's inauguration generated much more interest. It would be surprising if it hadn't.

[Excerpt]

Obama inauguration got unprecedented news coverage

President Barack Obama's inauguration generated an unprecedented 35,000 stories in the world's major newspapers, television and radio broadcasts over the past day -- about 35 times more than the last presidential swearing-in -- a monitoring group said on Wednesday. . .

Read more at: Reuters


New York Times Reports on Bush's Departure


Thanks to Stupid Monkey Planet for this great New York Times parody of George W. Bush's reign of error swan-song. Monkey, if you have an attribution (or if any readers do), I'd be happy to supply the link. Brilliant.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

OK, Obama's President. Now Where's That Change He Promised?


Image from Barack-Obama.tv

My friend and occasional contributor Stupid Monkey Planet sent me the link to the excerpted article below, and I thought it was worth sharing here. Already, blow-holes like Sean Hannity and Mark Levin are blasting every single step Barack Obama makes, and mocking his theme of "change." This article takes that tack--with a heavy dose of sarcasm and snark (always welcome here)--and demonstrates what has already changed.

[Excerpt]

So? Where's the change?

Geez, Louise.

Where do we send our complaints? He's been president for 23 hours, (and dancing for 6 hours of the time, by my count) and what has he accomplished?

NOTHING! NADA. NOT ONE THING. Well, OK, he stopped the Gitmo horror show. He stopped all environmental law changes Bush tried to shove through at the last minute. . .

Read more at: Capitol Hill Blue


Hillary Clinton Finally Confirmed as Secretary of State


Photo from TopNews

Hillary Clinton spoke often of the "glass ceiling" of politics, while trying to attain the highest office in the land. And though Secretary of State isn't exactly chump change, she arrives there with an already shattered glass ceiling. Madeline Albright broke it for women, Colin Powell broke it for African Americans, and Condoleezza Rice was both. But hey, Hillary is--I believe--the only former First Lady to go this far in politics. That just leaves "openly gay" or "confirmed atheist" for future glass ceilings, doesn't it?

[Excerpt]

Senate confirms Clinton 94-2

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of State.
The former first lady becomes the highest-profile member of President Obama’s Cabinet. The two had battled for the Democratic nomination throughout the first half of the year but have since maintained that there is no bad blood remaining from the protracted primary. . .

Read more at: The Hill

Barack Obama Takes the Oath of Office Again

On Tuesday, Barack Obama's oath of office was botched a little by Chief Justice Roberts' rearranging of words. So, probably to stem the squawking of the likes of FOX "News" and Free Republic, the two men met again to get it right. Good. Obama didn't need that following him around for 4 or 8 years.

Senate to Seat Al Franken?


Photo from source, Raw Story

I'm not sure about this one. I like Al Franken a lot, and am thrilled that he has apparently won a Senate seat for Minnesota. But incumbent Norm Coleman, who is a little less than pleased with the result, still has legal challenges pending. It looks like they will come to naught, but they're still pending. So if the Senate goes ahead and seats Franken, we will never hear the end of it from right-wingers. It won't matter if Franken belongs there.

[Excerpt]

US Senate leader sees comic becoming senator

US Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that he would move to give a noted comic actor and writer a seat in the chamber despite an elections lawsuit by his Republican foe. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

So, Big Brother Has Been Watching!

This is a rather stunning exclusive report from Countdown with Keith Olbermann, regarding the Bush Administration's use of warrantless wiretaps, data mining, and various other surveillance techniques against ordinary Americans. Apparently all of us, all the time. It sounds fantastic, too epic in scope to be possible. But in his interview with Russell Tice, Olbermann has a real stunner of a story on his hands. Watch. . .

Presidential Transition

This is historic video, whatever you think of the commentators. This is video of the transition of power, from one United States President to another. With commentary by Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, and others from MSNBC.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

WhiteHouse.gov Gets a Makeover

An extreme makeover, to say the least! Proof that it isn't all a dream. . .


Source: WhiteHouse.gov

Rush Limbaugh Hopes Barack Obama Fails?


Photo from source, Think Progress

In my last few posts, I wrote about the feeling of joy that President Bush is gone, and that President Obama is now in the White House. I wrote about the lack of mean-spiritedness I feel toward Bush, though I still want him and his administration to be held accountable for their actions, where appropriate.

And, I've indulged in a little bit of knife-twisting probably, even if I didn't really set out to do it. But one thing I've never done, is to hope for George W. Bush's failure. He did that all on his own, so all I was wishing for was that he wouldn't screw anything else up. That he wouldn't invade yet another country, that he wouldn't cause more people to die. But I never rooted for the existing wars to fail. I never hoped that the economy would collapse so that Democrats would win. I never actively rooted against my country.

But Rush Limbaugh--that supposed defender of all that is America--wants our new President to fail. Before Barack Obama has even slept one night in the White House. That's just sick.

[Excerpt]


". . .So I’m thinking of replying to the guy, “Okay, I’ll send you a response, but I don’t need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.” (interruption) What are you laughing at? See, here’s the point. Everybody thinks it’s outrageous to say. Look, even my staff, “Oh, you can’t do that.” Why not? Why is it any different, what’s new, what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what’s gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it? I don’t care what the Drive-By story is. I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: “Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.” Somebody’s gotta say it. . ."

Read more at: Think Progress

OK, there you go, Rush. I don't know if I qualify as a "drive by" (a stupid phrase for the mainstream media), but I'm more than willing to point out your lack of patriotism. And I don't think it is liberalism that has failed America. At least not right now, not for a while now. Get used to it. Conservatism, or at least the brand practiced for the last generation, has failed America.

Picture of the Day: Out With the Old, In With the New

This photo kind of says it all.




Source: Kenneth in the (212)

GOP Struggles With Inaguration of a Democrat


One of the biggest surprises of the victory in November, culminating with today's inauguration, was that I didn't ever get a huge sense of schadenfreude. It's kind of like finally getting out of debt, or the work you do after you get that shiny new computer home. The anticipation is so great, the expectations so high, that there is something of an anti-climax.

Yes, George W. Bush is out of Washington. Most of his pals are out of any sort of power. Barack Obama is in the White House, and Democrats are in control of both houses of Congress. We got everything we wanted (short of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate), and I am happy about that. But I really thought I'd be whooping and hollering about the departure of the other guys. I'm thrilled that they're gone--don't get me wrong--but I'm just not feeling vindictive or nasty about it. I'd love to see them held accountable, but I don't feel much like twisting the knife.

People on the National Mall didn't feel the same way, it would seem. They booed Bush, Dick Cheney and Chief Justice John Roberts. They sang "Na, na, na, nah, hey, hey, hey, goodbye!" And I thought that was a little classless, a bit like the angry folks at a Sarah Palin rally. But you know what? This has really been a classless President. And a disastrously bad one. So, while I don't feel so inclined, I'm not about to deny my liberal brethren the opportunity for a little schadenfreude themselves.

And when it gets the GOP collectively sad and blue? Well, after the neck-stomping they've given Democrats for eight years, it's a little hard to feel bad for them.

[Excerpt]

For GOP, it's hard to say goodbye

. . ."The one sorry note were the boos for President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Justice Roberts," said Khan, who was among a group of former Bush aides standing just a short distance from Obama as he was sworn in by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

"And singing the goodbye song," Khan said. "That was uncalled for."

Others GOP stalwarts, such as Ralph Reed, for former head of the Christian Coalition, made the conscious decision to stay away. But that only offered only so much protection. . .

Read more at: ChicagoBreakingNews


President Barack Obama Inauguration

Today, for all of its many layers of meaning to so many people, feels to me like a vindication. Part of it is a culmination of a year and a half of blogging, spurred by the frustration of two terms of what felt like oppressive rule by George W. Bush. Part of it is finally having a President that is smart, well-spoken, and seems to have the country's best interests at heart.

I don't want to sully this event with yet another screed against Bush, but his every speech, his every appearance was an embarrassment. And that feeling got ever worse to the point that it felt like it would never end. So while I want to feel good, only for the beginning of a new President's term, and all of the historical importance of this particular President, I must confess that much of my joy is for the departure of the last guy.

I don't have rose-colored glasses on. I don't consider Barack Obama to be "The One," "The Messiah," or "The Savior." But I do have high hopes, and that's something I haven't had in our government for a long, long time.

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